Morning Market Update
* US: Dow Futures: 13152.00 (-0.09%), S&P 500 Futures: 1396.00 (-0.18%), NASDAQ Futures: 2728.25 (-0.31%)
* Europe: CAC: 3227.38 (-1.21%), DAX: 6777.89 (-0.35%), FTSE: 5744.28 (-0.57%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4396.60 (0.79%), China: 2396.32 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 21094.21 (1.67%), India: 5248.15 (0.75%), Japan: 9520.89 (0.00%).
* Metals: Gold: 1650.20 (-0.88%), Silver: 30.75 (-1.90%), Copper: 3.80 (-0.39%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 104.18 (-0.71%), Natural Gas: 2.17 (0.55%)
* Commodities: Corn: 6.27 (2.67%), Soya Bean: 13.57 (0.15%), Wheat: 6.42 (1.97%)
* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3223 (-0.23%), GBP/USD: 1.6243 (-0.14%), USD/JPY: 80.1100 (-0.20%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.921% (-0.014)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures lower: U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a lower open on Monday, following a weaker-than-expected U.S. personal spending report. The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ futures were all trading marginally in the red.
European markets trading lower: European markets were trading lower after data showed Spain slipped into recession in the first quarter. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) was 0.35 percent lower at 6777.89, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) was down 0.6 percent at 5744.28, and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) slumped 1.2 percent to 3227.38. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 1 percent lower.
Spain slips into recession: Spain’s economy contracted in the first quarter, with gross domestic product down 0.3 percent from the previous quarter, the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said today. Economists were expecting a 0.4 percent contraction.
Eurozone inflation slows: The European Union’s statistics office said inflation in the 17 countries that use the euro fell to 2.6 percent in April from 2.7 percent in March. Market analysts were expecting consumer prices to rise 2.5 percent.
German retail sales rise in March: The German Federal Statistics Office said the retail sales indicator was up 0.8 percent in March on a monthly basis in real terms, below the 1.0 percent rise which analysts were expecting.
Asian markets end higher: Asian markets closed higher on Monday as confidence among South Korean manufacturers improved and corporate earnings beat estimates. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) ended 1.70 percent higher at 21,094.21, with mainland Chinese banks and coal miners driving the index higher. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index climbed 0.8 percent to 4396.60, while the 30-share Indian benchmark BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index rose 0.72 percent to 17,311.88. The SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) and the NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) were closed today.
Company News Update
* Diversified holding company Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) said first quarter net income stood at $367 million, or 92 cents per share, topping the average analysts’ estimate of 90 cents per share.
* Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), the second-largest U.S. drug maker has won patent infringement suits against Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. relating to its lucrative cholesterol pills, Zetia and Vytorin. Mylan was planning to launch generic versions of the two drugs.
* Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will invest $300 million in a new subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) that will house the digital and college businesses of the bookseller, and will introduce an application for the Nook on Windows 8.
* According to a report in the Japanese newspaper Nikkei, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) may acquire a 10 percent stake in Isuzu Motors Limited (TYO:7202) and was planning to start joint development of commercial vehicles.
* Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) has quit an offshore Brazilian exploration project in the BS-M-22 block in Santos Basin, three years after failing to find oil.
* Medical equipment maker Hologic, Inc. (NASDAQ:HOLX) has agreed to acquire San Diego-based Gen- Probe Incorporated (NASDAQ:GPRO) for about $3.7 billion in cash to expand its growing diagnostics products.
* DCP Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE:DPM), the operator of a portfolio of midstream energy assets raised its quarterly dividend by 1 cent to 66 cents a share.
* Adidas AG (FRA:ADS), the world’s second- biggest sporting-goods maker, reported higher-than-expected first quarter profit and raised its 2012 profit forecast. First quarter net profit soared 38 percent to 289 million euros ($383 million), well above the 237 million euros that analysts were expecting.
* Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (EBR:ABI), the world’s biggest brewer, said first-quarter net profit jumped 75 per cent to $1.69 billion from $964 million a year earlier, while revenue increased 3.7 per cent to $9.33 billion, helped by strong sales of Budweiser and Stella Artois.
* Swiss biotechnology major, Actelion said its experimental lung and heart drug macitentan beat expectations in a key clinical trial. The news should provide some relief to the Basel-based company, whose top-selling drug, Tracleer, which treats the same condition, loses patent protection in 2015.
* Private equity group Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. agreed to buy Four Seasons Health Care, Britain's biggest care home operator, for 825 million pounds ($1.34 billion).
* Assicurazioni Generali SpA (BIT:G), Italy’s largest insurer, said first-quarter gross premiums rose 6.1 percent to 19.8 billion euros ($26.3 billion), from 19.1 billion euros in the first quarter of 2011, boosted by a strong rise in life insurance premiums.
* Erste Group Bank AG, eastern Europe’s second-biggest lender, reported a 7.8 percent rise in first quarter net profit to 346.5 million euros ($459 million), beating the average estimate of 302 million euros.
* The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TYO:9501) the operator of Japan’s tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, has agreed to a 1 trillion yen ($12 billion) bailout by the Japanese government, as part of a turnaround plan which would effectively nationalize the country’s biggest utility.
* Samsung Heavy Industries, the world's second-largest shipbuilder, recorded a 72 percent jump in first quarter profit compared to the previous quarter. The stock was up close to 6 percent in Seoul trading today.
* Bank of Communications Co., Ltd. (HKG:3328), China’s fifth-biggest lender, posted a first-quarter profit of 15.9 billion yuan ($2.5 billion), beating the average analysts’ estimate of 15.3 billion yuan.
* The state-owned China Postal Express & Logistics Co. plans to raise 9.98 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in an initial public offering, to expand its distribution centers and warehousing facilities.
* National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX:NAB), the nation’s fourth biggest bank and owner of Britain’s Clydesdale Bank, will cut more than 1,400 jobs in the U.K. as part of a $305 million restructuring of its banking operations there.
* Melbourne-based cleaning and catering contractor Spotless Group Limited (ASX:SPT) has agreed to a takeover offer from Australian private equity firm, Pacific Equity Partners, that values the company at 720 million Australian dollars (US$752.6 million).