Romney fails to break out on Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney won six out of 10 state contests yesterday, including obtaining a narrow victory in the key battleground of Ohio, although the inconclusive nature of the results means the GOP nomination race still has a long ways to go yet. Romney remains the front-runner but Santorum is still in the hunt.
Tension rises as Greece's debt deadline nears. With Greece's debt-swap deadline just a day away, the posturing continues from bondholders and Greek officials, with some Greek pension funds and foreign investors rejecting the offer, and the government threatening effective default. However, some of the largest private holders are falling into line, including SocGen, Assicurazioni Generali and UniCredit, as well as Greece's six largest banks.
Gas prices to hurt iPad 3 sales, says Global Equities. With a frenzy of hype and speculation almost causing burst arteries across tech land, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to unveil the iPad 3 today. However, bucking much of the bullish commentary, Global Equities thinks consumers won't line up for the new tablet if gas prices remain elevated. "Our observation is that iPad 3 will get a subdued reaction, until and unless gasoline prices fall by 25%," Global Equities said. Apple is apparently hoping that a 4G connection will prove otherwise.
Bunge, Glencore eye $5B Gavilon. Bunge (NYSE:BG) and Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF) are reportedly among the companies that have expressed an interest in the possible sale of U.S. energy and grains trader Gavilon Group. Privately-held Gavilon began exploring fundraising options in January, with bids due soon for a potential sale that could be worth up to $5B.
Statoil leads race for Anadarko's $3B-$4B Brazil ops. Norway's Statoil (NYSE:STO) is said to be the frontrunner to buy Anadarko Petroleum's (NYSE:APC) Brazilian operations, edging out France's Total (NYSE:TOT) and Denmark’s Maersk for the assets, which are valued at $3B-$4B.
Fears grow for future of utility bought in $45B P-E deal. The steep fall in natural gas prices over recent years has sparked doubts about the future of Texas utility Energy Future Holdings, which, as TXU, was bought by a P-E consortium led by KKR (NYSE:KKR), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and TPG for $45B in 2007. Investors fear a sharp drop in revenues due to the expiry over the next two years of hedges that protect Energy Future from the fall in gas prices, The Financial Times reports. And in 2014, the utility faces its first significant debt maturities.
France has doubts about Iran talks. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is skeptical about the chances for success of renewed talks between six world powers and Iran over its nuclear program, which were announced yesterday. "I think Iran continues to be two-faced," Juppe said today. "That's why I think we have to continue to be extremely firm on sanctions."
Stanford victims hope for their money back following conviction. Having yesterday convicted Allen Stanford of operating a $7.1B Ponzi scheme, the jurors in his trial are now hearing evidence about whether to allow prosecutors to obtain over $300M in forfeiture from bank accounts controlled by Stanford. The money would be used to start paying thousands of his victims.
Ford awards Mulally almost $60M in shares. Ford (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally reaps the benefits of reviving the car maker's fortunes, receiving $58.3M in stock as part of an incentive plan from 2009. Ford has awarded Mulally over $100M in shares over the past two years.
Good results for anti-depressant drug from Forest, Pierre. Forest Labs (NYSE:FRX) and France's Pierre Fabre Medicament have reported a second set of positive results in Phase III trials of the anti-depressant drug levomilnacipran. With the outcome of another study due in the Spring, the companies plan to file for FDA approval this year.
Netflix looks to offer service on cable TV. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings has "quietly met" with executives at top cable providers about making the video service available as a subscription option, Reuters reports. At least one cable operator could experiment with offering Netflix by the year end. Hastings recently suggested the firm's service will eventually be included in cable packages.
By Yigal Grayeff and the Market Currents team
In Asia, Japan -0.6% to 9576. Hong Kong -0.9% to 20628. China -0.7% to 2395. India -0.2% to 17146.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.3%. Paris +0.7%. Frankfurt +0.3%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.5%. Nasdaq +0.5%. Crude +0.6% to $105.31. Gold +0.6% to $1682.00.
Wednesday's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:15 ADP Jobs Report
8:30 Productivity and Costs
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
3:00 PM Consumer Credit
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