Pro-Russian armed separatists in several cities in eastern Ukraine have ignored a deadline from Ukraine's government to disarm, and vacate administrative buildings and other positions they've taken up. Ukraine, which blames Russia for the escalating tension, has threatened to carry out a "large-scale anti-terrorist operation" on the separatists. The developments have hit global stocks, with Russia's Micex -1.6% at the time of writing.
The continued strengthening of the euro "would require further monetary policy accommodation," ECB President Mario Draghi said over the weekend. Draghi's comments came after the euro increased 6% over the past year. He said that the euro's strength has been an important factor in causing eurozone inflation to drop to 0.5% on year, which has prompted fears of deflation. The euro was -0.45% at $1.3823 at the time of writing.
As expected, Glencore Xstrata has agreed to sell its Las Bambas copper project in Peru to a consortium led by China Minmetals for $5.85B. Glencore Xstrata (OTCPK:GLNCY) is divesting the mine in order to meet Chinese conditions for the approval of Glencore's purchase of Xstrata. The transaction is yet another example of a Chinese company buying a resources asset to help feed high domestic demand.
GlaxoSmithKline is the subject of a criminal probe in Poland for allegedly paying doctors to promote its asthma drug Seretide. Authorities have charged a GSK (NYSE:GSK) regional manager and 11 doctors for alleged bribery. Former GSK sales rep Jarek Wisniewski was very open about the process. "We pay doctors, they give us prescriptions. We don't pay doctors, we don't see prescriptions for our drugs," Wisniewski said. The probe adds to one that GSK is facing in China.
Facebook is reportedly close to receiving approval from Ireland's central bank to become an "e-money" institution that would enable users to store cash on the social network, use it to pay other members and exchange money with them. The move could help Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) boost its presence in emerging markets, as it would provide remittance services in which migrant workers send money home to their families.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk will reportedly hold talks with China Petroleum & Chemical (NYSE:SNP) this month about installing charging units in the refiner's nationwide network of service stations. China Petroleum & Chemical, also known as Sinopec, would start in Beijing and then roll out the charging stations to the surrounding areas. Musk is anyway due in China to start delivering Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S cars to customers.
Apollo Global Management portfolio company Momentive Performance Materials has filed for Chapter 11 as part of a pre-negotiated "restructuring support agreement" with some of its creditors. Momentive has $2.69B in assets and $4.17B in debt, with Apollo's (NYSE:APO) $3.8B leveraged buyout of the coatings and resins company in 2006 saddling the latter with loans. The overhaul will eliminate over $3B of debt and leave Momentive with $1.2B in loans, and provide more than $300M of liquidity.
General Motors' European unit Opel could finally break even in 2015 after years of heavy losses, ahead of its target of 2016, unit chief Karl-Thomas Neumann has indicated. Although GM (NYSE:GM) has shut a German factory, the company is pumping over $6B into its European operations, while Neumann has made a concerted effort to rebuild the Opel brand. The unit is also benefiting from a recovery in the European car market.
Relativity Media has reportedly offered to buy Maker Studios for up to $900M in stock despite the YouTube content provider agreeing to sell itself to Disney (NYSE:DIS). Relativity, a mid-sized film and entertainment company, is bidding $500M up front and $400M in milestones. Relativity is also proposing a $100M "bonus pool" to Maker's "key talent and executives." Disney, though, is offering $500M in cash and $450M in additional payments.
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In Asia, Japan -0.4% to 13910. Hong Kong +0.1% to 23039. China +0.05% to 2132. India closed.
In Europe, at midday, London -1.8%. Paris -0.7%. Frankfurt -0.8%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow -0.2%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude -0.2% to $103.50. Gold +0.4% to $1324.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield + 1bps to 2.63%.
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