Good morning! Here are the 10 things you need to know about in markets today.
The Fed lost patience. The Fed dropped “patient” from its Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement after the two-day meeting ended on Wednesday. Analysts were looking for that to signal a June or September rate hike.
But the dollar got crushed. The Fed noted the decline in recent economic data and suggested inflation would remain muted for longer, making a rate hike seem further away even as “patient” was dropped. The dollar sank rapidly against the euro and pretty much every other currency, reversing serious gains made in the past two weeks.
An EU summit today will be dominated by Greece and Russia.
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will plead with European counterparts at a summit in Brussels Thursday to release vital funds to help his debt-laden country stave off a looming cash crunch. European Union leaders will also debate whether to extend economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine beyond July, although it is likely they will delay the decision until later in the year.
A major US oil company has filed for bankruptcy. Quicksilver Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. In regulatory filings, the energy company said it has $US2.35 billion (£1.58 billion) in debt and $US1.2 billion in assets. Management said it would face a “potential liquidity shortfall” in the first quarter of 2016, for reasons including its mountain of debt and the oil crash, according to a regulatory filing.
Bank of America must consult shareholders over its breakup. Bank of America must allow shareholders to vote on a proposal that calls for the company to consider spinning off its investment banking business, after U.S. regulators told the bank it cannot exclude the proposal from its corporate ballot.
Japan’s public pension funds look like they’re piling into stocks. Three Japanese public pension funds, with a combined $US250 billion (£167.78 billion) in assets, will follow the mammoth Government Pension Investment Fund in shifting their investments out of government bonds and into stocks, two people directly involved in the decisions said.
US initial jobless claims are coming. At 12.30 p.m. GMT (8.30 a.m. ET) US initial jobless figures for the week to March 6 will be released. Analysts are expecting to see that 292,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in that period, up from 289,000 in the previous week.
The fragile ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is falling apart. A peace plan to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine came under renewed strain on Wednesday, with Ukraine and Russia clashing publicly over the next steps and further Ukrainian military casualties from rebel attacks testing a fragile ceasefire.
Asian markets are mixed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 1% ahead of the close, the Shanghai Composite Index is down 0.18% and Japan’s Nikkei is down 0.35%.
Sharp plans to cut 6,000 jobs and spend billions restructuring. Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp plans to cut around 6,000 jobs in a global restructuring that will cost over 200 billion yen ($US1.7 billion, £1.14 billion), a source said on Thursday.
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