Indexes were down in Hong Kong and Japan while Chinese stocks surged despite further monetary tightening by Chinese central bankers. The Shanghai Composite advanced 0.2% even after authorities announced a 0.5% hike in banks’ reserve requirement. Despite gains elsewhere, Chinese banking stocks were hit hard by the news. --> Asia ETFs
European indexes fell, pushing the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European stocks into negative territory for the year on debt concerns as Greece’s 10-year bonds are trading a record-high yield. Last week Moody’s downgraded Irish bonds, Portugal officially applied for a bailout two weeks prior while in Finland, parliamentary elections were dominated by conservative, anti-Eurozone political party, further putting pressure on the 27-nation monetary union. The Stoxx 50 is currently down 1.51%, the FTSE has slipped 1.02% and the Dax has fallen 1.04%. On a positive note, Phillips Electronics gained 0.9% after it announced that it will divest its struggling television unit to one of its joint ventures. Eurozone-wide consumer confidence will be released at 10:00 EST. --> Europe ETFs
Crude prices have retreated somewhat after a senior OPEC official stated that the oil market was oversupplied and that Saudi Arabia has responded by cutting output. A barrel of crude is going for USD 108.35 in New York. Gold, despite recent gains, retreated to USD 1,483.95 per troy ounce. --> Energy ETFs
In the US, Citigroup, Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) and Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) will release their earnings today.
US index futures are currently down as this quarter’s earnings season has been particularly rough for banks, with Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) disappointing investors last week. Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) stock gained in pre-market trading after it announced 1Q 2011 profit had more than doubled quarter-on-quarter. The National Association of Home Builders will release their Housing Market Index at 10:00 EST.
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