Here is what you need to know.
Chinese stocks crashed. China’s Shanghai Composite tumbled 6.4%, posting its biggest one-day retreat since January 26. The industrial and telecom sectors were hardest hit, both losing more than 8%. Bloomberg says a spike in short-term money market rates contributed to the slide. Thursday’s close was the worst since February 3.
China is the billionaire capital of the world. The South China Morning Post reports, the new Hurun Global Rich List says the amount of billionaires in China has surpassed that of the US. Of the 2,188 billionaires in the world, 568 are Chinese, compared to 535 Americans. Bill Gates remained the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $80 billion.
Greek and Portuguese banks don’t have to participate in the stress test. A sample of 51 banks that will be put through the European Banking Authority’s stress test won’t include Greek or Portuguese banks. A statement released by the EBA said the banks will be tested on their ability to withstand “foreign demand shocks, financial shocks and domestic demand shocks.” Only banks with €30 billion or more in assets were eligible to participate.
The ECB’s favourite inflation reading is at a record low. On Thursday, the final reading of euro area inflation for January was revised down to 0.3% year-over-year from its previous look of 0.4%. More worrying for the ECB was that its favourite inflation gauge, the five year, five year eurozone breakeven forward hit a record low below 1.40%. According to a Reuters poll, the ECB is expected to cut its deposit rate by 10 basis points to -0.40% at its March meeting in an effort to jump start inflation expectations. The euro is higher by 0.2% at 1.1032.
UK GDP was unchanged. The UK’s fourth quarter second estimate of GDP held at 0.4% quarter-over-quarter, matching estimates. The British pound is up 0.1% at 1.3947.
Foxconn is buying over Sharp. Foxconn, the builder of iPhones, Kindles and Playstations is buying Japanese electronics maker Sharp. Sources told Reuters, Foxconn will invest 659 billion yen ($5.9 billion) in the struggling firm. The acquisition will help Foxconn compete with rival Samsung.
Pretty much everything went wrong for Restoration Hardware in Q4. The home-furnishings company announced terrible preliminary earnings of $0.99 per share on revenue of $647 million. Those figures were well below the $1.40 and $711 million that were expected. The company reported “a fair amount of bad news ” for the quarter as it experienced shipping delays from some vendors, sagging sales in markets hit hard by the oil crash and a failed marketing campaign. Shares of Restoration Hardware were down as much as 20% in after-hours trade.
Global stock markets are mostly higher. Spain’s IBEX (+2.6%) leads the gains in Europe after Japan’s Nikkei (+1.4%) paced the advance in Asia. S&P 500 futures are up 3.00 points at 1933.25.
Earnings reporting remains heavy. Anheuser Busch InBev, Best Buy, Domino’s Pizza, Kohl’s, and Sears Holdings are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell. Baidu.com. Gap, Herbalife, and Kraft Heinz highlight the names releasing their quarterly results after markets close.
US economic data picks up. Initial and continuing claims and durable orders are due out at 8:30 a.m. ET before the FHFA Housing Market Index crosses the wires at 9 a.m. ET. Then, at 10:30 a.m. ET, natural gas inventories are set for release. The US Treasury will hold at $26 billion 7-year note auction at 1 p.m. ET. The US 7-year yield is down 2 basis points at 1.49%.
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