"We expect no fireworks at the April gathering," says RBS chief economist Michelle Girard ahead of the close of the FOMC policy meeting today. The Fed is nearly universally seen as cutting back QE by another $10B to a pace of $45B per month, and there will be no post-meeting press conference or new economic forecasts to "stir the pot," says Morgan Stanley chief economist Vince Reinhart. One thing to look for: A marginally more upbeat statement as recent data somewhat confirms the Fed's belief that this winter's economic slowdown was due to, well, the winter. The policy statement is due at 2 PM ET.
In the Bank of Japan's latest outlook on prices and growth, the central bank stuck with its inflation forecasts of 1.3% for the fiscal year ending March 2015 and 1.9% the following year. Unveiling its 2017 estimate, the bank saw inflation rising to 2.1% - ahead of its 2% target. The higher inflation forecast might dampen some economist expectations for further bank stimulus this year, but the other half of the BOJ report saw the central bank lowering its GDP growth outlook for this year to 1.1% from 1.4% previously. For the fiscal year ending March 2016, the forecast remained at 1.5%. The yen saw sizable gains against the dollar following the report's release, but those have been trimmed, leaving dollar/yen marginally lower at ¥102.50.
Twitter tumbled after reporting earnings ahead of expectations, but providing a disappointing outlook. The company's second quarter revenue forecast was $270M-$280M against consensus of $272.9M. Twitter's (NYSE:TWTR) adjusted EBITDA guidance of $25M-$30M was lower than Q1's $37M result. In Q1, monthly active users rose 6% sequentially and 25% Y/Y to 255M, roughly inline with expectations. Timeline views rose 6% sequentially, and just 15% Y/Y to 157B. Ad sales rose 125% Y/Y to $226M amid a barrage of new ad products. Shares -11.1% in the premarket.
BNP Paribas warned it may end up paying much more than the $1.1B it had set aside to cover potential penalties for alleged U.S. sanctions violations. U.S. authorities are reportedly planning to criminally charge the bank with doing business with countries including Iran, Sudan, and Cuba, and - in addition to monetary fines - BNP Paribas (OTCQX:BNPQY, OTCPK:BNPQF) could face a ban or suspension on its ability to do dollar clearing in New York, and possible action against individual employees. The stock is lower by 3.5% in Paris action.
eBay slumped after beating Q1 profit estimates, but providing a soft Q2 outlook. Expected Q2 revenue for eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) of $4.325B-$4.425B was below consensus $4.40B, and EPS guidance of $0.67-$0.69 was shy of hopes for $0.70. In Q1, PayPal revenue rose 19% Y/Y to $1.85B, with payments volume up 27% to $52B. Marketplaces revenue of $2.16B was up just 10%. In search of "greater U.S. financial flexibility," the company also incurred a fat tax bill of $3B after repatriating $9B in overseas cash. Said "flexibility" could mean more buybacks. The company repurchased $1.8B worth of shares in Q1. The stock's lower by 3.8% premarket.
Alstom's board left the door open to a competing bid from Siemens (SI) as it said it will review General Electric's (NYSE:GE) $16.9B binding offer for its energy business. The agreement with GE means Alstom (OTCPK:ALSMY, OTCPK:AOMFF) cannot solicit other offers to purchase all or part of its energy business, but can entertain unsolicited bids for the entire unit. Should the board recommend GE's offer, Alstom would be subject to a 1.5% break-up fee if it then backed another deal. Separately, Siemens said it's ready to make an offer provided it gets access to Alstom's data room as well as the opportunity to interview management. GE said the purchase would be immediately accretive to earnings, adding an additional $0.08-$0.10 of EPS by 2016.
The largest maker of devices used in a popular uterine surgery, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), said it's suspending sales, distribution, and promotion of power morcellators amid concerns over cancer risk. The move came following an FDA advisory this month discouraging doctors from using the devices to remove fibroids because of a risk of worsening an oft-hidden cancer. The suspension doesn't prevent doctors from using devices already in inventory, but a number of hospitals suspended morcellator procedures after the FDA advisory. J&J doesn't publicly break out morcellator sales, but it's been the gorilla in the industry since its 1998 purchase of FemRx. Its market share was estimated at 72% in 2011.
Apple returned to the debt market with a $12B offering across seven different maturities. The amount was less than last year's $17B sale and interest is robust, with investors having placed more than $40B of orders. The 10-year tranche of the paper is priced at just 77 basis points over comparable Treasurys. The move comes after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) last week boosted its share repurchase plan to $90B from $60B.
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In Asia, Japan +0.1% to 14304. Hong Kong -1.4% to 22134. China +0.3% to 2026. India -0.2% to 22425.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris -0.4%. Frankfurt -0.2%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow flat. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude -1% to $100.34. Gold -0.3% to $1292.10.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2 bps to 2.71%.
Today's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:15 ADP Jobs Report
8:30 GDP Q1
8:30 Employment Cost Index
8:30 Treasury Refunding Quarterly Announcement
9:45 Chicago PMI
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
2:00 PM FOMC Announcement
3:00 PM Farm Prices
Notable earnings before Wednesday’s open: AB, ABX, ACCO, ACT, ADP, ADT, ALLT, AUDC, AUO, CEVA, CKSW, CVE, D, DHX, ENR, EVER, EXC, GIB, GOV, GRMN, GVA, H, HES, HPY, HSP, IACI, ICON, IMN, INGR, IP, ISSI, JLL, LL, LVLT, MGAM, MRGE, MSCI, MWV, NEE, NI, NVMI, NYCB, OMG, OSIS, PBI, PNK, PSX, PSXP, RDWR, RGS, SEE, SNCR, SO, SPW, SUI, TASR, TFX, TRI, TWX, TX, WEC, WLP, ZEUS
Notable earnings after Wednesday’s close: AEL, ANAD, ARAY, ARII, ASH, ATML, ATW, AXTI, BCOV, BDN, BGC, BMR, BYD, CACI, CAVM, CBG, CBT, CGNX, CHMT, CJES, CMO, CNW, COHR, CRL, CSII, CW, CWT, DOX, DRE, DRIV, EDMC, EGN, ELGX, ELX, EPAM, EQIX, EQR, EXL, FBHS, FLEX, FLTX, FNF, FORM, GDOT, GLUU, HOLX, HOS, HR, INT, IO, IPI, IRF, IRG, ISIL, JDSU, JKHY, KEG, KEX, KONA, KS, KTOS, LNC, LOCK, LOPE, MAA, MANT, MASI, MDAS, MDU, MET, MTGE, MUR, NBIX, NEWP, NGD, OILT, OPLK, PACB, PDM, PEIX, PFPT, POL, PPC, PRAA, QUIK, RKUS, ROVI, RRTS, SAM, SFLY, SGI, SPRT, SSS, STMP, TEX, TSO, TSRO, TTEK, TTMI, UNTD, VNTV, WBMD, WDC, WLL, WMB, WMGI, WPZ, WTW, YELP
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