10 Things You Need To Know This Morning

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Photo: (Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)

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

  • Markets in Asia sold off nearly across the board, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng finishing 1.8 per cent lower. Trading in Europe is negative and U.S. futures point to a sharply lower open. 
  • Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy trailed Socialist candidate François Hollande in the first round of presidential elections in France, with the two taking 25.6 per cent and 27.7 per cent of the vote respectively. Here are the pledges that Hollande has made that terrifies the rest of Europe > 
  • Flash HSBC Chinese PMI increased to 49.1 in April from 48.3, but continued to signal contraction in the manufacturing industry. Output, new orders, and employment all fell, but at a slower rate than in March. 
  • Debt held by the 17-nation euro countries hit the highest level ever since adoption of the euro currency, totaling 87.2 per cent of GDP in 2011. That’s up from 85.3 per cent in 2010. Greece recorded debt at 165.3 per cent of GDP, the highest in the region. Guess which country has the lowest debt to GDP >
  • Spain officially fell into a recession, new government data shows. The country posted a 0.4 per cent contraction in the first quarter, its second consecutive quarter of decline. 
  • Italian consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in 15 years, new data out of Istat shows. Confidence declined to 89 in March from a revised reading of 96.3. Economists had expected a drop of just 10 basis points. 
  • The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will offer his resignation after an agreement fell apart on Saturday over austerity talks.
  • Top Walmart executives in the U.S. shut down an investigation in Mexico in 2005 after a company executive disclosed “widespread bribery” in the division’s operations, The New York Times’ David Barstow reports. The report puts the company in significant legal risk for violations of U.S. law that prohibit bribery.
  • A busy earnings week continues with Netflix and Texas Instruments today. Analysts forecast Netflix will report a loss of $0.27 while T.I. earns $0.17 per share. Separately, Kellogg cut its full year profit guidance, sending shares down more than seven per cent.
  • Pfizer will sell its infant nutrition division to Swiss giant Nestle for $11.85 billion. That number is much higher than earlier estimates just last week of $9 billion after Danone raised its bid for the business. The deal is expected to close in mid 2013. 
  • George Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bail from a Florida jail at about midnight on Sunday. Zimmerman did not take questions or give a statement. His destination was not disclosed.

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