Stock market news

Morning Market Update  

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Monday include: Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA), Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN), Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX), Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT), Pan American Silver Corp. (TSE:PAA) (NASDAQ:PAAS), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP (TSE:BEP.UN), Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) and Pengrowth Energy Corp (TSE:PGF) (NYSE:PGH).

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow Futures: 13105.00 (-0.24%), S&P 500 Futures: 1422.50 (-0.24%), NASDAQ Futures: 2649.00 (-0.43%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3652.61 (-0.24%), DAX: 7636.23 (-0.00%), FTSE: 5951.71 (0.20%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4635.20 (0.25%), China: 2159.05 (0.27%), Hong Kong: 22541.18 (0.15%), India: 5855.75 (0.14%), Japan: 9940.06 (0.00%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1662.30 (0.13%), Silver: 30.14 (-0.21%), Copper: 3.56 (-0.34%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 88.49 (-1.10%), Natural Gas: 3.36 (-0.03%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 7.05 (0.97%), Soya Bean: 14.31 (1.75%), Wheat: 7.93 (0.25%)
•    Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3208 (0.15%), GBP/USD: 1.6168 (-0.02%), USD/JPY: 84.5800 (0.40%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.777% (0.014)

Market and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures fall: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a lower open on Monday amid investors concerns that a U.S. budget deal to avert the “fiscal cliff” would not get done before the end of the year. Trading volume is expected to be light in the shortened session. Markets will be closed on Tuesday for Christmas.

European markets trading mixed: European markets are mixed in trade today with the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) up 0.2 percent at 5951.71 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) down 0.2 percent to 3652.61 points. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) was closed for a public holiday. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was down 0.6 percent

Asian markets end higher: Asian markets closed higher on Monday, with the HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) up 0.2 percent at 22541.18, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) gained 0.3 percent to 2159.05 points. The NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) was closed for trading. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index added 0.3 percent to end at 4635.20 points. The benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index finished 0.1 percent higher.

Stocks to Watch

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares moved lower after the New York Times reported that Windows 8 sales had disappointed PC makers as well as analysts. According to data from market research firm NPD, U.S. stores sold 13 percent less Windows devices from late October, when Windows 8 was launched, through the first week in December, than in the same period last year.

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF)
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) fell in early trade after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Birmingham bank is the subject of a federal inquiry into allegations that it improperly classified certain loans that went bad during the financial crisis. The newspaper cited depositions filed as part of a civil lawsuit against the bank. Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment on the report.

Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA)
Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA) said late Friday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its inhaled schizophrenia and bipolar disorder treatment Adasuve. The FDA’s approval comes close to a month after European health regulators recommended approval of Adasuve. Alexza Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXA) said it expects the drug to be available for commercial launch early in the third quarter of 2013. Alexza Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s shares fell 71 cents in the pre-market trading to $5.08.

Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO)
Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) has acquired a 59 percent interest in a residential complex in Manhattan, in a deal that values the property at $844.8 million. The Independence Plaza is a 1,328-unit residential complex in lower Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, with 54,500 square feet (5,063 square meters) of retail space and 550 parking spaces. New Jersey-based Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) had last year acquired a 51 percent stake in the property’s subordinated debt for $45 million and a warrant to buy 25 percent of its equity for $1 million. Shares of Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) were inactive in pre-market.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN)
Animal-protection organization Humane Society of the United States Chief Executive Wayne Pacelle has dropped his pursuit of a seat on Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN)’s board.  Pacelle had said in October that he was seeking the board seat to urge Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) to take steps to phase out crates that constrain the movement of female pigs. Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) is the second-largest U.S. pork processor. Activist investor Carl Icahn had served as an adviser in Pacelle’s bid.

Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX)
Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX) has entered into an agreement with India’s Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Limited (NSE:GLENMARK) (BOM:532296) to develop inhibitors to treat chronic inflammatory conditions. Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX) will make a $6 million upfront payment to Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Limited (NSE:GLENMARK) (BOM:532296), and will have the option to obtain exclusive licensing rights upon the completion of phase 1 clinical trials. Shares of Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX) were inactive in early trade.

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT)

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) has acquired all the assets of Canadian software engineering firm CDL Systems Ltd. for an undisclosed amount. CDL Systems, founded in 1992, specializes in developing and licensing vehicle control station software for unmanned systems. Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) had earlier announced that it would reorganize its electronic systems operation into two businesses and create the Mission Systems and Training, and Missiles and Fire Control units, effective December 31, 2012. “CDL Systems will be an important addition to our Mission Systems and Training business,” Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) CEO Bob Stevens said in a statement.

Pan American Silver Corp. (TSE:PAA) (NASDAQ:PAAS)
Pan American Silver Corp. (TSE:PAA) (NASDAQ:PAAS) has suspended work at its Navidad silver mine project in Argentina’s Chubut province amid uncertainty surrounding a proposed bill that could sharply raise taxes on the industry. Pan American Silver Corp. (TSE:PAA) (NASDAQ:PAAS) said if the legislation becomes law the Navidad project would become uneconomic. Pan American Silver Corp. (TSE:PAA) (NASDAQ:PAAS) has so far spent around $82.5 million on developing the project.

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE)
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) will sell its stake in the Maine hydroelectric plants and storage reservoirs to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP (TSE:BEP.UN), in a deal valued at $760 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), the largest U.S. renewable-energy generator, said the deal involves 19 hydroelectric facilities and eight storage reservoir dams with a total capacity of 351 megawatts. NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) and Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP (TSE:BEP.UN), were both unchanged in morning trade.

Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX)
Warner Brothers, a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), said “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was the No. 1 film for the second consecutive weekend, grabbing around $36.7 million in North American ticket sales. The second weekend of movie saw a 57 percent drop in domestic tickets sales from its opening weekend. Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) shares were inactive before the opening bell.

Pengrowth Energy Corp (TSE:PGF) (NYSE:PGH)
Canadian oil and natural gas producer Pengrowth Energy Corp (TSE:PGF) (NYSE:PGH) will sell its 10 percent stake in the Weyburn assets in Saskatchewan province to Omers Energy Inc. and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for $315 million. Pengrowth Energy Corp (TSE:PGF) (NYSE:PGH) said it will use the proceeds from the sale to

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