Adidas on the run; China’s trade deficit; U.S. jobs preview

1. Market movers — Adidas, H&R Block: Shares in Adidas (ADDYY) surged in Europe after it reported well-received full-year earnings on Wednesday.

Shares in H&R Block (HRB) were higher in extended trading after the company reported results that beat Wall Street expectations.

Investors will be keeping an eye on Disney (DIS) as the company hosts its annual shareholder meeting in Denver, Colorado. Shares in the firm have jumped by 6.4% since the start of the year, despite worries over the future of crown jewel sports channel ESPN.

2. Stock market overview: Global stock markets were relatively calm on Wednesday.

Most European markets were steady in early trading. Asian markets closed the day with mixed results.

U.S. stock futures look a bit soft.

The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 andNasdaq have now slipped in two consecutive trading sessions. U.S. stocks had been on a massive winning streak before they lost momentum at the end of last week.

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3. Chinese trade: China reported a rare trade deficit in February equal to about $9 billion. However, the country’s trade data are frequently distorted this time of year.

“These figures need to be taken with a large pinch of salt as annual shifts in the timing of Chinese New Year, which disrupts activity at factories and ports, make year-on-year trade growth highly volatile at the start of each year,” said economists at Capital Economics.

Still, it’s the first monthly trade deficit China has reported in three years.

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4. U.S. jobs report preview: Anticipation is building on Wall Street ahead of Friday’s monthly jobs report. Continued payroll growth could give the U.S. Federal Reserve confidence to raise interest rates later this month.

But before the main event, investors will get a preview of the labor market conditions from ADP.

ADP will release numbers on private-sector job creation for February at 8:15 a.m. ET. Economists expect the report to show 180,000 new jobs.

5. Watching the pound: The U.K. currency fell to just below $1.22 on Wednesday, its lowest level since January.

The country’s top finance official — Philip Hammond — will present the government’s budget plans for the coming year later on Wednesday.

6. Coming this week:

Wednesday – “A Day Without a Woman” general strike
Thursday – Geneva International Motor Showofficially begins
Friday – Monthly U.S. jobs report released

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