Gold is working its way upward in volatile trading in New York, with a lower-than-expected housing starts number helping. Silver is also bouncing today, and we’re seeing a “war jitters” bid on palladium as well.
The dollar is dropping again, as no one seems to want U.S. currency as a safe haven. The euro is comfortably above 1.38 against the dollar, while the yen is weaker.
The big thing helping the stock markets today is China’s GDP for the first quarter coming in at 7.4%, y/y. Worries were that the number would be closer to 7 than 7.5. The Nikkei stock index in Tokyo closed up a whopping 3%, being about as far away from the Crimea crisis as is possible. The Hang Seng and Shanghai indices were up slightly.
The news out of China combined with some positive earning reports to help Euro stocks today, despite the threat of an actual civil war breaking out in East Ukraine, which would certainly trigger a Russian invasion (all according to Putin’s plans to burnish his image at home as the restorer of Russian glory.) The Ukrainian government is carrying out “anti-terrorist” operations in eastern Ukraine, retaking government buildings seized by armed pro-Russian militias. Kiev asserts that it has proof that Russian troops are involved in the unrest, and that anti-government paramilitaries are in radio contact with Russian authorities.
Wall St. opened higher as industrial production for March rose more than expected, and February’s numbers were revised upwards. This has a kneejerk reaction of supporting the dollar, because it’s another notch in the column for more Fed tapering.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks at 12:15 today, and the Fed’s “beige book” report of economic conditions is released at 2pm (all times Eastern).