• US: Dow: 12838.00 (0.30%), S&P 500: 1392.50 (0.30%), NASDAQ: 2610.00 (0.54%)
• Europe: CAC: 3503.82 (0.16%), DAX: 7263.88 (0.26%), FTSE: 5808.11 (0.29%).
• Asia-Pacific: Australia: 4413.00 (0.00%), China: 2027.38 (0.58%), Hong Kong: 21913.98 (0.78%), India: 5626.60 (-0.02%), Japan: 9366.80 (0.00%).
• Metals: Gold: 1733.20 (0.07%), Silver: 33.42 (0.62%), Copper: 3.50 (-0.57%)
• Energy: Crude Oil: 87.27 (0.40%), Natural Gas: 3.86 (2.01%)
• Commodities: Corn: 7.45 (-0.02%), Soya Bean: 14.07 (-0.42%), Wheat: 8.59 (0.00%)
• Currency: EUR/USD: 1.2929 (0.33%), GBP/USD: 1.5948 (0.08%), USD/JPY: 82.3400 (-0.15%)
• 10 year US Treasury: 1.676% (-0.003)
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Financial and Economic News Update
U.S. stock-index futures rise: U.S. stock-index futures are pointing to a higher open on Friday, encouraged by signs of consumer strength at the start of the holiday shopping season. No major economic reports are scheduled for release on Friday. The U.S. stock market will close at 1 P.M. ET.
European markets modestly higher: European markets were up in trade today, helped by better than expected German business confidence data. The German DAX (INDEXDB:DAX) edged 0.3 percent higher at 7263.88, the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) added 0.3 percent to 5808.11 and the CAC 40 (INDEXEURO:PX1) gained 0.2 percent to 3503.82. The euro zone blue-chip ESTX 50 PR.EUR (INDEXSTOXX:SX5E) (Euro Stoxx 50) was trading 0.1 percent higher.
Asian markets end mostly higher: Asian markets closed higher on Friday amid signs of improvement in manufacturing in some of the world’s biggest economies. The HANG SENG INDEX (INDEXHANGSENG:HIS) ended up 0.8 percent on the day and 3.6 percent on the week at 21,914 points, while the SSE Composite Index (SHA:000001) (Shanghai Composite Index) closed 0.6 percent higher on Friday and up 0.6 percent this week. Japan’s NIKKEI 225 (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) was closed for a public holiday. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) index and the benchmark Indian 30-share BSE SENSITIVE (INDEXBOM:SENSEX) index were flat in trade today.
Company News Update
• Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) could be active in trade today as investors assess the status of Black Friday sales, traditionally the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the U.S.
• General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s financing arm will pay about $4.2 billion for the European and Latin American auto lending operations of Ally Financial Inc.
• Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (LON:RB) has signed a deal to acquire U.S. vitamin maker Schiff Nutrition International Inc (NYSE:SHF) for $1.4 billion, after outbidding Germany’s Bayer AG (ETR:BAYN) (FRA:BAYN).
• American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) said Thursday it is forming a joint venture with Chinese state-owned insurer The People’s Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. to sell life insurance in the world’s second-largest economy.
• Research in Motion Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) jumped 11 percent in early morning trade after National Bank analyst Kris Thompson raised his price target on the BlackBerry maker’s shares to $15 from $12.
• Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE:KMP) said December crude shipments on its Trans Mountain oil pipeline system were oversubscribed by 70 percent.
• U.S. financial services firm State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT) is planning to set up a fund-management company in China, and is looking at forming a joint venture with a local trust firm.
• Video technology provider Kit digital, Inc. (NASDAQ:KITD)’s former chief executive, Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, said he would be willing to lead a private equity-backed buyout of the company, acoording to a Reuters report.
• Disk drive maker OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) disclosed it was under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, after the company failed to file a required business report for its latest quarter.
• Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) could be in focus today after rating agency Fitch on Thursday downgraded the debt rating of the Japanese electronics giant to “junk” status.
