The soap opera in Greece has taken an interesting turn as Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece's credit rating to CCC+ with a negative outlook, citing a serious risk of the beleaguered nation defaulting on its debt obligations. The European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and Greece are very far apart from common ground.
Wednesday, the ECB promised to keep its 1 trillion euro bond-buying program in place. Yields across Europe responded with declines as the stimulus program adds lots of demand to the marketplace, forcing yields lower.
In the U.S., Netflix (NFLX) looks like the big earnings winner, showing healthy subscriber growth in its latest quarter, while SanDisk (SNDK) looks to be the loser with guidance below Wall Street expectation in an already difficult quarter.
Notable earnings today come from UnitedHealth (UNH), BlackRock (BLK), Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C), Sherwin-Williams (SHW), American Express (AXP), Growth Seeker's ServiceNow (NOW) and Schlumberger (SLB).
The economic calendar brings March housing starts at 8:30 a.m. ET, with estimates at 1.04 million; weekly jobless claims are also at 8:30 a.m., with analysts calling for 280,000 new claims. At 10 a.m. we get the Philly Fed business outlook for April, with consensus at 6. Finally, at 10:30 a.m., the EIA's natural-gas storage report will be released.
Three new issues have priced their initial public offerings, all at the top of the range: Etsy (ETSY), Virtu Financial (VIRT) and Party City (PRTY) are expected to debut on U.S. exchanges today.