This morning, the European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.75% as expected. During his regular press conference, President Mario Draghi made no major changes to his comments on the European economy, though he noted that credit growth continued to be weak. He also reiterated that inflation would remain low and significant growth from the euro area would remain to the downside.
However, the eurodollar continued to weaken significantly after the press conference and it dragged down European and US stocks to an intraday low of almost -1%. Though, after the European close, US stocks recovered as the dip was bought to finish slightly down on the day.
Hedge fund manager David Einhorn and Apple
(AAPL) had it out in the public sphere after Einhorn initiated a lawsuit to block Apple's Proposal #2 -- one that would prevent Apple from issuing preferred stock. In the afternoon, Apple issued a press release responding to Einhorn, saying that it would continue to consider his firm's proposal.
In US economic data, weekly initial jobless claims declined slightly to a 366,000 weekly rate from last week's revised higher 371,000. In the afternoon, consumer credit as reported by the Federal Reserve rose a seasonally adjusted $14.85 billion in December 2012. The jump was led by a large increase in revolving commercial bank lending.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Tomorrow morning, the US will release trade balance from December. In November, the trade balance widened to -$48.7 billion from -$42.1 billion as exports declined. Wholesale inventories are expected to increase by 0.4% month-to-month from 0.6% in November. This report should have less impact as we already know from the 4Q GDP that inventories declined, but have picked back up in January of this year.
Globally, China will also release its trade balance data along with inflation data in the form of the consumer price index. Chinese inflation is expected to decline to an annual rate of 2.0% from 2.5% in December. Canada and Switzerland are also scheduled to release employment data.
Earnings will be light as it is Friday. The only reports are from Moody's
(MCO) and Apollo Global
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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