Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading with the Nikkei down 1 per cent on a stronger yen. Chinese markets are closed for the New Year holiday. Europe is mixed and U.S. futures are modestly higher.
- In his State of the Union speech, President Obama spent some time discussing fiscal issues like the sequestration deadline which is fast approaching. Referring to Republicans’ call to cut spending, he said, “Most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let’s be clear: deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan.” OBAMA: These are the 17 things we can do to grow our economy >
- But the president also focused on other issues that would be part of his legacy including immigration reform, gun control, and climate change. One of the key changes that the President stressed on was raising the minimum wage to $9.00. The 30 charts and stats that Obama wanted you to see during the State of the Union >
- The much awaited advance January retail sales report indicated that sales grew 0.1 per cent last month, right in line with expectations. Excluding autos, sales rose 0.2 per cent, ahead of expectations of a 0.1 per cent rise. Excluding autos and gas, however, sales only rose 0.2 per cent versus estimates for a 0.4 per cent advance.
- Two people familiar with the plans, told Bloomberg that Apple is proceeding with its iWatch and has 100 people, including product designers, marketers, and hardware and software engineers, working on it.
- Deere & Company reported a record Q1 net income of $1.65 per share, on revenue of $7.421 billion. This was the eleventh straight quarter of record earnings, according to CEO Samuel Allen.
- Bank of England governor Mervyn King said inflation will rise in the near-term and stay above the two per cent target for the next two years. He also warned that the economic recovery would be sluggish. While he promised to do more with monetary policy if necessary, he said there were limits to its effectiveness.
- Eurozone industrial production rose 0.7 per cent in December, against expectations of a 0.2 per cent rise.
- Import prices climbed 0.6 per cent, and export prices were up 0.3 per cent in January. Business inventories for December will be out at 10 a.m. ET. Consensus is for inventories to rise 0.3 per cent mum. Follow the release at Business Insider >
- In M&A news, U.S. regulators approved China’s state-owned CNOOC’s $15.1 billion takeover of Canadian oil and gas company Nexen. The deal is expected to close the week of February 25. Meanwhile, Comcast is buying GE’s 49 per cent stake in NBCUniversal for about $16.7 billion.
- Bonus – Miranda Kerr is the new ambassador for Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy.
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