Asian markets pared gains after Chinese data came in below
estimates on Thursday morning.
The nation's industrial output grew 8.6 percent in January and
February, below analysts' expectations of a 9.5 percent rise.
Retail sales data also disappointed, with an 11.8 percent increase.
The figure indicated the nation's slowest growth since 2004 and was
far below the 13.5 percent estimate.
Addressing the public on Thursday, China's Premier Li Keqiang
admitted that 2014 was plagued by more difficulties than last year,
but that the nation's government plans to keep economic growth
within a reasonable range. Although he didn't give any specific
figures, the nation's government has set a 7.5 percent growth
target for the year.
In other news around the markets:
General Motors shares continued their downward spiral after the
company admitted that it knew of the defective ignition switch
problem three years earlier than originally reported. Late on
Wednesday investors learned that the problem was discovered in 2001
and that the company still has not been able to define the scope of
the problem. Ahead of Sunday's vote in Crimea on whether or not the
region should become a part of Russia, US officials have launched a
last-ditch attempt to end the crisis in Ukraine and avoid further
tension with Moscow. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet
with his Russian counterpart in London on Friday in an effort to
resolve the issue before the vote takes place. New evidence in the
search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet has clouded the
conditions surrounding its disappearance even further. The The Wall
Street Journal reported that aviation investigators have said that
data sent from the plane's engines indicated that jet stayed in the
air for roughly four hours past the time it reached its last
confirmed location. After the European Central Bank decided to
maintain its current interest rate at its March policy meeting,
many have become concerned about the strength of the euro and its
impact on the region's struggling economies. Finance ministers from
both France and Spain have spoken out to say the bank may be pushed
to make a policy change at its April meeting in order to curb the
Asian markets recovered modestly on Thursday, but disappointing
Chinese data weighed on gains. The Japanese NIKKEI lost 0.10
percent, the Shanghai composite was up 1.07 percent, the Shenzhen
composite gained 1.18 percent and the Hang Seng index was down 0.67
European markets also improved; the UK's FTSE gained 0.03
percent and the eurozone's STOXX 600 was up 0.15 percent. The
German DAX gained 0.23 percent, France's CAC 40 was up 0.17
percent, and Italy's MIB rose 0.31 percent.
Energy futures improved; Brent futures were up 0.21 percent and
WTI futures gained 0.11 percent. Gold gained 0.15 percent and
silver was up 2.59 percent. Industrial metals were mostly higher
with copper and aluminum both up 0.46 percent, but zinc lost 0.80
The euro continued to climb and gained 0.30 percent on the
dollar and the pound rose 0.23 percent against the greenback. The
dollar lost 0.90 percent to the Australian dollar and 0.25 percent
to the Japanese yen.
Notable earnings released on Wednesday included:
Williams-Sonoma, Inc (NYSE:
) reported fourth quarter EPS of $1.38 on revenue of $1.47 billion,
compared to last year's EPS of $1.34 on revenue of $1.41 billion.
Express, Inc (NYSE:
) reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.57 on revenue of $715.90
million, compared to last year's EPS of $0.75 on revenue of $728.71
million. Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:
) reported second quarter EPS of $1.60 on revenue of $452.70
million, compared to last year's EPS of $1.65 on revenue of $422.45
million. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE:
) reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.12 on revenue of $112.70
million, compared to last year's EPS of $0.09 on revenue of $118.14
Stocks moving in the Premarket included:
Leucadia National Corp (NYSE:
) gained 0.35 percent in premarket trade after falling 4.83 percent
over the past week. Carnival Corp (NYSE:
) was down 0.66 percent in premarket trade after gaining 1.42
percent on Wednesday. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:
) fell 0.13 percent in premarket trade after losing 2.15 percent
over the past five days.
Notable earnings releases expected on Thursday include:
Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $1.02 on revenue of
$4.63 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.97 on revenue of
$4.21 billion. Kronos Worldwide Inc (NYSE:
) is expected to report fourth quarter EPS of $0.01 on revenue of
$371.45 million, compared to last year's loss of $0.12 per share on
revenue of $396.80 million. Christopher & Banks
) is expected to report a fourth quarter loss of $0.03 on revenue
of $106.64 million, compared to last year's loss of $0.11 on
revenue of $115.98 million.
Chinese data will be the star of Thursday's economic calendars
with the nation set to release retail sales and industrial
production data. Other notable economic releases include US retail
sales, Japanese industrial production, Brazilian retail sales, and
For a recap of Wednesday's market action, click .
Tune into Benzinga's pre-market info show with Dennis Dick and
© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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