- US: Dow Futures: 12774.00 (0.09%), S&P 500 Futures: 1349.40 (-0.10%), NASDAQ Futures: 2614.25 (-0.11%)
- Europe: CAC: 3138.38 (0.38%), DAX: 6402.27 (0.16%), FTSE: 5597.30 (-0.45%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4087.60 (-1.08%), China: 2260.88 (-1.42%), Hong Kong: 19265.07 (-1.32%), India: 5165.00 (0.87%), Japan: 8824.07 (0.81%).
- Metals: Gold: 1586.90 (-1.79%), Silver: 27.54 (-2.97%), Copper: 3.34 (-1.37%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 80.57 (-1.08%), Natural Gas: 2.52 (0.20%)
- Commodities: Corn: 5.62 (-0.75%), Soya Bean: 13.86 (-0.63%), Wheat: 7.03 (-0.32%)
- Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2663 (-0.35%), GBP/USD: 1.5687 (-0.20%), USD/JPY: 80.1300 (0.74%)
- 10 year US Treasury: 1.633% (-0.022)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures unchanged: U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a flat open on Thursday, as jobless claims fell by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 387,000 last week. The Dow futures, the S&P futures and the NASDAQ futures were all trading around the flat-line.
European markets mixed: European markets are mixed in trade today, with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) trading 0.2 percent higher at 6402.27, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) down 0.5 percent at 5597.30, and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) gained 0.4 percent to 3138.38. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.6 percent in the green.
Asian markets end lower: Asian markets closed lower on Thursday amid more signs of an economic slowdown hitting China. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) bucked the broad Asian downtrend, to close 0.8 percent higher. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) closed down 1.3 percent at 19,265.1, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) closed 1.4 percent lower at 2,260.9 points. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index fell 1.1 percent to close at 4,087.6. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index rose 0.9 percent to 17,044.57 points.
Stocks in Focus
- Cigarette maker Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM) cut its full-year earnings forecast as the strength of the dollar hurts sales abroad. The company now expects current year earnings per share to be between $5.10 to $5.20, based on prevailing exchange rates, compared to its April forecast of $5.20 to $5.30 per share.
- Drugstore chain Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) reported a slightly narrower-than-expected first quarter loss of $28.1 million, or 3 cents per share, but slashed its full-year sales outlook. Revenue for the quarter came in at $6.47 billion, topping estimates.
- ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) posted fiscal fourth quarter earnings, excluding certain items of 51 cents a share, one cent above the average analysts’ estimate. Net sales for the quarter stood at $3.41 billion, also topping expectations.
- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is close to reaching a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over allegations that the company adopted improper marketing tactics for its schizophrenia drug Risperdal.
- Lloyd Blankfein, Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) expects 80 percent of the company’s growth to come from emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, Bloomberg reported.
- Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)’s second largest selling drug, Lyrica has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use against neuropathic pain caused by spinal cord injuries.
- Chemical and specialty products maker Cabot Corp (NYSE:CBT) has agreed to buy Dutch activated carbon manufacturer Norit NV from its private equity owners Euroland Investments BV and Doughty Hanson & Co Managers Ltd for $1.1 billion.
- The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) is all set to sell the debt-ridden German plastic films group Kloeckner Pentaplast to US hedge fund Strategic Value Partners and other junior lenders. Blackstone is also planning to submit a joint bid with BC Partners for privately-owned frozen food company Iglo.
- Chip maker Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) posted a wider than expected third quarter loss of 32 cents a share, due to weak profit margins from its flash memory products..
- Auto retailer CarMax, Inc (NYSE:KMX) reported first quarter profit of 52 a share, one cent below estimates, and also said same-store sales were flat versus a year earlier.
- Semiconductor design and manufacturing company Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:CY) has raised its offer price for smaller rival Ramtron International (NASDAQ:RMTR) from $2.48 per share to $2.68 per share.
- Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ:APOG) posted better than expected first quarter earnings per share of 6 cents, and raised its forecast for the full year. Revenue for the quarter came in at $154.1 million, which trailed estimates.
- Clarcor Inc. (NYSE:CLC) reported second quarter profit and revenue that missed analysts’ expectations. The filtration and packaging product maker also lowered its full-year profit outlook.
- · Murphy Oil Corporation (NYSE:MUR) said board member Steve Cosse will replace David Wood as the new president.
- Discount retailer The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) was upgraded to “outperform” from “market perform” at Wells Fargo. The stock was up 1 percent in New York pre-market trading.
- Dutch telecom company Koninklijke KPN N.V. (AMS:KPN) failed in its attempt to find a buyer for its German unit E-Plus, after talks with Spain’s Telefonica S.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TEF) fell through. The move was intended to ward off an unsolicited 8 euro-a-share offer from Carlos Slim’s Mexican mobile giant America Movil SAB de CV (ADR) (NYSE:AMX).
- Air France – KLM (EPA:AF) unveiled plans to eliminate more than 5,000 jobs from its French workforce by the end of 2013 as part of an effort to cut costs and return to profitability.
- BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP), Europe’s second-largest oil producer, was the highest bidder on 43 leases to drill in the prolific Gulf of Mexico, in the first region’s auction since BP Plc’s disastrous 2010 oil spill.
- German insurer Allianz SE (ETR:ALV) sees emerging markets accounting for around 34 percent of premium income, Bloomberg reported.
- British engineering group Invensys plc (LON:ISYS) has ended takeover talks with US industrial conglomerate Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR). The stock slumped 17 percent in London trading.
- London-based buyout firm Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP has approached Sorin SpA (BIT:SRN), the Italian maker of cardiovascular devices, about a possible takeover, Reuters reported.
- British construction equipment leasing company Ashtead Group plc (LON:AHT) posted a better than expected fourth quarter profit and lifted its full year expectations.
- Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A), Europe’s biggest oil company, was downgraded to “neutral”, the equivalent of “hold”, from “conviction buy” at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The stock lost 0.9 percent.
- Major shareholders of Renesas Electronics Corporation (TYO:6723), like Hitachi, Ltd. (TYO:6501), NEC Corp (TYO:6701) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TYO:6503), have agreed to provide a 50 billion yen ($628 million) support package to the loss-making Japanese chip-maker.
- Lenovo Group Limited (HKG:0992), the world’s second-biggest maker of personal computers, has lowered its personal computers shipment growth projection this year, China Times reported. The stock ended 9.4 percent lower in Hong Kong trading.
- Japanese banking group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc. (TYO:8316), has fired a senior official amid a government investigation into insider trading, Bloomberg reported.
- Scandal-hit Olympus Corp (TYO:7733) is planning to raise about 50 billion yen ($628 million) to boost capita ratio that has declined to dangerously low levels.
- Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG), Australia’s largest surf-wear maker, downgraded its full-year earnings guidance, and said it will raise 225 million Australian dollars ($229 million) by selling stock to existing shareholders.
- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (TYO:7201) is mulling over plans to cut its domestic output by 15 percent from next month to counter a rising yen that has eroded overseas earnings.
- Major Chinese banks like Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (HKG:1398),