Positive start to the week’s trading
Monday has been good for the markets so far as Greece works on its plans to repay its debt after an extension of its loan was agreed on Friday evening. In Asia some of the major markets including Shanghai are still closed for Chinese New Year holidays; for the rest record closes on Wall Street, the Greek deal and better Japanese export prospects have seen the indexes end the day with gains. In Europe the Greek deal has dominated sentiment and there are gains on the major indexes.
US stock futures are lower; oil is lower (Brent $59.87, WTI $50.24 a5 5.05am ET); gold is lower.
Chicago Fed National Activity Index at 8.30am ET
PMI Services Index Flash at 9.45am ET
Existing Home Sales at 10.00am ET
Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey at 10.30am ET
Cobalt International, Omega Healthcare and Strategic Hotels are among those reporting earnings today.
Markets anticipate Yellen’s testimony
Fed chair Janet Yellen will give her testimony to Congress this week, starting with the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow. Markets will be looking for a lead on interest rates with the majority of analysts still expecting an increase in June. Although the latest Fed minutes gave economists reason to speculate on a later adjustment in rates, possibly even next year before a rise, that assessment was made before stronger employment data which is likely to mean an earlier move.
More oil workers join strike
More than 6,500 workers are now on strike as a dispute about safety escalates. Employees of America’s largest oil refinery, Port Arthur in Indiana, joined the walk-out over the weekend after talks between the United Steelworkers union and oil industry bosses fell apart on Friday.
Apple to make largest European investment
Apple is to invest $1.9 billion on two new data centers in Europe, making it the firm’s largest investment in the region. The new facilities will handle data such as iTunes and for users of Apple devices in Europe and will be based in Ireland and Denmark. They should be operational by 2017.
West Coast ports get back to business after labor deal
An agreement between employers and workers at West Coast ports should see an uptick in activity today. Some ports got back to work over the weekend but there will be a lot of catching up to do. The two sides in the dispute went to arbitration and a tentative agreement has led to work resuming.
Merrill Lynch takes steps to stop brokers taking clients
An agreement that means that banks won’t sue brokers who leave and take their clients with them has been in place for a decade but Merrill Lynch is trying to stop the practice Reuters reports. Industry lawyers have told the news organisation that Merrill Lynch Bank of America has been asking brokers to sign a contract that forbids them from taking clients which “belong to the bank”. The bank says it is committed to the agreement and is not trying end it.
Canada’s Valeant to buy Salix Pharmaceuticals
The gastrointestinal drugs manufacturer Salix has found a buyer. The firm has been of interest to four potential purchasers in the last year but a deal has now been agreed with Canadian firm Valeant Pharmaceuticals for $10.4 billion; $14.5 billion including debt.
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