Oracle bounces back, sort of. Oracle (ORCL) shares rose 2.2% in post-market trading after the software maker said that FQ3 EPS beat forecasts with a 15% rise to $0.62. Revenue rose 3% to an in-line $9B, while the closely watched sales of new software licenses increased 7%, above expectations for a 3% rise. Although Oracle recovered from its rare earnings miss in FQ2, Fort Pitt analyst Kim Forrest pointed out that the new-license growth was still below the double-digits that Oracle enjoyed in 2011. And as expected, the hardware ops remained weak, falling 11% overall.
U.S. exempts Japan from Iran blacklist but not China. The U.S. has exempted Japan and 10 other nations from financial sanctions related to measures against Iran, as this "initial group" has "significantly reduced" its oil purchases from the country ahead of a June 28 deadline. Not included were China, South Korea and India, all heavy buyers of Iranian oil.
EU scrutinizes $90B Glencore-Xstrata merger. EU regulators are taking a closer look at the proposed $90B tie-up between Glencore (GLCNF.PK) and Xstrata (XSRAY.PK) after receiving complaints that the deal might give the merged firm unfair power over zinc, nickel and coal. That, combined with Xstrata shareholders who want a higher bid and a Glencore board content to sit pretty, means it may take until 2013 for the mega-merger to move forward.
H-P to combine PC and printing ops. H-P (HPQ) reportedly intends to merge its PC and printing operations as part of a major reorganization that will also include the departure of printing chief V.J. Joshi. Both divisions posted weak sales in H-P's FQ1, as each struggled to cope with cannibalization from rival technologies (tablets for the PC business and online photo sharing for the printing arm).
Obama to fast-track part of Keystone pipeline. President Obama will tomorrow announce a fast-tracking of the approval of the southern half of TransCanada's (TRP) Keystone XL pipeline, CNN reports. Permitting for such a project can take a year or more, so a commitment to expedite the process could shave several months off that timeline.
China taps Shell for shale gas projects. Shell (RDS.A) has signed its first-ever production-sharing contract to explore, develop and produce shale gas in China. The deal adds to one that Total (TOT) is finalizing with Sinopec (SNP) as China looks to foreign firms for their technical and operational know-how to develop its huge reserves of the fuel.
Thomson Reuters nears sales of healthcare ops. Thomson Reuters (TRI) is close to a sale of its healthcare business in a deal that could bring in as much as $1B, The Wall Street Journal reports. The transaction would resuscitate a sale that was in the works last year before market conditions caused the company to pull the plug.
Hartford to go back to 200-year-old basics. Bowing to investor pressure, Hartford Financial (HIG) will exit its annuity business and weigh the sale of a large portion of its life-insurance operations. CEO Liam McGee said the move will let the company focus on its property-casualty unit, where the company got its start more than 200 years ago. Shares +3% premarket.
Japan brightens up. Japan has maintained its assessment that its economy is slowly picking up, although encouraging signs from abroad have prompted the government to become more optimistic. Domestic demand is improving, private spending is holding firm and capex has picked up recently.
Linn to continue multi-billion dollar shopping spree. Linn Energy (LINE) CEO Mark Ellis expects the company "to do $1B to $2B transactions each year for the foreseeable future," as the oil and gas firm looks to continue its scorching growth. Linn has already closed deals worth around $1.4B this year.
Oracle likely to settle for much, much less from Google. Oracle (ORCL) was once looking for $6B in damages from Google (GOOG) over Android's use of Java, but now it looks like the final settlement figure for the bitter legal dispute between the companies will be well under $100M. New filings show Oracle providing a "starting figure" for damages of just $32.3M. The companies are set to go to trial in April.
Senators look to delay Volcker rule. A bipartisan group of senators is working to give regulators more time to finalize the Volcker Rule and, by extension, more time for concerned banks to comply. The Volcker Rule is due to take effect July 21; senators want it to start one year after the regulators finish their work.
Hong Kong tops list of places to do business. With its free-market policies, low corporate taxes and a rather large next-door neighbor, Hong Kong is the world's best place to do business, says Bloomberg. The city edged out the Netherlands, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia in that order. Bloomberg evaluated 160 markets on six factors, including the cost of setting up business, the degree of economic integration and the readiness of the local consumer base. Brazil, India and Russia were the bottom of the list.
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In Asia, Japan -0.6% to 10086. Hong Kong -0.1% to 20857. China +0.1% to 2378. India +1.6% to 17602.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris +0.2%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.15%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude +0.5% to $106.58. Gold +0.5% to $1655.20.
Wednesday's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
9:30 Hearing: 'Europe's Sovereign Debt Crisis' (Bernanke & Geithner)
10:00 Existing Home Sales
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
Earnings Results: Companies that beat EPS expectations last night and today include Cintas (CTAS), Jabil Circuit (JBL), Oracle (ORCL).
Those in line include General Mills (GIS).
Those that missed forecasts include SAIC (SAI).
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