THE TAKEAWAY: USD U. of Michigan Confidence (MAY P) > 83.7 versus 77.9 expected, from 76.4 > USD Leading Indicators (APR) > +0.6% versus +0.2% expected, from -0.2% (revised lower from -0.1%) (m/m) > USDJPY BULLISH

On the back of improved spending data in April, US consumer confidence surged to its highest level since July 2007, when the gauge hit 90.4. The preliminary U. of Michigan Confidence for May improved to 83.7 from 76.4, easily eclipsing the expected print of 77.9. Nearly a 4 standard deviation beat on the median expectation, the report even beat the most bullish of economists’ forecasts, with the high expectation among sixty-eight surveyed came in at 82.5. Overall, the report is likely to continue the upswing in 2Q’13 US GDP expectations, as consumer confidence tends to be a leading indicator for consumption, the largest component of headline growth.

Shortly after the report, the swell in US data continued, with the Leading Indicators (APR) index improving by +0.6% m/m from -0.2% m/m, against the expected print of +0.2% m/m, according to a Bloomberg News survey. With various sectors of the US economy continuing to show signs of improvement – housing and labor – growth is expected to show continued improvement throughout 2013, although thanks to the payroll tax increase in January and the budget sequestration in March, fiscal policy remains a drag on the economy.

USDJPY 1-minute Chart: May 17, 2013

USDJPY_Breaks_103.00_After_Best_U_of_Mich_Confidence_Since_July_2007_body_x0000_i1027.png, USD/JPY Breaks ¥103.00 After Best U. of Mich Confidence Since July 2007

Charts Created using Marketscopeprepared by Christopher Vecchio

Following the reports, the USDJPY surged through the weekly highs and cracked ¥103.00 for the first time since October 2008. The pair surged from a low of 102.56 in the minutes before the first report to a high of 103.12 shortly after the second report was released. At the time this report was written, profit taking had ensued, and the USDJPY fell back to 102.95.

It is worth noting that retail traders remain aggressively long the Yen, with positioning thus suggesting that any strength seen in the Yen is worth fading. According to Quantitative Strategist David Rodriguez, “Our proprietary retail FX trader sample is at its most short EURJPY on record.

--- Written by Christopher Vecchio, Currency Analyst

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