Ukraine initiated military exercises as Russian armed forces continue action on the Crimean peninsula and Russia’s Foreign Minister claimed there was “lawlessness” in Ukraine’s eastern provinces. Ukraine’s armed forces are testing the combat readiness of troops, it was said today by the Defense Ministry on its website, stressing the wish that the Crimean situation will be solved in a peaceful manner. Russia, which claims to defend the ethnic Russians in Crimea, accused the former Soviet republic of ignoring radicals in the peninsula. According to Ukraine, Russia has almost 19,000 soldiers in the region, which will hold a referendum on joining Russia on March 16. This has been the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.Source: Trading 212
IBM’s chief executive officer Ginni Rometty said the company failed to meet expectations last year and must do more to help its hardware businesses to recover. In a letter to investors in IBM’s annual report, Rometty said, “We must acknowledge that while 2013 was an important year of transformation, our performance did not meet our expectations.” IBM is finding it hard to adapt to the cloud era of online storage. The falling demand for hardware and weak sales have cut revenues for the last seven quarters, which made Rometty sell assets, cut the workforce, buy back stocks and reduce taxes. IBM shares dropped 0.8% to $186.72.Source: Trading 212
The US stock market opened at lower levels today as caution prevailed among investors after a surprise decline in Chinese exports last month. Markets look on pause after a week of gains, which pushed the S&P 500 index to record highs on Friday. With no major economic reports scheduled today, investors will focus on the speeches of two Federal Reserve officials. The S&P 500 index slipped 0.3% to 1,873 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% to 16,381. The Nasdaq 100 began the day 0.4% lower at 3,695.3 points. Boeing was the worst-performing Dow Jones component so far, as the stock dipped 2.6% to $125.09 per share. Boeing was hit by news for problems with its 787 aircraft – reports of cracks in the wings of some planes from the 787 line.Source: Trading 212
EBay released a preliminary proxy statement today and urged the company’s shareholders to vote against the two directors nominated by the activist investor Carl Icahn nominated to join the board of directors. The e-commerce company said that both nominees were rejected by its Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee. Icahn, who holds just over 2% of eBay’s stock, has also been actively pressuring the company for weeks to separate its payments business PayPal. Icahn has also repeatedly accused eBay’s board of poor governance. EBay did not set a date for its next annual meeting of shareholders, but the event is expected in the spring.Source: Trading 212
A further surge in the value of the British pound would hurt the UK’s exports and dent hopes for the needed rebalancing of the economy towards overseas trade and away from domestic spending, a senior official of the Bank of England said today. Charles Bean, the UK central bank's deputy governor for monetary policy, said in a speech in northern England that the national currency has climbed 10% against the currencies of the UK's main trading partners in the past year and any further gains would be detrimental. He also said the poor performance of British exporters has been disappointing, although it may be "only a matter of time" before the country’s overseas trade begins to improve as the global economy picks up steam.Source: Trading 212
Canadian housing starts surged on a monthly basis at an annual rate of 192,094 units in February, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) reported today. The results, which followed three months of decreases, were above the 190,000 pace of gains projected by analysts. CIBC World Markets announced that the February results were in line with the range of data seen in the summer and the early fall of last year, but well below the pace of more than 220,000 starts recorded in the middle of 2012. CMHC said urban starts in Canada climbed to 175,584 units last month.Source: Trading 212
McDonald's Corp. said today that its global same-store sales dropped 0.3% last month, with US sales declining 1.4%. The fast-food chain cited challenging industry dynamics and severe winter weather as factors for the decline of sales at home. The company’s same-store sales gained 0.6% in Europe last month, as stronger performance in France offset the current weakness in Germany, McDonald's said. Sales were down 2.6% in Asia and the Pacific region, Middle East and Africa and the drop was due primarily to weakness in Japanese sales, McDonald's reported. The US decline follows wear numbers in December and January, and these performances are worrying since the US remains McDonald's biggest market.Source: Trading 212
