S&P closes on a high
The IT sector helped push the S&P index to a record high Thursday as investors weighed economic data against the benefits of a weaker dollar and more stable bonds. Apple, Facebook and Microsoft all advanced. Friday’s trading day has started in broadly positive mood following Wall Street’s lead although concern over liquidity in China saw Shanghai’s main index close lower. Tokyo and Hong Kong were the star performers closing with triple-digit gains. In Europe the central bank’s president reassured markets that the ECB will fully implement its bond-buying program and will continue to do so as long as needed. All major European indexes are trading higher.
US stock futures are trending higher. Oil is trending lower (Brent $66.69, WTI $59.63 at 6am ET). Gold is trending lower.
Empire State manufacturing survey at 8.30am ET
Industrial production at 9.15am ET
Consumer sentiment at 10am ET
E-commerce retail sales at 10.30am ET
Treasury international capital at 4pm ET
Capital Financial, Drone Aviation and Melrose Bancorp are among the companies reporting results today.
Banks want assurances before pleading guilty on forex charges
Five banks that were expected to plead guilty to criminal charges over the manipulation of foreign exchange rates will not do so unless they receive certain assurances. Reuters reports that the banks want the SEC and other regulators to confirm that they will not be barred from certain activities before they will plead. However as some of those concerned are repeat offenders, having been charged on other counts, the regulators are not likely to simply agree without further negotiation.
Netflix reportedly in talks to enter China
Netflix could gain access to the huge market in China if reports of talks are accurate. Bloomberg cites people familiar with talks between the US online streaming firm and Chinese media companies including Jack Ma’s Wasu Media Holding Company with the aim of taking Netflix into the country’s $5.9 billion online video market. China has strict rules on media and a local tie-up would be essential for Netflix.
Google’s driverless cars roll out this summer
Google has been testing its self-driving autos on California’s roads and this summer the first of its models will become publicly available. The two seaters will be modified from the prototype that Google first built a year ago as state laws mean they will need the addition of a steering wheel and brake pedals. They will also be limited to 25 mph.