What’s the Story?

Quiet markets overnight with the U.S. outperformance theme continuing, as Asia markets were flat to down and Europe struggling to hold on to gains despite the fact that e-minis are trading 8 handles higher from the European close yesterday.  Banks and autos the leading sectors in Europe this morning, but light volumes globally with little news.  Eyes might start shifting towards the next earnings season after ORCL’s report last night, with AA reporting on Apr 10th.

Reuters

The British economy looks set to avoid a renewed recession and the recovery will pick up speed next year, finance minister George Osborne said in his budget statement on Wednesday.

The government’s forecast body OBR expected the economy “to avoid a technical recession with positive growth in the first quarter of this year, Osborne said.

“They say that British economy had ‘carried a little more momentum into the new year than previously anticipated’,” he added.

The economy was set to grow by 0.8 percent this year and growth should accelerate to 2.0 percent next year, to 2.7 percent in 2014 and 3.0 percent in the following two years.

In November, the government’s independent forecasting body, the Office for Budget Responsibility, had forecast growth of 0.7 percent for this year, 2.1 percent for next, picking up to 3.0 percent in 2015 and 2016.

Calculated Risk

LPS reported the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure) declined to 7.57% from 7.97% in January. This is the lowest delinquency rate since 2008; however the percent of delinquent loans is still way above the normal rate of around 4.5% to 5%. The percent of delinquent loans peaked at 10.97%, so delinquencies have fallen a little more than halfway back to normal.

WSJ

Stocks to Watch

Among the stocks that could see active trade in Wednesday’s session are General Mills Inc., Actuant Corp. and Fred’s Inc.

General Mills is slated to report its fiscal third-quarter earnings before the start of trading. It is expected to earn 56 cents a share on revenue of $4.09 billion, according to the average estimate of analysts polled by FactSet Research.

Also up in the morning, Actuant should post earnings of $36 cents a share on revenue of $368.4 million.

And Fred’s, posting its fiscal fourth-quarter numbers, will record a profit of 24 cents a share with revenue of $497.7 million if Wall Street’s best guess is on the mark. Same-store sales are expected to be down 0.8%.

Overnight Headlines (Links)

 

Hartford to Exit Annuity Business

Romney Rolls to Illinois Win

French Shooting Suspect Says He’ll Surrender

Insider-Trading Curbs on Congress Advancing

Top Court’s Patent Rejection Alarms the Biotech Industry

Morocco’s Aviation Industry Takes Off

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