10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Burning pirated moviesReuters/Jon WooGovernment officials look on as pirated publications, including DVDs, CDs etc, are placed on the ground before being destroyed, during a campaign against piracy in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

Before markets open on Tuesday, here are 10 things you need to know.

The ECB is considering plans to restrict funding to Greek banks. Bloomberg reports, “ECB staff have produced a proposal to increase the haircuts banks take on the collateral they post when borrowing from the Bank of Greece.” The self-imposed April 24 deadline for Greece’s government to secure bailout cash is quickly approaching, and will likely not be met. Greece’s 3-year yield is higher by 30 basis points at 28.32%.

Tianwei becomes the first state-owned firm to default on onshore bonds. Chinese power-transformer Baoding Tianwei Group Co., a unit of central government-owned China South Industries Group Corp. warned it will miss its interest payment due Tuesday. The company will continue to raise cash through asset sales and other means. The default is the second by a mainland company in as many days as Kaisa defaulted on its dollar-denominated debt on Monday.

IBM posted a mixed quarter. The company announced non-GAAP earnings of $US2.91 per share, topping the $US2.82 that was expected. Revenues fell 11.9% year-over-year to $US19.59 billion, missing street expectations of $US19.73 billion. Investors were given a bit of good news as
cloud revenues jumped 75%, adjusting for foreign exchange headwinds, and were up 60% on a straight GAAP basis.

The latest Reserve Bank of Australia minutes hint at more rate cuts. The minutes suggested, “Further easing of policy may be appropriate over the period ahead to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation consistent with the target.” The RBA kept its benchmark yield unchanged at a record low 2.25% at last month’s meeting to see how the previous rate cuts are working their way through the system. Australia’s dollar is unchanged at .7725.

The Bank of England has inquired why a Berkshire Hathaway unit was not included on the “too big to fail” list. The Financial Times is reporting the Bank of England has asked the US Treasury why Berkshire Hathaway’s reinsurance operations were left off the list of “too big to fail” institutions. It should be noted that no reinsurance companies have been included on the list.

ZEW Economic Sentiment figures were mixed. Germany’s ZEW Economic Sentiment dipped to a two-month low in April, slipping to 53.3 from 54.8. The euro zone as a whole fared better as Tuesday’s reading of 64.8 marked the best since February 2014. The euro is down 0.6% at 1.0680.

The US and Japan are nearing a huge trade deal. A top US diplomat to Asia says the US and Japan are within “grabbing distance” of resolving their differences in regards to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation free-trade agreement.
According to AFP, “The trade deal would encompass 40 per cent of the global economy and has been the subject of protracted negotiations. But it does not include China — the world’s second largest economy.” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to visit the United States from April 26 to May 3 in hopes of completing a deal. Japan’s yen is lower by 0.2% at 119.43 per dollar.

Rio Tinto production numbers slow. The mining giant announced production of 74.7 million tonnes of iron ore in the first quarter, making for a 12% year-over-year increase and a 6% drop from the previous quarter. Unfavorable weather conditions were blamed for the production miss.

Global stock markets are higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (+2.8%) led the way in Asia and Germany’s DAX (+0.5%) paces the advance in Europe.

US economic data remains absent. Data for the week kicks off tomorrow. The US 10-year yield is down 1 basis point at 1.88%.

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