#PreMarket Primer for December 16: Japan's Tankan Survey Shows Broad Improvement
The Bank of Japan's latest Tankan survey results showed that business confidence in the nation rose to its highest level in six years from October to December.
Even more encouraging was that sentiment for smaller firms, which are normally last to receive the benefits of an economic recovery, also brightened. The index for big manufacturers' sentiment rose 4 points from the last quarter to plus 16.
The positive reading supported the BOJ's claims that the Japanese economy will be able to withstand the nation's planned sales tax hike. The central bank is set to hold a policy meeting on December 19-20, where most expect the bank to maintain its current policies.
- On Sunday the European Union said it would suspend talks about a trade deal between Ukraine and the EU as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's terms for the deal were considered unreasonable. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets for the fourth week in a row to rally against Yanukovich's decision to turn away from an EU deal, calling for Yanukovich's removal from office.
- Over the weekend, the Social Democrats endorsed a coalition agreement with Angela Merkel and her conservative party. The new coalition will get to work on their latest agenda, a barrage of controversial spending increases and new labor rules that many worry could chip away at the nation's economy and undermine economic reforms in other eurozone nations. Merkel will likely be sworn in for her third term on Tuesday.
- At the World Policy Conference in Monaco, a leading Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal blasted the Obama administration on everything from its secret diplomacy with Iran to its lack of effort in Syria. Turki said the Gulf states were shocked that the US worked behind their backs in planning its next steps in the Middle East. He called for Saudi representation at the negotiations with Iran, saying trust between the US and Saudi Arabia had been broken.
- As the US government's healthcare website access improves and the initial deadline for Americans to sign up for coverage approaching on December 23rd, health insurers are spending millions on advertising to attract young, healthy subscribers. The new ad campaigns are a massive shift for insurers who are marketing to the public for the first time, in the past insurers simply sold plans to human resource managers for their workforce.
Asian markets were mostly lower, the Japanese NIKKEI lost 1.28 percent and China's Shanghai composite was down 1.32 percent. The Shenzhen composite was down 1.61 percent and the Hang Seng index lost 0.51 percent.
European markets were also lower, the UK's FTSE lost 0.08 percent and the eurozone's STOXX 600 lost 0.21 percent. The German DAX fell 0.12 percent and France's CAC 40 was down 0.23 percent.
Energy futures were mixed, Brent futures were up 0.37 percent and WTI futures fell 0.27 percent. Gold fell 0.06 percent and sliver lost 0.28 percent. Industrial metals were up across the board with tin posting the largest gains, up 1.11 percent.
The euro remained above $1.37 and the pound gained 0.04 percent against the American currency. The dollar lost 0.43 percent to the yen and gained 0.10 percent against the Australian dollar.
Stocks moving in the Premarket included:
- Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) gained 0.49 percent in premarket trade after falling 0.36 percent over the past five days
- International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) lost 6.72 percent in premarket trade after falling 2.52 percent over the past week
- Regions Financial Corp (NYSE: RF) lost 2.52 percent in premarket trade after falling 1.85 percent over the past week
- Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) lost 0.33 percent in premarket trade after slipping 4.09 percent over the past week.
No notable earnings releases expected on Monday.
Notable economic releases on Monday will include US industrial production, British manufacturing production, the eurozone trade balance, and the eurozone's services and manufacturing PMI data.
For a recap of Friday's market action, click here.
Tune into Benzinga’s pre-market info show with Dennis Dick and Joel Elconin here.
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