Stock market news

Morning Market Update  

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Friday include: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNCR), Research In Motion Limited (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM), Prologis Inc (NYSE:PLD), Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG), Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL), Aon PLC (NYSE:AON), magicJack VocalTec Ltd (NASDAQ:CALL) and MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE:WFR).

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow Futures: 12926.00 (-0.59%), S&P 500 Futures: 1402.30 (-0.60%), NASDAQ Futures: 2611.25 (-0.43%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3637.94 (-1.00%), DAX: 7612.39 (-0.57%), FTSE: 5922.50 (-0.54%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4671.30 (0.50%), China: 2233.25 (1.22%), Hong Kong: 22666.59 (0.21%), India: 5908.35 (0.65%), Japan: 10395.18 (0.69%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1660.00 (-0.22%), Silver: 30.13 (-0.36%), Copper: 3.59 (-0.26%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 91.04 (0.19%), Natural Gas: 3.40 (-0.44%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 6.93 (-0.18%), Soya Bean: 14.22 (-0.30%), Wheat: 7.82 (-0.26%)
•    Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3212 (-0.18%), GBP/USD: 1.6131 (0.19%), USD/JPY: 86.0700 (-0.03%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.701% (-0.036)

Market and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures fall: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a lower open on Friday as President Barack Obama is set to meet congressional leaders from both parties at the White House at 3 P.M. Investors are nervously looking to Washington to see if a solution can be found to the fast-approaching fiscal cliff. On the economic front, November pending home sales numbers will be out at 10 A.M. and crude inventory data is due at 11 A.M.

European markets trading lower: European markets fell in trade today, with the German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) down 0.6 percent to 7612.39 points, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) lost 0.5 percent to5922.50 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) is down 1 percent at 3637.94 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) tumbled 1 percent on Friday.

Asian markets end higher: Asian markets closed higher on Friday, with the NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) hitting a 21-month high amid a weaker yen. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) ended up 0.2 percent on the day and 0.7 percent on the week at 22,666.6 points, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) jumped 1.2 percent on Friday.. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index rose 23.3 points to end at 4,671.3, its highest close since June 2, 2011. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index closed 0.7 percent higher.

Stocks to Watch

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

A Chinese court has fined Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for hosting third-party applications on its App store that were selling unlicensed electronic books. The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court ordered Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to pay a total of 1.03 million yuan ($165,908) to eight Chinese writers and two companies for violating their copyrights, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. This is the latest in a string of legal setbacks that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has faced in that country. In July, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) paid 60 million yuan to Proview Technology, to settle a lawsuit related to the iPad trademark in China. Apple Inc.

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) said the U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation to look into its allegations that Autonomy Corp. misrepresented its performance before it was acquired by the compute maker last year. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) had last month booked an $8.8 billion write-down related to Autonomy after finding that some revenue had been recorded prematurely. Shares of Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) shed 1 percent in New York pre-market trading.

Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNCR), Research In Motion Limited(TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM)

Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNCR) has agreed to acquire cloud-services company NewBay from Research In Motion Limited (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) for $55.5 million in cash. Dublin-based NewBay was acquired by Research In Motion Limited (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) in 2011. Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNCR) expects to book a restructuring charge in the first quarter of next year related to the acquisition. Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNCR) shares fell 10 cents to close at $20.49 on Thursday, while shares of Research In Motion Limited (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) fell 6 cents to $11.70 in morning trade.

Prologis Inc (NYSE:PLD)

Real estate investment trust Prologis Inc (NYSE:PLD) has announced that its co-CEO Walter Rakowich will retire at the end of the year.  Rakowich will be succeeded by Hamid Moghadam, as announced earlier, when the company merged with AMB. Shares of Prologis Inc (NYSE:PLD) were inactive in pre-market.

Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG)

Industrial and medical gases distributor Airgas, Inc. (NYSE:ARG) has agreed to acquire equipment rental and services company D&D Power for an undisclosed amount. Texas-based D&D, which primarily supplies mobile power generation services, had reported revenue of $25 million this year.

Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER)

Biopharmaceutical company Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER) said its treatment for reducing pain in patients undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery did not meet some goals in a late-stage clinical trial. Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER) plans to hold another study of the drug called OMS103HP in the first half of next year. Shares of Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ:OMER) were inactive in early trade.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL)

Cruise-line operator Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) has ordered its third Oasis-class vessel for delivery in mid-2016, with an option to order a fourth vessel with a mid-year 2018 delivery. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The third Oasis-class vessel will be built at STX France’s Saint-Nazaire shipyard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) Richard Fain had said in October that the company was in talks to order a sister ship to its 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) were down in early morning trade.


Insurance provider Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) has been reprimanded by Singapore’s financial regulator for allowing two of its employees to provide investment advice for products they weren’t authorized to advise on. The Monetary Authority of Singapore however did not levy a fine. Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) spokespeople declined to comment on the matter. Aon PLC (NYSE:AON) shares were inactive before the opening bell.

magicJack VocalTec Ltd (NASDAQ:CALL)

magicJack VocalTec Ltd (NASDAQ:CALL) has raised its fourth-quarter and full-year estimate citing strong sales and lower expenses. Separately, magicJack VocalTec Ltd (NASDAQ:CALL) has named chairman Gerald Vento as CEO, effective January 1, and said Donald Burns will succeed Vento as chairman. Shares of magicJack VocalTec Ltd (NASDAQ:CALL) jumped in early trade.

MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE:WFR)

MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE:WFR) said Emmanuel Hernandez, the former chief financial officer of SunPower Corp., will replace John Marren as chairman of the board. Shares of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE:WFR) were inactive pre-market.

Economic Calendar for Friday, December 28, 2012:

09:45 A.M. ET:    Chicago Purchasing Managers’ Index (December)
10:00 A.M. ET:    Pending Home Sales (YoY) (November)
10:00 A.M. ET:    Pending Home Sales (MoM) (August)
10:00 A.M. ET:    New Home Sales (MoM) (November)
10:00 A.M. ET:    New Home Sales Change (MoM) (October)
10:30 A.M. ET:    EIA Natural Gas Report (Week ending Friday, December 21, 2012)
11:00 A.M. ET:    EIA Petroleum Status Report (Week ending Friday, December 21)