The world is watching; markets cautious on Fed rate hikes
Global stock markets have started the week with a cautious tone as investors weigh the risk of higher US interest rates. Friday’s better-than-expected jobs data increases the chance of the Fed increasing rates in June saw Wall Street fall by 1 per cent. In Asia regional issues have also subdued sentiment with mining stocks in Australia weak and Japan’s economy not quite as strong as first thought with GDP figures for the third quarter of 2014 revised down from 2.2 to 1.5 per cent. China’s export figures, released over the weekend, showed a 48 per cent surge and the country’s banking sector saw gains. Shanghai closed higher while most other Asian indexes were lower. In Europe, the ECB launches its bond-buying program today but US interest rates and Greece are still causing concern and most indexes are lower so far.
US stock futures are trending lower. Oil is mixed with Brent lower ($59.40) and WTI higher ($49.69) at 5.45am ET. Gold is trending higher.
No major data expected today.
It’s the sixth anniversary of the Bull market today.
Atlas Financial, Millennial Media and Urban Outfitter are among those reporting earnings today.
Apple expected to launch smartwatch today
An event is taking place in San Francisco today (1pm ET) at which Apple is expected to launch its hotly-anticipated wearable product. Although it has come to the smartwatch market behind some of its rivals, the launch of the Apple Watch will be big news for its millions of devotees. The product is set to be in shops this spring and CEO Tim Cook will today reveal more details about what it can do and why people should buy one. The smartwatch market is fairly weak currently but many ‘techsperts’ believe it, and other wearables, are about to see a surge.
Oil could still drop sharply says Goldman Sachs
A report from Goldman Sachs warns that the price of US crude could still fall to as low as $40 as stocks increase. With supply concerns in the Middle East helping to push the cost of a barrel higher in recent weeks there has been more optimism but this latest report suggests that there could be more pain in the near-term: “The end of winter and the end of potential restocking demand, will lead to a sequential deceleration in demand-growth as we enter the spring” the report says. Read the full story.
Tesla sales numbers lead to job losses in China
Electric car manufacturer Tesla is cutting jobs in China after sales figures in the country failed to hit expectations. China is the world’s largest market for motors but weaker-than-hoped figures mean that the US firm is restructuring and according to reports in the Economic Times is may cut up to 30 per cent of its Chinese workforce. Tesla has not confirmed the numbers but has acknowledged that jobs in the country will be lost.