Mark Boster, Reuters / Pool
Good morning. Here's what you need to know.
- Markets in Asia were mixed in overnight trading. The Japanese Nikkei fell 0.8%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 0.3%, and the Shanghai Composite retreated 0.2%. European markets are mixed: Germany and Spain are higher while London, France, and Italy are retreating. In the United States, futures point to a positive open.
- The European Central Bank elected to cut interest rates today for the first time since July 2012 , lowering the benchmark refinancing rate 25 basis points to 0.50%. ECB President Mario Draghi will hold a press conference and Q&A beginning at 8:30. Follow the presser LIVE >
- Total auto sales fell to 14.88 million units at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate in April from 15.22 million in March, missing analysts' expectations for an unchanged sales pace. While the "Big 3" Detroit auto makers all reported better than expected sales, Toyota sells unexpectedly fell 1.1%, versus analysts' estimates for a 3.1% rise.
- HSBC's China manufacturing PMI fell to 50.4 in April from 51.6 in March, slightly below analysts' expectations of a drop to 50.5. Any number above 50 on the PMIs indicates expansion, so the report confirms that manufacturing growth in China decelerated in April, as the official PMI release Wednesday also showed.
- Euro area manufacturing PMIs out today revealed that the currency area is still in a deep, prolonged contraction. Spanish PMI rose to 44.7 from 44.2, Italian PMI rose to 45.5 from 44.5, and French PMI rose to 44.4 from 43.8, so the pace of contraction slowed a bit, but still remains high.
- In Germany, the euro zone's strongest economy, manufacturing PMI slipped to 48.1 in April from 49.0 in March, indicating that the pace of contraction there is actually accelerating. In addition, firms reduced staffing levels, confirming numbers out earlier this week indicating rising unemployment in Germany.
- Facebook reported better-than-expected revenues ($1.46 billion vs. $1.44 billion) but worse-than-expected earnings per share ($0.12 vs. $0.13) in its first quarter earnings filing. Mobile ad revenue, at $375 million, rose to 30% of total revenue from 23% in the previous quarter.
- Visa reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.92, better than the $1.81 expected by analysts. Credit card usage was up 9 percent year over year in the first quarter, but debit card usage was flat.
- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $38.8 billion in March from $43.6 billion in February. Economists expected a much smaller improvement to $42.3 billion.
- Initial jobless claims for the week ended April 27 were 324,000, down from 342,000 the week before and well below economists' prediction for 345,000 new claims. Continuing claims for the week ended April 20 rose to 3.02 million, below economists' expectations for a rise to 3.03 million.
- BONUS: TMZ says Lindsay Lohan is in "big trouble" for heading back to California to check into an unauthorized rehabilitation facility.
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