Earnings season, oil prices help markets gain
The main US indexes closed higher Wednesday as earnings season and higher oil prices boosted stocks. Thursday’s trading in Asia shrugged off weak Chinese growth in the previous session and all the major indexes closed higher. Europe though is in negative territory so far with some disappointing earnings and Greek debt still causing concern. S&P cut Greece’s rating to CCC+ from B- and said that the country’s ability to keep its debt commitments was unsustainable withour major economic reform.
US stock futures are flat. Oil is trending lower (Brent $63.02, WTI $56.15 at 5.50am ET). Gold is trending higher.
Housing starts at 8.30am ET
Jobless claims at 8.30am ET
Bloomberg consumer sentiment at 9.45am ET
Philadelphia Fed business outlook at 10.00am ET
EIA natural gas report at 10.30am ET
American Express, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are among the companies reporting earnings today.
Etsy begins trading after $267 million IPO
The online craft marketplace Etsy raised $267 million with its IPO priced at $16 per share on Wednesday evening. The company is valued at $1.8 billion and begins trading on the Nasdaq Thursday. CNN says the firm is now the largest certified socially responsible company to go public in the US. Last year the site’s revenue grew 56 per cent to $195.6 million.
CEO’s see larger pay increases as workers struggle
Those protesting on the streets of America yesterday over low wages will be further riled by a report that shows that bosses’ pay surged last year. Analysis from ISS Corporate Solutions shows that total CEO pay increased 12.7 per cent in the past year with an average of $6.4 million. Meanwhile a Mercer study found that the average worker will get a rise of just 3 per cent this year with the median wage at the end of last year at $41,392 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Japan holds more US government debt than China
China is no longer the largest holder of US government debt according to the Treasury Department. Japan now owns $1.2244 trillion of US government securities against China’s $1.2237 trillion. Both countries sold some of the debt in January but China sold more.