Asia: -1.4% to 19471. Hong Kong -0.1% to 24497. China +0.6% to 3682. India -2.3% to 27458.
Europe: London -1.1%. Paris -1.3%. Frankfurt -1.5%.
Futures: Dow -0.9%. S&P -0.9%. Nasdaq -1.2%. Crude +4% to $51.16. Gold +1.1% to $1210.50.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +4 bps to 1.92%
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 Kansas City Fed Mfg Survey
Key earnings before the open
ACN, CAG, CMC, CMGE, CVGW, DANG, FRED, LULU, MEA, NEOG, SCHL, SIG, SPCB, WGO
Key earnings after the close
CARA, GME, REED, RH
Stock futures pointed to another down day for Wall Street today, with tech, biotech stocks and small companies all threatening to drag the market lower for a second day as investors fretted about U.S. economic growth and scrambled to the safety of gold and the yen.
Oil is flying higher after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies started bombing targets in Yemen as the country slides closer toward civil war. Importers say the Saudi attack itself will unlikely disrupt supplies, but the threat of spreading war in the region could likely impact oil flows.
Greece is optimistic about reaching a deal on economic reforms with its European partners early next week, unblocking urgently needed funding. The country’s eurozone creditors have hinged the next round of bailout funds on reforms that are to be approved by the bloc’s finance ministers. However, in another setback to Greece’s government yesterday, the country failed to secure a quick cash payment after eurozone officials told Athens it was not entitled to €1.2B from the European Financial Stability Facility.
Following a similar move by rival Volkswagen (VLKAY), Toyota (TM) is shifting half of all the vehicles it makes to new cost-saving platforms by 2020. Under the “Toyota New Global Architecture” initiative, the automaker will reduce development costs by at least 20% by designing more new models with fewer platforms.
Ford (F) has invested $1B in a new plant in western India that will help it triple its exports from the country. The company is planning to make India an export hub for compact cars such as the EcoSport, and the newly launched compact sedan, Ford Figo Aspire, the first car to be produced at the new facility. The plant will also nearly double the company’s installed production capacity in the country to 610K engines and 440K vehicles a year.
Salus Capital Partners, a RadioShack (RSHCQ) lender, has asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan Shannon to intervene in the auction of the electronics retailer, saying its $271M joint bid to liquidate the chain was “materially superior” to that of Standard General. Standard is offering to pay for most of its offer in the form of a “credit bid,” or debt forgiveness. The outcome will likely be announced this morning, when Shannon is scheduled to approve the results of RadioShack’s auction.
The U.K. government sold about £569M ($847M) of shares in Lloyds (LYG) today, cutting its stake to 21.9% and adding to the more than £1B of stock sold by the Treasury since December. At its last disposal on March 9, the government lowered its stake to 22.9%, down from a peak of 40% in 2009, when it bailed out the bank during the financial crisis. Lloyds also said it would resume dividend payments last month after reporting its first annual profit in five years.
Royal Bank of Scotland has increased the value of shares it’s selling in Citizens Financial (CFG) to as much as $3.7B after receiving stronger demand from investors to own a stake in its recently listed U.S. subsidiary. RBS (RBS) also aims to carry out another share sale later this year to slash its stake in Citizens below a third.
Deepening the mystery surrounding the Germanwings (DLAKY) flight crash, evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicates that one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in. “You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”
Marking a new milestone since their December 2013 merger, American Airlines (AAL) and U.S. Airways expect to receive a single operating certificate from U.S. regulators on April 8. Although the carriers still have to combine their reservation systems, a single certificate will mean the FAA recognizes the airlines as one, and that the majority of their flight, maintenance and dispatch procedures will be identical.
China’s Hainan Airlines says it plans to buy 30 Boeing (BA) 787 Dreamliner jets, valued at $7.7B, boosting Boeing’s 787 program backlog to 855 planes. The order represents the biggest order this year for the jet.
Facebook is expanding its Messenger app, making it into a whole new communication system. The Messenger Platform allows 3rd-party developers to integrate their apps with Messenger, and Messenger MAUs have now topped 600M, up from 500M in November.
Expedia (EXPE) and Orbitz (OWW) have both received a request for additional information related to the DOJ’s antitrust review of Expedia’s planned $1.6B acquisition of Orbitz that would bring many of the top U.S. travel-booking sites under one roof. The deal, together with Expedia’s planned $280M acquisition of partner Travelocity, has sparked fears of limiting competition within the industry.
Schlumberger (SLB) has agreed to pay $237M for violating U.S. sanctions in Iran and Sudan, capping a six-year investigation by the Justice and Commerce departments. The oil well manufacturing company also agreed to a three-year period of corporate probation, during which it will cease all operations in Iran and Syria.