Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia were mostly lower in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei retreated 1.3 percent and the Shanghai Composite tumbled 2.8 percent as property stocks once again met renewed selling pressure. Markets in Europe are mostly higher this morning, led by London and Italy, both up 0.9 percent. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
- German retail sales rose 0.4 percent in February, above economists' estimates for a 0.6 percent decline, but less than the 3.0 percent gain posted in January. On a year-over-year basis, sales fell 2.2 percent, well below the 1.2 percent expansion predicted by economists and January's 2.5 percent year-over-year gain.
- The ranks of the unemployed in Germany increased by 13,000 in March. Economists had predicted that the number of unemployed persons would fall by 2,000 after an unchanged number in February. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.9 percent.
- Everyone expected bank runs in Cyprus today when banks opened their doors after a two-weeks long closure forced by contentious negotiations with the EU over how to bail out the banking system. The banks re-opened at 6 AM ET, though, and so far, there are no signs of a run on the banks. This is probably due to the restrictive capital controls enacted by Cyprus to counter a run – Cypriots are only allowed to withdraw a maximum of 300 euros per day for the next week. The haircut forced on uninsured depositors and a previous plan to levy a nationwide "tax" on all deposits has likely shattered confidence in the safety of Cypriot bank accounts.
- The European Central Bank released February data for deposit levels in banks around the euro area today, a data point of particular interest in the wake of the bailout deal in Cyprus, which forced a haircut on uninsured depositors. The data revealed that deposits fell 2.2 percent in Cyprus in February, ahead of the crisis that began in mid-March. Meanwhile, in Greece, deposit levels actually rose 2 percent, and deposits at Italian banks – those thought to be most at risk of contagion from Cyprus – rose 1.3 percent. The release of the March data next month will show the impact of the Cyprus crisis on deposit levels in other euro area countries.
- Credit rating agency Standard & Poors is pushing to have 17 lawsuits filed against it by 17 different state attorneys general consolidated into a single, federal lawsuit. The firm has come under fire for putting high ratings on mortgage-backed securities that went bust and sent financial markets into a panic in 2008. If S&P is successful at consolidating the state lawsuits, it could streamline the damages that the rater ultimately has to pay out.
- U.S. GDP expanded 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter, above the government's February estimate of 0.1 percent growth but below economists' predictions for a 0.5 percent expansion. Personal consumption growth was 1.8 percent, below the 2.1 percent growth predicted.
- Initial jobless claims in the week ended March 23 were 357,000, up from 341,000 the week before and above economists' predictions of 340,000 claims. Continuing claims edged down to 3.050 million from 3.077 million in the previous week.
- At 9:45, the Chicago PMI March survey, which gives a glimpse into regional manufacturing conditions, is released. Economists expect the headline index to tick down to 56.5 from 56.8 last month, indicating a moderate but robust pace of expansion in the region (any reading over 50 on the index indicates growth). Follow the release LIVE >
- The final economic data release comes at 11:00 AM with the release of the Kansas City Fed's March manufacturing survey. Economists expect the index to rebound to -3 from last month's dismal -10 figure (any number below 0 on the index indicates contraction). Last month, the steep drop in manufacturing activity was blamed on the effects of federal spending cuts that formed the sequester. Follow all of the data LIVE on Business Insider >
- BONUS: Amanda Bynes was spotted in Times Square wearing a blue button-down shirt – on her head.
BI Intelligence, a new subscription research service from Business Insider, provides in-depth insight, data, and analysis of the mobile industry.
Access all reports, research updates, presentations, data and chart libraries plus much more with your free trial.
|Click here to start your subscription>>|
More From Business Insider