China/Europe/US weather

On continued concerns with slowing growth, the Shanghai index fell to the lowest level since mid Feb and European stock markets are down across the board. The Spanish 10 yr bond yield is higher for a 10th straight day to 5.52%, an 11 week high. Also, 5 yr CDS is up for a 4th day to 440bps, the highest since early Jan. Italy’s 10 yr yield is up by another 8 bps to a 3 1/2 week high. French business confidence in March did rise by 3 pts to 96, back to the level seen in Nov. In the US, Feb New Home Sales are expected to rise to 325k annualized, a still historically awful number but it would be the best since Dec ’10 in part helped out by better weather where not being snowed in helps both the mood and logistics of one’s life. The $64k question for the US economy is determining what’s been real and what’s been due to unusual weather in terms of generating economic activity over the past few months. In Darden’s earnings release today the CEO said with regards to “strong sales growth across all of our brands,” that “while favorable weather certainly helped, each had excellent or improving underlying business strength.”

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