Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were up in overnight trading with the Nikkei rising 0.96 per cent. Europe is sharply lower on eurozone PMI data and scepticism over the Greek deal, and U.S. futures are moderately lower.
- Eurozone composite PMI which measures manufacturing and services fell to 49.7 in February, from 50.4 the previous month. German PMI declined to 50.1 in February, down from 51 the previous month. French manufacturing PMI rose to 50.2 this month, from 48.5 in January. Now here are the 29 most bizarre economic indicators in the world >
- Chinese PMI came in at 49.7 in February according to a preliminary reading from HSBC Holdings Plc, compared with 48.8 the previous month. This however signaled a fourth straight month of contraction in manufacturing.
- Fitch cut Greece’s long-term ratings to C from CCC. The ratings agency said Greece is highly likely to default in the near-term. This comes after talks that default risk is not off the table, despite Athens securing its second bailout yesterday. UBS Answers: Who are the fittest countries in Europe >
- Wells Fargo is buying BNP Paribas’ North American energy lending unit. This includes $9.5 billion of loans from BNP, though only $3.9 billion of loans are drawn. Meanwhile, Citigroup is facing a multibillion dollar writedown on its investment in the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney brokerage, the WSJ reported.
- In earnings news, Toll Brothers reported Q1 net loss of $0.02 per share, on revenue of $322 million, missing expectations. Chesapeake Energy reported Q4 earnings of $0.63 per share, on revenue of $2.73 billion. HP is expected to report earnings of $0.87 per share today.
- President Obama will ask Congress to cut the corporate tax rate to 28 per cent, down from 35 per cent. Manufacturers would be given preference and would have a maximum effective rate of 25 per cent.
- Existing home sales jumped 4.3 per cent in January, but December numbers were revised down >
- Euro area industrial orders jumped 1.9 per cent month-over-month in December beating expectations. This comes after a 1.1 per cent decline the previous month. Orders of intermediate goods climbed 1.5 per cent, while capital goods orders rose 4.2 per cent.
- France’s harmonized index of consumer prices or HICP, rose 2.6 per cent from a year ago, staying near a three-year high in January. CPI however decreased 0.4 per cent month-over-month. Morgan Stanley: This is what the euro economy will do in 2012 and 2013 >
- BONUS – Drew Barrymore was spotted carrying a sonogram fueling speculation that she might be pregnant.