Dollar, Yields, Futures Under Pressure Following Weak US Data; Europe Closed

Following Sunday night's resumption of trade after a three-day weekend, which saw sharp moves lower in US yields, the dollar and the USDJPY after Friday's disappointing CPI and retail sales data and the weekend's North Korea jitters, the mood has stabilized in light trading with Asian stocks advancing, Europe mostly closed for Easter Monday and S&P futures fractionally lower at 2,325 in early New York trading.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.1 percent in holiday-thinned trade, while Japan's Nikkei fell as much as 0.6 pct to hit a five-month low before ending up 0.1 percent. Asian gains were led by consumer staples and health care as information technology and real estate sectors decline. Japan’s Nikkei and Korea’s Kopsi advance, while Hang Seng Index and Shanghai Composite decline. Investors prepare for first U.S. stocks trading since Thursday, which will be punctuated by Netflix (NFLX) earnings and Empire Manufacturing data.

As noted earlier, a raft of Chinese economic data beat market expectations but did not produce notable market reactions as investors had been already optimistic following a recent string of positive China numbers. China's economy grew 6.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, a tad above economists' forecast of 6.8 percent. However, mainland Chinese shares fell, with Shanghai Composite Index down 1.0 percent at 3,212, risking a close below its 60-day average at 3,216, seen as an important support by investors and weighed by warning from top securities regulator to combat market misbehavior.

In the US, yields on 10-year Treasuries fell three basis points to the lowest since Nov. 11, while Bloomberg’s Dollar Spot Index slipped to the weakest in three weeks. Gold and the yen both climbed. The two have traded in what has effective been a mirror image for the past year.

There has been a barrage of macro news and events over the long weekend, from Friday's disappointing inflation data casting doubt on the pace of Fed rate hikes and the U.S. decision not to label any countries currency manipulators to North Korea’s failed ballistic missile launch and Turkey’s referendum.

On Friday, U.S. retail sales dropped more than expected in March while annual core inflation slowed to 2.0 percent, the smallest advance since November 2015, from 2.2 percent in February. Core CPI posted its biggest monthly drop since 2010. 

That helped to drive down the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield to 2.200 percent, its lowest level since mid-November from around 2.228 percent on Thursday before a market holiday on Friday. The yield had risen above 2.6% in December and again in March, from around 1.85 percent before the U.S. presidential election, on expectations of Trump's stimulus. But growing perception that Trump will struggle to push any tax cuts and fiscal spending programs through the Congress has prompted unwinding of the "Trump" trade.

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OTHERS TO WATCH: Many others in the retail sector are lower this morning, including Macy's, Kohl's, American Eagle, Nordstrom (JWN), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

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