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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets largely sold off in overnight trading, with Japan’s Nikkei off 0.6 per cent. European shares are rallying higher, a day after some markets fell more than three per cent, and U.S. futures point to a positive open.
- German factory orders unexpectedly declined 2.7 per cent in January, against forecasts for a 0.6 per cent rise. That follows a December gain of 1.6 per cent, Germany’s Economy Ministry said. The drop was largely attributed to a sharp decline in foreign demand.
- Spanish industrial production fell slightly less than expected in January, the country’s statistics office said. Output declined 4.2 per cent, greater than the 3.5 per cent drop in December. Partly leading the fall out was an 8.0 per cent decline in durable consumer goods output.
- U.K. shop price inflation fell to its lowest rate in almost two years, new data out of the British Retail Consortium shows. Prices increased 1.2 per cent compared to year-ago levels, while non-food prices declined 0.7 per cent.
- Societe Generale, Assicurazioni Generali SpA, and UniCredit Spa joined the list of financial institutions that will participate in a bond swap that is crucial to the implementation of Greece’s second bailout. So far, major banks comprising the steering committee of the Institute of International Finance will take part in the swap, however headlines yesterday indicated that four Greek pension funds would join a group of hedge funds holding out from the deal. Click here to see how everything changed when Greece joined the Euro >
- Australian GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in the final three months of 2011, well below economist estimates which forecast a 0.8 per cent expansion. The country’s tourism sector contracted by 2.2 per cent during the period, weighing on overall results. Is it time to ring the bell on the Australian recession?
- Mitt Romney took six states last night and 211 delegates, as Republicans in 11 states went to the polls to vote for their presidential nominee. Romney won Virginia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Alaska, Vermont and Idaho. However a strong showing by Rick Santorum, who won North Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma, and finished surprisingly close in Ohio, will likely give the candidate renewed momentum out of these contests. Here’s why Ron Paul’s Super Tuesday speech was genius.
- Apple Inc. is expected to announce the release of its third iPad at 1:00 p.m. today. The device, which reports suggest will be called the iPad HD for its high resolution screen, will have a faster processor, be slightly thicker than the iPad 2, and work on 4G networks. This is the other big product Apple will probably announce at its presentation >
- Private payrolls expanded by 216,000 in February in the U.S., new data out of the ADP National Employment Report shows. That’s right in line with economist forecasts that pegged the number at 215,000 for the month and an acceleration from the revised 173,000 gain in January.
- Closing out the day is a reading of consumer credit by the Federal Reserve. The data, which has pointed to a surge in recent months, is expected to grow another $10.45 billion in January.