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Consumer prices in China were little changed. Consumer prices rose 2.3% year-over-year in March, in-line with February, but shy of the 2.4% print that economists were forecasting. Pork prices surged 28.4% YoY and fresh vegetable prices jumped 35.8% YoY, surely raising eyebrows in Beijing. As for producer prices, they fell 4.3% YoY, which was an improvement from the 4.9% YoY decline that took place in February. The Chinese yuan slipped 0.1% to 6.4726 per dollar.
The IMF defended negative interest rates. The International Monetary Fund said the use of negative interest rates by some of the world’s biggest central banks is appropriate given the “significant risks” of slow growth, AFP reports. However, the fund also conceded negative rates could produce boom-and-bust cycles. The IMF’s annual spring meetings will take place this week in Washington D.C.
David Cameron published his taxes. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has published his taxes after his father’s name was revealed in the Panama Papers. The returns revealed Cameron and his wife Samantha earned a $19,000 profit from the sale of shares in Blairmore Holdings, his father’s trust named in the Panama Papers. “The UK has been at the forefront of international action to tackle the global scourge of aggressive tax avoidance and evasion, and international corruption more broadly,” Cameron said in a statement. “There is clearly further to go and this taskforce will bring the best of British expertise to deal with any wrongdoing relating to the Panama Papers.”
Bill Gross says the Fed will hike at most twice in 2016. Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund manager Bill Gross told Barron’s he expects the Fed to hike one or two times in 2016. Gross said he anticipates the US 10-year yield will remain near 1.70% throughout the year, and that merger arbitrage situations are likely to provide opportunity.
The Daily Mail is considering a bid for Yahoo. The Daily Mail & General Trust PLC, the parent company of the British tabloid The Daily Mail, is looking into making a bid for Yahoo. According to a Wall Street Journal report, The Daily Mail is speaking with several private equity firms about potentially helping with a bid. Yahoo has set an April 18 deadline to submit bids for its core business. Verizon is expected to make a bid later this week, and Google is said to be considering a bid of its own.
Wells Fargo settled its “shoddy” mortgage practices. The bank agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle civil mortgage-fraud claims related to residential mortgages it sold between 2001 and 2008. “Today, Wells Fargo, one of the biggest mortgage lenders in the world, has been held responsible for years of reckless underwriting, while relying on government insurance to deal with the damage,” US Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York said on Friday. Wells Fargo will report its first-quarter earnings ahead of Thursday’s opening bell.
Sears got a new loan. The department store secured a $500 million loan as it looks to turn around its struggling business. According to Reuters, the retailer says $250 million of the loan was awarded on Friday, and the remaining $250 million will be granted in the future. Chairman Eddie Lampert’s ESL Investments provided $125 million of the initial $250 million loan.
Alcoa kicks off earnings season. Alcoa is expected to earn an adjusted $0.02 per share on revenue of $5.20 billion, according to the Bloomberg consensus. The report is expected to cross the wires shortly after the closing bell.
Stock markets around the world are mixed. Overnight, China’s Shanghai Composite (+1.6%) led and Japan’s Nikkei (-0.4%) lagged. In Europe, Spain’s IBEX (+1.5%) paces the advance. S&P 500 futures are up 8.75 points at 2049.50.
US economic data is absent. Data for the week begins on Tuesday with import/export prices and the Treasury budget. The US 10-year yield is higher by 2 basis points at 1.74%.
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