*Stocks were mostly higher in Asian trade. The Nikkei added 2.9%, Australia was up one and a quarter percent and the Hang Seng rose 1.1%; Shanghai was an exception, it fell 2.4%. European indexes are well bid this morning, with the DAX and Footsie both one percent higher at the moment. US stock futures are up as we head to US openings.
*All ten US sailors, and the two boats on which they were drifting in Iranian coastal waters, that were captured yesterday by Iran, have been returned safely.
*The December reading of China’s Trade Balance is a surplus of $60.09 billion, well above the forecast for a surplus of $50 billion. It is only the sixth time that their surplus has been $60 billion or greater and each of them occurred during 2015. But it is important to note that once again both main components were negative; Exports were down 1.4% on a year on year basis and Imports were down 7.6% from a year ago. Though it should be said that when measured in Yuan the Export figure was +2.3% year on year.
*The December reading of France’s Consumer Price Index, EU harmonized, is +0.2% month on month and +0.3% year on year; both results were one tenth higher than expected.
*US mortgage applications were up 21.3% in the week ended January 8, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Applications for Purchases were up 17.8% on the week and those for Refinancing were up 23.8%.
*The weekly report on energy inventories is due out at 9:30am CST. Stocks of Crude Oil are forecast to increase 2.0 million barrels, Gasoline inventories are expected to rise 2.150 million and the estimate for Distillates is +1.2 million.
*Chicago Fed’s Evans is scheduled to speak about the economy and monetary policy at 11:30am CST.
*The Treasury plans to sell $21 billion 10 Year Notes today; the auction results will be announced just after noon CST.
*The Fed’s Beige Book is due out at 1:00pm CST.
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