From Between the Hedges:
- Microsoft(MSFT) Chairman Bill Gate’s net worth has risen to $50 billion, making him the world’s richest person and widening his lead over No. 2 Warren Buffett, according to Forbes magazine’s annual survey.
- Oil prices may fall further as the end of the winter heating season leads to a decline in fuel consumption, a Bloomberg survey shows.
- China’s producer prices rose in February at the slowest pace in more than two years as the cost of steel fell.
- Eli Lilly(LLY) is likely to boost profit because revenue will rise on its Byetta diabetes drug.
- The short-range missiles tested this week by North Korea used upgraded technology that included the use of solid fuel to make transport easier and increase their accuracy.
- SigmaTel Inc.(SGTL), the world’s biggest maker of chips for MP3 players, plans to set up a subsidiary in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen this month to increase sales.
- Kia Motors Corp. is expected to announce plans for its first US plant as early as next week, with a site in southwestern Georgia the leading contender.
Asian Indices are -.25% to +.75% on average.
S&P 500 indicated +.02%.
NASDAQ 100 indicated unch.
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8:30 am EST
- The Change in Non-farm Payrolls for February is estimated at 210K versus 193K in January.
- The Unemployment Rate for February is estimated at 4.7% versus 4.7% in January.
- The Change in Manufacturing Payrolls for February is estimated at 5K versus 7K in January.
- Average Hourly Earnings for February are estimated to rise .3% versus a .4% gain in January.
10:00 am EST
- Wholesale Inventories for January are estimated to rise .5% versus a 1.0% increase in December.
2:00 pm EST
- The Monthly Budget Deficit for February is estimated to widen to -$118.3 billion versus -$113.9 billion in January.
BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by exporting shares in the region on US dollar strength. I expect US equities to open modestly lower and to rise into the afternoon, finishing mixed.