US FINANCIAL MARKET
- U.S. stocks were flat at the open on Wednesday after two days of sharp swings as investors shrugged off a softer than expected reading on the labor market and ahead of two reports on the services sector. The S&P 500 closed at a record high Tuesday.
- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet in Paris with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
- Honeywell set a target of increasing overall company sales to more than $50 billion by 2018 as it spends $10 billion on acquisitions and continues to expand profit margins.
- Pet supply retailer PetSmart reported lower fourth quarter financial results on Wednesday, but beat earnings estimates. Net income came at $131 million from $134 million a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $1.8 billion, down 2.9% from last year. Looking forward, PetSmart expects sales growth in the range of 4%-6%.
- Yahoo will stop letting consumers access its various online services, including Fantasy Sports and photo-sharing site Flickr, by signing-in with their Facebook or Google credentials.
- Boeing has won a contract valued at $1.16 billion for full-rate production of the AH-64E Apache helicopter, the U.S. Defense Department said on Tuesday.
- The controversial Keystone XL pipeline will receive President Obama’s blessing and be built to transport crude oil from Canada to Texas, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling predicted on Tuesday.
- A push by Warren Buffett’s railroad BNSF to boost oil-shipment safety is meeting resistance from Hess Corp. and other companies that say the plan would mean a surge in costs and force them to scrap thousands of tank cars.
- Railroads hauled about 400,000 carloads of oil last year, dwarfing 2005’s total of 6,000, according to Edward Jones & Co.
- Of 92,000 U.S. tank cars moving oil and ethanol, 78,000 predate the 2011 changes and would require costly modifications or be junked.
- Modifying existing rail cars to add those features, especially the steel jacket, would cost $70,000 to $90,000 and cut oil-hauling capacity because of the added weight.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- U.S. private employers added 139,000 jobs in February, ADP said; shy of economists’ expectations calling for a gain of 160,000 jobs. The data once again is clouded by harsh winter weather. The Labor Department will release the highly anticipated unemployment report on Friday.
- Growth and the pace of hiring in the U.S. services sector slowed in February.
- Markit’s service sector purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dipped to 53.3 in February from 56.7 in January.
- Employers in the service sector, which accounts for about three-quarters of the U.S. labor market, continued to add employees, but at the slowest rate since March 2013. The final employment index came in at 51.9 in February, compared with 54.1 in January.
- February’s final composite PMI, a weighted average of manufacturing and services indexes, fell to 54.1 from 56.2 in January.
- The employment component of that index fell to 52.3 from 53.9 in January.
- President Barack Obama’s $3.901 trillion budget will raise taxes on the rich; expand tax credits for the poor and middle class. In the fiscal 2015 budget proposed yesterday, the Obama administration seeks to generate $276 billion over the next decade from what it calls loophole-closing in the international tax system.
EUROPE & WORLD
- China aims to grow its economy by about 7.5 % in 2014 and to keep consumer inflation around 3.5 % for the year. The world’s second-largest economy grew 7.7 % in 2013, steady from the previous year and fractionally above market expectations of 7.6 %.
- China budgeted spending of 15.3 trillion yuan ($2.5 trillion) in 2014 and a deficit of about 2.1 % of its GDP. The budgeted deficit for 2013 is unchanged from its fiscal deficit of 2.1 % of GDP recorded in 2013.
- GM’s China deliveries gained 20 % last month, led by sales of its Wuling microvans. GM’s China sales increased to 257,770 units in February.
- Adidas forecast 2014 profit as much as 17 % below analysts’ estimates as the weakness of currencies such as the Russian ruble and Argentine peso weighs.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The Boston Massacre, a pre-Revolutionary incident that grew out of anger towards British troops, occurred. Five anti-British rioters were killed (1770)
- Winston Churchill delivered his famous Iron curtain speech, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent.” (1946)
- Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died at age 73, after 29 years in power (1953)
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.