Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading with the Nikkei up 2 percent, after light losses in European and U.S. markets eased investor concerns on Cyprus. Europe is down and U.S. futures are modestly lower.
- After the initial furore over the taxes on depositors in Cypriot banks, a 'Plan B' has emerged. Under this plan, there would be no tax on deposits under €20,000, a 6.75 percent tax on deposits between €20,000 - €100,000 and 9.9 percent on deposits above €100,000. Meanwhile, a government spokesman told Reuters the parliament would reject the plan. A three-step solution for fixing Cyprus that's far more elegant than the current plan >
- German investor confidence climbed to 48.5 in March, from 48.2 the previous month, to its highest level in three years.
- Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) was up 6.3 percent year-over-year to $8.21 billion in February. This is the first increase in nine months. For the January-February period, FDI fell 1.35 percent. Meanwhile, overseas direct investment (ODI) by Chinese companies, ex-financial sector, were up 147.3 percent. 29 crazy things that only happen in China >
- Housing starts were up 0.8 percent month-over-month (MoM) in February to an annual rate of 917,000. Building permits were up 4.6 percent MoM, to an annual rate of 946,000.
- Samsung is working on a smartwatch to rival Apple's, according to Reuters. This comes after Samsung's Galaxy S phone release last week, that is expected to disappoint.
- Ryanair has ordered 175 jets from Boeing for $15.6 billion. This comes after Lion Air signed a $24 billion deal with Airbus. Ryanair is now one of the few airlines with an all-Boeing fleet, according to Reuters.
- The Reserve Bank of India lowered its repurchase rate to 7.5 percent. This was the second interest rate cut this year. But the coalition government's biggest ally, the DMK, withdrew its support, raising concerns about the government's ability to pass laws needs to boost foreign investment, according to Bloomberg.
- The FOMC meeting begins today. Bank of America's Michael Hanson expects interest rates, forward guidance, and the $85 billion a month pace of asset purchases to stay unchanged.
- UK consumer prices were up 2.8 percent on the year in February, growing at the fastest rate in nine months. Producer prices were up 0.8 percent month-over-month.
- Bonus - On his show, David Letterman told Selena Gomez that he made Justin Bieber cry, at which point she said, "well then, that makes two of us."
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