Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly higher in overnight trading but the Shanghai Composite fell 2.63 per cent after Premier Wen Jiabao’s comments on home prices. Europe is rallying nicely and U.S. futures are modestly higher.
- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao spoke after the end of the annual meeting of the National Peoples Congress. Jiabao said home prices were far from a reasonable level and warned that relaxing curbs could cause chaos in the market. He also called for more political reform.
- The Fed released the results of its stress tests ahead of schedule and 15 of 19 banks have adequate capital in a stress scenario. The 15 banks that cleared the tests were given the green light to return capital to shareholders. JPMorgan announced that it had cleared the tests ahead of time when it announced a dividend increase. Citigroup, Suntrust, Metlife and Ally however failed on some measures. Don’t Miss: The 22 richest bankers in the world >
- Eurozone industrial production climbed 0.2 per cent in January from the previous month, but was 1.2 per cent lower than a year ago. Meanwhile, eurozone CPI rose 2.7 per cent year-over-year in February, and was up 0.5 per cent from the previous month. Now here’s what will happen in Europe this year >
- February import and export prices will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Expectations are for export prices to increase 0.3 per cent month-over-month (mum) and import prices to gain 0.6 per cent mum. Follow the release at Money Game >
- Rick Santorum beat his two main rivals Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in the Alabama and Mississippi Republican primaries. Santorum secured 35.5 per cent of the vote in Alabama and 33 per cent in Mississippi.
- Indian wholesale prices rose 6.95 per cent year-over-year in February, rising for the first time in five months. India’s central bank is expected to announce its rate decision tomorrow. Morgan Stanley: This is what will happen in India in 2013 and 2013 >
- UK jobless claims climbed rose by 7,200 to 1.612 million in February from the previous month. Expectations were for 5,000 new claims. Meanwhile, unemployment stayed at 8.4 per cent.
- Bloomberg is reporting that China is easing restrictions on lending at three of its four biggest banks after new loans dropped to a four-year low. This comes after China’s exports, industrial production and retail sales slowed in the first two months. Jim Rogers explains what all the China bears are getting wrong >
- South Korea’s unemployment rate rose to 3.7 per cent in February, from 3.2 per cent the previous month. The jobless rate was at an 11-month high as new graduates entered the market. Without seasonal adjustment the unemployment rate was 4.2 per cent.
- Bonus – Jessica Biel said she isn’t afraid of fighting men on movies sets, but was anxious about fight scenes with co-star Kate Beckinsale in their upcoming movie Total Recall.