* US: Dow Futures: 12770.00 (0.20%), S&P 500 Futures: 1369.30 (0.39%), NASDAQ Futures: 2716.25 (0.44%)
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4280.60 (0.81%), China: 2350.86 (1.78%), Hong Kong: 20327.32 (0.92%), India: 5276.85 (0.96%), Japan: 9524.79 (0.69%).
* Metals: Gold: 1654.10 (-0.37%), Silver: 31.53 (0.03%), Copper: 3.69 (1.28%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 103.15 (0.44%), Natural Gas: 1.99 (0.20%)
* Commodities: Corn: 6.28 (-0.10%), Soya Bean: 13.68 (0.66%), Wheat: 6.37 (0.51%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 2.014% (-0.021)
Financial, Economic and Political News Update
U.S. stock-index futures give up gains: U.S. stock index futures edged off earlier highs after a jump in jobless claims. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were all trading in the green, pointing to a higher open.
U.S. jobless claims rise to 380,000: Number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits increased 13,000 in the week ended April 7 to 380,000, the highest since Jan. 28.
European markets fluctuate: European markets are fluctuating on Thursday as Italy’s borrowing costs rose sharply in an auction of 3-year debt. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX), the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) and the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) were all whipsawing in trade today.
U.K. trade deficit widens: The Office for National Statistics said trade deficit widened to the most in three months in February as exports of goods to non-EU countries dropped.
The goods-trade gap grew to almost £8.8 billion ($14 billion) in February, from an upwardly revised £7.88 billion in January. Economists had forecast a deficit of about £7.65 billion. Total exports of goods decreased 3.4 percent in February while imports remained unchanged.
Italian bond yield jumps: Italian three-year borrowing costs soared more than a percentage point from a month ago, reflecting investor concerns about the country’s ability to reduce its high levels of debt. Italy raised 4.9 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in the bond issue, which was closely watched after yields at Italy’s 361-day bill auction yesterday more than doubled from a month ago.
Asian markets see modest gains: Asian markets closed higher on Thursday reacting to a rebound in global equities overnight. NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) snapped its longest run of losses since 2009 after Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said the central bank will continue monetary stimulus measures to spur economic growth. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) recorded its biggest gain in two months, while the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) ended in the green after three consecutive down days. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index ended 0.8 percent higher as better than expected jobs figures added to investor confidence.
India’s industrial output grows less than expected: Indian industrial production grew at a slower-than-expected pace in February, due to a contraction in consumer durables and consumer goods, with industrial output advancing 4.1 percent from a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office said today. Analysts were expecting a rise of 6.6 percent in the February output.
Employers in Australia add more workers in March than previously expected: Data from the Australian government showed a net 44,000 jobs were created in March, much better than the average analysts’ estimate of a 6,500 increase. Jobless rate stayed at a low 5.2 percent. This better-than-expected data comes after a string of soft indicators and should relieve some pressure for aggressive cuts in interest rates.
Economic Calendar for Thursday, April 12, 2012:
08:30 A.M. ET: Initial Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, April 7, 2012)
08:30 A.M. ET: Continuing Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, March 31, 2012)
08:30 A.M. ET: Producer Price Index (MoM) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET: Trade Balance (February) 09:45 A.M. ET: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (Week ending Sun, Apr 8, 2012) 10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, April 6, 2012)
01:00 P.M. ET: Fed Minneapolis’s Narayana Kocherlakota speaks.
04:30 P.M. ET: Fed Balance Sheet
04:30 P.M. ET: Money Supply