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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Overnight trading started the day off strong in Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei up 1.7 per cent. Meanwhile, European shares have been flat this morning, and U.S. futures point to a mixed open.
- 85.5 per cent of Greek bondholders have agreed to participate in a bond swap with the government. Greek officials say they will now trigger the collective action clause forcing bondholders to forgive €100 billion in debt. Debt holders are expected to take write downs of 74 per cent. Click here to read what Nouriel Roubini thinks about the haircut >
- Nonfarm payrolls increased by 227,000 in February, new data out of the Bureau of labour Statistics shows. That tops expectations for a 210,000 gain, but was well below a Business Insider model that pegged the jump at 285,000. The unemployment rate remained steady at 8.3 per cent. The January and December jobs reports were revised higher by a combined 61,000 jobs as well.
- Chinese consumer prices increased at the slowest pace in 20 months, data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows. CPI moved 3.2 per cent higher in February against year-ago levels. Producer prices were flat during the month, against expectations for a 0.1 per cent increase. The biggest China bull explains why a hard landing doesn’t scare him.
- German exports rebounded at a faster rate than expected in January, gaining 2.3 per cent from December to €88.7 billion, or $117.7 billion. Economists had forecast a 2.0 per cent increase. Imports to the country accelerated at a greater pace, growing 2.4 per cent to €74.5 billion.
- British industrial production unexpectedly fell 0.4 per cent in January, while Italian output declined 2.5 per cent during the same period, new data shows. Analysts had forecast a 0.2 per cent gain in the U.K. and 0.8 per cent drop in Italy, during the month.
- An amendment that would have combined the Keystone oil pipeline with a transportation bill making its way through the Senate was blocked by Democrats. Republicans had attempted to speed regulatory approval of TransCanada’s $7 billion project by tying it with the larger funding proposal. The vote, which needed 60 votes to advance, was four votes shy.
- Starbucks will begin selling single-cup coffee brewing makers, entering direct competition with former partner Green Mountain Coffee. Shares in Green Mountain plunged 24 per cent after the announcement in after-hours trading. The Keurig manufacturer’s main patents are set to expire shortly, putting the company’s revenue stream in question. These are the six reasons Whitney Tilson is short Green Mountain.
- Bank of America has agreed to let more than 200,000 mortgage holders in difficulty substantially reduce their balances, the Wall Street Journal’s Ruth Simon and Nick Timiraos report. The deal could allow the firm to sidestep part of the $850 million in penalties recently levied by the U.S. government, and includes deeper cuts than other banks have made.
- Texas Instruments cut its first quarter guidance yesterday after the bell, citing weakness in its wireless unit. Revenue is now expected in a range of $2.99 to $3.11 billion, below Wall Street projections of $3.16 billion. Earnings per share was cut from $0.16 to $0.24, to $0.15 to $0.19.