Morning Market Update
- US: Dow: 12927.00 (-0.07%), S&P 500: 1404.20 (0.06%), NASDAQ: 2650.25 (0.17%)
- Europe: CAC: 3501.10 (0.00%), DAX: 7319.58 (0.38%), FTSE: 5799.39 (0.22%).
- Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4456.80 (0.74%), China: 1991.17 (-1.32%), Hong Kong: 21844.03 (-0.08%), India: 5727.45 (1.62%), Japan: 9423.30 (0.36%).
- Metals: Gold: 1748.00 (-0.09%), Silver: 34.12 (-0.05%), Copper: 3.54 (0.08%)
- Energy: Crude Oil: 87.93 (0.22%), Natural Gas: 3.74 (0.38%)
Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures largely unchanged: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a flat open on Tuesday, as investors continued to focus on lack of progress in “fiscal cliff” talks.
European markets off day’s highs: European markets gave up gains made earlier in the session and is currently trading flat. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) added 0.4 percent to7319.58 , the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) edged 0.2 percent higher at5799.39 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) was trading largely unchanged. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.1 percent higher.
Asian markets end mixed: Asian markets closed mixed on Tuesday with the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) down 0.1 percent at21844.03 points, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) shed 1.3 percent. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) rose 0.4 percent to 9423.30 points, the highest closing level since April 27. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index closed up .7 percent. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index was the best performer in the region, rallying 1.3 percent.
Company News Update
- ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) has agreed to buy packaged-food companies Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RAH) for about $5 billion in cash, creating one of the largest private-label packaged food businesses in North America.
- ADT Corp (NYSE:ADT) reported fourth quarter earnings excluding one-time items of 43 cents a share, in line with estimates. Revenue rose 2.3 percent to $812 million, missing Street expectations for $818 million.
- Casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS)’s board has approved a special dividend of $2.75 a share. The company also said it will raise its existing dividend by 40 percent to $1.40 a share starting next year.
- Recreational vehicle maker Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE:THO) posted first quarter earnings of 60 cents a share on revenue of $876 million, trailing expectations for 62 cents a share on sales of $877 million.
- Department store chain Dillard's, Inc. (NYSE:DDS) declared a special dividend of $5 per share and announced a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share.
- Children's apparel retailer Children's Place Retail Stores, INC. (NASDAQ:PLCE) announced an additional $100 million share buyback program and appointed Michael Scarpa as its new chief financial officer.
- Funeral products company Hillenbrand, Inc. (NYSE:HI) reported fourth quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, topping expectations by 6 cents a share. Revenue came in at $253.5 million, trailing estimates of $259.03 million.
- Online real estate database Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) has agreed to acquire map-based rental site HotPads for $16 million in cash.
- Insulin maker Novo Nordisk A/S (ADR) (NYSE:NVO) reported positive data on its liraglutide-based therapy for type 2 diabetes.
- Dollar General Corp. (NYSE:DG) is up 2 percent in pre-market trading after Standard & Poor’s said it’s adding the retailer to the S&P 500 index as of the close of markets November 30.
- Pentair Ltd (NYSE:PNR) projected per-share earnings of $3.10 to $3.30 on revenue of $7.7 billion for 2013. Analysts were expecting the maker of water-treatment and storage systems to report per-share profit of $3.25 and revenue of $7.92 billion.
- Financial services company BankUnited (NYSE:BKU) raised its quarterly dividend by 23.5 percent to 21 cents per share from 17 cents per share.
- Norwegian oil major Statoil ASA (NYSE:STO) said that operations on the Brugdan II well offshore the Faroe Islands will be temporarily suspended due to worsening weather conditions. Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) has 49 percent stake in the license.
- Medical device maker Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:MMSI) will acquire Thomas Medical Products Inc., a part of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE)’s health-care business, for about $167 million.
- Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD) said its experimental antipsychotic drug, pimavanserin, showed significant improvement in patients with Parkinson's disease symptoms like hallucinations and delusions of jealousy, in a late-stage trial.
- Liquor company Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BF.A) (NYSE:BF.B) declared a special dividend of $4 a share, payable on December 27 to holders of record December 12.
- Banking stocks in Europerallied after euro-zone finance ministers struck a deal on reducing Greece’s debt. HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) (HKG:0005) gained 0.5 percent, Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (ADR) (NYSE:RBS) (LON:RBS) jumped 2.8 percent and Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) rose 0.8 percent. In Germany, Commerzbank AG (ETR:CBK) (FRA:CBK) and Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) (ETR:DBK) (FRA:DBK) soared more than 2 percent. BNP Paribas SA (EPA:BNP) and Societe Generale SA (EPA:GLE) were also trading significantly higher inParis.
- Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR) (NYSE:CS) is planning to cut 100 jobs at its U.K. investment banking unit as part of a restructuring plan, The Financial Times reported.
- Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian-born chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) (AMS:MT) will meet French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday, a day after a French minister accused the world's biggest steelmaker of “lying” and “blackmail.”
- French distiller Remy Cointreau (EPA:RCO) jumped 8 percent after posting first-half operating profit that beat estimates. The company confirmed its target to “substantially” lift full-year earnings.
- Mitchells & Butlers plc (LON:MAB) reported a rise in full-year profit, but shares tanked in London trading after the bar and pub operator said it would not pay a dividend for the fourth consecutive year.
- Portugal’s biggest oil company Galp Energia SGPS SA (ELI:GALP) slid 5 percent after Eni SpA (ADR) (NYSE:E) (BIT:ENI) said late yesterday that it’s selling 49.8 million Galp shares through a bookbuilding.
- Wind- turbine maker Nordex SE (ETR:NDX1) (FRA:NDX1) surged 3 percent after winning a second large contract for a wind farm in South Africa.
- Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (NYSE:RBS) (LON:RBS) was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by analysts at UBS AG.
- Oil-services company SBM Offshore N.V. (AMS:SBMO) gained 5 percent as Barclays Plc raised the stock to “overweight” from “underweight.”
- Italian broadcaster Mediaset SpA (BIT:MS), controlled by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, rallied 3 percent after it was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” by analysts at Mediobanca.
- Japanese gaming major Nintendo Co., Ltd (TYO:7974) fell 2.1 percent despite selling out its new Wii U console in theU.S. during its first week on the market.
- China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group (HKG:1101) tumbled 6.7 percent to its lowest close in a month after billionaire Zhang Zhi Rong quit as chairman, just three months after the company posted its sharpest fall in half-year net profit.
- Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co Inc (TYO:9503) closed 2.7 percent higher after a Nikkei report said that the firm applied late Monday to raise electricity rates for companies and households from April.
- China Resources Enterprise, Limited (HKG:0291) jumped 3 percent in Hong Kong amid media reports that it plans to purchase a stake in French retailer Carrefour SA (EPA:CA).
- Australian drug-maker CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) soared 6.9 percent to close at a record high after forecasting a 20 percent rise in full-year net profit, helped by strong sales as well as royalty income from its Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine.
- Macaucasino operators closed significantly higher in trade today after Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), parent of Sands China, declared a $2.75 per share special dividend. Sands China Ltd. (HKG:1928) climbed 1.8 percent; Wynn Macau Ltd (HKG:1128) was up 2 percent, while