The Federal Reserve (Fed) may have to speed up the pace of stimulus’ reduction to take into account the economic recovery currently ongoing in the United States and the improving outlook for the near future, Charles Plosser, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, said today. "Reducing the pace of asset purchases in measured steps is moving in the right direction, but the pace may leave us well behind the curve if the economy continues to play out according to the FOMC forecasts," he said. Based on the latest readings for the US gross domestic product (GDP), the nation’s economy accelerated its pace of growth in the second half of last year from the first half. At the current pace of tapering, the FOMC will end the asset-purchase program later in this year, but Plosser noted this pace may not be fast enough.Source: Trading 212
As political pressure in Turkey are intensifying ahead of the local elections scheduled 30 March, latest data suggest Turkish households and firms are still holding or adding to their dollar deposits. Analysts from Barclays say that the current higher level of the USD/TRY cross lures investors to buy. The USD/TRY pair rose 0.6% to 2.2175 today.Source: Trading 212
European Central Bank officials aren't happy with the strength of the single currency as it creates downward pressure on the region’s economy and inflation rate, ECB Governing Council member Christian Noyer stated today. The euro has climbed 6.5% against the US dollar in the past year, curbing demand for European exports and pushing down prices in the currency block. Annual consumer price inflation in the euro area was 0.8% in February – quite below the ECB's target of inflation just below 2%. Despite the low inflation in the euro area, the central bank refrained from new stimulus at its monthly meeting that ended on 6 Mach. Noyer said the eurozone’s economy is advancing in line with the central bank’s estimates. The ECB member and chief of the French central bank also said the ECB "stands ready to act" if the eurozone's prospects deteriorate or the economy is hit by a slowdown elsewhere in the world. The EUR/USD pair slipped 0.2% to 1.3872 after Noyer’s comments.Source: Trading 212
Norwegian annual inflation decelerated in February largely due to lower price increases for furniture and fuel, Statistics Norway announced today. In annual terms consumer price inflation fell to 2.1% last month from 2.3% in January. The reading matched economists' estimates. Consumer prices also gained 0.5% on a monthly basis mainly due to higher prices for airline fares and food. At the same time, core inflation held steady in Norway at 2.4% last month. On a monthly basis, core inflation was 0.6%. Separate report from the statistical office revealed that producer prices slowed to a gain of 4% in February on a yearly basis from 5.3% the previous month, and fell 0.7% on a monthly basis. EUR/NOK fell 0.3% to 8.2820 after the release.Source: Trading 212
Italy's industrial production recorded its largest monthly rise in more than 2 years, led by a 3.9% gain in capital goods production. This suggests that companies in Italy and abroad are open to raise their investments. The nation’s industrial output surged more than projected in January as rising capital goods output reversed the unexpected drop posted in December. The industrial production in the eurozone's third-largest economy gained 1.0% in January from the prior month in seasonally-adjusted terms, with the country's critical textile and transportation sectors both making major contributions to the improvement. The average forecast of economists was for a gain of only 0.4% on a monthly basis.Source: Trading 212
Ukraine faces a 37% raise in the price it pays for Russian natural gas after the sector’s monopoly OAO Gazprom ended its current discount for the country and threatened to stop supplies. This was announced yesterday by the Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan. Russia agreed in 2013 to lower the gas price for Ukraine, but Gazprom scrapped the discount last week and said Ukraine risks a repeat of the 2009 energy crisis, when the Russian company reduced shipments over a pricing dispute. Gazprom, which supplied more than half of Ukraine’s gas in 2013, agreed to the discount when the country was governed by the Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February after three months of violent street protests in Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to acknowledge Kiev’s new government after the removal of Yanukovych.Source: Trading 212
