Jun E-mini S&Ps (ESM17 -0.08%) this morning are down -0.10% at a 3-week low as lingering geopolitical concerns boost market uncertainty as the VIX volatility index climbed to a 5-month high. U.S. Vice President Pence visited South Korea over the weekend and urged China to act against North Korea after North Korea’s failed test of a ballistic missile. Pence reiterated that “either China will deal with this problem of the United States and its allies will.” The heightened geopolitical concerns boosted the safe-haven demand for precious metals as Jun COMEX gold (GCM17 +0.19%) rose +0.26% to a 5-1/4 month high. European markets are closed today for Easter Monday, while upbeat economic data from China limited losses in U.S. stock futures. Asian stocks settled mixed: Japan +0.11%, Hong Kong and Australia closed for holiday, China -0.74%, Taiwan -0.17%, Singapore -0.98%, South Korea +0.28%, India -0.16%. China’s Shanghai Composite fell to 2-week low on ramped up concerns over North Korea despite stronger-than-expected Chinese economic data. China Q1 GDP grew at a better-than expected +6.9% y/y pace, and China Mar industrial production climbed +7.6% y/y, the fastest pace of growth in 2-1/4 years.

The dollar index (DXY00 -0.23%) is down -0.22%. EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is up +0.14%. USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is down -0.31% at a 5-month low as geopolitical concerns boost the safe-haven demand for the yen.

Jun 10-year T-note prices (ZNM17 +0.14%) are up +6 ticks at a 5-month nearest-futures high as weal stocks and geopolitical concerns boost the safe-haven demand for government debt.

China Q1 GDP grew at a +6.9% y/y pace, stronger than expectations of +6.8% y/y and the fastest pace of growth since Q3 of 2015.

China Mar industrial production rose +7.6% y/y, stronger than expectations of +6.3% y/y and the fastest pace of growth in 2-1/4 years.


Key U.S. news today includes: (1) Apr Empire manufacturing index (expected -1.4 to 15.0, Mar -2.3 to 16.4), (2) Apr NAHB housing market index (expected -1 to 70, Mar +6 to 71), (3) USDA weekly grain export inspections.

Notable Russell 1000 earnings reports today include: M&T Bank (consensus $ 1.93), JB Hunt Transport (0.85), Alere (0.53), Brown & Brown (0.42), Equity LifeStyle Properties (0.98), United Continental (0.38), Celanese Corp (1.73), Netflix (0.37).

U.S. IPO’s scheduled to price today: none.

Equity conferences: none.


Eli Lilly (LLY -0.43%) dropped 5% in pre-market trading after it was downgraded to ‘Underperform’ from ‘Market Perform’ at BMO Capital Markets.

JB Hunt Transport Services (JBHT -1.13%) reported Q1 EPS of 92 cents, better than consensus of 85 cents.

US Foods Holding Corp (USFD -0.73%) reported preliminary Q1 sales of $ 5.8 billion, stronger than consensus of $ 5.63 billion.

McDonald’s (MCD -0.38%) was upgraded to ‘Outperform’ from ‘Market Perform’ at Wells Fargo.

Knight Transportation (KNX -1.12%) was upgraded to ‘Outperform’ from “Neutral’ at Baird with a price target of $ 36.

Valmont Industries (VMI -1.12%) was upgrade to ‘Buy’ from ‘Hold’ at Stifel with a price target of $ 167.

Patrick Industries (PATK -1.47%) was initiated with a ‘Buy’ at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch with a price target of $ 80.

Sabre Corp (SABR -1.08%) rallied 5% in after-hours trading after it was announced that it will replace B/E/ Aerospace in the S&P MidCap 400 at the open of trading on Wednesday, April 19.

Ichor Holdings Ltd (ICHR -4.88%) filed to sell $ 100 million or ordinary shares for holders.

ViewRay (VRAY +3.80%) rose 2% in after-hours trading after it said it got 2 new orders for MRIdian Linac Systems totaling $ 12.3 million in Q1, versus 2 orders totaling $ 11.2 million y/y.


