The stock markets in the United Stated dropped except NASDAQ. The manufacturing industry is not as optimistic as the Federal Reserve this year.

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Bloomberg noted that manufacturers, miners and utility companies are reducing their expansion plans for 2015 despite the fact that the Federal Reserve is forecasting faster economic growth.

Based on the Federal Reserve’s preliminary estimate of production capacity, industrial companies are expected to increase capacity by 1.8% this year, which is lower than the 3.1% expansion last year.

The central bank estimated that the mining sector, which includes oil producers, will be making the largest spending cuts due to the declining oil prices. The mining industry’s capacity is expected to expand 3.3% this year compared with 9.2% in 2014.

[drizzle]In Europe, Germany’s economy is accelerating amid declining oil prices and weaker euro. The country’s Bundesbank is planning to increase its 2015 forecast as the European Central Bank (ECB) is set to start its $68 billion bond buying program to boost economic growth in the region.

Carzeb Brzeski, chief economist at ING-DiBa AG told Bloomberg, “Improved expectations signal a strong belief in the benefits of the ECB’s quantitative easing.  It also showed that German businesses are not worried about a full escalation of the Greek crisis or Grexit, added Brzeski.

Last week, Greece reached an agreement with the European Union to extend a financial aid for four months. Greece made a commitment to meet certain conditions.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,116.90 (-0.13%)
  • S&P 500- 2,109.65 (-0.03%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,960.97 (+0.10%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,229.55 (-0.18%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,519.58 (+0.83%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,912.16 (-0.04%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,130.92 (+0.73%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 18,466.92(+0.73%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,836.76 (+0.02%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,522.32 (+0.65%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Apple gained almost 3% to $133 per share today. The company announced that it would spend almost $2 billion to build two initial data centers in Europe. Separately, Goldman Sachs Group released a new report indicating that Apple is among the favorites of hedge finds.

The shares of Computer Sciences Corporation urged more than 7% to $71.74 per share driven by speculations that it is in discussions to sell itself in a two-part deal with private quality firms and foreign entity.

HSBC Holdings declined more than 4% to $44.68 per share after reporting lower profit before tax (PBT) and dividend for the full year 2014. The bank’s PBT dropped 17% to $18.7 billion from $22.57 billion in 2013. Its earnings per share were $0.69 while its dividend per share was $0.49 per share.

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