On very little news, Asian markets settled mostly lower. The Nikkei 225 was down -0.91% while the Shanghai Composite fell -0.75%.
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Eurozone February economic confidence rose to the highest level in 5-3/4 years, but still below expectations. Early gains in Europe faded to close narrowly mixed with the DAX up +0.16%. Yields on the 10-yr. Bund edged up slightly to 0.121%.
Headline January Durable Orders rose +1.8% as expected, but ex-transportation fell a surprising -0.2% and core capital goods orders fell -0.2%. January Pending Home Sales surprised by falling -2.8% to a 12-month low and only reflecting a year-over-year gain of +0.4%. Gains in the Northeast (+2.3%) and South (+0.4%) were more than offset by declines in the Midwest (-5.0%) and West (-9.8%).
Despite soft economic data, yields on the 10-Year Note rose to 2.367%, perhaps on optimism regarding President Trump’s economic strategy. The US$ Index was mostly flat as was gold, which closed up $0.50 to $1,258.80. Oil was firm, closing up $0.06 at $54.05.
In the familiar pattern, early selling petered out and equities began to grind slowly higher. Although off the highs at the close, markets had eked out another day of small gains.