Tokyo shares close higher following another volatile day. Japanese shares ended +0.6% after a roller coaster session in which stocks bounced nearly 4% and then plunged anew - dropping to more than -3% before eventually recovering. The gyrations followed yesterday's slump of 7.3%. The currency markets have also been volatile, with the dollar -0.7% at ¥101.32 at the time of writing. Despite the stabilization of Tokyo shares, U.S. stock futures were looking shaky premarket, while Europe had turned red after being in the green earlier.
P&G turns to former CEO Lafley to rework his magic. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) has taken what it hopes is no gamble by reappointing A.G. Lafley as CEO to replace the retiring Bob McDonald. The latter's departure comes after P&G's growth stagnated, prompting vocal criticism from activist investor William Ackman. During Lafley's first stint as CEO from 2000-2009, he helped revive what had been an ailing P&G with an emphasis on innovation and the motto that the "consumer is boss."
Google mulls offer for Waze. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) could reportedly enter the fray for Israeli start-up Waze, which provides a mobile phone app that helps drivers avoid traffic jams and has over 40M users. Waze has been holding talks with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) for a $1B deal while there was chatter earlier this year of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) offering $500M. Waze could disappoint them all by raising more venture-capital money and staying independent.
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Sears crumbles after EPS miss. Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) shares plunged 12.3% pre-market after a Q1 report that was much worse than expected, with earnings hurt by the cool Spring weather. The retailer swung to net losses of $279M from a profit of $189M as adjusted losses per share came in at -$1.29, while revenue dropped 9% to $8.5B but did beat estimates. Sears' online business rose 20% on year, while the company might sell its service agreement business to raise cash.
HSBC's $1.9B deal with DOJ at risk. Judge John Gleeson is reportedly considering rejecting HSBC's (HBC) $1.9B deal with authorities over money laundering charges in a move that could leave the bank open to criminal prosecution and a ban from operating in the U.S. However, the Justice Department is questioning whether the judge has the authority to reject the deal. At the time of writing, HSBC was holding its annual meeting, while shares were -2.2%.
Dish nears financing for Sprint bid. Dish (NASDAQ:DISH) is reportedly moving closer to getting financing for its $25.5B offer for Sprint (NYSE:S), receiving signed commitment letters from five banks for $9B. Dish hasn't yet paid commitment fees, as Charlie Ergen is waiting for Sprint's board to declare Dish's proposal potentially superior to SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBF) $20.1B bid. Meanwhile, Sprint and SoftBank have received all the necessary state regulatory approvals for their transaction.
DirecTV, Time Warner Cable vie for Hulu. Hulu has reportedly received buyout offers from DirecTV (DTV) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) in a first round of bidding for the Internet TV company, whose owners are Disney (NYSE:DIS) and News Corp (NASDAQ:NWS), as well as Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) unit NBCUniversal. Guggenheim Partners, which is helping with the sale, isn't saying if private-equity firms are joining the chase.
Pandora surges despite increased losses. Pandora's (NYSE:P) FQ1 net losses widened to $28.6M from $20.2M as the Internet radio company's expenses outpaced its revenue growth of 55% to $125.5M. Losses per share were in line at -$0.10. Despite the losses, shares jumped 11.9% premarket after Pandora increased its FY earnings guidance, saying it now expects EPS of -$0.02 to +$0.08. During FQ1, listening hours soared 35% to 4.18B.
Judge could call Apple to book over price manipulation. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has dealt a blow to Apple (AAPL) over charges that it manipulated e-book prices, giving a "tentative view" that the Department of Justice will be able to show "direct evidence" that the company took part in a conspiracy with publishers to raise prices. Apple is the last man standing in the case after all the publishers involved settled. The trial is due to start on June 3.
Top Economic & Other News
German businesses stay confident amidst the economic gloom. Germany's Ifo index of business confidence rose to 105.7 in May from 104.4 in April and topped estimates of 104.5. The increased positivity follows two consecutive declines and comes despite the EU recession, and as a second reading of Q1 GDP confirms that Germany eked out quarterly growth of 0.1%.
In Asia, Japan +0.9% to 14612. Hong Kong -0.2% to 22619. China +0.6% to 2289. India +0.1% to 19704.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.7%. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt -0.9%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.35%. S&P -0.5%. Nasdaq -0.5%. Crude -0.8% to $93.53. Gold -0.45% to $1385.60.
Today's economic calendar:
8:30 Durable Goods
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