Stock market news

Morning Market Update 

Stocks that are expected to trade actively in U.S. markets on Monday include: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), Conceptus, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPTS), J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), Loews Corporation (NYSE:L), Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), Actavis Inc (NYSE:ACT), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (ADR) (NYSE:MTU), Eaton Corporation, PLC Ordinary Shares (NYSE:ETN), ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) and Capstone Mining Corp (TSE:CS).

Market Levels

•    US:  Dow Futures: 14708.00 (0.40%), S&P 500 Futures: 1582.00 (0.35%), NASDAQ Futures: 2843.25 (0.45%)
•    Europe: CAC: 3851.25 (1.07%), DAX: 7851.18 (0.46%), FTSE: 6438.86 (0.19%)
•    Asia-Pacific: Australia: 5125.80 (0.56%), China: 2177.91 (0.00%), Hong Kong: 22580.77 (0.15%), India: 5904.10 (0.56%), Japan: 13884.13 (0.00%).
•    Metals: Gold: 1472.80 (1.32%), Silver: 24.35 (2.07%), Copper: 3.23 (1.37%)
•    Energy: Crude Oil: 93.33 (0.35%), Natural Gas: 4.30 (1.70%)
•    Commodities: Corn: 6.32 (-0.76%), Soya Bean: 13.81 (0.80%), Wheat: 6.99 (-1.64%)
•    Currency: EUR/USD: 1.3089 (0.45%), GBP/USD: 1.5514 (0.27%), USD/JPY: 97.7600 (-0.30%)
•    10 year US Treasury: 1.654% (-0.010)

Market and Economic News Update

U.S. stock-index futures rise: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a higher open on Monday after consumer spending increased more than expected in March. Consumer spending and income both increased 0.2 percent in March, the Commerce Department said today. Economists were expecting personal spending growth to be flat last month. In other economic news, pending home sales data will be released at 10 A.M. ET. Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX) and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) will report quarterly results after the close.

European markets gain: European markets are up in trade today, after Italy formed a new government, that analysts believe is more market friendly than the other alternatives that had been considered earlier. Prime Minister Enrico Letta and his new cabinet were sworn in on Sunday. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) gained 0.5 percent to 7851.18 points, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) added 0.2 percent to 6438.86 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) jumped 1.2 percent to 3851.25 points. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) rallied 0.8 percent on Monday.

Asian markets edge higher: Asian stocks closed higher in a quite session on Monday, as markets in Tokyo and Shanghai were closed for public holidays. Investors were cautious ahead of key global economic data later in the week that include U.S. non-farm payrolls figures for April and monthly manufacturing data from China. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) was flat at 22,530 points. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index closed 10 points below Friday’s one-month high of 5,135.

Stocks in News

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)

Top JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) executive Frank Bisignano is expected to leave as soon as this week, the New York Times reported on Sunday. Bisignano, co-chief operating officer at the country’s largest bank, will become the CEO of Atlanta-based payment-processing company First Data Corp. Bisignano was considered to be one of the most trusted allies of Chief Executive James Dimon, and was promoted to co-COO in July along with Matt Zames.

Conceptus, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPTS)

Contraceptive devices maker Conceptus, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPTS) has agreed to be acquired by Germany’s Bayer AG (ETR:BAYN) (FRA:BAYN) for $1.1 billion in cash. Conceptus, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPTS) shareholders will receive $31 a share in cash, 20 percent above the stock’s closing price on Friday. The deal, expected to close by mid-year 2013, is subject to anti-trust approval in the U.S. Conceptus, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPTS) had last year reported adjusted EBITDA of $28.2 million, on sales of $141 million.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP)

Two hedge funds are buying into department-store operator J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), according to a report published in the New York Post. The funds, whose names were not disclosed, were buying in the $15 range. Last week, George Soros had revealed a 7.9 percent stake in the troubled retailer. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) shares soared 3 percent in Monday pre-market trading.

