Asia: Japan -0.4% to 19477. Hong Kong +1.5% to 24469. China +0.2% to 3582. India -0.5% to 28470.
Europe: London +0.2%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt +0.1%.
Futures: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude -2.3% to $45.56. Gold +1.3% to $1165.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -11 bps to 1.95%
8:30 Jobless Claims
8:30 Current Account
10:00 Philly Fed
10:00 Leading Indicators
Key earnings before the open
CRCM, LEN, TECD, TNP
Key earnings after the close
CTRP, GMAN, MFRM, NKE, NWY, RALY, YOKU
U.S. stock futures are slightly lower this morning, indicating markets will take a breather after the prior day’s Fed-inspired rally that sent the major benchmarks to their highest closing level since early March. The moves came after the Fed – as expected – dropped its pledge to remain “patient” about raising rates, but signaled a slower increase in interest rates than it foresaw just a few months ago.
The dollar dropped after the announcement, sliding to its lowest level against the euro in eight days, but has since recouped those losses this morning.
Greece is shaking the table again, before EU leaders attend a two-day summit discussing Europe’s energy security and the Ukraine crisis. After refusing to update its creditors on the reform progress it made since it agreed on a bailout extension in February, it further angered its eurozone partners again yesterday by passing a “unilateral” poverty law without consultation.
Bank of America must allow shareholders to vote on a proposal that calls for the company to consider spinning off its investment banking business, following a ruling from U.S. regulators stating it couldn’t exclude the proposal from its corporate ballot. The March 17 decision by the SEC will put the proposal on the bank’s proxy statement, allowing shareholders to vote on it at BofA’s (BAC) annual meeting.
Citigroup (C) says it will not appeal Judge Thomas Griesa’s ruling which barred it from processing Argentine bond payments if he helps it exit its custody business in the country. The move sets up a showdown with Argentina which earlier declared it would not allow the bank to walk away from the business.
Tesla (TSLA) is up and running again in New Jersey after Governor Chris Christie signed a bill to allow the company to sell directly to consumers. The step comes after fighting efforts in nearly every state to halt its direct sales method, which doesn’t use independent dealers. The company is also presenting a software update to its Model S vehicle at a 9am news conference today.
Starbucks declared a 2-for-1 stock split set for April 9 at its Annual Meeting yesterday, saying it sees enough growth on the horizon to help push the company to a $100B market capitalization.
Sony (SNE) has launched its PlayStation Vue streaming video service in three cities, with a starting price of $50/month, after testing the service since November. The lineup features content from three of the big four: CBS (CBS), Fox (FOXA), NBC (CMCSA), but popular content from Disney (DIS), including ABC , ESPN and Disney cable is still a glaring omission.
Yahoo (YHOO) is withdrawing its remaining operations in China, laying off 200-300 employees and shutting down its Beijing research center. The layoff of 250 employees would equal 2% of its global workforce and follows the 700-900 layoffs the company announced since October.
Canada’s National Energy Board is reportedly investigating up to a dozen new allegations of gas pipeline safety code violations at TransCanada (TRP), marking the second time in recent years the regulator has investigated safety practices at the company. Documents show the allegations include faulty or delayed repairs, sloppy welding work and a failure to report key issues to the regulator.
Transocean (RIG) expects to book an after-tax charge of between $300M-$325M as it moves to dispose of four rigs. According to Baker Hughes, U.S. oil-rig count fell to 866 last week, the 14th straight week of declines, as plunging oil prices wreak havoc on the industry. The company also logged a $992M charge to correct the value of its contract drilling business in February, and saw the departure of CEO Steven Newman.
Target (TGT) has agreed to pay a $10M settlement related to its 2013 data breach, which compromised the personal information of as many as 110M people. Under the proposal, Target would pay individual victims up to $10,000 in damages and implement additional data security measures, such as appointing a chief information security officer and maintaining a written information security program. The retailer also raised the minimum wage for all of its workers to $9 an hour yesterday, matching moves made by Wal-Mart (WMT), GAP (GPS) and T.J. Maxx (TJX).