The IMF's Deputy Managing Director David Lipton has pressed China to lower its growth target next year to 7% as a result of reforms that can reduce its size in the near term. China has already set a growth target of about 7.5% for this year, compared with 7.7% last year. The IMF and many Chinese economists think that the current Chinese growth model has become counterproductive, even leading to heavy pollution and financial weakness.
WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton has voiced his concerns over gaining new users for the messaging service. "Growth in the United States is a challenge for us," says Acton. The co-founder also related that in Japan and Taiwan "we could have been more successful with a little bit more effort." Despite the challenges, Acton believes the $19B buyout from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will send 1B new users to his social network and generate substantial revenues.
Microsoft has declared that it will reduce the prices on its tablets to the $100-$300 range instead of the $300-$500 range, and some Windows smartphones will sell for under $200 in certain markets. The price cuts for the Windows 8 devices come as the company attempts to gain a greater market share in the mobile sector. Currently, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is battling Google (GOOG, GOOGL) which offers its Android operating system for free to handset and tablet developers.
RadioShack will announce a new partnership today with PCH International. The new partnership will aim to boost revenue by bringing a variety of products from start-ups to RadioShack's (NYSE:RSH) stores. The new bet requires minimal inventory due to direct shipping from China, and the start-ups' hardware will be displayed in special zones in the front of as many as 2,000 stores starting this summer. RadioShack reported a $400M loss in 2013.
Lenovo and IBM are looking to extend their deal deadline, as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) continues the review of Lenovo's planned purchase of IBM’s low-end server unit for $2.3B. The CFIUS assesses acquisitions for their national-security implications, and the deal between China-based Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGF) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) comes at a time of tensions between the U.S. and China over spying and hacking claims.
Sprint and T-Mobile are near an agreement for a deal that would value T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) at ~$40/share. Sprint's (NYSE:S) offer will reportedly feature a 50-50 cash/stock split, and leave Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), which currently owns 67% of T-Mobile, with a 15% stake in the combined company. The carriers are also reportedly close to agreeing on a breakup fee.
Goldman Sachs is boosting its mergers team in Asia after ranking number one in the region so far this year by working on a record of $53.8B in deal making. The group has worked this year on deals including the sale of Ranbaxy to Sun Pharmaceuticals for $3.2B and Lenovo’s (OTCPK:LNVGF) $2.3B acquisition of IBM’s (IBM) server business. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) has appointed Richard Campbell-Breeden to the new position of vice-chairman of the investment banking division for Asia Pacific excluding Japan.
BP and Anadarko Petroleum could be facing billions of dollars in fines after the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the companies are automatically liable under the U.S. Clean Water Act as co-owners of the Macondo well that blew out and started the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The U.S. can fine BP (NYSE:BP) up to $18B if it is found negligent; APC (NYSE:APC) faces a maximum of $4.6B.
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In Asia, Japan +0.1% to 15079. Hong Kong -0.2% to 23110. China +0.8% to 2041. India +0.9% to 25020.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.3%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow flat. S&P flat. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude -0.4% to $102.24. Gold flat at $1244.40.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2 bps to 2.58%
Today's economic calendar:
Chain Store Sales
7:30 Challenger Job-Cut Report
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Gallup US Payroll to Population
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
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