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Pre-Market: US Job Growth Beats Expectations; Turkey Threatens to Block Facebook and YouTube


Meanwhile, the situation in Crimea continues to heat up.

US futures were up slightly this morning. The Dow Jones (INDEXDJC:.DJI) rose 0.08% to 16,428. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) was up 0.09% to 1,877.90. The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) trailed behind, rising .01% to 3,722.50.

Global Markets

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to President Obama's announcement of sanctions on Russia as events in Crimea continue to develop. Putin said that Russia could not ignore the calls for help from Russians living in the contested region, and that it has acted in full compliance with international law. 

In anticipation of the US jobs report, global markets were mixed overnight. Asian equities were, for the most part, flat. European exchanges were lower.

Industrial production in Europe's largest economy grew .8% in January. Germany saw an increase from the previous month's .1% growth.

US Market

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total non-farm payrolls rose by 175,000 in February, with the unemployment rate rising slightly off a 5-year low to 6.7%. Gains were made despite harsh winter weather disrupting economic activity. Job growth has averaged 189,000 per month over the past year. Professional and business services led the hirings.

US trade data showed the nation's international trade deficit increased .3% from $39 billion in December 2013 to $3.91 billion in January.

New York Fed President William Dudley will speak at 12 p.m. today in New York City. On Thursday, Dudley said in order for the Fed to ease its monthly bond purchasing, the current economic outlook would have to improve greatly. 


Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) reported its fourth-quarter earnings above analyst estimates, with a $1.45 EPS and $1.64 billion in revenue. Same-store sales declined .3% from the previous quarter. Guidance on fiscal year 2014 EPS was between $2.25 and $2.45. Shares were up 15.45% in pre-market trading.

Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) will report its 2013 Q4 earnings and full-year earnings at 9:00 a.m. Analysts expect the retailer's revenue to grow around 3%. Shares of Foot Locker are 5.31% in pre-market trading.

In other retailer news, The Gap (NYSE:GPS) fell 4.82% in after-hours trading yesterday after it reported net sales fell 7% in February versus a 3% increase last year. Shares continued to fall in pre-market trading, down 4.11%

Cerberus Capital will acquire supermarket chain Safeway (NYSE:SWY) in a $9.4 billion deal, offering $40 per share. Cerberus will combine Safeway with its Albertsons supermarket chain to create a 2,400-store network employing a quarter of a million employees. Safeway shareholders will receive $32.50 per a share in addition to $3.65 on other distributions. Shares of Safeway were down 2.46% in pre-market trading.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Edogan has threatened to ban Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)-owned YouTube after audio from wiretaps uploaded to the Internet exposed corruption and malpractice in inner government circles. Shares of Facebook were trading up .07% in pre-market activity, while Google shares were up .24%.

Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO) is reportedly considering a bid for 49.2% of Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE:TRQ) at $8 per share, nearly double its current trading price. Rio already holds the remaining shares of Turquoise Hill, which has 66% ownership in the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in southern Mongolia. In pre-market trading, shares of Turquoise Hill were up 1.45%, while Rio dipped 1.66%.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) raised $3 billion in 10-year notes and 30-year bonds, taking advantage of low rates. Shares of GE were up .42% in pre-market trading.

Disney (NYSE:DIS) has agreed to work with Shanghai Media Group Pictures to develop Disney-branded movies that incorporate Chinese themes. China currently has a 34-film quota on Hollywood movies being released in China every year. 

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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