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Global markets mostly lower ... Airplane maker ATR signs $536M deal with Iran ... China's export growth accelerates in March

Posted April 13

— Global stock markets are mostly lower today after President Donald Trump withdrew a threat to declare China a currency manipulator and said the dollar was "getting too strong." In early trading, London's FTSE-100 lost 0.5 percent, France's CAC-40 shed 0.5 percent and Germany's DAX slid 0.2 percent. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent, Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.1 percent and Seoul's Kospi added 0.9 percent. On Wall Street, Dow and S&P futures signal a lower opening.

Investors will be paying close attention to the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report today. They'll also be focusing on quarterly earnings reports from financial giants JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. All three reports will be released before the market opens. Also today, the Labor Department will release its report on U.S. producer price inflation in March and Freddie Mac will report the weekly mortgage rates.

European airplane manufacturer ATR has signed a $536-million deal with Iran Air for at least 20 aircraft. ATR is the latest aviation firm to strike a deal following Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. And ATR spokesman David Vargas says Iran Air has an option to purchase another 20 aircraft. Boeing already has made a $16.6 billion sale already to Iran Air, while its European rival Airbus signed one estimated to be worth some 22.8 billion euros ($25 billion).

China's export growth accelerated in March while import growth moderated to still-robust double-digit levels in possible positive signs for Chinese economic growth and global demand. Customs data shows exports rose 16.4 percent from a year earlier to $180.6 billion, up from 4 percent growth in the first two months of the year. Imports rose 20.3 percent to $156.6 billion, down from the January-February rate of 26.4 percent.

A foundation run by the youngest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett will announce today a $90 million commitment to help improve the lives of young woman and girls of color in the United States. The New York City-based NoVo Foundation was created in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, the youngest son of Warren Buffett. The foundation says it will let the girls and their advocates on the local level determine what their needs are, rather than be told what the money has to be used for.

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