Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:
Jobless Claims: Via Zero Hedge:
A rather uneventful initial claims report which came in line with the election year expectations, beating consensus of +355K modestly, at 351K, which is where it was last week, except for the traditional 100% of the time, upward revision to last week's data, which was pushed higher from 351K to 353K, and in turn which will force algos to read the news as a decline in claims.
Today's number gets some additional scrutiny as it comes in the NFP survey week. Continuing claims same deal: the number came a little better than expectations of 3418K at 3402K, was a deterioration compared to the unrevised last week number of 3392K but an improvement to the revised # which was 3404K.
On the other hand, people at the trailing end of the cliff declined, as those on EUCs and Extended benefits dropped by 16K in the week ended February 11. As a result, people collecting extended benefits are now 1.13 million less than a year ago, and no longer collect direct BLS benefits. As for disability that's a different matter. Finally, none of this impacts America's young workers, who as noted yesterday, have an employment rate of 54%.
EU: Greece is getting closer to receiving its second bailout package as European leaders and finance ministers will meet over the next two days to finalize details. The group, gathering in Brussels, will also talk about proposals for long-term growth but a decision on whether or not to increase the euro-zone rescue fund will not be part of the conversation.
(Related: Fannie Mae Wants Another Bailout. )
Bank of America: BofA is again planning to raise fees on customers with checking accounts. Unless they begin banking online, they will either be hit with a monthly fee, asked to purchase additional products or keep certain balances, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The proposal by the bank comes as the banking industry faces a number of challenges. Competitors, such as J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are also rolling out new plans to increase fee revenue or nudge customers to transact additional business with them.
Two Chinese manufacturing surveys showed slight improvements in February but data showed increasing input prices and declining new orders–a warning of additional economic weakening. The February Purchasing Managers’ Index increased to 51.0 on a 100-point scale, from January’s 50.5 number, as reported the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing. The rival PMI reading by HSBC came in at 49.6, a rise from January’s 48.8. A reading higher than 50 divides an expansion from a contraction.
CVR Energy: The company recommended its shareholders say no to Carl Icahn’s $30 per share tender offer from his hostile bid because it undervalues the company and appears “opportunistic.”
According to Reuters, the company said in a statement that the offer is “inadequate” and doesn’t consider the best interests of either CVR or it shareholders. In February, billionaire Ichan, CVR’s largest shareholder with his 14.54 percent position, said the company needed to be sold as its stock price did not adequately reflect its high profit margins.
[Editor’s note: portions of the above originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]