Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were higher in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei rose 2.3 per cent while the Shanghai Composite advanced 1.0 per cent and the Hang Seng gained 0.7 per cent. European markets are mostly lower, with Italy down 2 per cent. In the United States, futures point to a negative open.
- The euro is ripping higher this morning after the results of a 3-month ECB long-term refinancing operation (LTRO) auction confirmed that euro area banks are decreasing their dependence on the central bank. The data reinforce the mood in Europe that monetary policy is beginning to tighten.
- Spain’s recession intensified in the fourth quarter of 2012. GDP fell 1.8 per cent from the previous year, worse than economists’ estimates of a 1.7 per cent drop. The pace of contraction also accelerated from the previous quarter, when GDP fell 1.6 per cent.
- Boeing reported earnings of $1.28 per share, above analysts’ estimates of $1.18. Revenues came in just below expectations at $22.3 billion, but guidance was soft. The company briefly addressed its 787 Dreamliner crisis in the release, but we should get more guidance on the earnings call. Follow the conference call LIVE at 10:30 AM ET >
- Amazon reported earnings, revenue, and profit guidance below analysts’ estimates last night after the closing bell. However, the stock soared to an all-time high in after-hours trading once investors saw that the company also recorded a modest increase in profit margins.
- Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon will step down April 1, citing philosophical differences with the board of directors. The stock soared more than 10 per cent in after-hours trading on the announcement. McClendon spent much of 2012 embroiled in a financial controversy.
- U.S. American Eagle silver coin sales surged to an all-time high of 7.1 million ounces in January. “Not only do we have clients calling in, they are buying in huge quantities…they are buying the entire 500-ounce boxes that are sealed by the U.S. Mint, that’s what people want right now,” a retail coin dealer told Reuters.
- ADP’s January employment report showed that 192,000 private payrolls were added this month, above economists’ estimates of 165,000 added. However, last month’s figure was revised down sharply from 215,000 to 185,000. The report foreshadows the official unemployment data out tomorrow morning.
- At 8:30 AM, we got the first estimate for U.S. fourth-quarter GDP and it was a shocker. The BEA reported that the economy shrank by 0.1 per cent during the quarter. Economists had forecasted that the economy grew 1.1 per cent after advancing 3.1 per cent in Q3. Personal consumption grew 2..2 per cent after posting 1.6 per cent growth in the Q3. Follow the release LIVE on Business Insider >
- At 2:15 PM ET, the Federal Open Market Committee announces its January interest rate decision. 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. The Fed’s most recent release – minutes from the last meeting – has sent yields on an upward trajectory, so traders will also be watching closely for a shift in tone.
- BONUS: TMZ reports that Lindsay Lohan hopped a flight to L.A. in the middle of the night after being warned not to miss her court date.
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