India's Bharatiya Janata Party appears to have won the country's general election, with exit polls showing that the BJP and its allies have racked up anything from 249 to 340 seats out of a total of 545 seats in the lower house of parliament. However, it's worth noting that Indian exit polls can be wildly inaccurate. Still, shares continued to rally at the prospect of a stable business-friendly government led by BJP party leader Narendra Modi.
Data out of China has continued to provide further evidence of a slowdown in the country's economy, with industrial-output growth moderating to 8.7% on year in April from 8.8% in March and retail sales softening to +11.9% from +12.2%. Aggregate financing, the widest measure of new credit, fell to 1.55T yuan ($249B) from 2.07T yuan. The figures reflect Chinese attempts to rein in soaring lending at the expense of higher growth.
The German ZEW survey of investor confidence has slumped to 33.1 in May from 43.2 in April and missed consensus of 41. However, the current situation print rose to 62.1 from 59.5. The fall in the outlook "should be seen against the backdrop of a strong economic development in the first quarter," says ZEW President Clemens Fuest. While "there are indications that Germany will not be able to maintain this fast pace of growth," the underlying trend should stay positive.
AT&T is reportedly in "advanced talks" to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) in a deal that values the satellite-TV provider at $51B, or over $66B after factoring in net debt. AT&T (NYSE:T) is offering $100 a share, or a 15% premium to DirecTV's close on Monday. Under the plans that are being discussed, DirecTV CEO Mike White plans to retire after 2015. The company's shares rose 5.9% in post-market trading.
Credit Suisse could reportedly be facing fines of over $2B for helping U.S. citizens evade taxes. The New York State Department of Financial Services wants Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) to pay $1B, although the figure will probably be reduced following negotiations. The Department of Justice is seeking up to $1.6B and wants the bank to plead guilty to criminal charges. Shares were -2.7% in Zurich at the time of writing.
Pfizer intends to raise its cash-and-stock bid for AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) a second time to "modestly" above the current offer of £50 ($84) a share, Bloomberg reports, adding that the U.S. company will increase the cash portion of its proposal from 32%. The report comes as Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) CEO Ian Read testifies today about the deal to a U.K. parliamentary panel. AstraZeneca counterpart Pascal Soriot is also appearing at the hearings.
The European Union Court of Justice has ruled that Google (GOOG, GOOGL) can be ordered to delete sensitive information, under certain conditions, from its Internet search results if it is requested to do so. Google had argued that forcing it to remove data amounts to censorship, although privacy advocates believe that people should be able to delete their digital traces and "be forgotten" on the Internet. The court may have just opened a Pandora's box.
RBS's American subsidiary, Citizens Financial Group, has filed for an IPO in the U.S. as the British bank continues its strategy of refocusing on its U.K. operations and strengthening its capital base. Last year, RBS (NYSE:RBS) said it would sell 20-25% of Citizens by the end of 2014 via a U.S. listing. The unit didn't say how many shares would be sold, nor at which price. Citizens itself won't receive any proceeds from the offering.
Cemex CEO Lorenzo Zambrano has unexpectedly died whilst on a business trip to Spain. After becoming CEO in 1985, Zambrano turned Cemex (NYSE:CX) into Mexico's first multinational company with a series of multi-billion dollar acquisitions. However, Cemex's $16B purchase of building-materials company Rinker in 2007 saddled the Mexican firm with huge debts just as the U.S. housing market was starting to slump.
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In Asia, Japan +1.9% to 14425. Hong Kong +0.4% to 22352. China -0.1% to 2051. India +1.4% to 23871.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris +0.2%. Frankfurt +0.5%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude +0.7% to $101.29. Gold -0.15% to $1293.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2 bps to 2.65%.
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