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S&P 500/Dow pummelled; U.S. reporting season underway; Debt market activity to measure investor sentiment in Europe; REINZ reports record national median house price

S&P 500/Dow pummelled; U.S. reporting season underway; Debt market activity to measure investor sentiment in Europe; REINZ reports record national median house price

Here's our summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including some early good news as the first quarter reporting season gets underway in the U.S.; debt market activity this week in Europe; projected Consumer Price Index hikes; and a record national median house price recorded in March.

U.S. market analysts will undoubtedly be searching for some positive news this week as the corporate reporting season there steps up.

 About 86 companies in the S&P 500 are expected to post their first quarter results over the week. There has been brighter than expected news so far. Of the 32 companies reporting so far, 75% have beaten Wall Street expectations. (See Reuters story here for more).

Both the Dow Jones Industrial and the S&P 500 ended their worst two week percentage drops since November on Friday. The Dow and the S&P each fell 2.7 percent for the two weeks from the close on March 3.

European debt market activity in focus this week includes that in the safe haven that is Germany, and Spain likely to be a test of investor sentiment with the the dust of the European Central Bank cheap loan injections having settled some what. (See more here).

The International Monetary Fund, which holds its spring meeting at the end of this week in Washington DC, will be looking for further ways to stabilise the region.

Other key events later this week to watch for include the release of U.S. retail sales data and industrial production as well as the outcome of the first round of the French presidential election.

Closer to home, economists are predicting a 0.6% rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (to be released this Thursday) caused mainly by increases in petrol, rents and insurance as well as excise tax on cigarettes. (See Radio New Zealand business report here).

ASB economist Jane Turner says if the CPI contains weaker than expected inflation data it could delay any potential increases to the Official Cash Rate.

"Underlying inflation indicators have been very subdued and New Zealand's economic recovery is quite gradual, so the Reserve Bank is wary of weakness in inflation pressures and if anything a weaker result could see them push out the timing of OCR increases further."

Meanwhile, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand is reporting a record median house price recorded in the month of March of NZ$370,000. (See Gareth Vaughan's story here for details).

REINZ reports that 7,330 homes were sold last month, the highest number since November 2007.

Unsurprisingly, Auckland housing prices were well above average. The City of Sails hit a new record median price of NZ$495,000 in March. Canterbury home prices also saw a notable increase while the capital bucked the trend with a pullback.

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Actually I dont think PDK would "luv him", I certainly dont. In terms of Peak oil and AGW, its wasting raw materials for no benefit ie its mis-directed consumerism, so silicon valley ahs lots of hybrid users? well i odnt think they get it then.
Prius's are dodgy buys, cost twice as much and last probably 1/2 as long.....I have not looked at the TCO in terms of co2....but making a car costs a lot of co2, so if you need 2 x $45k priuses to one plain small toyota at $22k that suggests the co2 footprint could be way worse....over 20 years......I sohould spend the time this evening seeing if I can find any real numbers.
Americans  are not saving because of AGW, or depletion, they are saving because they are (for now) its quite likely there is no real change in how they think.....its just an empty wallet that is preventing them from do the same or greater damage.......just wait until the unrest starts.....$5USD a Gallon trigger point?
Also one big reason for having ever increasing petrol use and gas guzzlers is the way US roads are maintained....states income for road repairs declines as petrol use declines and they are already at or heading to insolvency....see "unrest"........

9 out of 10 people know that neither steven nor PDK has a sense of humour , .........
...... well , not as the rest of us 9 out of 10 understand humour to be ......

ah well.....bye bye economy anyway......

Gas costs $6.6 USD a gallon in NZ, and there is no unrest.  Why do you think the US will explode with unrest at $5 a gallon?

The glaciers of the Karakoram ranges in Pakistan are expanding !
....... it's global cooling we're experiencing  , not warming , ....
... we gotta reverse this trend NOW ...... start burning stuff , anything ...... darn , this laptop is harder than even I thought to ignite .......

Wouldn't want you to get your spirits up Gummy:
Not so bright in the U.K. these days - 50% of the country is in drought.

9 out of 10 people would think Peak Oil is unlikely to impact them in their lifetime and 9 out of 10 people would think global warming is a wind up!

Then 9 out of 10 people are below average, intellectual-wise.

So that means apart from you and I and sore-loser.....explains a lot.....

It's "intellect-wise"... 
Makes me want to agree with your statement  :-)

.... aha ha ha de haaaaaaaa  ...... good one !

uh huh.........for the former, yes I can agree, mostly because the majority of ppl have not heard of it and most the ones that have, we see that their minds lock up with fear when they do.....its like a memory blank space......"oh god my lifestyle is going to go to ........<blank>..... what the f*** was that? oh never mind I'll order another latte." scenario....
For AGW, I doubt it but certainly a high % dont want to know now they have lost their jobs or are struggling....
In both cases the facts are Peak oil is now past us (+ or - a few years) and AGW is real and a serious problem.....

"I’m really starting to think that we’re heading for a crackup of the whole system."
So Krugman finally starts to enunciate it....I wonder if its a recent dawning of realisation or some, many? months old......
And as for us,
"What happened to Spain was a housing bubble — fueled, to an important degree, by lending from German banks — that burst, taking the economy down with it. Now the country has 23.6 percent unemployment, 50.5 percent among the young."
So swap German for "Austrailian mate"  Maybe this is what is driving the Nat Govn to do nothing, fear....

Days to the General Election: 28
See Party Policies here. Party Lists here.