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    Wal-Mart earnings weigh on US markets

    US stocks were declining on Thursday with S&P 500 index 0.45% down dragged lower by downbeat Wal-Mart earnings data. 8 out of 10 index sectors closed in the red led by the energy sector (-1.14%). Wal-Mart shares tumbled 4.4% on the news the retailer’s quarterly profit fell short of expectations and the gloomy sales outlook. The news weighed on the Dow index and consumer stocks. Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.22% while Nasdaq 100 composite index closed 0.73% lower. Apple stocks fell 1% to $97.10. On the other hand, IBM stocks soared 5.7% after Morgan Stanley raised their estimate to "overweight". Today at 14:30 CET the January Consumer price index year-on-year will be released in the US, the tentative outlook is positive. The same indicator ex. food and energy is expected to remain unchanged at 2.1%. At 19:00 CET the Baker Hughes oil rig count will come out.

    European stocks are sliding down on Friday after a strong week with rebounded banking sector and positive earnings data. FTSEurofirst 300 is rising today already being 5% this week. UK’s FTSE 100 fell almost 0.3% and Germany’s DAX 30 slid down 0.67%. The France’s CAC 40 lost 0.43%. Allianz shares lost 3.5% on weak earnings data that fell short of the markets’ expectations. The carmakers are the bottom performers today losing 1.5%. On Thursday the minutes of the ECB January meeting came out showing the further monetary easing is likely in March given the weakness of the economy. As a result, the euro slid down to a two-week low of $1.1071 overnight. Today in the morning in Germany the producer price index year-on-year change came out for January being lower than anticipated. No other significant data is expected today in EU except for the European Council meeting.

    Asian stocks retreated from the 3-week high being hit by the fall in oil prices on Friday with MSCI index outside Japan 0.8% down. The Japan’s Nikkei index closed 1.4% lower at 15,967.17 but still ended the week 6.8% higher. The yen edged up with USD JPY rate closing 0.3% lower at 112.91. The People’s Bank of China allocated $25bn to 20 financial institutions on Friday having lowered its medium-term lending facility (MLF) rates to 2.85% for six-month loans and 3% for 1-year loans. Next week the core consumer price index (CPI), including energy and excluding food products, is expected in Japan and analysts believe it will remain unchanged for January. Weak consumer demand and low oil prices make inflation abate. The data is to be released at 0:30 CET on February 26. Now the analysts expect the 2% target inflation to be hit in 2017.

    Oil futures prices edged lower in Asian trade on Friday after the US oil stockpiles came out highly above the expected level raising concerns about the oversupply. This news offset the positive effect of the agreement to freeze oil output signed by Saudi Arabia and Russia earlier this week which pushed oil prices 14% higher. Last week the US crude stockpiles increased by 2.1mln to 504.1mln barrels, according to EIA data on Thursday. Now the oil prices mainly depend on Iran’s comments and moves as the country still intends to regain its lost market share. Brent crude futures fell to $34.01 a barrel while WTI futures fell to $30.45 a barrel.

    Gold soared 1.8% on Thursday to $1,230.90 and closed at $1,226.56.

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