NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Greece and China...China and Greece. Once again, investors are focused on the overseas action.
China's economic slowdown is of great concern, but more important is the expected Chinese response to continue and even accelerate its accommodative economic policies.
In Europe, the difficult negotiations in Greece continue to make investors uneasy as the International Monetary Fund and the country's negotiators continue to not be aligned on key pension and labor reforms.
It is notable though that European markets were trading higher this morning, perhaps out of fatigue with the ever-present aforementioned concerns, or driven higher by a positive economic forecast as the European commission bumped its forecast for the eurozone to 1.5% GDP growth in 2015, up from its previous call in February for 1.3% growth.
The dollar continued to strengthen against the euro this morning as the uncertainty continues to weigh on the single European currency.
In other overseas action, Australia's central bank cut its interest rates to 2% from 2.25% joining the parade of central banks continuing to take action to prop up their economies.
Some notable earnings reports expected today include: Office Depot (ODP), Emerson Electric (EMR), Growth Seeker's TRW Automotive (TRW) and Allot Communications (ALLT), Noble Energy (NBL), DirecTV (DTV), Estee Lauder (EL), Sprint (S), Walt Disney (DIS), Energizer (ENR), Kellogg (K), Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS), Electronic Arts (EA), Groupon (GRPN), SolarCity (SCTY), Allstate (ALL), Herbalife (HLF) and Devon Energy (DVN).
Today's economic calendar includes the March Trade Balance at 8:30 a.m. with estimates calling for -$41.7 billion, the Markit U.S. Composite final April PMI at 9:45, the April ISM Non-Manufacturing Composite at 10 a.m. with consensus at 56.2, and API weekly oil inventories at 4:30 p.m.
- Eurozone creditors may have to write off some of Greece's debt in order to save it, experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned, according to the FT. Sources quoted by the paper say that Athens is on course to run a primary budget deficit of as much as 1.5% of gross domestic product this year, vs. the primary budget surplus of 3% of GDP it had agreed with its lenders in exchange for bailout money. Because of this, Greece's debt levels will shoot up again, which means the creditors will have to forgive some of the debt if they want to keep the country in the eurozone, the report said.
- The Italian parliament approved reforms in the country's electoral law that will make its politics more stable by making it easier to produce a clear winner and parliamentary majority after elections. The new system will automatically assign 340 of the 630 seats in the lower house to the party that wins at least 40% of the vote in general elections.
- Profit nearly doubled at Swiss bank UBS (UBS) to around $2.14 billion in the first quarter from the same period of last year, boosted by its wealth management and investment banking units. The bank also said it was nearing the settlement of a U.S. Justice Department probe into its foreign exchange business.
- China opened up more of its economy to private investors, as it announced new rules to make it easier for private investors to expand into infrastructure. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has opened up a number of major infrastructure projects that had previously been off-limits, officials told a news conference.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its interest rate to a record low of 2%, the second cut this year after a 25 basis points one in February. The rising Australian dollar was a cause of concern for the central bank, as worries about a slowdown in the economy mount.