The week was filled with disappointing economic reports from the advanced figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims jumping up to 500k and the Philly Fed Survey showing negative growth. If the ISM Manufacturing PMI confirms the Philly Fed Survey we are looking at a contraction in the manufacturing sector as it appears the underlying economy is much weaker than expected and the idea of a V shaped recovery might be put to rest.

On Monday, an article appeared on Bloomberg where Yu Yongding, part of a foreign-policy advisory committee and former adviser to the People’s Bank of China, stated that China has been a buyer of European bonds. Japan’s Ministry of Finance also stated that China was a buyer of Japanese debt during the first half of 2010. The US Treasury announced that China’s holdings of US debt were cut by $100 billion from June of last year. There was no word if the cuts were sales or maturation of debt with the proceeds being reallocated to Japan and Europe. 1

HP’s drop also weighed on the Dow as traders and managers weighed the future of the company.

The VIX traded flat for the week and is pushing up against a resistance level around 27. A move above this level would signal a coming correction in the markets. The weekly charts have a bearish tilt with the possibility that the we may see a move up but this is a difficult chart to read and the VIX is often oversold here for long stretches of time.

North American markets acted accordingly with the S&P selling off after putting in a possible short-term top at 1100. The S&P 500 seems range bound between 1070 and 1100 after last weeks shock. The 50 day moving average is at 1089 and we seem so be yo-yoing around this area looking for a resolution.

Canadian markets showed a bit more strength closing above its 200 day moving average but traders are fearful of what weakness in the US would mean for its largest trading partner. The BHP offer for Potash has everyone excited over more large M&A transactions coming on the heels of the Kinross-Red Bank merger.

Over in Asia markets were mixed with Japan showing signs of a slowdown while Taiwan is steaming ahead. GDP from Taiwan grew 12.53% in the second quarter, beating estimates of 10.15%, and only slightly down from 13.71% during the first quarter.

Hong Kong government took further steps at tightening as they extended the 40% downpayment requirement to apartments costing HK$12 million in an attempt to stabilize price appreciation. The prefectures government is under pressure to cool the market as the Hong Kong Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar and the ZIRP policy in the US is causing a real estate boom. Mortgage rates in Hong Kong are as low as 70 basis points above the Hong Kong interbank offered rate (0.22%) or just under 1%.

The Baltic Dry Index has fallen by more than 50% during the June 1 to July 15th period signaling concerns that the global economy may be slowing down. One factor to consider is that China ended export tax subsidies in July which more than likely push a lot of export shipments into June.

Next week:

Monday: German Manufacturing PMI
Tuesday: Existing home sales in the US
Wednesday: Durable Goods in the US and Trade Balance in Japan
Friday: 2nd Quarter US GDP Estimate, U of Michigan Confidence, Household Spending in Japan
All Week: Speeches by Federal Reserve Governors