The Italian Job: Arruzi Election Could Scuttle Euro… (Reuters)
Italian polling stations close at 3:00 p.m. their time today to end voting in the country’s wide-open, two-day general election. The results will go a long way in deciding European market performance for the year, as well as the long-term life of the euro itself. Analysts expect Pierluigi Bersani to emerge victorious over comedian Beppe Grillo and center-right candidate Silvio Berlusconi for the presidency. However, if Bersani’s party doesn’t secure a majority in the country’s government, it could spell disaster for upcoming Italian bond sales and the country’s economy — as foreign investors take a pass on the third- largest economy in Europe. As of right now, the election’s too close to call.
America Rebuilding? Lowe’s Exceeds Expectations (YahooFinance)
Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW) beat analyst expectations for Q4 2012, directly benefiting from the post-Superstorm Sandy rebuild and a focus on reducing costs. Despite the relative good news for the quarter, LOW’s $288 million in net income was still a far cry from 2011’s $322 million, although earnings reached 26 cents per share in both years. Analysts had expected earnings of 23 cents per share — based on expected sales of $10.8 billion. Actual sales came in at $11.05 billion. With no Superstorm on the radar for Q1 2013, LOW will have to build its own momentum this year.
Yen Approaches Three-Year Low on Central Bank Rumor (Bloomberg)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to select Haruhiko Kuroda as the country’s next central bank governor. With Kuroda known to be an aggressive supporter of monetary easing, the yen fell against the euro in today’s trading. With the yen already down 6.9 percent on the year (the largest decline among the 10 currencies tracked by Bloomberg’s Correlation-Weighted Indexes), it is expected to continue its downward descent, at least until March 19. That’s when Kuroda — recognized as the most “yen-negative” of the governor candidates — takes office. It’s anybody’s guess where the yen will stand, or lie, after that.