- AIG carve up? Sources say AIG (AIG) is in advanced talks with U.S. officials about a radical restructuring plan that would split the troubled insurer into at least three government-controlled divisions. Described by one insider as a 'controlled break-up,' the move could end AIG's 90-year history of independence and serve as a model for carving up other troubled institutions. Under the plan, the government would swap its 80% stake in the insurer for large stakes in three units - AIG’s Asian operations, its international life insurance business and the US personal lines business. In return, officials would relax the terms of AIG's loans or even cancel a large portion of them. AIG would remain as a holding company but could disappear if the government decides to recoup taxpayer money by selling or listing the three divisions separately. The overhaul could be announced Monday.
- Citi deal imminent. Citigroup (C) is very close to an agreement to boost the government's stake in the ailing company to 40%, and an announcement could come as soon as today. Executives have been rushing to identify potential problems from an increased government stake, including local laws in certain countries that would require Citigroup to apply for new charters or, in the case of Mexico, to potentially give up some or all of ownership in Grupo Financiero Banamex, the No. 2 bank in Mexico by assets, if the government takes more than a 10% stake in Citigroup.
- The unstoppable budget deficit. The White House is projecting a $1.75T deficit for the current fiscal year, including a new $250B slush fund in case banks need more money. Officials say Obama has no plans to use the $250B, but wanted to include an 'overly conservative' placeholder just in case. The 134-page budget outlines health, tax and energy priorities, and includes a 10-year $634B reserve fund to help pay for Obama's proposed healthcare reforms and $537B for the U.S. military. The White House will also propose $634B in new taxes on upper-income Americans. The budget is due at 11:00 ET.
- UBS shakes up top job. In the latest shake-up of its top management, UBS (UBS) announced the surprise departure of CEO Marcel Rohner. The position will be filled by Oswald Grubel, the former CEO at rival Credit Suisse (CS). In a statement, UBS said Rohner had told the board last month that he planned to retire as CEO after the conclusion of the "ongoing investment bank repositioning and wealth management restructuring phase," but is now leaving immediately. Rohner's sudden departure comes after UBS agreed to a $780M settlement with the Justice Department and amid an ongoing civil inquiry into tax evasion. Shares +10.0% premarket (7:00 ET).
- Record loss at RBS. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) posted a full year loss of £24.1B ($34.3B), the biggest loss in British history. The record loss reflected a £16.2B write down against acquisitions and another £7.9B in operating losses. Reacting to the losses, RBS will put £325B of investments into a state insurance program. In return, the bank will pay a fee of £6.5B over seven years in the form of preference shares. RBS will also shift £540B of toxic assets to a new unit, including derivatives and mortgage-backed securities, and will increase lending by £50B over the next two years while aiming to reduce expenses by £2.5B. Shares +20.2% premarket (7:00 ET).
- Exelon gains ground in NRG bid. Exelon (EXC) said its $6B tender offer for NRG Energy (NRG) won more than 51% of the outstanding shares, giving it strong leverage in its hostile pursuit of NRG. NRG has already rejected Exelon's offer twice, saying the price 'manifestly undervalues' NRG and expressing doubt whether Exelon would be able to finance the transaction. Winning the tender gives Exelon the right to acquire NRG, assuming Exelon shareholders agree to the deal and it receives regulatory approval. However, Exelon has good reason to try for a friendly acquisition since it will make the regulatory approval easier and will allow Exelon access to NRG's books.
- BoA considers private bank sale. Bank of America (BAC) is reportedly looking to sell a private bank it inherited from Merrill Lynch. Merrill bought the bank in question, First Republic Bank, for $1.8B in September 2007. At the time, First Republic had $10B of deposits. Possible buyers include Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), both of which are trying to expand their deposit-gathering businesses.
- Another fraud bites the dust. The most recent financial fraud to come to light revolves around two money managers who have been accused of misappropriating at least $533M to fund their own lavish lifestyles. The two men, Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh, were arrested by the FBI and face criminal charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. They are accused of running a fraudulent investment-advisory scheme since 1996 in which the men raised $668M from institutional clients and pocketed most of the money. Alleged victims include Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System.
- Home sales fall. Existing Home Sales fell 5.3% to 4.49M/year in January, and are down 8.6% from a year ago. NAR's Lawrence Yun blamed the drop on would-be buyers waiting for more clarity on the nature of a government housing stimulus. Median prices -14.8% from a year ago.
