The strengthening recovery across U.S. equities — the S&P 500 Index capped its best five-day run since 2011 yesterday — continues to set the tone for global benchmarks.
Overnight Thursday/early Friday Morning:
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday.
- Japan’s Topix index closed 1 percent higher after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended Haruhiko Kuroda as head of Bank of Japan for another five-year term.
- In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was trading higher with energy shares leading a broad rebound.
Government Reports Today:
- The consensus for January housing starts 1.232 million annualized rate vs 1.192 million in December with housing permits seen at a 1.300 million rate which would be unchanged from December’s revised result (1.302 million initially reported).
- The export side shows strength, up 0.8 percent overall.
- Import prices were stronger than expected – 1.0 percent in January.
- Non-petroleum prices rose an unusually strong 0.5 percent.
- 0.5 percent price jump for imported vehicles.
- Higher prices for imported food & beverages.
Reports later Today:
- 10am – The University of Michigan February Consumer Sentiment report.
- 1pm – the latest Baker Hughes Report, showing the number of active operating oil & gas rigs, is due. Last week’s report showed the biggest jump in a year.