Markets open higher after Wall Street surge
A late surge on the NYSE yesterday has led to most of the world’s major indexes beginning the day higher. In Asia it’s been a bumpy day’s trading with the Wall Street rally giving shares a boost but the spectre of lower oil prices and weak output still weighing heavily. Most of the major Asian markets closed with some mixed earnings results leaving China in the red. European shares also started the day better but have since dropped back with official figures showing that the Eurozone slipped into deflation in December for the first time in 5 years. The ECB will hope that its new bond-buying program will be able to reverse the trend. US stock futures are trending slightly lower; oil and gold are higher.
GDP at 8.30am ET
Employment Cost Index at 8.30am ET
Chicago PMI at 9.45am ET
Consumer Sentiment at 10.00am ET
AbbVie, Chevron and Mastercard are among those reporting earnings today.
GDP expected to be higher due to consumer spending
Today’s release of GDP figures is expected to show growth of around 3 per cent for the fourth-quarter of 2014 with consumer spending boosted by lower gasoline prices according to a survey of economists by Reuters.
Visa payment volume jumps 11 per cent
Visa saw an 11 per cent increase in the volume of payments in the last quarter of 2014 with over $1 trillion of transactions made. It also saw its fees for international transaction rise by 9 per cent to $970 million from a year earlier. The firm predicts that the US dollar will mean lower revenues in the year ahead but still predicts strong growth. Visa’s stock will split in March with investors receiving 4 shares for each that they currently hold. Its main competitor Mastercard reports earnings today.
Google misses expectations
Google’s results for the last quarter have fallen short of expectations with revenue of $18.1 billion rather than the predicted $18.46 bn. Earnings were $6.88 per share, up from $6 in the same period a year earlier but below the forecast of $7.11. Its YouTube business saw revenue double from a year earlier. The firm says exchange rate fluctuations, significant investment and “unusual charges” all led to the lower figures but expects this year to see further growth.
American families lack financial stability
A new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts warns that most American families have poor financial stability. It says that 70 per cent of households are at risk from lower-than-needed income, high debt and little or no savings. Almost half of Americans struggle to cover expenses with their current income while fewer than half have enough saved to cover a month’s outgoings in the event of job loss or inability to work.