U.S. stocks mixed to higher on earnings, data; Dow slips 0.10% – Sean Seshadri

U.S. stocks finished Thursday mixed to higher, buoyed by solid data and first-quarter earnings, while rising hopes for a way out of the Ukraine crisis boosted share prices as well.At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 fell 0.10%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.14%, while the Nasdaq index rose 0.23%.

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General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) released earnings that topped Wall Street expectations and lifted stocks up, though disappointing results from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) and elsewhere tempered the rally, which allowed the Dow Jones Industrial Average to end in slightly negative territory.

Meanwhile, hopes for an end to the Russian standoff over Ukraine allowed stocks to post modest gains.The U.S., Russia, the European Union and Ukraine held crisis talks in Geneva on Thursday, and afterwards, diplomats from all sides agreed on steps to ease tensions that include demobilizing militias, vacating seized government buildings and opening future conversations to address autonomy for Ukraine’s regions.Positive U.S. data supported stocks as well.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported earlier that its manufacturing index rose to 16.6 in April, the highest level since September, from 9.0 in March. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 10.Separately, the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 12 rose by 2,000 to 304,000, better than analysts’ forecasts for a rise to 315,000.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), up 1.74%, Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), up 1.51%, and Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), up 1.50%.


USD/JPY drops on Fed uncertainty, BoJ policies – Sean Seshadri

The dollar fell against the yen on Tuesday as investors continued to avoid the greenback ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting minutes on Wednesday, while a Bank of Japan decision to leave policy unchanged bolstered the Japanese currency.In U.S. trading, USD/JPY was down 1.11% and trading at 101.95, up from a session low of 101.90 and off a high of 103.12.The pair was expected to test support at 101.72, the low from March 27, and resistance at 104.12, Friday’s high.

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The yen rose against the dollar and most currencies after BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda indicated that the bank was unlikely to implement further stimulus measures at present. He added that growth and inflation were likely to continue to pick up in the coming months despite a sales tax increase in April.

Earlier Tuesday, the BoJ voted to keep its key policy target of increasing base money unchanged at an annual pace of ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion after ending its two-day policy meeting.Meanwhile, the dollar continued to slide as investors avoided the U.S. currency ahead of Wednesday’s minutes of the Fed’s March meeting.

Last week’s U.S. March jobs report came in slightly below expectations, which unraveled investors, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said slack labor markets will call for accommodative policies to stay in place for some time.

Elsewhere, emerging-market currencies rose across the board on sentiments that even though the Federal Reserve will continue to unwind its bond-purchasing program this year, policy will remain loose and make higher-yielding currencies more attractive.The yen, meanwhile, was up against the euro and up against the pound, with EUR/JPY down 0.72% at 140.65, and GBP/JPY trading down 0.28% at 170.73.


Copper futures jump to 3-week high after Chile earthquake – Sean Seshadri

Copper prices rallied to a three-week high on Wednesday, amid concerns over a disruption to global supplies following a deadly earthquake in Chile.Chile is the world’s biggest producer of the red metal, providing almost a third of the world’s supply.On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, copper for May delivery rose to a session high of $3.071 a pound, the most since March 9.

Copper last traded at $3.051 a pound during European morning hours, up 0.53%, or 1.6 cents. Copper picked up 0.3%, or 0.9 cents, on Tuesday to settle at $3.034 a pound.Futures were likely to find support at $2.990 a pound, the low from March 28 and resistance at $3.077 a pound, the high from March 9.

A major earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck off the coast of Chile late Tuesday, triggering a tsunami and leading to five deaths.The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck about 100 kilometers northwest of the mining port of Iquique near the Peruvian border.

Iquique is a key copper exporting port, close to Chile’s main copper mines, but key mining firms said there was no serious damage to their operations.State-owned miner Codelco reported no harm to its workers or mines, and said its operations in northern Chile were normal.

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Chile’s Collahuasi copper mine and port had no immediate problems following the quake, chief executive Jorge Gomez said.Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for June delivery rose 0.33%, or $4.20 cents, to trade at $1,284.20 a troy ounce, while silver for May delivery advanced 0.88%, or 17.4 cents, to trade at $19.86 an ounce.

Gold gains as markets look past Yellen rate hike comments

Gold prices gained as the dollar edged lower on Friday after markets priced in Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s Wednesday comments suggesting interest rate hikes may come around the first half of next year.Gold and the dollar tend to trade inversely with one another.On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at $1,335.60 a troy ounce during U.S. trading, up 0.38%, up from a session low of $1,327.80 and off a high of $1,343.00.

