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Appears Fundamentals Bullish on Balance


Major stock index futures are higher.

Durable goods orders in February were up 1.4% when a gain of 1.3% was expected.

The 9:00 central time January consumer confidence index is anticipated to be 106.7.

The March Richmond Federal Reserve manufacturing index will be released at 9:00. In February the index was -5.0.

On Friday traders will be scrutinizing comments from Federal Reserve Chair Powell for further clues on the central bank’s next policy steps.

The fundamentals are mostly bullish, while the technicals remain supportive to stock index futures.


The U.S. dollar index is lower, although there was some support from the slightly stronger than predicted durable goods orders report.

German consumer sentiment is expected to stay on its path of a slow recovery in April. The consumer sentiment index published jointly by GfK and the Nuremberg Institute for Market Decisions increased slightly heading into April to -27.4 from a revised -28.8 in March, and surpassing a forecast of -27.8.

The Japanese yen steadied near 151.4 per U.S. dollar, after the currency’s weakness prompted verbal intervention from monetary authorities. Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said  he would not rule out any measures to rein in weakness in the yen. Yesterday the country’s top currency diplomat Masato Kanda said the yen’s weakness did not reflect fundamentals and described recent moves as speculative. He added he is closely watching currency moves with a sense of urgency and warned that he stands ready to respond appropriately.

Australian consumer sentiment weakened in March.

The Westpac Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index declined 1.8% in March to 84.4 points, which compares to an increase of 6.2% in the prior month.


Federal Reserve Governor Lisa Cook recently said the Fed needs to proceed carefully as it decides when to begin cutting interest rates. On Friday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said he expects only a single quarter-point interest rate cut instead of the two he had projected previously.

The Treasury will auction five-year notes today.

Financial futures markets are predicting there is an 8.0% probability that the Federal Open Market Committee will lower its fed funds rate by 25 basis points at the May 1 policy meeting, and there is a 92.0% chance that the Fed will keep rates unchanged.


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