US FINANCIAL MARKET
- Starbucks investors rejected a shareholder proposal to prohibit the company from making political contributions or forming a political action committee.
- Coca-Cola is cutting 750 jobs in the U.S. as it continues to streamline its business. The cuts represent roughly 1% of the company’s workforce of 75,000 in North America.
- McDonald’s is adding a permanent new offering to its menu: chicken McWraps.
- Oracle’s February quarter revenue miss was its worst since the November quarter of 2011. The world’s No. 3 software maker projected a 1 to 11% rise in new software licenses and Internet-based subscriptions in the next quarter.
- Oracle is also struggling with its hardware division and facing greater competition in cloud or Internet-based software from the likes of IBM and SAP and nimbler rivals like Salesforce and Workday.
- Blackstone, which is weighing an offer for Dell, is making an aggressive push to recruit Oracle President Mark Hurd to be CEO of Dell.
- Shareholders signal dissatisfaction with HP’s board.
- Regulator finds flaws in Deutsche Bank’s Libor supervision.
- The Swedish group Hennes & Mauritz (a.k.a. H&M), the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer after Zara, profits fall amid tough economy, bad weather. The company will speed up store expansion in the face of weak European demand.
- A U.S. judge certified a class of investors who have filed a lawsuit accusing Sanofi of misleading them about the status of regulatory approval for a failed anti-obesity pill.
- Baxter International has closed its acquisition of a potential hemophilia treatment from the French drugmaker Ipsen and Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals in a deal that could be worth more than $180 million.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- Americans’ views of the economic outlook improved in March to the highest level this year as stock prices rallied to a record high. The gap between positive and negative expectations narrowed in Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index.
- The index of U.S. leading indicators rose more than forecast in February, indicating the world’s largest economy is strengthening.
- The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months climbed 0.5% for the second straight month. Eight of the 10 indicators in the leading index contributed to the increase, helped by more building permits, fewer jobless claims and higher stock prices.
- The economy grew at a 0.1% rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, but economists are forecasting a first-quarter growth rate of about 2%.
- Fed says it will stick with aggressive stimulus.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index rose to 2 in March from minus 12.5 the prior month. Readings lower than zero signal contraction in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
- Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000, which was less than analysts had expected.
- The four-week moving average for new claims, a measure of labor market trends, fell 7,500 to 339,750, the lowest level since February 2008.
- Last week, the number of people still receiving benefits under regular state programs after an initial week of aid rose 5,000 to 3.053 million in the week ended March 9.
- Manufacturing growth quickened in March and the pace of hiring increased.
- Markit’s Flash US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) increased to 54.9 this month from 54.3 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
- U.S. house prices rose 6.5% in the year through January, the biggest jump since 2006. The FHFA house price index — which measures the prices of homes with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — rose 0.6% in January.
- Home prices are rising as low borrowing costs and improving employment bolster demand and the inventory of properties for sale shrinks.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Cyprus has 4 days to find bailout solution. The ECB gave Cyprus until Monday to raise billions of euros to clinch an international bailout or face losing emergency funds for its banks and inevitable collapse. Banks in Cyprus will remain closed on Thursday and Friday.
- The euro zone’s economic downturn deepened this month, even before Cyprus’ bailout troubles.
- Markit’s Flash Euro zone Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 46.5 in March from February’s 47.9.
- U.K. retail sales rose more than economists forecast in February. Internet sales accounted for 9.7% of all spending in February.
- China speeds up. The HSBC China PMI for March revived to 51.7 in March from 50.4 in February, but remained below a two-year high of 52.3 reached at the beginning of the year.
- Japanese exports fell in February from a year earlier, but confidence among Japanese manufacturers improved for the fourth consecutive month.
- Japan posted its longest run of trade deficits in three decades as exports fell in February.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The first modern legal code of France, the Code Napoleon, was officially put forth (1804)
- Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay closed (1963)
- Martin Luther King, Jr., led the start of a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama (1965)
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.