What you need to know before the US open
US stock futures edged higher today, following an optimistic set of results from Citigroup, which offset fears over the Ukraine situation – at least for the time being.
European markets dropped to a three-week low earlier on the Ukraine worries and the continued sell-off in the US of tech shares.
The Nasdaq closed below 4,000 on Friday, for the first time since early February.
But some better news this afternoon: numbers show retail sales in the US increased 1.1 per cent in March – the biggest gain seen in one and a half years – from 0.7 per cent in February. That’s a way ahead of economists’ estimate of 0.9 per cent. Households have been making up for lost time, says Capital Economics, following the harsh winter.
Things are a little quieter in Washington this week and next, with Congress beginning its two-week recession.
Citi’s reported a jump in first quarter profits, making $3.94bn (£2.36bn). Shares gained three per cent in pre-market trading. Revenues at the bank dipped, mind you, meaning the rise in profits is more based on falling costs than improved incomes.
On the tech front, Ericsson has shed 4.3 per cent, while Arm Holdings lost 1.7 per cent.
Two companies particularly exposed to the escalating Ukraine-Russia situation, Nokian Renkaat and Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International, dropped 1.9 per cent and three per cent respectively.
And the Wall Street Journal’s reported that General Motor’s Opel, its loss-making European unit, might break even before its deadline, in 2016.
Data in focus
• 5.45pm: EU ECB’s Noyer speech