From Between the Hedges:
- US prosecutors told lawyers Steven Schulman and David Bershad, partners in NY’s Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, that they’ll be charged with participating in a scheme to pay kickbacks to clients.
- Saudi Arabia’s chief diplomat said an incoming Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories should continue to be funded, putting the kingdom at odds with the US view that the Islamic group should be cut off.
- General Motors(NYSE:GM) said sales growth at its Shanghai venture will slow this year as China’s auto market cools and competition increases.
- Japan had a trade deficit in January, its first in five years, after the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday curbed exports of electronics to Asia and imports surged 27%.
Wall Street Journal:
- Boeing Co.(NYSE:BA) is working on a verbal agreement to sell 80 of its 737 planes to China, which agreed to buy 70 of the jetliners in November.
- China plans to change regulations to require overseas banks to incorporate operations in the mainland. Within the next few months, the commission will ask foreign banks to become China-registered companies and make accounting and management changes to conform to the way Chinese banks are structured.
- Lehman Brothers(LEH) is in talks with some mutual-fund firms about separating stock-trading and research fees.
- Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa on Wednesday renewed the call for the recognition of Israel by Hamas.
- Nearly all of China’s fast-rising number of skyscrapers are filled with excessive air pollutants that could cause serious harm to office workers.
Economic Daily News:
- Sony Corp.(NYSE:SNE) plans to place $6 billion of orders for products such as notebook computers, liquid-crystal displays and LCD televisions from Taiwan this year.
Asian Indices are -.25% to +1.0% on average.
S&P 500 indicated -.05%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated -.09%.
US AM Market Call
NASDAQ 100 Pre-Market Indicator/Heat Map
Before the Bell CNBC Video(bottom right)
Top 20 Business Stories
Daily Stock Events
Rasmussen Consumer/Investor Daily Indices
CNBC Guest Schedule
Earnings of Note
- None of note
8:30 am EST
- Initial Jobless Claims for last week are estimated to rise to 300K versus 297K the prior week.
- Continuing Claims are estimated to fall to 2500K versus 2511K prior.
10:30 am EST
- Bloomberg consensus estimates call for a weekly crude build of 1,200,000 barrels. Gasoline inventories are estimated to rise 1,000,000 barrels, and distillate supplies are expected to decrease by 1,500,000 barrels. Refinery utilization is expected to fall .2%. Finally, Natural Gas supplies are estimated to fall 110 bcf.
BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, led by technology shares in the region after oil prices fell and US interest rates declined. I expect US equities to open modestly lower and to trade higher into the afternoon, finishing modestly higher.