Good morning! Here are the 10 most important things you need to hear about in markets this morning.
The UK’s spending watchdog savaged the government’s cuts. The head of the UK’s National Audit Office, Sir Amyas Morse, likened the cuts to a botched operation, saying “if you’re going to do radical surgery it would be nice if you knew where the heart was,” according to the Financial Times.
The surging dollar cost US corporates $US18.66 billion in Q4. Foreign exchange swings cost North American corporates $US18.66 billion (£12.59 billion) in revenue in the fourth quarter, according to a report by currency risk management consulting firm FiREapps. Total negative currency impact rose more than four-fold in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter, and was the biggest since the height of the euro crisis.
Chinese investment abroad has exploded in the last year. China drew $US8.56 billion (£5.77 billion) in foreign direct investment (FDI) in February, up 0.9% from a year earlier, while outbound Chinese investment excluding the financial sector surged by 68.2% to $US7.25 billion (£4.89 billion), the Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday.
The Bank of Japan held. The Bank of Japan maintained its massive stimulus and its optimistic assessment of the economy on Tuesday, signalling that the country is on course to emerge from recession without additional monetary loosening.
German confidence is coming. At 10 a.m GMT (6 a.m. ET), Germany’s ZEW index of economic confidence will be released. Analysts are expecting a significant improvement, and expect sentiment to be at the highest level seen in over a year.
The US State Department is rowing back on a statement about Syria made by John Kerry. The United States insisted on Monday it would never negotiate directly with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, edging away from comments made by Secretary of State John Kerry, and it cast doubt on any immediate prospects for third-party talks to resolve Syria’s civil war.
Alibaba’s financial arm will use a partnership structure to keep control of the company. Ant Financial Services Group will institute a partnership structure and nominate a majority of shareholders before the company is floated, so that the it can keep a majority on the board, according to Bloomberg.
Japanese wage hikes will likely not be enough to meet the higher cost of living. Most Japanese firms plan to raise salaries by at least the same degree as last year, but even two years of wage hikes will not be enough to compensate workers for increases in the cost of living, a Reuters poll showed.
The Nikkei jumped. Japanese stocks closed up 0.99%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is currently down 0.41%. The Shanghai Composite index is up 0.87% just ahead of the close.
South Korea says the North hacked one of its nuclear operators. South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday blamed North Korea for cyber attacks against the country’s nuclear reactor operator last December, based upon its investigation into Internet addresses used in the hacking.