Market Snapshot

Asia: Japan +1.5% to 19313. Hong Kong +0.8% to 25276. China +0.4% to 3827. India +1.1% to 28260.
Europe: London +0.1%. Paris flat. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures: Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.5%. Crude -1.1% to $49.56. Gold -0.2% to $1205.30.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -7 bps to 1.87%

Economic News

8:30 Weekly Jobless Claims
8:30 Trade Deficit
10:00 Factory Orders

Key earnings before the open



U.S. stocks point to a weak open on Thursday after better-than-expected weekly jobless claims. The main benchmarks looked set to wrap up the Easter holiday-shortened week with modest losses. The downbeat mood was a hangover from Wednesday, when a batch of weaker-than-expected economic reports eroded confidence and sent U.S. stocks lower on the first day of the quarter.

European stocks wavered between small gains and losses as investors remain wary ahead of the long weekend and nonfarm payrolls. Most European stock markets are closed on Friday and Monday.

Looking to end its standoff with creditors, Athens has handed the eurozone and IMF a more detailed plan for revising its bailout program.

Oil futures are edging lower, retreating from big gains the previous session, at the prospect that a nuclear deal with Iran could increase the country’s exports and pressure crude prices. Tehran’s nuclear program will now be discussed by major powers and Iran for a second day past an end-March deadline.


Europe’s competition regulator is preparing the groundwork to file charges against Google (GOOG, GOOGL) in the next few weeks, looking to conclude the five-year-old antitrust investigation of the Internet-search giant. The move would kick off the EU’s highest-profile antitrust suit since its lengthy campaign that started a decade ago against Microsoft (MSFT), which paid the bloc €1.7B in fines through 2012.

HSBC (HBC) is making progress toward cleaning up its operations, after reaching a $1.92B settlement of charges related to money laundering, but has not done enough, announced the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday.

JPMorgan Chase(JPM) is on track to meet its mandate to provide billions of dollars in consumer relief to struggling homeowners as part of a settlement it reached over shoddy mortgage bonds it sold before the financial crisis. The monitor overseeing the settlement has so far credited Chase with $2.2B out of the $4B it is required to provide to consumers by 2017. Chase must also pay $9B in cash, totaling a $13B settlement.

Less than a week after agreeing to sell itself to Heinz in a blockbuster deal, Kraft Foods (KRFT) has found itself the target of a government lawsuit over wheat prices. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has accused Kraft and Mondelez (MDLZ) of making massive bets in Chicago’s futures markets in late 2011 as part of a plot to drive down the physical price for wheat.

McDonald’s (MCD) is planning to boost benefits and raise U.S. restaurant workers’ pay by more than 10% amid frequent fast-food and retail worker protests calling for higher wages and better working conditions. The company has set July 1 as a target date to give 90,000 workers at company-owned stores a raise to an average of $9.90 per hour with the average wage expected to top $10 by the end of 2016. Subsidies for some education costs will also be available.

Micron Technology ( MU) slips after the semiconductor company reported earnings late Wednesday.

Morgan Stanley (MS) gave its CEO James Gorman the biggest raise yet among Wall Street leaders last year, hiking his pay 25% to $22.5M. Gorman collected an annual salary of $1.5M, a cash and stock bonus of $14.5M and longer-term incentive pay valued at up to $6.5M.

Putting an exact date to its Canadian exit, Target (TGT) says it will close the last of its 133 retail stores in the country on April 12. Target Canada’s three distribution centers and Mississauga headquarters have already been closed.

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