Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia were mixed in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei advanced 0.6% while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.9%. In Europe, France and Spain are in the red while Germany and Italy are rallying. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
- After contracting by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012, the U.K. economy expanded 0.3% in the first quarter, avoiding the feared triple-dip recession. Government spending played a sizeable role. In the fourth quarter, government spending fell 0.2%, whereas in the first quarter, it rose 0.1%. The British pound is strengthening on the news.
- The Spanish unemployment rate rose to a staggering 27.2%, the highest level since records began in the 1970s. “These figures are worse than expected and highlight the serious situation of the Spanish economy as well as the shocking decoupling between the real and the financial economy,” said Citi strategist Jose Luis Martinez.
- According to a new survey of 60 central bankers conducted by by Central Banking Publications and RBS, 23% said they own stocks or plan to buy them. Major central bank buyers of equities include the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Israel, the Swiss National Bank, and the Czech National Bank.
- Verizon is working on a $100 billion cash and stock bid to buy out the remaining 45% stake of Vodafone that it doesn’t already own, reports Reuters. According to sources, the deal would be structured in a way that minimizes the tax burden on Vodafone, which was previously one of the key sticking points.
- UPS reports first quarter earnings results at 7:45 AM ET. Analysts expect the global shipping giant to report earnings of $1.01 per share on revenues of $13.47 billion.
- Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest oil company, also releases earnings this morning. Analysts expect Exxon to announce earnings of $2.05 per share on revenues of $119.83 billion.
- PulteGroup rounds out this morning’s major earnings releases of interest. The U.S. homebuilder reported earnings of $0.21 per share, better than the consensus estimate for $0.15 EPS, but revenues came in light at $1.16 billion versus the $1.2 billion predicted by analysts. “The stronger demand which the housing industry saw throughout 2012 has carried into the spring selling season of 2013. We experienced higher traffic in our communities with buyers feeling a greater sense of urgency given the combination of limited product inventory and rising prices found in many markets throughout the country,” said the company in the release.
- Weekly jobless claims figures are released in the U.S. at 8:30 AM ET. Economists predict initial claims ticked down to 350,000 in the week ended April 19 from 352,000 the week before. Continuing claims are expected to moderate to 3.06 million from 3.07 million.
- At 11 AM, the Kansas City Fed releases its monthly survey of regional manufacturing conditions. Economists expect the headline index to rise to -1 from -5, indicating a less severe contraction in regional manufacturing than last month. Follow the data LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Karlie Kloss could become Victoria’s Secret’s new brand ambassador, replacing Miranda Kerr.
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