Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: Wall Street Breakfast
Wall Street Breakfast
Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day and delivered to over 900,000 email subscribers.

China has unveiled another mini-stimulus package as part of an attempt to stabilize slowing growth and maintain confidence. The announcement comes even as the government looks to reform the economy so that it relies less on the state sector. The program includes selling 150B yuan ($24.6B) in bonds for railway construction, improved housing for the low paid, and tax relief for struggling small companies.

The eurozone's business sector continued to enjoy broad, albeit softening, growth in March, with the composite PMI edging down to 53.1 from 53.3 in February. Services PMI slipped to 52.2 from 52.6. Irish composite PMI hit a seven-year high and France a 31-month peak, but German growth softened. Still, the eurozone business sector enjoyed its best quarter for three years in Q1, and the surveys indicate GDP growth of 0.5%.

European shares were mixed at the time of writing ahead of an ECB policy announcement later today, when the central bank is expected to keep interest rates at 0.25%. There are some hopes that the bank could take easing measures to ensure that the eurozone doesn't slip into deflation. Asian shares were also mixed, while U.S. stock futures were higher.

Brazil's central bank has boosted its benchmark Selic rate by 25 basis points to 11%, but hinted that an end to the rate-hike cycle is near. The bank began increasing the Selic from 7.5% about a year ago amid persistently high inflation. Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian stock market has been one of the poorer performers among major bourses during this period.

The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office are reportedly investigating whether weaknesses with Citigroup's (NYSE:C) internal controls helped facilitate a $400M fraud involving its Banamex Mexican unit. The probe adds to a parallel inquiry by the SEC, as well as to an investigation by federal prosecutors in Massachusetts into whether Citigroup lacked proper safeguards against money laundering.

Vodafone's U.K. division intends to spend £1B ($1.66B) on networks and services this year, and create 1,400 jobs by opening 150 new stores. That would take Vodafone's (NASDAQ:VOD) total branded outlets in the country to over 500. The plan comes as Vodafone strengthens and expands its European operations following the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130B. The strategy includes the acquisition of Spanish cable operator Ono for €7.2B ($10B).

Credit Suisse has increased its provisions for a U.S. tax case by 425M Swiss francs ($480M) to 895M francs. The money is to cover accusations that Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) helped U.S. citizens dodge taxes. Following the provisions move, the bank is lowering its Q4 and 2013 results by 468M, resulting in a Q4 net loss of 476M francs. Notwithstanding, CEO Brady Dougan's compensation jumped 26% to 9.8M francs.

A new third class of Google stock that has no voting rights is due to start trading as founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin preserve their power in the company. Shareholders are receiving one new non-voting C share (NASDAQ:GOOG) for each existing A share (NASDAQ:GOOGL) in a stock split that will provide the company with more "currency" for acquisitions. Brin and Page will retain 55.7% of the votes via their special class of untraded B shares.

IMS Health Holding could raise as much as $1.37B when the company prices its NYSE IPO later today, with the firm looking to sell 65M shares at $18-21 each. However, IMS (NYSE:IMS), which provides data on prescriptions, medical claims and sales, isn't seen as having an innovative, disruptive model. That's one reason given as to why the company's enterprise value of up to 14X 2013 EBITDA is relatively low for the industry.

Networking-equipment maker Juniper is laying off 6% of its workforce of around 9,500 employees, with the news coming five weeks after CEO Shaygan Kheradpir unveiled an "Integrated Operating Plan" that calls for $160M-a-year in opex savings by Q1 2015. Juniper (NYSE:JNPR) expects to record $35M of severance charges related to the move, as well $175M in other charges.

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Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan +0.8% to 15072. Hong Kong +0.2% to 22565. China -0.7% to 2044. India -0.2% to 22509.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.1%. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude -0.4% to $99.21. Gold +0.6% to $1287.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -1 bps to 2.8%.

Today's economic calendar:
7:30 Challenger Job-Cut Report
8:30 Gallup US Payroll to Population
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Trade Balance
9:45 PMI Services Index
9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
10:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing Index
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 Global Composite PMI
11:00 Global Services PMI
4:30 PM Money Supply

Notable earnings before today's open: GBX, PERY, RPM, SCHN

Notable earnings after today's close: GPN, MU, SEAC, SNX

See full real-time earnings coverage »

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