10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Dog showReuters/Darren StaplesA Hungarian Vizsla appears before the judges at the Crufts Dog Show in Birmingham, central England

Here is what you need to know.

It’s jobs day! The February US employment report is due out at 8:30 a.m. ET. The consensus is calling for the US economy to add 235,000 nonfarm payrolls and for the unemployment rate to tick down to 5.6% (currently 5.7%). Private payrolls, average hourly earnings, and the trade balance will also cross the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET.The US 10-year yield holds steady at 2.12% ahead of the data.

All 31 banks passed Fed stress tests.The tests measured how well the banks would handle an adverse shock to the economy. Some of the biggest banks posted the weakest results, because of how their large trading books would suffer as the financial markets tumble. Reuters reports,Zions Bancorp had the lowest reading, coming in at 5.1 per cent in the simulation, which included a 25 per cent drop in home prices and a stock market drop of nearly 60 per cent. Last year, the bank fell just short of the 5 per cent mark.”

Global stock markets are mixed. Japan’s Nikkei (+1.2%) led Asian stock markets higher while China’s Shanghai Composite (-0.2%) slid. In Europe, most of the major averages drift little changed with Italy’s MIB (+0.4%) out in front. US futures are flat.

Germany industrial production topped estimates. Industrial output rose 0.6% month-over-month, slightly outpacing the 0.5% mum gain that was expected. Today’s number was supported by the weak euro and low energy prices, and marked a 5th straight month of gains. Germany’s 10-year yield is little changed at 0.35%.

Marie Le Pen outlined her plans for France to leave the euro. The leader of the Front National party, the 3rd largest political party in France, discussed how a move back to the franc would “allow France to boost exports.” France’s 10-year yield holds unchanged at 0.64%.

Swiss CPI cooled. Consumer prices in Switzerland continued to slide following the Swiss National Bank’s January removal of its EURCHF1.20 floor. Prices fell 0.8% year-over-year after posting a 0.5% YoY dive in January. The Swiss franc is down 0.3% at .9770 and trading at its worst levels against the dollar since the removal of the floor on January 15.

Greece’s creditors are holding firm. Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism, announced “Greece must pay back these loans in full. That’s what we expect and nothing has changed in that regard.” The comments follow talk suggesting the struggling country may see some debt relief. Despite the tough rhetoric, Greece’s 3-year yield is lower by 58 basis points at 13.24%.

The US Dollar Index trades at an 11-year high. An overnight bid ran action up 0.3% to 96.70, marking its best level since June 2003. The heavy weighting of the euro has impacted the move as the single currency makes up approximately two-thirds of the Index, and is trading at its worst levels since September 2003.

Big Lots topped expectations. The company posted earnings of $US1.76 per share, topping the $US1.75 per share that was anticipated. Revenues rose 1.4% YoY to $US1.59 billion. Not all the news was good as Big Lots announced full-year 2015 EPS of $US2.75-$US2.90, compared to the consensus of $US2.94.

Office supplier Staples posted mixed results. The company announced earnings of $US0.31 per share, excluding non-recurring items, slightly outpacing the $US0.30 per share that ws expected. Sales fell 3.7% for the quarter to $US5.9 billion, impacted by the strong dollar and tepid demand for its products.

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