President Obama has again warned Vladimir Putin of increased sanctions if Russia does not change its stance of backing Ukrainian rebels. The additional threat follows the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over the battle-torn east Ukraine region of Donetsk. U.S. intelligence says the plane was struck by a ground-to-air missile but is undecided whether it was launched by the Russian military or by pro-Russian separatists.
Japanese shares fell to a one-week low today dropping to their largest one-day fall in three weeks after investors turned risk averse due to the downed Malaysian Airlines jetliner. The Nikkei sank 1% to 15,215.71, its lowest close since July 11. The index also fell 1.7% at one point during Friday's trading. Topix shed 0.8% to 1,263.29 at the close of trading in Tokyo, while JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.7% to 11,505.50.
Israeli soldiers and tanks have entered Gaza after 10 days of bombardments from the air failed to stop the rocket attacks from the Strip and cease-fire efforts collapsed. The campaign is aimed at "destroying the terror tunnels dug from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory," says PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Shares of Israeli companies listed in the U.S. tumbled to their lowest level in a week, led by Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ:MLNX) which closed down 3.5%.
After many weeks of takeover talks, AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) has finally closed on a $53B deal with Shire (NASDAQ:SHPG) in the pursuit of a strategic tax inversion and new drug portfolio. Under the cash-and-stock deal, AbbVie will pay £52.48 per share for Dublin-based Shire, consisting of £24.44 in cash and 0.8960 of new AbbVie shares.
GM General Counsel Mike Millikin testified at the Senate yesterday stating he did receive the four warnings from lawyers regarding the crashes involving stalled vehicles between October 2010 and April 2013 but did not alert GM’s (NYSE:GM) board or securities regulators to the potential liabilities. CEO Mary Barra defended Millikin stating lower-down members of his department had failed to inform him to the scale of the problems and to the warnings the company had received from external lawyers.
After its great success with hybrid vehicles, Toyota (NYSE:TM) is now moving into the hydrogen fuel cell arena by selling its new car with the technology before April of next year. The model's list price is about ¥7M ($70k), but factoring in subsidies and tax breaks the vehicle will sell for about ¥5M ($50k). With a single hydrogen fueling, the planned fuel cells can take the new vehicle almost 430 miles.
The buyout collusion lawsuit continues, as Blackstone (NYSE:BX), KKR (NYSE:KKR) and TPG Capital now enter talks to settle the LBO court case filed against them and eight other PE firms for conspiring not to jump each other's bids after buyouts were announced. Previously, Lake Partners, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs' private equity arm all agreed to multi-million dollar settlements after being charged with colluding in deals prior to the financial crisis.
Twitter has purchased CardSpring, an e-commerce platform that allows retailers and publishers to offer online promotions (linked to credit/debit cards) for offline goods and services. The company has also launched an analytics service that tracks the impact of its promotions on offline sales. The purchase adds to an e-commerce push that has seen Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) partner with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and reportedly explore a payments partnership with PayPal (NASDAQ:EBAY) rival Stripe.
In a move that could boost the company's e-commerce monetization in time, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is giving merchants the option to embed a "Buy" button within news feed ads and Page posts. Clicking on the button allows users to buy a promoted item without leaving Facebook's site, and to save the payment info they provide for future purchases. Facebook isn't charging a transaction fee for now, but is open to doing so down the line.
Google's Q2 EPS of $6.08 missed by $0.15 although revenue jumped 22% Y/Y to $16B beating estimates by $350M. The company reported a rise in paid clicks by 2% Q/Q and 25% Y/Y in Q2, after growing 25% Y/Y in Q1. Cost per click was flat Q/Q and down 6% Y/Y, while sites revenue was +23% Y/Y vs. +21% in Q1. Google (GOOG, GOOGL) also announced that sales chief Nikesh Arora will be leaving to become vice chairman at SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF).
A grand jury has indicted FedEx on several criminal charges related to shipments it made for illegal online pharmacies. The charges stem from a DOJ investigation, and include conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. FedEx (NYSE:FDX) says it believes its employees acted in good faith, and did nothing illegal. UPS (NYSE:UPS) paid $40M last year to avoid similar charges.
The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Entergy, charging the power producer with not reporting its affirmative action compliance. As a federal contractor (earning more than $1B in taxpayer-funded contracts), Entergy (NYSE:ETR) is required to disclose its affirmative action records and has refused to do so since May 2012. The company also released downside guidance for Q2 yesterday, announcing operational EPS of ~$1.10 vs. the $1.16 of the analyst consensus estimate.
Rosneft has announced that it will "continue to work on its existing projects and agreements and honor its obligations" despite the new U.S. sanctions against the company for Russia's link to the Ukraine crisis. Rosneft (OTC:RNFTF) emphasized its adequate liquidity to service its debt and that it would still deliver on the key indicators of its strategy and dividend policy.
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In Asia, Japan -1% to 15216. Hong Kong -0.3% to 23455. China +0.2% to 2059. India +0.3% to 25642.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.5%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt -0.7%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow -0.1%. S&P flat. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude +0.3% to $103.45. Gold -0.5% to $1310.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +3 bps to 2.48%
Notable earnings after today's close: BMI
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