Asia: Japan +0.3% to 18723. Hong Kong -0.8% to 23718. China +0.2% to 3291. India -0.2% to 28659.
Europe: London +0.3%. Paris +1.8%. Frankfurt +1.6%.
Futures: Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.5%. Nasdaq +0.4%. Crude +0.4% to $48.47. Gold -0.3% to $1157.20.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -6 bps to 2.12%
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
2:00 PM Treasury Budget
Key earnings before the open
BLT, BWS, EXPR, FGP, FLY, FSYS, VRA, WRES
Key earnings after the close
CHMI, CMTL, CNAT, HMIN, IPAR, KKD, MW, OME, PLOW, RST, SCLN, SGMS, SHAK, TAHO, XNET, XOMA, ZOES
Stock futures are set to push slightly higher this morning, signaling that Wall Street could be poised to retake some lost ground after dollar gains triggered the worst loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average in five months.
A flurry of Chinese economic data released today missed analysts’ estimates, raising expectations that more stimulus is yet to come in the world’s second-largest economy. Factory production rose 6.8% in the January-February period from the year earlier, lower than expectations for a 7.8% rise, while retail sales grew an annual 10.7% in the period, missing an 11.7% forecast.
Greece plans to tap into more than half a billion euros sitting at the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund – the bank rescue vehicle that was used in 2012 to recapitalize its main lenders – as it scrambles to find money this month to repay a €1.5B IMF loan and refinance some €3.2B of maturing short-term treasury paper.
The euro plunged to a fresh 12-year low this morning, extending a broad decline just days after the ECB launched its €1T bond-buying program, while the dollar index soared to its highest in more than 11 years at 99.41. It is widely assumed now that the FOMC will remove the word “patient” from its policy statement after its March 17-18 meeting, opening the door for a rate increase in June.
AT&T (T) expects to take a charge of about $130M in the current quarter, related to the voluntary retirement of nearly 3,000 employees by March 31. The retirements were made under a special offer allowing for lump sum distributions and enhanced payments.
BC Partners plans to appoint Michael Massey as chief executive of PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) after it completes an $8.7B acquisition of the 1,387-store chain today. Massey previously served as CEO of Collective Brands, and will replace David Lenhardt, who will depart with a $24M exit package.
Boeing (BA) says that high-density packages of lithium batteries like those used in cell phones and laptops pose fire risks and should not be carried on passenger planes until safer methods for carrying them are developed. The risk is continually increasing, the company says, and requires action to be taken.
In the wake of a recent spate of fiery oil tanker accidents – including three derailments in just the past month from Canadian National Railway (CNI) – Canada and the U.S. are “very close” to announcing stronger new oil tanker rail car standards, intended to limit fires and pollution when oil trains derail.
General Electric (GE) CEO says that CEO Jeffery Immelt earned roughly an 8% increase in his salary and cash bonus in 2014, with his salary rising to $3.75M and his cash bonus moving to $5.4M. Despite its shares falling nearly 10% last year, the company’s board believed “that Mr. Immelt performed very well in 2014 and, as a result, awarded him” the cash bonus.
General Mills (GIS) says that it will raise its quarterly dividend by 7%.
Google is in talks to buy Bangalore-based start-up InMobi, a mobile advertising network that claims to have over 1B users across 200 countries.
Hyundai has decided to build its second U.S. factory to meet demand for SUVs, as lower oil prices boosts demand for gas-guzzling trucks. The new plant will be located in Alabama and have an annual production capacity of 300K vehicles, and targets a start to SUV production in 2017.