Jun E-mini S&Ps (ESM17 -0.08%) this morning are down -2.25 points (-0.10%) at a 3-week low. Thursday’s closes: S&P 500 -0.68%, Dow Jones -0.67%, Nasdaq -0.44%. The S&P 500 on Thursday fell to a 2-1/2 week low and closed lower due to ongoing geopolitical concerns about Syria, North Korea and the French presidential election that has increased market uncertainty and pushed the VIX volatility index to a 5-month high. The main positive factor was the unexpected increase in the U.S. Apr University of Michigan consumer sentiment by +1.1 to 98.0, stronger than expectations of -0.4 to 96.5.

Jun 10-year T-notes (ZNM17 +0.14%) this morning are up +6 ticks at a 5-month nearest-futures high. Thursday’s closes: TYM7 +19.50, FVM7 +11.25. Jun 10-year T-notes on Thursday rallied to a 4-3/4 month nearest-futures high and closed higher on safe-haven demand tied to weakness in stocks and geopolitical risks in Syria and North Korea.

The dollar index (DXY00 -0.23%) this morning is down -0.22 (-0.22%). EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is up +0.0015 (+0.14%) and USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is down -0.34 (-0.31%) at a 5-month low. Thursday’s closes: Dollar index -0.22 (-0.22%), EUR/USD -0.0052 (-0.49%), USD/JPY +0.06 (+0.06%). The dollar index on Thursday sold off to a 2-week low and closed lower on negative carry-over from Wednesday afternoon’s comments from President Trump who jawboned the dollar lower when he said that he would prefer the Fed keep interest rates low and that the dollar “is getting too strong.” The dollar was also undercut by the fall in the 10-year T-note yield to a 4-3/4 month low, which reduces the dollar’s interest rate differentials.

May WTI crude oil prices (CLK17 -0.83%) this morning are down -44 cents (-0.83%) and May gasoline (RBK17 -0.86%) is -0.0166 (-0.96%). Thursday’s closes: May crude -0.20 (-0.38%), May gasoline -0.0068 (-0.39%). May crude oil and gasoline on Thursday closed lower on the IEA’s cut in its global oil demand forecast for this year by 100,000 bpd to 1.3 million bpd from 1.4 million bpd, citing weaker OECD consumption and economic activity in India and Russia that is “slowing abruptly.”

Monday, Apr 17
US0830 ETApr Empire manufacturing survey general business conditions expected -1.4 to 15.0, Mar -2.3 to 16.4.
1000 ETApr NAHB housing market index expected -1 to 70, Mar +6 to 71.
1100 ETUSDA weekly grain export inspections.
Tuesday, Apr 18
US0830 ETMar housing starts expected -3.0% to 1.250 million, Feb +3.0% to 1.288 million. Mar building permits expected +2.8% to 1.250 million, Feb -6.0% to 1.216 million.
0900 ETKansas City Fed President Esther George (non-voter) speaks at a conference at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.
0915 ETMar industrial production expected +0.4%, Feb unch. Mar manufacturing production expected +0.1%, Feb +0.5%. Mar capacity utilization expected +0.2 to 76.1%, Feb unch at 75.9%.
U.S. STOCK CALENDAR 04/17/2017
CompanyTickerTimeEvent DescriptionPeriodEstimate
M&T Bank CorpMTB USBef-mktQ1 2017 Earnings ReleaseQ1 171.931
JB Hunt Transport Services IncJBHT USBef-mktQ1 2017 Earnings ReleaseQ1 170.85
M&T Bank CorpMTB US11:00Q1 2017 Earnings CallQ1 17
Alere IncALR USQ4 2016 Earnings ReleaseQ4 160.528
Brown & Brown IncBRO USAft-mktQ1 2017 Earnings ReleaseQ1 170.423
Equity LifeStyle Properties IncELS USAft-mktQ1 2017 Earnings ReleaseQ1 170.984
United Continental Holdings IncUAL USAft-mktQ1 2017 Earnings ReleaseQ1 170.378
Celanese CorpCE USAft-mktQ1 2017 Earnings ReleaseQ1 171.725
Netflix IncNFLX US16:05Q1 2017 Earnings ReleaseQ1 170.372
Netflix IncNFLX US17:00Q1 2017 Earnings CallQ1 17
HP IncHPQ US17:00Annual General Meeting