- 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), Bank of China (HKG:3988), China Construction Bank Corporation (HKG:0939) and the Agricultural Bank of China Limited (HKG:1288), declined in trade today after the 21st Century Business Herald reported that deposits at the four biggest Chinese banks declined by a combined 460 billion yuan ($72 billion) in the first two weeks of June.
- Carmaker Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) jumped 3.5 percent in Tokyo trading after Credit Suisse raised its price target, one day after the stock was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Nomura Securities.
Economic Calendar for Thursday, June 21, 2012:
08:30 A.M. ET: Initial Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, June 16, 2012)
10:30 A.M. ET: Continuing Jobless Claims (Week ending Saturday, June 09, 2012)
08:58 A.M. ET: PMI Manufacturing Index Flash (June)
09:45 A.M. ET: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index (Week ending Sunday, June 17)
10:00 A.M. ET: Existing Home Sales (MoM) (May)
10:00 A.M. ET: Existing Home Sales Change (May)
10:00 A.M. ET: FHFA Housing Price Index (MoM) (April)
10:00 A.M. ET: Leading Indicator (MoM) (May)
10:00 A.M. ET: Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey (June)
10:30 A.M. ET: EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, June 15, 2012)
04:30 P.M. ET: Fed Balance Sheet
04:30 P.M. ET: Money Supply