Earnings: Thursday Before Open
- American Tower (AMT): Q4 EPS of $0.21 beats by $0.07. Revenue of $408M (+8%) vs. $407M. (PR)
- Boyd Gaming (BYD): Q4 EPS of $0.13 in-line. Revenue of $422.6M (-11.7%) vs. $423.4M. (PR)
- Cablevision (CVC): Q4 EPS of -$1.11 misses by $1.44. Revenue of $2.05B (+11.4%) vs. $2.06B. (PR)
- Continental Resources (CLR): Q4 EPS of $0.00 misses by $0.19. Revenue of $136M (-14.6%) vs. $160M. (PR)
- Digital Realty Trust (DLR): Q4 EPS of $0.20 beats by $0.06. Revenue of $147M (+3.6%) vs. $144M. (PR)
- Dynegy (DYN): Q4 EPS of -$0.01 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $795M (+9.8%) vs. $769M. (PR)
- El Paso (EP): Q4 EPS of $0.21 in-line. Revenue of $1.3B (+6.4%) vs. $1.2B. (PR)
- EMCOR Group (EME): Q4 EPS of $0.90 beats by $0.16. Revenue of $1.7B (-4.9%) vs. $1.8B. (PR)
- ENSCO International (ESV): Q4 EPS of $2.14 beats by $0.08. Revenue of $622M (+20.2%) vs. $616M. (PR)
- First American (FAF): Q4 EPS of $0.10 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $1.35B (-28%) vs. $1.43B. (PR)
- Frontier Oil (FTO): Q4 EPS of $0.32 misses by $0.09. Revenue of $1.35B (+2.2%) vs. $1.61B. (PR)
- Frontline (FRO): Q4 EPS of $1.03 misses by $0.08. Revenue of $452M (+36.2%) vs. $328M. (PR)
- GM (GM): Q4 EPS of -$9.65 misses by $2.25 (-that's a $9.6B loss). Revenue of $30.8B vs. $35.13B. GM burned through another $6.2B in cash. 2008 sales of 8.35M vehicles, down 11%. (PR)
- Global Industries (GLBL): Q4 EPS of -$0.24 misses by $0.17. Revenue of $250M (-4.8%) vs. $242M. (PR)
- HRPT Properties Trust (HRP): Q4 EPS of $0.05 in-line. Revenue of $218M (+9.7%) vs. $211M. (PR)
- Huntsman (HUN): Q4 EPS of -$0.38 misses by $0.33. Revenue of $2.05B (-18.2%) vs. $2.44B. (PR)
- Iron Mountain (IRM): Q4 EPS of $0.01 misses by $0.16. Revenue of $753M (+3.6%) in-line. (PR)
- King Pharmaceuticals (KG): Q4 EPS of $0.24 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $348M (-34.8%) vs. $345M. (PR)
- Lamar Advertising Company (LAMR): Q4 EPS of -$0.08 misses by $0.01. Revenue of $279M (-8.4%) vs. $285M. (PR)
- Limited Brands (LTD): Q4 EPS of $0.68 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $3.0B (-8.7%) in-line. (PR)
- Linn Energy LLC (LINE): Q4 EPS of $0.00 misses by $0.32. Revenue of $155M (+2.7%) vs. $163M. Shares -2.6% premarket. (PR)
- LKQ (LKQX): Q4 EPS of $0.10 misses by $0.04. Revenue of $470M (+13.4%) vs. $490M. (PR)
- MetroPCS Communications (PCS): Q4 EPS of $0.04 misses by $0.03. Revenue of $724M (+22.4%) vs. $765M. (PR)
- Nasdaq (NDAQ): Q4 EPS of $0.53 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $403M (-3.9%) vs. $414M. (PR)
- NII Holdings (NIHD): Q4 EPS of $0.05 misses by $0.38. Revenue of $989.5M (+5.3%) vs. $1.0B. (PR)
- Omnicare (OCR): Q4 EPS of $0.66 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $1.6B (+2.7%) in-line. (PR)
- RAIT Financial Trust (RAS): Q4 EPS of $0.33 misses by $0.05. Revenue of $57.4M (-1.7%) vs. $54.9M. (PR)
- Rowan Companies (RDC): Q4 EPS of $1.28 beats by $0.19. Revenue of $613M (-1.7%) vs. $615M. (PR)
- Safeway (SWY): Q4 EPS of $0.80 misses by $0.01. Revenue of $13.82B (+3.4%) vs. $14.29B. (beats by $0.26. Revenue of $13.3B (-11.9%) vs. $14.0B. (PR)
- Sonus Networks (SONS): Q4 EPS of -$0.37 misses by $0.35. Revenue of $89.5M (-7.8%) vs. $64.1M. (PR)
- Southern Union Company (SUG): Q4 EPS of $0.47 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $727M (+75.3%) vs. $692M. (PR)
- Warnaco Group (WRC): Q4 EPS of $0.29 beats by $0.14. Revenue of $446M (-4.4%) vs. $451M. (PR)
Earnings: Wednesday After Close
- Aruba Networks (ARUN): FQ2 EPS of $0.02 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $47.7M (+17.5%) vs. $45.5M. Shares +11.6% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
