OECD fears that eurozone crisis may hit global recovery. The OECD has warned that the global recovery is "fragile, extremely uneven across different regions and could be derailed by the crisis in the euro area." The group cut its forecast for 2012 eurozone GDP to -0.1% from +0.2% but raised its outlook for the U.S. to +2.4% from +2%. Joining the renewed drumbeat for eurozone bonds, the OECD declares, "we need decisive policy action now." Opinion: Is the market in trouble?
Fitch downgrades Japan on "leisurely" fiscal plan. Fitch has reduced Japan's local currency grade by one notch to A+ with a negative outlook, and its foreign-currency rating by two steps, also to A+. "The country's fiscal consolidation plan looks leisurely relative even to other fiscally-challenged high-income countries, and implementation is subject to political risk." Opinion: Is the uptrend in FXY over?
Antitrust pressure grows on Google. The FTC has speeded up its investigation of Google's (GOOG) competitive practices, Bloomberg reports, asking for information from around a dozen rivals about Google's behavior. The requests to the firms, which include eBay (EBAY) and Yelp (YELP), were sent last week, prior to the EU saying yesterday that Google has a "matter of weeks" to resolve a probe and avoid possible fines. Opinion: Anything above Google $680 is a bonus.
Top Stock News
Vodafone profit slips. Vodafone's (VOD) FY EBITDA fell 1.3% to £14.48B even though revenues rose 1.2% to £46.42B, with both figures more or less in line with consensus. Vodafone took a hefty £4B impairment charge related to its Southern European operations, although that was below last year's £6.15B. More happily, Vodafone raised its dividend 7% to 9.52 pence, excluding the Verizon Wireless payout. Shares were +1.3% premarket. Opinion: Connecting the dots with Synchronoss Technologies.
Dell earnings seen falling. Dell (DELL) is due to release its FQ1 results after the bell today, with analysts expecting that EPS fell to $0.46 from $0.55 last year and that revenue slipped to $14.9B from $15B. The report will come amid questions about Dell's ability to shift its focus towards higher-end business markets and to reduce its exposure to the lower-margin consumer PC sector. Opinion: Dell looks oversold ahead of earnings.
Major Allscripts shareholder spoils for a proxy fight. HealthCor Management, one of Allscripts Healthcare's (MDRX) largest shareholders with 5%, yesterday sued the company to be allowed to launch a proxy fight after CEO Glen Tullman refused to resign following a board shakeup last month. Opinion: When stocks blow up.
Blackstone to buy hotel business for $1.9B. Blackstone (BX) has agreed to acquire Accor's troubled U.S. budget hotel business for $1.9B. Accor, a French hotel group, is trying to focus on growth outside the U.S., while Blackstone wants to invest "significant capital" in Motel 6 properties to "accelerate the expansion of the franchise base." Opinion: Alternatives to asset managers.
Facebook shares plunge 11% on only second day. The blame game has started on responsibility for a slump of 11% in Facebook's (FB) shares yesterday on their first full day of trading. Among the chief names are Morgan Stanley (MS), the lead underwriter; Nasdaq (NDAQ), for the technical problems that hampered Facebook's debut; and of course Facebook itself. Among the criticisms: the offer price was too high and too many shares were sold. Opinion: What Facebook's failed IPO means for social media stocks.
Top Economic & Other News
Greek central bank supporting banking system. Greece's central bank is propping up the country's banking system with around €100B of emergency liquidity and with the ECB's approval, the FT reports. An ECB decision to pull the plug could prompt a Greek exit from the eurozone, or a "Grexit." Deutsche Bank reckons that Greece's best chance is a "Geuro," in which it keeps the euro but runs a parallel currency. Opinion: Greek tragedy less tragic than it seems.
Spanish real-estate losses as high as €260B - IIF. Spain's property-related losses are probably around €216B-€260B, estimates the International Institute of Finance, which used the experience of Ireland's banks as a benchmark. The lenders have thus far reserved about €110B and will generate more this year, but could need €50B-€60B in assistance from the government. Opinion: Growing fears of Spain, Italy bank runs.
Chinese central bank newspaper calls for easing yuan controls. Conditions are ripe to open up China's capital account, writes the PBOC-backed Financial News, which cited several government officials and scholars. The removal of many of the capital controls keeping the yuan from being fully convertible would mark a major milestone in China's reform program. Opinion: Market Vectors China may earn its wings.
Japan remains the world's largest creditor. Japan held a net $3.19T in foreign assets at the end of 2011, ensuring that it hung on to its position as the world's top creditor nation. The figure marks a rise from 2010 and may dampen expectations that China will overtake the Japanese anytime soon. Opinion: The smart way to invest in Japan.
In Asia, Japan +1.1%. Hong Kong +0.6%. China +1.1%. India flat.
In Europe, at midday, London +1%. Paris +1%. Frankfurt +0.7%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.05%. Crude -0.5% to $92.08. Gold -0.8% to $1576.30.
Today's economic calendar:
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
10:00 Existing Home Sales
10:00 Richmond Fed Mfg.
Notable earnings before today's open: AZO, BBY, MDT, RL, WSM