Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Many overseas markets were closed for holiday, but those open generally headed lower with Japan’s Nikkei off 1.8 per cent. U.S. futures point to a slightly negative open.
- Chinese PMI showed somewhat strengthening manufacturing activity in the country, increasing 20 basis points to 53.3. Economists were looking for 53.6. Here’s what a hard landing would look like in China >
- U.K. PMI declined as exports to mainland Europe, the U.S. and East Asia slumped. The index fell to 50.5 from 51.9. A reading over 50 indicates expansion.
- Embattled British bank Lloyds earned a small net profit during the first quarter of £2 million. The firm said it was two years ahead of shrinking its asset size as it reorganizes itself and that it would increase its asset-reduction plan for the year by £5 billion to £30 billion.
- Bank of America will layoff some 2,000 of its top moneymakers, the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Fitzpatrick and Dana Cimilluca report. The cuts, which are on top of the 30,000 layoffs already announced, will hit the company’s investment banking, commercial banking and international wealth-management divisions. Presenting the 200,000 layoffs that rocked the investment banking world in 2011 >
- Rupert Murdoch was found not fit to run a major company, a British parliamentary report said today. According to the report, the company showed “huge failings” of corporate governance.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the official cash rate 50 basis points to 3.75 per cent overnight, as inflation looked more tame than expected. Australia’s central bank last cut rates in December.
- U.S. economic announcements kick off at 10:00 a.m. with the April ISM manufacturing and March construction spending reports. Expectations are for ISM to decline to 53 from 53.4, and for a 0.5 per cent sequential increase in construction spending. Follow both live on Money Game.
- Healthcare giant Pfizer beat expectations this morning, reporting earnings per share of $0.58 against forecasts for $0.56. However beauty group Avon missed, with earnings per share of $0.10. Click here to see what the largest companies are telling us about the economy >
- Occupy Wall Street returns today, as organisers of the movement plan a series of protests across the country. In New York City, the group will march from Union Square to Lower Manhattan. Click here for live updates from the protest.
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