- The dollar pared earlier gains as the US equity market reversed earlier losses on Thursday. The Conference Board US leading economic indicators index climbed for a sixth straight month in September while the US jobless situation deteriorated slightly and US home prices unexpectedly fell. The S&P 500 index, reversing earlier losses, gained 11.51 to 1,092.91. The yen was pressured by Japan's weak exports. Sterling was little changed on flat UK retail sales. The Australian and Canadian dollars declined modestly as commodity prices consolidated previous strong gains.
- The EUR/USD is hovering around the 1.50 level. The eurozone current account recorded a deficit in August as exports fell. Verbal intervention for EMU policy makers will likely intensify if the EUR/USD ascent continues. The pair is in a strong uptrend but overbought. There are strong support in the 1.48 area and resistance in the 1.54. If this support is broken, the EUR/USD will turn bearish.
Financial and Economic News and Comments
US & Canada
- The Conference Board US leading economic indicators index, measuring future economic activity, rose a more-than-expected 1.0% m/m in September, a sixth consecutive rise, after a downwardly revised 0.4% m/m increase in August, LEI data from the Conference Board showed, signaling the US economy will possibly expand into early 2010. The coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, was unchanged m/m in September after increasing 0.1% m/m the previous two months.
- US initial jobless claims increased 11,000 to a higher-than-expected 531,000 in the week ending October 17 from the previous week's upwardly revised 520,000, figures from the Labor Department showed, a reminder that the US labor market will be slow to recover even though the economy is recovering. The 4-week moving average of new jobless claims declined 750 to 532,250. Continuing claims in the week ending October 10 dropped 98,000 to 5,923,000 from the preceding week's upwardly revised 6,021,000. The 4-week moving average of those continuing claims decreased 59,250 to 6,030,750. The insured unemployment rate for the week ending October 10 declined to 4.5% from the prior week's upwardly revised 4.6%.
- US home prices unexpectedly declined 0.3% m/m in August after a 0.3% m/m increase in July, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's monthly house price index. August house prices fell 3.6% y/y.
- Canada's retail sales gained a more-than-expected 0.8% m/m in August to C$34.5 billion ($32.8 billion), led by new truck purchases and higher prices at gasoline stations, after a revised 0.5% m/m decline in July, according to data from Statistics Canada. Retail sales less autos increased 0.5% m/m, following July's revised 0.6% m/m decrease.
- The eurozone seasonally adjusted current account recorded a €1.3 billion ($1.9 billion) deficit in August (corresponding to a €5.0 billion deficit nsa), after a downwardly revised €3.7 billion surplus in July (corresponding to a downwardly revised €9.3 billion surplus nsa), the European Central Bank reported.
- UK retail sales unexpectedly stagnated m/m for a second straight month in September, data from the Office for National Statistics showed. September retail sales gained 2.4% y/y, less than expected.
- Switzerland's trade surplus widened to CHF1.92 billion ($1.9 billion) in September from a downwardly revised CHF1.72 billion in August, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration said.
- Japan's merchandise trade surplus widened less than expected to ¥520.64 billion ($5.7 billion) in September, its largest level in 18 months, from ¥90.97 billion a year earlier, according to figures from the Ministry of Finance. Exports fell 30.7% y/y in September, a 12th consecutive year-on-year fall and the slowest pace in 10 months, after a 36.0% y/y drop in August, while imports tumbled 36.9% y/y, an 11th straight year-on-year decrease, following August's 41.3% y/y drop.
- Japan's all industry activity index rose a more-than-expected 0.9% m/m in August, a fifth consecutive monthon- month gain, after an upwardly revised 0.8% m/m advance in July, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.
- Japanese supermarket sales fell for a tenth straight month in September, falling 2.4% y/y to ¥1.01 trillion ($11.1 billion) on a same-store basis, after a 3.4% y/y decrease in August, the Japan Chain Stores Association reported.
- China's economic growth accelerated to a high of 8.9% y/y in Q3 2009, from 6.1% y/y in Q1 and 7.9% y/y in Q2, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
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