- Aon buys Hewitt Associates. Insurance broker Aon (AON) agreed to buy human-resource consulting and outsourcing company Hewitt Associates (HEW) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $4.9B. The deal, which will nearly triple the size of Aon's consulting operations, marks a 41% premium over Hewitt's closing price on Friday.
- BP in asset sale talks as oil flows freely. Over the weekend, BP (BP) removed its containment cap from the leaking Gulf well, allowing oil to flow freely, as it prepares to place a tighter-fitting dome that could potentially stem the leak in its entirety if all goes well. In the meantime, the company is said to be in talks to sell up to $10B worth of assets, including its stake in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay oil field, to Apache (APA). PetroChina (PTR) said it has offered BP assistance and would welcome the opportunity to work more closely together; PetroChina may be referring to a possible asset purchase, or joining BP in a joint venture. According to a media report, Exxon Mobil (XOM) and possibly Chevron (CVX) have both approached the White House to get unofficial approval for potential bids for BP. Premarket: BP +2.8% (7:00 ET).
- Santander buys German banking unit. Banco Santander (STD) continued its recent acquisition spree with the purchase of a 173-branch German retail banking network from Sweden's Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. The €555M ($699M) deal will nearly double Santander's branches in the country and add around 1M customers. Premarket: STD -3.4% (7:00 ET).
- Apple, AT&T face class action suit. A federal judge ruled that a monopoly-abuse lawsuit against Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T) can move forward with class-action status. The lawsuit claims that consumers agreed to a two-year contract with AT&T as the exclusive iPhone carrier, but ended up locked in a five-year relationship. It also claims that Apple's actions, including "locking" its iPhones, controlling which apps can be installed and relying on an exclusive partner, have hurt competition and driven up prices. Premarket: AAPL -0.5% (7:00 ET).
- Staples to buy Corporate Express Australia. Staples (SPLS) will complete a proposed deal to buy the shares it doesn't already own of Corporate Express Australia. Staples, which holds a 58.6% stake in the company, said the move will help it "more effectively address the Australian market, an important part of our future growth internationally." The deal is expected to close on July 26.
- BofA retreats on property fund. Blackstone (BX) will take over the management of a $2B portfolio of Asian property investments from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch (BAC). The move will boost Blackstone's real estate investments in the region, and highlights the retreat of banks from the business of running real estate and corporate private equity funds. BofA will "continue to be the general partner of the fund and an investor in it." Premarket: BAC -0.7% (7:00 ET).
- Japan's election results could hurt debt reduction. Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s party lost control of Japan’s upper house of parliament, creating uncertainty about the country's efforts to rein in the world's largest public debt. Kan, who took office a month ago, has lost voter support by calling for a debate on whether to raise the sales tax and drawing attention to a national debt that amounts to $80,000 per person.
- No slowdown for Chinese exports. China's exports jumped 44% in June compared to the year before, leading to a June trade surplus of $20B. The jump in exports defied widespread fears about a new global slowdown, but will likely increase pressure on China to allow a further appreciation of the yuan.
- Friday's failures. Four more banks were closed on Friday, bringing this year's failures to 90 so far. The closures in Maryland (I, II), Oklahoma and New York are expected to cost the FDIC's insurance fund $160M.
- In Asia, Japan -0.4% to 9548. Hong Kong +0.4% to 20467. China +0.8% to 2491. India +0.6% to 17937.
- In Europe, at midday, London +0.6%. Paris flat. Frankfurt +0.1%.
- Futures: Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude -0.8% to $75.47. Gold -0.5% to $1204.20.
Monday's Economic Calendar
- 9:00 Fed's Lacker: "The Fed Experience"
10:00 Fed Conference: Addressing Small Business Financing [Bernanke, Duke]
1:00 PM $35B, 3-Year Note Auction
- Notable earnings after Monday's close: AA, CSX, NVLS
Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.
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