Good morning! Here are 10 of the most important stories in markets today.
European PMI readings are coming. French, German and eurozone purchasing managers indexes (business surveys) will be out between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. GMT (4 and 5 a.m. ET). Economists are expecting improvement across the board after a recent run of good news from Europe.
Greece and Germany’s heads of government want everyone in Europe to cool it. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged an end to the vicious “stereotypes” and name-calling that have threatened to rip the eurozone apart.
China’s industrial survey fell into negative territory. China’s flash manufacturing PMI has hit an 11-month low, dipping to 49.2. A reading below 50 signifies the sector is contracting rather than expanding.The market was expecting a read of 50.2, which would signal a slight expansion, so this is a significant miss.
Apple may now go to trial in Italy. Italian prosecutors have wrapped up an investigation into allegations U.S. tech giant Apple failed to pay corporate taxes to the tune of €879 million ($US964 million), two sources said on Monday. Under Italian law, the move now opens the way for the prosecutors to ask a judge for the case to be brought to trial.
Japan won’t join China’s new infrastructure bank. Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday it would be desirable if the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) could work with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in meeting growing demand for infrastructure financing in Asia. However, Aso, who last week gave cautious approval of the institution that Washington has warned against, said Japan was not ready to decide to join the Beijing-based bank by a March 31 deadline.
A major Fed policymaker suggested a rate hike soon would be appropriate. Federal Reserve policymakers should wait no more than a few months before considering raising US interest rates from their current near-zero level, a top Fed official said on Tuesday. “I think that by mid-year it will be the time to have a serious discussion about starting to raise rates,” San Francisco Fed chief John Williams said.
The UK’s major banking body wants tech companies to be more heavily regulated. Technology companies offering banking services should be regulated in the same way as banks to ensure that consumers are properly protected, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said on Tuesday.
Hutchinson Whampoa is about to finalise its purchase of O2. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd is expected to finalise a deal to buy Telefonica SA’s British mobile unit O2 for £10.5 billion ($US15.70 billion) as early as Tuesday morning, the Financial Times reported.
Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff’s popularity is going down the drain. President Dilma Rousseff’s popularity continues to fall according to a new poll published on Monday that said 64.8% of Brazilians rate her government negatively and only 10.8% see it as positive. The CNT/MDA poll confirmed earlier surveys that showed Rousseff’s popularity tanking due to a massive corruption scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras and a stagnant economy.
Asian markets are mostly down. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.27% right now, Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.21% lower and the Shanghai Composite index is completely flat.