* US: Dow Futures: 12953.00 (-0.12%), S&P 500 Futures: 1366.10 (-0.20%), NASDAQ Futures: 2640.50 (-0.11%)
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* Europe: CAC: 3495.25 (-0.17%), DAX: 6886.96 (-0.50%), FTSE: 5901.94 (-0.16%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4263.00 (-0.24%), China: 2445.00 (-0.64%), Hong Kong: 21265.31 (-1.40%), India: 5280.35 (-1.47%), Japan: 9698.59 (-0.81%)
* Metals: Gold: 1705.50 (-0.25%), Silver: 34.48 (0.12%), Copper: 3.88 (-0.72%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 106.67 (-0.03%), Natural Gas: 2.23 (-4.15%)
* Commodities: Corn: 6.58 (-0.08%), Soya Bean: 13.32 (0.60%), Wheat: 6.71 (1.43%)
* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3230 (0.24%), GBP/USD: 1.5866 (0.20%), USD/JPY: 81.4500 (-0.44%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.981% (0.007)
Market News Update
U.S. markets set to open lower: The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 ($SPX) and NASDAQ ($COMP) futures were all trading 0.4% lower at 7:30 A.M. ET, as China cut its economic growth target for 2012. This morning, data relating to the services sector and factory orders, is due.
European shares fall: European stocks fell on Monday amid rising concerns about the upcoming Greek debt swap. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index was down 0.9 percent. Investor sentiment was undermined by uncertainty surrounding how much participation Greece will see for its bond swap, due to be concluded by the end of this week.
Euro-Zone business activity shrinks in February: Markit Economics’ Eurozone Composite PMI, which measures the activity of manufacturing and services companies, fell to 49.3 in February, as against 50.4 in January. A reading below 50 indicates the economy as a whole contracted in February, and follows a series of poor economic data from Europe. However, the European Union’s statistics office, said Monday that Euro zone retail sales in January were stronger than expected.
Asian markets down: Asian markets closed lower on Monday, after China released its lowest annual GDP growth target in eight years. Nikkei was down 0.8 percent on the back of profit taking from domestic investors. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.64 percent, slipping off the three and a half month closing high it reached on Friday.
China lowers growth target: Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday lowered China’s GDP growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent. Wen set a target for fiscal deficit at 1.5 percent of GDP, up from the 1.1 percent of GDP recorded last year. Inflation was targeted at 4 percent for the year.
Crude oil falls: After falling 2.8 percent last week, oil is trading near a three-day low in New York. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil for April delivery was at $106.65 a barrel, down 5 cents. Prices are up 7.9 percent this year.
Company News Update
* American International Group Inc. ($AIG), which received a $182.3 billion bailout after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., is selling $6 billion of AIA Group Ltd. (1299) shares to pay back the U.S. government.
* Citigroup Inc. ($C) chairman Richard Parsons, who helped oversee the bank’s recovery after its near collapse in 2008, plans to step down after 16 years on the panel. Board member Michael O’Neill was named to succeed him on Friday.
* Wells Fargo ($WFC), the US’s largest bank by market value and the epitome of domestically focused American banking, has drawn up plans to build up its international operations.
* More than 25 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s ($AAPL) App Store, the company has announced.
* Zynga Inc. (ZNGA), the biggest developer of games for social-networking sites was cut to neutral from overweight by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)
* Cigna Corp. ($CI) is considering selling or outsourcing its pharmacy-benefits division, a business that might fetch $1.5 billion for the U.S. health insurer in an acquisition, according to one analyst.
* Commerzbank AG ($CBK), Germany’s second- biggest bank, will boost core Tier 1 capital by 776 million euros ($1.02 billion) in the first half after swapping hybrid capital instruments for new shares.
* GlaxoSmithKline Plc ($GSK) is adding new products in China and hiring “a few hundred” more salespeople to promote them, betting that health-care reforms will widen access to drugs and make up for state-mandated price cuts.
* CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and ValueAct Capital said they are working on a joint cash offer for Misys Plc ($MSY), increasing the number of suitors for the British software company.
* Iran’s biggest Indian oil client, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals (MRPL), plans to cut its annual import deal with Tehran by as much as 44 percent to 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2012/13, two sources said, as western sanctions make trade more difficult.
* According to a report in Reuters, Jaguar Land Rover and Chery Automobile are seeking regulatory approval for a 17.5 billion Yuan ($2.78 billion) car venture in eastern China.
Economic Calendar for Monday, March 05, 2012:
10:00 A.M. ET: Factory Orders (For January 2012)
10:00 A.M. ET: ISM Non-Mfg Index (For February 2012)
11:00 A.M. ET: 4-Week Bill Announcement
11:30 A.M. ET: 3-Month Bill Auction
11:30 A.M. ET: 6-Month Bill Auction