Good morning,

Markets are called to open flat this morning. This is what's happening today:

  • The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 2.2 percent, touching a level above the last closing price before Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008;
  • China’s exports exceeded forecasts in February, an indication that improving global demand may help to sustain the rebound in the world’s second-biggest economy;
  • US jobless claims fell last week – US payroll figure out today;
  • German industrial production rises for a second month, according to economists;
  • Belgium sell bonds;
  • Fugro is among companies scheduled to publish results.

Japanese equities erased their losses from the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. after data showed the nation’s economy exited a recession and U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly fell. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 2.2 percent, touching a level above the last closing price before Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008. Japan’s gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 0.2 percent in the three months to December.

US Treasuries headed for their steepest weekly loss since the start of the year after the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed yesterday to a third straight day of record. Ten-year yields climbed 16 basis points to 2 percent from a week ago, poised for the highest close since Feb. 20.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said yesterday data suggests the region’s economy will gradually recover later this year. Spain and Portugal delivered the world’s best government bond returns since investors dismissed last month’s inconclusive Italian elections that threatened to spark contagion and undo a European Central Bank-inspired rally. Bonds from Europe’s high debt and deficit nations erased a slump after political paralysis left Italian voters facing the prospect of a new poll. The extra yield investors demand to lend to Spain for 10 years instead of Italy fell to the lowest in almost a year this week, while the premium charged to Portugal narrowed to the least since 2010.

Citigroup, the third-biggest U.S. bank, asked the Federal Reserve for permission to buy back $1.2 billion of shares without seeking a dividend increase a year after its previous request was rejected. The planned repurchases would “offset estimated dilution created by annual incentive compensation grants,” the company said. The Fed won’t disclose whether it approved the capital plans of the 18 biggest U.S. banks until next week.

Comments from Deutsche Bank of Citigroup, 'We have a Buy rating on Citigroup. We believe the risk/reward is favorable given: 1) good leverage to a macro recovery, 2) improving expense leverage, 3) potential strategic actions, 4) good progress de-risking, 5) downside protection given solid capital/reserves; 6) less mortgage-related risks; 7) better potential revenue growth in international/emerging markets, and 8) the valuation remains attractive. Buy.'

For more information on Citigroup or other stocks and bonds we follow, contact our offices on 25688688.

Good day and happy trading!

Kristian Camenzuli