Europe was at the forefront on Thursday as the Cyprus resolution reached a critical point. Banks in the troubled country reopened after an almost two-week gap and the euro hovered near a four-month as investors stayed concerned. The FTSE 100 England gained 0.72 percent, while the DAX Germany rose 0.43 percent.
In Asia, Japanese shares fell, trimming the Topix Index’s best quarter since 1988. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 1.3 percent to 12,335.96. The measure rose 6.7 percent this month, the eighth in a row it’s climbed. The Nikkei Stock Average Volatility Index rose 3.3 percent to 26.49. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said he would continue easing until a 2 percent inflation target is reached.
U.S. futures at 8:50 a.m.: DJIA: 0.16%, S&P 500: 0.08%, NASDAQ: 0.25%.
Here are three stories to keep an eye on:
1) Cyprus banks opened for the first time in almost two weeks, with new rules in place. Banks in Cyprus opened at midday local time on Thursday, with Bloomberg reporting lines of about 15 to 20 people waiting to enter branches in the capital. New rules have been imposed to curb access to cash in order to prevent panicked withdrawals, including a 300-euro ($383) daily limit on withdrawals and restrictions on transfers to accounts outside the country. Banks had been closed since March 16, when the European Union presented a proposal to force losses on all depositors in exchange for a 10 billion-euro bailout…
2) Jobless claims rise more than forecast. The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week in the U.S. Claims increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the U.S. Department of Labor said. However, the numbers were in the middle of their range for this year, relieving major worries. The prior week’s claims figure was revised to show 5,000 additional applications. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure, rose 2,250 to 343,000.
3) U.S. economy grew at 0.4 percent in the December-ending quarter. The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Thursday the nation’s economy grew 0.4 percent in the final quarter of 2012. The reading was the third for the fourth quarter of last year and was revised upward from last month’s reading of 0.1 percent growth. The initial report said GDP contracted slightly. Economists expected that GDP would rise 0.5 percent. The economy has now grown for 14 consecutive quarters.