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WALL STREET ENDING A FIVE-WEEK WINNING STREAK

The major averages staged an afternoon rally along with commodity prices amid light trading volume. On the data front, initial jobless claims rose to 265,000 from a revised prior reading of 259,000. Durable goods orders fell 2.8% in February after gaining 4.2% in January. Another report showed activity in the service sector expanded to 51.0 in March from 49.7 last month. In Fed news, St. Louis President James Bullard reiterated his comments that the central bank could hike rates in the near term if economic data continues to trend in the right direction.

The Financial and Industrials sectors lagged on Thursday while Telecom and Energy stocks outperformed. In earnings, KB Home climbed 6.3% to $13.93 after beating expectations on the top and bottom line. Accenture gained 6.2% to $114.30 as the company exceeded consensus profit projections and raised full-year guidance.

While the S&P 500 edged down 0.77 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,035.94, the Dow crept up 13.14 points or 0.1 percent to 17,515.73 and the Nasdaq inched up 4.64 points or 0.1 percent to 4,773.50.

For the holiday-shortened week, the major averages all moved moderately lower, ending a five-week winning streak. The S&P 500 slid by 0.7 percent, while the Dow and the Nasdaq both fell by 0.5 percent.

In Europe CAC 40 plunged by 2.1 percent,  DAX  30 and FTSE 100 tumbled by 1.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

On the Forex market the U.S dollar eked out a modest rise for its fifth straight day of gains, the longest in almost a year. Although it came off highs in late trading after weak U.S. economic data. The dollar index was up 0.10 percent to 96.138. Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.41 percent to 112.81 yen. The euro lost 0.07 percent to $1.1175.

In commodities  WTI crude fell 0.4 percent to $39.60 a barrel, which was well above its low for the day. Brent  settled down slightly, off 0.07 percent at $40.44, after an earlier drop to $39.22. Gold futures slid 0.5 percent  to $1218.10 an ounce.
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RISK RECOVERY MORE IMPORTANT THAN DATA FOR USD

Fed Presidents Lacker and Lockhart speak today and may emphasize the possibility that policy could be tightened in June, even as these comments could be balanced by the more dovish Presidents Evans and Harker on Tuesday. On the data front, the February existing home sales report on Monday is expected to show a retracement after the rather strong levels recorded for January. Similarly, durables goods orders, which were quite strong in January (even after downward revisions in the factory orders report) are likely to show some retracement in Thursday’s February release. Our forecast for ex transport orders to contract by 0.4% would leave the 3m pace of core orders running at a 0.2% monthly pace. Data remains generally consistent with policy tightening continuing, a point St. Louis Fed President Bullard made in post-FOMC comments on Friday, leaving fluctuations in financial conditions the main driver of Fed tightening expectations, US front-end rates, and the USD itself.
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BOE: BANK OF ENGLAND KEEPS BANK RATE, QE UNCHANGED, VOTE UNANIMOUS

– MPC Votes 9-0 for unchanged rates, QE; no dissenting views either side

– MPC still sees next move in rates “more likely than not” higher

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The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to keep Bank Rate and the QE stock unchanged at 0.5% and stg 375bn respectively at its March meeting. In the minutes, released alongside the policy decision, the MPC highlighted uncertainty surrounding the forthcoming EU referendum as a main driver of the recent sterling depreciation, adding spending and investment may be postponed due to the vote uncertainty, leading to a fall in aggregate growth over the next few months. That said, the MPC expect the domestic outlook to be little changed from projections made in the February Inflation Report. Again, the MPC’s best collective judgement was that rates were more likely than not to rise over the f’cast period to hit inflation target.
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