Japan February retail sales rose less than expected. Asian stocks settled mixed with the Nikkei 225 up +0.08% and the Shanghai Composite down -0.36%.
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German February import prices rose at the fastest y/y pace in 5-3/4 years. Prime Minister May signed Article 50, officially beginning the 2-year Brexit process. European equities were moderately higher with the DAX up +0.44%. Yields on the 10-yr. Bund fell to 0.345%.
February Pending Home Sales rose a strong +5.5%. Last night the API reported another build in U.S. crude inventories of +1.9MM barrels. This morning the EIA reported a more modest build of +900K barrels and large draws in gasoline and distillate stocks.
A pipeline disruption in Libya along with a favorable EIA report supported oil which closed up +2.4% at $49.51. Yields on the 10-Year Note fell to 2.382% but the US$ Index firmed. June Gold (contract change) fell -0.2% to $1,256.80.
Equities opened mixed with technologies strong and large-cap industrials weak. The comparative levels held but the whole equity complex edged higher through most of the day. The NASDAQ 100 is just below its all-time high. At the close, markets were mostly higher.