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Markets are closed in Europe today due to a bank holiday as we head into the heart of the earnings season this week. It's a reality check on the health of the global economies and where the markets stand and maybe where they'll go. Ukraine warned that Russia may use a deadly clash at a roadblock in the country’s east as a pretext for invasion. Shootouts in eastern Ukraine over the weekend led to calls for more U.S. economic sanctions against Russia, as a diplomatic accord aimed at defusing the crisis showed little sign of taking hold. Ukrainian and Russian officials traded accusations over responsibility for tensions that escalated since last week’s signing of an agreement in Geneva that sought disarmament of all illegal groups and vacating of all seized buildings.
In the US, Netflix will be the focus today when it reports after the close of trading. The stock has been one of Wall Street's big momentum plays – it was the top performing stock in the S&P 500 last year with an incredible 269% rise. But tech stocks have had a volatile ride over the past several weeks. So far this year Netflix stock is down 6%. It had a big day Thursday rising 4% as investors began to feel confident about the upcoming earnings report.
Volkswagen signaled the German automaker will outsell General Motors Co. and all other foreign carmakers in the world’s biggest auto market for a second- straight year. VW expects China deliveries to rise at least 10% from last year’s record, pushing deliveries above 3.5 million vehicles, Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in the run-up to the Beijing auto show, which opens to public on this week. Though he didn’t specifically refer to GM, which sold about 110,000 fewer vehicles than VW in China last year, the Detroit-based company said in February it would keep up with a market that’s poised to grow 8% to 10%.
Tesla Motors Inc. is poised to begin deliveries of the Model S sedan in China as Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tests the reluctance of consumers in the world’s largest auto market to buy electric cars. The billionaire chairman, who’s in Beijing this week, will host an event tomorrow to mark the occasion, according to the Palo Alto, California-based company. The electric-car maker has been taking orders since August and opened an 8,600 square feet store in a Beijing shopping mall late last year to showcase its vehicles.
Pfizer Inc., the world’s biggest drugmaker, held informal, now-discontinued talks with AstraZeneca Plc about possibly buying the London-based maker of asthma and heart drugs. The talks were first reported yesterday by London’s Sunday Times, whose unnamed bank and industry sources said New York-based Pfizer made a tentative approach about a takeover valuing AstraZeneca at more than 60 billion pounds.
On Tuesday, look out for fast food as McDonald's and Yum Brands both release results. McDonald's is often a gauge for how the global economy is doing since the brand is in so many countries and its customers are average people. During the recession, McDonald's didn't suffer as much as most companies since people were still willing to eat out at a cheap place. It's expected to report first quarter earnings of $1.24 a share. That would be down from the $1.26 it reported a year ago. The Golden Arches has been fighting off competition for years, but within the last few months, it has escalated.
Good day and happy trading!
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