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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Overnight trading in Asia saw markets largely sell-off, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declining 1.3 per cent. Europe is also trending lower, while U.S. futures point to a negative open.
- Unemployment in Germany fell to a 20 year low, new data from the Federal labour Agency shows. The number of jobless citizens declined by 18,000 to 2.84 million, 8,000 better than economists forecast.
- Eurozone consumer confidence fell 10 basis points in March to 94.5, slightly below consensus opinion for no change. The drop was attributed to less confidence in the industrial and construction fields. Click here to see if Germany finally acquiesced to a bigger boost in the eurozone bailout fund.
- Italy successfully sold €8 billion in long-term debt this morning, pushing the yield on the 10-year down to 5.24 per cent. On Feb. 8 the yield on the same bond was 5.50 per cent. Demand improved from the country’s last offering, with the bid-to-cover ratio up 24 basis points to 1.65.
- British home prices fell 1.0 per cent in March, worse than the 0.2 per cent increase economists were looking for. Separately, the Bank of England said that mortgage approvals fell to an eight-month low. Banks offered funding on 48,986 applications in February, down from 57,899 in January.
- Roche increased its bid for Illumina to $51 per share, valuing the company at $6.5 billion. An earlier offer for the gene-sequencing company came in $800 million less at $44.50.
- Two major Chinese banks reported better-than-expected earnings, with both the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China beating. ICBC reported net income of 208.3 billion yuan, while the Bank of China earned net income of 124.2 billion yuan. Jamie Dimon disagrees with some of his analysts about a Chinese hard landing >
- U.S. economic announcements kick off at 8:30 a.m. with a final reading of fourth quarter gross domestic product. Economists forecast it will remain at an annualized growth rate of 3.0 per cent. At the same time, the Department of labour will release weekly unemployment claims, with expectations for a slight increase to 350,000, from last week’s 348,000 reading. Follow both live on Money Game.
- Best Buy reported better than expected earnings this morning, coming in at $2.47 against forecasts for $2.15. However the company reported weak revenue at $16.6 billion, $800 million less than expectations. Best Buy also said it would shutter 50 big box locations as it shifts further to mobile. Here’s the collapse of Best Buy in two simple charts >
- Retailer H&M said net profit increased five per cent to 2.74 billion kronor, or $411 million. That was sharply below estimates for 2.99 billion kronor and sent shares down nearly six per cent. The company said it was negatively impacted by higher cotton prices.