Markets await US jobs data
This morning’s data on employment is highly anticipated around the world as investors continue to look at the US economy for hope. In a global economy where oil prices, low inflation, slowing growth and political unrest are weighing heavily on the minds of investors every bit of good news from the US provides just enough optimism to bring some risk back to the markets. Asian markets have largely closed with narrow gains and Europe’s major markets are generally higher. While world markets will be largely focussing on growing levels of US employment, for Wall Street there’s a shift towards wage increases. Although there have been at least 200,000 jobs added to the labor market every month in the last 10 wage rises have been poor. Analysts are looking for growth of up to 3 per cent this year compared to the last few years of closer to 2 per cent. US stock futures are mixed; gold is higher; oil is slightly lower.
Employment Situation at 8.30am ET
Wholesale Trade at 10.00am ET
Ceres and Skyline Corp are among those reporting earnings today.
AOL and Yahoo merger pressure increases
Shares in AOL and Yahoo increased Thursday as pressure increased for the two firms to become one. Hedge fund Starboard Value has written a letter to Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer expressing concern at reports that the firm is looking at CNN or Scripps Networks as acquisition targets, and repeated his call for a takeover of AOL. Starboard also wants Yahoo to spin off its Alibaba investment to a separate entity. Yahoo is sitting on at least $9 billion from the Alibaba IPO and investors are keen for it to be spent.
JC Penney to close 40 stores, losing 2,250 jobs
JC Penney has announced that it will be closing 40 stores this year in a bid to improve profitability. The move will result in the loss of 2,250 jobs and the firm says it will offer affected employees help with career training. Most of the closures will take place over the next four months.
GM boss says there’s room for auto industry to grow
The CEO of General Motors says that the industry has plenty of room to grow with innovations in motoring adding new momentum into the sector and creating jobs. Mary Barra says that she hopes to sell 17 million light vehicles this year which may be optimistic but sales have been recovering since 2009. With economic recovery, rising employment and cheaper credit and gas prices it could indeed be a boom year for autos.
NY and LA renters pay half their paycheck to landlords
Renters in New York and Los Angeles pay higher percentages of their income to landlords than elsewhere in the US. Data from property website Truila shows that those in NY and LA pay out more than half their paycheck on rent while in St. Louis landlords get just a quarter of their tenants’ wages. With wage growth only just above inflation, renters in many cities have seen rent increases far in excess of their income; 14 per cent in Denver, 11 per cent in San Francisco, 9 per cent in New York. Landlords collected $441 billion in rent last year, a round 5 per cent higher than in 2013.