US futures and European stocks are generally going nowhere right now.
But it was a monster session in Japan.
The Nikkei gained over 3%, bringing its annual market losses for the year to just around 8% (very recently it had been 14%).
The market was helped by what SocGen’s Kit Juckes calls a mini-ease:
The yen remains the centre of attention in FX. The BOJ, as expected, made no change to the speed at which it buys assets, or to rates, but it did double the size of two existing lending facilities. It was just a minor tweak aimed at boosting credit demand and supply, but enough to send a message to the market that they are willing to ease further. The Nikkei has reacted positively and the yen is weaker. While USD/JPY remains in this year’s range, a break above 103 would break the downtrend of recent weeks and probably suck in yen sellers. Those yen bears on the sidelines looking for USD/JPY under 100 before buying will start to get edgy.
The main datapoint coming out in the US today is the February Empire Fed manufacturing report, which will be closely watched.
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