10 things you need to know today

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oil strike

REUTERS/Richard Carson Workers from the United Steelworkers (USW) union outside the Shell Oil Deer Park Refinery in Deer Park, Texas, on Sunday.

Here’s what you need to know in markets for Monday.

Oil workers strike across the US. “Union workers were on strike for a second day on Monday at nine US refineries and chemical plants in an attempt to force oil companies to sign a new national contract covering laborers at 63 plants,” Reuters’ Erwin Seba reported. “The walkouts were the first held in support of a nationwide pact since 1980 and target plants with a combined 10 percent of US refining capacity.” Carl Larry, Houston-based director of oil and gas at Frost & Sullivan, told Bloomberg, “There will be a knee-jerk reaction in gasoline and diesel prices because we don’t know how long this is going to be or how extended it might be. It’ll be bearish for crude, but we’ve already accounted for a lot of the fact that refineries are maintenance.”

China’s manufacturing activity contracted. The country’s factory sector unexpectedly shrank in January for the first time in more than two years as official statistics showed the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.8. “China still needs decent growth to add 100 million new jobs this year, plus China is entering a rapid disinflation process,” ANZ economists said in a note, according to Reuters. 

Eurozone manufacturing picked up a bit. The Eurozone’s January manufacturing PMI came in at 51, up from 50.6 in December and in line with an earlier flash estimate. “Improvements in business conditions were seen in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland during January, with solid growth again signaled for the latter three. Moreover, growth strengthened in Spain and the Netherlands,” Markit Economics said in a statement.

UK manufacturing is growing at a healthy clip. The UK’s manufacturing PMI climbed to 53.0 in January from 52.7 in December. “The domestic market remains the main growth driver, as the UK economic recovery provides a steady stream of new business,” Markit’s Rob Dobson said. “There were also signs of improvement in overseas markets, with new export orders posting the first meaningful gain for five months, but it still looks as if lackluster demand from the eurozone in particular remained a headwind for British manufacturers.”

Markets aren’t doing much. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 is up 0.2%, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.1%, and Germany’s DAX is up 0.4%. Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.66%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 0.1%. Dow Futures are up modestly, with Dow futures up 61 points and S&P futures up 6.9 points.

US manufacturing data is coming. At 9:45 a.m. ET we’ll get the Markit US manufacturing PMI report, and at 10 a.m. ET we’ll get the ISM manufacturing report. Economists expect both reports to reveal growth, but decelerating growth.

Obama wants a tax on foreign corporate earnings. “President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget would impose a one-time 14% tax on some $ 2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings accumulated by US companies abroad and use that to fund infrastructure projects,” Reuters’ Jeff Mason reported. “In the future, the budget proposes that US companies pay a 19 percent tax on all of their foreign earnings as they are earned, while a tax credit would be issued for foreign taxes paid.”

Greece will reject more loans. Greece’s newly appointed finance minister Yanis Varoufakis on Sunday said the country would not ask for any more loans under its existing €240 billion  ($ 270 billion) bailout agreement and that he wanted to reach a new deal with international creditors by the end of May.

Recalled cars get recalled again. “US transport authorities have recalled more than two million Toyota, Chrysler and Honda vehicles for a second time over faulty airbags that may inadvertently inflate while the car is running,” AFP reported. “The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Saturday the recall was issued following the unexpected deployment of airbags in about 40 cars that had already been fixed under a previous recall.”

The US is investigating Moody’s. The US Justice Department is investigating Moody’s Investor Service for issuing favoring ratings to mortgage deals ahead of the 2008 financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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