US FINANCIAL MARKET
- McDonald’s February sales fall less than feared. Global same-restaurant sales were down 1.5%. U.S. sales fell 3.3%, less than the 3.55% drop analysts estimated. Europe sales fell 0.5%. Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) reported a drop of 1.6%.
- Merck, the world’s third-biggest drugmaker by revenue, said that it’s getting a new director of R&D.
- George Lucas says ‘Star Wars’ trio, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher returning for new film. Disney spent $4 billion to purchase Lucasfilm last year.
- Major U.S. banks pass Fed’s health test. These banks represent more than 70% of total bank holding company assets in the United States.
- Citigroup asked the Federal Reserve for permission to spend $1.2 billion to buy back its own stock.
- BMW regained the top spot in luxury auto sales from Audi last month. It delivered 407 more cars than Audi and 37,229 vehicles more than Mercedes.
- Facebook is revamping its News Feed with bigger photos, splashier graphics and new tools for organizing content, seeking to make the site more valuable to advertisers without upsetting users resistant to change.
- Pandora’s shares jumped after the Internet radio company’s fourth-quarter financial results came in ahead of market expectations.
- The largest U.S.-based companies expanded their untaxed offshore stockpiles by $183 billion in the past year. The build-up of offshore profits — totaling $1.46 trillion for the 83 companies examined.
- GE again leads all U.S. companies with $108 billion held offshore, up from $102 billion a year earlier. Pfizer is second with $73 billion, followed by Microsoft, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and IBM.
- Eleven companies, including Apple, Cisco, and Citigroup, have at least $40 billion in profits reinvested overseas.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- The jobless rate fell to 7.7%, the lowest since December 2008. The average hourly workweek rose 0.1 hour to 34.5.
- However, the labor force participation rate declined by 0.1 percentage point to 63.5%, matching the lowest since September 1981.
- Nonfarm payrolls surged 236,000 jobs last month handily beating economists’ expectations for a gain of 160,000. Private payrolls rose by 246,000, while government payrolls decreased by 10,000 last month.
- December and January’s employment data was revised to show 15,000 fewer jobs added than previously reported.
- The construction industry added 48,000 in February. Manufacturing (factories) gained 14,000 jobs. Retailers added 24,000 jobs. Education and health services gained 24,000. And the information industry, which includes publishing, telecommunications and film, added 20,000, mostly in the movie industry.
- Inventories at U.S. wholesalers jumped 1.2% in January, best gain in 13 months, but sales drop.
- Consumer credit in January recorded its largest increase in five months. Total consumer installment credit expanded by $16.15 billion to $2.795 trillion.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Canada’s labor productivity edged upward in the fourth quarter after two straight quarterly declines.
- China’s exports and imports likely maintained double-digit growth in the first two months of the year. Overseas shipments increased 21.8% from a year earlier.
- Japan’s economy did better than first thought in the last quarter of 2012. the fourth quarter GDP increased 0.2%.
- Industrial production in Germany was flat in January.
- Draghi signaled that Europe’s stuttering economy will have to get worse before he’ll consider cutting interest rates.
- Mexico’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2009.
- Brazil’s inflation in February accelerated faster than economists forecast for the eighth straight month.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The Supreme Court ruled that religious instruction in public schools violated the Constitution (1948)
- The Soviet Union claimed to be in possession of the atomic bomb (1950)
- President Reagan called the USSR an “Evil Empire.” (1983)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.