- KKR-led group gobbles up Del Monte. Del Monte Foods (DLM) agreed to a $4B, or $19/share, buyout led by KKR & Co. (KKR), Vestar Capital Partners and Centerview Partners. The price is a 6% premium to Wednesday's close, though the stock has soared recently on buyout speculation and the offer is a 40% premium to Del Monte's average price over the last three months. The buyers will also assume $1.3B in debt. Del Monte can solicit alternative proposals through Jan. 8. Premarket: DLM +3.6% to $18.64 (7:00 ET).
- Boeing turkeyed by another Dreamliner delay. Boeing (BA) plans to make 'minor design changes' to the electrical system of its troubled and heavily-delayed 787 Dreamliner, after an in-flight fire and power failure on a test flight earlier this month that was "most likely caused by the presence of foreign debris." A new delivery schedule will be finalized in the next few weeks, and no word yet on when Boeing plans to resume test flights.
- POSCO, KT add stuffing to bid in Woori auction. POSCO (PKX) and KT Corp. (KT) have reportedly joined a consortium led by Woori Finance Holdings (WF) to bid for South Korea's 57% stake in Woori. The stake in South Korea's biggest financial services firm is valued at over $6B, and the government plans to close its first round of bidding today in one of the final steps in completing its bank privatization plan.
- Germany wants just desserts for debt-laden countries. The EU Commission suggested that the EU double the size of its €440B ($588B) bailout fund for eurozone governments, but sources said Germany dismissed the idea. The EU Commission is concerned that the same debt woes and investor fears which forced Greece and Ireland to accept bailouts could fell larger nations like Portugal and Spain; the Commission's official position is that both Portugal and Spain can get by without a bailout, and Portugal's government flatly denied that it's under pressure by Europe to accept a bailout. Referring to the bailout fund, Germany's Angela Merkel said yesterday "everything will remain as it has been agreed to."
- Retailers celebrate Thanksgiving, push Black Friday sales. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, got off to an early start, with some consumers queuing in line for hours ahead of store openings. Toys R Us CEO Jerry Storch summed up the feelings of many retailers, who are expressing a rare optimism after a long stretch of depressed sales: "I believe it’s going to be the biggest Black Friday we’ve had. Everyone has been focused on decreasing prices and these prices may never be repeated." However, with many of the consumers lured in by rock-bottom prices, it's unclear whether retailers' boost in sales will translate into a boost in profit.
- Vale cooks up Hong Kong listing. Vale (VALE) reportedly received approval to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, making it the first depository receipt to trade in Hong Kong. Bankers expect the development, a coup for the exchange, to pave the way for other global companies to issue depository receipts in Hong Kong. Sources said a listing is scheduled for early December.
- Constellation Energy gives thanks after court approves power plant purchase. A U.S. bankruptcy court approved the sale of five Boston Generating LLC power plants to Constellation Energy (CEG) for $1.1B. Boston Gen had arranged the sale in August as part of its bankruptcy filing but needed court approval to finalize the deal.
- Persistent deflation drives BoJ gravy. Japan's core consumer price index fell 0.6% from a year earlier, according to data released today, following a 1.1% decline in September. Though deflation has been easing since last summer, the pace of improvement has been slowing in recent months and the Bank of Japan's forecast for an end to deflation in the fiscal year starting next April looks unlikely. Since its benchmark interest rate is already effectively at zero, BoJ has little choice but to increase asset purchases if the economy and the price outlook deteriorate.
- Stick a fork in Aussie rate hikes, for now. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens indicated this morning that interest rates could remain steady for the next few months, but suggested he wasn't done tightening policy as medium-term inflation risks were still high. The RBA will meet next on December 7.
- In Asia, Japan -0.4% to 10040. Hong Kong -0.8% to 22877. China -0.9% to 2872. India -0.9% to 19137.
- In Europe, at midday, London -1.7%. Paris -1.7%. Frankfurt -1.4%.
- Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.8%. S&P -0.9%. Nasdaq -0.9%. Crude -1.2% to $82.89. Gold -0.9% to $1360.10.
Friday's Economic Calendar
- 1:00 PM Markets close early
4:30 PM Money Supply
- 4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!
Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.
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