* US: Dow Futures: 13040.00 (-0.70%), S&P 500 Futures: 1397.50 (-0.80%), NASDAQ Futures: 2761.00 (-0.65%)
* Europe: CAC: 3347.84 (-1.73%), DAX: 6831.87 (-2.15%), FTSE: 5755.28 (-1.42%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4333.90 (-0.07%), China: 2262.79 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 20790.98 (0.00%), India: 5322.90 (-0.66%), Japan: 9819.99 (-2.35%).
* Metals: Gold: 1623.40 (-2.91%), Silver: 31.78 (-4.48%), Copper: 3.83 (-2.31%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 102.75 (-1.21%), Natural Gas: 2.17 (-0.59%)
* Commodities: Corn: 6.60 (1.26%), Soya Bean: 14.11 (-0.46%), Wheat: 6.50 (0.61%)
* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3121 (-0.85%), GBP/USD: 1.5855 (-0.36%), USD/JPY: 82.2800 (-0.64%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 2.239% (-0.061)
Market and Economy News Update
U.S. stock-index futures trading lower: Taking cues from Europe, U.S. markets are poised for a sharp sell-off on Wednesday. A lower than expected increase in private sector jobs for March added to investor concerns. The Dow and S&P 500 futures were trading close to a percent lower.
European markets tumble: European markets fell on Wednesday amid rising fears over Spain’s economic outlook after a disappointing Spanish bond auction. Negative economic data out of Europe also fuelled recession fears and hit market sentiment. The FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) were down 1.5 percent, while German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) while the was trading more than 2 percent lower..
ECB leaves key rate unchanged: In line with analysts forecasts, the European Central Bank has left its main interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1 percent on Wednesday.
German factory orders rise less than expected in February: German factory orders rose less than forecast in February, renewing concerns over the economic outlook of Europe‘s biggest economy. Reversing January’s 1.8 percent decline, orders grew 0.3 percent month-on-month in February, the German Economy Ministry said today. Domestic orders decreased 1.4 percent in February, and orders from the euro area fell 3.2 percent
Asian markets decline: Most Asian markets ended in the red on Wednesday after the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s March meeting damped expectations for any further monetary stimulus. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) had its worst performance in five months, closing below 10,000 for the first time in three weeks. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index ended the day marginally lower as declines in mining stocks offset gains made by financials. India’s S&P CNX NIFTY (NSE:NIFTY) closed 0.7 percent lower mainly due to profit taking ahead of a long weekend. Hong Kong and Shanghai markets were closed for a holiday today.
Australian posts trade deficit in February: Australia unexpectedly posted a trade deficit for the second straight month in February, as exports reached their lowest level in a year. The balance of goods and services recorded a deficit of $480 million in February, from a revised $971 million deficit in January, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney today.
Company News Update
* Moody’s Investors Service lowered its credit ratings on General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and its finance unit General Electric Capital each by a notch, citing risks associated with GE Capital’s funding model.
* Burger King said on Tuesday, it will re-list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Burger King was taken private in 2010 by New York-based investment firm 3G Capital.
* The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), the largest U.S. apparel chain, was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” at Piper Jaffray Cos.
* SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK), citing weaker- than-expected pricing and demand, cut its forecast for first-quarter sales and profitability. The biggest maker of flash-memory cards was down more than 7 percent in morning trade.
* Homebuilder, Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:HOV),will sell 25 million shares of common stock in a secondary offering, and will use the proceeds to pay down debt. The stock was trading 6.8 percent lower.
* Printed-circuit-board maker, DDi Corp. (NASDAQ:DDIC), jumped 6 percent in New York morning trade, after agreeing to be acquired by ViaSystems Group for about $266.2 million in cash.
* Monsanto Company will post fiscal second-quarter earnings today.
* Walgreen Company is slated to report same-store sales for March.
* Banking stocks across Europe were weak in trade today, with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) (NYSE:RBS) down 2.9 percent and Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) (NYSE:BCS) declining 2 percent, while Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) (NYSE:LYG) edged 1.6 percent lower. Among French banks, Societe Generale SA (EPA:GLE) fell 3.2 percent, Credit Agricole SA (EPA:ACA) shed 3.3 percent and BNP Paribas SA (EPA:BNP) slipped 2.8 percent. In Germany, Deutsche Bank AG (FRA:DBK) (NYSE:DB) fell 1.5 percent while Commerzbank AG (FRA:CBK) gave up 2.5 percent.
* Mining stocks were the biggest losers in London trading. Fresnillo Plc (LON:FRES) gave up 5.2 percent, Evraz Plc (LON:EVR) shed 4.1 percent, Xstrata PLC (LON:XTA) pulled back 2.1 percent, while Rio Tinto plc (LON:RIO) (NYSE:RIO) was off 2.1 percent.
* Daimler AG (FRA:DAI) and Volkswagen AG (FRA:VOW) fell more than 1 percent in Frankfurt today, after a report showed that sales of cars and light trucks in the U.S. rose at a slower than expected pace.
* Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc (LON:HIK) lost 1.3 percent after Glaxo and Pfizer sued the company for patent violation relating to an injectable blood-clot treatment.
* French environmental management services company, Veolia Environnement Ve SA (EPA:VIE), slipped 3.6 percent after news reports said the company is planning to take sole control of Coriscan ferry services operator Societe Nationale Maritime Corse Mediterranee.
* Asia’s largest apparel retailer, FAST RETAILING CO., LTD (TYO:9983),was the biggest loser on the Nikkei 225, slipping 5.7 percent, after the operator of Uniqlo casual clothing chain reported a lower than expected 5.1 percent year-on-year increase in same-store sales in March.
* HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD. (TYO:7267), which gets almost half of its sales from North America, slumped 3.1 percent in Tokyo, after its U.S. auto sales fell 5 percent in March.
* Asahi Group Holdings Ltd (TYO:2502) gained the most on the Nikkei 225 after the brewer was pipped by U.S. beer giant Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE:TAP) on Tuesday to buy StarBev.
* SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile phone operator, fell 3.2 percent in Seoul, after POSCO (ADR) (NYSE:PKX), the world’s third-biggest steelmaker by output, sold 321 billion won ($286.1 million) worth of shares in the company at about 4 percent less than yesterday’s closing price. Posco ended the day 1.5 percent lower.
* Bucking the broad market trend, QBE Insurance Group Limited (ASX:QBE) rose 3.4 percent in Sydney trading after it said that insurance premiums are set to rise by more than seven per cent in 2012.
Economic Calendar for Wednesday, April 4, 2012:
07:00 A.M. ET: MBA Purchase Applications (Week ending Friday, March 30, 2012)
07:30 A.M. ET: Challenger Job-Cut Report (March)
07:45 A.M. ET: ECB Interest Rate Decision
08:15 A.M. ET: ADP Employment Report (March)
10:00 A.M. ET: ISM Non-Mfg Index (March)
10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Petroleum Status Report (Week ending Friday, March 30, 2012)
11:00 A.M. ET: San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams speaks.