German recovery helps eurozone avoid recession. German GDP rebounded in Q1 to rise 0.5% on quarter, more than double forecasts of +0.2%, boosted by exports to emerging markets. France showed zero growth and Italy experienced a worse-than-expected 0.8% contraction, which means that it was mainly Germany that helped the eurozone record flat growth in the quarter and avoid a recession. Opinion: U.S. vs. Europe: Who's winning now?
Facebook increases IPO price range. Facebook (FB) has raised its IPO price range to $34-$38 a share from $28-$35 in response to heavy demand. The new range would give the company a market cap of $93B-$104B, and at the midpoint, the firm would raise $12.1B in a sale of 337.4M shares. Opinion: When to unfriend Facebook's stock.
Coty abandons Avon bid. Coty has withdrawn its $10.7B offer for Avon (AVP), saying the cosmetics direct seller had missed its deadline to start talks. Coty Chairman Bart Brecht said, "I find it remarkable that since we made our revised proposal ... no one from Avon's Board or management has been willing to speak with us." Remarkable? Really? Avon had always been an unwilling bride. Shares were -14.1% premarket. Market Currents: A timeline of the Coty-Avon saga.
Top Stock News
Amylin attracts the big guns in sale process. Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) has drawn interest from potential suitors, including Pfizer (PFE), AstraZeneca (AZN), Bristol-Myers (BMY) and Sanofi (SNY), Bloomberg reports. They've all signed confidentiality agreements with Amylin, which has a market cap of $4.15B, and first-round bids are due in the next two weeks. Opinion: Takeover likely at Amylin.
Home Depot slides after revenue miss. Home Depot (HD) shares fell 4.3% premarket after Q1 EPS of $0.65 was in line but a revenue increase of 5.9% to $17.8B missed consensus. The retailer expects 4.6% sales growth for the full year, for which it raised its EPS guidance to $2.90. Opinion: Time to take profits in Home Depot.
Groupon surges as it returns to profit. Groupon's (GRPN) Q1 earnings beat consensus as it made its first operating profit in two years, helping to send shares 17.9% higher in AH trading yesterday. That added to a jump of 18.5% in regular hours. Operating income was $39.6M and EPS $0.02 as marketing costs fell 25% on quarter, while revenue soared 89% on year to $559.3M. The company also provided guidance that was mostly higher than forecasts. Opinion: Groupon's earnings beat estimates.
Interim Yahoo CEO could get job on permanent basis. New Yahoo (YHOO) Chairman Fred Amoroso wants interim CEO Ross Levinsohn to receive the job permanently, the WSJ reports. Levinsohn said it's too soon to talk about strategy but there won't be major changes following a recent reorganization initiated by the ousted Scott Thompson, who will keep $6.5M in bonus money and already-vested equity but won't receive any severance pay. Opinion: Time to buy Yahoo?
JPM mulls reclaiming incentive pay; annual meeting due later. JPMorgan (JPM) will consider bonus clawbacks following its $2.3B trading loss, Bloomberg reports, after news that outgoing CIO Ina Drew could receive $14.65M of accelerated equity awards. Later, the bank is due to hold its annual meeting, where it will face proposals for a revamp of its risk committee, and to strip Jamie Dimon of the chairmanship in favor of an independent. Opinion: Jamie Dimon's failure.
GM interested in Ally's international ops. General Motors (GM) wants to buy troubled Ally Financial's global businesses, Bloomberg reports. The move could help Ally repay a portion of the $12B tab it has with U.S. taxpayers. Discussion: GM comes full circle with Ally Financial.
Panasonic, Sony eye TV JV. Panasonic (PC) and Sony (SNE) are in talks to form a joint venture that would produce OLED TVs, with the goal of commercializing the sets by 2015, Nikkei reports (via Reuters). Though offering superior image quality and lower power consumption than LCD TVs, progress in mass-producing OLED sets at a reasonable price has been slow, much to the chagrin of Universal Display (PANL). Opinion: Likely winners from the retina revolution.
Feds crack down on "pump and dump" scamsters. Regulators yesterday halted trading in nearly 400 microcap stocks in one of the SEC's biggest efforts yet to crack down on potential fraudsters using "pump and dump" tactics before they occur. The action is a big move for the agency as it attempts to sort through nearly 3000 companies on the OTC Pink Sheets that provide no financial information. Opinion: Top 10 U.S. small cap ETFs.
Top Economic & Other News
Greek president to propose technocratic government. Greek President Karolos Papoulias will ask deadlocked politicians to allow a government of technocrats to take over and steer the country through its bailout, although Papoulias' prospects of success are slim as the anti-bailout party SYRIZA has already said it won't agree. Despite the turmoil, Reuters reports that the government will be able to repay €430M in bonds that mature today. Opinion: A Greek exit would kill the eurozone.
Hollande to meet Merkel after being sworn in. Francois Hollande has been sworn in as French President and is now due to fly to Berlin for his first meeting with Angela Merkel. They'll probably put on a united front but it might be different in private. Merkel openly supported Nicolas Sarkozy during the campaign, while Hollande wants to soften austerity with "the indispensable stimulation of the economy." Opinion: Hollande and the division of banking.
Moody's wields the knife on Italian banks. Moody's has downgraded 26 Italian banks by one-to-four notches, citing an economy back in recession, mounting asset quality challenges, and restricted access to funding markets. The ratings outlook for all of the affected banks remains negative. Opinion: Thoughts from the frontline.
EU to take action against Argentina at WTO. The EU plans to file a trade suit with the WTO against Argentina's import restrictions, Reuters reports. It would mean "very serious trade sanctions for Argentina" if the EU wins. The suit is said not to be directly linked to the country's decision to seize control of Repsol's stake in YPF, although that was "the straw that broke the camel's back." Opinion: Argentina's protectionism threatens foreign investment.
In Asia, Japan -0.8%. Hong Kong +0.8%. China -0.3%. India +0.7%.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris +0.5%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.45%. Nasdaq +0.6%. Crude +0.1% to $94.84. Gold -0.15% to $1558.60.
Today's economic calendar:
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:30 Consumer Price Index
8:30 Empire State Mfg Survey
8:30 Retail Sales
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:00 Treasury International Capital
9:30 Fed's Duke: 'Prescriptions for Housing Recovery'
10:00 Business Inventories
10:00 NAHB Housing Market Index
Notable earnings before today's open: DKS, HD, SKS, TJX