Good morning! Here are 10 things you need to know in markets today.
The German economy surged in the final quarter of 2014. Growth hit 0.7%, a very strong figure for the eurozone, and reached 1.6% year-on-year. That’s almost twice as strong as economists were expecting. Analysts predicted 1% growth year-on-year and 0.3% in the final quarter of the year.
French GDP rose by 0.4% in 2014. That’s in line with what analysts expected, and it’s very, very slow by anyone’s standards. In Q4 alone, the economy grew by 0.1%.
Greece will do “whatever it can” for a deal with Europe. Greece will make every effort to reach an agreement with its euro zone partners at Monday’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers on how to transition to a new support program, its government spokesman said on Friday. “We will do whatever we can so that a deal is found on Monday,” Gabriel Sakellaridis told Skai TV.
European GDP figures are coming. Q4 growth figures for the whole of the eurozone are coming out this morning. Analysts are expecting 0.2% growth for the quarter, which would mean 0.8% growth for the whole period since Q4 2013. The figure for the whole of the eurozone is out at 10 a.m. GMT (5 a.m. ET).
29 sea ports on the west coast of the USA are partially shut down. Companies that operate marine terminals in major West Coast cities said they weren’t calling workers to unload ships Thursday that carry car parts, furniture, clothing, electronics — just about anything made in Asia and destined for US consumers. Containers of US exports won’t get loaded either. The partial lockout is the result of an increasingly damaging labour dispute between dockworkers and their employers.
Candy Crush maker King Digital surged after earnings beat expectations. Candy Crush maker King Digital just turned in a better-than-expected quarter and now the stock is surging. They’re up by more than 15% in after hours trade on Thursday after the company reported earnings that beat expectations. In the fourth quarter, the company reported adjusted earnings per share of $US0.57, topping estimates by $US0.10 per share.
The World Bank is following the IMF with $US2 billion (£1.3 billion) in aid to Ukraine. The World Bank said Thursday it is prepared to provide up to $US2 billion in financial assistance to conflict-torn Ukraine this year, part of an international package of support.
A Sharp executive says the company isn’t planning on selling its display business. A senior Sharp executive said the Japanese company was not considering a sale of its ailing display business, after it warned it will likely book its third annual net loss in four years due to weak demand from Chinese smartphone makers. Sharp announced last week that it expects to book a net loss of 30 billion yen ($US256 million) this fiscal year.
Brazil may end its free trade in autos with Mexico. Brazil wants to derail a pact that would allow unlimited imports of cars from Mexico, sources familiar with the situation say, in a move that could stoke trade tensions between Latin America’s largest economies. A treaty between the two nations and auto manufacturers, which sets quotas on how many light vehicles Mexico and Brazil can sell each other, expires in March.
Asian markets are mixed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.89%, and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 1.01% just ahead of the close, but Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.37% on Friday.