Here is what you need to know.
Chinese home prices are up. Home prices in China rose 2.5% year-over-year nationally. The gains made for a fourth straight monthly increase, and the quickest price acceleration since July 2014. The city of Shenzhen saw the fastest appreciation compared to last year with prices up 50.9%. Elsewhere, prices in Beijing and Shanghai jumped 10.3% and 17.5%, respectively.
Japan has no inflation. Japan’s consumer price inflation fell to 0% in January, increasing speculation the Bank of Japan could increase its massive stimulus program. The core-core reading, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.7% in February, making for a small drop from January’s 0.8% print. Earlier this week, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kurdoa said the central bank wouldn’t hesitate to add more stimulus if it thought a “deflationary mindset” was taking hold. The Japanese yen is stronger by 0.2% at 112.80 per dollar.
Economic confidence in the euro-area hit its lowest since June. The euro-area’s reading on economic confidence fell to 103.8 in February from 105.1 in January, making for the lowest reading since June. The internals of the report were weak as confidence measures for consumers, services, retail and industrials all declined. The euro is little changed at 1.1025.
Portuguese bonds are rallying after its new budget was released. Moody’s says the approval of Portugal’s budget is a “credit positive” for the country. The ratings agency thinks the new budget “sets out a more realistic course” than the initial budget that was presented in February, and “removes the risk of early elections.” Portuguese bonds are rallying on the news, pushing the 10-year yield down 16 basis points to 3.14%.
Weight Watchers is getting crushed on earnings. Weight Watchers announced an adjusted loss of $0.03 per share, missing the $0.02 gain that was expected by the Bloomberg consensus. Revenue of $259.2 million was a bit better than the $257 million that was expected, but that was overlooked as active subscribers fell 4.8%. The company guided 2016 earnings of between $0.70 and $1 versus the consensus estimate of $0.81. Shares of Weight Watchers crashed as much as 22% in after-hours action.
HP announced its going to speed up layoffs. The enterprise giant announced in-line earnings of $0.36 per share on revenue of $12.25 billion. CEO Dion Weisler said he wants to accelerate HP’s restructuring program, and that the 3,000 layoffs that were supposed to come over the next couple of years will come in 2016. According to CFO Cathie Lesjak, HP has already trimmed 400 jobs in the first quarter, and that once the cuts are finished, they will amount to $300 million in savings starting next year.
Halliburton is cutting jobs. The oilfield services provider said it will eliminate 5,000 jobs, or 8% of its workforce, company spokeswoman Emily Mir told Reuters. The layoffs are part of a cost-cutting effort to deal with the fallout from the oil price slump. Rival Schlumberger announced the elimination 10,000 jobs at the end of 2015. According to Reuters, Halliburton has already cut 25% of its staff since the end 2014.
Stock markets everywhere are higher. Germany’s DAX (+2%) leads the gains in Europe after Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (+2.5%) paced the overnight advance. S&P 500 futures are higher by 10.75 points at 1961.25.
Earnings reporting slows. Foot Locker and Sotheby’s are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell.
US economic data is heavy. GDP, personal income and spending and core PCE prices will all be released at 8:30 a.m. ET before University of Michigan consumer sentiment crosses the wires at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 1.73%.
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