Asian markets advanced on Thursday, despite weak data from China. Factory output fell to a 3-year low, and inflation hit a 30-month low, but investors hoped the weakness would encourage additional stimulus efforts. The Shanghai Composite rose .6% to 2174, and the Hang Seng climbed 1% to 20269. The Nikkei rallied 1.1% to 8979, although Nikon shares tumbled 8% after cutting its annual earnings forecast. The Kospi jumped 2% to 1941, led by shipping companies, while the ASX 200 eased .1% to 4308.
European markets settled mostly higher. The CAC40 rose .5% to 3457, the FTSE inched up .1% to 5852, and the DAX ended flat.
US indexes traded in a narrow range and ended mixed. The Dow slipped 10 points to 14165, the Nasdaq gained .3% to 3019, and the S&P 500 rose fractionally to 1403.
Etrade shares rallied 6.9% after the company fired its CEO due to growth troubles.
Treasuries and Commodities
10-year notes eased 2/32 to yield 1.69%, and 30-year notes declined 4/32 to yield 2.76%. The Treasury auctioned $16 billion in 30-year notes, with a weak bid-to-cover ration of 2.41 and high yield of 2.825%.
Crude oil rose .4% to 93.69, gasoline climbed 1.1% to 3.0127, while natural gas slipped .4% to 2.92.
Gold gained .3% to 1617.10, while silver and copper both rose less than .1%.
Soybeans soared 3.2% to 1631.25, wheat advanced 1.5% to 913, and corn ticked up .9% to 823.75.
The Dollar traded mostly higher on Thursday. The Euro and Swiss Franc both declined .5% to 1.2299 and .9765 respectively. The Pound eased .1% to 1.5638, and the Yen declined .2% to 78.59. The Canadian Dollar gained .3% to .9915, and the Australian Dollar ticked up 8 pips to 1.0580.
Weekly unemployment claims improved by 6K to 361K, 10K better than forecast. The trade deficit fell to $42.9 billion from $48B, thanks to a drop in oil prices.
Friday’s reports will include import & export prices, the USDA crop report, and the Treasury budget.
Earnings are expected from Dry Ships, and JC Penney.