Good morning! Here are the most important stories you should hear about in markets today.
Another emergency eurogroup meeting is looming.The eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels at 2 p.m. GMT (9 a.m. ET). Yesterday Greece put a proposal on the table that was widely seen as a climb-down, but Gemany’s finance ministry rejected the advance. Other countries are likely to be more conciliatory.
The port slowdown on the west coast of the US could shave 1% off GDP. The west coast port slowdown could reduce fourth quarter GDP by 1%, according to Deutsche Bank’s Joe LaVorgna. Work has slowed down and ports have become congested amid a nine-month contract dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 20,000 workers, and the Pacific Maritime Association.
And the port slowdown caused Honda to cut output by 5,000 cars. Honda said on Friday it would continue to adjust production at two North American car factories due to a parts shortage caused by disruptions at US West Coast ports. Honda said it expected output loss at the factories – one in Indiana and another in Canada – during the week to be around 5,000 cars.
Dell now accepts bitcoin internationally. Michael Dell tweeted out earlier today the announcement that, instead of accepting payment in Bitcoin in only the United States, Dell will take virtual currency payments from customers in the UK and in Canada, as well.
UK retail sales are coming. The numbers for January are out at 9:30 a.m. GMT (4:30 a.m. ET) and will show both how the recovery is faring at the start of 2015, and how much lower petrol prices have boosted spending elsewhere.
Japan Display may build a $US1.7 billion plant for Apple. Japan Display is considering building a new plant to supply smartphone screens for Apple, which may shoulder much of the 200 billion yen (£1.09 billion) investment, Japan’s Nikkan Kogyo newspaper said on Friday.
The west is rebuffing Egypt’s president. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi asked for a broad UN campaign against ISIS’ new efforts to expand in Libya, but according to the WSJ, European and US diplomats are spurning the request.
February PMIs are coming. Between 8 and 9 a.m. GMT (3 and 4 a.m. ET) European PMI surveys are rolling out, which should give an idea of how the blocs’s private sector is faring at the start of 2015, following a run of decent data.
BP lost a bid to cut its maximum Gulf of Mexico fine. A judge on Thursday rejected BP’s attempt to reduce the maximum civil fine it could face over its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The judge in New Orleans agreed with the federal government that the maximum civil penalty that BP could face under the federal Clean Water Act is $US4,300 per barrel spilled, not the $US3,000 sought by BP.
Asian markets are up and the Nikkei hit another 15 year high. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite Index are up 0.19% and 0.76% respectively just ahead of the close, while Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.37%, up to another 15 year high.