Good morning! Here are the major stories you should read about in markets today.
German GDP grew 0.3% in the first quarter. The second estimate of GDP growth came in exactly as the first did, following the 0.7% jump recorded in Q4 of 2014.
Draghi says growth is still too low across Europe. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi said that “growth is too low everywhere” in Europe despite a modest recovery. Draghi made the blunt remark as he opened a conference on the unemployment problem plaguing the 19 members of the European Union that share the euro currency.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke to Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande in Riga. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held “friendly and constructive” debt talks with the leaders of France and Germany Thursday, but gave no sign of a breakthrough ahead of a crucial June deadline.
The Bank of Japan held off on stimulus. The Bank of Japan on Friday held fire on launching more stimulus, days after official data showed the world’s number three economy grew more than expected in the first quarter.
Italian industrial orders and retail sales are coming. Industrial data is out at 9 a.m. London time and retail sales are at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. and 5 a.m. ET respectively). Analysts expect a small bump in month-on-month retail sales.
HP is offloading a large Chinese data business. Hewlett-Packard will sell a controlling 51 percent stake in its China-based data-networking business to China’s Tsinghua Unigroup for at least $2.3 billion (£1.47 billion), forming a partnership designed to create a Chinese technology powerhouse.
Charter is in talks to buy Time Warner Cable with a higher bid than Comcast made. Charter is in talks with Time Warner Cable about a bid that is likely to be well above $170 (£108.50) per share expected by some analysts, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Italy passed a new law to tackle corruption. The latest anti-corruption bill was approved by the lower house in a watered-down version more than two years after it was presented by Senate speaker Piero Grasso, a former anti-mafia prosecutor. The legislation increases prison sentences for corruption by an average of two years up to a maximum of around 10 years for the most common varieties, involving bribery or offering or demanding favours to obtain public contracts.
Yellen is coming. The Fed is likely to stick with plans to raise interest rates later this year, with progress toward its employment and inflation goals helping allay concerns over the economy’s recent weakness, current and former Fed officials say. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who on Friday will talk about the economy’s prospects, is expected to acknowledge the recent sluggishness, including near stagnant performance in the first few months of the year.
Asian markets are up. Japan’s Nikkei is 0.15% higher than Thursday’s close, with more rapid climbs in Chinese stocks: The Shanghai Composite Index is up 1.89% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong is up 1.89%.