Gold gains as markets look past Yellen rate hike comments

The April contract settled down 0.81% at $1,330.50 on Thursday.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,321.10 a troy ounce, Thursday’s low, and resistance at $1,393.80, the high from Sept. 8.

The dollar posted strong gains this week after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested at a Wednesday press conference that interest rates could rise six months after the Fed’s bond-buying program ends, which is widely seen taking place this fall.

Fed asset purchases, currently set at $55 billion a month, aim to stimulate the economy by suppressing interest rates, weakening the dollar as long as they remain in effect, and Yellen’s comments left many expecting benchmark interest rates to begin rising around the first half of 2015.

Profit-taking sent the dollar falling on Friday, while bottom fishing sent gold prices rising, after investors priced in the likelihood that years of ultra-loose monetary policy may be coming to an end in 2015 and looked ahead for fresh market steering currents.


Dollar dips on soft U.S. consumer sentiment data

The dollar traded largely lower against most major currencies on Friday after a widely-watched gauge of consumer sentiment coupled with wholesale pricing data missed expectations.In U.S. trading on Friday,EUR/USD was up 0.26% at 1.3904.The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index fell to 79.9 for March, from 81.6 in February, defying market expectations for a rise to 82.0.

Dollar dips on soft U.S. consumer sentiment data

Also on Friday, data revealed that the U.S. producer price index fell 0.1% in February, confounding expectations for a 0.2% rise, after a 0.2% increase the previous month.

Core producer price inflation, which excludes food, energy and trade, slipped 0.2% last month, compared to expectations for a 0.1% rise, after a 0.2% gain in January.

Friday’s data reminded investors that the Federal Reserve will take its time dismantling its monthly bond-buying program, which weakens the dollar as long as it remains in effect.

Meanwhile, investors remained cautious after Russia launched new military exercises near its border with Ukraine on Thursday, showing no sign of backing down on plans to annex Crimea.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. and Europe should take steps if a referendum on Crimea joining Russia takes place on Sunday as planned.


Forex – Australian dollar gains on NAB business survey

The Australian dollar gained on Tuesday in Asian trade after a bank survey on business confidence eased slightly in February and conditions fell sharply from near three-year highs seen recently, re-establishing the divergence between confidence and conditions that was seen in late 2013.AUD/USD traded at 0.9032, up 0.13%, as the data also showed an upward revision to the January survey/ National Australian Bank said business confidence in February rose 7 points, down from a rise of 9 points, revised up from 8 points, in January. Business conditions were flat from a gain of 5 points, revised up from 4 points, in January.

Forex - Australian dollar gains on NAB business survey

Markets are also awaiting the latest monetary policy review announcement by the Bank of Japan.

USD/JPY traded at 103.36, up 0.09%, with the Bank of Japan’s board meeting deliberations are due to be announced around 1230 Tokyo time (0330 GMT) with the central bank expected to stand pat as the economy appears on track toward a continued modest recovery and sustained 2% inflation.BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is due to host a news conference to discuss the board’s decision at 1530 (0630 GMT).

Elsewhere in Asia, the People’s Bank of China expanded money market operations to scoop even more funds out of the system, and for longer periods of time.The bank drained CNY100 billion on Tuesday morning via 28-day repos, traders said. It dropped altogether the 14-day instruments that it has been using, suggesting that it wants to slightly extend the length of time that excess market liquidity is frozen.


U.S. stocks end mixed on data, Fed comments; Dow slips 0.22%

U.S. stocks finished Wednesday mixed to lower after disappointing data sent investors jumping to the sidelines, through an expressed commitment from Fed Chair Janet Yellen to support the economy allowed for some gains.At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.22%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.01%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.14%.

U.S. stocks end mixed on data, Fed comments; Dow slips 0.22%

Stocks ended lower after the Institute of Supply Management said its services purchasing managers’ index fell to a 43-month low of 51.6 last month from 54.0 in January. Analysts had expected the index to tick down to 53.5 in February.

Investors shrugged off payroll processor ADP’s nonfarm payrolls report, which revealed that the U.S. private sector added 139,000 jobs in February, below expectations for an increase of 160,000.

Many blamed the disappointing figure on rough winter weather that disrupted commerce last month.

Earlier Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released its Beige Book, which concluded that a string of winter storms was partly responsible for disappointing economic indicators this year.Elsewhere, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the U.S. central bank will do all it can to ensure U.S. recovery remains on track, as the economy is still not as healthy as it should be.


