Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
Get Ready For The European Central Bank. At 7:45 a.m. ET, the latest decisions from the ECB will be announced, followed 45 minutes later by an hour-long news conference with Mario Draghi. Analysts are expecting more dovish noises but less firm action from Frankfurt.
Markets Are Up. US futures are in the green with Dow futures up 18 and S&P futures up 1.9 points. Asia closed higher with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.9% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 1.7%.In Europe, Britain’s FTSE is up 0.1%, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.5%, and Germany’s DAX is up 0.5%.
Get Ready For US Jobs Data. The US Department of Labour will release its latest weekly tally of initial unemployment insurance claims. Economists estimate the pace of weekly claims fell to 295,000 from 313,000 a week ago. “The four-week moving average of initial claims has been below the 300k threshold for almost three months, a sign that involuntary separations have reached their nadir,” Nomura economists said.
Toyota Is Recalling Another 190,000 Cars In Japan And China. Toyota will recall 190,000 vehicles in Japan and China to replace potentially defective front passenger-side air bags made by Takata Corp., the latest in a long line of recalls for the embattled auto safety parts supplier.
Best Buy Is Getting Out Of China. “US retailer Best Buy Co Inc said on Thursday it will sell its struggling China business, Five Star, to domestic real estate firm Zhejiang Jiayuan Group in order to focus on its North American operations,” Reuters’ Adam Jourdan reported. “Best Buy has struggled to fend off Chinese rivals in a crowded market, as other US firms have complained that operating in the country has become more of a challenge.”
Intel Is Cranking Up Its Investments In China. “Intel Corp will invest $US1.6 billion to upgrade its factory in the city of Chengdu in western China, the latest sign of how the chipmaker is deepening ties in a market that is proving increasingly troublesome for some US technology peers,” Reuters’ Gerry Shih reported. “As part of the upgrade, Intel said in a statement on Thursday it would bring its most advanced chip-testing technology to China. In exchange it will receive local and regional government support for construction.”
SoftBank Is Betting On An Uber-Style Taxi Service In Asia. The Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank Corp. has pumped in $US250 million to become the top investor in the Southeast Asian mobile taxi-booking application GrabTaxi, its biggest investment in a Southeast Asian internet firm.
Brazil Hiked Interest Rates. The central bank lifted Brazil’s benchmark interest rate to 11.75%, as investors expected, in an attempt to control inflation, according to the Financial Times.
Europe Will Struggle To Reform, But China Will Manage, According To Jamie Dimon. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon spoke in Washington on Wednesday, saying that growth would be “sub-optimal” and reforms would be hard. Dimon added that Chinese authorities could “macro-manage and they can meet their short-term growth objectives, which is good for everybody else,” according to Bloomberg.
Qatar Just Swapped Out The Head Of Its Massive Wealth Fund. The $US300 billion fund is getting a new chief, according to the Financial Times. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family, will take over from Ahmed al-Sayed, just a year after Sayed took the role.