Tuesday Morning Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories Moving Markets

The markets were mixed in Asia overnight. The Hang Seng closed off 0.07 percent while Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.39 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 increased 1.11 percent, continuing a winning streak that began on January 11. The yen weakened slightly and was trading at 90.47 to the dollar on Tuesday morning.

The markets were mixed in Europe at mid-day. The STOXX 50 was off 0.28 percent, followed by Germany’s DAX, which was off 0.26 percent. London’s FTSE 100 was fighting to remain positive at 0.08 percent growth.

U.S. futures at 8:05 a.m.: DJIA: -0.17%, S&P 500: -0.29%, NASDAQ: -0.25%.

Here are three stories to keep an eye on:us-treasury-bonds

1) The Federal Reserve’s latest bond-buying program will cost $1.14 trillion, according to the median estimate of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. With the Fed’s target rate of 6.8 U-3 unemployment unlikely to be a reality until 2014, economists expect that the Federal Open Market Committee will conclude its two-day meeting tomorrow with no specific proposals to end the $85 billion per-month asset purchase program.

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Non-farm payroll numbers will be released on Friday, but expectations are for about 155,000 jobs to be created for the month. This is in line with the average growth rate over the past two years and not enough to move the unemployment benchmark down from its current level of 7.8 percent. The Fed’s easy-money policy has had only dubious success in helping move the unemployment rate down, which has drawn a lot of criticism from observers.

earnings2) Immigration reform could be a critical component of long-term economic growth, argue some economists. While there’s little agreement on the specific changes that need to be made in order to fix the system, more and more data suggest that some of the country’s economic maladies can be eased with competent policy overhaul.

For example, better policy could help maintain a healthy culture of innovation in the U.S., where up to 40 percent of scientists are immigrants. Studies have shown that immigrants are twice as likely to start a business. Also an economic boon, a streamlined system would remove millions, if not billions, of costly oversight and enforcement of the current system.

3) Comparable store sales grew 2.0 percent year over year, according to the ICSC-Goldman Store Sales report. This is off a full point from the roughly 3.0 percent growth trend. Week-over-week sales were off 1.0 percent.

The weekly ICSC-Goldman Store Sales report covers the general merchandise portion of retail sales, or about 10 percent of total retail sales. In total, retail sales account for between 60 and 70 percent of total economic activity. Weekly Redbook chain store sales figures are due out later in the morning.

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