US Equities Flat In Listless Trading

Economic Data

- (PT) Portugal Feb Trade Balance: -€680M v -€551M prior
- (BR) Brazil Mar FGV Inflation IGP-DI: 0.3% v 0.2%e
- (US) Mar NFIB Small Business Optimism: 89.5 v 89.8e (official release)
- (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/e Apr 6th w/w: +0.7%; y/y: +2.1%
- (CA) Canada Mar Housing Starts: 184.0K v 175.0Ke
- (CA) Canada Feb Building Permits M/M: 1.7% v 3.0%e
- (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e Apr 6th: +2.9% y/y; Mar MTD: +0.7% m/m; Mar MTD: +2.5% y/y
- (MX) Mexico Feb Final Trade Balance: $46.1M v $46.1M prior
- (MX) Mexico Mar Consumer Prices M/M: 0.7% v 0.7%e; Y/Y: 4.3% v 4.2%; CPI Core M/M: 0.3% v 0.4%e
- (US) Feb Wholesale Inventories: M/M: -0.3% v 0.5%e; Wholesale Sales: 1.7% v 1.5%e
- (US) Feb JOLTs Job Openings: 3.925M v 3.730Me
- (BR) Brazil Feb CNI Capacity Utilization: 82.6% v 83.7%e
- (UK) Mar NIESR GDP Estimate: +0.1% v -0.1% prior

- US indices have given up their early gains while the continental European bourses are at session lows. Trading volumes remain subpar and there is a distinct lack of catalysts. The DJIA is flat on the session, while the S&P500 is down 0.05% and the Nasdaq is down 0.11%.

- The dollar was mostly softer in fairly light overnight trade. Firmer global equities weighed a bit, though overall, dealing desks were fairly quiet. EUR/USD managed to hold on to the 1.3000 handle, while USD/JPY failed to test the key 100 mark. Midmorning, USD/JPY hit fresh session lows around 98.60.

- Trading in shares of Alcoa has been somewhat jumpy this morning, and AA is in the red as of writing. The firm's earnings were a bit better than expected, while revenue was right in line. Margins were higher and the company reiterated its FY13 industry forecast for 7% global aluminum demand growth. Note that smaller competitors AWC and CENX are both up more than 3% today.

- A broad spectrum of mining names are gaining ground this morning, with RIO and BHP both up about 4% a piece and CLF up 8%. Analyst point out the lower-than-expected inflation China March CPI reading relieved some fears about China further tightening credit. A UBS report noted that demand is improving and the recent pullbacks in UK-listed miners present a buying opportunity. Alcoa's reiteration of its forecast also helps.

- Shares of JC Penny are down 12% this morning, trading at levels last seen in 2001. After a tumultuous 22 months on the job, CEO Ron Johnson is out and former CEO Mike Ullman is back on the job, although investors do not seem reassured. Many analysts say that it is only a matter of time before the firm is taken private.

- Shares of Herbalife have been halted all morning after KPMG resigned as HLF's auditor due to insider trading allegations against a senior partner at the accounting firm. The partner had been providing inside information to an unnamed individual who then traded in shares of several West Coast companies.

Looking Ahead

- 11:30 (US) Treasury to sell 4-Week Bills
- 12:00 (DE) ECB member Asumussen
- 12:00 (US) DOE April Short-Term Crude Outlook
- 13:00 (US) Fed's Lockhart to give Welcome at Stone Mountain, Georgia
- 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell 3-Year Notes
- 13:15 (US) Fed's Kocherlakota moderates panel in GA
- 15:00 (UK) BOE member Haldane in Atlanta
- 16:30 (US) Weekly API Crude Oil Inventories
- 22:00 (CN) China Mar Trade Balance $15.2Be v $15.3B prior; Exports Y/Y: -11.7%e v 21.8% prior; Imports Y/Y: +6.0%e v -15.2% prior
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