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Morning Market Roundup: 'Technical Recession' in EU, FedEx Earnings, McDonald's New Leader

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"...the eurozone has returned back to a technical recession."

Here’s what’s important in the financial world this morning:

FedEx Corporation: The company’s earnings are in and net income for the air delivery and freight services company rose to $521 million ($1.65 per share) vs. $231 million (73 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This is a more than twofold rise from the year-earlier quarter. Revenue rose 9.3 percent to $10.56 billion from the year-earlier quarter. FedEx Corporation beat the mean analyst estimate of $1.36 per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $10.62 billion. Shares are down over 2 percent.

McDonald’s: The fast-food giant announced that CEO Jim Skinner will retire at the end of June; he will also leave the board. He has been with the company for 41 years including seven as CEO. McDonald’s President and COO Don Thompson will be his replacement. Skinner’s departure didn’t really come as a surprise but its earlier than expected by analysts. A reason for his resignation was not given.

Research In Motion (RIM): The creator of the BlackBerry has lost its top position as a smartphone producer in its home country of Canada to Apple Inc., according to Bloomberg. In 2011, the company shipped 2.08 million BlackBerrys vs. Apple’s 2.85 million phones. One analyst believed that the company’s loss of domestic dominance exemplified that the iPhone’s user-friendly features and numerous apps has greater appeal than other factors. With a new CEO at the helm, Thorsten Heins, he has promised to do something “dramatically different” to stop declining sales.

Purchasing Managers' Index Data: March PMI data from China and Europe showed that factory activity contraction has worsened. For China, the HSBC’s flash PMI estimate dropped to 48.1 from February’s 49.7 while Markit’s flash eurozone PMI also fell to 48.7 from the previous month’s 49.3 reading. This number indicated that the eurozone has returned back to a technical recession. The numbers affected trading in EU stocks and U.S. stock futures.

Japan: There’s better news from Japan. Its February trade figures reinforced the government’s recent positive outlook. Japan saw a surplus last month of YEN 32.9 billion ($395 million) as compared to estimates of YEN 120 billion deficit and January’s YEN 1.477 trillion deficit. Exports dropped 2.7 percent on the year from large declines in China and European sales, but rose 11.9 percent to the U.S.

[Editor’s note: the above is from a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]

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