Boeing workers to decide on latest offer. Boeing (NYSE:BA) machinists are due to vote today on a contract offer which would ensure that the planemaker would build the next generation of the 777 aircraft in the Seattle area if the deal is approved. After members of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers rejected a previous proposal from Boeing in November, the company started considering whether to construct the 777X outside of Washington state.
China's services sector growth eases. China's official services PMI fell to 54.6 in December from 56 in November, mirroring a decline in manufacturing PMI and providing further evidence that the country's economy is losing steam again. The sub-index for business expectations dropped to 58.7 from 61.3, while new orders remained at 51. Shares in China and Hong Kong closed sharply lower following the release of the data.
Improvement in Spanish jobs situation way better than expected. Spanish jobless claims dropped by 107,600 to 4.7M in December, the second-largest fall ever recorded after the June figure plummeted by over 127,000. The decline in December was far greater than the drop of 2,500 in November and consensus for -24,300. The improvement in unemployment adds to evidence that Spain is slowly digging itself out of its massive recession. The country's IBEX 35 (NYSEARCA:EWP) stock index was +0.6% at the time of writing.
Top Stock News
FireEye shares on fire following $1B acquisition. FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) shares surged 23% in post-market trading after the cyber-security company said it had acquired Mandiant, a fellow provider of security software, in a cash and stock deal worth around $1B. FireEye also raised its guidance for Q4 and 2014. The firm's strong post-IPO performance and lofty multiples may have helped motivate it to make this big strategic purchase.
Target faces financial services class-action suit over breach. Alabama State Employees Credit Union has filed a class-action suit against Target (NYSE:TGT) over the pre-Christmas breach that compromised more than 40M payment cards. Under Alabama law, ASECU must ask for a minimum of $5M in damages, but an attorney representing the union expects the final claim to reach "hundreds of millions of dollars" as other financial services firms join the bandwagon.
General Mills says cheerio to GM ingredients in Cheerios. General Mills (NYSE:GIS) has stopped using genetically modified ingredients in Cheerios, saying that it would label the packaging of the breakfast cereal accordingly. It's a rare move from General Mills, as food companies have been wary of genetically modified labeling because they fear it would cause consumers to think that GM products are dangerous. Questions now include whether General Mills' peers will follow suit and what the long-term effect on GM companies such as Monsanto (NYSE:MON) could be.
Intel - getting a tanker to turn more quickly. Since becoming Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) CEO last year, Brian Krzanich has made a priority out of getting the company to move more quickly in a mobile-processor market dominated by ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) based technology. Krzanich points to the speed at which Intel launched its ultra-low-power Quark processor - circuit boards were distributed just six weeks after management decided to launch the product - as evidence that the company's culture is changing. However, "there are still a lot of things that slow us down," Krzanich says.
Vodafone looks to strengthen in India, under pressure in Egypt. Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is reportedly in early stage discussions to acquire Tata Group's 59.45% stake in Tata Teleservices in a deal that would create India's largest telco with 248M subscribers. However, Japan's NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM), which owns just over a quarter Tata Teleservices, has a right of first refusal on the majority holding. Tata Teleservices' market cap is 16.28B rupees ($261M). Meanwhile, Vodafone Egypt has been accused of inciting terrorism by incorporating secret messages supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in an advertisement. Vodafone has denied the allegations.
Top Economic & Other News
Thousands of flights canceled as snow storm hits the east coast. A severe snow storm on the Eastern Seaboard has caused thousands of flights to be canceled and delayed. The governors of New York and New Jersey have declared states of emergency and urged residents not to venture out. However, New York's MTA said it expects subway services to be operating through most of morning rush hour, which should mean that financial workers have a way of getting to the office.
Indian leader to retire in the summer. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will retire at the country's next general election, which is scheduled for the summer. Singh, who has been in the job for a decade, said party ally Rahul Gandhi has outstanding credentials to replace him. Gandhi is the son of assassinated PM Rajiv Gandhi and the Vice President of the Indian National Congress Party.
Top Ideas: Movers and Great Calls
1) On December 27, Itinerant called out diversified miner Sierra Metals (OTC:DBEXF) as an undervalued play set to double in 2014 after its share price survived the carnage in the mining sector last year. The stock is +26% since his call. Read article »
2) Alpha Bet cited a number of impending catalysts - including a new EPA rule - in recommending refrigerant servicer Hudson Technologies (NASDAQ:HDSN) back in July. Shares are +57.7% to date. Read article »
Top Ideas To Watch
1) Versar (NYSEMKT:VSR) may be a boring project management company with a heavy reliance on the U.S. government, but it's also a stock poised to provide superior returns, says buysider Igor Novgorodtsev. Read article »
2) Careful Investor says that Nutrisystem (NASDAQ:NTRI) is in the early innings of a turnaround, as its expanded approach to weight-loss programs should leave investors in good shape. Read article »
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In Asia, Japan closed. Hong Kong -2.2% to 22817. China -1.2% to 2083. India -0.2% to 20851.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.2%. Paris +0.5%. Frankfurt +0.3%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude -0.2% to $95.27. Gold +0.6% to $1232.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.99%.
Today's economic calendar:
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 EIA Petroleum Inventories
1:30 PM Fed's Lacker: Economic Outlook
2:30 PM Bernanke: 'The Changing Federal Reserve: Past, Present
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