Wall Street closed higher as earnings season begins
The New York Stock Exchange closed higher Tuesday as earnings season began and relative stability in oil prices helped the energy sector rise. Wednesday’s trading has got off to a poor start in Asia as China’s official GDP figures show that the world’s number two economy is still dragging its heels. Growth for the 3 months to March was 7 per cent, the slowest pace since before the financial crisis and less than the 7.3 per cent in the previous quarter. Asian markets have closed mostly lower. In Europe the focus is on today’s meeting of the European Central Bank providing an overview of the Eurozone’s economy and announce its latest interest rate decision. It is expected to leave rates unchanged.
US stock futures are trending higher. Oil is trending higher (Brent $59.28, WTI $54.10 at 5.30am ET). Gold is trending lower.
MBA mortgage applications at 7.00am ET
ECB meeting at 7.30am ET
Empire State manufacturing survey at 8.30am ET
Industrial production at 9.15am ET
Housing market index at 10.00am ET
EIA Petroleum status at 10.30am ET
Beige Book at 2.00pm ET
Bank of America, Delta Airlines and Netflix are among the companies reporting earnings today.
Prices not forecast to cut US oil output
The Energy Information Administration says that oil production in the US will continue to grow until 2020 despite lower prices. The agency’s latest outlook expects output to peak at 10.6 million barrels per day in 2020 before edging back to 9.4 bpd by 2040. Both forecasts are higher than the agency expected a year ago. Increased shale output will be a large part of the overall rise. Prices are expected to average $56 per barrel for Brent crude this year and will rise to $91 by 2025.
Google faces tough battle with Europe
Charges may be filed by the European Union’s competition commissioner today against Google. The search firm has at least 90 per cent market share according to EU figures and is accused of abusing its position. If those claims are substantiated Google could face fines of more than $6 billion with the possibility that its business model may have to be redrawn in the region. Google says it has a strong case against the claims and will fight any action by the regulators.
Fast food workers set to protest against low wages
There are rallies planned in 230 US cities today (Wednesday) by fast food workers demanding higher wages. Reuters reports that the workers have enlisted help from healthcare workers, students and racial activists to push pay to be increased to $15 an hour. Their issue is that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is not enough to live on. Although retailers and fast food firms such as TJ Maxx, Walmart and McDonald’s have vowed to increase wages, they are still some way short of the level the workers say they need.