Good morning! Here are 10 things you need to know in markets, as the week comes to an end.
The Eurogroup is meeting today, and Greece is at the top of the agenda again. European finance ministers are gathering in Riga. Though it was hoped Greece would have a deal to secure bailout cash by now, the state of progress currently makes that seem unlikely, but markets will be watching closely for any hints.
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis made another public intervention. On Project Syndicate Varoufakis said the government is “eager to rationalise the pension system (for example, by limiting early retirement), proceed with partial privatisation of public assets, address the non-performing loans that are clogging the economy’s credit circuits, create a fully independent tax commission“.
Asian markets are well down. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.77%, the Shanghai Composite is down 1.83% and Japan’s Nikkei is also down 0.77%.
Japan wants a fifth of its energy to come from nuclear. Japan’s government has proposed making nuclear energy account for between 20% and 22% of the country’s electricity mix by 2030, with renewable energy to account for slightly more, media reported on Friday.
The NASDAQ broke through its previous record high. The US stock index closed up 0.41% at 5,056.06, breaking the previous all-time-high recorded in March 2000.
Most US listed companies are currently beating earnings forecasts. Most US companies so far this earnings season have managed to beat Wall Street profit forecasts despite weak sales. Of the 169 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, 71% beat earnings estimates, many of which were modest to begin with, Reuters data showed. But they did so with help from share buybacks, cost-cutting and other measures, instead of robust sales growth.
Starbucks sales rose 7%. Starbucks said on Thursday sales at its coffee shops in the Americas region grew more than expected, calming concerns about cooling growth and sending shares up 4.4% in after-hours trading. Sales at Starbucks shops open at least 13 months were up 7% in the Americas region for the fiscal second quarter that ended March 29. Analysts polled by Consensus Metrix expected a rise of 5.1%.
Amazon Web Services made a profit. At long last, Amazon has finally revealed numbers for its cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services (AWS). It generated $US1.57 billion (£1.04 billion) during the first quarter, which is in line with most analysts’ projections, and it’s pulling in about $US6 billion per year. AWS is also profitable. It kept $US265 million this quarter and it’s on track to hit $US1 billion in annual profits.
Comcast is droppings its massive bid for Time Warner. Comcast is going to drop its $US45.2-billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable, Bloomberg’s Alex Sherman reports. Comcast is bowing out of bidding amid expectations that regulators were going to kill the deal anyway.
Congress rejected an attempt to include currency manipulation issues in a trade bill. A US House of Representatives panel on Thursday rejected a push to beef up rules against currency manipulation in a key trade bill. The House Ways and Means Committee voted 24 to 14 against an amendment that would have allowed sanctions against countries that deliberately weaken their currencies.
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