All things considered, this was a very slow day for US equities. Trading volume on the S&P 500 futures contract recorded one of the lowest days in recent memory with the volume equaling that of the Thursday before Easter. However, all of Friday's opening weakness was retraced and more with the S&P 500 closing above 1560. Financials were weak to open the day, but steadily crawled back throughout the day. The top performing sector of the day was consumer staples, up 0.78%. There was no economic data reported in the US. Economic data in Europe showed German industrial production moving up 0.5% month-over-month, though the prior month's rate was revised down to -1.2% from -0.6%.
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In Japan, the Bank of Japan fired the first shot in the latest deflation-fighting battle by purchasing 1 trillion yen in government bonds with maturities of at least seven years. The USDJPY rose 1.73 to 99.30.
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Alcoa (AA) began the reporting for the first quarter's earnings season after the close today. The aluminum manufacturer reported adjusted EPS of $.13, beating estimates by $.05, though it missed revenue estimates with $5.83 billion versus the expected $5.88 billion. The company reaffirmed its 2013 forecast for global aluminum demand and lowered its surplus aluminum production.
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In non-financial news, former UK Prime Minister "The Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher passed away at the age of 87.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Tomorrow's economic data includes the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, Wholesale Inventories, and JOLTS government job openings. Though these aren't very prominent data points, the small business optimism index should show continued evidence regarding whether or not a negative tax increase, along with a corresponding increase in consumer spending, are having any effects on small businesses. Additionally, a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke should have an effect on overnight equity activity.
Globally, notable reports include China's release of consumer and producer inflation and the UK's release of trade balance data and industrial production. Recently, the UK's purchasing managers' index has declined into contraction territory. Monthly industrial production figures are expected to gain 0.4% after declining 1.5% the month prior.
There will be no major earnings tomorrow in the US.
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