Photo: Rihanna via Twitter
Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading with the Nikkei up 0.72 per cent. Meanwhile, the Karachi Stock Exchange plunged after its Supreme Court ordered the arrest of prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. Europe is mixed and U.S. futures are modestly lower as concerns build over the debt ceiling.
- The yen strengthened last night after Japan’s economy minister Akari Amari warned that import prices would surge on excessive yen weakness. Societe Generale’s Kit Juckes wrote, “official comments on policy and the currency have been one-way traffic – weakening the yen – since the elections last month. I suspect that thee is near-unanimity in the market that the yen has fallen too far, too fast, but also enthusiasm to sell into corrections such as this.”
- The debt ceiling debate continues to heat up. President Obama has said that he sees no alternative to raising the debt ceiling and Congress would be “irresponsible” not to do so. Some analysts have said a government shutdown should be assumed. Meanwhile, Fitch warned that the failure to raise the debt ceiling will prompt a downgrade of U.S. credit rating even if debt payments are made. Goldman: Hide your kids, the sequester is coming >
- Homebuilder Lennar Corp. beat expectations when it reported Q4 net income of $124.3 million or $0.56 per share, against estimates for $0.45 per share. Revenue increased 42 per cent to $1.35 billion.
- The German economy contracted 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter, according to a preliminary estimate by the Federal Statistics Office. Growth is said to have slowed to 0.7 per cent in 2012, from 3 per cent in 2011.
- In December, retail sales grew 0.5 per cent, exceeding expectations of a 0.2 per cent gain, according to the advance estimate. Retail sales ex-autos and gas were up 0.6 per cent versus expectations of a 0.4 per cent gain. Meanwhile, producer prices fell 0.2 per cent in December versus expectations of a 0.1 per cent decline.
- Lulemon’s shares were down 7 per cent in after hours trading after the company revised its financial guidance. It now expects Q4 net revenue in the high end of its $475 million to $480 million range, which is below the $489 million analysts are looking for. This presentation will have you convinced that stocks are going sideways for a decade >Facebook shares are up in pre-market trading ahead of its mysterious event at its Menlo Park, California headquarters at 10 a.m. PT.
- The New York Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell to -7.78 from last month’s upwardly-revised -7.30 reading, missing expectations of a rise to 0.00. Business inventories for November are released at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect inventories to rise 0.3 per cent from last month. Follow the release at Money Game >
- UK consumer prices were up 2.7 per cent year-over-year in December, the same rate as the October and November. Rising electricity and gas prices kept inflation above the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target.
- Bonus – Complex magazine created seven covers of Rihanna to celebrate her seventh album.