Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
It’s jobs day in America. The monthly report will come out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists estimate that U.S. companies added 149,000 to nonfarm payrolls in February, up from the prior print of 113,000, and that the unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 6.6%. “The market appears to be set up for a weak number, and a disappointing report will be taken with a grain of salt,” said TD Securities’ Millan Mulraine. “Hiring in February looks unlikely to have snapped the recent slowdown,” said Wells Fargo’s John Silvia. “Another winter storm hit the Southeast and Northeast during the survey week, which is likely to have curtailed hiring over the period.”
Will the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up? Yesterday, Newsweek dropped a bombshell report outing Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, the prominent digital crypto-currency. According to Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman, Satoshi Nakamoto is 64-year-old Japanese American man living outside Los Angeles. His name is indeed Satoshi Nakamoto, once thought to be a pseudonym. Later in the afternoon, Nakomoto emerged from his house — which was surrounded by reporters — to have lunch with a journalist from the AP. The AP’s story conflicted Goodman’s account. Nakamoto had nothing to do with Bitcoin and had never even heard of it before his son was contacted by Newsweek three weeks ago, he told the AP. Newsweek stood by it story. Everyone is still confused.
Bill Gross vs. Mohamed El-Erian. Things got feistier between the two former PIMCO colleagues — Gross still heads the bond fund while El-Erian just had a high-profile exit — after Gross told Reuters that El-Erian is trying to “undermine” him in the press. Gross said that El-Erian “wrote” a damning account in the Wall Street Journal himself. And when Reuters pushed back on that assertion, Gross accused the news organisation of also favouring El-Erian. Gross also suggested that he had been monitoring El-Erian’s phone calls. Then PIMCO said the Reuters article was wrong.
Putin brushes off the west. The Russian president spoke with President Obama over the Russian incursion into Crimea. He said that “Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly, in full compliance with international law.” Also, Russian parliament will support the region’s bid to join Russia, the speaker said.
We’ll get trade balance data at 8:30 a.m. Economists think the trade deficit widened to $US38.5 billion in January. “We anticipate a widening of the trade deficit in January due to a pickup in imports,” wrote Citi’s Peter D’Antonio. “January is a month when imports typically decline, yet customs duties increased in the month, suggesting a sizable rise in the seasonally adjusted figure. Our forecast actually includes a pullback in oil imports reflecting a decline in price.”
At 3:00 p.m., consumer credit will be released. Economists predict consumer credit balances expanded by $US14 billion in January. “After rising by $US18.8bn in December, we forecast that total US consumer credit outstanding rose by $US13.0bn in January,” wrote Barclays’ economists. “As has been the case in the past few years, this would largely reflect steady growth in the nonrevolving component, specifically in federal student loans; over the course of 2013, nonrevolving credit rose by over $US165bn, while revolving credit increased only $US16bn.”
Global markets were mixed in overnight trading. Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.92% and Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.05%. European markets were broadly lower, with Germany the most off the mark. U.S. futures were roughly flat.
German manufacturing lights up. Industrial orders in the country jumped 1.2% in January, double the forecast from economists. “Industrial orders started the new year well, despite a small volume of big-ticket orders… The strongest momentum is coming from abroad, from both within and outside the euro zone. Domestic demand is also developing positively, at a slightly more modest pace,” the economy ministry said in a statement.
Finra strips red flags on its brokers. A new WSJ report from Jean Eaglesham and Rob Barry shows that the Wall Street regulator “routinely” removes red flags on brokers from its database. Investors can look up brokers on a Finra database, but according to the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, the regulator was “scrubbing potential black marks from the information it provided to investors,” the Journal reports.
China sees its first domestic corporate bond default. Solar-equipment maker
Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Company did not meet interest payments on a bond, becoming the first Chinese company to default on a bond traded in the mainland, the WSJ reports. “Defaults of some debt products are not on a similar scale to a collapse of a major financial institution,” Patrick Chovanec at Silvercrest Asset Management told Business Insider in January. “As we think corporate bonds and incoming trust loan defaults will not lead to a credit crunch, and we are reasonably confident with our 7.6% GDP growth forecast for this year.”