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Pre-Market: EU Offers Ukraine $15 Billion in Aid; US Job Numbers Miss Expectations


Plus, China sets GDP growth target at 7.5%.

Before the opening bell, futures were up slightly on the major US exchanges. Dow Jones (INDEXDJC:.DJI) futures rose 0.05% to 16,389. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures were up 0.05% to 1,872.60. Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures had fractionally higher percentage gains, up .11% to 3,721.00.

Global Markets

Global markets have steadied after a tumultuous start to the week as US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet today in Paris to discuss a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. Parallel talks will be held in Brussels between NATO and Russia.

The European Union offered Ukraine $15 billion in aid on Wednesday. This follows a $1 billion aid package offered by the US on Tuesday.

In Asia, markets mostly closed higher except for in China, where officials announced the country will keep its growth target at 7.5% in 2014. Some in China had feared the goal would be lowered as the government pursues economic reform. In an address to parliament, however, Premier Li Keqiang made it clear that reforms would not slow GDP growth. Legislators also announced a 12% hike in military spending.

Meanwhile, a bond default is expected in China's $1.5 trillion corporate bond market. Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology may not be able to make a $14.6 million interest payment before it's due on Friday. This will be China's first onshore corporate bond default.

In other world economic news, eurozone GDP grew 0.50% in Q4, thanks in part to German growth. Australia's GDP grew as well in Q4, topping analyst estimates after registering at 0.8% through the end of 2013.

US Market

President Obama proposed a $3.9 trillion budget for fiscal year 2015. The plan will continue to try and reduce the deficit, which is projected to be $649 billion this year. Among the plan's notable features were higher taxes for energy companies and increased spending on infrastructure.

ADP non-farm payrolls rose by 139,000 in February. The increase came in under expectations, which were pegged at 160,000 jobs. January's figure was revised down, lowered from 175,000 to 127,000.

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments in a class action lawsuit against Halliburton (NYSE:HAL). A group of shareholders are claiming the company, once headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, falsified its financial numbers, among other infractions. The court's decision could have broad-reaching consequences for class-action lawsuits that involve securities.

A number of indicators are expected today: PMI Services Index was out at 9 a.m. ISM Non-Manufacturing Index consensus will be released at 10 a.m. Global Composite PMI and Global Services PMI come at 11 a.m. The Fed releases its Beige Book at 2 pm.


PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) Q4 EPS beat analyst estimates by $.07 at $1.28. Revenue was slightly lower than expected at $1.8 billion. Comparable stores sales were up 1.2%. Shares were up 1.95% in pre-market trading.

Revlon (NYSE:REV) will release earnings today at 9:30 a.m. On Tuesday, BMO Capital lowered its price target for Revlon from $29.00 to $25.00. Shares of Revlon closed up 4.97% at $24.92 during yesterday's session.

BP (NYSE:BP) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) stand to lose if the situation between Russia and the Ukraine escalates, reports Barrons. Pipelines running throughout the region supply one-third of Europe's oil and natural gas, and could, to a lesser degree, affect companies like Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHS), Weatherford International (NYSE:WFT), and Halliburton.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) said in an annual report that global warming could force it to suspend menu items such as guacamole and salsa. The company uses approximately 18,000 tons of avocados a year. Shares were up 1.64% in pre-market trading.

Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) executives said they expect European and Asian sales to double this year. Shares were up .51% in pre-market trading.

Honeywell International (NYSE:HON) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) have analyst meetings today.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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