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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly higher in overnight trading, with the Shanghai Composite up 1.25 per cent reaching a three-month high. Europe is moderately higher and U.S. stock market are modestly higher.
- The Greek parliament endorsed a bond swap for private debtholders late yesterday. The swap in which investors trade bonds for lower-value debt will be launched today, with the aim of shaving €107 billion off Greece’s debt burden.
- The German economy grew 1.5 per cent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, but contracted 0.2 per cent on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Investment levels, especially in construction were good, while private consumption and exports were weak. Now check out the hemline indicator and what it means for the economy >
- Citigroup exited a seven-year old investment in HDFC, India’s largest mortgage lender, selling its stake for $1.9 billion. Citi sold 145.3 million shares at a 6.2 per cent discount to HDFC’s closing price yesterday. This is part of Citi’s move to shore up its capital. Here are the nine monster mistakes that nearly broke the financial system in 2011 >
- In earnings news, retailer JC Penney is expected to announce earnings of $0.67 per share. Newmont Mining reported a net loss $1.03 billion in the fourth quarter, after a $1.61 billion writedown of its Hope Bay project in Canada. Meanwhile, AIG posted a monster $19.8 billion fourth quarter profit. But profits were boosted by a one-time accounting change. Now here are 19 stocks Citi thinks you should sell because the est of Wall Street is in love with them >
- Lloyds Banking Group reported a £3.5 billion pre-tax loss in 2011. This included a £3.2 billion provision for its payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal. Lloyds is 40 per cent owned by the British government.
- Consumer sentiment data for February will be released at 9:55 AM ET followed by new home sales for January at 10 AM ET. Expectations are for a rise in the sentiment index to 73, and a rise in new home sales to an annual rate of 315K. Follow the release at Money Game >
- Loads of economic data out of Europe, Spanish PPI rose 3.6 per cent year-over-year in January, slowing for a fourth month. Meanwhile, Italian retail sales fell 1.1 per cent month-over-month in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, and 3.7 per cent year-over-year. And French consumer confidence rose to 82 in February, from 81 the previous month. UBS Answers: Who are the fittest countries in Europe?
- The UK economy contracted 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter on a quarter-over-quarter basis, as companies cut down investment. Business investment fell 5.6 per cent declining the most since the first quarter of 2011.
- Higher funding costs caused Fitch to downgrade three Australian banks. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp. and National Australia Bank were all cut by one notch to AA- from AA. This comes after S&P downgraded Australian banks back in December.
- Bonus – Tyra Banks graduated Harvard Business School. She had enrolled in the Owner/President Management Program in 2010.