Good morning! Here are 10 of the most important stories in markets today.
Greece is to re-submit a reform list to Europe’s institutions within days. Greece has agreed to give creditors a new list of reforms within days in order to secure bailout funds, a statement said Friday after talks between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European leaders.
More than half of Lufthansa flights have been grounded by strikes. A pilots strike grounded more than half of Lufthansa’s lucrative long-haul flights on Thursday, the latest action to pressure management in a protracted row over early retirement benefits and cost cuts.
Lifting EU sanctions on Russia will require a full Ukrainian peace accord. European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to link lifting economic sanctions on Russia to the full implementation of a Ukraine ceasefire agreement, European Council President Donald Tusk announced. But EU leaders at a summit meeting in Brussels did not formally agree to extend the sanctions due to expire in July unless renewed.
Japan and Australia are the latest countries to signal support for China’s development bank. Japan signaled cautious approval of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on Friday and said for the first time that, if conditions were met, it could join the institution that the United States has warned against. Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said there was “a lot of merit” in the bank and the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported that Canberra could formally decide to sign up when the full cabinet meets on Monday.
UK public sector borrowing is coming. UK public spending figures for February roll out at 9:30 a.m. GMT (5:30 a.m. ET), and economists are expecting that the Treasury saw net borrowing of £7.7 billion that month. The figures are watched closely ahead of the UK’s general election in May.
US biotech stocks are booming. The Nasdaq gained ground on Thursday thanks to the biotech sector which rose about 2%. In fact, biotech stocks have been on fire all year. They’re up about 15% year-to-date.
HSBC thinks the dollar’s rally may be running out of steam. Looking at the size of the appreciation in the dollar against other historical rallies, HSBC’s researchers said: “Excluding the mega rallies, the latest [US dollar] rally has been bigger than average.”
Asian stocks are mixed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is down 0.41% ahead of the close, while Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.51%, and the Shanghai Composite Index is up 1%.
BNY Mellon settled a currency dispute for $US714 million (£484 million). New York and federal authorities reached a $US714 million settlement Thursday with Bank of New York Mellon in lawsuits alleging the bank fraudulently represented rates for client currency transactions for a decade.
Japan wants Congress to hurry up with its trade legislation. Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Friday it would be difficult to reach an agreement in two-way trade talks between Japan and the United States unless US lawmakers fast-tracked trade promotion legislation. A delay in agreeing on the legislation in the United States to streamline the passage of trade deals, known as trade promotion authority (TPA), through Congress is blamed for pushing back the timetable on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
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