In housing news, the MBA mortgage applications index for the week ended 3/16 fell 1.1%, below the prior-week’s 0.9% gain. Meanwhile, new home sales for the same month came in at 618,000, below both the prior-month’s upwardly revised 622,000 figure and consensus estimates of 620,000. Germany’s business climate index for March fell to 114.7 from 115.4 in the prior month. This is slightly higher than the 114.6 forecasted according to the Ifo Institute. Fear of trade conflict stemming from recent developments in U.S. trade policy is a heavy influence. The unemployment rate in Japan ticked up to a seasonally adjusted 3.70% in February, increasing marginally from the 3.68% rate reported in January. The 3.70% rate matched economists’ expectations.
As March Madness continued with Loyola-Chicago’s improbably run into the Elite Eight, the new issuance market welcomed 20 deals (2 IPOs, 11 FOs, 1 BLK, and 6 CVT) to the market for $4.3B in combined proceeds.