A U.K. services index plunges, fracking pioneer dies, and the stock rally fades. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
The services Purchasing Managers Index published by Markit Economics this morning fell to 52.7, the lowest reading since March 2013. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a reading of 55.1. The numbers suggest U.K. growth could slow this quarter, amid mounting uncertainty over Britain's future in the European Union as small business leaders add their voices to calls for withdrawal from the EU. The U.K. FTSE 100 Index was 0.4 percent higher at 11:05 a.m. in London, with the gains being driven by miners.
Aubrey McClendon dies in car crash
Aubrey McClendon, former chairman of Chesapeake Energy Corp. died in a single-car crash yesterday, only one day after he was indicted on charges of rigging bids for oil and gas leases. His death will complicate the Department of Justice's investigation into McClendon and his co-conspirators. Colleagues in the energy industry are remembering him as an "early innovator" in the space.
China's key annual policy meeting kicks off this weekend amid concerns for growth and warnings of an expanding property bubble in the economy. Despite such concerns, China is still seen as an important investment priority for 60 percent of U.S. companies. The economy hardest hit by both the slowdown in China and a crackdown on corruption is the gambling centre of Macau, which this morning said its economic output in 2015 fell 20.3 percent.
Stock rally fades
European stocks seem to be halting their longest rally since October, with the Stoxx 600 Index down 0.2 percent at 11:20 a.m. London time. Overnight in Asia, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.3 percent, trading at the highest levels since January. S&P 500 futures are unchanged.
At 8:30 a.m. ET the latest Initial Jobless Claims numbers will be released, which will be closely watched ahead of tomorrow's Nonfarm Payrolls data. At 10 a.m. ET, factory orders and durable goods orders for January will be published, with expectations for factory orders to increase by 2.1 percent following December's decline.
What we've been reading
This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Europe is horrified by Trump, but he'd fit right in.
- Diagnosing what ails Europe's banks.
- Wind farms now come with the threat of jail.
- Herbalife says it overstated growth of new members in 2015.
- Four charts that show why copper's comeback could have staying power.
- El-Erian on what we need from Friday's jobs report.
- Oil and gas drillers in the U.S. ready to party like it's 1859.
- Venezuela is still 'at the doorstep of the abyss.'
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