• Clothing maker PVH Corp (NYSE:PVH) was raised to “neutral” from “sell” by analysts at CL King.
• European aerospace group EADS NV (EPA:EAD) dropped 1.6 percent amid reports that the German government will buy 3 percent of shares in EADS from France.
• Swiss bank UBS AG (USA) (NYSE:UBS) is close to a settlement with regulators in Britain and Switzerland for failure to control a $2.3 billion rogue trading loss, according to a report in The Financial Times.
• SABMiller plc (LON:SAB), the world’s second-biggest brewer, is up 1 percent in London after reporting a 12 per cent rise in first half profit on Thursday, helped by strong growth in emerging markets.
• Dutch banking and insurance group Delta Lloyd NV (AMS:DL) has cancelled the sale of its German insurance unit to Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NYSE:NMR) (TYO:8604), according to a Reuters report.
• London-listed Kazakh miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (LON:ENRC) jumped 2 percent after the firm announced that it was increasing the role of Chairman Mehmet Dalman; a move that analysts believe should assuage investor worries about its corporate governance.
• Carrefour SA (EPA:CA), Metro AG (ETR:MEO) (FRA:MEO) and Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc (LON:MRW) were trading significantly lower on Friday after Nomura downgraded its view on the European supermarkets sector to neutral from bullish citing economic weakness in the region.
• French telecom operator Iliad SA (EPA:ILD) climbed 3 percent after analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to “overweight,” a recommendation similar to buy, from “equal weight.”
• Cupid PLC (LON:CUP) rose 0.6 percent after The Independent reported that the U.K. dating agency may be a takeover target.
• Finnish mining machinery maker Outotec Oyj (HEL:OTE1V) soared 7 percent after predicting that its sales and operating margin will increase in 2013, driven by a strong order book.
• Telecom Italia S.p.A. (ADR) (NYSE:TI) (BIT:TIT) was upgraded to “neutral” from “underweight” by analysts at HSBC Plc.
• The Indian joint venture of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has suspended five people, including chief financial officer Pankaj Madan, as part of a probe by the retail giant into alleged bribery at some of its overseas units.
• Mining giant Rio Tinto plc (ADR) (NYSE:RIO) (LON:RIO) (ASX:RIO) has received approval from the Australian government for the $1.8 billion expansion of its Yandicoogina iron-ore project in eastern Pilbara.
• Chinese insurers were among the biggest gainers in Hong Kong trading after insurance premiums in the country jumped 7.3 percent in the first ten months of the year to 1.31 trillion yuan ($210 billion). China Life Insurance Company Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LFC) (HKG:2628) (SHA:601628) rose 2.4 percent and Ping An Insurance (Grp) Co of China Ltd. (HKG:2318) (SHA:601318) climbed 1 percent.
• Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) surged 6.7 percent in Sydney after it said on Thursday that it would start operation at the $900 million rare-earth refinery in Malaysia. Macquarie Group Ltd. upgraded the stock to “outperform” from “underperform” following the announcement.
• South Korean steelmaker POSCO (ADR) (NYSE:PKX) is seeking out strategic investors for its 1.4 billion Australian dollars ($1.45 billion) stake in the Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia, Reuters reported.
• Citic Pacific (HKG:0267) gained 1.4 percent in Hong Kong after it was granted an injunction in relation to disputed royalties at the $8 billion Sino Iron project in Western Australia.
• Ausdrill Limited (ASX:ASL) tumbled 15 percent to hit a two-year low after the mining services company said its full year revenue was expected to decline by $50 million.
• Private equity giant The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) and Chinese agri-business company New Hope Group are in the final round of bidding for Australian poultry processor Inghams Enterprises, according to a Reuters report.
• India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited (NSE:RANBAXY) (BOM:500359) fell 3.3 percent amid news that it is recalling Atorvastatin, the generic version of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)’s blockbuster drug Lipitor, in the U.S.