U.S. equities are slightly firmer to start the week
U.S. equities are slightly firmer to start the week to extend their bull run into the teeth of another solid earnings season after damp inflation and retail sales data on Friday cooled expectations for the implied pace of Fed hikes down the road after Yellen underscored gradualism. NY Empire State sank to 9.8, well below 19.8 previously. The Dow is 5-points higher, S&P gained fractionally and NASDAQ is 3-points firmer in pre-open action, below earlier highs after the data miss. Asia markets were split overnight with Japan closed for Marine Day and China's Shanghai comp plunging 1.4% after Premier Xi pledged to crack down on high debt and tighten financial regulation, despite a solid Q2 GDP reading. In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 is flat and the UK FTSE 100 is 0.5% higher. WTI crude continued its July rebound as well, consolidating gains near $46.60 bbl, while the dollar index steadied near 95.20 after last week's declines with the tame policy outlook.