Morning Market Update
• US: Dow: 12909.00 (-0.40%), S&P 500: 1399.30 (-0.43%), NASDAQ: 2627.50 (-0.26%)
• Europe: CAC: 3501.99 (-0.77%), DAX: 7283.59 (-0.35%), FTSE: 5786.98 (-0.56%).
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4424.20 (0.25%), China: 2017.46 (-0.49%), Hong Kong: 21861.81 (-0.24%), India: 5635.90 (0.17%), Japan: 9388.94 (0.24%).
• Metals: Gold: 1750.30 (-0.06%), Silver: 34.13 (0.04%), Copper: 3.53 (0.16%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 87.84 (-0.50%), Natural Gas: 3.75 (-3.87%)
• Commodities: Corn: 7.54 (0.44%), Soya Bean: 14.27 (0.91%), Wheat: 8.64 (0.29%)
• Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2961 (-0.08%), GBP/USD: 1.6010 (-0.12%), USD/JPY: 82.1200 (-0.33%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 1.654% (-0.036)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures drop: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a lower open on Monday, as investors shift their focus to “fiscal cliff” talks. No major economic or corporate reports are expected on Monday.
European markets fall: European markets were down in trade today, with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) dropping 0.4 percent to 7283.59, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) falling 0.6 percent to 5786.98 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) edging 0.7 percent lower to 3501.99. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.7 percent lower.
Asian markets end mostly lower: Asian markets closed lower on Monday with the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) down 0.2 percent at 21,861.8 points, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) shed 0.5 percent. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) rose 0.2 percent to 9,388.94 points, the highest closing level since April 27. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index closed up 11.1 points to 4,422.1. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index gained 0.2 percent.
Company News Update
• Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) will be in focus today after the National Retail Federation reported that the Black Friday weekend brought in a record $59.1 billion in sales, up 13 percent from the same period last year.
• ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is planning to sell its 8.4 percent stake in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement to the international arm of India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited (NSE:ONGC) (BOM:500312), in a deal valued at around $5 billion.
• Internet retailer Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) will hire 2500 people over the next three years for a fourth logistics hub in France.
• Knight Capital Group Inc. (NYSE:KCG) soared 15 percent in early morning trade amid reports that the trading firm expects to receive a takeover proposal as early as this week.
• UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH), the biggest U.S. health insurer, projected earnings below analyst expectations for next year, but forecast sales that topped estimates. Earnings in 2013 will be $5.25 to $5.50 a share, while revenue will be between $123 billion to $124 billion. Wall Street analysts predicted earnings of $5.58 a share and revenue of $119.4 billion.
• Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ:DWA) lost 4 percent in pre- market trading after “Rise of the Guardians” opened with weekend sales of $24 million in North American theaters. The movie was forecast to rake in $32.1 million, according to BoxOffice.com.
• Gold Fields Limited (ADR) (NYSE:GFI), the world’s fourth-largest producer of the metal, posted a drop in third-quarter earnings as strikes and a fire cut output at its South African operations.
• Canadian private equity firm Onex Corporation (TSE:OCX) will buy insurance broker USI Insurance Services LLC from GS Capital Partners for $2.3 billion.
• Regional lender BancorpSouth, Inc. (NYSE:BXS) has named James Rollins as its chief executive officer.
• Insperity Inc (NYSE:NSP) has declared a special cash dividend of $ 1 per share.
• Chinese meat and food processor Zhongpin Inc. (NASDAQ:HOGS) has agreed to merge with Golden Bridge Holdings Ltd.
• Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is up percent in early morning trade after analysts at Citigroup initiated research coverage of the stock with a buy rating and a price target of $675 a share.
• Analysts at Bernstein Research raised Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to “outperform” from “market perform.”
• Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) gained 2.4 percent in New York pre-maker trading after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its “conviction buy” list and increased its price target by 9.1 percent to $24.
• Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) fell 4 percent in London following a Reuters report that sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding had disposed off its remaining warrants (convertible securities) in the British lender.
• UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) dropped 0.5 percent after the U.K. Financial Services Authority said it was fining the Swiss investment bank 29.7 million pounds ($47.6 million) for failings to avoid a $2.3 billion trading loss.
• Aberdeen Asset Management plc (LON:ADN) said full-year pretax profit increased to 269.7 million pounds from 224.1 million in the year-ago period. Assets under management at the year-end stood at 187.2 billion pounds versus 169.9 billion pounds last year.
• Fiat Industrial SpA (BIT:FI) and its US unit CNH Global NV (ADR) (NYSE:CNH) announced they have reached a definitive agreement for their merger into a new company.
• London-listed miner Anglo American plc (LON:AAL) fell 0.6 percent after it completed the sale of a South African steel-making unit and related companies for 3.4 billion rand ($383 million) in cash.
• French cement maker Lafarge S.A. (EPA:LG) lost 2.5 percent amid political instability in Egypt. The world’s largest cement maker gets almost a fourth of its revenue from the Middle East and Africa.
• Cosmetics major L’Oreal (EPA:OR) has agreed to buy U.S.-based specialty makeup company Urban Decay from private-equity firm Castanea Partners.
• Dutch phone company Koninklijke KPN N.V. (AMS:KPN) gained 4 percent after the stock was lifted to “buy” from “neutral” at Bank of America Corp.
• Analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded German steel-maker ThyssenKrupp AG (ETR:TKA) (FRA:TKA) to “neutral” from “outperform” citing a weak outlook for next year.
• Paint maker Akzo Nobel N.V. (AMS:AKZA) slid 1.3 percent as analysts at Citigroup Inc. cut the stock to “sell” from “neutral.”
• Japanese consumer electronics giants, Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) and Panasonic Corporation (NYSE:PC) (TYO:6752) slumped in Tokyo trade after credit rating agency Fitch downgraded both companies to non-investment or “junk” on Friday.
• Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO) (LON:RIO) (ASX:RIO) managing director for China, Ian Bauert said he expects substantial demand growth for resources in coming years despite the slowdown in the Chinese economy.
• Hong Kong-listed carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (HKG:0293) fell 1 percent after Chief Executive Officer John Slosar said the airline must reduce expenses in the face of tough competition and challenging global economic conditions.
• Embattled chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corporation (TYO:6723) soared 17 percent after the Nikkei business daily reported that its shareholders have approved a bailout from a government-backed fund.
• Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) rallied 2.8 percent after the Australian Financial Review reported over the weekend that a group of former executives and investors had acquired a stake in the airline.
• British healthcare and drug major GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) (LON:GSK) is planning to raise its stake in its Indian consumer products unit to 75 percent from 43.16 percent for about $940 million, according to a Reuters report.
• Japanese energy and engineering company Hitachi, Ltd. (TYO:6501) has completed the acquisition of Britain’s Horizon Nuclear Power Limited from German utilities RWE AG (ETR:RWE) (FRA:RWE) and E.ON AG (ETR:EOAN) (FRA:EOAN).
• French car-maker Renault SA (EPA:RNO) is planning to launch a joint venture to build cars in China with the country’s second-largest automaker, Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Ltd (HKG:0489), the China Business