Gloomy Friday for Asian and European markets
Wall Street suffered its worst day of the year yesterday after having its best day on Wednesday. Europe is the focus for many investors around the world concerned that weakness in the Eurozone bloc, highlighted yesterday by poor German export data, could have a knock-on effect on the global economy. It could get worse during the day as France and Italy release production figures. Despite the upbeat signs for the US economy many fear that it will not escape the effects of weakness in Europe, China, Japan and Brazil. All major markets in Asia have ended lower, Europe is trending downwards and the safe-haven of gold is higher. US stock futures are mixed and predictions are for a bumpy ride.
Import and export figures at 8.30am ET
US Treasury monthly budget report at 2pm ET
Delta Apparel and Progressive Corp are among those reporting earnings today.
Microsoft CEO apologizes for gender gap comments
Satya Nadella, the new boss at Microsoft, has formally apologized for comments he made at a conference this week in which he said that women shouldn’t ask for pay rises but let them come through karma. The social media storm that followed prompted an apology from Nadella and a clear indication that he supports programs to harmonize pay between the genders and says men and women should get equal pay for equal work. On the subject of pay rises, he clarifies that whatever your gender: “if you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask." Read the full story.
Firms increase stock allocations in target date funds
Some major funds are increasing the weighting of stocks in their target date funds, which mix stocks with real estate and bonds. The funds are designed to adjust the mix to be less risky as they reach maturity. They are especially popular as retirement funds but there are concerns that some fund managers are raising the risk too high in search of higher yields. While equities may be higher currently some analysts are fearful of a heavy reliance on stocks. Read the full story.
Electric cars sales increase; but Tesla’s not number 1
There’s excitement around this week about the launch of Tesla’s new model D with its better traction, longer range and faster acceleration than the S, plus all-wheel drive. However Tesla is not the hottest seller of electric cars right now; that trophy goes to Nissan. The Japanese firm’s Leaf is the best selling electric car by some margin. That could change of course; the latest figures are for the Tesla S and the new launch should shake things up a bit. Read the full story.