Russian economic crisis adds new pressure to markets
With sanctions from the west biting hard Russia’s economy is in turmoil as the rouble falls to new lows and Moscow tries to stabilise its currency with an emergency interest rate hike. Russia’s economy relies heavily on oil and gas and needs oil to be around $100 to balance the books. The country’s bank is warning of a severe recession and the markets are not confident in the bank’s abilities to sort out the crisis. A meltdown in Moscow would have a domino effect for many other countries and, along with the continued downward trend of oil, has led to further losses today. Asian markets have closed lower with the exception of Shanghai and Tokyo. Japan’s economy had a positive note with the trade deficit shrinking by almost a third in November with increased exports and lower costs for oil imports. In Europe markets are in the red; Germany in particular has strong trade links with Russia. US stock futures are edging higher; gold is higher; oil is again trending lower.
The big one today is the FOMC Meeting Announcement, Forecasts and Press Conference – starting at 2pm ET
MBA Purchase Applications at 7am ET
Consumer Price Index at 8.30am ET
EIA Petroleum Status at 10.30am ET
FedEx and Oracle Corp are among those reporting today.
Tax breaks confirmed as Congress approves last minute spending plan
Millions of Americans will be able to claim tax breaks in their 2014 returns after Congress approved extensions of some expired schemes. In total 54 tax breaks will be renewed and will benefit many individuals, small business and large corporations. Industries including film-makers and rum producers will also be better off. The extension will only apply to this year though and uncertainty will then return. Read the full story.
American Apparel appoints new chief
American Apparel has appointed a new chief executive six months after its founder Dan Charney was ousted following an investigation into the misuse of company funds. Paula Schneider will now head the retailer and will need to use her wide experience in retail to return it to glory after a few years of struggles. Charney has been a consultant to the firm since his suspension as CEO but that arrangement will now come to an end.
Defense industry set for tough 2015
Spending cuts will have a negative effect on the global defense industry according to analysis from IHS Jane’s. The consulting firm forecasts that governments will be cutting back on defense budgets and expects a 6 per cent cut in the sector’s revenues to $1.6 trillion in 2015. The US accounted for 35 per cent of defense industry spending in 2013 but has been scaling back along with most other governments.
US announces Olympics bid for 2024
The US is bidding to host the 2024 Olympics. The United States Olympic Committee announced its intention yesterday and will choose the bid city next year with the IOC making the decision in 2017. Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC and Los Angeles are all possible contenders and would reap the financial benefits associated with hosting the games. The summer games were last in the US in 1996.