Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mostly higher in overnight trading with the Nikkei surging 3.6% to over 14,000 for the first time since June 2008. Europe is rallying and U.S. futures are modestly higher. Global shares are near five-year highs.
- German factory orders rose 2.2% month-over-month in March. This beat expectations for a 0.5% drop, giving some hope to Europe. Meanwhile, check out Jim O’Neill’s view of the world from now through 2030 >
- Australia’s central bank cut rates to a record low of 2.75% as the currency hovers nears a 30-year high. In a statement the central bank said that it was unusual that the exchange rate was at a historically high level, “given the decline in export prices and interest rates during that time.” Nomura’s Charles St. Arnaud said this could incite those talking about currency wars.
- Consumer credit for March if out at 3 p.m. ET. Consensus is for consumer credit to rise $15 billion. Follow the release at Business Insider >
- Microsoft is preparing to “reverse course over key elements of its Windows 8 operating system,” according to the Financial Times. Analysts had warned that such a move would be a blow for CEO Steve Ballmer who said during the launch that it was a “bet-the-company” moment.
- HSBC’s Q1 pre-tax profit beat expectations coming in at $8.43 billion boosted by cost cutting measures. This compares with $4.32 billion a year-ago. The CEO has cut 52 businesses since taking the helm in 2011 and has cut 30,000 jobs.
- First Solar reported Q1 earnings of $0.65 per share, missing expectations of $0.75 per share. But revenue climbed 52% on the year to $755 million.
- The Pentagon has for the first time directly accused China of conducting cyber espionage against the U.S.. The Pentagon said China was taking technology to develop its military and accuses it of trying to break into the U.S. defence computer system. Beijing has denied the accusation. Citi: These 10 technologies are changing the world >
- French industrial production fell 0.9% month-over-month in March. This was worse than expectations for a 0.2% decline.
- Three women that went missing nearly 10 years ago were found alive at a Cleveland, Ohio home. A neighbour freed one of the women after hearing her scream on Monday. Three brothers have been arrested.
- Bonus – Taylor Swift went for a punk look in a J. Mendel gown at the MET Gala.
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