US markets look set to open higher today on hopes that a meeting between US Secretary Kerry and Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov can diffuse difficulties in Crimea. Futures suggest the S&P 500 will open 2 points higher at 1,848, with the Dow Jones expected to open 12 points higher at 16,120. On Wednesday we noted “The relative influence of international markets also appeared to shift. The previous week was characterised by lower opens in Asia and Europe, subsequently dragged higher by US indices. This week we have seen the Asian and European markets drag the US down with them.” Things appear to have stepped up a notch. Yesterday the German Dax had spent most of the European session trading fairly flat. The opening of the US session saw US retail sales come in better than expected at 0.3%, and improved unemployment claims. Over the next six hours, the Dow collapsed, pulling the German Dax down 50 points setting it up for the biggest weekly drop since June 2013. US stocks apparently pulled world markets down on positive US economic data. This is a dramatic change from US stocks making all-time highs on days with weak or even no data. For weeks, stocks have apparently brushed aside concerns about the US Federal Reserve tapering asset purchases, and have reacted positively to good data, showing signs of a US recovery. Are we seeing a switch back to markets reacting negatively to positive US data because it leads to tapering? On the data front for today’s US session, we have February PPI numbers expected to be flat at 0.2%. General Electric (GE) lost over 1.5% yesterday after the announcement that it has filed for the IPO of its consumer finance unit under the name Synchrony Financial (SYF). The company plans to sell around 20% of the unit at a $20 billion valuation. Target (TGT) was down over 2% yesterday on news that executives knew about a potential data breach but failed to act before consumers’ information was stolen. General Motors (GM) shares were down over 2% yesterday as troubles continued with the company having apparently known about the faulty ignition switches since 2001. CMC Markets is an execution only provider. The material (whether or not it states any opinions) is for general information purposes only, and does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.