1. U.S. Stock Futures Recovers Losses; Dollar Climbs

U.S. stock futures pared losses in early trading, while Treasury yields rose and the dollar strengthened. S&P 500 futures slipped 0.2% and contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.7% in early trading, clawing back about half of the previous drop. Ten-year Treasury yields reached 1.6%. U.S. equity futures recovered. Brent crude traded near $70 a barrel after Saudi Arabia said the world’s largest crude terminal was attacked on Sunday by a drone from the sea. The missiles were intercepted and oil output appeared to be unaffected.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 0.5%.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index declined by 0.5%.

2. 4.1% Unemployment in U.S. by End of Year: GS Economists

The U.S. is on course for an employment boom this year once pandemic restrictions ease and the economy reopens, according to economists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “Reopening, fiscal stimulus, and pent-up savings should fuel very strong demand growth,” Chief Economist Jan Hatzius and colleagues wrote in a report highlighting an outlook that’s more optimistic than most other forecasts. They predict the unemployment rate, currently at 6.2%, will fall to 4.1% by the end of the year. The assessment follows last week’s payrolls report for February showing an increase in jobs that was almost twice as much as forecast, suggesting growth momentum is gaining pace. 

3. Microsoft Attack Blamed on China Morphs Into Global Crisis

A sophisticated attack on Microsoft Corp.’s widely used business email software is morphing into a global cybersecurity crisis, as hackers race to infect as many victims as possible before companies can secure their computer systems. The attack, which Microsoft has said started with a Chinese government-backed hacking group, has so far claimed at least 60,000 known victims globally. Many of them appear to be small or medium-sized businesses caught in a wide net the attackers cast as Microsoft worked to shut down the hack. The European Banking Authority became one of the latest victims as it said Sunday that access to personal data through emails held on the Microsoft server may have been compromised. Others identified so far include banks and electricity providers.

4. China’s Stock Index Enters Correction on Valuation Worries

China’s main stock benchmark entered a correction on Monday, on concerns about liquidity conditions and lofty valuations in some of the recently favoured stocks. The CSI 300 Index fell 3.5% on Monday, piercing through its 100-day moving average and putting losses from its recent February 10 peak to 13%. Meanwhile, the nation’s ChiNext index, a gauge of small-cap stocks, slumped 5%. The correction comes just 13 days after the gauge closed at its highest level since 2007 before the market paused for the Lunar New Year holiday. While the CSI 300 briefly surpassed its 2007 closing high after the break, traders started taking profit and unwinding so-called crowded favourite trades on worries that the market may have heated up too quickly.

5. Brexit Border Checks on Food Could Be Delayed Under U.K Plan

The U.K. government is considering postponing the introduction of border checks on imports from the European Union to reduce the risk of disruption to supply chains this summer. David Frost, the minister who negotiated the Brexit trade deal with the EU and is now leading the U.K.’s relations with the bloc, has asked officials to review the timetable of the new border paperwork requirements, which are due to start from April 1. Britain has so far taken a light-touch approach to imports from the EU since the Brexit, waiving customs requirements and allowing goods to enter freely. In contrast, the EU imposed full border controls on trade going the other way on Jan. 1, causing delays to shipments and a decline in freight volumes.

6. Taiwan Has Enough Water to Supply Chipmakers Till May

Taiwan offered reassurances Monday it has sufficient water reserves to keep a giant tech industry led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. humming till late May, when monsoon rains arrive to alleviate its worst drought in decades. The island should have enough water to supply the public and industry till then though precipitation is likely to fall short of average historical levels, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua told reporters Monday. The drought has so far exerted no impact on TSMC nor other companies, Wang added. Taiwan faces its worst drought in 56 years, a challenge to water-intensive sectors of the economy from chipmakers to textile factories and farms. The heightened level of concern coincides with a global shortage of semiconductors that’s halting output.

7. UA Cinemas Shuts Down HK Theater Chain After 36 Years

UA Cinemas, one of Hong Kong’s biggest movie-theatre chains, abruptly shut down operations in the city, citing the pressure that the pandemic had on its business. It will cease operations in Hong Kong with immediate effect on March 8 and court proceedings to wind up the business have begun, the company said on its website on Monday. The demise turns Hong Kong’s third-largest cinema chain into one of the city’s most high-profile casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged businesses worldwide. Movie theatres have been among the hardest-hit industries, with even global industry leader AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. narrowly avoiding bankruptcy earlier this year.

8. Blackstone Is Said to Call Off Mphasis Stake Sale on Valuations

Blackstone Group has shelved a planned sale of its majority stake in Indian IT outsourcing services provider Mphasis Ltd. over-valuations. The private equity firm rejected the two bidders in the final round as their offers didn’t meet its expectations. Blackstone has informed the interested parties that it has halted the sale. Blackstone bought a 60.5% stake in Mumbai-listed Mphasis from Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. in 2016 at 430 rupees ($5.87) per share. The private equity firm also made an open offer to acquire additional shares from other shareholders. As of the end of 2020, Blackstone owned about 56% in the tech firm. The asset manager started identifying buyers for its majority stake in Mphasis a few months ago. It had held talks with prospective investors including Carlyle Group and Singapore state investment fund GIC. 

9. SoftBank’s Outlook Raised to Stable at Moody’s

SoftBank Group’s outlook was raised to stable from negative at Moody’s Investors Service, which cited progress with the Japanese company’s asset monetization program. The move came on a day when SoftBank said it had bought back $2.25 billion of dollar and euro bonds. That completed a tender offer the firm had announced last month that it would use to repurchase up to that amount, part of a multi-billion dollar asset sale and monetization program unveiled in early 2020. Moody’s cut SoftBank by two notches last year and voiced concerns over its large asset recycling activity and unfolding investment strategy.

10. Key Saudi Arabian Oil Site Attacked, Stoking Regional Tensions

Saudi Arabia said some of the world’s most protected oil infrastructure came under missile and drone attack in an escalation of regional hostilities that pushed up crude prices. The attacks on Sunday were intercepted, Saudi Arabia said, and oil output appeared to be unaffected. But the latest in a spate of assaults claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels briefly pushed oil prices to above $70 a barrel for the first time since January 2020 and will likely complicate efforts by U.S. President Joe Biden to engage in nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

Curated from Bloomberg.com

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