Every morning we put out a report with the latest news in global stock markets, company news, and global economic news. Below are the featured stories for Tuesday August 14th, 2012.

update

 

Morning Market Update

Market Levels

  • US:  Dow Futures: 13166.00 (0.22%), S&P 500 Futures: 1406.00 (0.24%), NASDAQ Futures: 2739.25 (0.41%)
  • Europe: CAC: 3446.44 (0.58%), DAX: 6977.75 (0.97%), FTSE: 5857.07 (0.43%).
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4292.20 (0.21%), China: 2142.52 (0.30%), Hong Kong: 20291.68 (1.04%), India: 5380.35 (0.61%), Japan: 8929.88 (0.50%).
  • Metals: Gold: 1611.30 (-0.08%), Silver: 27.77 (0.01%), Copper: 3.37 (0.52%)
  • Energy: Crude Oil: 93.31 (0.63%), Natural Gas: 2.77 (1.50%)
  • Commodities: Corn: 7.98 (-2.22%), Soya Bean: 16.12 (-2.89%), Wheat: 8.82 (-3.05%)
  • Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2350 (0.14%), GBP/USD: 1.5699 (0.09%), USD/JPY: 78.9000 (0.74%)
  • 10 year US Treasury: 1.717% (0.053)


Financial and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures rise: U.S. stock index are pointing to a higher open on Tuesday amid better than expected retail sales, and strong GDP data from Germany and France. Retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month that was better than expectations of a gain of 0.3 percent. Producer prices also increased at the fastest pace in five months in July, the Labor Department said today. The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ futures were marginally in the green.

European markets in the green: European markets are up in trade today, with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) trading 1 percent higher at 6977.75, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) up 0.4 percent at 5857.07, and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) jumped 0.6 percent to 3446.44. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.7 percent higher.

Asian markets end higher: Asian markets closed higher on Monday, with Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) closing 0.5 percent higher at 8,929.88 points.  The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HSI) closed up 1.1 percent at 20,291.7, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) closed up 0.3 percent at 2,142.5. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index gained 8.9 points to 4,292.2. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index ended up 0.56 percent.

Company News Update

U.S.

  • The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) reported second quarter profit of $1.53 billion, or $1.01 a share, up from $1.36 billion, or 86 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 1.7 percent to $20.57 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 97 cents on revenue of $20.74 billion. The home improvement retailer also raised its full-year earnings estimate above Street estimates.
  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has received approval from the Chinese government to raise its stake to 51 percent in Chinese e-commerce company Yihaodian.
  • Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL) reported fourth quarter earnings excluding certain items of 17 cents per share, one cent above estimates. However, full-year forecast fell short of analysts’ estimates.
  • Saks Inc (NYSE:SKS) reported a second quarter loss excluding items of 5 cents per share that was narrower than analysts’ estimates of 9 cents per share. Total sales for the quarter increased 5.1 percent to $704.1 million, while same-store sales rose 4.7 percent.
  • Sporting goods retailer Dicks Sporting Goods Inc (NYSE:DKS) posted second quarter earnings certain items of 65 cents per share, one cent above estimates. Total sales increased 10 percent to $1.4 billion, in line with estimates.
  • Employee-benefits consultancy firm Towers Watson & Co (NYSE:TW) reported fourth quarter earnings excluding items of $1.25 per share, on revenue of $826.2 million against the average analysts’ estimate of earnings of $1.24 per share on revenue of $868.1 million.
  • The Nevada Gaming Control Board is investigating casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) for possible bribery law violations, Reuters reported late Monday.
  • Luxury goods maker Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS) reported first quarter profit of $68.6 million, or 34 cents per share, well above estimates of 20 cents per share, while revenue for the quarter came in at $414.9 million, also topping consensus forecasts by a wide margin. The company also forecast current quarter earnings above Street estimates.
  • Hedge fund Jana Partners has acquired a stake of around 5 percent in the Canadian fertilizer producer, Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU) (TSE:AGU), according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
  • Gregg Kaplan, President and Chief Operating Officer of Coinstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSTR) will leave the company.
  • Analysts at Barclays Capital have initiated coverage on mattress makers, Select Comfort Corp. (NASDAQ:SCSS) with an “overweight” rating.

Europe

  • German drug maker Merck KGaA (ETR:MRK) (FRA:MRK) reported second quarter adjusted earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, and also raised its full-year earnings outlook.
  • British insurance and pensions group Standard Life Plc (LON:SL) posted a better than expected 15 percent jump in first half operating profit to 302 million pounds ($474 million) from 262 million pounds a year earlier. The 187-year old insurer also increased its dividend by 6.5 percent to 4.9 pence per share.
  • London-listed mining company Anglo American plc (LON:AAL)’s chief executive, Cynthia Carroll, is under pressure from shareholders to step down, the Telegraph reported.
  • British energy group BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) (LON:BP) will sell its Carson refinery in California to US peer Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO) for $2.5 billion.
  • Norwegian oil-services company Aker Solutions (STO:AKSOO) jumped 3.3 percent after reporting second-quarter profit and sales that beat analysts’ estimates.
  • U.K. water company United Utilities Group PLC (LON:UU) surged 11 percent following market speculation that the company may be the subject of an overseas breakup bid.
  • Hochtief AG (ETR:HOT) (FRA:HOT), Germany’s largest builder, fell 1.8 percent after posting a second-quarter net loss of 15 million euros.
  • Building materials company CRH PLC (NYSE:CRH) (LON:CRH) fell 6.5 percent after reporting disappointing first half results.


Asia-Pacific

  • Toshiba Corp (TYO:6502) is likely to sell a 16 percent stake in U.S. nuclear power plant company, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, out of the 67 percent it currently owns, the Japanese business daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
  • National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX:NAB), Australia’s fourth-largest lender by market capitalization, posted flat third quarter earnings, but revenue declined slightly due to higher funding costs for its U.K. unit.
  • Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX:Z74), Southeast Asia’s largest telecom company, reported a better than expected 3.2 percent rise in first-quarter net profit, and reaffirmed its full-year earnings and revenue forecast.
  • Hong Kong-listed property developer Swire Properties Limited (HKG:1972) slumped 4.2 percent on news that John Swire & Sons (H.K.) Ltd. sold 234 million shares of the company at 21.53 Hong Kong dollars each.
  • Perth-based miner Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA) said it would cut spending at its 50 percent-owned West Pilbara iron ore project in Western Australia because of falling prices.
  • Hong Kong light-rail operator MTR Corporation Limited (HKG:0066) ended 1.3 percent higher after reporting a 6 percent rise in first half revenue to 17.15 billion Hong Kong dollars from 16.17 billion Hong Kong dollars. First half profit however declined 33 percent to 5.86 billion Hong Kong dollars (S$756 million), from 8.78 billion Hong Kong dollars a year earlier.
  • Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF), Australia’s largest food manufacturer, jumped 8.2 percent after it reported a narrower than expected full-year loss.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. slid 1 percent in Seoul after analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “outperform.”

Economic Calendar for Tuesday, August 14, 2012:

07:30 A.M. ET:    NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (July)
07:45 A.M. ET:    ICSC-Goldman Store Sales (Week ending Saturday, August 11, 2012)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Producer Price Index (July)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Retail Sales (July)
08:55 A.M. ET:    Redbook (Week ending Saturday, August 11, 2012)
10:00 A.M. ET:    Business Inventories (June)
11:30 A.M. ET:    4-Week Bill Auction