Nikkei Tanking in Thin Holiday Markets

Lou Brien |

*Stocks were still closed in many parts of Asia for the New Year holiday, including Shanghai and Hong Kong. Some might be wishing the Nikkei was one of those that didn’t open today, but it did and it was down 5.4%, the biggest daily decline in almost three years and Australia fell 2.9%. European indexes are on offer this morning with the DAX down 1.4% and the Footsie off 0.9%. US stock futures are down about one percent as I write.

*Heads up on dollar/yen, it is down about 100 pips at the moment at 114.8; making the yen about five percent stronger than it was the day the Bank of Japan went negative with rates. By the way, Japan’s 10 Year yield is -0.035% this morning, it has never settled below zero.

*The preliminary January reading of Japan’s Machine Tool Orders is -17.2% on a year on year basis; there was no estimate. This volatile indicator has been negative for six months in a row.

*The December reading of Germany’s Trade Balance is a surplus of €18.8 billion, about one billion less of a trade advantage than forecast. Exports were down 1.6% from the month before; the same for Imports, -1.6% on the month.

*The December reading German Industrial Production is -1.2% month on month, but was expected to be +0.5%.

*The January reading Switzerland’s Unemployment Rate is 3.4%, a tenth lower than expected, but steady from the month before.

*The January reading of the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is 93.9, down from 95.2 the month before; it is the lowest result since March 2014. A couple of the key components were down; Plan to Hire fell four points to 11% and Expect a Better Economy was six worse at -21%.

*The weekly report on chain store sales from the Retail Economist showed sales were down 2.6% on a week on week basis for the week ended February 6; but sales for the week are said to be 2.9% higher than they one for the corresponding week from last year. The Johnson Redbook report on the same thing is due out at 7:55am CST.

*The December reading of Wholesale Inventories is due out at 9:00am CST, it is expected to be -0.2% month on month. Also due out at 9:00am is the JOLTS, with information on job openings, hirings, separations and the quit rate.

*The Obama Administration is due out with its fiscal year budget proposal today; set for release at 10:00am CST.

*The Treasury plans to sell $24 billion 3 Year Notes today; the auction results will be announced just after noon CST.

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