Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly higher in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei rose 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5 per cent, officially entering a bull market. European markets are in the red, with Spain and Italy both down 0.6 per cent. In the United States, futures point to a negative open.
- The Federal Reserve begins its two-day FOMC monetary policy meeting today. With the bond market more skittish than usual as investors try to guess when the Fed will pull back the stimulus, the outcome of the meeting will be closely watched. The consensus estimate among economists is that the Fed will buy $1.14 trillion in bonds under its latest quantitative easing program before ending asset purchases sometime in the first quarter of 2014. Bernanke’s Ideal Great Rotation >
- This morning, Ford reported earnings of $0.32 per share versus estimates of $0.25 and revenues of $36.5 billion versus estimates of $33.03 billion in Q4 2012. Pre-tax profits were the highest in a decade and were driven by a boost in Ford F-Series pickup truck sales in North America.
- After the closing bell Monday, Yahoo! reported earnings of $0.32 per share versus expectations of $0.28 and revenues of $1.22 billion versus estimates of $1.21 billion. Search revenues were up 14 per cent from the previous year, but display advertising was down 5 per cent.
- Global mining giant Anglo American announced it would take a $4 billion writedown on its iron ore mining project in Brazil after uncontrolled costs and delays upped the final bill on the project. Other mining companies are expected to announce similar writedowns as they deal with the same issues.
- Japan small business confidence rose for the second straight month in January to an index level of 44.3 from last month’s reading of 43.8. Manufacturing confidence rose to 41.1 from last month’s reading of 40.7 and nonmanufacturing confidence rose to 46.9 from 46.4.
- The Reserve Bank of India cut interest rates to 7.75 per cent from 8 per cent and lowered the cash reserve ratio to 4 per cent from 4.25 per cent in a bid to spur growth, saying it had policy space – “albeit limited” – to do so. The central bank also lowered its March inflation forecast to 6.8 per cent from 7.5 per cent. The changes come as the country faces declining growth rates and growing deficits.
- The German GfK consumer sentiment index rose to 5.8 for February from January’s 5.7 reading. The economic expectations sub-index rose to -11.3 from last month’s reading of -17.9. On economic expectations, GfK said, “The downward trend of the indicator has come to an end. It is becoming ever more realistic to hope that the tide will soon turn.”
- The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 5.52 per cent year-over-year in November, in line with expectations. Prices were up 0.63 per cent from the previous month, below expectations of a 0.7 per cent rise.
- At 10 AM, the Conference Board releases January Consumer Confidence data. The index is expected to fall to 64.0 from last month’s 65.1 reading. Follow the releases LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: January Jones says her hair is falling out in clumps.