US markets closed but global markets generally up
With the New York Stock Exchange closed for Martin Luther King Day Monday will see thinner trading than usual, however there has been plenty of activity around the globe. In Asia most markets have closed with gains thanks to Friday’s rally on Wall Street. Shanghai and Hong Kong are the exceptions following a crackdown by the China Securities Regulatory Commission which has suspended three brokerages for rule-breaking. The Shanghai index fell almost 8 per cent Monday. There is expectation that economic growth data due tomorrow will show another slowdown for China’s economy. In Europe the mood is upbeat with heightening expectation of full-scale quantative easing by the ECB. This, together with some stronger oil prices, is outweighing continued concern about Greece and other regional economic issues. US stock futures are trending higher; oil is down but holding around $48; gold is trending lower.
There are no data publications today and the NYSE is closed for Martin Luther King Day.
First Defiance is the only publicly-listed company to report earnings today.
Obama’s plan for the middle class
President Obama will make his State of the Union address tomorrow and is expected to offer up some perks for the middle class in readiness for next year’s election. Parents, students and workers are all likely to benefit with the mega-rich and large banks carrying the additional costs. While the raft of proposals, designed in part to help families who are working hard but still struggling and to encourage saving for retirement, may prove popular with many voters they are not likely to go down well at Congress. With both houses controlled by the Republicans who have made it clear that they oppose the President’s stance, there is much debate to be had.
Microsoft optimistic about Windows 10
This Wednesday will see Microsoft unveil details of its latest operating system and its fight back against Apple and Google in the mobile sector. The signs are that the latest operating system will offer up far more for the fast-growing mobile device sector, especially in the creation of apps. Windows Phone has struggled to encourage enough developers to use its platform which has in turn discouraged consumers to adopt the system. Even the purchase of mobile phone legend Nokia hasn’t been enough to tip things in Microsoft’s favor. There has been a large increase in the number of apps available for the firm’s phones but it is still lagging behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android in this regard. However CEO Satya Nadella will reveal a system that works seamlessly across mobile, laptop and desktop devices – hopefully without the irritations of Windows 8 !
Uber tries to make friends with job offers
Ride-share firm Uber has rattled the taxi industry and regulators across much of the world but is now working hard to build bridges and make friends with those who oppose it. Among the latest moves the San Francisco based firm has told European regulators that if they can work together there could be 50,000 jobs created. Uber has told delegates at a tech conference in Germany that it also has other good things to bring to their cities including data sharing to help transport planning, something it has already begun to do in the US.