Morning Call For February 18, 2015


March E-mini S&Ps (ESH15 -0.06%) this morning are down -0.06% and European stocks are up +0.70% at a 6-1/2 year high on speculation Greece and its creditors may be moving toward a compromise. A rally in European bank stocks is leading the markets higher after a person familiar with the matter said Greece may seek a 6-month extension of a loan agreement as soon as today. Asian stocks closed higher: Japan +1.18%, Hong Kong +0.19%, China, Taiwan and South Korea closed for holiday, Australia +0.98%, Singapore +0.58%, India +0.63%. Japan's Nikkei Stock Index climbed to a 7-1/2 year high after the BOJ maintained record stimulus following its 2-day policy meeting and after BOJ Governor Kuroda pledged to adjust monetary policy if needed. Commodity prices are mixed. Mar crude oil (CLH15 -1.70%) is down -1.44% and Mar gasoline (RBH15 -1.20%) is down-0.71%. Apr gold (GCJ15 -0.26%) is down -0.29% at a 6-week low on optimism that Greece will ease a standoff with its creditors and before the minutes of the Jan 27-28 FOMC meeting that may signal the Fed is closer to raising interest rates. Mar copper (HGH15 +0.02%) is down -0.08%. Agriculture prices are mixed. The dollar index (DXY00 +0.24%) is up +0.29%. EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is down -0.34%. USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.07%. Mar T-note prices (ZNH15 -0.05%) are down -2.5 ticks at a 6-week low.

UK Jan jobless claims fell -38,600, more than expectations of -25,000 and the most in 7 months. The Jan claimant count rate fell -0.1 to 2.5%, right on expectations and the lowest in 6-3/4 years.

The UK Dec ILO unemployment rate unexpectedly fell -0.1 to 5.7% in the 3-months through Dec, better than expectations of unch at 5.8% and the lowest in 6-1/2 years.

Dec avg weekly earnings rose +2.1% 3-mon avg, more than expectations of +1.7% 3-mon avg and the most in 1-1/2 years. Dec avg weekly earnings ex-bonus rose +1.7% 3-mon avg, less than expectations of +1.8% 3-mon avg.

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