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Opening Call:

Stock futures rose as inflation jitters ebbed. Asian stock benchmarks advanced; the dollar softened; Treasury yields largely pulled back; while oil and gold futures fell.


European stock futures pushed higher early Thursday ahead of a busy slate of economic data, including U.K. GDP and U.S. retail sales, and corporate results.

U.S. stock indexes regained their footing overnight after a selloff sparked by inflation fears a day earlier.

"Inflation numbers are not going to go in a straight line-it's going to be lumpy," said Thomas Martin, a senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. "Yesterday's move was a knee-jerk reaction-if it were a real problem, you'd see some follow-through today. You aren't seeing that."


JPY strengthened against other G-10 and Asian currencies on the lingering threat of forex intervention prompted by recent reported comments from Japan's top currency official.

USD/JPY's upside is likely to be capped after "jawboning" by Japanese authorities spurred intervention risks, said Sim Moh Siong, currency strategist at Bank of Singapore. However, the "real test for intervention" is whether Treasury yields can move significantly higher to send USD/JPY above 152, the strategist added.


Treasurys rallied overnight, sending yields lower, as traders considered whether there may have been an overreaction to stronger-than-expected U.S. inflation data.

"[Tuesday's] CPI release was a nasty shock causing a significant market reaction. The question now is whether the reaction was enough, or perhaps was too much," said Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial.

Though there are reasons to think the report could be a "fluke,"' "the report cannot be dismissed outright, not least because it firmly underscores the Fed's primary objection to quick easing. With the economy strong and the job market strong, there is no need for rate cuts, " he said.


Euro high-yield defaults are projected to climb to 4% by the end of 2024 from 2.4% at the end of January, CreditSights said.

"So far, the euro high-yield market has avoided any material challenges with even the CCC distressed market tightening year to date, albeit from very wide levels." Euro HY credit spreads tightened 10 basis points in January and 14 bps in February month to date, CreditSights said.


Oil futures fell in Asia after a 12-million-barrel weekly rise in domestic commercial crude inventories, according to data from U.S. EIA on Wednesday.

But a fall in gasoline inventories of 3.66 million barrels over the same period as well as strong jet-fuel demand helped limit the losses for crude prices, said ANZ.


Gold edged lower early Thursday. The precious metal is trading in a tight sideways range after falling below the psychologically significant $2,000/oz level following stronger-than-expected U.S. inflation data earlier this week, which reduces hopes for early Fed rate cuts.

The overnight fall in U.S. bond yields and a weaker dollar haven't been enough to bring buyers back for the precious metal, ANZ said.


Nickel traded steadily in Asia. The base metal has recently extended gains as traders absorbed news that Glencore plans to "mothball" its loss-making Koniambo nickel operation in New Caledonia, ANZ said. The risk of nickel supply disruptions in Indonesia is also rising, the bank noted.


Fed's Barr says banking system is strong despite New York Community Bancorp's woes

The recent troubles at New York Community Bancorp Inc. are not a sign of systemic problems in the U.S. banking system, a top Federal Reserve official said Wednesday.

"A single bank missing its revenue expectations and increasing its provisioning does not change the fact that the overall banking system is strong, and we see no signs of liquidity problems across the system," said Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr, in a speech to a meeting of the National Association of Business Economics in Washington.

Fed's Goolsbee says some high monthly inflation readings won't knock his confidence

Inflation has been so well behaved that some high readings for a few months won't change the picture, Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee said Wednesday.

Because inflation fell so far so fast last year, "even if inflation comes in a bit higher for a few months, as many forecasts suggest, it would still be consistent with our path back to [the 2%] target," Goolsbee said, in talk at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.

Iran Gas Pipelines Explode in Act of Sabotage, Officials Say

TEHRAN-Iranian officials said two explosions struck natural-gas pipelines in the country early Wednesday, calling the blasts a terrorist attack, which comes amid heightened tensions in the Middle East over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Sabotage caused the blasts, which ruptured gas pipelines in the provinces of Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari and Fars, disrupting supply in parts of the country, according to the Iranian oil ministry's official Shana news service. The pipelines are part of the country's gas supply grid, taking gas from Asaluyeh, a hub for Iran's offshore South Pars gas field.

