Morning Market Update
- US: Dow Futures: 13004.00 (-0.15%), S&P 500 Futures: 1379.50 (-0.30%), NASDAQ Futures: 2707.75 (-0.18%)
- Europe: CAC: 3239.35 (-1.61%), DAX: 6734.63 (-0.98%), FTSE: 5743.99 (-0.40%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4348.70 (1.40%), China: 2380.85 (1.93%), Hong Kong: 20780.73 (1.05%), India: 5300.00 (0.19%), Japan: 9667.26 (2.10%).
- Metals: Gold: 1644.30 (-0.41%), Silver: 31.58 (-0.28%), Copper: 3.64 (-0.29%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 104.30 (0.10%), Natural Gas: 1.96 (0.31%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.06 (-0.21%), Soya Bean: 13.42 (-0.93%), Wheat: 6.19 (-0.08%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3068 (-0.45%), GBP/USD: 1.5978 (0.34%), USD/JPY: 81.3000 (0.57%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.974% (-0.025)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures trading lower: U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a lower open on Wednesday as investors eagerly await the next batch of corporate earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and NASDAQ futures were all trading marginally in the red.
European markets decline: European markets declined on Wednesday as worries about Spain overshadowed the positive news of IMF upwardly revising the world gross domestic product growth forecast. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) was off 1 percent at 6734.63, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) was down 0.4 percent at 5743.99, and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) was 1.6 percent lower at 3239.35.
U.K. unemployment falls: The number of jobless Britons fell by 35,000 to 2.65 million over the December-to-February period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), marking the first quarterly decline in almost a year. Unemployment-benefit claims rose by 3,600 in March from February to 1.61 million.
Asian markets end higher: Asian markets higher lower on Wednesday after strong U.S. corporate earnings and firm demand for Spanish debt. After falling below the psychologically key level of 9,500 on Monday, NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) staged a strong recovery and closed more than two percent higher. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHA:000001) climbed 2 percent, while the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) bounced back after two days of losses, ending one percent higher.
Chinese home prices fall in March: China’s home prices fell in two-thirds of China’s major cities, the first annual drop since the government launched several measures two years ago aimed at limiting runaway property prices. The National Bureau of Statistics said new home prices fell in March from a month earlier in 46 of the 70 major cities tracked by the government.
Company News Update
- Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), the world’s second-largest oilfield services company, said first-quarter earnings rose 23 percent as rising crude prices drove producers to expand drilling in North America.
- BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) said first-quarter earnings stood at $3.14 a share, up 7 percent from a year earlier, which was better than the $3.03 a share which analysts’ were expecting. However revenue declined to $2.2 billion down 1 percent from $2.3 billion in the same period a year ago.
- PNC Financial Services (NYSE:PNC), the sixth-biggest U.S. bank by deposits, said first-quarter profit fell 3.8 percent, largely on account of the $145 million it spent on acquiring Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. consumer unit. The Pittsburgh-based bank reported first-quarter earnings $1.44 a share, compared to 85 cent a share, during the fourth quarter of 2011.
- The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) said first-quarter earnings fell 1 percent from a year earlier as interest rates near record lows curbed income from lending and investing securities.
- LED lighting company Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE) reported a 50 percent fall in fiscal third-quarter profit and provided downbeat fourth-quarter outlook.
- Equipment rental company United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that were both well above street expectations.
- Pharmacy-benefits manager SXC Health Solutions Corp. (TSE:SXC) (NASDAQ:SXCI) agreed to buy Catalyst Health Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHSI) for about $4.4 billion in cash and stock.
- Shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) will be in focus today after Warren Buffett, the company’s chairman and chief executive, disclosed that he has stage 1 prostate cancer.
- U.K.’s largest retailer Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) posted higher annual net profits, and said it will invest 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) to revamp its underperforming UK business.
- LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (EPA:MC), the world’s largest maker of luxury goods, said revenue in the first quarter rose 25 percent to 6.58 billion euros ($8.6 billion), exceeding an average analysts’ forecast of 6.43 billion euros, as demand for its high-end products accelerated.
- Heineken N.V. (AMS:HEIA), the world’s third- biggest brewer, reported a 15.9 percent rise in net profit to 175 million euros ($229.7 million) for the first quarter of 2012, from 151 million euros a year earlier, boosted by better beer sales in eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
- Veldhoven, Netherlands-based ASML Holding N.V. (AMS:ASML) (NASDAQ:ASML), the largest supplier of manufacturing equipment to computer chip makers, said first-quarter net profit fell 29 percent to 282 million euros ($370.2 million) from 395 million euros a year earlier.
- Argentina has rejected Repsol YPF SA (MCE:REP)’s demand for $10.5 billion in compensation after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner decided to nationalize 51 percent of its Argentine subsidiary YPF.
- Swiss food giant, Nestle SA, is close to reaching an agreement to buy Pfizer Inc.’s (NYSE:PFE) infant-nutrition business for up to $10 billion.
- Norwegian oil and gas company, Statoil ASA(ADR) (NYSE:STO)) has agreed to sell its chain of roadside filling stations to Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (TSE:ATD.B) for 15.9 billion kroner ($2.8 billion).
- Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (TYO:5802) is planning to commercialize a system that combines solar power generation with storage batteries, a test facility for which is being built in Yokohama.
- Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest seller of smartphones last year, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have agreed to participate in settlement talks to try and resolve a patent lawsuit over smartphone and tablet technology. Apple sued Samsung in the United States last year, claiming that South Korean company’s Galaxy line of mobile phones infringe its patents.
- HSBC Holdings plc (LON:HSBA) (NYSE:HBC) is planning to sell three-year yuan- denominated bonds listed in London, which will be the first outside mainland China and Hong Kong.
- According to Chinese media reports, Argentina’s move to nationalize local oil company YPF, controlled by Spain’s Repsol YPF SA (MCE:REP), has come as a big blow to China’s second largest oil company, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (HKG:0386) (NYSE:SNP). The Chinese company had held talks with Repsol to buy its controlling 57-percent stake in YPF, and had even reached a non-binding agreement to take over YPF for more than $15 billion.
- CSR Corp Ltd (HKG:1766), China’s biggest train maker, will supply high-speed trains to Hong Kong, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The trains will be used for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, and the delivery of the first train will start next year.
- Global mining giant, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) (NYSE:BHP), said third-quarter iron ore production was up 14 per cent on the same period in the previous year, but declined 8 percent from the preceding quarter, due to heavy rainfall and industrial disputes.
- Sydney-based Westfield Group (ASX:WDC), the world’s largest shopping center operator by assets, has agreed to sell eight U.S. malls for $1.15 billion. U.S. investment firm Starwood Capital Group will acquire a majority stake in seven of the malls for about