1. Futures Rise, Dollar Erases Gain on Inflation Data
U.S. equity futures turned higher and the dollar erased gains after a key measure of American consumer prices rose less than expected in February. Treasuries fluctuated. S&P 500 contracts jumped as the core consumer price index increased 0.1% from a month earlier and 1.3% from the prior year, suggesting broader inflationary pressures remain tame. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed modestly amid gains in energy and real estate shares.
Futures on the S&P 500 Index increased 0.3% as of 8:46 a.m. New York time.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.3%.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4%.
The MSCI Emerging Market Index rose 0.8%.
2. Saudi Arabia Vows to Protect Oil Facilities After Drone Strike
Saudi Arabia said it would guarantee global energy security and deter further attacks on its infrastructure, days after a missile and drone assault on the world’s largest oil-export terminal. The attack on the kingdom’s Ras Tanura port on Sunday caused a brief spike in oil prices and was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi fighters in neighbouring Yemen, who are battling a Saudi-led coalition. The missiles were intercepted but the incident marked a serious escalation and has further stirred regional tensions at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden is aiming to re-start nuclear diplomacy with Tehran. “The failed attempts to target the port of Ras Tanura do not only target the security of the economy and Saudi Arabia. They target the global economy and its oil supplies”, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in Riyadh.
3. China Weighs Tighter Rules on STAR Board IPOs, Fintech Curbs
China is considering tighter rules for first-time share sales on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR board that will require firms to prove their technology credentials and raise the bar for companies such as Ant Group. The China Securities Regulatory Commission may introduce revised rules as soon as next month, placing greater emphasis on hardcore technology and innovation. There will also be increased scrutiny on financial health to boost the quality of companies and protect investors. Authorities are seeking to tamp down on the sub-par firms that have rushed to raise funds to take advantage of lax oversight and high valuations. Regulators have also pledged to rein in China’s fintech firms.
4. Australia to Aid Ailing Tourism With 800,000 Half-Price Flights
Australia’s government will subsidize 800,000 half-price airfares as part of a A$1.2 billion ($920 million) package to prop up the nation’s ailing tourism industry. To run from April 1 to July 31, the discounted fares are designed to help tourism-dependent regions and should support airlines, hotels and hospitality venues. The package also includes further support for the international aviation industry and will expand a government-backed loan program to small and medium-sized businesses. The subsidized tickets program means more jobs and investment for the tourism and aviation sectors as Australia heads towards winning our fight against Covid-19 and the restrictions that have hurt so many businesses.
5. Credit Suisse Probes Collapsed Funds, Suspends Managers
Credit Suisse Group started an internal probe into the collapse of a $10 billion group of supply chain finance funds and temporarily replaced three employees in its asset management unit who were tied to the strategy. The Swiss lender has reached out to external firms to deal with regulators’ queries surrounding the collapse of the funds, which it ran with Australian financier Lex Greensill. Credit Suisse froze the funds last week after doubts emerged about the valuations of some of the assets, kicking off a chain of events that culminated in the collapse of Greensill Capital.
6. Hackers Breach Thousands of Security Cameras: Exposing Tesla, Jails, Hospitals
A group of hackers say they breached a massive trove of security-camera data collected by Silicon Valley startup Verkada Inc., gaining access to live feeds of 150,000 surveillance cameras inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools. Companies whose footage was exposed include carmaker Tesla Inc. and software provider Cloudflare Inc. In addition, hackers were able to view video from inside women’s health clinics, psychiatric hospitals and the offices of Verkada itself. Some of the cameras, including in hospitals, use facial-recognition technology to identify and categorize people captured on the footage.
7. Biden Stimulus Nears Finish Line With House Vote Wednesday
The House is poised to send the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan to President Joe Biden for his signature, providing an economic boost that will last long after $1,400 stimulus checks start arriving in Americans’ accounts this month. With four days until supplemental unemployment benefits begin running out, House Democratic leaders are planning for passage Wednesday, with the vote expected early afternoon. The bill is far bigger than initial Wall Street expectations of what could be accomplished in a closely divided Congress. It provides a template for a potential longer-term expansion of an American social-safety net that has long been much smaller than its European counterparts.
8. China’s Binge On Iranian Oil Clogs Up Ports and Storage Tanks
China is gorging Iranian oil even as other nations wait for U.S. President Joe Biden to remove sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Crude shipments from Iran to the province of Shandong, home to a quarter of China’s refining capacity, have surged so much this month they’re causing congestion at ports and filling up storage tanks. Chinese imports of Iranian crude will hit 856,000 barrels a day in March, the most in almost two years and up 129% from last month. Most refiners and traders are reluctant to purchase Iranian crude for fear of repercussions that can include being cut off from the American banking system and having cargoes seized by the U.S.
9. SoftBank-Backed Grab Weighs U.S. IPO Through SPAC Merger
Grab is exploring going public in the U.S. through a merger with a blank-check company as the Southeast Asian ride-hailing and delivery giant seeks to expedite its listing process. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, which are already advising Grab on its initial public offering plans, are working with the startup to identify special purpose acquisition companies that it could combine with. Still, a U.S. listing via a traditional IPO isn’t off the table. Merging with a SPAC would allow Grab — Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup backed by SoftBank Group — to accelerate its listing process.
10. Qatar Ships First Oil Cargo to UAE Since Gulf Embargo Ended
Qatar exported what appeared to be its first oil cargo to a Persian Gulf neighbour since the United Arab Emirates and three other countries agreed to restore ties with Doha in January. Qatar loaded about 700,000 barrels of oil onto the tanker Abu Dhabi-III on March 4 and the vessel delivered the fuel to Dubai’s Jebel Ali port 3 days later. The exports may be a sign that business is getting back to normal now that the three-and-a-half-year suspension of diplomatic and trade ties has come to an end.
Curated from Bloomberg.com