Markets edged higher in Europe this morning as investors were reassured by the news that banks in Cyprus have reopened this morning without problems after being closed for 12 days. Concerns remain over the potential for a bank run in the small Mediterranean country, but early signs suggest that most savers intend to leave their savings in place. Strict capital controls have been approved to reduce the risk of a bank run, limiting cash withdrawals to 300 euros ($380) per day and heavily restricting money transfers abroad, including to other EU countries. Elsewhere in Europe, German retail sales rose by 0.4% in February, beating analysts' expectations of a 0.6% drop.
Investors in the U.S. may be more focused on domestic news, with a batch of economic reports due this morning before the holiday weekend. At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the latest weekly jobless-claim figures are expected to show that jobless claims edged higher to 339,000 last week from 336,000 the previous week. Also at 8:30 a.m. EDT, revised Q4 GDP figures are expected to show that GDP rose by 0.6% in the final quarter of 2012, ahead of the initial reading of 0.1%. Yesterday's comments from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans may provide some support: He said the Fed should allow time to "let our policies work" before considering any reduction in the current monetary-easing program.
Companies due to report earnings before markets open this morning include BlackBerry, which is expected to report a fourth-quarter loss of $0.31 per share. Investors will be watching carefully to see if the company releases any data relating to the launch of its Z10 smartphone and BlackBerry 10 operating system. BlackBerry's share price has fallen by 9% over the last five days after markets reacted poorly to the U.S. launch of the Z10. Other companies due to report before the bell this morning include Accenture, Commercial Metals Company, GameStop, The Mosaic Company, and Finish Line.
PVH may be actively traded when markets open this morning after the clothing company beat expectations last night with fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.60 per share, ahead of analysts' forecasts of $1.50 per share. However, PVH said earnings for the 2013 fiscal year may fall below expectations, causing the company's shares to drop 4.5% in premarket trading this morning.
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