Good morning! Here's what you need to know.
- Asian markets closed higher, led by Japan's Nikkei at +2.47%, followed by Hong Kong's Hang Seng at +0.94%. European markets are also up, led by Germany's DAX at +1.1%.
- The "global canary in the coal mine," aka South Korea's trade report, came in strong at +2.6%, beating the 2.1% expected by economists. However some analysts remain worried upcoming reports will get hit by slowing economic growth in China. "The US economic recovery would not fully offset the negative impacts from China given Korea’s increasing dependence on China-bound exports," SocGen said.
- We've been following worldwide purchasing managers index (PMI) data all evening. The biggest news was in China, whose NBS PMI print unexpectedly turned upward 0.2 points to 50.3 for July. China was the lone bright spot in Asia, however, as not a single other country in the region saw its index climb. The biggest drop came in Australia, whose PMI index fell -7.6 points to 42.0. Anything below 50 signals contraction.
- It's been a much better picture in Europe. Overall Eurozone PMI data climbed 1.5 points to 50.3. Eight of 11 European Union countries — including Greece! — saw PMI gains, led by the Netherlands, which jumped 2 points to 50.8. Spain, as well as non-EU'ers Russia and Turkey, saw their indexes decline.
- The day is far from over. The Department of Labor will release weekly jobless claims at 8:30; 345,000 is expected against 343,000 last week. US PMI data will be up next at 8:58 pm; 53.2 is expected against 51.9 prior. ISM manufacturing and construction spending data print at 10 am, and auto sales figures will be released throughout the day.
- Procter and Gamble, Kraft, Sony and Exxon will announce earnings today.
- Yesterday's FOMC statement did not signal any official policy change, but it did note persistently low inflation as a concern, which some analysts interpreted as a dovish signal. Some are holding out for more clarity from Friday's non-farm payroll data.
- Arcelor Mittal lowered its outlook for the rest of 2013 on flagging steel demand, WSJ said. The Indian steel giant reported a fourth-consecutive quarterly net loss of -$780 million, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell -34% to $1.7 billion.
- Royal Dutch Shell said the value of its North American shale holdings fell -$2 billion on "higher costs" and "exploration charges" is it reported a -60% fall in profit, WSJ said. The company said it was launching a "strategic portfolio review" of its North American holdings.
- A court tossed a proposed Federal Reserve order on how much banks can charge retail businesses for allowing customers to use debit cards, saying the figure was too high, WSJ reported.
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