- US: Dow Futures: 12510.00 (0.35%), S&P 500 Futures: 1321.50 (0.44%), NASDAQ Futures: 2551.75 (0.44%)
- Europe: CAC: 3036.50 (1.10%), DAX: 6323.91 (0.60%), FTSE: 5338.38 (1.35%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4055.80 (-0.28%), China: 2350.97 (-0.53%), Hong Kong: 18666.40 (-0.64%), India: 4921.47 (1.77%), Japan: 8563.38 (0.08%).
- Metals: Gold: 1571.50 (1.49%), Silver: 28.36 (3.04%), Copper: 3.44 (1.27%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 91.05 (1.28%), Natural Gas: 2.79 (-0.36%)
- Commodities: Corn: 6.05 (0.58%), Soya Bean: 12.73 (-1.72%), Wheat: 6.74 (-2.66%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2599 (0.12%), GBP/USD: 1.5714 (0.14%), USD/JPY: 79.4700 (-0.01%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.765% (0.031)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures trading higher: U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a higher open on Thursday after weekly jobless claims fell by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000. The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ futures are all trading close to half a percent higher.
European markets in the green: European markets climbed on Thursday, with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) trading 0.6 percent higher at 6323.91, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) up 1.4 percent at 5338.38, and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) jumped 1.1 percent higher to 3036.50. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 1.3 percent higher.
Asian markets end mixed: Asian markets closed mixed on Thursday with Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) gaining 0.1 percent to 8,563.38. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) closed down 0.64 percent at 18,666.4, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) finished lower 0.5 percent at 2,351 points. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index closed down 0.28 percent at 4,055.8. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index was the best performer in the region, ending up 1.7 percent.
Company News Update
- General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) will acquire privately-held Brazilian food company Yoki Alimentos S.A.
- H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) said fourth quarter net income slipped 22 percent to $175.34 million or 54 cents per share from $223.86 million or 69 cents per share last year. Sales grew 5.6 percent to $3.05 billion from $2.89 billion a year earlier.
- High-end jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) reported fiscal first quarter net income of $81.5 million or 64 cents a share that missed estimates, and lowered its fiscal year sales and profit forecasts.
- Costco Wholesale Corporation (NYSE:COST), the largest U.S. warehouse-club chain, posted third quarter profit excluding some items of 89 cents a share that topped analysts’ estimates as sales increased in both the U.S. and international regions.
- Patrick Spence, head of global sales at Research In Motion Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:RIMM) has resigned, in what is widely seen as a major blow to the struggling maker of BlackBerry smartphones.
- Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) said it plans to appeal against a decision by Europe’s second-highest court that threw out its legal challenge to a European Union ban on its cross-border interchange fees.
- Synopsys, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNPS), the maker of computer chip design software, posted earnings that trailed estimates, but revenue beat forecasts, as it raised its outlook for the full year.
- Apparel maker PVH Corp (NYSE:PVH) reported first quarter profit excluding certain items of $1.30 a share, four cents above estimates, driven by robust demand for Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger apparel. The New York-based company also raised its profit outlook for the year.
- Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) will hold their shareholder meetings today.
- German pharmaceutical company Bayer AG (FRA:BAYN) said that an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted against expanded use of anti clotting drug Xarelto to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients with a common heart ailment. Bayer AG developed the drug in partnership with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).
- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) was fined 156 million Swiss francs ($163.44 million) by the Swiss Competition Commission for trying to block Swiss residents from buying its cars outside the country.
- British telecoms group Cable and Wireless Communications Plc (LON:CWC) posted earnings that beat estimates, but said it would halve its dividend this year due to economic uncertainty in its markets.
- Hong Kong-listed Italian luxury goods retailer Prada S.p.A. (HKG:1913) is planning to roll-out 260 stores in the next three years to cater to growing demand from emerging markets like China, Brazil and the Arabian Gulf countries.
- British baby products and maternity retailer Mothercare plc (LON:MTC) reported a 2.4 percent increase in full-year sales to 812.7 million pounds ($1.3 billion), and said international sales jumped 18 percent. The stock was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Numis Corp. with a price estimate of 250 pence.
- Commerzbank AG (FRA:CBK) raised its recommendation on two of Germany’s biggest utilities today. E.ON AG (FRA:EOAN) was boosted to “buy” from “hold”, while RWE AG (FRA:RWE) was upgraded to “hold” from “sell”. E.ON AG was trading 2.5 percent higher, while RWE AG jumped 2.1 percent.
· Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO), the world’s second biggest producer of iron ore, is going ahead with its plan to substantially increase production of the steel-making ingredient over the coming years, and said there is little evidence of a slowdown in demand from top consumer China.
· Aviva Plc (ADR) (NYSE:AV), UK’s second-biggest insurer by market value plans to sell-off its underperforming South Korean and Sri Lankan businesses, in a deal that could fetch around $150 million.
· Chinese Internet giant Alibaba.com Limited (HKG:1688) is in talks with sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation, to sell a stake of up to $2 billion that should help the e-commerce company complete its funding for the Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) purchase, Reuters reported.
· Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW), the world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles, plans to quadruple production capacity in China, and said sales in the world’s second biggest economy is set to grow at a double-digit rate this year.
· Japanese general contractor Hazama Corp (TYO:1719) announced its merger with Tokyo-based Ando Corporation (TYO:1816), a contractor specializing in building construction, through a share swap, with each Ando share to be worth 0.53 Hazama share.
· Sharp Corporation (TYO:6753), Japan’s largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, in talks with Taipei-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. (TPE:2317) to provide technological know-how for a new LCD factory in Chengdu, China, the Nikkei newspaper reported. The news comes on the day when Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) formally pulled out of its LCD TV panel joint venture with Sharp.
Economic Calendar for Thursday, May 24, 2012:
08:30 A.M. ET: Durable Goods Orders (April)
08:30 A.M. ET: Durable Goods Orders ex Transportation (April)
08:30 A.M. ET: Initial Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, May 19, 2012)
08:30 A.M. ET: Continuing Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, May 12, 2012)
09:00 A.M. ET: Purchasing Manager Index Manufacturing (May)
09:45 A.M. ET: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (Week ending Sun, May 19)
10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, May 18, 2012)
11:00 A.M. ET: Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index (May)
01:00 P.M. ET: New York Federal Reserve Bank Pres. William Dudley speaks.
04:30 P.M. ET: Fed Balance Sheet
04:30 P.M. ET: Money Supply