On Friday, the US released important market data. The data showed that in January, job openings rose to 7.58 million, which was better than the expected 7.31 million. This data came a few days after the US released jobs numbers that missed the consensus estimate by far. The data showed that in February, the economy added more than 20K jobs, which was lower than the consensus estimate. The increased openings raise an important issue of a mismatch in the job sector, where many jobs don’t have people to take them. Another data that was released was the Michigan consumer sentiment, which rose to 97.8, which was higher than the expected 95.3. Data from Baker Hughes showed that oil rigs declined 833 from the previous week’s 834. The total rig counts declined from 1027 to 1026.
Over the weekend, the chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines announced that the ongoing investigation show that there was a similarity between how the Ethiopian and Lion air planes crashed. The problem is software-related and tends to force the plane’s nose down shortly after take-off. Instead, the nose should face up. Last week, it was revealed that Boeing was aware of the problem before and that it had promised pilots that it will release an update. This update never came. Over the weekend, it was revealed that federal prosecutors had started investing the company in relation with the Lion Air crash. On Monday last week, a few top people were probed and documents asked from them. A federal investigation may lead to major headaches for the company. First, it has suspended the deliveries of the plane. Second, the investigation could lead to huge fines, and third, it could lead to order cancellation. Already, some airlines, such as Kenya Airways have announced that they could cancel the order and move to Airbus.
Another major news came from Europe, where Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank announced that they had initiated formal merger talks. For many years, there has been speculation that the two big German banks could combine. The previous talks failed to materialize. The current talks come at a time when Deutsche, the biggest German bank has been struggling. These struggles can be traced to the 2008/9 crisis, when the bank refused to accept government funding. This was opposite of what the American banks did. The bank has also faced many challenges such as falling revenues and large fines. The merger of the two banks has been supported by the German government and a number of large institutional holders. The German government wants to create a large bank that will become a national champion, which is likely provide funding to the country’s manufacturing sector.
In France, Emmanuel Macron was not at ease. This is after another week of protests and violence as the opposition to his presidency continued. These protests have been happening for 18 straight weeks. As a result, the president was forced to cut short his short skiing holiday. As a result, more than 240 people were arrested. The premier came to power with the goal of reforming the country and the EU but his actions have often been criticized.