Gold had a sluggish start of the week today with spot prices staying around $1,335 a troy ounce after last week’s abundant economic calendar. Gold prices ended Friday with their biggest decline in more than a week (they slipped to as much as $1,327.75 an ounce) as the US jobs report came in better than projected. The United States added 175,000 new jobs in February, much more than forecast. “Extreme weather, drought, the Ukrainian crisis and cheap valuation have propelled the precious metals and the other commodities prices higher,” an analyst at Sharps-Pixley commented regarding the gold’s appeal so far this year. “Gold’s safe-haven status has been reinforced, while the fabrication demand for gold has continued to be strong in the East,” he added.Source: Trading 212
French industrial production fell unexpectedly in January, due to lower energy output. The drop was by 0.2% in January from December, statistics bureau Insee announced today. Analysts’ expectations had been for the output level to remain unchanged. While the energy output fell, manufacturing output rose 0.7% in January from December, and was 0.4% higher in the last three months than in the previous three months. Over the same period, overall industrial output rose 0.3%, Insee said.Source: Trading 212
The shares of the world’s biggest social network Facebook Inc. rose 7.6% last week to as much as USD 71.94 per share. Analysts attributed the rise to the rapid revenue increase due to the company’s push in mobile ads, and to the reports Facebook is in talks to acquire the drone maker Titan Aerospace. The deal could allow Facebook to beam wireless Internet access to users in undeveloped parts of the world. The website of the biggest online social network was first launched on 4 February 2004, and in December 2013 Facebook has become a component of the S&P 500 index.Source: Trading 212
Schneider Electric confirmed today that it is currently in negotiations on the potential sale of its sensors unit Custom Sensors & Technologies, Inc. (CST), after a newspaper reported the deal might be worth up to $900 million. According to French daily Les Echos, Schneider is in negotiations with funds Carlyle and PAI Partners and will keep 30% stake in the unit. "I can confirm that Schneider is in talks with potential buyers," a company spokesman said. Carlyle and PAI Partners could not be reached. The Schneider Electric shares grew 1.1% after the session starts.Source: Trading 212
The French economy is to expand by 0.2% in the first quarter, the central bank announced today, confirming its first estimate. This would be slightly less than the results of the 4th quarter of last year, when the growth was 0.3%. The Bank of France made its forecast in its monthly business sentiment survey which showed that morale in the industrial sector fell to 98 from 99 in January, just below its long-term average of 100. Service sector confidence remained 94, the same as January.Source: Trading 212
European indexes fell after equities posted their first weekly decrease since the beginning of the year, after a report of weak China exports. US index futures and Asian shares dropped. China exports registered an unexpected 18.1% decrease in February from a year earlier, according to customs data released on 8 March. The analysts’ median estimate was for an increase of 7.5%. Producer prices fell 2%, according to a statistics bureau report released yesterday, continuing the longest decline since 1999. German DAX 30 fell 1.3% to 9,259.5 points, France’s CAC 40 lost 0.7% to 4,354.9 points, and UK’s FTSE 100 declined 0.6% to 6,699.6 points.Source: Trading 212
German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised President Vladimir Putin yesterday, telling him that a planned Moscow-backed referendum in Crimea on whether the autonomous republic should join Russia was illegal and is in breach of the constitution of Ukraine. Putin defended the separatist moves by pro-Russian leaders in Crimea, as Russian forces intensified their presence on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula by taking control over another border post and a military airfield. Street violence erupted in Sevastopol, when pro-Russian activists attacked a group of Ukrainians. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all parties in the conflict to remain calm and urged a political solution to the political crisis in Ukraine, during phone calls with US President Barack Obama and Germany’s Angela Merkel.Source: Trading 212
• Today, the Norwegian inflation data will be published at 9:00 GMT. The Consumer Price Index is expected to rise 0.6% in February from January when it stayed unchanged. Higher-than-expected inflation usually supports the national currency.
• At 12:15 GMT, Canadian Housing Starts will be released. Economists forecast the new buildings started in February to reach 190,000 compared with 180,100 in January. Better-than-expected values would support the Canadian dollar.
• Today, the finance ministers from the eurozone (Eurogroup) will have a meeting in Brussels. Issues about growth, employment and social policy will be discussed. Ministers will hold a policy debate on the 2014 European Semester exercise, the annual monitoring of economic policies and structural reforms.