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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets largely sold off in overnight trading, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng falling some 1.4 per cent. European shares traded moderately higher as U.S. futures point to a positive open.
- The Greek default has not yet triggered payouts on $3.25 billion in credit default swaps, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association says. The ISDA made its ruling in response to a specific question regarding the retroactive inclusion of collective action clauses. However, a CDS event could still be triggered in the future.
- A key index measuring Chinese manufacturing increased to 51.0 in February, up from 50.5 one month earlier. New orders rose to 51.0, largely up on exports. Much of the gains were driven by larger industries and businesses, leaving small businesses out in the cold. Here’s what a real Chinese hard landing would look like.
- The eurozone manufacturing sector continued to contract, data from Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index shows. The index increased 20 basis points to 49.0 in February.
- French unemployment increased to 9.4 per cent, which was slightly below expectations of a rise to 9.6 per cent. According to the government’s statistic office, 50,000 more citizens were jobless in the fourth quarter.
- EU leaders will convene today in Brussels for their next summit. They will likely debate expanding the European Stability Mechanism — the permanent European bailout fund set to take effect this summer. Leaders including Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti have publicly campaigned for an expansion of the fund from its current €500 billion ($667 billion). These are the next eight most nerve-racking dates in Europe >
- Bank of America is considering adding new fees to its retail client accounts, the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Fitzpatrick and David Enrich report. The bank is testing account fees that range from $6 to $25 a month, however the bank will wave those fees if customers maintain a certain minimum balance, have a mortgage, or use a BofA-issued credit card. According the report, some northeast branches have already received training for a coming U.S. rollout.
- MF Global employees attempted to reverse the $165 million transfer from customer segregated funds minutes after a counterparty received the assets, an e-mail reviewed by the Journal shows. The transfer is part of the $1.6 billion in funds forensic accountants of the brokerage house’s trustee is hunting for. Here are some of the final transactions that happened at MF Global >
- Personal incomes and spending in the U.S. increased in January, however the Bureau of Economic Analysis data was below expectations. Incomes advanced 0.3 per cent for the month, while spending improved 0.2 per cent. Initial claims were also announced, beating consensus estimates by 4,000 at 351,000.
- U.S. government-controlled mortgage firm Fannie Mae will ask the federal government for an additional round of financing after reporting a $2.4 billion loss. The company is looking for an infusion of some $4.6 billion, raising total taxpayer contributions to $116 billion.
- Earnings from Foot Locker and Kroger will hit the Street today, along with February same-store sales. The grocery chain is expected to post earnings per share of $0.49, while consensus for Foot Locker is $0.51. Read more about the already disappointing earnings season that has nonetheless sent stocks higher >