Here is what you need to know.
European markets are lower after multiple explosions in Brussels, Belgium. The major European averages tumbled to losses of close to 2% following the news of three explosions in Brussels. Markets recovered off their worst levels as things appeared to calm down, but then reports of a fourth explosion surfaced. That sent markets off their recovery highs. However, it was discovered the fourth explosion was a result of authorities blowing up a suspicious package. European averages have since recovered and are down between 0.6% and 0.9%.
German business confidence bounced back. Germany’s Ifo Business Climate survey gained for the first time in four months during March, climbing to 106.7 from 105.7. The report found that both current business conditions and expectations showed improvement. According to the report, “Construction was the only sector in which the business climate index declined somewhat.”
Europe has regained some momentum. The latest European PMI data showed the eurozone’s composite reading climbed to a three-month high of 53.7 in February after printing 53.0 in January. While German services saw a bump up to 55.5 (55.3 previous), manufacturing slipped to 50.4 (50.5 previous). The euro is down 0.3% at 1.1210.
UK inflation held steady. Inflation in the UK held at up 0.3% year-over-year in February, missing the 0.4% gain that was anticipated. Stripping out the more volatile food and energy components, prices were up 1.2% YoY, which was also unchanged from February. The reading remains well below the Bank of England’s 2% target. The British pound is weaker by 0.6% at 1.4281.
Moody’s says the UK would take a ‘small’ hit in the event of a Brexit. Credit rating agency Moody’s pushed back against unionist claims that a Brexit would cost the British economy billions of pounds and millions of jobs. “Our central view is that the negative economic impact of Brexit would be relatively small,” Moody’s said. “”[We do] not expect to see significant increases in unemployment or [interest] rates, or substantial declines in property prices across the UK as a whole.” In another note, Moody’s warned the biggest risk to the UK economy in the near-term is the uncertainty it creates for businesses. The Brexit vote will take place on June 23.
The hearing for Apple versus the FBI was canceled. Tuesday’s hearing that was scheduled between the FBI and Apple has been canceled after the FBI said it found a way to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters. “[A]n outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone,” according to a motion filed by the FBI. The FBI didn’t say who provided the method of unlocking the phone, but did say it was someone outside of the US government.
Brazil’s oil giant reported its biggest loss ever. Petrobras reported a loss of 36.9 billion reais ($10.2 billion) in the fourth quarter, its biggest on record. The loss was 48% larger than a year ago, and turned the oil giant’s full year 2015 results into a loss, according to Reuters. 83% of Petrobras’ 46.4 billion reais write off in the quarter was resulted to oil fields. The stock is down 7% in pre-market trade.
Global markets are mostly lower. Aside from everything happening in Europe, China’s Shanghai Composite (-0.6%) paced the decline in Asia as Japan’s Nikkei outperformed (+1.9%). S&P 500 futures are down 8.50 points at 2034.25. Elsewhere, silver is seeing a strong bid, up 0.9% at 15.99 per ounce.
Earnings reports continue to trickle out. Nike and Krispy Kreme are among the names reporting following the closing bell. Nike is expected to earn $0.49 per share on revenue of $8.20 billion, according to the Bloomberg consensus.
US economic data remains light. The FHFA Housing Price Index will be released at 9 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 1 basis point at 1.95%.