Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Markets in Japan and China were closed Monday to observe public holidays, but Korean stocks fell 0.2% while Australian stocks rose 0.6%. European markets are moving higher, with Italy leading the way, currently up 1.4%. In the United States, the markets are opening positive.
- Italian stock and bond markets are moving higher this morning after center-left politician and new Prime Minister Enrico Letta was sworn into office over the weekend and his cabinet – which includes a record number of women – was assembled. Letta's deputy prime minister comes from Silvio Berlusconi's center-right party.
- In his latest article for the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve reporter Jon Hilsenrath highlights falling inflation indicators ahead of Wednesday's FOMC meeting as a key reason the Fed will stay the course on its quantitative easing program. " With inflation now lower than the Fed wants," writes Hilsenrath, "officials are likely to conclude their policies show no sign of overheating the economy."
- A number of confidence indicators confirmed the ongoing economic malaise in the euro zone this morning. The euro zone business climate indicator fell to -0.93 from -0.75 last month, economic confidence fell to 88.6 from 90.1, industrial confidence fell to -13.8 from -12.3, services confidence fell to -11.1 from -7.0, and consumer confidence remained unchanged at -22.3.
- Iran's oil exports fell to a 26-year low in 2012, according to a new report from the EIA. International sanctions against Iran led by the U.S. and the EU helped cause oil revenues to plummet 27.4% last year.
- Berkshire-backed Chinese car maker BYD will begin manufacturing electric buses at a facility in California in order to take advantage of U.S. federal government subsidies that could cover up to 80% of the cost of each unit. At least one analyst who spoke to the WSJ considers the plan little more than a marketing gimmick.
- Alfredo Sáenz has resigned as CEO of Santander, Spain's largest bank, and will be replaced by Managing Director Javier Marín. While Santander did not give a reason for Sáenz's departure, the executive has faced legal issues surrounding a 20-years-old case in which he was convicted, but later pardoned, of making false criminal accusations against indebted clients while working for a different bank.
- Personal income and spending data for March is out. Income climbed by just 0.2%, which was below consensus expectations for a 0.4% rise. Spending also grew by 0.2%, which was higher than the no growth expected. Both numbers are down sharply from February.
- U.S. pending home sales figures for March are released at 10 AM. Economists expect sales to have risen 6.1% year over year (1.0% from the previous month) after a 5.0% gain (0.1% decline from the previous month) in February.
- The Dallas Fed's monthly survey of regional manufacturing activity is due out at 10:30 AM. Economists predict the headline index will moderate to 5.0 from 7.4 last month, indicating a slowing pace of expansion in the region. Follow the data LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Chrissy Teigen's dress fell apart right before this weekend's White House Correspondents Dinner.
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