* Asian-Pacific stock markets fall as commodities slump Shares dropped Thursday on Asian-Pacific markets after a commodity sell-off unnerved investors. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.8%, Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.5% and South Korea's Kospi Composite tumbled 2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gave up 0.9%, China's Shanghai Composite slid 1.4% and New Zealand's NZX 50 lost 0.5%. Taiwan's Taiex added 0.2%. In afternoon trading, Singapore's Straits Times Index lost 1.4%, India's Sensex fell 1.2%, and Indonesian shares and Thailand's SET were down 0.9%. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (12 May.)
* Gasoline futures slide 8% as Americans cut back driving Gasoline futures ended a rally and dropped almost 8% after the U.S. government reported that people are driving less. The Energy Information Administration reported that demand for gasoline fell 2.4% last week. With gas at or close to $4 a gallon, demand has been declining for seven weeks, but last week's drop was the biggest. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (11 May.)
* Sovereign-debt crisis could drag down all of Europe, IMF says Debt problems in Portugal, Ireland and Greece run the risk of spreading to stronger economies in the eurozone and into Eastern Europe, the International Monetary Fund said. "Strong policy responses have successfully contained the sovereign debt and financial sector troubles in the euro area periphery so far, but contagion to the core euro area, and then onward to emerging Europe, remains a tangible downside risk," the IMF said in its semiannual report on the European economy. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (12 May.), iMarketNews.com (12 May.), Agenzia Giornalistica Italia (Italy) (12 May.)
*the markets are oversold in the short term and the PPT is trying their damnest to hold them up on the weekly (which looks out over the next three months). So proceed with caution. Those banks on the XLF MUST start moving upward or we will likely go back and test that 1325 on the S&P. If IWM breaks to the downside today then S&P may test the 1300. Happy trading!