SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Shares were higher in Europe and most of Asia today as investors awaited the release later in the day of U.S. employment data. Futures point to an upbeat Wall Street opening. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose to just under $49.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and fell against the euro.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A forecast for a robust February employment report may also be the harbinger of higher interest rates. The data firm FactSet predicts the Labor Department report today will show a job gain of 186,000 and a decline of one-tenth of a percentage point in unemployment to 4.7 percent. If so, it suggests the Federal Reserve will almost surely feel confident enough to resume raising interest rates when it meets next week. Also, the Treasury Department will release the federal budget for February.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Southeast Asian economies and the European Union agreed today to work toward resuming stalled free trade agreement talks and counter a trend toward protectionism. In a joint statement, economic ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the global economic outlook has improved.
BEIJING (AP) — China's central bank governor says the country's economy and currency are stable but that Beijing needs to get cracking on bringing down soaring corporate debt. The comments at a news conference held during China's national legislature follows warnings that a rapid rise in debt could lead to financial trouble. The official gives no indication he foresees a financial crisis. But private analysts say China's debt burden could drag on growth.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Tech experts who think they've got everything it takes except the right job could be in line for a free trip to New Zealand to interview for a position. Local authorities and businesses in the capital, Wellington, are offering the trip to 100 talented workers from around the globe as they seek to boost the city's growing tech hub. Some 12,000 people have applied so far.