10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

Good morning! Markets are focused on the European Central Bank’s announcement this morning. Here’s what you need to know:

The ECB Is Coming. Markets are expecting the announcement of a large quantitative easing (QE) programme from the European Central Bank today. The eurozone’s central bankers will announce their decisions at 7:45 am ET, with ECB president Mario Draghi holding a press conference 45 minutes later. Here’s what to expect.

European QE Will Not Be Enough. Speaking at Davos, Harvard professor Larry Summers said, “There is every reason to expect QE will be less impactful in Europe.” Summers, who has been one of the leading drivers of the economic idea of secular stagnation, or that there is inadequate demand for the economy to sustain its growth trend, said that among other things, higher bond yields and the element of surprise aided in the success of QE in the US.

Futures Are Doing Nothing Ahead Of The ECB. US stock futures are slightly higher, but little changed, ahead of the European Central Bank announcement. Dow futures are up 20 points, S&P 500 futures are up 2 points, and Nasdaq futures are up 2 points. Meanwhile, stocks in Europe were near seven-year highs while the euro was near an 11-year low ahead of the ECB’s meeting.

American Express Is Slashing Thousands Of Jobs. American Express will slash 4,000 jobs, even as the company reported that fourth-quarter earnings were dented by foreign-currency movements.

eBay Is Cutting 2,400 Jobs. Online retail giant eBay will slash 2,400 jobs — seven per cent of its workforce — in the current quarter as it restructures and prepares to spin off its PayPal finance unit, it said Wednesday. California-based eBay unveiled the move as it announced its profit in the fourth quarter rose to $US936 million on $US4.9 billion in revenue. The job cuts will be across eBay’s three divisions: Marketplaces, Enterprise and PayPal.

The Head Of OPEC Says He Thinks The Price Of Oil Has “Bottomed Out.” In an interview on Bloomberg TV at Davos, Abdalla El-Badri said that he thinks the oil price has bottomed out: “The price will not go to $US20 or $US25, I think the price will stay at where we are now. We have seen this before — prices coming down very fast and go up very slow. But prices will rebound.”

Shale Tycoon Harold Hamm Just Sold $US3 Billion Of His Firm. On Wednesday, pipeline operator Kinder Morgan announced a deal to acquire $US3 billion worth of Bakken shale assets from Harold Hamm’s Hiland Partners. Kinder Morgan said it expects to retain “nearly all” of Hiland’s 430 employees.

Brazil Hiked interest Rates To Their Highest Level In Three Years. The central bank lifted its main policy rate to 12.25% on Wednesday. Unlike most of the world right now, Brazil is struggling with elevated inflation: The central bank has warned that price growth is likely to stray above 6.5% for much of this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Venezuela’s President Says The Economy Shrank 2.8% In 2014. OPEC member Venezuela’s recession-hit economy shrunk 2.8 per cent in 2014 while inflation topped 64 per cent, President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday, in almost certainly the worst performance in Latin America.

At Davos, China’s Premier Promised No “Hard Landing” For The Economy. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang just promised that “regional or systemic crisis will not happen in China. Nor will there be any hard landing,” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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