Asia: Japan +1.1% to 20133. Hong Kong +0.3% to 27934. China +2.5% to 4400. India +0.8% to 27890.
Europe: London -0.7%. Paris -0.6%. Frankfurt -1%.
Futures: Dow -0.5%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.4%. Crude -0.8% to $56.17. Gold flat at $1202.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2 bps to 1.92%
7:00 Mortgage Applications
9:00 FHFA House Price Index
10:00 Existing Home Sales
10:30 Oil Inventories
Key earnings before the open
ABT, ALV, AN, ANGI, APH, AZZ, BA, BABY, BK, CFG, DHI, EMC, EVR, GNTX, HBAN, KNX, KO, LAD, MCD, MKTX, NLSN, NS, OC, PCH, R, SEIC, SIX, SONS, STJ, TDY, TEL, TMO, TROW, TUP, WAB, WERN
Key earnings after the close
AF, AFOP, AHL, ALGT, AMP, AWH, BDN, CAKE, CCI, CLB, CLGX, CLW, CNMD, CTXS, CUB, CVA, CYS, EBAY, EFX, FB, FFIV, FOE, FTK, GGG, HNI, IBKC, IGT, LHO, LOGI, LVS, MKSI, NEU, OII, ORLY, PLCM, PLXS, QCOM, RJF, SCSS, SGMO, SKX, SLG, SLM, SUSQ, T, TCBI, TMK, TSCO, TXN, TYL, USTR, VMI, WFT, WSTC, XLNX
Asian stocks continued their climb higher today, with the Nikkei zooming past the key 20,000 level on new data showing a Japanese trade surplus in March for the first time in nearly three years. Meanwhile, Chinese shares found support again from the country’s recent stimulus moves as investors continued to open accounts at a record pace. Shanghai’s stock market has now nearly doubled over the past six months. Blackstone’s (BX) Steve Schwarzman says the bourse is beginning to show signs of “excess.”
Greece will not present a list of economic reforms to euro zone finance ministers on Friday, a senior EU official announced, kicking the deadline a little further down the road again. Athens previously told its euro zone partners that by the end of April it would agree with creditors on a comprehensive list of reforms, but such hopes have dimmed.
U.S. crude futures extended declines on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia concluded its military campaign in Yemen, while industry data showed a larger-than-expected build in U.S. oil inventories. Figures released by the American Petroleum Institute yesterday showed that inventories rose by 5.5M barrels last week, higher than the 2.9M barrel build expected by analysts. The EIA will issue official U.S. stocks data today at 10:30 a.m. EST.
A high-frequency trader has been arrested in London over his alleged role in the May 2010 “flash crash” that briefly sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1,000 points. The DOJ said on Tuesday it had charged Navinder Singh Sarao with 22 criminal counts, including fraud and market manipulation, marking the first time officials have blamed manipulation for the turbulence. Sarao allegedly used an automated program to generate large sell orders that pushed down prices. He then canceled those trades and bought the contracts at the lower prices.
FCC officials are scheduled to brief staff today about the proposed $45B merger of Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC). The briefing might be light on specifics but may offer some clues to how the FCC will deal with the recent opposition to the buyout. While the FCC’s ruling on the deal will center around public interest, the Department of Justice’s will focus on antitrust concerns.
Chipotle (CMG) trades lower after a pork shortage and harsh weather in some parts of the country reduced comparable store sales. Chipotle stopped serving pork at hundreds of locations this year after it found that suppliers weren’t meeting its standards. As a result, comparable-store sales only rose 10.4% in Q1 vs. 11.6% expected and 16.1% in Q4. The fast-casual chain also discussed price hikes on its earnings call.
Google is ready to push out its wireless phone service as soon as today, allowing customers to only pay for the data that they use. As previously announced, Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) service will run on the networks of Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS), switching between them depending on the stronger signal, and is also expected to use Wi-Fi nets to route phone calls and data.
Some of the top investors at Mylan (MYL), including hedge fund Paulson & Co, are encouraging its board of directors to consider a takeover proposal from Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA). Yesterday, Teva unveiled an unsolicited $40B takeover proposal for the Pennsylvania-based company, saying the acquisition would create an entity with more than $30B in annual revenue, add to earnings in the first year and generate $2B in annual savings. Meanwhile, Perrigo (PRGO) has rejected Mylan’s unsolicited $205 per share offer stating that it substantially undervalues the company.
Following several profit misses and investor discontent, Rolls-Royce (RYCEY) has announced Chief Executive John Rishton will retire in July, to be succeeded by Warren East, the former leader of Britain’s ARM Holdings (ARMH). In February, Rolls-Royce warned that profits could fall as much as 13% in 2015, and discussed plans last year to eliminate about 2,600 jobs as it grappled with its first sales drop in a decade.
Sony (SNE) has sharply upgraded the forecasts for its recently ended fiscal year, raising its earnings estimates for the second time in three months on higher-than-expected sales of video games and cost cuts in its TV division. While it will make its official earnings statement for the year on April 30, Sony reported preliminary operating income of ¥68B ($569M), up from a previous forecast of ¥20B, and ¥26.5B a year earlier.
Transocean (RIG) has named Jeremy Thigpen as its new President and CEO effective immediately, succeeding interim CEO Ian Strachan. Prior to joining Transocean, Thigpen spent his career in various roles at National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and became senior VP and CFO there in 2012.
More grumbling is being heard over Verizon’s (VZ) new skinny TV packages, which launched on Sunday starting at $55/month. NBCUniversal (CMCSA) and Fox (FOXA) now join ESPN (DIS) in saying the company’s new offering violates their contract agreements. “We have launched the product, we are not retracting it, and we believe we are in our legal rights to launch it,” Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said on yesterday’s earnings call.
As it intensifies its focus on growth and efficiency, Volvo (VOLVY) has appointed the head of rival Swedish truck maker Scania (SVKBY) as its new top executive, replacing Olof Persson with Martin Lundstedt. Volvo also released its first quarter results two days ahead of schedule, reporting Q1 net sales of 74.8B kronor ($8.6B), up from 65.6B kronor a year-ago.
After initially trading lower in response to disappointing earnings results and guidance, Yahoo (YHOO) shares are now up on word the company is exploring options for its $8.8B stake in Yahoo Japan (YAHOY). Profit continued to decline in Q1 as display ad revenue – an area of focus for the company – dropped 7% to $381M. Yahoo expects to see Q2 revenue between $1.01B-$1.05B vs. a $1.04B consensus.