10 Things You Need To Know This Morning

Business Insider

Good morning. Here's what you need to know.

  • Markets in Asia were mixed in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei jumped 2.2 percent, but the Shanghai Composite fell 0.1 percent. European markets are mostly higher, with Spain and Italy leading the way, both up 1.6 percent. In the U.S., futures point to a positive open.
  • The yen has resumed its downward trajectory after the Bank of Japan gave markets a big positive surprise overnight at new Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's first meeting. The BoJ said it would double its holdings of government bonds and ETFs in order to reach its 2 percent inflation target within two years.
  • Euro zone  services PMIs painted a bleak picture  of the state of the services sector in March. The euro zone composite index fell to 46.5 from 47.9 in February, indicating an accelerating pace of contraction (any number below 50 on the index signals contraction mode). France's services PMI fell to 41.3, a 49-month low, and Germany, the outperformer in Europe, saw its services PMI fall sharply to 50.9 from 54.7 in February. Italy's services PMI actually rose to 45.5 from 43.6, but still indicates a moderate contraction.
  • The French government issued 10-year debt at a record low yield of 1.94 percent this morning.  Despite the bleak economic data out of France in recent months, government bonds have staged a big rally since late February, sending yields plummeting.
  • The Bank of England elected to leave the benchmark interest rate on hold at 0.5 percent and the target size of the asset purchase program unchanged at £ 375 billion at its monthly policy meeting today. Not much more is expected of the central bank until incoming Governor Mark Carney takes over this summer, which is likely to usher in significant changes to BoE monetary policy.
  • The ECB left the benchmark refinancing rate unchanged at 0.75 percent and the deposit rate unchanged at 0 percent at today's monetary policy meeting. ECB President Mario Draghi will hold a press conference at 8:30. Observers will be listening for his thoughts on the crisis in Cyprus, a potential bailout of Slovenia in the future, and the recent deterioration in economic data around the euro zone. Follow the presser LIVE >
  • Australia reported strong retail sales for the month of February, up 1.3 percent. Economists had predicted sales would rise only 0.3 percent after a 1.2 percent advance in January. Building approvals also surprised to the upside, rising 3.1 percent in February versus the 2.5 percent gain expected by economists.
  • Mt. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, has come under a massive distributed denial of service attack on its servers, causing an outage for users. The episode highlights one of the biggest problems with the anonymous, virtual currency: confidence.
  • According to the monthly Challenger, Gray & Christmas job cuts report, layoffs in the United States were 49,255 in March, down from 55,356 in February. Year over year, however, job cut announcements were up 30 percent.
  • Initial jobless claims unexpectedly jumped to 385,000 last week. Economists predicted initial claims would fall to 353,000 in the week ended March 30, down from 357,000 new claims the week before. Continuing claims rose to 3.063 million from 3.05 million in the previous week.
  • BONUS: Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey says she has less than $5 in her bank account, according to TMZ.

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