10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

amanda bynes

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

  • Markets in Asia were mostly lower in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei retreated 1.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite tumbled 2.8 per cent as property stocks once again met renewed selling pressure. Markets in Europe are mostly higher this morning with the exception of Spain, which is currently down 0.5 per cent. In the United States, futures point to a mixed open.
  • German retail sales rose 0.4 per cent in February, above economists’ estimates for a 0.6 per cent decline, but less than the 3.0 per cent gain posted in January. On a year-over-year basis, sales fell 2.2 per cent, well below the 1.2 per cent expansion predicted by economists and January’s 2.5 per cent year-over-year gain.
  • The ranks of the unemployed in Germany increased by 13,000 in March. Economists had predicted that the number of unemployed persons would fall by 2,000 after an unchanged number in February. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.9 per cent.
  • Everyone expected bank runs in Cyprus today when banks opened their doors after a two-weeks long closure forced by contentious negotiations with the EU over how to bail out the banking system. The banks re-opened at 6 AM ET, though, and so far, there are no signs of a run on the banks. This is probably due to the restrictive capital controls enacted by Cyprus to counter a run – Cypriots are only allowed to withdraw a maximum of 300 euros per day for the next week. The haircut forced on uninsured depositors and a previous plan to levy a nationwide “tax” on all deposits has likely shattered confidence in the safety of Cypriot bank accounts.
  • The European Central Bank released February data for deposit levels in banks around the euro area today, a data point of particular interest in the wake of the bailout deal in Cyprus, which forced a haircut on uninsured depositors. The data revealed that deposits fell 2.2 per cent in Cyprus in February, ahead of the crisis that began in mid-March. Meanwhile, in Greece, deposit levels actually rose 2 per cent, and deposits at Italian banks – those thought to be most at risk of contagion from Cyprus – rose 1.3 per cent. The release of the March data next month will show the impact of the Cyprus crisis on deposit levels in other euro area countries.
  • Credit rating agency Standard & Poors is pushing to have 17 lawsuits filed against it by 17 different state attorneys general consolidated into a single, federal lawsuit. The firm has come under fire for putting high ratings on mortgage-backed securities that went bust and sent financial markets into a panic in 2008. If S&P is successful at consolidating the state lawsuits, it could streamline the damages that the rater ultimately has to pay out.
  • In the United States, the final estimate for fourth-quarter GDP is due out at 8:30 AM ET. Economists again expect the data to reveal a 0.5 per cent expansion in U.S. GDP in the fourth quarter, though the second estimate, released at the end of February, only measured a 0.1 per cent gain.
  • Weekly jobless claims figures are also released at 8:30. Economists predict 340,000 initial claims were filed in the week ended March 23, up slightly from the 336,000 new claims recorded in the previous week. Continuing claims are expected to have edged down to 3.041 million from 3.053 million the week before.
  • At 9:45, the Chicago PMI March survey, which gives a glimpse into regional manufacturing conditions, is released. Economists expect the headline index to tick down to 56.5 from 56.8 last month, indicating a moderate but robust pace of expansion in the region (any reading over 50 on the index indicates growth).
  • The final economic data release comes at 11:00 AM with the release of the Kansas City Fed’s March manufacturing survey. Economists expect the index to rebound to -3 from last month’s dismal -10 figure (any number below 0 on the index indicates contraction). Last month, the steep drop in manufacturing activity was blamed on the effects of federal spending cuts that formed the sequester. Follow all of the data LIVE on Business Insider >
  • BONUS: Amanda Bynes was spotted in Times Square wearing a blue button-down shirt – on her head.

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