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  • BP: Asset sales, exec departures and more. BP (BP) is moving forward quickly with asset sales, announcing a $7B deal to sell Apache (APA) upstream assets in the U.S., Canada and Egypt. The company also plans to sell its gas fields and pipeline in Vietnam plus assets and exploration licenses in Pakistan; the two countries comprise only about 2% of BP's total natural-gas output, but could raise $1.7B through a sale. The sales, all on land, reflect BP's desire to get more, not less, involved in risky but lucrative deepwater drilling. Reports have been circulating that embattled CEO Tony Hayward could resign as soon as next month, which could also lift the stock, though the company denied Hayward is leaving. Meanwhile, a government probe on the causes of the rig disaster has begun to focus on Transocean (RIG) employees onboard at the time. Premarket: BP +3.9%, RIG +0.9% (7:00 ET).
  • Icahn launches new hostile bid for Lions Gate. Carl Icahn launched a new hostile bid for Lions Gate (LGF), offering $6.50/share this time rather than his previous offer of $7.00/share. Icahn has already built his stake up to 37.9% and is still hoping to replace the Lions Gate board with his own slate of nominees. Lions Gate responded that it will review the bid before making a recommendation to shareholders, but also announced it had completed a deal to convert $100M worth of debt to equity, effectively reducing Icahn's stake to 33.5%.
  • Sara Lee may trade bread for dough. Sara Lee (SLE) is thinking about selling its struggling North American bakery business and has selectively reached out to potential buyers, said sources. A sale of the unit could bring in at least $1B. A Sara Lee spokesman declined to comment, other than to say the company sees "tremendous potential" in its bakery business and is focused on running it; however, the bakery business hasn't had a permanent head for a few months, and a sale could be slowed by volatile commodity costs and wariness over competition from local bakeries and in-house supermarket offerings.
  • MUFG hungry for U.S. buys. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU), Japan's largest bank by assets, confirmed it's looking for new acquisitions in the U.S. as it faces weakening growth prospects domestically. MUFG said a midsize bank on the West Coast or in Texas or Arizona would be an ideal target, though purchasing several small banks is an option as well.
  • Taxpayers sink another $700B of aid into financial system. Taxpayer support for the financial system increased by $700B over the past year, bringing the total to around $3.7T, said TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky in a quarterly report to Congress. Most of the increase was due to government pledges to supply capital to Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) and to guarantee more mortgages to support the housing market. Barofsky also criticized the Treasury's housing relief efforts, pointing to "anemic" participation numbers that have failed to "put an appreciable dent in foreclosure filings." Separately, the Treasury said it plans to end a long-delayed and never-used $30B TARP program designed to boost small-business lending. (Closer look: What to Do With Fannie and Freddie?)
  • Judge approves Goldman-SEC settlement. A federal judge approved Goldman Sachs' (GS) $550M settlement with the SEC, in a ruling that was widely expected but still closely watched. For its part, the SEC said the Goldman case was just the tip of the iceberg, and many more crisis-related probes are being pursued.
  • Apple's phenomenal quarter. Handily beating earnings estimates (see below), Apple (AAPL) said it had experienced "a phenomenal quarter," with "the most successful product launch in Apple's history with iPhone 4." Among its other highlights: Mac unit sales +33%; iPhone unit sales +61% over the year-ago quarter; 3.27M iPads sold in its first quarter on the market. Apple also forecast higher-than-expected Q4 sales. As AllThingsD noted, "you can almost see concerns over antenna-gate sublimating before your very eyes." (Closer look: One stock only? It's gotta be Apple.)

Earnings: Wednesday Before Open

  • Check Point Software (CHKP): Q2 EPS of $0.58 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $261.1M (+16.8%) vs. $253.6M. (PR)
  • Comerica (CMA): Q2 EPS of $0.39 beats by $0.16. (PR)
  • EnCana (ECA): Q2 EPS of $0.11 misses by $0.11. Revenue of $1.5B (-40%) vs. $1.8B. (PR)
  • Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (HST): Q2 EPS of $0.23 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $1.11B (+6%) vs. $1.07B. (PR)
  • Textron (TXT): Q2 EPS of $0.29 beats by $0.20. Revenue of $2.7B (+3.7%) vs. $2.5B. (PR)

Earnings: Tuesday After Close

  • Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions (MDRX): FQ4 EPS of $0.18 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $191M (+13.9%) vs. $185M. Shares -1.7% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Altera (ALTR): Q2 EPS of $0.58 beats by $0.05. Revenue of $469M (+68.1%) vs. $447M. Shares -0.1% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Apple (AAPL): FQ3 EPS of $3.51 beats by $0.40. Revenue of $15.7B (+61.3%) vs. $14.8B. Shares +3.4% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Boston Scientific (BSX): Q2 EPS of $0.12 may not be comparable to consensus of $0.03. Revenue of $1.9B (-7%) in-line. Shares +1.3% AH. (PR)
  • Cintas (CTAS): FQ4 EPS of $0.35 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $909M (+3.5%) vs. $884M. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Fidelity National Information Services (FIS): Q2 EPS of $0.46 in-line. Revenue of $1.3B (+2.1%) in-line. Shares -1.4% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Fulton Financial (FULT): Q2 EPS of $0.14 misses by $0.01. (PR)
  • Gilead Sciences (GILD): Q2 EPS of $0.85 misses by $0.02. Revenue of $1.9B (+17%) vs. $2B. Shares -1.8% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Juniper Networks (JNPR): Q2 EPS of $0.30 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $978M (+24.4%) vs. $954M. Shares -2.6% AH. (PR)
  • Linear Technology (LLTC): Q2 EPS of $0.52 may not be comparable to consensus of $0.51. Revenue of $366M (+17.6%) vs. $339M. Shares +0.1% AH. (PR)
  • Seagate Technology (STX): FQ4 EPS of $0.71 misses by $0.06. Revenue of $2.7B (+12.9%) vs. $2.9B. Shares -2.9% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • SLM (SLM): Q2 EPS of $0.39 beats by $0.10. Shares +5.9% AH. (PR)
  • Stryker (SYK): Q2 EPS of $0.80 in-line. Revenue of $1.8B (+7.6%) in-line. Shares -2.5% AH. (PR)
  • Tempur-pedic International (TPX): Q2 EPS of $0.46 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $263M (+42.1%) vs. $248M. Shares +2.4% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • VMware (VMW): Q2 EPS of $0.34 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $674M (+47.9%) vs. $656M. Shares +5.3% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Yahoo (YHOO): Q2 EPS of $0.15 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $1.1B (-0.07%) vs. $1.2B. Shares -6.1% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan -0.2% to 9279. Hong Kong +1.1% to 20487. China +0.3% to 2535. India +0.6% to 17977.
  • In Europe, at midday, London +1.6%. Paris +1.6%. Frankfurt +1.0%.
  • Futures: Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.5%. Crude +0.5% to $77.94. Gold -0.1% to $1191.

Wednesday's Economic Calendar

Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.


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