From The Trading Floor: Equities are trading higher this morning as investors are shaking off the turmoil in Cypress and instead are focusing on better than expected data out of the housing market
New U.S. home construction rose in February to 917,000 homes, up 0.8% from the revised 910,000 pace in January.
Building Permits rose to 946,000, the highest level in almost 5 years, adding to the signs of progress in the housing market that’s helping boost the economy
The FOMC meeting begins today - Most market watchers expect interest rates, forward guidance, and the $85 billion a month pace of asset purchases to stay unchanged
There is a Plan B in Cyprus that will be voted on around noon. Under this plan, there would be no tax on deposits under €20,000, a 6.75 percent tax on deposits between €20,000 - €100,000 and 9.9 percent on deposits above €100,000........not expected to pass
Ahead of the Bell: Dow futures are trading up 24 points and S&P futures are trading up 3 points as concerns eased over the banking debacle in Cyprus. Cyprus's government proposed to spare small savers from a divisive levy on bank deposits in a last-minute attempt to win parliamentary backing for an international bailout and avoid default and a banking collapse. However, it is likely that lawmakers will reject the tax, which would bring the smallest euro zone state even closer to financial destruction and potentially cause turmoil for the rest of the nation. Investors will look ahead to housing data including housing starts and building permits for February. Economists forecast a 915,000 annualized rate in February compared to 890,000 in January, and a total of 925,000 permits in February compared with 904,000 in the prior month.
On the economic calendar today, February housing starts will...
Trading is opened by Flow Traders an ThinkCapital in celebration of their awards granted during the fourth edition of the etfexpress Awards, the Awards for excellence among managers and service providers of exchange-traded funds.
Flow Traders was awarded “Best European ETF Market Maker" and “Best Asia-Pacific ETF Market Maker”. ThinkCapital was named Best Mixed ETF Manager.
The awards, presented in London on February 28th, were based on more than 1000 ETF Express readers' nominations, including investors and other industry professionals who voted for the companies they believed to be "best in class". Bernardus Roelofs, Global Head ETF Sales Trading of Flow Traders sounds the gong at NYSE Euronext Amsterdam.
Stocks ended the day lower as investors digested disappointing housing news. Investors also noted that banks in Cyprus will be closed until March 21 after finance ministers in the euro area reached an agreement on March 16 forcing depositors to share in the cost of the latest bailout. Cypriot lawmakers are scheduled to meet tomorrow to approve a tax to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.6 billion) as part of a bailout aimed at preventing a financial collapse and a possible exit from the euro area.
On the economic front, the Housing Market Index was lower, at 44, and is down for the second month in a row. Home builders are blaming lack of available lots and lack of available credit for the drop.
On Monday, March 18, executives and guests of Rait Financial Trust (NYSE: RAS), will visit the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to commemorate the company's 15th anniversary.
To mark this occasion, Chairman and CEO Scott Schaeffer will ring the NYSE Closing Bell.
About Rait Financial Trust:
RAIT Financial Trust is an internally-managed real estate investment trust that provides debt financing options to owners of commercial real estate and invests directly into commercial real estate properties located throughout the United States. In addition, RAIT is an asset and property manager of real estate-related assets. For more information, please visit www.raitft.com.