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April 22, 2014

Canadian wholesale trade popped up 1.1% in February beating forecasts for a 0.7% increase. The gain was driven by the auto sector. Excluding cars and parts sales were up 0.8% as were volumes. Year-over-year wholesalers gained 3.5%.

In the U.S., the federal government's read on home prices showed a slightly better than expected increase in February, rising 0.6% over January. Compared to a year earlier U.S. home prices are up 6.9%.

Sales of existing homes in the U.S. slipped 0.2% in March according to the National Association of Realtors. The decline was not as big as forecast but marks an 18 month low. Year-over-year sales in the U.S. are down 7.5%.

North American markets were higher in early trading.

Bond yields are up 1 bps.


by First National Financial LP 22. April 2014 09:17

April 21, 2014

A quiet, quasi-holiday Monday belies a relatively busy week for data.  There are no significant reports today but things will pick up tomorrow.  

In Canada, sales data -- both wholesale and retail -- will be the key data points this week with reports on Tuesday and Wednesday.  

In the U.S. housing will dominate.  Both the federal government and the Realtors will be releasing home sales numbers.  Washington will also post home pricing data.

Other reports of note this week: U.S. durable goods orders and American consumer sentiment.

North American markets were mixed in the early going.

Bond yields are up 2 - 3 bps.


by First National Financial LP 21. April 2014 06:12

April 17, 2014

Markets are closing early for Easter Weekend.  They will shutdown at noon today and will reopen on Monday.

Canadian consumer inflation clocked in with a 0.6% increase in March, compared to February.  That accelerates the annualized rate to 1.5%, driven largely by energy and fuel prices.  Core inflation -- without fuel and food -- which is the Bank of Canada's preferred measure rose 0.3% in March, for an annualized rate of 1.3%.

In the U.S., first time claims for jobless benefits rose modestly, increasing by just 2,000.  The four week rolling average dropped by nearly 5,000 to 312,000 which is the lowest mark for that measure since before the Great Recession. 

North American markets were all lower at the outset.

Bond yields are flat to +3 bps.


by First National Financial LP 17. April 2014 05:55

April 16, 2014

The Bank of Canada continues to hold the line on interest rates.  The central bank's benchmark rate remains at 1.0% for yet another setting.  In the accompanying statement the Bank says the economy remains weak and inflation is expected to remain low for another two years.

The latest edition of the U.S. Fed's Beige Book is also out today.

U.S. housing starts were up in March, but not as much as expected.  Starts rose 2.8% from an upwardly revised 1.9% increase in February.  Single-family homes led the increase with a 6.0% rise.  Multi-family construction dipped 3.1%.  

The value of building permits issued for home construction in the U.S. fell 2.4% in March. The latest survey of American home builders shows their mood remains down beat, pointing to an underlying weakness in the U.S. housing market.

North American markets were all higher in early trading.

Bond yields are down 1 - 2 bps.


by First National Financial LP 16. April 2014 05:47

April 15, 2014

Canadian home resales climbed 1.0% in March, compared to February, the second consecutive monthly gain.  Compared to a year ago resales are up 4.9%.  Despite the increase the spring buying season is still off to a rather lacklustre start.  March resales are languishing at 8.2% below the 10 year average.  First quarter resales are up 2.8% y/y, but 7.5% below the 10 year average.

Consumer inflation in the U.S. advanced by a modest 0.2% in March.  That's an acceleration over the 0.1% increase in February but still very benign.  Year-over year inflation is up 1.5%, again an acceleration over February.  Core inflation -- without food or fuel -- was also up 0.2% with a y/y increase of 1.7%.

The Empire State manufacturing index dropped more than 4 points in April to 1.29, well below the forecast reading of 8.  Looking ahead though, the index of business conditions six months from now rose about 5 points to 38.2.

North American markets were higher in early trading.

Bond yields are flat to +1 bps.


by First National Financial LP 15. April 2014 06:02

April 14, 2014

There is no Canadian data today but there are a couple of broad reads on the American economy.

