Sony to axe 10,000 as part of turnaround plan. Sony (SNE) CEO Kazuo Hirai has unveiled his five-part "transformation" for the company, which will include 10,000 job cuts this fiscal year, as expected, an FY12 restructuring cost of ¥75B, and a sales target of ¥8.5T in FY15. However, SA author Rahul Garga believes that Sony is too big and is "poised to fail." You can read TechCrunch's report here.
McKesson wins renewed DVA deal worth up to $31.6B. The Department of Veterans Affairs has selected McKesson (MCK) to continue as its primary pharmaceutical supplier in a deal that could be valued at up to $31.6B over as many as eight years. McKesson beat Cardinal Health (CAH) and AmerisourceBergen (ABC) for the contract, which renews a deal that McKesson has held since 2004. Shares rose 4.1% in AH trading. (Source: Bloomberg)
Natural gas drops below $2 for first time in decade. Natural gas slid 2.3% yesterday to close at $1.984 per 1M British thermal units on the NYMEX, the first time it has fallen below $2 in over ten years. Prices are about as low as they're going to get, oil and gas mogul T. Boone Pickens told CNBC. A key marker to watch is rig counts, because as they go down it causes supply to shorten up. Ten rigs closed just last week, and more will be shuttered this week as well.
Top Equities News
Nokia maps out sales targets after profit warning. Nokia (NOK) might look to sell its Navteq map unit, which it bought for about $7.3B in 2008, Bloomberg reports, while the beleaguered company may also try to speed up the sale of assets within Nokia Siemens Networks. The speculation follows a profit warning that sent Nokia's shares spinning 15.7% yesterday. Premarket, they're -5%. SA author Tiago Romao reckons Nokia is a "buying opportunity on (the) current craziness" but Paulo Santos says stay away.
Shell shares slip on oil slick. Shell (RDS.A) was -2.7% premarket after a 10 square miles oil slick was reportedly spotted near its platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The company is sending a spill-response vessel. (Source: MarketWatch)
Google Q1 seen rising strongly but investors want dividend. Google (GOOG) is due to report its Q1 2012 earnings after the bell today, with analysts expecting that Q1 EPS grew 19.4% to $9.65 and that revenues climbed 24.7% to $8.15B. Among other things, investors will scrutinize cost-per-click rates, which unexpectedly fell in Q4, and mobile search ad rates. And with Google sitting on a cash pile of $44.6B, many want the search giant to follow Apple's lead in declaring a dividend. SA author Kevin O'Brien explains how to trade Google's report. (Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg)
BofA sues itself over foreclosures. Legal contortion of the day: Bank of America (BAC) appears to be suing itself over a number of faulty foreclosures in Florida, with the bank serving as both the loan servicer and the second-lien holder of defaulted mortgage debt on several condominiums. (Source: NY Post)
Limp Oaktree IPO bodes ill for Carlyle... Oaktree Capital Management yesterday sold a less-than-forecast 8.84M shares in its IPO, which was priced at $43, the bottom of the expected range. The tepid response suggests investors may have become wary of private equity flotations; that's bad news for Carlyle (CARL), whose roadshow could start as soon as next week. (Source: Reuters)
...while BrightSource drops its IPO. BrightSource Energy said late yesterday that it's withdrawing its IPO because of "adverse market conditions." It's not a huge surprise given the crisis in the solar industry.
AB InBev leads Presidente campaign in $2.5B deal. Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is the lead bidder in a complex deal that could give it control of the maker of Presidente beer, Cervecería Nacional Dominicana, which could be valued at $2.5B, The Wall Street Journal reports. Any deal would follow Molson Coors' $3.5B acquisition of Eastern Europe's StarBev as global brewers look to boost growth via emerging-market plays.
Top Economic & Other News
OPEC fills in for Iran as oil stocks increase. World oil inventories may have risen by 1.2M barrels in Q1 as sluggish demand and increased OPEC output offset a fall in Iranian production, the IEA said. "The cycle of repeatedly tightening fundamentals evident since 2009 has been broken for now," the IEA declared. Notwithstanding, crude was +0.5% premarket. (Source: Bloomberg)
Fund to help homeowners flops. A fund to support homeowners in some of the hardest-hit communities has disbursed just 3% of its funds and helped only 30,640 homeowners, according to the latest SIGTARP report. The watchdog blames a "lack of comprehensive planning" by the Treasury, and limited participation by Fannie, Freddie and the large mortgage servicers. (Source: NYT)
As the pressure rises, BOJ promises further stimulus. "The Bank of Japan will pursue powerful easing" in order to reverse deflation and ensure sustainable growth, Governor Masaaki Shirakawa has pledged. Shirakawa faces pressure from politicians for further stimulus, with one saying it would weaken the yen more effectively than currency intervention. (Source: Bloomberg)
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In Asia, Japan +0.7%. Hong Kong +0.9%. China +1.8%. India +0.8%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.1%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt +0.6%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.35%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.4%. Crude +0.5% to $103.21. Gold -0.2% to $1656.90.
Thursday's economic calendar:
7:15 Fed's Dudley: 'Regional and National Economic conditions'
8:30 International Trade
8:30 Jobless Claims
8:30 Producer Price Index
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 Fed's Dudley: 'Regional and National Economic conditions'
1:00 PM Results of $13B, 30-Year Note Auction
1:00 PM Fed's Kocherlakota: Economic Outlook
12:30 PM Fed's Plosser: 'Economic Outlook'
3:00 PM Sarah Raskin: 'The State of the Economy'
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
4:30 PM Money Supply
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