Morning Money Memo…
Are financial markets freaking-out over the crisis in Ukraine? Not exactly.
Clearly there’s concern over what Russia will do next after its aggressive push into Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula. U.S. markets futures dropped more than 1 percent this morning after the weekend crisis erupted. But the S&P 500 and other stock averages enjoyed a strong February with gains for the month of more than 4 percent, and are still close to record highs.
Europe and Asia were down this morning, but so far investors aren’t exactly quaking in their boots.
U.S. trade with Russia is relatively small. Oil prices moved up more than a dollar a barrel as concerns grow about sanctions against Russia – one of the world’s leading energy producers. Light sweet crude now nearly $104 a barrel
Russian President Vladimir Putin is paying an economic price for his aggressive moves. The Russian central bank hiked rates by 1.5 percent as the ruble hit a record low against the U.S. dollar. Moscow’s Micex stock Index dropped 12 percent. Ukraine is also facing a financial crisis with the yield on its 10-year bond soaring to more than 10 percent.
Chat with Siri while you drive. Apple is introducing CarPlay, a hands-free integrated hands-free software system that will run through the driver’s iPhone. It will be plugged into a car through a lightning cable connection and made available first in vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Jaguar and Hyundai.
Drivers will access contacts stored in their iPhones and have features like Apple Maps, Siri, Voice-to-text, music and more. The new system is being announced at this week’s Geneva Motor Show.
A survey shows Chinese manufacturing weakened in February and employers cut staff at their fastest rate in nearly five years. HSBC says its monthly purchasing managers index dropped to 48.5 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting.
The data add to signs China’s economy might be weakening as government leaders try to reduce reliance on trade and investment and encourage self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption.
Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie at the Oscars was a good news/ bad news story for Twitter.
During a comic bit, the Oscars host got actor Bradley Cooper to take a picture with her and several other stars crowding around, including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Twitter confirmed that it had been retweeted more than one million times, breaking a record set by President Obama with the picture of him hugging Michelle after his re-election in 2012.
Twitter also sent out an apology because all the retweeting disrupted service for more than 20 minutes after 10 p.m. ET last night.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow