The pattern of one day up one day down for world stock markets continues today with US and European indices following their Asia Pacific counterparts lower as sideways consolidation trends continue. News flow from overseas has been light again. Most of the discussion in the Far East today has been around whether the PBOC could ease monetary policy further given that it has lots of room to do so and the Chinese economy remains weak. Australia, meanwhile showed that lower oil prices have given a big boost to consumer confidence, the question is how long that will take to translate into higher consumer spending? There are two big meetings being held today. While the Ukraine summit may capture a lot of media attention and could be bigger politically, for markets Ukraine is more of a sideshow with the main business event being the meeting between Greece and the EU over debt and reform. It’s clear with unemployment persisting above 25% and young people leaving the country in droves that Greece’s problems have morphed from a debt/financial crisis to a human crisis wade worse by the austerity measures imposed on the country not better. Both sides started with hard line positions which are common in negotiations, but in the last few days Greece has softened its stance while the EU has not. Although it’s unlikely this meeting will resolve anything, it could provide a good measure of which way the wind is blowing. Later on, we could start to get an idea if this is the beginning of a new beginning for the Eurozone, or the beginning of the end. Because of this European indices and EUR could be active through the day. Although there are lots of earnings reports out in the US today, Tesla Motors may attract particular attention after last night’s developments. Rumours circulated that the company’s China business is doing really poorly and the company announced it is delaying its conference call by a couple of hours raising suspicions that something unusual may be up. Corporate News Tesla Motors Aftermarket reports emerged indicating that Tesla only sold 120 cars in China during Q4 way below expectations due to misconceptions about charging Reports also suggest a management shakeup for the China business could be on the way. Tesla Motors has delayed its conference call to 7:30 pm ET from 5:30 pm ET, will report its results at 5:00 pm ET today, which I also think is delayed from the usual 4:00-4:30 pm ET. Time Warner $0.98 vs street $0.93, 11% dividend increase Pepsico $1.12 vs street $1.08, 7% dividend increase First Solar Has received a $848 million commitment from Apple to purchase power over 25 years from a solar project the company is developing in California Economic News Economic reports released overnight and this morning include: Australia consumer confidence 100.7 vs previous 93.2 Sweden unemployment rate 4.4% as expected Norway GDP 0.9% vs street 0.6% Economic reports due later today include: 10:30 am EST US crude oil inventories street 3.75 mmbbls
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