Morning Briefing

Morning Briefing

Morning Briefing Markets await ECB; Wall Street expected to open higher
After closing with losses Tuesday Wall Street is expecting to open higher Wednesday with US economic data and a meeting of the European Central Bank anticipated. Asian markets have closed mostly lower with even Australian GDP figures showing better-than-expected growth failing to lift the mood. In Europe the ECB meeting is in sharp focus along with Greek debt. The central bank will announce its latest interest rates decision which is unlikely to be a headline-grabber but its president’s speech will be closely watched.

US stock futures are trending higher. Oil is trending lower (Brent $63.88, WTI $59.86 at 6.15am ET). Gold is trending lower.
 
Today’s data
MBA mortgage applications at 7am ET
ADP employment report at 8.15am ET
International trade at 8.30am ET
PMI service index at 9.45am ET
ISM non-manufacturing index at 10am ET
EIA petroleum report at 10.30am ET
Fed Beige Book at 2pm ET
Activecare, Neomedia Tech and Vera Bradley are among the companies reporting earnings today.
 
OECD cuts global growth forecast
The global economy will grow by 3.1 per cent this year, down from a previous outlook of 3.7 per cent according to the OECD. Lagging investment and Greek debt are among the issues affecting confidence the organization says, and the lack of demand is also affecting wage increases and consumption. The average for the decade through 2011 was 3.9 per cent growth but last year saw 3.3 per cent.
 
Walmart increases wages for second time this year
100,000 Walmart workers will get an increase in their pay checks after the retailer announced its second pay increase this year. In February 500,000 workers were told they would be getting an increase and this latest announcement will give a boost to department managers and deli workers. The increases will bring most workers up to, or within 80 cents, of the $10.10 minimum that President Obama has been calling for.
 
Presidential hopeful calls for reform of social security
Arkansas’ Mike Huckabee, former state governor and presidential hopeful, told Fox News Tuesday that there need to be a change in the way that social security is funded. He told the Coast to Coast program that a lot of people don’t realise “that 60 million Americans are getting social security” and he wants reform for retirees’ pay-outs: “At age 65, instead of a long-term social security pay out, give me a one-time cash out benefit tax free. I walk away, the government walks away, then that’s my choice, let me have that choice.”