Market Snapshot

Asia: Japan +1.4% to 19254. Hong Kong +0.1% to 23823. China +0.7% to 3373. India -1.5% to 28503.
Europe: London -0.1%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt -0.4%.
Futures: Dow flat. S&P flat. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude -1% to $46.59. Gold +0.3% to $1155.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -1 bps to 2.1%

Economic News

8:30 Producer Price Index
9:55 Consumer Sentiment

Key earnings before the open



U.S. stock futures point to a higher open this morning as fears of a June interest rate hike faded following Thursday’s disappointing retail-sales report.The small advances came after U.S. stocks logged their biggest gain in more than a month as the market pushed back expectations for the first Federal Reserve after data showed Americans spent less money than expected in February.

Tokyo stocks surged through the 19,000 level today on the back of Wall Street’s gains to post their highest close since April 2000. The Nikkei currently leads all major Asian markets with a solid 10.3% gain YTD.

The IEA says that oil prices may have only stabilized temporarily, because the global oil glut is worsening and U.S. production shows no sign of slowing. The energy watchdog said the U.S. may soon run out of spare capacity to store crude and forecast the process to last at least until the second half of 2015, when growth in U.S. oil production is expected to start abating.

Iceland has dropped its bid to join the European Union, withdrawing its application which was submitted six years ago. Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson cited changes in the EU and because it’s not in line with the policies of the ruling government to accept everything that the last government was willing to accept.


Argentina’s debt drama appears to be rearing its head again after a U.S. District Judge ruled that Citigroup (C) can’t process interest payments by Argentina on $2.3B of bonds issued under that country’s law, saying “the vast majority” qualified as “external” indebtedness. For Citi, the decision pits the bank against Argentina once again, forcing It to choose between processing payments in defiance of the order, or not processing the payments and jeopardizing its business in the country.

The FCC has released extensive details of how it plans to regulate broadband Internet providers as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act. While the 400 page order provides details of the rules and their legal justifications, the agency noted that many will still be decided on a case by case basis.

The FBI and prosecutors within the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office are probing potential manipulation of Herbalife (HLF) shares, and have interviewed people hired by Bill Ackman. Prosecutors are reportedly looking into whether people, including some hired by Mr. Ackman, made false statements about Herbalife’s business model to regulators and others to trigger investigations into the company and lower its stock price. Update: Ackman has just come out with a statement denying being contacted by the FBI.

Disney (DIS) thrilled shareholders at its annual meeting yesterday with movie news about some of its most valuable properties. The media giant plans to release a sequel to the 2013 animated hit Frozen, and said the eighth installment in the Star Wars series will come out in May 2017. The seventh episode will be released this December.

In the latest sign of weakening demand for personal computers, International Data Corp. predicts global shipments of PCs will decline 4.9% this year to 293.1M units, a bigger drop than its previous guidance for a 3.3% decrease.

Whiting Petroleum (WLL) has put Texas acreage and pipeline assets up for sale as an alternative to a sale of the full company. JPMorgan has shopped the full company in recent days, but interest was tepid due to concerns about the company’s $5.63B debt load.

Shares of Lumber Liquidators closed 10% higher yesterday after the company stated it would provide free air testing to consumers following a report that accused it of selling laminate flooring from China that contained high levels of formaldehyde.

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