World stocks boosted by optimism in Fed meeting
Some solid earnings, especially from the US, and positive forecasts on the outcome of the Fed’s monetary policy meeting have boosted optimism in the world’s markets. All of Asia’s major markets have ended the day with gains and Europe has started trading on a high. US stock futures are mixed so far; gold is lower; oil is edging higher. The Fed is widely expected to formally announce the end of its stimulus program and investors are also expecting hints of a long run up to interest rate rises; the last quarter of 2015 could be the first increase.
MBA Purchase Applications at 7am ET
EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10.30am ET
FOMC Policy Meeting Statement at 2pm ET
Dreamworks, Fiat Chrysler and Kraft Foods among those reporting today.
Facebook status sparks concern on spending plans
Facebook announced its earnings after the bell yesterday with revenue higher than expected; $3.2 billion against $3.12 estimated; and earnings of 43 cents per share against the predicted 40 cents. All good so far. The devil is in the detail with earnings reports and the news that Facebook is planning a massive spending spree in 2015 sparked a sell-off with shares dropping more than 9 per cent. Facebook is planning an increase in spending of between 55 and 75 per cent next year with acquisitions on the cards in its bid to be the ‘connector’ of the internet. Of some concern is the company’s high-profile purchase of WhatsApp earlier in the year for $19 billion as figures reveal that the messaging service lost $138 million last year.
US regulators investigate CMS employees for insider trading
US regulators are investigating whether employees from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid leaked information to traders, according to the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probes include possible non-public information being given to pharmaceutical firms. One of the investigations is said to be in conjunction with the FBI. Read the full story.
Lowes tests robots in customer service roles
Hardware retailer Lowes is trialling the use of robots to assist customer service in its stores. Four stores are using the technology which allows customers to interact with it to find the item they want; the robot then ‘walks’ them to the aisle where their item is located. The robots can access stock information in real time to inform customers if something is out of stock and they speak both English and Spanish. Read the full story.
World Bank report ranks Asia-Pacific nations as best for business
The annual Doing Business report from the World Bank has been released today and ranks Singapore as the best country to do business in. The report ranks nations on the ease of doing business from a regulatory viewpoint and Asia-Pac holds the top three places including New Zealand and Hong Kong. The US is 7th with Canada 16th. Read the full story.