Wall St. Breakfast's Pre-Market Snapshot:
U.S. Futures As of 8:45 AM EST
S&P 500: +4.40; 1,458.20
NASDAQ 100: +9.25; 1,854.25
Dow: +48.00; 12,712.00
NIKKEI 225: +0.15%; 18,215.35 (+26.93)
HANG SENG: -0.98%; 20,507.95 (-203.70)
S&P/ASX 200: +0.13%; 6,044.00 (+7.90)
BSE SENSEX 30: +0.12%; 13,649.52 (+16.99)
FTSE 100: +0.54%; 6,436.10 (+34.60)
CAC 40: +0.85%; 5,764.99 (+48.61)
XETRA-DAX: +0.60%; 7,034.76 (+42.18)
Commodity Futures (Reuters/Jefferies CRB)
Oil: +0.44%; $61.41 (+$0.27)
Gold: +0.28%; $688.60 (+$1.90)
Natural Gas: +0.46%; $7.79 (+$0.04)
Silver: -0.03%; $14.71 (-$0.005)
U.S. Breaking News — see today's Wall Street Breakfast for earlier news
XM Satellite Radio Shares Rise On Revenue Gains
XM Satellite Radio reported a larger per-share loss than anticipated when it reported Q4'06 earnings but shares climbed more than 1.5% in pre-market trading nonetheless. The company posted a 45% gain in revenue to $257.1 million from $177.1 million in the year earlier period surpassing the average Street estimate of between $242.8 million (Thomson) and $248.6 million (Bloomberg). EPS came in at a loss of $0.90 (-$256.7 million) versus an EPS loss of $1.22 ($268.3 million) a year earlier. It added 442,679 net new subscribers versus a net gain of 898,315 in the prior year period while the churn rate rose to 1.79% compared with 1.57%. For the year, the company added 1.7 million new subscribers in 2006, ending the year with 7.6 million subscribers after projecting it would close the year with 7.7-7.9 million subscribers. Gross cost per new customer was $128 compared with $141 a year earlier.
• Sources: Press Release, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, AP, [Check back for XMSR's conference call transcript later today]
• Commentary: XM/Sirius Merger: Defending Mel Karmazin • XM/Sirius Merger: An Attempt to Salvage Satellite Radio? • Sirius and XM Satellite to Merge - If They Can Clear Regulatory Hurdles
• Stocks and ETFs to watch: XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (XMSR). Competitors: Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI), Clear Channel Communications (CCU)
Dow Chemical May Get $54B Takeover Bid -- Tabloid
Shares of Dow Chemical Company, the #1 U.S. chemical maker, are trading up as much as 10% this morning after the British tabloid Sunday Express reported yesterday it might get a $54 billion takeover bid within the next few weeks. The Express said KKR Financial, Blackstone Capital Partners, and Carlyle Group may be preparing to align in a leveraged buyout [LBO] bid. If the unsourced report proves accurate, Dow Chemical will be the largest company ever to get a LBO offer. The offer is expected to come in at $60/share (Friday's close was $43.45), but "speculators" believe the break-up value could be up to $80 a share, it said. Sunday Express is not well-known for its mergers-and-acquisition coverage, and it failed to identify the source of its information, MarketWatch said. DOW shares are up 9.2% ($4.00) to $47.45 at 3:15 EST.
Sources: MarketWatch, Bloomberg
Commentary: Don't Miss The Boat On Dow Chemical • The Long Case For Dow Chemical • Dow Chemical: Full Steam Ahead
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Dow Chemical Company (DOW). Competitors: E.I. DuPont de Nemours (DD), ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM), Monsanto Company (MON), Eastman Chemical Company (EMN), BASF Ag (BF). ETFs: iShares Dow Jones US Basic Materials (IYM), Vanguard Materials VIPERs (VAW), Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB)
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Asian Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)
• Asian Stocks Advance to a Record for a Third Day; Nikko Cordial Surges Asian stocks climbed to a record for a third day, led by commodity-related companies after prices of metals and oil rose.
• Bank of Japan Members Waited for Data on Consumption, Prices, Minutes Show Bank of Japan policy makers delayed raising interest rates for a month because of disagreements about the strength of the economy and inflation, minutes of the January board meeting show.
• Reliance Shares Fall After Chairman Ambani Says He May Increase His Stake Shares of Reliance Industries Ltd., India's most valuable company, fell on concern that it will sell stock to help fund more than $13 billion of investments.
• Indian Railways Cuts Diesel, Gasoline Freight Charges to Cool Inflation Indian Railways, the nation's biggest employer, cut gasoline and diesel freight charges as part of the government's efforts to cool the fastest inflation in two years.
European Headlines (via Bloomberg.com)
• European Stocks Rise as Copper, Oil Prices Gain; Anglo American, BP Climb European stocks rose for a third day, led by BP Plc (BP), the region's second-largest energy company, and Anglo American Plc (AAUK) as oil gained and metals rallied to a record.
• Scor Plans $2.5 Billion Hostile Offer for Converium After Board Rejection Scor SA (SCO), France's largest reinsurer, plans to make a hostile takeover offer for Converium Holding AG (CHR) that would value its Swiss rival at 3.1 billion Swiss francs ($2.5 billion), increasing premium income by about 50 percent.
• Central Banks Diversifying Reserves Further From Dollar, RBS Survey Shows Central banks are increasingly diversifying their reserves, including cutting holdings of dollars, according to a survey sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, the U.K.'s second-largest bank.
• German Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Falls for a Fourth Month, GfK Says Consumer confidence in Germany, Europe's largest economy, fell to the lowest in 14 months as a sales-tax increase lessened people's appetite for large purchases.