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- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei fell 1.9 per cent and the Hang Seng fell 2.3 per cent, but the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2 per cent. European markets are higher, with Spain up 1.7 per cent and Italy up 1.3 per cent. In the United States, futures are down slightly.
- China’s HSBC services PMI jumped to a 54.0 reading in January, up from 51.7 the month before. The release follows official services PMI numbers out over the weekend, which showed only incremental gains, rising to 56.2 from 56.1. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.
- China’s central bank injected a record $72 billion into money markets to satisfy outsized demand for cash during China’s upcoming New Year celebrations. The move is not said to constitute a change in monetary policy. BofA Merrill Lynch economist Ting Lu wrote in a note to clients following the move, “Since early 2012 we noticed that the People’s Bank of China has put much more emphasis on stabilising interbank rates and has become much more flexible in using a variety of monetary tools to deliver stable rates.”
- The Reserve Bank of Australia elected to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3 per cent at the central bank’s latest policy meeting, but stressed that the inflation outlook provided further scope for easing. Deutsche Bank strategist John Horner wrote in a note to clients following the decision, “the weakness in Australian employment indicators meant some form of easing bias was always likely, but … the clear improvement in the Chinese outlook means there is little urgency to act on this bias.”
- The composite euro-zone services PMI rose slightly to 48.6 in January from the previous month’s 48.3 reading, indicating a slightly reduced pace of contraction. Germany showed robust growth in services, with its PMI reading rising to 55.7 from 55.3, but the pace of contraction in Italy accelerated – the Italian services PMI fell to 43.9 from 45.6.
- Euro-zone retail sales contracted 0.8 per cent in December, down 3.4 per cent from the previous year, versus economists’ estimates of 0.5 per cent and 1.4 per cent declines, respectively. The numbers mark an accelerated pace of contraction from the previous month, when retail sales fell 0.1 per cent, and was driven by weak sales of food and beverages.
- U.K. services PMI showed that Britain’s services sector unexpectedly crossed into expansionary territory in January. The index leaped to 51.5 from the previous month’s 48.9 reading, sailing by economists’ estimates of a smaller gain to 49.5 on the index. Citi economist Michael Saunders wrote in a note following the release, “These results suggest that, unless there is some new erratic factor, the economy may be growing a little in Q1 after negative growth in four of the prior five quarters.”
- Swiss investment banking giant UBS reported a $2.1 billion loss in the fourth quarter, tied to fines from the LIBOR scandal and costs incurred from job cuts during the quarter. Analysts were expecting the bank to post a $2.4 billion loss. “The big plus is deleveraging – that’s going really well. On the negative side, there’ll be downgrades on the earnings because of wealth management numbers, Mediobanca analyst Christopher Wheeler told Bloomberg News.
- Toyota profits rose 23 per cent in the fourth quarter, and the Japanese auto maker is raising its forecasts for 2013, thanks to the depreciating yen. The company sees net profits 10 per cent higher than before – at ¥860 billion ($9.3 billion) from ¥780 billion – and expects to post the first operating profit in five years on yen weakness. Toyota also expects to manufacture 8.85 million vehicles this year, up from previous estimates of 8.75 million units.
- The lone economic data release in the United States today is January ISM Non-Manufacturing, due out at 10 AM ET. The indicator of activity in the services sector is expected to fall slightly to 55.0 from last month’s 55.7 reading. Follow the release LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Actress Julianne Hough says real-life boyfriend Ryan Seacrest doesn’t get jealous over her on-screen relationships.
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