Global markets await news from the Fed
There’s been a mixed day of trading on the world markets so far. In Asia there was caution following a sell-off on Wall Street yesterday and also ahead of the Fed’s statement later today. Most of the major indexes have closed higher though but Shanghai bucked the trend again on profit-taking. Europe’s markets are also looking to the FOMC statement but domestic woes continue with the new administration in Greece canceling the privatisation of one of the country’s biggest ports as promised in its election campaign. US stock futures are trending largely higher; oil and gold are both edging lower.
Federal Open Market Committee statement at 2.00pm ET
MBA Purchase Applications at 7.00am ET
EIA Petroleum Status Report at 10.30am ET
Boeing, Facebook and Fiat Chrysler are among those reporting earnings today.
Fed expected to remain ‘patient’
The FOMC meeting concludes today with a statement release at 2pm but no press conference. There are no shocks predicted with most economists believing the bank will hold fast on its pledge to be ‘patient’ on interest rates. The economy has continued to show positive growth although inflation is a concern. Analysts are now slowly shifting predictions of interest rate rises to later this year or early in 2016 rather than the previous forecasts of this summer.
Apple soars 38 per cent
Apple saw sales of its new iPhone models rocket in the last quarter of 2014 with Chinese buyers finally embracing the firm’s products in huge numbers. There were 74.5 million iPhones sold in Q4 up 46 per cent from the same period in 2013; sales that even CEO Tim Cook called “staggering” noting that the volume was “hard to comprehend”. Crucially there were more people than ever before switching to iPhone from Google’s Android-based devices. Net income rose 38 per cent and shares in Apple and its suppliers have been boosted by the results.
Yahoo spins off Alibaba stake
Speculation on what Yahoo would do with its huge stake in Alibaba has been rumbling on for months and yesterday the question was answered. Yahoo will spin off the $40 billion stake into a separate publicly-quoted company with existing shareholders receiving shares in the new business. It’s estimated that the move could save Yahoo around $16 billion in tax and will leave CEO Marissa Mayer to concentrate on the core business. Yahoo shareholders have broadly given the move a positive reaction and the firm’s shares were up 7 per cent in after-hours trading.
Could diamonds be an investor’s best friend?
The price of diamonds is falling with rough stones falling 9 per cent in the second half of last year. The issue is with a lack of cash in the cutting and polishing part of the sector making it harder for diamond miners to sell the stones on. It could lead to lower retail prices in the short term.
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