Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk says he has reasons to suspect that the threat of a direct intervention by Russia's military in Ukraine has increased over the last few days. NATO’s deputy secretary general says that Russia has amassed about 20,000 troops along its border with eastern Ukraine, following a Pentagon spokesman's announcement yesterday that said Russian forces are closer than when it annexed Crimea in the spring.
Three leading Democratic senators have urged President Obama to use executive orders to reduce or eliminate the rising trend of U.S. corporations moving their tax domiciles overseas. "Although we will continue to work toward a legislative solution to the problem, we urge you to use your authority to reduce or eliminate tax breaks associated with inversions," say Senator Richard Durbin, Jack Reed and Elizabeth Warren in a letter to the president.
Qatar's emir has issued a new ruling that allows foreign investors to own up to 49% of listed Qatari companies, and may also permit a more than 49% stake if Qatari cabinet approval is obtained. The new reforms are aimed at expanding the country's stock market and developing its financial industry. The new Qatari law follows Saudi Arabia's plans announced in late July, which stated its intention to open the country's $530B stock market to foreign investors.
Sprint is abandoning its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA (NYSE:TMUS) due to excessive regulatory hurdles, and is likely to name Brightstar's Marcelo Claure as new CEO. If Sprint (NYSE:S) is out of the picture, the coast is clear for Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) to pursue T-Mobile, although multiple reports indicate that T-Mobile has rejected Iliad's initial $33/share offer for a 56.6% stake.
Following untold numbers of lawsuits, injunction requests, court petitions, and billed legal hours, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) have agreed to drop all suits against each other in Germany, the U.K., Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, France, South Korea, and Italy. The deal doesn't involve any licensing agreements.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have now been added to the long list of banks being investigated for their dark pools. The probes started with a lawsuit from the New York Attorney General in June which accused Barclays (NYSE:BCS) of favoring high frequency traders over other investors within the pool. Since then, investigations have spread to Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), UBS (NYSE:UBS) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), and now to Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Goldman (NYSE:GS).
Standard Chartered is back in the regulatory spotlight, this time over the alleged failure to flag high risk transactions for further review. The bank is now in talks with the New York Department of Financial Services over a possible penalty which may range from $100M-$340M. A monitor, who was installed at Standard Chartered (OTC:SCDRF, OTCPK:SCBFF) as part of the bank's 2012 settlement (over transactions linked to Iran), uncovered the regulatory issues.
21st Century Fox has withdrawn its $80B bid to buy Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) saying the company won't engage with it over talks. “We viewed a combination with Time Warner as a unique opportunity to bring together two great companies...Our proposal had significant strategic merit and compelling financial rationale and our approach had always been friendly,” says CEO Rupert Murdoch. Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) will instead buy back $6B of its own shares.
Tesla Motors says that it has "completely and amicably" resolved its trademark dispute with Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng, paving the way for its expansion into the world's largest auto market. Zhan registered the "Tesla" (NASDAQ:TSLA) trademark and certain domain names before the automaker came to China. Tesla said in January that the issue had been resolved, but last month, Zhan moved to bring the company to court.
China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) says it will penalize Audi (OTCQX:VLKAY) and Chrysler (OTCPK:FIATY) following its antitrust investigation which found the two involved with monopolistic practices in the Chinese auto parts industry. Many foreign automakers in China including Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIY) and Jaguar Land Rover (NYSE:TTM) have slashed their products and spare parts prices in recent weeks due to the NDRC's probes.
Cerner is acquiring Siemens' healthcare IT division for $1.3B in cash. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2015, and be financed with cash on hand. The purchase is expected to boost Cerner's (NASDAQ:CERN) 2015 EPS by more than $0.15, and its 2016 EPS by more than $0.25. Cerner and the Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) unit are expected to have $4.5B in 2014 sales between them.
China Life will become a general partner in private equity firm TPG Capital through the purchase of a $250M stake. The China Life (NYSE:LFC) deal comes as TPG raises a new global fund worth approximately $10B. The investment into one of the industry’s largest private equity groups shows that China Life has been undeterred from deals in the buyout sector despite tremendous losses, and highlights its insurance industry’s interest in alternative investments.
Walgreen is expected to announce this morning that it plans to acquire the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots that it does not already own in a deal costing in the region of £6B ($10.1B). However, sources say that Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) is likely to disclose as part of its announcement that it intends to remain a US-domiciled company rather than pursue a tax inversion.
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In Asia, Japan -1.1% to 15160. Hong Kong -0.3% to 24584. China -0.1% to 2217. India -0.9% to 25665.
In Europe, at midday, London -1.2%. Paris -1.3%. Frankfurt -1.6%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude +0.2% to $97.58. Gold +0.4% to $1289.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -4 bps to 2.45%
Notable earnings before today's open: ANR, AOL, APO, ARIA, AVA, AVT, BRKR, CEQP, CHK, CLH, CMLS, CNP, CONE, CSTE, CTSH, DBD, DISH, DNR, DVN, DWSN, EE, ELOS, GEO, GOV, GWPH, HFC, HNT, INXN, IPXL, ITC, KELYA, LINC, LIOX, MDLZ, MEMP, MVIS, NAVB, NUS, PERI, PH, PKD, POWR, RDC, RL, ROC, SBGI, SE, SEP, SF, SJI, SKYW, STWD, TAP, THI, TRGT, TWX, VC, VIAB, VITC, VOYA, WD, WIX, WPX, ZINC
Notable earnings after today's close: ACAS, AGU, ALDW, ANAD, ANDE, AR, ATML, ATO, AWK, BIOS, BIRT, BKD, BREW, BWC, CDE, CDXS, CF, CLDX, CNVR, CODI, COUP, CPA, CPE, CRL, CSII, CSOD, CTL, CXO, CXW, DCTH, DEPO, DK, DNB, DXCM, DYN, ECOL, EFC, ELON, ENS, ENV, ERII, ESS, ETE, ETP, EVC, EXAR, FLTX, FNV, FOXA, FTK, GEOS, GMCR, GPOR, GTY, HI, HIL, IL, INN, INWK, IO, ITMN, IXYS, JACK, KEG, KND, KW, LGP, LHCG, LNT, MBI, MCP, MG, MHLD, MNTX, MRIN, MTDR, MUSA, MWE, NBIX, NLY, NPSP, NRP, NVAX, NVTL, OILT, OSUR, PAA, PACD, PKT, PMT, PPO, PRI, PRU, PRXL, PTLA, QEP, RAIL, REG, RGP, RIG, RJET, RLOC, RNDY, RXN, SAAS, SAPE, SD, SGI, SLF, SN, SSNI, SSRI, SWM, SXL, SYMC, TCAP, TEG, TEP, THOR, THRX, TNGO, TRMR, TROX, TWO, TXTR, UHAL, UIL, WGL, WR, WTI, XNPT, YY, ZU
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