Photo: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei fell 1.8 per cent, but the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.6 per cent and the Hang Seng rose 0.2 per cent. European markets are higher across the board, led by Spain, up 1.1 per cent. In the United States, futures point to a flat open.
- Japan’s current account deficit unexpectedly widened in December to ¥264.1 billion ($2.85 billion) from ¥222.4 billion in November. Economists expected the deficit to shrink to ¥144.2 billion. With the final numbers in for 2012, Japan posted its smallest current account surplus since 1985.
- Chinese exports rose 25 per cent year over year in January while imports expanded 28.8 per cent – both above economists’ estimates. However, the big boost is said to be caused by seasonality associated with the Chinese New Year.
- Consumer prices in China rose 2 per cent year over year in January, down from the 2.5 per cent increase observed in December but right in line with economists’ estimates. TD Securities economist Annette Beacher said inflation will likely rise again next month due to the effects of holiday spending during the Chinese New Year, which means data-watchers will have to wait until March to get a “clean” reading on price activity in China.
- German exports rose 0.3 per cent in December from the previous month, less than the 1.4 per cent advance predicted by economists but better than the 2.2 per cent contraction suffered in November. German imports unexpectedly shrank 1.3 per cent after economists predicted they would expand 1.8 per cent. The trade surplus narrowed more than expected to €12 billion ($16.1 billion).
- European Union leaders introduced their first spending cuts ever to the EU’s 2014-2020 budget, shaped in a marathon session that ran through Thursday evening and into Friday morning. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who recently proposed a British referendum on EU membership, was the driving force behind the cuts.
- LinkedIn posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and sales figures after the closing bell and offered robust guidance in excess of analysts’ estimates for the first quarter of 2013. The stock is up nearly 10 per cent in pre-market trading.
- Credit rating agency Moody’s is expected to post earnings of $0.68 per share before the opening bell. Last night, Reuters reported that the U.S. Justice Department is discussing bringing a lawsuit against Moody’s related to mortgage fraud that contributed to the financial crisis. Moody’s shares have fallen more than 17 per cent since Monday, when the DoJ filed a similar lawsuit against Moody’s rival Standard & Poors.
- In December, the U.S. trade deficit shrank 20.7 per cent to $38.5 billion. Economists expected the deficit to narrow to only $46 billion from November’s $48.6 billion deficit. Today’s data mark the third-largest swing in the trade balance in history.
- At 10 AM, December wholesale inventories figures are released. Economists estimate inventories expanded 0.4 per cent in December after rising 0.6 per cent in November. Follow the releases LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Anne Hathaway posed in Gucci while cleaning gutters for PEOPLE’s Oscar photo shoot.
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