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Fiat Rises as Investors Question Cheating Charges

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Fiat rebuffs U.S. emissions allegations, China is said to further boost yuan curbs, and there's a lot of data due. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Fiat defends itself

Shares in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are recovering some of yesterday's more-than 18 percent plunge after Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne dismissed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allegations that it violated pollution laws as "unadulterated hogwash." He described the situation as entirely different to the case which cost Volkswagen AG more than $20 billion. Despite yesterday's setback, shares in Fiat have gained more than 40 percent since the election of Donald Trump.

PBOC balancing act

China has stepped up efforts to restrict yuan outflows by asking some banks to stop processing cross-border payments until they're balanced on both sides, according to people familiar with the matter. Data released overnight showed that the country's exports remain tepid, with overseas shipments dropping 6.1 percent while imports rose 3.1 percent, leaving a $40.8 billion trade surplus.

Yellen bullish?

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that she sees no serious short-term obstacles to the U.S. economy and that inflation is "pretty close" to policy makers' 2 percent target. She also defended the 2010 Dodd-Frank act, which the incoming administration have said they will seek to dismantle. On Wall Street today, all eyes will be on bank earnings with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and BlackRock Inc. all announcing results.

Markets rise

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1 percent, while Japan's Topix index added 0.6 percent, with airbag maker Takata gaining 16 percent as it nears a settlement with the U.S. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.5 percent higher at 5:26 a.m. ET and carmakers and health-care stocks recovered. S&P 500 futures gained 0.1 percent

Big data day

U.S. PPI and retail-sales data for December is due to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, with analysts expecting a jump to 0.7 percent in the headline sales number, up from November's 0.1 percent increase. At 10:00 a.m. business inventories data for November and the latest University of Michigan Sentiment numbers will be published. Outside the U.S., DBRS's decision on Italy's sovereign rating, which is due to be published after market there close, will be closely watched as a cut in the rating would lead to increased refinancing costs for Italian banks at the ECB.

What we've been reading 

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

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