- US: Dow Futures: 12951.00 (0.38%), S&P 500 Futures: 1379.30 (0.50%), NASDAQ Futures: 2696.00 (0.47%)
- Europe: CAC: 3190.95 (0.53%), DAX: 6735.76 (0.96%), FTSE: 5766.56 (0.38%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4366.50 (0.09%), China: 2406.86 (1.17%), Hong Kong: 21010.64 (0.07%), India: 5290.85 (-0.78%), Japan: 9561.36 (-0.28%).
- Metals: Gold: 1645.60 (0.26%), Silver: 31.78 (0.02%), Copper: 3.68 (1.36%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 103.35 (1.06%), Natural Gas: 1.92 (0.52%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.16 (0.69%), Soya Bean: 13.49 (0.48%), Wheat: 6.29 (-0.12%)
- Currency: Euro (€) / US Dollar ($) (EURUSD): 1.3193 (0.42%), British Pound Sterling (UK£) / US Dollar ($) (GBPUSD): 1.6108 (0.34%), US Dollar ($) / Japanese Yen (¥) (USDJPY): 81.5800 (-0.02%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.986% (0.019)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures trading higher: U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a higher open on Friday as General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) reported earnings that beat estimates. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and NASDAQ futures were all trading close to half a percent higher.
European markets edge higher: European markets edged higher on Friday, led by eurozone banking stocks, as German business confidence unexpectedly rose in April. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) gained 0.96 percent to 6735.76, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) was 0.38 percent higher at 5766.56, and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) was up 0.53 percent at 3190.95. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) rose 0.91 percent.
German business confidence rises in April: German business sentiment rose for the sixth consecutive month, in a sign that German business had shrugged off worries emanating from the euro zone debt crisis. The Munich-based Ifo economic institute’s closely watched business climate index inched up to 109.9 in April, the highest level since July 2011, from 109.8 in March.
U.K. retail sales increase in March: U.K. retail sales jumped 1.8 percent in March, the highest jump since January last year, as warm weather boosted purchases of clothing and gardening equipment. Economists’ were expecting a rise of 0.5 percent. The Office for National Statistics said today in London, clothing sales jumped 2.3 percent in March, while fuel sales rose 4.9 percent from February.
Asian markets end mixed: Asian markets were mixed on Friday after disappointing U.S. economic data made investors apprehensive about the strength of recovery in the world’s largest economy. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) closed 0.3 percent lower, post its third straight weekly loss. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) was the stand-out performer in the region, ending 1.2 percent higher, while the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) closed marginally in the green. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index finished flat after spending most of the session in a tight range.
Company News Update
- General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) reported first-quarter net income of $3.03 billion, or 29 cents per share, compared with $3.43 billion, or 31 cents per share, from the year-ago quarter, topping analysts’ estimates.
- McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) said first quarter net income rose 7 percent to $1.27 billion, or $1.23 per share, compared with a profit of $1.21 billion, or $1.15 per share, in the year-ago period. The results were in line with analysts expectations.
- Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) said net income rose 17 percent to $823 million, or $1.04 a share, that beat the 99 cents a share that analysts’ were expecting. The industrial conglomerate also raised its full-year outlook.
- Kimberly Clark Corp (NYSE:KMB), the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, posted first quarter profit of $468 million, or $1.18 a share, up from $350 million, or 86 cents, a year earlier.
- Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) swung to a first-quarter loss but provided better-than-expected revenue guidance for the second quarter.
- SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK), the biggest maker of flash-memory cards, reported first-quarter earnings of 63 cents a share, which was below the average analyst estimate of 67 cents.
- Burrito seller Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG), said first-quarter profit rose 35 percent, due to better than expected sales at established restaurants.
- Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food maker, reported first-quarter sales of 21.39 billion Swiss francs ($23.3 billion), up 5.6 percent from a year earlier, led by strong growth in emerging markets.
- French electrical engineering and power-management company, Schneider Electric SA (EPA:SU), said its total revenue rose 9.4 percent from a year earlier to 5.41 billion euros ($7.11 billion), in line with estimates, and forecast a flat to slightly higher organic revenue growth in 2012.
- Paris-based Suez Environnement Company SA (EPA:SEV), Europe’s second-biggest water company, said first-quarter earnings fell 4.5 percent to 566 million euros ($744 million), from 592 million euros a year earlier, as a slowdown in economic growth in Europe hurt its waste treatment business.
- Bain Capital LLC, CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and French telecom billionaire Xavier Niel are in the race to acquire Netherlands’ largest phone company, Koninklijke KPN NV (AMS:KPN)’s Belgian mobile phone unit, according to a Bloomberg report.
- SS and C Technologies Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:SSNC) is all set to buy the London-listed hedge-fund administrator, GlobeOp Financial Services (LON:GO), after private- equity firm, TPG Capital, said it won’t improve its 508 million-pound ($816 million) bid for GlobeOp. The Windsor, Connecticut-based SS&C offered 485 pence a share in cash for GlobeOp, trumping TPG’s 435-pence-a-share bid.
· Shareholders of Olympus Corporation (TYO:7733) have approved a new board on Friday which will be headed by former banker Yasuyuki Kimoto, as the camera and medical equipment manufacturer looks to move on from an accounting fraud that wiped $4.2 billion off its market value.
· JFE Holdings, Inc. (TYO:5411), Japan’s second-largest steel maker by output, reported a 68 percent drop in full-year profit, as a stronger yen eroded export margins.
· South Korean steelmaker, Posco (ADR) (NYSE:PKX), said first-quarter profit fell 42 percent because of higher raw-material costs and waning demand.
· LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s biggest chemicals maker, posted a 42 percent decline in first-quarter net profit due to slowing demand in China for materials used to make plastic and synthetic rubber.
· China Mobile Ltd. (HKG:0941) (NYSE:CHL), the world’s biggest carrier by subscribers, said first-quarter net profit rose 3.5 percent, missing analyst estimates, as the state-owned enterprise increased spending to attract users.
· Haitong Securities Company Limited (SHA:600837), China’s second-biggest brokerage by assets, raised HK$13 billion ($1.7 billion) in an initial public offering in Hong Kong, after pricing its shares near the bottom of the marketing range.
· Indian energy conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (NSE:RELIANCE) said net profit for March 2012 quarter fell 21 per cent to 42.36 billion rupees, from 53.76 billion rupees a year earlier.
· Australia’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW), said total group sales rose 3.8 percent in the third quarter to 14.07 billion Australian dollars ($14.5 billion).