Morning Market Update
• US: Dow: 12530.00 (0.06%), S&P 500: 1354.80 (0.26%), NASDAQ: 2531.50 (0.38%)
• Europe: CAC: 3383.73 (0.04%), DAX: 7025.50 (-0.26%), FTSE: 5653.29 (-0.43%).
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4336.80 (-0.29%), China: 2014.72 (-0.77%), Hong Kong: 21159.01 (0.24%), India: 5574.05 (-1.01%), Japan: 9024.16 (2.15%).
• Metals: Gold: 1713.20 (-0.04%), Silver: 32.44 (-0.72%), Copper: 3.45 (-0.38%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 86.50 (1.23%), Natural Gas: 3.70 (0.00%)
• Commodities: Corn: 7.20 (-0.55%), Soya Bean: 13.87 (-1.06%), Wheat: 8.62 (-0.41%)
• Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2743 (-0.31%), GBP/USD: 1.5879 (0.08%), USD/JPY: 81.1900 (0.01%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 1.594% (0.003)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures edge higher: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a higher open on Friday ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled meeting with top Congressional leaders on Friday to discuss the fiscal cliff. On the economic front, industrial production unexpectedly dropped 0.4 percent in October. Economists were expecting a 0.2 percent gain last month.
European markets fall: European markets are down in trade today, with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) sliding 0.3 percent to 7025.50, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) down 0.4 percent to 5653.29 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) was flat at 3385.33. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.2 percent lower.
Asian markets end lower; Nikkei rallies: Asian markets closed mostly lower on Friday with the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) up 0.2 percent on the day but down 1.1 percent on the week at 21,159 points, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) shed 0.8 percent, and 2.6 percent this week. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) jumped 2.2 percent to 9,024.1 points. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index closed down 12.4 points to 4,336.8 and fell 2.8 percent for the week. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index ended 1.1 percent lower.
Company News Update
• The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has banned JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)’s energy trading unit from trading electricity at market rates for six months for factual mis-representations and omissions during a probe into market fixing.
• Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) third-quarter earnings excluding certain items of 63 cents a share, nine cents above the average analysts’ estimate. Revenue increased 9 percent to $1.52 billion from $1.39 billion a year earlier. Analysts were expecting the athletic apparel and shoe retailer to report revenue of $1.5 billion.
• The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM) posted second quarter earnings excluding items of $1.45 a share, in line with Street expectations. Revenue rose to $1.63 billion, from $1.51 billion in the year-ago period, also matching estimates.
• U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (LON:RB) has offered to buy vitamin maker Schiff Nutrition International Inc (NYSE:SHF) for $1.4 billion in cash, or $42 per share. Schiff had previously agreed to be acquired by Bayer AG (ETR:BAYN) (FRA:BAYN) for $34 per share.
• Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) is in talks with Internet major Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to create a wireless telecommunications network, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
• Nike, Inc. (NYSE:NKE), the world’s largest sporting-goods company, announced a two-for-one stock split, and is also raising its quarterly dividend by 17 percent to split-adjusted 21 cents per share.
• Department store chain Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ:SHLD) posted third quarter loss of $1.99 per share, smaller than what analysts were expecting. Same-store sales dropped 1.6 percent at Sears and 4.8 percent at its Kmart division.
• Penn National Gaming, Inc (NASDAQ:PENN) said it is planning to split into two separate publicly traded companies, a gaming-focused real estate investment trust, and a gaming operator.
• Coffee giant Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) said its board has approved the repurchase of an additional 25 million shares of common stock, bringing the total buyback authorization to 37.1 million shares.
• Car rental giant Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:HTZ) received U.S. Federal Trade Commission Clearance for its $2.56 billion acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE:DTG).
• Wireless networking equipment vendor Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARUN) reported first-quarter earnings excluding certain items of 18 cents per share, one cent above the consensus estimate. Revenue rose to $144.5 million, topping Street expectations for $142.5 million.
• MetroPCS Communications Inc (NYSE:PCS) expects its shareholders to back its planned merger with T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (ETR:DTE) (FRA:DTE), its chief financial officer Braxton Carter said on Friday.
• Hibbett Sports, Inc. (NASDAQ:HIBB) reported third quarter profit of 71 cents per share, three cents above analysts’ estimates. Sales for the period stood at $202.93 million, also topping expectations for $201.74 million.
• Knight Capital Group Inc. (NYSE:KCG) has a new investor, with Getco Strategic Investments disclosing a 23.8 percent stake in the trading firm.
• Quest Diagnostics Inc (NYSE:DGX) has raised its quarterly dividend by 76 percent to 30 cents a share, payable on January 28 to shareholders of record on January 11.
• Hostess Brands, the maker of iconic baked goods such as Twinkies, Devil Dogs and Wonder Bread, said it has asked a federal bankruptcy court’s permission to shut down the entire company and sell its assets, after a strike crippled its operations.
• Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) gained 1 percent in early morning trade after it was added to the “Conviction Buy” list at Evercore Partners.
• JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU) was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” by analysts at Goldman Sachs.
• Annaly Capital Management, Inc. (NYSE:NLY) was raised to “outperform” from “market perform” by analysts at Wells Fargo & Co.
• Henkel AG & Co KGaA (ETR:HEN3) (FRA:HEN3) dropped 4 percent as the German consumer goods group’s sales missed projections The owner of Persil and Schwarzkopf brands posted third-quarter organic revenue growth of 2.5 percent, falling short of analysts’ expectations for a growth of 3.4 percent.
• London Stock Exchange Group Plc (LON:LSE) reported flat first-half net profits, despite a 7 percent rise in revenue. The British exchange group said earnings after taxation stood at 116.0 million pounds ($184 million) in the six months to September 30, compared with 116.1 million pounds in the year-ago period.
• Activist investor Nelson Peltz is planning to increase his stake in French food major Groupe Danone SA (EPA:BN) to gain a say in its management, according to a report in the financial news site Wansquare.
• Dutch package delivery company TNT Express NV (AMS:TNTE), which has agreed to be acquired by United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS), has sold its airlines operations to ASL Aviation Group.
• Melrose plc (LON:MRO) tumbled 11 percent in London after the investment company said revenue growth in the period since July 1 has slowed compared with the first half of the year, and its sales outlook for 2013 has become more uncertain.
• Telecom Italia S.p.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TI) (BIT:TIT) fell 3.4 percent after business daily Il Sole 24 Ore said Italy’s biggest telecoms group may call off the possible spin-off of its fixed-line network.
• British waste and water company Pennon Group plc (LON:PNN) slumped 3 percent as Barclays Plc downgraded the stock to “equal weight”, the equivalent of hold, from “overweight.”
• Man Strategic Holdings PLC (LON:EMG) lost 0.5 percent after the struggling hedge fund giant said it was planning to sell its remaining Lehman Brothers exposure for $456 million in cash.
• Indian federal authorities are investigating claims that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) violated the country’s foreign exchange rules, according to a Reuters report.
• Chinese internet company SINA Corp