Asia: Japan +1.4% to 18991. Hong Kong +0.3% to 23798. China +1.8% to 3349. India +1% to 28930.
Europe: London +0.8%. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures: Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.3%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.9% to $48.59. Gold +0.8% to $1159.60.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2 bps to 2.11%
8:30 Weekly Jobless Claims
8:30 Retail Sales
8:30 Import/Export Prices
10:00 Business Inventories
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
Key earnings before the open
BONT, CMN, CRME, CSTM, CVGW, DG, GCO, GLP, HOV, JASO, KIRK, LEAF, MTN, PGEM, PLCE, PWE, QIWI, RICE, SMRT, SNSS, TLP
Key earnings after the close
ANAC, ARO, ATHX, EGY, FF, FTD, FXCM, GST, HIL, IRET, IRG, JMBA, KRO, KTOS, LOCO, MED, OMED, PPHM, RMAX, TEAR, ULTA, ZUMZ
Stock futures are moving higher this morning, following an Asian stock rally and as the surge in the dollar abated somewhat, but investors remain wary ahead of the release of retail sales data and jobless claims this morning. Both will be closely watched for further indications on the direction of monetary policy.
Asian shares rose overnight after South Korea cut its base rate by 25 bps to a record low of 1.75%.
The IMF has approved a bigger bailout for Ukraine, giving Kiev immediate access to $5B of the $17.5B in emergency funding to keep the country afloat. It’s conflict with pro-Russian separatists has put the country’s economy into a tailspin with a plunging currency, the highest interest rates in 15 years and central bank reserves of just $6.4B.
The euro eased after falling to fresh 12-year lows against the dollar this morning, as the ECB’s stimulus program continued to weigh, while investors looked ahead to U.S. economic reports later in the session. Hitting its weakest since March 2003, the euro fell to $1.0495 before pulling back to trade at $1.06, 0.5% higher on the day.
Tweaking their planned payouts to achieve passing grades, Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS) and JPMorgan (JPM) all barely scraped by the Fed’s annual CCAR test, while BofA (BAC) will resubmit its capital plan before winning approval for boosted shareholder returns. The U.S. units of Deutsche Bank (DB) and Santander (SAN) were the only rejections.
GE is considering making deeper cuts in its banking business, deciding that returns from lending are no longer worth the opposition it provokes among investors. The company still remains committed to GE Capital however, viewing the unit as an integral part of its conglomerate.
IDT (IDT) has reached an agreement with Cuba’s Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba to provide direct telephone connections between the two countries. The move marks the first commercial accord realized since the joint Dec. 17 announcement. Although the U.S. imposed an economic embargo on Cuba in the 1960s, phone communication between the two countries was still possible if calls passed through third countries.
Acadia Pharmaceuticals (ACAD) postpones its Nuplazid New Drug Application from Q1 to the second half of the year and announces the retirement of Chief Executive Uli Hacksell. Chief Financial Officer Steve Davis will take over as interim CEO. Nuplazid is ACAD’s treatment for Parkinson’s disease-associated psychosis.
The U.K. Parliament has voted to ban branding on cigarette packs as of 2016, under which cigarettes would be sold in uniform packs stripped of distinctive logos and colors, and adorned with graphic health warnings. The move draws promises of legal challenge from the tobacco industry and raises the prospect of similar legislation in countries across Europe.
A month after reports of Snapchat seeking a valuation as high as $19B in a new funding round, Alibaba (BABA) plans to pour $200M into the messaging platform at a $15B valuation. Snapchat, whose user base skews heavily towards millennials, was valued at just around $10B in a $485.6M funding round that took place a couple months ago. Its monthly active user count is believed to be around 200M.
United Technologies (UTX) is reported to be considering splitting off its Sikorsky Aircraft helicopter unit, and may be discussing those plans at its 2015 investor meeting today. Excluding restructuring costs and non-recurring items, Sikorsky had 2014 revenue of $6.62B, and an operating profit of $699M. The business is best known for its Black Hawk helicopters.
A federal appeals court has upheld a district judge’s decision to drop manslaughter charges against two former BP (BP) well site managers over their roles in the 2010 Macondo well disaster that killed 11 people.