China posted a trade surplus in March but growth in exports and imports was weaker than expected. Exports rose 8.9% from a year earlier to $165.6 billion, while imports jumped 5.3% to $160.3 billion. The growth was below China's double-digit levels in recent years as Chinese demand has slowed because of tighter lending and investment controls.
Alcoa ( AA) Kicks off earnings season Tuesday, and analysts expect the aluminum maker to post a first-quarter loss of 4 cents a share on revenue of $5.77 billion. Alcoa is struggling with lower pricing and the impact of Europe's sovereign debt woes on demand, leading to cutbacks in production.
President Obama is in Florida Tuesday pitching his proposal to boost taxes on millionaires. The Buffett Rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, argues that people making more than $1 million shouldn't pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class Americans. Obama's push for the rule comes ahead of a Senate vote on April 16. Republicans oppose the measure and it's unlikely to pass Congress. The White House on Tuesday released a report that said taxes for America's highest earners have fallen sharply since 1995.
Donald Layton, the former CEO of E*Trade ( ETFC), has emerged as the front-runner for the top job at Freddie Mac, the mortgage-finance giant, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Layton is one of three finalists being considered for the job. He met with Freddie's federal regulator last month, according to the people. The regulator met two weeks ago with Shekar Narasimhan, who runs a housing-finance advisory firm, the Journal said. No final decision or job offer has been made. But "there will be a decision," in the next week, said a person close to the situation, according to the newspaper.
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