Asian markets mixed on weak data; Europe weighs Greece, Russia
The world’s markets have started the week with caution after last week’s rally in oil prices and profit-taking on Friday. Asia’s markets have closed mixed with weaker-than-expected data showing that China’s imports and exports both declined in the year to January by 3.3 per cent and 19.9 per cent respectively. In Europe concern that a deal with Greece over its debt is still struggling with the new government still refusing to agree terms and the continuing unrest in Russia-Ukraine is also weighing heavily on the markets. US stock futures are trending lower while oil and gold are edging higher.
TD Ameritrade IMX at 12.30pm ET
American Capital, Hasbro and Molina Healthcare are among those reporting earnings today.
Oil dips on weak Chinese data
The latest trade figures for China which show weaker-than-expected imports and exports for the year to January have raised further concern over the demand for oil. Brent crude was down to $57.51 a barrel at 5.45am ET. Lower US output and the growing economy has offset some of the losses.
US firms may not be leaving for tax breaks
The President may have been keen to stop US firms taking their tax affairs overseas but analysis from Reuters suggests the so-called ‘inversions’ were not the big attraction we thought. The reason? Many of the biggest corporates are not paying the full US tax rate anyway. The research shows that the six biggest firms that were involved in inversions at the end of last year and the start of this one were paying on average 20.5 per cent tax, not 35 per cent. The study concludes that those firms would not necessarily have stayed as US registered companies if the tax rate was lower however it highlights that a lower standard tax rate is believed by many economists to being a key factor in US competitiveness. Read the full story.
Payday lenders set for tougher regulations
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking tougher regulation on the payday loans sector. It will shortly publish draft proposals to tackle some of the practices of the lenders with the sector said to be worth $46 billion. Concern about consumer protection has been mounting as the financial crisis increased the use of payday loans by those unable to get credit elsewhere. The high level of interest rates charged will be among the areas addressed by the new proposals.