Market Snapshot

Asia: Japan +0.5% to 19379. Hong Kong +1.1% to 27577. China +2.3% to 4207. India +1.9% to 27105.
Europe: London +1.8%. Paris +0.7%. Frankfurt +0.4%.
Futures: Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude +0.2% to $59.04. Gold +0.4% to $1186.50.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -6 bps to 2.18%

Economic News

8:30 Non-farm payrolls
10:00 Wholesale Trade

Key earnings before the open



U.S. stock-index futures rose sharply after the release of nonfarm-payrolls data this morning, which showed a healthy pace of job growth in April. The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate fell to 5.4%, in line with expectations.

David Cameron is on course to return to Downing Street with exit polls displaying a strong Conservative victory, but it was the Scottish National Party that made headlines – claiming most of the seats in Scotland. U.K shares and currency markets reacted swiftly to the preliminary results, with sterling up 1.5% at $1.5467 and the FTSE 100 up 1.8%. A Conservative win would likely also see the U.K. heading to the polls again in 2017, voting on whether or not to remain part of the EU.

Australia’s central bank has lowered its forecast for economic growth, citing uncertainty from the end of a decade-long mining boom and a slowdown in China. The economy is now on track to grow by just 2.5% in 2015, well below levels required to lower unemployment, now at decade highs. On Tuesday, the RBA cut its cash rate target to a record low 2.0% from 2.25%, but offered no guidance on the outlook for policy in the second half of the year.

Stocks across Asia rebounded today following a stretch of global turmoil, although a heavy three-day selloff still leaves Chinese stocks heading for their biggest weekly loss in five years. China’s exports unexpectedly fell 6.4% in April from a year earlier, while imports dropped by a deeper-than-forecast 16.2%, boosting more expectations that Beijing will quickly roll out more stimulus. The Shanghai Composite Index is now up 2.3%, although it remains down nearly 6% for the week.

President Obama is slated to make a major pitch for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership at Nike (NKE) today as part of a high-stakes push to win fast-track authority. If the authority is passed and the TPP deal is sealed, Nike said, it would accelerate its U.S. investment and spur as many as 10,000 domestic manufacturing and engineering jobs, thousands of construction jobs, and up to 40,000 jobs elsewhere in its supply chain over 10 years.


Blackstone (BX) has secured more $17B for its latest global fund in just seven months, as investors bet that flush times lie ahead for private equity. At that level, Blackstone Capital Partners VII will be one of the biggest funds raised by the firm in its 30-year history. Blackstone’s previous buyout fund, Blackstone Capital Partners VI, raised $15.2B and reported a net IRR of 14% at the end of March.

Bright House Networks is apparently preparing to abandon its $10.4B deal to be bought by Charter Communications (CHTR). While there are still two weeks left to a 30-day renegotiation period, an agreement does not look likely. The deal was contingent on a successful Comcast (CMCSA) purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC) – a plan that was dropped on April 24.

Health/fitness band leader Fitbit has filed for an IPO, planning to raise up to $100M under the symbol FIT. The company had 2014 revenue of $745.4M (+175% Y/Y), and net income of $131.8M. Q1 2015 revenue totaled $336.7M (+209% Y/Y), and net income $48M.

Despite pressure from some shareholders, GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) new chairman Philip Hampton threw his support behind the company’s current structure and CEO at the drugmaker’s annual meeting yesterday, saying he hoped Andrew Witty would continue to run GSK for a good length of time. When asked about the potential for a future break-up of the company and spin-off of its consumer health division, Hampton said it was not obvious that such a move was warranted.

Hutchison Whampoa plans to sell a one-third stake in its British mobile phone business for $4.3B to five investors – a move that will help it fund its boldest bet in Europe yet. In January, Hutchison (HUWHY) agreed to buy Telefonica’s (TEF) British mobile unit O2 for £10.25B ($16B), merging it with its U.K. subsidiary to create the largest wireless carrier in the country.

Microsoft currently is not weighing an offer for (CRM), saying the market valuation is too expensive. Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft (MSFT) was evaluating a bid for Salesforce after the latter was approached by another unnamed would-be buyer.

Nvidia (NVDA) shares slide after the graphics chip company provided a downbeat sales outlook.

SandRidge Energy (SD) is now the target of a federal grand jury probe concerning violations of antitrust law related to the buying and leasing of oil and gas properties. SandRidge says the transactions that are subject to the government’s inquiry date from 2012 and prior years, and is continuing to respond to the government’s requests in connection with the investigation.

Syngenta (SYT) has rejected a $45B unsolicited takeover offer from Monsanto (NYSE:MON), saying it undervalued the company and a merger would carry significant risks. Monsanto offered to acquire the company at a price of 449 Swiss francs per Syngenta share, with approximately 45% in cash.

Backed by a weaker yen and strong U.S. demand, Toyota (TM) expects to report its third straight year of record figures in fiscal 2016 – ¥2.250T in profit ($18.79B) on ¥27.5T in revenue. That compares with the ¥2.173T (+19% Y/Y) net profit the company generated in the just-ended fiscal year. Toyota also anticipates it will sell 10.15M vehicles, slightly down from the 10.168M vehicles it sold last year.

Uber has reportedly bid “as much as $3B” for Nokia’s (NOK) HERE mapping/navigation software unit, hoping to top rival bids that are already being prepped. Uber (valued at over $40B in a 2014 funding round) believes HERE and its proprietary data could further its efforts to provide logistics and ride-sharing services that require advanced geospatial mapping data.

Wal-Mart (WMT) could be in focus after the retailer said it would buy locations in Canada from rival Target (TGT).

Yelp (YELP) soared 23% yesterday following a report that stated it’s exploring a sale and has been in touch with potential buyers. Shortly afterward Bloomberg followed up on the announcement by stating that Yelp is working with Goldman to find a buyer and “may draw interest” from Priceline (PCLN), Yahoo (YHOO), Amazon (AMZN), or Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten (RKUNY).

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