Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Nikkei fell one and a third percent, while the Hang Seng was down one percent and Australia declined 0.6%, but Shanghai rose a bit more than one percent. European indexes are well bid this morning, with the DAX up 1.9% and the Footsie better by 1.6%. US stock futures are up about three quarters of a percent as I write.
*Iran’s OPEC envoy said earlier today, before meeting with his counterparts from Iraq and Venezuela, that his country has no intention of freezing oil output, they will in fact keep on increasing their exports until they reach the level they were at prior to the international sanctions were imposed. Iran used to export 2.3 million barrels a day, but exports fell below one million in 2012.
*The February reading of Switzerland’s ZEW Survey of Expectations of Economic Growth is -5.9, according to Credit Suisse; it was -3.0 in January and is the lowest result since last April.
*The December reading of the UK Unemployment Rate is steady on the month at 5.1%, but it was expected to fall one tenth. In January the net change in the number of Jobless Claims fell more than forecast, down 14.8%.
*US mortgage application were up 8.2% in the week ended February 12, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But applications for home purchases were down 3.7% on the week, while those for Refinancing were up 16.0%.
*The weekly report on chain store sales from the Retail Economist showed an increase of 2.5% on a week on week basis for the week ended for the week ended February 13. The Johnson Redbook report on the same thing is due out at 7:55am CST.
*The January reading of Housing Starts is due out at 7:30am CST. Starts are expected to be two percent higher than the month before at an annualized rate of 1173k units; the estimate for Building Permits is 1200k units, which would be down 0.3% from December. Also due out at 7:30am is the January reading of the Producer Price Index, which is expected to be -0.2% month on month, while the Core PPI is forecast to show an increase of 0.1% on the month. The January readings of Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization are due out at 8:15am CST. Production is expected to be +0.4% month on month and the estimate for Utilization is 76.7%, two tenths higher than the month before.
*By the way, the energy inventory report will be out tomorrow because of the holiday.
*The minutes from the January 26-27 FOMC meeting are set to be released at 1:00pm CST.
*St. Louis Fed boss Bullard is set to speak about the economy and monetary policy at 6:30pm CST.
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