Optimism returns to world markets on Ukraine, Greece, Oil, Jobs
The world’s major markets are in positive territory today with Brent crude having edged above $60 in early trading and political unrest in Russia-Ukraine on hold with a ceasefire. Talks Thursday to try to reach agreement on the Greek debt crisis ended without a deal but there is optimism that there may be a solution when the discussions resume on Monday. Better-than-expected US jobs data yesterday together with Sweden cutting interest rates have also had a positive effect on markets. In Asia risk-taking returned today and markets closed higher with the exception of Tokyo. European markets have been further boosted by news that Germany’s economy grew by more than expected in January. US stock futures are trending higher; oil and gold are higher.
Import and Export Prices at 8.30am ET
Consumer Sentiment at 10.00am ET
Burger King Worldwide, Envirostar and Optimumbank Holdings are among the companies reporting earnings today.
China’s smartphone giant coming to the US
While Apple has been celebrating success in China a Chinese tech firm has been planning to target the US market. Xiaomi is only five years old but has become the fastest-growing seller of smartphones in China and has also been selling globally online. It is now preparing to test the US market not with smartphones but with accessories such as headphones and smart wristbands. Its phones won’t be too far away though with plans to start selling in Brazil this year; it is even planning to manufacture the phones in the country to avoid import taxes.
CBS-Viacom tie-up? No says Moonves
Rumors of merger talks between CBS and Viacom have been dismissed by CBS chief Les Moonves. He told analysts that the company has plenty of “clout” and doesn’t need a partner. He highlighted that the company has boosted revenue by 3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014 and is gearing up for new late night offerings from Letterman-replacement Steven Colbert together with British comedian and actor James Corden. Plus of course it is already selling ad spots for next year’s Super Bowl.
Costco deal with AmEx will end this year
The exclusive deal between Costco and American Express is coming to an end this year and will not be renewed. The deal has been in place for the best part of two decades and will hit AmEx revenue; its shares dropped 6 per cent on the news while those of rivals Visa and MasterCard gained.
Expedia buys Orbitz
Travel website Expedia is buying rival Orbitz in a deal worth $1.34 billion. Last month Expedia announced the purchase of another competitor Travelocity and last year added Wotif.com to its stable of brands. The Orbitz deal will bring CheapTickets and HotelClub into its expanding portfolio.
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