Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly up in overnight trading, with Nikkei rising 1.1 per cent, after the lower house of parliament approved Haruhiko Kuroda for the Bank of Japan governor position. Europe is rallying and U.S. stock markets have opened modestly higher.
- Initial jobless claims fell to 332K, with the four-week average falling to a five-year low. Producer prices were up 0.7 per cent, almost in line with expectations of a 0.6 per cent rise.
- In its latest monetary policy announcement, The Swiss National Bank said it would take whatever means necessary to keep the Swiss franc in the 1.20 per euro range. It also expects inflation to fall 0.2 per cent this year.
- Australian companies created 71,500 jobs in February, beating forecasts for 10,000 jobs. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.4 per cent. This was the biggest gain in payrolls since July 2000. Now check out Morgan Stanley’s presentation on how the U.S. economy will take off >
- Apple’s head of marketing, Phil Schiller, attacked Google’s Android operating system, calling it “fragmented”, in an interview with The WSJ. He said four times as many Android users have switched to iPhones. This comes as Samsung prepares to release its new Galaxy S4 phone today.
- Blackberry has received a record one million “single-purchase order” for the Blackberry 10 smartphone, though the company didn’t reveal who made the order. The smartphone will begin sales in the U.S. this month.
- China has announced its top leadership positions. Xi Jinping who was named general secretary of the Communist Party in November, was elected president of China. Li Yuanchao was elected vice president and Zhang Dejiang was elected chairman of the Politburo Standing Committee. 29 crazy things that only happen in China >
- Greek unemployment hit an all-time high of 26 per cent at the end of 2012, up from 20.7 per cent the previous year. Youth unemployment was up to 57.8 per cent.
- The Indian wholesale price index was up 6.84 per cent year-over-year in February, compared with 6.62 per cent the previous month. As core inflation cools, analysts say the Indian central bank has room to cut interest rates next week.
- European leaders are meeting in Brussels today as the two-day European Summit begins. Officials will be meeting to discuss the impact of austerity.
- Bonus – Katy Perry had been hoping to list her Hollywood Hills home for $8 million but might be forced to list it lower according to TMZ. She will reportedly sell it right away if she is guaranteed the upper end of the $6 million range.
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