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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading with the Hang Seng down 0.78 per cent. Europe is moderately lower after EU slashed eurozone growth forecasts and U.S. stocks opened moderately lower.
- The EU now expects the 17-nation euro economy to experience a moderate recession and contract 0.3 per cent in 2012. Greece is expected to lead the decline, contracting 4.4 per cent. Portugal is expected to decline 3.3 per cent, Ireland is expected to grow 0.5 per cent, and Germany is expected to grow 0.6 per cent. UBS Answers: Who are the fittest countries in Europe?
- The Ifo Institute German business confidence index climbed to a seven-month high of 109.6 in February. This compares with a reading of 108.3 the previous month.
- Initial jobless claims ticked higher to 351K but beat expectations >
- In earnings news, Gap is expected to report Q4 earnings of $0.40 per share. Meanwhile, rare-earth miner Molycorp is expected to post Q4 earnings of $0.40 per share and MetroPCS is expected to announce earnings of $0.16. Now here are 20 stocks that Citi loves but the rest of Wall Street hates >
- In tech news, HP reported adjusted earnings of $0.92 per share, on revenue of $30 billion for the first quarter. Revenue for PCs fell 15 per cent year-over-year, but software revenue grew 30 per cent year-over-year. Meanwhile, CEO Meg Whitman hinted that HP could see more restructuring.
- Greek lawmakers are considering emergency legislation to approve a bond swap that could cut €107 billion off Greek debt. Meanwhile, the Greek parliament is expected to endorse the debt swap deal with private bondholders later today. Here’s who gets crushed if Greece defaults >
- Three major banks reported earnings today and all of them partially blamed Greece for their losses. Credit Agricole reported a net loss of €3.07 billion in the fourth quarter. RBS reported a net loss of £2 billion, booking a £1.1 billion writedown on its Greek debt. Finally, Commerzbank took a €700 million hit on its Greek sovereign debt holdings.
- Italian consumer confidence climbed to 94.2 in February, from a revised 91.8 the previous month. Confidence picked up after easing of the European debt crisis boosted household sentiment and the employment outlook. Check out the 29 most bizarre economic indicators in the world >
- Hong Kong’s trade deficit fell to HK$8.9 billion in January, from HK$48.9 the previous month. Exports fell 8.6 per cent year-over-year in January and imports fell 10.5 per cent for the same period. Now here are the 10 countries that will command world trade in 2050 >
- Bonus – Jennifer Aniston received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.