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Asian Stocks Blast Higher, US Follows Along


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

The S&P 500 rallied today on a flurry of positive news. The index finished up 0.5% at 2107.96, within striking distance of the 2119.59 February 25 all-time high.

Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) shares rallied as China announced it will open its bank card clearing market in June. The Chinese market for bank card clearing was estimated at $6.84 trillion.

Associated Estates (AEC) accepted a buyout offer by Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) for $2.5 billion. AEC had been facing a proxy battle led by investor Jonathan Litt. The board unanimously agreed for the company to be taken over. AEC CEO Jeffrey I. Friedman stated that the board had determined that this transaction is the best course to maximize shareholder value.

Tesla (TSLA) shares rose 4.8% after the company announced that its new home-battery product is currently being tested by 300 homes, and 15 Wal-Mart (WMT) stores in California. The products will be formally unveiled on April 30 at the Tesla plant in Hawthorne, California.

Despite a lackluster earnings report this morning, McDonald's (MCD) shares rose 3.1% to $97.84 after new CEO Steve Easterbrook announced that he will release a turnaround plan for the company in 10 days. Easterbrook stated that change within the company is "urgent and imminent".

Apple (AAPL) shares were strong as investors remain optimistic ahead of Monday's earnings report. Additionally, news reports indicate that demand for Apple's new Watch product line is very strong.

Markets in Asia continued their rallies.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index finished above 20,000 JPY for the first time in 15 years. High government stimulus and strong economic data helped fuel the rally. Japan recorded its first trade surplus in 3 years as currency trends drove up exports. Low commodity prices also boosted the trade surplus.

The Shanghai Composite Index reached a 7-year high. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index finished higher as well. Traders continue to expect stimulus from the People's Bank of China, which is helping keep a steady bid in the region.

The Athens Stock Exchange was up 2.1% today, making it the best performing market in Europe. The European Central Bank raised the cap on Greece's Emergency Liquidity Assistance authorization by 1.5 billion euros. Overall, European markets were mixed today as earnings reports were mediocre.

The German 10-year bund yield rose 6.4 bps to 1.64%.

Thursday's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow's US economic data announcements include Initial Jobless Claims, Markit US Manufacturing PMI, Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, New Home Sales, and Natural Gas inventories.

Overseas economic announcements include the Swiss Trade Balance, and European Markit PMI data.

For earnings reports, before the open we have 3M (MMM), Altria (MO), American Electric (AEP), Dow Chemical (DOW), General Motors (GM), Pepsico (PEP), Procter & Gamble (PG), Raytheon (RTN) and Union Pacific (UNP).

After the close we have (AMZN), Capital One (COF), Google (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), andStarbucks (SBUX).
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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