Europe Is Boosting Military Spending. It's Still Not Enough.

BRUSSELS-With a war raging nearby and the threat that a second Trump administration could pull the U.S. out of NATO, Europe has ratcheted up military spending. Arms manufacturers are working around-the clock, and new factories are going up to meet demand.

But Europe has a long way to go-and tough choices to make-if it aims to reduce its dependence on U.S. military support and face down Russian aggression.

Financial Firms Expect Big Changes from European Cyber Rules

BRUSSELS-Financial firms and their technology suppliers will need to put in a lot of work to comply with a European cybersecurity law set to take effect early next year.

The law has attracted attention because it requires companies to make significant changes to how they manage risks. It applies to large and small technology suppliers or service companies such as cloud-computing providers.

Elon Musk's SpaceX Looks to Move Incorporation to Texas From Delaware

Elon Musk's SpaceX is seeking to convert its business incorporation to Texas from Delaware.

The Secretary of State of Texas on Wednesday issued a certificate evidencing the acceptance and filing of the conversion, according to a filing.

BHP Signals $5.7 Billion of Write-Downs From Nickel Crash, Dam Failure Fallout

ADELAIDE, Australia-BHP Group announced one of the mining industry's biggest write-downs of nickel operations since prices of the battery metal started to slump last year, illustrating how producers don't expect a turnaround any time soon as electric-vehicle sales growth slows.

BHP said it would write-down its nickel business in Western Australia by roughly $2.5 billion, and might mothball its current operations there for a time if conditions stay weak. The world's biggest mining company said it would separately take an additional $3.2 billion provision for the Samarco dam failure in Brazil in 2015, meaning it has now set aside some $6.5 billion to cover costs associated with the disaster.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Trims Its Massive Stake in Apple

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway trimmed its flagship position in Apple in the fourth quarter.

Berkshire sold about 1% of its Apple shares in the final three months of 2023, leaving it with a 5.9% stake in the iPhone maker worth about $167 billion on Wednesday, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Nvidia becomes third-largest U.S. company as it passes Google parent Alphabet

A day after finishing with a valuation above Inc., Nvidia Corp. boxed out Alphabet Inc. as well.

The chip maker's stock NVDA rose 2.5% in Wednesday trading, giving the company a market value of $1.825 trillion. Alphabet's stock GOOG GOOGL was only up 0.6%, and the company ended the day with a $1.821 trillion valuation.

EssilorLuxottica Posts Higher Profit, Acceleration in Sales Growth

EssilorLuxottica reported higher revenue and profit for 2023, despite inflationary headwinds that hurt costs, particularly the cost of labor.

The Franco-Italian eyewear company on Wednesday posted sales of 6.25 billion euros ($6.69 billion) for the final quarter of 2023, compared with EUR6.11 billion in the year-earlier period.

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Expected Major Events for Thursday

05:30/NED: Jan Unemployment

06:00/FIN: Dec Retail sales

07:00/UK: Dec UK trade

07:00/UK: Dec Index of production

07:00/UK: Dec Index of services

07:00/UK: 4Q Business investment in the UK: provisional results

07:00/UK: 4Q First quarterly estimate of GDP

07:00/UK: Dec Monthly GDP estimates

07:00/NOR: Jan External trade in goods

07:30/SWI: Jan Import Price Index

07:30/SWI: Jan PPI

08:00/SWI: Jan Consumer Sentiment Index

08:00/CZE: Jan CPI

08:00/SVK: Jan Core & net inflation development

08:00/SVK: Jan CPI

08:00/SPN: Jan CPI

09:00/FRA: Feb IEA Oil Market Report

09:00/POL: Dec Merchandise trade

09:00/BUL: Jan CPI

09:00/POL: Jan CPI

09:00/ITA: Dec Foreign Trade EU

10:00/GRE: Jan CPI

10:00/EU: Dec Foreign trade

11:00/FRA: Dec OECD Harmonised Unemployment Rates

11:00/IRL: Dec Goods Exports and Imports

11:00/IRL: Jan CPI

12:30/UK: Jan NIESR Monthly GDP Tracker

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02-15-24 0017ET