Important economic data will be reported next week. Japan reports the results of its latest Tankan survey and the household spending (following today’s report of disappointing retail sales).The EMU’s March inflation report and February retail sales are on tap. The US jobs and auto sales for March will be released.  

It is also the start of the next phase in Italian politics, which since the election in early March has not been much of a market factor. Indeed, the Italian equity market is the best performing within the G7 this month, losing a little less than 1%. Italian bank shares have declined by 3.9% this month.  They fell by nearly 1.6% in February. However, it seems to be simply paring the out-sized 13.3% rise in January.  

The 10-year bond yield has fallen 15 bp this month, matching the decline in German bunds, though trailing behind the 35 bp decline in Spain. At the two-year tenor, the Italian yield has fallen 12 bp, edging out Spain and twice the decline that Germany experienced.  

In the middle of next week, Italy’s President Mattarella will begin consulting with party leaders to see if a majority government can be formed. There are four key players here. The center-left PD, who’s leader, Renzi, insisted that it goes into opposition have a horrific showing in the polls before resigning. The center-right accounts for two of the players Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and the Northern League (Salvini). The Northern League edged out Forza Italia by four percentage points and so its ostensibly the senior party in the coalition. The Five Star Movement (M5S) won a plurality of votes, but not a majority.  

There are a few more wrinkles in the plot. First, due to a tax fraud conviction, Berlusconi cannot serve hold office until 2019. Second, Berlusconi had campaigned only force that could stop the populist M5S. This further strains ties between the two camps. Third, Salvini of the Northern League has stuck with Berlusconi and is resisting M5S from pulling them apart. Fourth, Berlusconi and Salvini are opposed to the head of the M5S, Di Maio, from becoming the next premier, which he seems to believe he is entitled to as the head of the party with the most votes.  

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