Here’s what you need to know before markets open this week.
There’s been a major shakeup at Twitter. Re/code’s Kurt Wagner and Kara Swisher and the New York Times’ Mike Issac reported four top executives are leaving Twitter. Twitter’s product head Kevin Weil, media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, senior vice president of engineering Alex Roetter, and Vine head Jason Toff are all on the way out. In addition, a person close to the situation told Business Insider, the company will appoint two new board members, one of which will be a prominent name in the media industry.
Morgan Stanley’s CEO took a big pay cut. James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, saw a 6.7% drop in compensation compared to last year. For his efforts in 2015, Gorman received $21 million, including a $1.5 million base salary and $4.6 million in stock unit awards. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein received total compensation of $23 million for 2015 while JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon took home $27 million.
Alibaba is projected to have its slowest growth on record. Jack Ma’s Alibaba is projected to have revenue growth of 26.6%, according to a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate. That would mark the slowest growth since the company began publishing the data three and a half-years ago. The slowdown in revenue growth comes amid increased competition from rival JD.com, who is said to have higher-quality products that cater to the affluent customer.
McDonald’s is expanding in Russia. The golden arches are about to have a bigger presence in Russia. According to Reuters, McDonald’s says it will open more than 60 restaurants in Russia during 2016. “The eating-out industry has been stagnating since the beginning of 2015 but we have seen significant growth of our market share as we continued expansion,” Khamzat Khasbulatov, chief executive of McDonald’s Russia, said at a news conference. McDonald’s attributes it success in Russia to its focus on local suppliers and affordable menus.
Japan’s annual trade deficit swung to a surplus. Japan’s trade deficit narrowed for a fifth straight year in 2015, falling to ¥2.8 trillion ($23.6 billion). Exports fell 8% year-over-year as shipments to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, sank 8.6% YoY. Imports were down 18% from a year earlier thanks largely to the crash in oil prices. The Japanese yen is up 0.3% at 118.38 per dollar.
German Business sentiment slowed. Ifo Business Climate fell to 107.3 in January from 108.6 in December. While the current situation saw a slight slowdown, business expectations “clouded over significantly.” According to Hans-Werner Sinn, President of the Ifo Institute, “The year started with an unpleasant surprise for the German economy.” The euro is stronger by 0.2% at 1.0822.
Russia’s GDP saw a big drop. The Russian economy contracted 3.7% in 2015, making for the biggest drop in six years, according to FT. The weakness in Russia comes as a result of the sharp drop in oil prices and the economic sanctions imposed by the West. The Russian ruble is weaker by 2.4% at 79.9850, and just off its all-time low versus the US dollar.
Stock markets around the globe are mixed. Australia’s ASX (+1.8%) paced the overnight gains and Spain’s IBEX (-0.8%) leads the losses in Europe. S&P 500 futures are lower by 5.50 points at 1894.00.
Earnings season picks up. DR Horton, Halliburton and McDonald’s will release their quarterly results before markets open.
US economic data is absent. Economic data for the week begins to flow on Tuesday with Case-Shiller 20-city Index, FHFA Housing Price Index and consumer confidence. The US 10-year yield is down 3 basis points at 2.03%.