Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly lower in overnight trading with the Shanghai Composite down 0.6 per cent, and the Nikkei surging 2.8 per cent. Europe is higher, and U.S. futures are modestly higher.
- The Portuguese Supreme court rejected austerity measures that were part of its bailout deal. And the European Commission has since warned that if Portugal fails to implement the measures, it would not get more aid. Meanwhile, Portuguese prime minister has said he will look for new spending cuts to keep the deal on track. Why people in Europe are getting gloomy again >
- The Nikkei surged and yen fell as the Bank of Japan’s monetary easing announcement last week boosted stock purchases. The central bank also carried out its first bond purchases since the announcement.
- German industrial production climbed 0.5 per cent month-over-month in February. This compares with -0.6 per cent the previous month, and expectations for a 0.3 per cent rise. Soros: Gold has been destroyed as a safe haven >
- Q1 earnings season officially begins today with Alcoa’s earnings announcement after the market’s close. Expectations are for earnings of $0.08 per share.
- General Electric has agreed to acquire oil and gas equipment maker Lufkin Industries for $3.3 billion. Lufkin shareholders will get $88.50 per share in cash, according to a press release. Lufkin’s shares are up over 4 per cent in pre-market trading.
- China and Australia have agreed to directly convert their currencies in mainland China. This is a significant step in making the yuan fully-convertible and in internationalizing the currency. Everything you need to know about the renminbi >
- UPS is appealing the EU’s decision to block its €5.2 billion merger with TNT Express. A UPS spokesperson told the WSJ that this didn’t show a “renewed interest” in the acquisition, rather, it was to “ensure there’s no precedent that could impact future acquisitions.”
- Greek financial stocks are taking a beating after the National Bank of Greece and Eurobank Ergasias merger was called off. The banks will continue their recapitalization plans independently.
- Macy’s and JC Penney are set to be back in court today to continue their battle over Martha Stewart. Macy’s sued Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in 2012, after the company signed a deal with JC Penney to sell Martha Stewart products. The two retailers failed to settle their dispute in an out of court mediation.
- Bonus – In an interview with Wonderland magazine, Taylor Swift said, “Relationships are like traffic lights. And I just have this theory that I can only exist in a relationship if it’s a green light.”
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