Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.34%. Major European indices are all higher this morning, and U.S. has opened up big. Now, here are the 10 unusual stocks attracting huge interest this morning >
- Initial jobless claims data dropped to 368K. Read analysis here >
- Chinese services PMI cooled in February, down from 54.6 to 51.9. While it still indicates expansion, it does show that China’s efforts to control growth are having some effect. Check out what China will look like in 2015 >
- Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who was appointed by former President Mubarak, has resigned. His move comes as protesters returned to the streets. He’s been replaced by a former transport minister. Check out the 11 countries that could be the next Egypt >
- Libyan President Qaddafi has continued to government’s assault on rebel forces in Brega, and other Libyan cities today. Crude oil futures in both the U.S. and Europe are lower this morning. Don’t miss: The satellite photos that set off protests in Bahrain >
- The ECB held its key interest rate steady. ECB President Trichet suggested a rate hike could be coming next month.
- A new poll from WSJ/NBC shows that only 25% of Americans would be willing to cut Social Security and Medicare to deal with the deficit. Members of the Tea Party movement were also opposed to such cuts. Here’s your short course on why the U.S. is screwed >
- Buyers are lining up to bid Citigroup’s consumer finance division, valued at $2 billion. The bidders include Santander and BlackRock.
- The ISM non-manufacturing index is released at 10:00 AM ET. It is expected to decline slightly to 59. Follow the release at Money Game >
- Food prices rose to yet another record high in February, up 2.2% month-over-month, according to the UN. Prices may yet go higher as a result of rising fuel costs, according to the UN. Check out the 25 governments that could be crushed by food price inflation >
- Bonus: Beyonce says she’s donated the money she received from Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi for a performance to Haiti “over a year ago.”