European shares and U.S. stock futures were mainly higher at the time of writing, ahead of U.S. jobs data later. The consensus is that nonfarm payrolls grew 200,000 in March vs 175,000 in February. However, heaven forbid that the figure should be too good. "Numbers too robust may spark fears that the Fed may actually accelerate stimulus tapering," says strategist Norihiro Fujito, "resulting in another roiling effect on developing markets and Japan."
German factory orders rose 0.6% on month in February, accelerating from 0.1% in January and topping consensus that was also +0.1%. The data adds to indications that economic growth is beginning to gain speed. "The German economy is pretty much on track - the start of the year might have been even better than the end of 2013," says economist Thilo Heidrich.
Mylan is reportedly formulating a largely stock offer to acquire Swedish drug maker Meda (OTC:MDABF), which has a market cap of $4.5B, although the U.S. company would probably offer a substantial premium. A deal could slash Mylan's (NASDAQ:MYL) tax bill if over 20% of its shares are transferred to foreign owners. The drugs that Mylan would receive include therapies for rheumatoid arthritis, women's health and respiratory disorders.
Anadarko's shares were +1.4% premarket and building on a 14.5% jump in regular trading yesterday after it agreed to pay $5.15B to settle environmental claims related to its purchase of Kerr-McGee and the bankruptcy of Tronox (NYSE:TROX). The government had initially sought $25B from Anadarko (NYSE:APC) to clean up 2,772 sites and compensate 8,100 Tronox claimants, and a court in December said Anadarko could expect to pay $5.2-14.2B.
Delta Air Lines has requested proposals from Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF) for a booking of up to 50 wide-body jets to replace the carrier's fleet of Boeing 747-400 and 767-300ER planes, whose average age is 20 years. Any tender could be worth over $10B at list prices, although Delta (NYSE:DAL) CEO Richard Anderson has played down prospects for a quick deal.
GE Capital Aviation Services has reportedly filed to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is looking to raise $700M. The GE (NYSE:GE) aircraft-leasing unit could carry out the IPO this quarter. The flotation would come as the conglomerate implements a strategy to shift the majority of its focus back to its industrial roots.
David Letterman plans to retire from CBS's (NYSE:CBS) "Late Show" in 2015 after over three decades hosting late-night talk shows. Letterman, who is almost 67, has been third in the ratings in the much coveted 18-49 age group behind the far younger Jimmy Fallon, who replaced Jay Leno on NBC's "The Tonight Show" less than two months ago, and Jimmy Kimmel of ABC. Since taking over, Fallon has built up a solid overall lead.
The Ricketts family is reportedly considering selling shares in the Chicago Cubs to a small number of high-net worth investors. The baseball club would use the money to fund the long-awaited $300M expansion of its Wrigley Field stadium. Alternatively, the Ricketts could finance the revamp themselves. If the family, which owns 95% of the Cubs, did sell any shares, it would retain control.
IMS Health Holdings is due to start trading on the NYSE today after the healthcare-information company priced its IPO at $20 a share, giving it a market cap of $6.64B. The offering raised $1.3B, with IMS (NYSE:IMS) selling 52M shares and its owners 13M. IMS's flotation comes four years after TPG, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Leonard Green took the company private for $5.2B, including debt.
GrubHub has priced its NYSE IPO at $26 a share, giving the online food delivery/take-out company a market cap of $2.04B. GrubHub (NYSE:GRUB) upsized its offering to 7.4M shares from an original 7.03M, while the price is above an elevated range of $23-25. Shares are due to begin trading today. The history of recent tech IPOs that have seen similar pricing activity suggests GrubHub's debut should be a strong one.
Google unit Nest Labs has halted sales of its smoke alarms after it discovered that a feature that enables a user to turn the device off via a hand gesture could be activated by accident. Nest Labs, which Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) recently bought for $3.2B, is working on a fix that could take two-to-three months to complete, including regulatory approvals.
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In Asia, Japan -0.1% to 15064. Hong Kong -0.2% to 22510. China +0.7% to 2059, India -0.7% to 22360.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.3%. Frankfurt +0.4%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow +0.15%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.8% to $101.06. Gold +0.7% to $1293.10.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -1 bps to 2.8%.
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