Asia: Japan +1.3% to 19621. Hong Kong +0.5% to 27718. China +3.1% to 4334. India +1.5% to 27507.
Europe: London +0.1%. Paris -1.5%. Frankfurt -0.5%.
Futures: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude -0.3% to $59.24. Gold -0.2% to $1186.30.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -3 bps to 2.15%
10:00 Labor market condition index
Key earnings before the open
ACT, AER, AES, BID, CNP, CRK, CVT, DF, DISH, ENDP, EVEP, FISH, FRM, GWPH, ICPT, LGND, MBLY, MGIC, MHR, NTWK, PLUG, RBC, RDNT, SSYS, TICC, VRTS, W
Key earnings after the close
AMBC, APEI, ARCW, ARNA, ASEI, ATHX, BDE, CALL, CHMI, CLNE, CYTX, DEPO, DRYS, DTSI, EAC, ELON, FF, FMC, FMI, FTEK, FXEN, GBDC, GTY, HALO, HI, IPAR, IPXL, JUNO, LPSN, MBI, MCC, MDR, MNTX, MODN, MR, MTZ, MVNR, OME, OMER, ONTY, OPK, ORIG, PAAS, PEIX, PINC, PVA, RAX, REN, SCLN, SF, SFXE, TCRD, TEP, TRQ, TTEC, UNXL, VRTU, XON, YY, ZGNX
Wall Street could struggle to push higher this morning, as investors look set to cash in on some of last week’s gains and focus begins to hover, once again, over Greece’s debt problems.
Tension is building ahead of a key meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels today which will discuss Greek debt concerns, reforms and the likelihood of an imminent deal. Although Greece seems to have enough money to meet Tuesday’s deadline for the repayment of €750M to the IMF, the country is perilously close to running out of cash and defaulting on its debt. The IMF is now working with national authorities in southeastern Europe on contingency plans for a Greek default. Euro -0.4% to $1.1157.
The bond market tantrum that lasted for most of the past three weeks seems to be cooling off as signs of mixed global economic growth revive demand for the fixed-income assets. In that time frame, the amount of bonds trading with negative yields has dropped from $3T to $1.7T in a sign that borrowing costs may have hit their floor, according to JPMorgan research. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields at Monday’s level of 2.15% have risen beyond the level economists project for mid-year, while German bunds remain little changed at 0.53%.
Meanwhile, interest-rate cuts out of China over the weekend seemed to impress few here, but Asian shares rose today as China’s central bank cut its benchmark lending rates by 25 bps to 5.1% on Sunday, its third reduction since November, as economic growth cools to levels not seen since the global financial crisis. The PBOC also reduced one-year benchmark deposit rates by 25 bps to 2.25%.
China overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest importer of crude oil in April, with purchases from overseas hitting a new high of 7.4M barrels a day and topping U.S. imports of 7.2M bpd. While China’s imports are not expected to consistently surpass those of the U.S. until the second half of this year, the move highlights how the U.S. shale revolution has cut the country’s reliance on oil from overseas – and how China’s demand has grown even as its economy slows.
The World Health Organization has declared Liberia free of Ebola, marking the end of a national outbreak that infected as many as 400 new victims a week at its peak. Liberia has now gone 42 days – twice Ebola’s maximum incubation period – since the burial of its last confirmed patient without discovering a new case. The disease is still spreading in Sierra Leone and Guinea, though at a slower pace. According to WHO statistics, more than 11,000 people have died from the virus, with about half of them in Liberia.
Airbus shares are deep in the red after the weekend crash of an A400M military transport plane during flight testing. The aircraft crashed into a field north of Seville airport in Spain on Saturday, killing four of the six crew and prompting Britain and Germany to ground the troop and cargo carrier. Airbus (EADSY) said it would continue flight testing of the A400M on Tuesday unless it discovered evidence that required the flights to stop.
Charter Communications is talking with bankers about $25B-$30B in financing to pursue a friendly transaction with Time Warner Cable (TWC). However, the biggest hurdle for the deal, aside from the regulatory climate, is price. Sixteen months ago, Charter (CHTR) wanted TWC for $132.50/share, and Comcast’s failed deal was valued around $158.82/share.
Dean Foods (DF) reported a better-than-expected adjusted profit in its first quarter and gave an upbeat outlook for the current quarter, as the company benefited from lower milk costs. Shares jumped 6.3% to $17.31 in premarket trading.
DTZ, a commercial real-estate-services firm backed by TPG Capital, has agreed to buy Cushman & Wakefield, the largest closely held commercial-property brokerage, in a deal that values the company at about $2B. The deal will alter the global commercial-real-estate-services landscape by creating a clear challenger to the two firms that have been dominating the business until now, CBRE Group and JLL.
As part of its restructuring plan, Japan’s Sharp (SHCAY) said it is considering a capital reduction and preferred share issuance, sending its stock down more than 26% today. A person familiar with the matter said the loss-making electronics firm is planning to slash its capital from more than ¥120B ($1B) to just ¥100M. Sharp expects to announce details of the capital plan, along with a $1.7B bailout from its main lenders, on Thursday.
Royal Ahold and Delhaize surged in early European trading after weekend reports that the Dutch and Belgian retailers are in talks to merge, a deal that would pool U.S. chains Stop & Shop and Food Lion. Delhaize (DEG) soared as much as 18%, while Ahold (AHONY) advanced as much as 10. Talks between the companies are at a preliminary stage.
Uber is in early talks to raise a new round of funding that could value the company at $50B. At that level, the ride-sharing service could become the most valuable venture-backed start-up in history. The new capital will not be used primarily for expansion purposes, unlike Uber’s previous financing rounds. Instead, the financing is strategic, with an eye on partnerships.
British Chancellor George Osborne is poised to fast-track a £35B sale of the government’s stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds (LYG) after the Conservatives’ election victory on Thursday. Treasury officials are examining plans for an early disposal – at a loss to the taxpayer – of RBS shares, and a discounted £4B sale of Lloyds stock to the public, the Sunday Times reported. The British government currently owns 80% of RBS (which was rescued with a £45B state bailout during the financial crisis) and owns a 21.9% stake in Lloyds, down from a peak of 40% in 2009.
Tesla’s new batteries have generated $800M in potential revenue for the company in just the first few days of reservations since their April 30 introduction, according to Bloomberg’s calculations. If the battery reservations actually turn into revenue, it would be almost as much as the company took in from car sales in the entire Q1. Demand is “crazy off-the-hook,” Tesla’s (TSLA) Elon Musk said during last Wednesday’s earnings call.
After buying 4.8M Zulily Class A shares for $56M, Alibaba (BABA) now owns a 9.3% stake in the flash deals apparel provider. Alibaba’s prior stake in Zulily (ZU) hadn’t been disclosed. Although BABA has made several forays into U.S. e-commerce, it isn’t looking to acquire Zulily outright.