Every morning the Street of Walls team puts out an update on market levels, today’s top stories, and active M&A deals.

Today’s Top Stories:

  • Merrill Staff “Fuming” over Bonus Numbers: Bonuses will be revealed in January are down almost 40% year over year cites Fox Business’ Gasparino http://bit.ly/vwk5uT
  • Yesterday both the BKX and SPX rose 0.3%: “Equity markets advanced, although off their highs of the day, with jobless claims at three and a half year lows and the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook for December surprised sharply to the upside. Corporate earnings from FDX and the strong demand at the five-year Spanish notes auction also buoyed investor sentiment” (MS)
  • WBMD Ripping on Activist Movement: Sale Speculation Intensifies driving up stock
  • Morgan Stanley Layoffs: Bloomberg just reported that Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is set to cut 1,600 jobs in the first quarter of 2012http://bit.ly/uR1XQH
  • Zynga Prices IPO (ZNGA): Prices IPO at $10 bringing in $1bn
  • Blackberry Continues To Suffer: For RIMM soft demand and BB10 delays imply bleak 1H12: Net US subscriber deactivations led units below plan and a chip switch delayed BB10 to 2H12
  • Wells Buys Boutique IB: announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement for Wells Fargo to acquire EverKey, an investment boutique that offers global equity strategies to institutional clients. EverKey was established in Dec. 2007 by Jeff Everett, formerly president and CIO of Templeton Global Advisors.  The 11-member EverKey team has offices in the Bahamas and New York and manages global equity strategies for institutional clients in Japan and North America.
  • Retail Sales Revised Up: the NRF raised its November-December sales outlook to 3.8% y/y (or $469.1 billion), up from 2.8% y/y (or $465.6 billion)
  • Prisons See Weakness: Bureau of Justice Statistics published its 2010 prison statistics, which showed a decline in prison populations on the state level for the second year in a row (down ~9,228 inmates)
  • Sell-side Pricing GRPN At $25-27: For the most part initiations are shaking out around $25-27.  CS at Neutral, Citi at Neutral, Barclays at Over Weight http://bit.ly/ua1Lf2
  • Banks Continue to see Headwinds: Revenue headwinds are strong going into 2012. Continuance of low rates, slow balance sheet growth, regulatory impact on fees, mortgage put-back costs, capital market pressures all shape up to form a difficult revenue growth environment (UBS)
  • CVS Upside: “We recently worked with our retail team on a survey of corporate benefits managers and calls to industry consultants to better understand if roiling in the PBM could create business oppys for our mid-cap PBMs Catalyst and SCX Health.  In short, our answer is yes – where we believe that Catalyst could see more commercial employer business oppys due to pending mergers and retail conflicts and SCX is getting more looks on the health plan side.  Catalyst could win ~$700mm in net new biz in the 2012 selling season and that SXC could win $300-500mm, excluding lumpy large health plan wins” (Citi)

Economic Calendar:

  • Friday: CPI

M&A Watch:

  • Weekly M&A Trends: M&A volumes declined by 13% to $25.7bn, so far 4Q 2011 M&A volumes are averaging 14% below 3Q 2011 volumeshttp://bit.ly/t5PKot
Disclosure: I do not have a position in any stocks mentioned in this article, do not have a plan to initiate a position within the next 72 hours.
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