Morning Market Update
* US: Dow Futures: 13025.00 (-0.11%), S&P 500 Futures: 1395.70 (-0.31%), NASDAQ Futures: 2756.00 (-0.18%)
* Europe: CAC: 3407.62 (-0.73%), DAX: 6924.13 (-0.39%), FTSE: 5756.17 (-0.35%).
* Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4349.00 (-0.79%), China: 2092.10 (-1.00%), Hong Kong: 19880.13 (-1.27%), India: 5386.70 (-0.53%), Japan: 9070.76 (-1.18%).
* Metals: Gold: 1669.70 (-0.19%), Silver: 30.45 (-0.02%), Copper: 3.47 (-0.62%)
* Energy: Crude Oil: 95.93 (-0.35%), Natural Gas: 2.80 (-0.11%)
* Commodities: Corn: 8.18 (0.46%), Soya Bean: 17.26 (0.66%), Wheat: 9.00 (0.59%)
* Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2500 (-0.51%), GBP/USD: 1.5830 (-0.18%), USD/JPY: 78.5400 (0.06%)
* 10 year US Treasury: 1.645% (-0.032)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures fall: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a lower open on Friday, as investor concerns about Greece’s future in the euro zone outweighed strong durable goods orders in July. Durable goods orders jumped 4.2 percent in July, from 1.6 percent increase in June, the Commerce Department said today. Economists had forecast a rise of 2.4 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ were all trading marginally in the red.
European markets trading lower: European markets are lower in trade today, with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) trading 0.4 percent lower at 6924.13, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) was down 0.4 percent at 5756.17, and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) declined 0.7 percent to 3407.62. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.7 percent lower.
Asian markets end lower: Asian markets closed lower on Friday, with Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) closing 1.2 percent lower at 9,070.76 points. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) slumped 1.3 percent to 19880.13, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) closed down 1 percent on the day and 1.1 percent on the week at 2,092.1. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index ended 35 points lower at 4,349.0. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index ended down 0.3 percent.
Company News Update
* Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s share of China’s smart phone market fell to 10 percent in the second quarter from 19 percent in the previous quarter, as customer awaited the new iPhone 5 scheduled for release in September, according to figures released by research firm IDC. China is Apple’s second-largest market.
* Drug maker Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) has discontinued the development of an experimental hepatitis C drug after a patient died in a clinical trial died of heart failure and others were hospitalized. Separately, analysts at Bank of America have upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral.”
* Chicago-based plane maker The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) has stuck to its schedule for launching new models of its 777 and 787 aircrafts. The Seattle Times had earlier reported that the launches of those new models will likely be delayed.
* Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) said its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, solanezumab, failed to meet its primary endpoints in either of two Phase 3 studies, although combined data from both trials showed signs of the drug slowing cognitive decline in patients with mild to moderate cases.
* Supermarket chain owner SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE:SVU) is reportedly seeking bidders for the entire business, Bloomberg News reported. Private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP is interested in Supervalu’s Albertson’s unit, while Dutch grocer Koninklijke Ahold N.V. (AMS:AH) is interested in acquiring the Shoppers chain.
* Independent oil and natural gas company QEP Resources Inc (NYSE:QEP) has agreed to buy crude oil properties in the Williston Basin in North Dakota from a number of sellers for about $1.38 billion in cash
* Chip-design software company Mentor Graphics Corp (NASDAQ:MENT) reported second quarter earnings excluding items of 21 cents a share, on revenue of $240.8 million, and raised its full-year profit forecast, while reaffirming a full-year revenue guidance of $1.1 billion.
* The board of Los Angeles-based Aecom Technology Corp (NYSE:ACM) has authorized a new $300 million share repurchase program.
* Footwear retailer Shoe Carnival, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCVL) said second quarter profit rose to $2.9 million, from $2.7 million a year earlier. Revenue for the second quarter came in at $182.21 million, up from $166.67 million in the same period last year.
* Travel services company Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at Citigroup Inc. The stock was up 2 percent in pre market trading.
* Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK) was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” by analysts at JP Morgan Chase with a target price of $32.50.
* General Growth Properties Inc (NYSE:GGP) was down 3 percent after UBS AG lowered the shopping mall operator’s stock to “neutral” from “buy.”
