NSA tracks data from swath of tech firms. Revelations over government electronic surveillance have widened to include several of the country's largest technology companies under a program called PRISM. A National Security Agency document reportedly shows that it has "direct access" to the servers of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Paltalk, AOL (NYSE:AOL), Skype, YouTube and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). While the NSA document says PRISM has the consent of these firms, those contacted denied any knowledge of the program. The question is whether the disclosures will cause a drop in user activity.
Samsung plunges on analyst pessimism. Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) shares plummeted 6.2% in Seoul and wiped $12B off the company's market value, although it's still worth $188B. The plunge followed bearish analyst reports after the company met with investors to temper Galaxy S4 expectations. JP Morgan wrote that Q3 shipments will probably disappoint and lead to lower-than-expected margins. Supply chain checks show that Samsung has cut monthly orders by 20-30% to 7-8M units from 10M starting from July.
Unemployment seen steady at 7.5%. U.S. non-farm payroll data for May is due out this morning, with economists expecting that the number of jobs increased by 165,000 last month - as in April - but that the unemployment rate held steady at 7.5%. Concern that the figures will be worse than expected helped depress sentiment in global equity markets, although a surprise on the upside may well spark renewed fears about the Fed's QE program. I.e.: there's no winning either way.
Top Stock News
NSA tracking of phone data extends to AT&T and Sprint. The National Security Agency reportedly monitors call data from AT&T (NYSE:T) and Sprint (NYSE:S), as well as from Verizon (NYSE:VZ) (as was reported yesterday). Together, the service providers have 314.6M wirelesss and landline accounts. The NSA's operations also encompass purchase information from unnamed credit-card providers.
Wal-Mart set to face down angry investors. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is due to hold its annual investors meeting today, when it is set to encounter serious discontent from heavy hitters such as Calpers and the New York City pension funds. Shareholders are particularly concerned about the Mexico bribery scandal, with investors poised to vote against directors over the affair and ask about disciplinary action against those involved. However, given the Walton family's control of Wal-Mart, major change is unlikely.
France widens UBS probe. French authorities have placed UBS (NYSE:UBS) under formal investigation for possibly offering clients investments that were designed to evade taxes. Such an inquiry means there is "serious or consistent evidence" that can implicate a suspect in a crime. Last week, France put UBS's French unit under formal investigation.
TiVo, Motorola Mobility reach patent deal over DVRs. TiVo's shares (NASDAQ:TIVO) shares rose 2.55% in post-market trading following news that it has reached a patent settlement with Motorola Mobility (GOOG) over digital-video recording technology. However, details of the deal weren't provided and shares were down from earlier highs. The agreement averts a trial that was due to start next week.
Top Economic & Other News
Mammoth Japanese pension fund confirms boost to stock holdings. Japan's $1T Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) plans to reduce its yen bond weighting to 60% from 67% and increase its allocation for Japanese stocks to 12% from 11%, as well as boost its investments in foreign equities and debt. The GPIF's move, which had been expected, comes amid turmoil in Japanese markets. Given the government's massive debt, the effect on bond yields will probably also be closely watched.
Bundesbank lowers German growth forecasts. The Bundesbank has cut its outlook for Germany, reducing its 2013 GDP forecast to 0.3% from a prior prediction of 0.4% and its 2014 estimate to 1.5% from 1.9%. The central bank cited stuttering exports for the cut and said that much will depend on the situation in the eurozone's crisis countries. Still, Germany's strong labor market, increasing wages and falling inflation are supporting domestic consumption.
German trade grows. Despite the Bundesbank's fears about German exports, sales abroad increased 1.9% on month in April, with the growth stronger than in March and beating consensus. Imports climbed 2.3% and also showed an improvement over the previous month, although Germany's trade surplus dropped 13.7% to €17.6B. Industrial orders fell 2.3% as domestic and foreign demand weakened, notwithstanding the increased trade in April.
Obama set to meet Chinese President Xi. Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet President Obama in the U.S. today, with Xi thought to be looking to allay American fears about Chinese business activity in the U.S and convince Obama about his country's reform program. Chinese accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks might also be on the agenda, although the yuan rate is less likely to be a point of contention this time.
Chinese credit financing might be lower than thought. China's record increase in lending, which has caused much concern, could be overstated partly because of double-counting, with the problem possibly accounting for 3.6T yuan ($587B) in outstanding credit out of 90T yuan as of April. The double-counting may have occurred because companies used money that they borrowed to re-lend to other firms. The theory stems from efforts to reconcile slowing growth with the increasing debt.
Stock Movers and Great Calls
1) Lakeland Industries (NASDAQ:LAKE) has continued its climb, now up 32% since May 30, when Whopper Investments called it "an extremely mispriced risk/reward" that could triple.
2) On March 26, Intangible Valuation wrote up Alliance Healthcare Services (NASDAQ:AIQ), noting its whopping FCF yield. His prediction of 48% upside proved conservative, as AIQ has gained 126% since then.
Alpha-Rich Stocks to Watch
1) Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE:CXW). This privatized prisons company has a 100% upside, says analyst Jeffrey Dow Jones. A recent REIT conversion and predictable growth should power the move.
2) Accuray (NASDAQ:ARAY). Med-tech expert Stephen Simpson projects increased market share and 30-90% potential upside from new technology.
3) QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP). Recent results and upcoming catalysts may offer 30-50% upside, according to Bakken expert Richard Zeits.
Alpha-Rich articles are the best long and short ideas on Seeking Alpha. SA Pro subscribers receive early access to these Alpha-Rich articles, which often move markets. For more information about SA Pro and becoming a subscriber, click here.
In Asia, Japan -0.2% to 12878. Hong Kong -1.2% to 21575. China -1.4% to 2211. India -0.5% to 19429.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt -0.5%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.5%. S&P flat. Nasdaq flat. Crude +0.5% to $95.26. Gold -0.3% to $1411.10.
Notable earnings before today's open: JKS
Notable earnings after today's close: PNY
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