SCOREBOARD: Modest hopes

US stocks made some gains overnight, showing fears of slowing production remain overdone.

Leading indicators of manufacturing may have declined, with the Empire State manufacturing index being the latest one to show a sharp drop (the index fell to -5.85 in August from 7.39). Yet actual production is yet to show much weakness – stall speed weakness. So we found out overnight that industrial production put in a strong performance, rising 0.6 per cent month-on-month in July, which is three times the average, to be 4.4 per cent higher annually. Again, annual growth at 4.4 per cent is well above average (2.4 per cent). So far then we’ve learnt that US jobs are now rising at a faster pace they did prior to the GFC, US retail lending has picked up sharply and industrial production is strong and well above average – yep.

Over in Europe, stocks were lower with the Dax off 0.4 per cent, the CaC down 0.03 per cent and the FTSE off 0.5 per cent. Not much news here with everyone on holidays, although Spanish and Italian 10-year yields fell again – down about 6-8 bps apiece to 6.63 per cent and 5.68 per cent respectively. About the only crisis worthy news out concerned Greece. Greece as we know, wants more time to meet its reform program and the news last night is that it looks like they may get it. Germany’s foreign minister has backed calls for them to be given this time since the elections would have derailed things. Greek and German leaders meet in Berlin this Friday.

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