Northern,WI  3/19/2013 (BasicsMedia)  —  Cyprus President Anastasiades says that Parliament  believes the plan to tax bank deposits is unjust, no matter how the levy it is split amongst the depositors. The debate and vote session on this legislation is set to begin at 6pm Nicosia time, or 11:00am CDT; it will not pass, say many sources. Anastasiades says the Troika did not expect this reaction from Cyprus. The Finance Minister of Cyprus Sarris  is set to travel to Russia to meet with his counterpart Siluanov tomorrow; the EU plans to send some commissioners to Russia as well, but they are not sure who those representatives will be. It’s not clear they will all be talking about the same things with the Russians; there are a lot of hard feelings about this fiasco, including some calls for EU Economic Commissioner to resign.

Stocks were mixed in Asian trade. The Nikkei was among the best with a rise of two percent and Shanghai was up 0.8%, but Australia fell a half percent and the Hang Seng was down a slight fraction. European indexes are mostly lower this morning, with the Dax off a third of a percent and the Footsie down a slight fraction. US stock futures are up just a touch.

The Reserve Bank of Australia says the economy is responding to low interest rates, but they reiterated in the minutes from the most recent policy meeting that they have scope to cut rates again, if need be.  The February reading of Japan’s Nationwide Department Store Sales were up 0.3% on a year on year basis; sales were up 0.2% in January, making it the first time in almost a year that sales rose by this measure in back to back months.

The March reading of the Euro Zone’s ZEW Survey of Economic Sentiment is 33.4, down nine points from the month before.  The March reading of Germany’s ZEW Survey of Economic Sentiment was up three tenths from the month before to 48.5, it was expected to fall by one tenth; it is the best result in a couple of years. The Current Situation component was  up more than eight points on the month at 13.6.

The February reading of the UK Consumer Price Index was up 0.7% on the month, matching the forecast and +2.8% year on year, also as expected.  The weekly report on chain store sales from ICSC showed an increase of 1.4% on a week on week basis for the week ended March 16. The Johnson Redbook report on the same thing is due out at 7:55am CDT.

The February reading of Housing Starts is due out at 7:30am CDT. Starts are expected to be 915k units on an annualized basis, or up 2.8% from the month before. February Building Permits are forecast to be 925k units annualized, or up 2.3% on the month.  The Fed is scheduled to buy Treasuries today that are due to mature between 5/15/20 and 2/15/23; there results of the operation will be announced just after 10:00am CDT.   The FOMC begins their two day policy session today; but nothing about the meeting until tomorrow afternoon.

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