Here's our summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including better than expected U.S. retail sales data; a pick up for the Dow Jones Industrial average and S&P 500; rising 10-year Spanish bond yields; and a new president for the World Bank.
Better than expected retail sales data out of the U.S. spurred a rise in stock markets overnight. With the exception of the Nasdaq, major U.S. indices all rebounded from their week-end slump.
The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 123.14 points to close at 12,972.73 while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 4.33 points to 1,374.50. The Nasdaq Composite fell 14.40 to 2,996.93 mainly on the back of Apple shares which dropped 3.3% from a record high of US$644 last week to US$585.20.
U.S. retail sales increased 0.8% after rising 1% in February. (See Reuters story here for more).
Some economists were predicting only a 0.3% gain in retail sales.
Meanwhile, concerns remain about Spanish debt levels which are causing EU companies to repatriate funds in large amounts. It's proven a drag on the U.S. dollar which fell last night against the euro. Oil prices were also down.
Spain's admission that it has most likely slid into another recession, its second since 2009, is also weighing on investors mind.
Yields on Spanish 10-year government bond yields broke the 6% mark. It is believed the yields could continue rising to 7%, a red flag for Spain's ability to service its debt costs.
There are reports suggesting financial intervention to help Spain as early as next month.
Meanwhile, German and U.S. 10-year government bond yields both fell by a couple of basis points
The World Bank has named Korean-born American health expert Jim Yong Kim as its new president. Kim, 52, was chosen ahead of Nigeria's finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Unlike other elections, the election result was not unanimous. According to a report filed by Reuters, Kim was swept into the position on the support of Washington's allies in Western Europe, Japan and Canada.
Kim, nominated as a candidate for the job by U.S. president Barack Obama in March, said in a statement that he would seek a "new alignment of the World Bank Group with a rapidly changing world." (See Reuters story here for details).
"Together, with partners old and new, we will foster an institution that responds effectively to the needs of its diverse clients and donors; delivers more powerful results to support sustained growth; prioritises evidence-based solutions over ideology; amplifies the voices of developing countries; and draws on the expertise and experience of the people we serve," Kim added.