Good morning! Here are 10 of the most important things in markets today.
Spanish GDP is coming. At 8 a.m. London time (3 a.m. New York) we’ll get the first look at a major European economy’s Q1 GDP. Analysts are expecting a 0.8% expansion, following the 0.7% recorded in the final three months of 2014.
The Fed sat on the fence, and markets were confused. In its latest policy statement, the Fed said while the economy slowed during the winter months, the impacts reflect “transitory factors.” Following the latest statement, stocks sank, then rallied, and then moved back to about where they were before the passage.
The Bank of Japan took no new action on Thursday, as expected. The Bank of Japan held off more easing measures after a policy meeting Thursday, despite flatlining inflation that is defying massive stimulus launched two years ago.
While Japanese industry was marginally less weak than expected.Japan’s factory output fell by a less-than-expected 0.3% in March, data showed Thursday, but the still-weak statistics underscored an uncertain recovery in the world’s number three economy.
And the Nikkei sank. Japan’s main stock index is currently down 0.257% after the BoJ announcement. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is also down 0.71%, while the Shanghai Composite Index is up just 0.18%.
Chinese steel production contracted in Q1 for the first time in two decades. Chinese steel demand slumped in the first quarter of 2015 according to China’s Iron and Steel Association (CISA). CISA also noted overall steel output declined by 1.7% to 200.1 million tonnes — the first Q1 decline reported in the past 20 years.
Brazil hiked rates to the highest in six years. The country’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate to 13.25% on Wednesday as the country struggles with high inflation and little to no growth, according to the Financial Times.
GM is about to announce billions of dollars of investment in the US. General Motors on Thursday will announce a multibillion-dollar, multiyear investment in several US manufacturing plants in a move to boost production and vehicle quality, a person familiar with the matter said.
Apple found a defect in the Apple Watch. Apple has found defects with the Apple watch, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. A Chinese-made component of the Apple Watch was found to be defective, causing the company to limit availability of the watch, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
European inflation and unemployment is also coming. Both figures are released at 10 a.m. London time (5 a.m. New York). Analysts have forecast that unemployment will drop 0.1 points to 11.2% in March, and are expecting the eurozone’s deflation to have stopped with a flat 0% price growth figure in April.