Loews Corporation (NYSE:L)

Loews Corporation (NYSE:L)’s fourth-quarter earnings slid 34 percent due to higher impairment charge and a drop in net investment income. Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) reported first quarter profit of $242 million or 62 cents a share, down from $367 million, or 92 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue was flat at $3.73 billion. During the period, Loews Corporation (NYSE:L) booked an impairment charge of $92 million at its HighMount Exploration & Production unit related to the carrying value of its oil and natural gas properties.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX), Actavis Inc (NYSE:ACT)

Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX)’s merger talks with Actavis Inc (NYSE:ACT) were put on hold after the two companies failed to agree on the terms of a deal. The generic drug makers had been in talks for some time, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) was seeking to buy Actavis Inc (NYSE:ACT) for more than $13 billion in stock. Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) had a market capitalization of over $22 billion as of Friday’s close, while Actavis Inc (NYSE:ACT) had a market value of $12.9 billion.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) said venture capitalist James Breyer will step down as a director and will not stand for re-election at the company’s annual meeting on June 11. Breyer’s departure will be the first by a director since the social networking site’s initial public offering in May. Breyer’s Accel Partners was an early Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) backer, and made an investment of about $12.7 million in 2005, which resulted in an 11 percent stake in the company, post the IPO. Shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) were up a percent in before-hours trading.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (ADR) (NYSE:MTU)

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (ADR) (NYSE:MTU) is in talks to buy Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)’s trust-banking assets, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. According to the report, UnionBanCal Corp, the Japanese bank’s San Francisco-based unit, is expected to acquire the assets. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (ADR) (NYSE:MTU) is Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS)’s biggest shareholder, with a stake of around 22 percent, and had acquired UnionBanCal in 2008.

Eaton Corporation, PLC Ordinary Shares (NYSE:ETN)

Eaton Corporation, PLC Ordinary Shares (NYSE:ETN) reported better than expected first quarter earnings, helped by its acquisition of Cooper Industries last year, but revenue fell short of Street estimates amid a slowdown in global demand. Eaton reported operating earnings of 84 cents per share on sales of $5.31 billion, compared to analysts’ estimates of earnings of 79 cents per share on revenue of $5.42 billion. Electrical product sales rose 87 percent, while sales in the electrical systems and services business rose 79 percent. In addition, Eaton Corp. backed its full-year guidance.

ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG)

ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) is recalling packages of its Orville Redenbacher’s Classic Kettle popcorn as they might contain an undeclared allergen. The packaged-food company said that certain bags might have been inadvertently filled with white cheddar flavored popcorn, which contains milk that might trigger allergies in certain people. There were no illnesses reported to date in connection with this product, the company said in a statement. ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) shares closed Friday at $35.28 and were unchanged pre-market.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS)

PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP has resigned as the auditor of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS). The accounting firm has served as the casino operator’s auditor since it became a public company in 2004. Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) spokesman Ron Reese said the decision had nothing to do with the company’s disclosure last month that it probably violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Capstone Mining Corp (TSE:CS)

Vancouver-based Capstone Mining Corp (TSE:CS) has agreed to buy BHP Billiton Limited (ADR) (NYSE:BHP)’s Pinto Valley copper mine in Arizona and an associated railroad for $650 million. The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of the year. The agreement takes BHP Billiton Limited (ADR) (NYSE:BHP)’s total asset sales to $5 billion over the past 12 months. Mining giants like BHP Billiton Limited (ADR) (NYSE:BHP) and Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO) have been selling non-core assets to shore up earnings and boost shareholder returns.

Economic Calendar for Monday, April 29, 2013:

08:30 A.M. ET:    Personal Income (MoM) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Personal Spending (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Core Personal Consumption Expenditure – Prices Index (YoY) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Core Personal Consumption Expenditure – Price Index (MoM) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Personal Consumption Expenditures – Price Index (YoY) (March)
08:30 A.M. ET:    Personal Consumption Expenditures – Price Index (MoM) (March)
10:00 A.M. ET:    Pending Home Sales (YoY) (March)
10:00 A.M. ET:    Pending Home Sales (MoM) (March)
10:30 A.M. ET:    Dallas Fed Manufacturing Business Index (April)
11:30 A.M. ET:    3-Month Bill Auction
11:30 A.M. ET:    6-Month Bill Auction