ECB gives Cyprus until Monday to reach bailout deal. The ECB has upped the stakes over Cyprus, threatening to cut off emergency funding on Monday to the country’s banks if it hasn’t agreed to a bailout deal by then. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is in talks with party leaders to find a solution, while Finance Minister Michael Sarris is still in Moscow as he seeks a rescue from Russia.
Does Cyprus portend the new norm for "bank robbery"? Who will be next? Can it happen in the US? — Read more here »
Deterioration at eurozone factories hits EU shares and the euro. The contraction in eurozone manufacturing has unexpectedly deepened this month, with PMI falling to 46.6 from 47.9 in February. Even German manufacturing shrank after growing in February. "The concern is that the (economic) downturn has gathered pace again," says Markit. Instead of stabilization as many have been hoping for, the slump could "intensify in the coming months." The data dragged down European shares and the euro, which was -0.25% vs the dollar at midday in Europe.
Oracle tumbles after earnings miss. Oracle (ORCL) shares slumped 7.8% premarket after the company’s FQ3 earnings missed expectations, hurt by an unexpected 2% slip in revenue from new software licenses and online subscriptions, and a steep drop in sales of hardware systems. Oracle’s net profit was flat at $2.5B, adjusted EPS came in at $0.65, while revenue edged down to $8.96B. Company President Safra Katz blamed Oracle’s sales force for the poor performance, saying they pushed closing off deals into FQ4.
Top Stock News
H-P directors survive putsch attempt. H-P (HPQ) investors re-elected all 11 of the company’s directors despite an attempt to remove five of them, including Chairman Ray Lane. Ernst & Young was renominated as H-P’s auditor even though it has suffered criticism of the job it has done. "You can expect some evolution of the board in the coming weeks or months," said H-P director and activist investor Ralph Whitworth at the IT giant’s shareholder meeting. Shares were -1.5% premarket.
AstraZeneca to cut 2,300 more jobs. AstraZeneca (AZN) intends to axe 2,300 sales and administration positions as part of its overhaul, adding to 1,600 R&D job cuts already announced. AstraZeneca, which is detailing its strategy at an investor meeting today, plans to buy in new technology, including that from Moderna. AstraZeneca is paying up to $420M plus royalties for the rights to develop drugs using Moderna’s research into messenger RNA, which is involved in protein production in cells.
Jain talks up Deutsche Bank performance. Deutsche Bank’s (DB) performance in Q1 has been "robust" across all its businesses, co-CEO Anshu Jain said today, due to strong market volumes, less volatility, rising shares and growth in corporate activity. Deutsche Bank has also made progress in reducing costs and risks. Jain’s comments came after the bank yesterday said it was cutting its Q4 profit due to increased legal and regulatory provisions.
Blackstone eyes former H-P CEO as potential Dell boss. Blackstone is "seriously considering a bid" for Dell (DELL), Fortune reports, and is forming "contingency plans" for new leadership in the event Michael Dell remains committed to Silver Lake. Blackstone has already approached its top choice, Oracle (ORCL) second-in-command and former H-P (HPQ) CEO Mark Hurd.
YouTube passes 1B unique monthly visitors. YouTube has reached 1B unique monthly visitors, six months after Facebook (FB) achieved the same milestone. "Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube," the Google (GOOG) unit said. However, YouTube’s growth has revived old questions about whether it can be profitable – if it’s not already – given the huge expenses involved. In recent months, the site has been updating its technology in what it describes as "full body swap-outs."
Top Economic & Other News
Chinese HSBC PMI rises. In contrast to the eurozone, Chinese factories have continued their recovery this month, with flash HSBC PMI rising to 51.7 from 50.4 in February, which was distorted by the week-long New Year holiday. Consensus was for 50.8. "The Chinese economy is still on track" for a "gradual growth recovery," says HSBC’s Qu Hongbin. "Inflation remains well behaved, leaving room for Beijing to keep policy relatively accommodative."
Fed keeps foot on the pedal. As expected, the FOMC has left its $85B-a-month QE program in place, saying that the economy has returned to moderate growth even while fiscal policy has become more restrictive. Notable among the revised economic projections was an expected improvement in the unemployment rate. The Fed’s announcement helped give shares a lift and boost the Dow to a new intra-day high.
Senate OKs government funding bill. The Senate yesterday easily passed a bill to finance the government until the end of September, thereby forestalling any fears of a government shutdown. The package includes $85B of sequestration but gives the Pentagon more leeway to decide on where to cut spending. The bill is due to go to the House for a vote today, when it’s expected to be approved.
Kuroda starts new job as head of BOJ. Haruhiko Kuroda has begun work today as the Bank of Japan’s new governor, with his brief to do what none of his predecessors has been able to manage in two decades – end deflation despite an aging population and weak consumption. If Kuroda succeeds, Japan could once again become an engine of global growth; fail and he could destabilize the country’s $23T financial system.
In Asia, Japan +1.3% to 12636. Hong Kong -0.1% to 22226. China +0.3% to 2324. India -0.5% to 18793.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.7%. Paris -1%. Frankfurt -0.8%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude +1.2% to $93.24. Gold flat at $1607.80.
Today’s economic calendar:
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
9:00 PMI Manufacturing Index Flash
9:00 FHFA House Price Index
9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
10:00 Existing Home Sales
10:00 Philly Fed Business Outlook
10:00 Leading Indicators
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
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