• US stock market, economy and companies update (September 23, 2015)

    Asian markets closed deep in the red today after the prelim September Caixin China manufacturing PMI fell to the lowest level since the financial crisis and missed forecasts. US futures were down sharply on the news, however some better data out in the European session sent stocks higher and returned US futures to the green. Shares have been volatile in US cash trading, and as of writing the DJIA is down 0.47%, while the S&P500 and Nasdaq are flat.

    The September Markit manufacturing PMI data was not terribly encouraging, with the 53.0 headline reading unchanged at a 22-month low, but still in expansion territory. Markit noted that US manufacturing remained stuck at a crawling pace, fighting an uphill battle against the stronger dollar, slumping demand in many export markets and reduced capital spending, especially by the energy sector.

    The euro was volatile heading into ECB President Draghi's speech in Brussels this morning. After two weeks of strengthening, EUR/USD had tumbled from Friday's highs around 1.1450 to 1.1105 last night. Over the last 12 hours, the pair has been volatile, bouncing around in the 1.1100 handle as FX traders debate the possibility the ECB might drop some hints about the possible expansion of the QE program after the brutal August CPI and September consumer confidence data. ECB governors Nowotny, Praet and Jazbec were out with remarks in the hours ahead of the speech downplaying speculation that any QE expansion was imminent. Draghi said that if downward risks weaken inflation over the medium term more than projected, ECB would act to adjust the size, composition and duration of QE, but that time was not at hand. EUR/USD is about flat on the day, at 1.1140 as of writing.

    Shares of Volkswagen have bottomed out and seen gains in today's European sessions, with US-traded ADRs up 6.5% this morning. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn confirmed that he would step down chief, claiming he was unaware of the emissions cheating at his firm. No successor was named in Winterkorn's release, although Porsche CEO Matthias Mller has been mentioned as a possible replacement. In other news, there were reports that VW has hired the same legal team that helped BP handle the Macondo oil spill.

    For the past three sessions, WTI crude has tested toward $45 but failed to hold the level or move lower. Both the private API and DoE weekly inventory reports showed big surprise drawdowns in crude stocks, helping WTI test the upper end of its recent range, around $47, but this level has been as elusive as $45.

    Looking Ahead
    - 12:30 (US) Fed's Lockhart (moderate, FOMC voter) speaks in Georgia
    - 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell 2-Year Floating Rate Notes
    - 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $35B in new 5-Year Notes
    - 18:45 (NZ) New Zealand Aug Trade Balance (NZD): -0.9Be v -0.7B prior
    - 21:35 (JP) Japan Sept Preliminary PMI Manufacturing: 51.2e v 51.7 prior

    Economic Data
    - (CA) Canada July Retail Sales M/M: 0.5% v 0.7%e; Retail Sales Ex Auto M/M: 0.5% v 0.5%e
    - (ZA) South Africa Central Bank (SARB) leaves Interest Rates unchanged at 6.00%, as expected
    - (MX) Mexico July Retail Sales M/M: 0.5% v 0.3%e
    - (BR) Brazil Aug Current Account Balance: -$ v -$3.2Be; Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): $ v $3.5Be
    - (US) Sept Preliminary Markit Manufacturing PMI: 53.0 v 52.8e
    - (US) DOE Crude: -1.93M v 0Me; Gasoline: +1.37M v +1.0Me; Distillate: -2.1M v +1.5Me

    [I]Contributed by Trade The News[/I]
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