We notched modest gains for equities yesterday and we’re mixed in the early going today.

Gold and silver are lower, while crude oil is higher. Treasuries and the dollar are flat.

On the news front:

If it makes you feel any better, inflation stinks in foreign economies, too. Both France and Spain reported higher-than-expected consumer price jumps today, with the French gain of 7.2% year-over-year the highest since the euro currency was introduced in 1999.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is likely to hike interest rates by another 50 basis points at its March 16 meeting. That would push the benchmark rate in Europe to 3%.

Target (TGT) said the retail environment remains “very challenging,” though quarterly sales and profits topped forecasts. Other retailers like Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) have also warned of tougher operating conditions.

Meanwhile, market sentiment is turning decidedly bearish, according to Citigroup’s strategy team. The firm said almost $3 billion in “short” bets were added in S&P 500 futures in the most recent week. Investors tripled their bearish trades on the Euro Stoxx 50.

These kinds of developments CAN be bullish...IF we can get a bullish catalyst that catches those traders “offsides.” Time will tell if the news cooperates.