Good morning. Here are the top stories.
Oil Prices Just Dropped Below $45 For The First Time Since 2009. WTI crude fell nearly 5% yesterday and is already down 2.4% today. If WTI falls another $4 per barrel, down to below $41, it'll be testing territory that hasn't been seen in a decade.
Earnings Season Kicks Off With A Beat. Aluminum giant Alcoa announced earnings per share jumped to $0.33 per share in Q4, beating expectations for $0.27. Management expects global aluminum demand to be up 7%.
Chinese Exports Surge. Exports from the world's second largest economy jumped 9.7% in December, beating expectations for 6.0% growth. Imports declined by just 2.4%, which wasn't as bad as the 6.2% plunge expected.
But China's Trade Growth Didn't Even Meet Half Its Target In 2014. Chinese trade with the rest of the world grew by just 3.4% in 2014, below the government's 7.5% target for the third year, according to the Financial Times. This gives further weight to concerns that the world's largest developing economy is entering a protracted slowdown period.
UK Inflation Slumps To A 14-Year Low. The UK's consumer price index climbed by just 0.5% in December, the lowest level since May 2000. This was lower than the 0.7% rate expected by economists.
German Wholesale Prices Were Down 1% In December. They're also down 2.3% year-on-year, the biggest drop in 14 months as Europe's economies slip into deflation.
Markets Are Up. US futures are bouncing back after Monday's sell-off. Dow futures are up 108 points and S&P futures are up 12 points. In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 is up 0.6%, France's CAC 40 is up 1.3%, and Germany's DAX is up 1.2%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up 0.7%. Japan, which was on holiday on Monday, closed down by 0.6% on Tuesday.
Jobs Data Coming. At 10:00 a.m. ET, we'll get the November Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey report. Economists estimate US companies had 4.85 million job openings in November. From Credit Suisse: "Job openings rose in October to 4.8M, driving the ratio of vacancies to unemployed workers up to 0.54 – just above its pre-crisis average. Along with the recent rapid declines in the unemployment rate, these numbers confirm that the US labor market has effectively recovered to “normal” cyclical conditions. Measures of job turnover – the hires rate and quit rate – slowed down after a sharp rise in September, but both measures remain at elevated levels. These indicators can provide early signs of wage pressure, and if the current trend holds, it may suggest a firming in wage growth over 2015."
Greece's Radical Left-Wingers Syriza Hold A 4.5 Point Lead In The Latest Poll. Greece's anti-bailout Syriza party held a steady lead over Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' conservative party ahead of a Jan. 25 snap election, a poll showed on Monday. The poll put Syriza at 31.5% against New Democracy's 27%.
Senator Elizabeth Warren Just Helped Block A Senior Treasury Appointment. Lazard investment banker Antonio Weiss has asked President Obama to give up on nominating him for a senior spot in the US Treasury. Politico's Ben White reports that following major opposition to the nomination from Warren and others, Weiss wrote a letter to the president over the weekend asking him not to resend his nomination to the Senate.
See Also:10 Things You Need To Know Today10 Things You Need To Know Today10 Things You Need To Know Today