Happy ides of March! Watch your back today if you’re in a leadership position, especially if your best friend is named Brutus.
The dollar is off its huge rally after hitting a 7.5-month high as profits are taken, and stocks in the U.S. open lower. Oil is slightly higher, as Obama’s visit to Israel has the possibility of military intervention in Iran in the news again.
The Consumer Price Index for February showed the largest jump in over 3 years, up 0.7% from a flat January, but most of that increase was due to a 9.1% jump in gas prices, seen as a temporary event. Year over year inflation for February was 2.0%. Industrial production in the Northeast moderated but remained in positive territory.
The Nikkei and the yen were both up in anticipation of accelerated quantitative easing, as the new chairman of the Bank of Japan was sworn in. Chinese stocks were down again, as the government reiterated that it is serious about enforcing higher down payments and higher interest rates on second homes in cities experiencing a housing bubble. Most Chinese cannot afford a home, and public discontent over the matter has led the government to act to slow down appreciation in the real estate market.
Today’s weakening dollar is fueling most of the price support in precious metals today, even as unrest in the Dominican Republic and power outages in South Africa are curbing gold production in the last couple of days. any significant sort term movement in gold will likely hinge on the stock market experiencing a correction, rather than supply issues.