- Assured Guaranty (AGO): Q4 EPS of $0.04 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $123.3M (+22.1%) vs. $135.6M. (PR)
- Avis Budget Group (CAR): Q4 EPS of -$1.08 misses by $0.61. Revenue of $1.26B (-9%) in-line. Shares -2% AH. (PR)
- Express Scripts (ESRX): Q4 EPS of $0.83 in-line. Revenue of $5.51B (-0.9%) vs. $5.45B. Shares -1.6% AH. (PR)
- El Paso (EP): Sees 2009 EPS of $0.85-1.05 vs. $1.11 consensus. Shares -2.65% AH. (PR)
- Flowserve (FLS): Q4 EPS of $20.3 beats by $0.14. Revenue of $1.17B (+5.4%) vs. $1.26B. Shares +7.3% AH. (PR)
- Fluor (FLR): Q4 EPS of $1.04 beats by $0.12. Revenue of $6.07B (+28.9%) vs. $5.81B. Sees 2009 EPS of $3.90-4.20 vs. $3.76. Shares +12.3% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
- Genco Shipping (GNK): Q4 EPS of $1.55 misses by $0.01. Revenue of $101.6M (+54.6%) vs. $100.2M. Shares +1.5% AH. (PR)
- Goodrich Petroleum (GDP): Q4 EPS of -$0.01 beats by $0.06. Revenue of $44.1M (+35.7%) vs. $49.9M. (PR)
- Medicis Pharmaceutical (MRX): Q4 EPS of $0.42 beats by $0.11. Revenue of $136M (+1.4%) vs. $127M. Sees Q1 EPS of $0.15-0.18 vs. $0.30 and revenue of $125-130M vs. $129.5M. (PR)
- Netease.com (NTES): Q4 EPS of $0.65 beats by $0.21. Revenue of $117.5M (-0.6%) in-line. Shares +5.3% AH. (PR)
- Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP): Q4 EPS of -$0.31 misses by $0.73. Revenue of $-33.5M vs. $328M. Shares -6.9% AH. (PR)
- Salesforce.com (CRM): Q4 EPS of $0.11 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $290M vs. $285M. Sees full-year EPS of $0.54-0.55 vs. $0.51. "Salesforce.com is proud to be the first billion dollar cloud computing company." Shares +5.3% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
- Savient Pharmaceuticals (SVNT): Q4 EPS of -$0.45 misses by $0.12. (PR)
- Service International (SCI): Q4 EPS of $0.09 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $517M vs. $510M. Sees 2009 EPS of $0.26-0.36 vs. $0.38. Shares -0.3% AH. (PR)
- Tenaris (TS): Q4 EPS of $1.01 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $3.23B vs. $3.01B. Shares -5.4% premarket. (PR)
- True Religion Apparel (TRLG): Q4 EPS of $0.53 beats by $0.06. Revenue of $73M (+38.5%) vs. $68.7M. Shares flat AH. (PR)
- USEC (USU): Q4 EPS of $0.16 in-line. Revenue of $432M vs. $440M. Sees 2009 revenue of $2.2-2.25B vs. $2.01B consensus. Shares -0.6% AH. (PR)
- Asia stocks end Thursday mostly lower, with China pacing losses on a late-day selloff. Nikkei -0.04% to 7,458. Hang Seng -0.85% to 12,895. Shanghai -3.87% to 2,121. BSE +0.59% to 8,955.
- Europe markets have moved off their highs but remain up at midday, with banks leading the way after details of the U.K. asset protection scheme seem to be less onerous than originally feared. London +1.5%. Paris +1.5%. Frankfurt +1.8%.
- U.S. stock futures are higher in a volatile premarket session as traders await a slate of data including Jan. durable-goods, new home sales and weekly jobless claims. Dow +1.05% to 7304. S&P +1.2% at 771. Nasdaq +1%. Crude +1.8% to $43.30. Gold -1.9% at $947.70.
Thursday's Economic Calendar
- 8:30 Durable Goods Orders
8:30 Jobless Claims
10:00 New Home Sales
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Report
4:30 PM Money Supply
- Notable earnings before Thursday's open: ALO, AMT, BYD, CLR, CVC, DLR, DYN, EME, EP, ESV, FAF, FRO, FTO, GLBL, GM, HRP, HUN, IRM, KG, LAMR, LINE, LKQX, LTD, NDAQ, NIHD, OCR, PCS, RAS, RDC, SHLD, SONS, SUG, SWY, WRC
- Notable earnings after Thursday's close: ADSK, BEE, BID, BVN, CTV, CVA, DELL, FCH, GPS, HANS, HGSI, IO, KSS, LEAP, ME, NOVL, PSA, RSG, SBAC, SD, SGMS, SNH, SWN
Seeking Alpha editor Eli Hoffmann contributed to this post.
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