US stock markets continue to consolidate below the levels of historical highs and finished yesterday's trading session around the previous close levels. Positive corporate reports could not neutralize the investors' concerns about a possible correction. Labor market statistics disappointed traders. Thus, the number of initial claims for unemployment benefits in the US rose to 294 thousand, which is 10 thousand more than analysts' forecasts. At the same time, the number of housing starts in March totaled 0.93 million vs. expected 1.05 million. Today the dynamics of trading will depend on the data on the Consumer Price Index (12:30 GMT) and the index of consumer confidence in the US (14:00 GMT). Our medium-term outlook remains positive, but in the near future we may see a downward correction.
The main European stock indexes continue to decline despite the positive effect on the program of quantitative easing and improving macroeconomic statistics. The reason for the negative sentiment is Greece. The country continues to negotiate on debt restructuring with creditors, but at the moment we do not see progress in this issue. In addition, the rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece's credit rating from B- to CCC + with a negative outlook. Today was published statistics according to which the consumer price index in the euro area in March showed a negative value of -0.1%, in line with analysts' forecasts. Our medium-term outlook for markets in the region remains positive, but the Greek debt crisis could lead to a sharp fall in the markets.
Most markets in the Asia-Pacific region showed a strong decline amid deteriorating investor sentiment, which is caused by weak data on the labor market and fears of a Greek default. The exception is the Shanghai market which for the sixth week in a row shows growth on expectations of additional stimulus from the government of China. Positive for Japanese investors became the data on the growth index of consumer confidence in Japan by 1.0, to 41.7. We maintain a positive medium-term outlook for the markets of the region, but in the near future we can see the continuation of the correction.