Asian indices are lower, led down by exporters in the region on worries over the US Fed accelerating their pace of rate hikes. The UK is seeking diplomatic support for postponing a European Union decision to lift an arms embargo on China, the Financial Times said. State Street Corp., the largest US pension fund manager, plans an alliance with Bank of China Group Insurance to offer retirement plans in China, the South China Morning Post said. China will change the yuan's peg from the dollar to a basket of eight currencies and widen the band in which it is traded starting in May, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said. Microsoft and Symbian Ltd. will today announce an agreement allowing Symbian cell phone users to access Microsoft's Exchange e-mail system, the Financial Times said. Samsung Electronics forecast its first-quarter semiconductor sales will rise from a year earlier because of better-than-expected demand for flash memory chips, Edaily reported. Sony expects US sales of the PlayStation Portable, its biggest game product debut in almost 5 years, to top 1 million units within days of the release, Bloomberg said.
- Goldman Sachs: Reiterated Outperform on PAYX. Reiterated Underperform on SKS and NDC.
- Asian Indices are -.75% to -.25% on average.
- S&P 500 indicated +.02%.
- NASDAQ 100 indicated +.03%.
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Earnings of Note
- The February Producer Price Index is estimated to have risen .3% versus a .3% increase in January.
- The February PPI Ex Food & Energy is estimated to have risen .1% versus a .8% increase in January.
- The FOMC is expected to raise the Fed Funds rate by 25 basis points to 2.75%.
BOTTOM LINE: I expect US equities to open mixed-to-lower in the morning on a higher-than-expected PPI report. However, stocks may rally later in the afternoon after the Fed raises the Fed Funds rate 25 basis points and maintains their current policy of hiking rates at a "measured pace." The Portfolio is 50% net long heading into tomorrow.