Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Asian markets were mixed in overnight trading, with the Nikkei up 0.59 percent after surprise easing from the Bank of Japan. Europe is moderately lower moving off its early gains despite a strong Italian bond auction, and U.S. stocks are moderately lower.
- Moody's downgraded the sovereign debt ratings of 6 euro countries, including Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain late Monday evening. It also issued negative outlooks for Austria, France and the UK. Aaa-rated Bank of England also saw its outlook revised to negative in keeping with the negative outlook assigned to the UK. UBS answers: Who are the fittest countries in Europe >
- The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim, a measure of German investor confidence rose to 5.4 in February, from -21.6 the previous month. Investor confidence, was at a 10-month high. Don't Miss: The economies that will dominate the world in 2050 >
- In a surprise move, the Bank of Japan eased its policy boosting asset purchase plan by 10 trillion yen ($128 billion). It also set an inflation goal of 1 percent. The yen has been getting pummeled on the news, while the Nikkei surged higher.
- In industries news, The Department of Justice approved Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility late yesterday. The European Commission had approved the $12.5 billion acquisition earlier in the day. Meanwhile, Boeing signed a $22.4 billion commercial airplane order with Indonesia's Lion Air. Lion Air has ordered 230 airplanes, including 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900ERs. This is Boeing's largest commercial deal to date.
- Retail sales grew 0.4 percent in January, missing expectations, but ex-autos, retail sales grew 0.7 percent. Meanwhile, business inventories for December will be released at 10 AM ET. Consensus is for a 0.5 percent month-over-month gain in inventories. Follow the release at Money Game >
- Italy sold €4 billion of securities due in November 2014 at an average yield of 3.41 percent. It also sold €2 billion of bonds due in 2015 at an average yield of 3.77 percent, and bonds due in 2017 at an average yield 4.26 percent. Italy met its target, and borrowing costs fell to the lowest level since March, despite Moody's downgrade.
- UK inflation fell to 3.6 percent in January, from 4.2 percent in December, dropping to a 14-month low. Consumer prices fell 0.5 percent month-over-month in January. Meanwhile, Bank of England governor Mervyn King said he expects inflation to fall back to its 2 percent target by the end of 2012.
- European industrial production fell 1.1 percent month-over-month in December. The decline was attributed to tough austerity measures in the region and was led by a decline in Germany and France. The weak industrial production data added to signs that the region has slipped into a recession. Now here are the global risks you need to freak out about in 2012 >
- President Barack Obama is meeting with Chinese vice president Xi Jinping today. This is a significant step for Jinping who is slated to take over the ruling Communist Party this year, and the presidency in March 2013. Meanwhile, President Obama is expected to address trade practices and the pace of China's yuan appreciation. Now here are the eight industries the U.S. has already lost to China >
- BONUS - Angelina Jolie received a Cinema for Peace award, for her film In The Land of Blood and Honey.
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