Overnight Chinese imports were released for March and the surprise was a big upside move, which for all of the exporting countries around the world is seen as a big positive surprise. If China is buying the world is selling, which is a good indicator that we are seeing some improvement our there. Asian markets were higher overnight on the news.
In Europe, markets are up about 1.5% mainly on the Asian news which in that region was very welcome.
US futures are trending higher by about a half a point but are a little subdued on the release of the Obama Fiscal 2014 budget ($4 Trillion, yes trillion!) and the minutes from the March 19th and 20th FOMC meeting. The budget while it is rumoured that it will reduce the deficit to less than $1 Trillion for the first time in his reign as President will not likely go anywhere when it comes to debate and passage by the congress. The FOMC minutes will be an interesting read as it will more information on how the members of the committee see the coming months and the verbiage will provide some insight into when they may start to reduce the stimulus to the US economy. Both of these issues today will likely keep the US markets trailing the rest of the world as both are seen as detractions to the recovering economy.
In Canada, the Agrium meeting was held yesterday and to many, the vote went 100% the way the company wanted it to. Of course the Jana Partners group was incensed at the vote and have suggested they will continue to pursue other options. The stock was weaker yesterday on the news as many hedge funds were squaring positions. Long term the company is sound and remains a solid investment in the Canadian agriculture space.
Gold is off a half a point to 1578, oil is also down by the same percentage to 94.02 and the loonie is up slightly to 98.52.
Kenneth A. Dick, BA, CIM, CFP, FCSI
Portfolio Manager & Branch Manager
Independent Wealth Management