Pfizer, Novartis interested in Onyx. Having turned down Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), Onyx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ONXX) is reportedly attracting acquisition interest from a number of other large drug companies. These include Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), which has licensed the Palbociclib breast-cancer medicine from Onyx, and Novartis (NYSE:NVS), which has a strong lineup of cancer treatments. It's also worth noting that Onyx has a partnership with Bayer (OTCPK:BAYZF) to sell two drugs for liver, kidney and colon cancer.
Zynga hires Xbox chief Mattrick as CEO. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares were +5.5% premarket after the struggling computer-gaming company confirmed it has appointed Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox chief Don Mattrick as CEO to replace founder Mark Pincus. Mattrick, who helped turn Xbox profitable, joins Zynga after a sharp fall in its share price over the past year, waves of layoffs, and a stream of exits of senior executives. However, with Pincus remaining as chairman and chief product officer, and holding 61% of voting rights, the question is, who will be in charge?
Top Stock News
Iger to stay in top Disney roles through 2016. Bob Iger will remain Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and CEO through June 30, 2016, per the terms of a new contract. Iger, who has withstood challenges to split the roles of chairman and CEO, and criticism of his compensation, was previously set to step down as CEO on April 1, 2015 while remaining chairman for another year.
States join DOJ in US-AMR deal probe. The Texas Attorney General is reportedly leading a group of 19 AGs in joining the Justice Department's investigation of the $11B merger between US Airways (LCC) and AMR (AAMRQ.PK). The states, which include California and New York, are concerned either that they'll lose a hub or that there will be service cutbacks to smaller cities. The DOJ is worried about the combined airline's dominance at Reagan National Airport outside Washington D.C.
eBay forms e-commerce JV in China. eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is reportedly partnering with Chinese social networking/gaming giant Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) to launch an e-commerce joint venture in China. The JV will be run by fashion/luxury retailer and eBay partner Xiu.com. Despite Alibaba's local e-commerce dominance, eBay is intent on growing its presence in the Middle Kingdom, with CEO John Donahoe predicting last month that PayPal will eventually get a Chinese license.
Hyatt, union end four-year dispute. Hyatt Hotels (NYSE:H) has reached a tentative labor agreement with the Unite Here union, which represents thousands of the company's employees, thereby ending a four-year dispute that included dozens of protests and a boycott of the company. Under the deal, workers will receive retroactive wage increases and keep their healthcare and pension benefits until 2018.
Biotech IPOs back in fashion. The market for biotech IPOs is experiencing its best run in nine years, with 16 companies raising $1.1B in H1. An increase in FDA drug approvals, a strong performance by some biotech firms that are already listed, and the JOBS Act, which allows companies to privately "test the waters" before publicly launching an IPO process, are some of the factors behind the trend. Companies to benefit include heart-drug company Esperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ESPR).
GSK staff under investigation in China. Chinese police have detained GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) staff in Beijing, Shanghai and Changsha, including a senior foreign finance executive. Although it's not clear what the reasons for the actions are, there are a number of possibilities such as GSK's internal investigation into the possible bribery of doctors, a (related?) U.S. bribery probe into GSK, and the use of fake data in a research report.
China probes foreign companies over baby milk prices. China's National Development & Reform Commission is investigating major foreign companies over the high pricing of infant milk formula and possible breaches of antitrust laws. The firms involved include Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Nestle (OTCPK:NSRGY) and Mead Johnson (NYSE:MJN), which enjoyed a 14% share of China's 77.9B yuan ($12.71B) milk formula market last year. The inquiry comes as China looks to create 10 large companies in the sector within two years.
Sprint fails in bid to dismiss $300M NY lawsuit. Sprint (NYSE:S) must face a $300M lawsuit from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for allegedly failing to collect and pay sales tax on cellular plans after a NY Supreme Court judge denied the carrier's motion to dismiss the case. Judge Peter Sherwood wrote that the complaint "satisfactorily alleges that Sprint knowingly submitted false monthly tax statements." The fraud cost state and local governments over $100M, Schneiderman says.
Top Economic & Other News
Troika ratchets up pressure on Greece. The Troika has reportedly warned Greece that it has three days to show it can meet its bailout conditions in order to receive the next €8.1B of its rescue loans. The Troika could refuse to transfer the full amount, or break it up into three monthly payments if Greece fails to impress. There is much dissatisfaction with the country over its reform efforts, while its attempts to privatize state assets have hit difficulties.
PBOC injects 36B yuan into banking system. The People's Bank of China has continued to climb down from its tough stance on liquidity, allowing 36B yuan ($5.9B) to flow into the banking sector today. Inter-bank funding rates have kept on falling, with the benchmark seven-day bond repurchase rate dropping 69 bps to 4.76% and the overnight repo rate tumbling 63 bps to 3.79%. Meanwhile, the government has instructed local media to stop "hyping the so-called credit crunch."
Australia maintains rates at 2.75%. As expected, the Reserve Bank of Australia has left its benchmark overnight cash-rate target at a record low of 2.75%, citing below-average growth at home and abroad. RBA Governor Glenn Stevens also noted that the Australian dollar remains high but could "depreciate further over time, which would help to foster a re-balancing of growth." Stevens reiterated that inflation could "provide some scope for further easing" if necessary. The Aussie (NYSEARCA:FXA) was -0.5% at $0.9188 at the time of writing, while the S&P 200 closed +2.6%.
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In Asia, Japan +1.8% to 14099. Hong Kong -0.7% to 20659. China +0.6% to 2007. India -0.6% to 19464.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.5%. Paris -0.4%. Frankfurt -1.2%.
Futures at 6:10: Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.3%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.2% to $98.15. Gold +0.35% to $1260.10.
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