The HSBC Brazil PMI improved to 50.2 in August from 49.1 in July, "consistent with a fractional improvement in business conditions."
HSBC's chief Brazil economist Andre Loes suggests the August gain may have been a rebound following the economic disruption caused by the World Cup. It's the first reading in expansion territory since March.
At issue as the euro (NYSEARCA:FXE) touches a one-year low and the yen (NYSEARCA:FXY) nears its weakest level of 2014 are expectations for the divergent paths of monetary policy. While the Fed is signaling a rise in interest rates by this point next year, the ECB is set to further ease policy this week and the BOJ isn't tightening any time soon.
Old news? CFTC data on futures positions show bearish bets against the euro have jumped to their highest level in more than two years, and those short the yen approaching peaks seen in 2013. Futures, of course, are a tiny slice of a vast foreign currency trading market.
Last night's 1.4% gain was led by military-related names amid speculation the government is set to boost defense spending after weekend comments from President Xi Jinping.
Over the weekend, China's HSBC PMI fell to a 3-month low of 50.2 in August, about inline with a preliminary read of 50.3. China's official PMI of 51.1 fell from July's 51.7 and came in vs. expectations of 51.2.
Japanese shares soared today, led by exporters and the yen slipping to a seven-month low against the dollar. Traders said a planned cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also supported sentiment.
The Nikkei hit a seven-month high, climbing 1.2% to 15,668.60. The Topix rose 1.1% to 1,297, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 1.1% to 11,763.89.
Luxottica (NYSE:LUX) founder Leonardo Del Vecchio is returning to lead the company as executive chairman following the exit of CEO Andrea Guerra. Sources say Guerra will be replaced by co-chief executives, one of whom will be CFO Enrico Cavatorta.
The most recent dispute between Del Vecchio and Guerra centered around the company's recent deal with Google to design, develop and distribute Google Glass.
Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) does not want to remain a shareholder of Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) once it finalizes its deal for Vivendi's (OTCPK:VIVHY) Brazilian wireline carrier GVT, says Chairman Cesar Alierta.
Telefonica has already taken steps to sell part of its 14.8% stake in Telecom Italia, which it owns through holding company Telco.
Despite its first bid at T-Mobile USA (NYSE:TMUS) being rebuffed, Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) says it is continuing to pursue a 56.6% stake of the mobile operator, and may now even partner with private equity funds to raise its offer.
Iliad previously offered a bid of $33/share, although T-Mobile USA called the offer "a very inadequate value proposition."
The Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.7 in August vs. 51.8 in July and against a preliminary estimate of 50.8. Looking at some individual countries, the PMI slipped to 51.4 from 52 in Germany - the lowest level in about a year; Spain continues growth at 52.8 (down from 53.9); Italy falls into contraction, at 49.8 from 51.9 in August.
"The slowdown in industry is likely to add further fuel to the fire for analysts expecting additional monetary or fiscal stimulus to be implemented," says Markit's Rob Dobson.