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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia were mixed overnight, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gaining 0.8 per cent. European shares largely traded lower, while U.S. futures point to a negative open.
- Euro-area economic confidence fell greater than expected, down to 92.8 in April from 94.5 a month earlier. Economists had forecast a decline to 94.2.
- The South Korean economy expanded by 0.9 per cent during the first quarter, accelerating from the 0.3 per cent gain logged at the end of 2011. Leading the growth was a surge in capital investment by the nation’s businesses.
- U.K. consumer confidence unexpectedly surged to its highest level since June 2011. The Nationwide Building Society said its index increased to 53 in March from 44 a month earlier. Economists had anticipated a one point decline.
- Eurozone leaders have denied reports that high level ECB leaders are considering extending funding to boost illiquid banks, possibly through the European Stability Mechanism. Here are 14 awful facts about the French economy >
- Two major investment banks, Deutsche Bank and Barclays, reported better-than expected bottom line results today. Barclays said net income jumped to £2.45 billion. Deutsche earned €1.4 billion, or $1.78 per share, but revenue slumped substantively — missing consensus estimates by about $400 million.
- Initial unemployment claims declined slightly week-on-week, but missed economist expectations for a substantive drop. 388,000 people filed for first time benefits. Still to come at 10:00 a.m.: pending home sales. Forecasts call for 1.0 per cent month-on-month growth. Follow it live on Money Game >
- Both Lockheed Martin and AstraZeneca announced their chief executives would step down. AstraZeneca’s board was informed of David Brennan’s decision yesterday. The company slashed core EPS guidance today in its earnings announcement.
- Chrysler announced its highest quarterly profits in 13 years, reporting earnings of $473 million. That’s four times the size of the company’s results just one year ago.
- Oil giant Exxon Mobil missed bottom line expectations this morning, reporting earnings per share of $2.00, against forecasts for $2.08. However, revenue came above consensus, at $124 billion. Here’s everything you need to know about the Shale gas revolution.