Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia were mixed in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei fell 0.2% and the Shanghai Composite retreated 1.0% to kick off the shortened week. European markets are mostly lower with the exception of Germany, currently up 0.5%. In the United States, futures point to a negative open.
- Japan released several economic data points last night, with household spending, the jobless rate, large retailers’ sales, and housing starts all surprising to the upside. However, retail trade, industrial production, and vehicle production were all weaker than expected.
- Euro zone unemployment hit a fresh all-time high of 12.1% in March as predicted, up from 12.0% in February. The German unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.9%, but the increase in the number of unemployed, at 4,000 in March, was double what was predicted by economists. In Italy, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 11.5%, defying expectations for a rise to 11.7%.
- German retail sales fell 0.3% in March after dropping 0.6% in February. While the 0.3% decline was right in line with estimates, the data highlight continued weakness in the German economy. The German index of consumer confidence, though, unexpectedly rose to 6.2 from last month’s 6.0 reading.
- Euro zone consumer price inflation fell sharply on a year-over-year basis in April to 1.2%, down from 1.7% in March and well below estimates for a tick down to 1.6%. The release suggests ongoing deflationary pressures in the euro area and may strengthen the case for an ECB interest rate cut at the central bank’s policy meeting on Thursday.
- Swiss investment bank UBS reported better-than-expected first quarter earnings this morning, driven by strength in its wealth management and investment banking businesses, the latter doubling profits from the previous year. CEO Sergio Emotti cautioned against this kind of growth continuing.
- American health insurer Aetna reported better-than-expected earnings, but revenues came short of forecasts. The company’s total medical benefit ratio (the amount of premiums used to pay patient medical costs) fell to 81.9% in Q1 from 84.1% in Q4 of 2012.
- The February Case-Shiller index of home prices, due out at 9 AM ET, is expected to show that home prices across the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas rose 0.9%, or 9.0% year over year, in February after posting a 1.02%, or 8.1% year over year, advance in January.
- Out at 9:45 is the Chicago PMI, a monthly survey of regional manufacturing conditions. The headline index is expected to tick up to 52.5 from last month’s 52.4 reading, indicating a slight acceleration in the pace of expansion in Midwest manufacturing.
- The results of the Conference Board’s monthly consumer confidence survey are released at 10 AM. Economists predict the index rose to 61.0 in April from 59.7 in March. Follow all of the data LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Taylor Swift reportedly paid $17.75 million in cash for a mansion in Rhode Island.
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