Asian markets higher, Greece weighs down Europe
The world markets are mixed Friday as Asia awaited news from Europe on the Greek deal but also a weak yen helped Japan’s exports and boosted the Nikkei to a new 15-year high. Some of the major Asian markets including Shanghai and Hong Kong were closed for Chinese New Year. European shares meanwhile are firmly in negative territory over fears that a deal over the Greek bailout will stall again today. Greece formally requested a six-month extension to its agreement but Germany blocked it. With that as a backdrop markets recoiled as German producer prices data and European retail earnings disappointed.
US stock futures are generally lower, except for the Nasdaq. Oil is edging higher (Brent $60, WTI $51 at 5.40am ET). Gold is slightly lower.
PMI Manufacturing Index Flash at 9.45am ET
Deere & Co, Fannie Mae and Wells Financial are among those reporting earnings today.
Walmart to give 500,000 a raise
Almost half a million Walmart employees will be better off after the firm announced that it was increasing wages to at least $9 an hour, $1.75 more than the minimum wage. By this time next year hourly employees that have completed 6 months training will earn $10 an hour. The move will cost the firm $1 billion and its shares closed down more than 3 per cent yesterday but CEO Doug McMillon said the plan is to drive staff loyalty and improve customer service.
Apple’s electric car could be in production in 5 years
Bloomberg reports that Apple’s plans to launch an electric car could become reality at the end of this decade. It says that a source close to Apple has revealed that the firm wants to push ahead with production quickly to avoid being left behind by forthcoming launches by Tesla and GM. There has been no official confirmation by Apple that they are entering the space and in the meantime there are even rumors that it may try to buy Tesla. The estimated cost of an auto production facility is $1 billion, small change for Apple with its $178 billion of reserves.
Are women smarter investors?
Despite surveys suggesting that women are lacking in confidence when making investments the figures suggest that they should have plenty. Fidelity Personal Investing data shows that over the past ten years men and women’s median returns on investments has been roughly the same (around 7.3 per cent) but that women tend to have less risky portfolios. The firm says that as women generally save more their investment returns can end up being worth more.