Current Futures: Dow +95.00, S&P +11.20, NASDAQ +15.00
European Trade: Asian markets found the strength to close higher, reversing the selling that came shortly after the opening bell. European markets and U.S. futures also advanced, moving higher from the first minutes of trading. Tonight was the first time in the last six days that the overnight markets advanced.
Only a small number of stocks showed negative movement in the German Dax and in the U.K. Ftse. In the U.K., some companies rallied from the first minutes of trading. Two of those companies were BHP Billiton and Anglo American, which rose more 5% as the price of metal rallied sharply during European trading hours. In Germany, Adidas also rose sharply after its fourth quarter results beat analysts’ estimates. Metro and Commerzbank were among the top gainers in the Dax index, even though yesterday these two companies were among the biggest decliners.
Two important news items for the future of U.S. car manufacturers appeared this morning. First, it was announced that one of Fiat’s top executive would be present in Washington to support its case for a Chrysler-Fiat alliance. Fiat is looking for a 35% stake in the U.S. car manufacturer, to allow it to access its line of small and eco-friendly cars, something that is missing from Chrysler’s sales force. Even though Chrysler is now surviving on the government’s money, Cerberus Capital Management (80.1%), a private equity firm, and Daimler AG (19.9%), the makers of the Mercedes cars, own the company. In addition, a possible partnership with Fiat would open the doors for a new market for Chrysler: Europe.
GM, the other company that struggles to survive on government loans, is looking for possible bidders for Saab. Unconfirmed sources have said there are five possible bidders for the Swedish company. In case GM fails to sell the company, the Swedish government already announced its plan to guarantee Saab’s loans. It looks like now, the only headache GM has in Europe is Opel, the German manufacturer.
The car sales of GM and Chrysler plunged 50% in February, following a similar decline in the previous months.
Tonight, the Nikkei added 61.24 points (0.85%) to 7,290.96. The Australian S&P declined 52.80 points (1.64%) to 3,166.40. The U.K. Ftse rose 59.33 points (1.69%) to 3,571.42, while the German Dax gained 64.83 points (1.76%) to 3,755.55
Crude oil continues to decline, as the world’s fundamentals are deteriorating. Crude oil for April delivery fell $0.40 to $41.25
Gold lost some of its appeal as a safe haven, as the pair plunged from $1000. Bullion for immediate delivery gained $1.20 to $914.80.