Thursday, 12 April 2012

Markets regain ground, Japanese machinery orders jump, US economy continues expansion

Markets recovered somewhat on Wednesday from the previous day's falls, with the STOXX Europe 600 rising 0.7 percent. The euro rose and yields on Spanish and Italian 10-year debt fell as an ECB policymaker raised the possibility of more bond-buying by the central bank and Italy successfully sold 11 billion euros of Treasury bill, albeit at higher yields than last month.

Still, the weak state of Europe's indebted economies may restrain further recovery in investor confidence. For example, Spain reported on Wednesday that industrial output fell 5.1 percent year-on-year in February.

There were positive economic reports elsewhere on Wednesday though.

In Japan, core machinery orders jumped 4.8 percent in February.

In the US, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book reported that the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March. However, higher gasoline prices may weigh on the economy.

Indeed, another report on Wednesday showed that US import prices jumped 1.3 percent in March, the biggest increase since April last year. Imported petroleum prices increased 4.3 percent, also the biggest increase since April 2011.

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