Wall St. close subdues markets, oil recovers
Yesterday’s lower close for Wall Street, with the exception of the Nasdaq, have led to some mixed trading so far Friday on the world markets. Figures showing that US jobless claims were higher than predicted, consumer prices were weaker and the Fed’s dovish tone on interest rates have conspired to add a note of caution to investors as the week draws to a close. Asian markets mostly closed with gains; Japan held on to its 15-year record despite weaker data on inflation and some disappointing earnings. In Europe there were some positive earnings but economic concerns continue to weigh heavily with Ukraine and Greece still very much on the agenda. Oil prices have seen some recovery overnight though ahead of US rig-count data and Chinese manufacturing stats due this weekend. The price of Brent crude is set for its biggest monthly gain in almost 6 years.
US stock futures are trending lower. Oil is trending higher (Brent $61.54, WTI $49.39 at 5.00am ET). Gold is lower.
GDP at 8.30am ET
Chicago PMI at 9.45am ET
Consumer Sentiment at 10.00am ET
Pending Home Sales Index at 10.00am ET
Fibrogen, NRG Energy and Willbros Group are among those reporting earnings today.
GDP to rise 2.1 per cent according to Reuters poll
The markets are awaiting data on the US economy today with GDP figures released at 8.30am ET. A Reuters poll of analysts expect the fourth-quarter growth to be 2.1 per cent, following 5 per cent in Q3. Mixed economic data is behind the cautious prediction but most agree that the US economy is still growing at a moderate pace and certainly outperforming other economies.
Net neutrality vote is a win for consumers says Netflix
Yesterday’s vote by the FCC to regulate internet providers more like utilities has been hailed as a win for consumers by Netflix. If the vote stands up to court challenges it will mean that internet providers’ power to decide who gets the best service based on ability to pay. Cable firm Comcast says the FCC vote will result in years of litigation and may cut investment in broadband infrastructure. A separate vote yesterday by the FCC was in favor of over-ruling two state’s attempts to block municipal broadband networks. Netflix applauded that decision too. Read the full story.
Americans still unprepared for financial emergencies
More than half of Americans are unprepared for financial emergencies according to the Pew Charitable Trust. Its report says that a third of respondents have no savings and more than half either spend more than they earn or break even. The research of 7000 households concludes that most people are “fighting short term fires” rather than being able to plan longer term.
KFC tests edible coffee cups
It could turn out to be a marketing triumph and a boost to efforts to cut down on waste, KFC is testing edible coffee cups. CNN reports that the fast food chain will launch its new coffee product, Starbucks “Seattle’s Best Coffee” brand, in its UK restaurants and may do so in cups that can be eaten afterwards. Created by London-based firm The Robin Collective the cups are like a hard biscuit on the outside with a white chocolate layer on the inside.