The producer price index in the U.S. popped up 0.5% in March compared to February. The biggest jump in nine months was triggered by higher prices for food and services. Year-over-year producer inflation increased 1.4%. Core PPI – without food and fuel – also rose, climbing 0.6% m/m. Year-over-year, core PPI is up 1.4%, an acceleration from the 1.1% y/y increase recorded in February.

April's preliminary read of U.S. consumer sentiment is up more than 2 and-a-half points from March at 82.6. The University of Michigan index suggests American's feel better about their current situation as well as the prospects for the future. The optimism would seem to be supported by the latest unemployment benefits numbers, which plunged by 32,000. The four week rolling average was down by nearly 5,000.

North American markets were all lower in early trading in what has been a volatile week. There have been sweeping highs and lows generally based on uncertainty in the tech sector.

Bond yields are down 6 bps.


by First National Financial LP 14. April 2014 07:19

April 11, 2014

There is no Canadian data today but there are a couple of broad reads on the American economy.

The producer price index in the U.S. popped up 0.5% in March compared to February. The biggest jump in nine months was triggered by higher prices for food and services. Year-over-year producer inflation increased 1.4%. Core PPI – without food and fuel – also rose, climbing 0.6% m/m. Year-over-year, core PPI is up 1.4%, an acceleration from the 1.1% y/y increase recorded in February.

April's preliminary read of U.S. consumer sentiment is up more than 2 and-a-half points from March at 82.6. The University of Michigan index suggests American's feel better about their current situation as well as the prospects for the future. The optimism would seem to be supported by the latest unemployment benefits numbers, which plunged by 32,000. The four week rolling average was down by nearly 5,000.

North American markets were all lower in early trading in what has been a volatile week. There have been sweeping highs and lows generally based on uncertainty in the tech sector.

Bond yields are down 6 bps.


by First National Financial LP 11. April 2014 07:19

April 10, 2014

The key report for today is the new home price index from Statistics Canada.  It shows February's prices rose 0.2% over January.  In the country's three busiest markets Calgary led with a 0.9% rise.  Toronto saw a 0.2% increase and Vancouver was flat.  Year over year, February came in 1.5% higher, the same pace of growth as in January.

North American markets were mainly lower in early trading.  Only the Dow was showing gains.

Bond yields are down 3 - 5 bps.


by First National Financial LP 10. April 2014 05:52

April 9, 2014

A quiet day for data in Canada today.  The StatsCan read on new home prices comes out tomorrow.

In the U.S., the wholesale trade number rose in February.  It climbed 0.7%, coming in just short of the 1.0% increase expected.  Wholesale inventories were up 0.5% for the month, in line with forecasts.

Market watchers will also be keeping an eye on today's release of the minutes of the March meeting of the U.S. Fed's FOMC.  That was the first one chaired by Janet Yellen.  As usual, observers will be looking for clues about the Fed's interest rate plans.

North American markets all started the day higher.

Bond yields are flat to -1 bps.


by First National Financial LP 9. April 2014 05:52

April 8, 2014

Canadian housing numbers lead the data parade today.  Housing starts dropped more than expected in March, falling by more than 36,000 units to an annualized rate of about 154,000.  

The value of building permits issued in Canada dropped 11.6% in February, a sharp reversal from the 8% increase in January.  The decline was nearly three times greater that forecasts but it may come as relief for policy makers.  

Permits for condos and apartments plunged more than 31%.  Unrelenting multi-unit construction has been driving concerns about overbuilding in major markets. The value of permits issued in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal is down an average of 20%.  On a year-over-year basis the value of permits is up 3.8%.

Generally the numbers are taken to mean the Canadian housing market is stabalizing.

North American markets were mixed in early trading. The Nasdaq was up while the rest were down.

Bond yields are up 1 bps.


by First National Financial LP 8. April 2014 07:19