Market Snapshot

Asia: Japan +0.8% to 19733. Hong Kong +2% to 27822. China -1.6% to 4309, India +0.4% to 27324.
Europe: London +0.5%. Paris +0.6%. Frankfurt +0.4%.
Futures: Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude -0.5% to $59.59. Gold -1% to $1212.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -4 bps to 2.2%.

Economic News

8:30 Empire State Manufacturing Survey
9:15 Industrial Production
10:00 UofM Consumer Sentiment
10:00 E-Commerce Retail Sales

Key earnings before the open



U.S. stock futures pointed to another day of gains for Wall Street on Friday, with the S&P poised to march further into record territory, as investors wait for fresh manufacturing data. The data will be will be closely watched with its implications for the Fed in view. At 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, the Empire State manufacturing index is due, forecast to improve to 5.5 in May from negative 1.2 in April.

At 9:15 a.m. Eastern, industrial production and capacity utilization — both for April — are scheduled for release. The University of Michigan reading on consumer sentiment comes out at 10 a.m. Eastern, and is predicted to show a pullback in May from 95.9 in April.

Save for Shanghai, global equities were mostly higher overnight, following the record close on Nasdaq yesterday and as bond markets calmed after recent turbulence. However, not all are convinced by the lull, with Credit Suisse predicting a “multi-year bear market” due to improving economic data and the anticipation that a rise in inflation will encourage investors to exit safe havens.

The Senate has voted 65-33 to hold a debate on a bill that would give the president the ability to “fast-track” trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The approval came just two days after the chamber blocked a similar measure and indicates that the bill will be authorized. However, fast-track faces much opposition in the House, due to concerns about currency manipulation, the freedom it gives to presidents and the potential effect on American jobs.


The SEC is reviewing the mysterious filing in which an entity called PTG Capital Partners said it had made an $8B offer to acquire Avon Products (AVP). The newspaper and others seem to have had little success in confirming the veracity of the document, which, if false, may have exposed the fallibility of the Edgar system. Avon’s shares surged on news of the apparent bid and closed up 6% despite the company saying it hadn’t received any proposal.

A two-week frenzy of auctions at Sotheby’s (BID), Christie’s and Phillips is set to end today, with a record $2.7B worth of art having changed hands so far. The figure trumps the $2.3B sold in November and the $2.2B a year ago. Among the highlights was Pablo Picasso painting “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”),” which fetched a cool $179.4M.

Baidu has fired eight executives, including senior sales and marketing managers, following the recent launch of a bribery probe. In a memo, Baidu (BIDU) accused the executives of “criminal behavior” and breaking with “company morality.” The authorities have begun investigations and five of the managers have been detained.

Shares in King Digital Entertainment, which makes the “Candy Crush” mobile phone game, dropped sharply in post-market trading after the company forecast seasonal softness in the middle of the year based on its game release schedule. And while King’s (KING) Q1 net profit climbed 29% to $164M and EPS of $0.61 beat analysts’ expectations, revenue fell 6.1% to $570M.

Netflix has held discussions with China’s Wasu Media, which is backed by Jack Ma, about entering the country, whose online video market is expected to almost triple to 90B yuan ($14.5B) within three years, Bloomberg reports. The WSJ adds that Netflix (NFLX) has also spoken to BesTV New Media. The U.S. company needs a local partner due to the government’s strict rules over the licensing of online content.

Brazilian investigators believe 6.19B reais ($2.1B) in bribes were paid in the corruption scheme involving Petrobras (PBR). Prosecutors yesterday charged four former members of congress with money laundering, embezzlement and other crimes related to the case. Since the start of the investigation in March 2014, four ex-Petrobras executives and at least 23 construction executives have been indicted for crimes such as corruption and money laundering.

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