10 Things You Need To Know This Morning

Photo: AP/Invision/Jordan Strauss

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Asian markets were higher in overnight trading, with the Japanese Nikkei rising 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite gaining 0.4 per cent. European stocks are mixed – France and Spain are down slightly while Germany and Italy are advancing. In the United States, stocks are up early in the trading session.
  • The ECB voted to leave the benchmark refinancing rate unchanged at 0.75 per cent in January. Many economists predicted this, citing strength in recent economic data. During the press conference following the announcement, ECB President Mario Draghi revealed that the decision to leave interest rates on hold was unanimous, which caused the euro to spike against the dollar.
  • The Bank of England voted to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.5 per cent and the size of its asset purchase program unchanged at £375 billion, as expected. Markets may not expect much change in policy until incoming Governor Mark Carney starts this summer.
  • New local-currency loans in China unexpectedly fell to ¥454.3 billion ($73 billion) in December from ¥522.9 billion the month before. Economists expected new loans to increase to ¥550 billion, and the new numbers could raise concerns about the Chinese recovery.
  • China’s trade surplus soared in December on the back of a surge in exports. The surplus expanded to $31.62 billion from $19.63 billion, surpassing expectations of a slight rise to $20 billion. Exports rose 14.1 per cent versus expectations of a 5 per cent gain. Imports were up 5 per cent, more than the 3.5 per cent expansion that was expected.
  • French industrial production rose 0.5 per cent in November after contracting 0.6 per cent the month before. Economists had expected a smaller 0.1 per cent advance. Manufacturing production rose 0.2 per cent versus expectations of a 0.2 per cent decline.
  • The Greek unemployment rate rose to a new record of 26.8 per cent in October from 26.2 per cent the month before. Youth unemployment also rose to a new record of 56.6 per cent. 2013 is expected to be a sixth year of recession for Greece.
  • Stock exchange operator BATS admitted that a system issue caused hundreds of thousands of transactions over the past four years to be executed at non-best prices that may have violated securities rules. BATS said the net drain on investors was about $500 thousand.
  • In the United States, weekly jobless claims jumped to 371,000 from last week’s downwardly-revised 367,000 figure. Economists were estimating a decline to 365,000 initial claims. Follow the release LIVE on Business Insider >
  • Due out at 10 AM ET in the United States are Wholesale Inventories data for the month of November. Economists predict inventories expanded 0.2 per cent, down from a 0.6 per cent growth rate the month before. Follow the releases LIVE on Business Insider >
  • BONUS: TMZ reports that Britney Spears has decided not to return as a judge on the show X-Factor next season.
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