U.S. equities are indicated lower and the flight to safety is back in style after stock markets sold off around the world in the overnight session. Concerns surrounding government policies intended to curb inflating real estate values led a sell off in China while ongoing austerity measures and political discord are said to be the underlying motivation for weakness in European markets.
Down trades range from a 1.90 percent decline in Shanghai to a 3.47 percent dip in Hong Kong. The CAC in Paris is off 3.22 percent, the DAX in Germany is 2.49 percent lower, and in London the FTSE is down 2.50 percent near a nine-month.
At 7:15 am, S&P futures are 25.75 points lower at 1044.00 and Dow futures are down 203 points at 9840. Pessimism in stocks helped risk-free U.S. Treasuries rally in overseas trading. The 2 year Treasury note is +0-02 at 100-19 yielding 0.69 percent and the benchmark 10 year Treasury note is +0-28 at 103-14 yielding 3.095 percent.
NYMEX Crude Oil futures are $2.38 lower at $67.83 and Gold is down $4.90 at $1189.10.
Key Events Of The Day
9:00 ― The most closely watched barometer of national home prices, the S&P Case-Shiller Index, is expected to decline by 0.3% in March, but increase by 2.4% compared to 12 months prior. In the index for February, house prices across the 20 metropolitan areas fell by 0.1%, the first monthly decline since May 2009.
“The Case-Shiller 20-city house price index likely increased by 2.2% year-over-year in March,” said economists at Nomura Global Economics. “This forecast implies a month-over-month decline of 0.6% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Although they have witnessed a modest seasonal downswing, US house prices generally look quite stable.”
9:00 ― MBA Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research and Business Development Jay Brinkmann, Ph.D. and Vice President, Research and Economics Michael Fratantoni, Ph.D. talk about the status of the economy and the direction of the mortgage industry at the National Secondary Market Conference in New York.
10:00 ― Consumer Confidence has improved for the past two straight months and economists expect a third improvement in May. The Conference Board measure has a strong co-relation to labor markets, so recent job growth is cited as the primary reason for the index should improve. But consumers also watch TV and read newspapers, and in the past two weeks economic turmoil in Europe has spun out of control, plus the stock market lost almost 1,000 points in a matter of minutes ― two weeks later it’s still unclear why. In short, there’s plenty of reasons to be cautious.
“The Conference Board's consumer confidence index edged higher in April, moving to the highest level in the post-Lehman period,” said economists at Nomura. “The survey focuses mostly on employment conditions, which have generally been improving. However, the decline in the stock market may weigh on household sentiment.”
10:30 ― Several speakers will share perspective on "Bringing Back the Jumbo Market" at the MBA's National Secondary Market Conference. HERE is the full schedule of events.
11:15 ― James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, speaks on "The Road to Economic Recovery Following the Financial Crisis," to the European Economics and Financial Centre in London.
20:30 ― Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on "Central Bank Independence, Transparency, and Accountability" before the 2010 Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies International Conference in Tokyo.
11:30 ― 4-Week Bills
1:00 ― 2-Year Notes