Stock markets around the world have kicked off March with rallies, led by a 4.2% surge for the Hang Seng, along with a 1.0% gain for Shanghai, advances which were sparked by stronger than expected PMI reports out of China. Chinese Non-Manufacturing PMI popped back up above 50 into expansion territory (51.6 vs street 50.2 and previous 49.2), while Chinese Manufacturing PMI also beat expectations. Manufacturing reports from Japan, Australia, and Europe also have generally been coming in better than expected, helping to drive gains in other markets, including rises of 0.5% for the Dax and 0.9% for the FTSE.
Shrugging off a soft finish to February, which saw major US indices slip 0.1%-0.7% on Tuesday. US ISM Manufacturing PMI (street 48.0 vs previous 47.4) is due at 10:00 am EST, with investors looking for the national number to offset yesterday’s soft Chicago PMI report. The New Orders and Prices Paid components may also attract scrutiny from traders. US Construction Spending (street +0.2% vs previous -0.4%) is due at the same time. Canadian Manufacturing PMI (street 50.1) is scheduled for 9:30 am EST.
Earnings reports on both sides of the border are mixed once again. Canadian bank earnings continue to roll out with Royal Bank ($3.06 vs street $2.96), and National Bank ($2.57 vs street $2.39) both beating expectations, but raising credit loss provisions. In the US today, Lowes beat on earnings ($2.28 vs street $2.21), but sales and sales guidance were soft. Notable misses today stateside included fashion retailer Kohls (-$2.49 vs street +$0.98, down 7.6% premarket), and AMC Entertainment (-$0.26 vs street -$0.21, down 4.7% premarket).