- Genzyme spurns Sanofi, looks at options. Genzyme's (GENZ) board unanimously rejected a $69/share tender offer from Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) as "inadequate and opportunistic" and urged shareholders not to tender their shares. The company also disclosed that Sanofi had privately indicated it would pay as much as $80/share for the biotech firm before it decided to go hostile with its original, lower bid. Genzyme has been exploring its alternative strategic options, and reportedly received indications of interest following preliminary communications with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) earlier this year.
- Microsoft gearing up to buy Adobe? Shares of Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) closed up 11.5% yesterday on heavy volume following rumors that Adobe may be a takeover target for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The speculation was sparked by a New York Times report about a secret meeting between Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer and Adobe chief Shantanu Narayen, where the two discussed Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) dominance in the mobile market and the possibility of acquiring Adobe as a way to fight back. Adobe didn't deny that the meeting took place, but both Microsoft and Adobe declined to comment. Premarket: ADBE -2.1% (7:00 ET).
- U.A.E. backs off BlackBerry ban. The United Arab Emirates announced this morning that it won't suspend BlackBerry (RIMM) services this month as it had previously planned, since "BlackBerry services are now compliant with the U.A.E.’s telecommunications regulatory framework." Regulators didn't provide further details on their agreement with Research In Motion.
- HSBC ordered to cease and desist. U.S. regulators sent HSBC's (HBC) North American unit a "cease and desist" order, telling the unit it needs to strengthen its risk management and compliance with federal anti-money laundering laws. The order follows an investigation which uncovered several compliance lapses, and is an embarrassment to the banking giant which generally has a reputation for exercising caution in its global operations. No fine was levied, though regulators said HSBC could still face civil penalties down the road. Premarket: HBC -0.8% (7:00 ET).
- Coming Soon: Amazon apps store. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is reportedly jumping into the apps market, with plans to open an online app store for phones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android software. The move would bring Amazon into competition with Apple's (AAPL) iPhone app store; the two already compete in sales of digital music, videos and books. It would also pit Amazon against Google's own digital-app marketplace called Android Market, with the one big advantage that Amazon already has payment relationships with millions of customers familiar with its checkout process.
- New rules for winding down banks. The FDIC is expected to issue as early as today new rules on the seizure and resolution of large financial firms that are failing. The rules are expected to include a controversial provision that would allow some creditors to get a better deal than others in specific cases; additional payments can be made to short-term creditors when it maximizes the value of the firm or enables the government to continue essential operations of the company while it's in receivership. The FDIC's Bair said the authority to differentiate among creditors "will be used rarely," but some officials worry the provision will prompt creditors who know they're going to suffer heavy losses to pull out of a firm if it experiences a rocky period.
- Obama vetoes foreclosure bill. In the first effective veto of his presidency, Obama blocked a bill that would have required state and federal courts to accept the validity of out-of-state document notarizations; the bill would have made it harder to challenge the authenticity of foreclosures and other legal documents. Opponents argued the bill would let banks involved in the recent robo-signing scandal off the hook (including such heavyweights as BofA (NYSE:BAC) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM)), and would make it harder for homeowners to stop foreclosures. Following the veto, the bill will be sent back to Congress, while regulators continue to move ahead cautiously with their investigation of banks' foreclosure practices.
- Chamber of Commerce to take Obama policies to court. Saying over-regulation "will silence the heartbeat of our economy," the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pledged to step up legal challenges to Obama's regulatory policies. In particular, the nation's largest business lobby plans to target health care and financial regulation reform, noting litigation is "one of our most powerful tools" in ensuring regulators "follow the law and are held accountable." The Chamber has already taken an activist stance: Earlier this week, the SEC put on hold a rule giving shareholders more power to influence corporate boards after the Chamber filed a lawsuit.
- Japan open to further forex intervention. Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said last month's intervention in currency markets wasn't a sign that Japan is prepared to conduct large-scale interventions to guide the yen to a specific level. However, he kept the door open to "firm measures, including intervention, when needed." His comments come ahead of the G-7 meeting and amid rising tensions on the issue of unilateral currency actions.
- Moody's considers China upgrade. After months of sovereign downgrades and outlook warnings, at least one country is in line for a possible upgrade. Moody's said this morning it may upgrade its A1 rating on Chinese government debt, citing the nation's growth outlook, the "determined and effective" stimulus program enacted during the financial crisis, and the "likely containment" of risks associated with 2009's credit expansion. Following the global crisis, China's economic performance has been "resilient and strong."
Earnings: Thursday After Close
- Alcoa (NYSE:AA): FQ3 EPS of $0.09 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $5.3B (+14.6%) vs. $5B. (PR, earnings call transcript)
- Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU): FQ4 EPS of $0.32 misses by $0.06. Revenue of $2.5B (+91.5%) vs. $2.7B. Shares -1.1% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
- In Asia, Japan -1.0% to 9589. Hong Kong +0.3% to 22944. China +3.1% to 2739. India -0.3% to 20250.
- In Europe, at midday, London -0.8%. Paris -0.7%. Frankfurt -0.4%.
- Futures: Dow -0.4%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.35%. Crude -1.5% to $80.42. Gold -0.6% to $1327.20.
Friday's Economic Calendar
8:30 Nonfarm payrolls
9:40 ECRI Future Inflation Gauge
10:00 Wholesale Trade
10:30 ECRI Leading Index
2:25 PM Fed's Tarullo: International Financial Regulation
Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.
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