Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets closed down this morning. The Hang Seng shed 1.78% while the South Korean Kospi took a 2.74% hit. European markets were up and US futures were pointing to a hiring open after the Troika recommended Greece receive funding as soon as the latest austerity measures pass. However, markets sold off after a headline crossed that EU leaders could consider delaying their highly anticipated Sunday summit. U.S. stocks are down in early trading.
- Japan is planning a 1 trillion yen ($13 billion) bond sale to fund rebuilding after the earthquake and tsunami rocked the country on March 11. That’s lower than original analyst expectations from Nomura, UBS and Mizuho Securities, who saw the sale reaching 1.2 to 2.4 trillion yen.
- Today Athens will vote on final Greek austerity measures to secure the last portion of its €110 billion bailout. Prime Minister George Papandreou received 154 votes in yesterday’s preliminary vote, indicating likely passage of the bill. The Troika said the country should receive the loan as soon as the vote is passed. Protesters, however, continue to rally outside of the capital.
- French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are meeting today to hammer out details of their plans to shore up Eurozone banks. Plans released earlier this week by the Guardian for a €2 trillion bailout have largely been debunked. Here’s what you can expect at this weekend’s EU summit.
- Retail sales in the U.K. came in above expectations with the value of sales jumping 5.4% and volume up 0.6%. Inflation remains a concern for the nation. CPI readings topped 5.2% this week, while unemployment hit its highest level since 1994.
- Brazil cut interest rates last night to 11.5% from 12.0%. The central bank noted a slowing economy, global macro crisis, and relentless inflation as part of the move.
- Jobless claims came in at 403k, missing expectations for 400k. Later this morning, we get existing home sales and leading economic indicators from the Philadelphia Fed at 10 a.m. Follow the releases live on Money Game.
- Research in Motion could face lawsuits on the recent outages that crippled its network. To help stave churn, the company announced that it was giving $100 worth of applications away to each user.
- Microsoft may make another bid for Yahoo! Today’s Wall Street Journal broke news that the tech giant is in discussions with private-equity firm Silverlake Partners and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on the takeover. Yesterday, news of a possible purchase by private equity firms valued Yahoo! at $16 to $18 per share.
AT&T posted results this morning, in line with analyst consensus of $0.61 a share. Blackstone will also report earnings before the bell. The Street is looking for EPS of $0.10. Yesterday eBay reported earnings of $490 million, or $0.37 a share, in line with expectations. Microsoft will post after the bell. Morgan Stanley thinks these global stocks are the best holdings this year.BONUS: Carla Bruni gave birth to her new baby girl in Paris this morning >