* Mining stocks were under intense pressure in London trading, with Kazakhmys plc (LON:KAZ) down 4.2 percent and Vedanta Resources plc (LON:VED) slipping 2.3 percent. Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (LON:ENRC) lost 3.2 percent, while Anglo American plc (LON:AAL) traded 2.4 percent lower. Antofagasta plc (LON:ANTO) eased 2.5 percent, as Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO) (LON:RIO) (ASX:RIO) fell 3.3 percent. BHP Billiton Limited (ADR) (NYSE:BHP) (ASX:BHP) (LON:BLT) slumped 2.1 percent and Xstrata PLC (LON:XTA) fell 1.2 percent.
* British mobile company Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) (LON:VOD) is close to an agreement with Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co. to expand access to networks across Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain, Bloomberg reported.
* Aviva Plc (ADR) (NYSE:AV) (LON:AV), the second-largest British insurer, said it may cut up to 800 jobs in the country, as Chairman John McFarlane embarks on a 400 million pounds global cost-cutting drive.
* NKT Holding A/S (CPH:NKT), the Danish maker of cables and industrial vacuum cleaners, tumbled 9 percent after reporting second-quarter sales of 3.9 billion kroner ($667 million) that missed missing analysts’ estimates of 4.15 billion kroner. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the quarter stood at 229 million kroner, missing estimates of 300 million kroner.
* Dutch tank-storage provider Koninklijke Vopak N.V. (AMS:VPK) jumped 1.2 percent after reporting first half net income of 174 million euros ($218 million) that beat the average analysts’ estimate of 169 million euro. Revenue came in at 648 million euros, also topping estimates of 622 million euros.
* Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook on British bank HSBC Holdings plc (ADR) (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) to negative from stable, amid fears that the bank could be damaged by a series of scandals, including a massive money-laundering probe in the U.S.
* U.K. fund manager Ashmore Group plc (LON:ASHM) plunged 5 percent after an analyst at Citigroup Inc. downgraded the stock to “sell” from “neutral.”
* Mining magnate Nathan Tinkler has walked away from a 5.3 billion Australian dollar ($5.5 billion) takeover bid for Australia’s largest independent coal producer by market value, Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC).
* PetroChina Company Limited (ADR) (NYSE:PTR) (HKG:0857) (SHA:601857), the country’s largest oil producer, reported a 6 percent decline in first- half profit to 62 billion yuan ($9.8 billion), or 0.34 yuan a share, from 66 billion yuan, or 0.36 yuan, in the same period last year. Analysts had forecast a profit of 63.77 billion yuan.
* Australian supermarket chain, Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) posted a 15 percent drop in full-year net profit to 1.82 billion Australian dollars (US$1.90 billion) on costs linked to the exit from its underperforming Dick Smith electronics chain. The company also announced a final dividend of 67 Australian cents a share, up from 65 cents a share the previous year.
* China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (ADR) (NYSE:CHU) (HKG:0762), the country’s second-biggest mobile phone operator, ended percent 0.5 higher after posting a better than expected 32 percent rise in first-half net profit. Net profit for the six months ended June 30 stood at 3.43 billion yuan ($540 million), from 2.62 billion yuan a year earlier. Revenue increased 20 percent to 121.69 billion yuan, from 101.42 billion yuan in the year-ago period. Analysts were expecting a net profit of 2.62 billion, on revenue of 123.66 billion.
* Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s largest supplier, Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354), which pledged to improve working conditions on its assembly lines, has raised salaries of employees at a plant making iPhones in Zhengzhou, China, by more than 16 percent, Bloomberg reported.
* Australian newspaper publisher Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) fell 11 percent after largest shareholder, Gina Rinehart, failed to sell a 5 percent stake in the company.
* China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941), the world’s biggest mobile operator by number of subscribers, agreed to buy a 15 percent stake in Shenzhen-listed speech recognition software company, Anhui USTC iFlytek Co., Ltd. (SHE:002230) for 1.36 billion yuan ($214 million).
* Maanshan Iron & Steel Company Limited (HKG:0323) (SHA:600808), China’s third largest steel producer, plunged to a 16-year low after reporting a first-half net loss of 1.9 billion yuan, compared to a net income of 310 million yuan in the year-ago period.
* Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG), Australia’s biggest energy retailer, slumped 2 percent in Sydney after forecasting flat full-year earnings due to weak demand for electricity in its home market.
Economic Calendar for Friday, August 24, 2012:
08:30 A.M. ET: Durable Goods Orders (July)
08:30 A.M. ET: Durable Goods Orders ex Transportation (July)