[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +4.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +4.70.
U.S. equity futures continue to trade modestly higher with the S&P 500 futures up 0.2%.
European markets are broadly lower as the results of yesterday's Italian election remain inconclusive. While Pier Luigi Bersani's party won the Lower House, there appears to be a deadlock in the Senate. If the current results stand following the official update, Pier Luigi Bersani will look to form a ‘grand coalition.' However, given the track record of the other top vote getters (Berlusconi, Grillo), a coalition appears unlikely at this time. Elsewhere, Spanish authorities have confiscated the passport of the former treasurer of the People's Party, Luis Barcenas, who is one of the main players at the center of the corruption scandal recently uncovered by daily newspaper El Pais.
Regional economic data was limited to the United Kingdom's CBI Distributive Trade Survey, which was reported at 8, well below the reading of 16 expected by the market.
- The United Kingdom's FTSE is down 1.3% with financials among the weakest performers. Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are down 4.1% and 3.4% respectively. Auto and aircraft parts manufacturer GKN is adding 3.1% after the company's recently acquired aerospace unit from Volvo was profitable in the fourth quarter.
- Germany's DAX is slipping 1.6% as 27 of 30 components trade down. With the uncertainty surrounding Italy, financials are feeling the brunt of the pressure. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are seeing respective losses of 1.3% and 2.2%. On the upside, Fresenius SE is climbing 2.9% following an upbeat profit forecast.
- In France, the CAC is lower by 1.8% with all 40 stocks registering losses. BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, and Societe Generale are all down between 3.8% and 5.4%.
- Spain's IBEX is down 2.4% as all 35 index components trade in the red. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria is sliding 3.7% and Banco Santander is off by 3.2%.
- In Italy, the MIB is falling 4.2% with financials suffering broad losses. Banco Popolare, Intesa Sanpaolo, and UniCredit are all down between 7.7% and 8.6%.
It was a sea of red across Asia after all of the major bourses ended lower due to the uncertainty of the Italian election. Selling was most severe in Japan where the Nikkei fell 2.3%, largely due to the strength of the yen. The currency rallied to better than 91.00 per dollar during yesterday's panic, its strongest of February. Elsewhere, more reports surfaced in China, suggesting Beijing is looking to tighten property measures. Overnight comments from Reserve Bank of Australia Assistant Governor suggested the central bank is ready to cut rates if necessary. This was somewhat of a reversal from recent comments from RBA head Glenn Stevens who said the rate cut cycle was likely over. Data from the region saw Singapore's industrial production slip 0.4% year-over-year (+4.0% expected) and the Philippines trade deficit narrow to $1.28 billion ($1.22 billion expected, $1.59 billion previous).
- In Japan, the Nikkei lost 2.3% to post its biggest decline in over a month. Exporters were hit hard thanks to the strong yen with Sony shedding 3.7% and Nissan Motor giving up 2.6%. Meanwhile, Japan Tobacco slipped 0.7% after the Ministry of Finance announced a 333.3 million share offering.
- Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 1.3% as developments out of both Europe and China weighed. Retailer Esprit lost 1.4% as traders dumped stocks with European ties. Elsewhere, China Construction Bank and Evergrande Real Estate Group gave up 2.4% and 4.3% respectively as concerns over further tightening by Beijing weighed.
- In China, the Shanghai Composite slipped 1.4% as property shares and commodity-related names underperformed. China Vanke and Jiangxi Copper lost 1.7% and 2.6% respectively to finish among the worst performers in their sectors.