Forex – Japanese yen weakens after Jan wage data declines – Sean Seshadri

The Japanese yen weakened against the dollar on Tuesday in Asia after data showed that total average wages in January slipped 0.2%, the first drop in three months, while the Australian dollar gained slightly as the fourth quarter balance of payments narrowed along expected lines.
Forex - Japanese yen weakens after Jan wage data declines

USD/JPY traded at 101.68, up 0.23%, after data that showed total average monthly cash earnings per regular employee in ¥Japan stood at a preliminary ¥269,195 in January, down 0.2% from a year earlier, when wages rose 0.1%. The market expected a 0.3% gain.AUD/USD traded 0.8938, up 0.02%, after the fourth quarter current account balance narrowed to A$10.1 billion, in line with expectations of a deficit of A$10 billion from A$12.7 billion in the third quarter.Later Tuesday, an RBA rate decision at 1430 Sydney time (0330 GMT) is expected to hold the cash rate at 2.50%.

Overnight the dollar firmed against most major currencies on Monday after solid U.S. factory and consumer spending reports sparked a rally, while unease over the Ukraine crisis fueled safe-haven greenback demand as well.

The Commerce Department reported earlier that personal spending rose 0.4% in January, above expectations for an increase of 0.1%. Personal spending for December was revised down to a 0.1% gain from a previously reported increase of 0.4%.The report added that personal income rose 0.3%, beating expectations for a 0.2% increase, after a flat reading in December.Meanwhile, the core PCE price index, which is stripped of food and energy items, inched up by a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in January, in line with expectations, after rising 0.1% in December.


Forex – Australia dollar down as Feb manufacturing stays in contraction – Sean Seshadri

The Australian dollar fell in early Asian trade on Monday as a private think tank survey showed continued contraction in manufacturing and the yen strengthened against the dollar ahead of a light data day in Japan

AUD/USD fell to 0.8904, down 0.26% and USD/JPY was at 101.51, down 0.28%. The New Zealand dollar, NZD/USD, was also weaker at 0.8358, down 0.30%, as terms of trade data came in better than expected.
In New Zealand, the terms of trade index for the fourth quarter rose 2.3%, beating expectations of a 1.9% gain.
In Australia, the AI manufacturing index for February rose 1.9 points to 48.6, staying in contraction for the fourth month in a row.
“Major efforts are now needed both by businesses and governments to lift the pace of innovation, to build business capabilities and to lift workforce skills in manufacturing and in other trade exposed sections of the economy. It is critical that we rebuild and recapitalize the sector and position it to take advantage of new opportunities and to assist in the task of rebalancing the economy which has become over-exposed to the fortunes of the mining sector,”  AI Group chief executive Innex Willox said.
At 1030 local time (2230 GMT), the TD-MI inflation gauge in Australia for February is due with the previous month up 0.1%. This is followed at 1130 local time (2330 GMT) by the February Australia ANZ job ads survey, previous down 0.3%, and at the same time the Reserve Bank of Australia index of commodity prices for January, previous down 1.5%.
 In China, the CFLP China services PMI is due at 0900 local time (0100 GMT), previous 53.4, and the HSBC China manufacturing PMI at 0945 local time (O145 GMT), previous 48.3, with a forecast of 48.5. Both items cover the month of February.
Manufacturing activity in China fell less-than-expected last month, official data showed on Saturday that Chinese Manufacturing PMI fell to an eight-month low of 50.2 in February from 50.5 in the preceding month. Analysts had expected Chinese Manufacturing PMI to fall to 50.1 last month.

Gold gains on soft jobless claims report, Yellen comments – Sean Seshadri

A soft report on weekly jobless claims and cautious statements from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen weakened the dollar and sent gold prices posting cautious gains on Thursday.Gold and the dollar tend to trade inversely with one another.On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at $1,328.50 a troy ounce during U.S. trading, up 0.04%, up from a session low of $1,324.20 and off a high of $1,336.40.

Gold gains on soft jobless claims report, Yellen comments

The April contract settled down 1.09% at $1,328.00 on Wednesday.Futures were likely to find support at $1,322.80 a troy ounce, Wednesday’s low, and resistance at $1,345.50, Wednesday’s high.

Recent manufacturing, jobs and other economic indicators have disappointed markets, leaving investors unclear if recovery has hit a soft patch or if a string of winter storms has put commerce temporarily on hold.Speaking before the Senate banking committee, Yellen told lawmakers it was hard to say how much the recent soft data was due to rough winter weather and added that the bank would remain attentive to signals on whether the recovery is progressing in line with expectations.Her comments softened the dollar by clouding expectations as to how slowly the Fed will taper its monthly bond-buying program, which weakens the greenback by suppressing long-term interest rates to spur recovery, thus making gold an attractive hedge.