Fed statement knocks global sentiment
The hawkish tone of yesterday’s statement from the Fed’s policy committee has caused concern among investors in Asia and Europe this morning. The optimistic tone on the US economy and the likelihood that conditions will be right for an interest rate rise this year adds to the continued pressure of oil prices, sluggish global growth and some poor earnings results. Asia’s markets have closed lower while European indexes are also trending lower as concern mounts over the new Greek government’s intentions for its international bailout repayments. Greek shares dropped by 26 per cent yesterday. US stock futures are edging higher after a sell-off yesterday; oil is trending higher; gold is lower.
Jobless Claims at 8.30am ET
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index at 9.45am ET
Pending Home Sales Index at 10.00am ET
Amazon, Alibaba, Google and Time Warner are among those reporting earnings today.
McDonald’s flips burger bosses
There’s a change ahead at McDonald’s with president and CEO Don Thompson stepping down from the beginning of March to be replaced by chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook. With a 3.6 per cent drop in traffic and revenue down in Q4 by 21 per cent Easterbrook will be expected to inject some fresh ideas into the business.
Facebook exceeds market predictions
The big names in the tech sector are in focus this week with Microsoft underperforming, Apple soaring and results due today from Amazon, Alibaba and Google. Yesterday Facebook reported better-than-expected figures with fourth-quarter revenue up 49 per cent on stronger mobile advertising sales. However despite sales and earnings booming the company’s growth is slowing with the latest results showing the slowest growth in revenue since the beginning of 2013.
Obamacare tax penalty for millions
Up to 6 million Americans who did not have health insurance last year will have to pay a tax penalty, CNN reports. With fines of $95 or 1 per cent of income above a threshold of around $20,000 for a couple it will be an unwelcome extra cost for taxpayers. Those completing tax returns in the coming weeks will be the first to be hit with the new charge which will increase to $325 or 2 per cent for the 2015-16 tax year.
401(k) balances hit new high in 2014
New figures show that the average level of 401(k) balances hit a record high last year as the strong performance of stocks combined with more workers contributing higher amounts boosted retirement funds. Figures from Fidelity show an 11 per cent increase in balances in 2014 compared with 2011 with the average amount reaching $91,300.