India's growth falls to nine-year low. India's Q1 GDP growth fell to a much worse-than-expected 5.3% on year from 6.1% in Q4 2011, with the farming, industrial and services sectors acting as drags. The corporate sector is experiencing its worst slowdown in recent times as confidence takes a hit from higher interest rates, policy mismanagement and political deadlock. India's BSE Sensex fell while the rupee hit a record low of beyond 56.50 to the dollar. Opinion: Emerging markets: Fundamental weakness remains.
European Commisson retreats from bank plan. "We do not see (the) possibility of direct recapitalization of banks from the eurozone's permanent bailout fund," the European Commission said today. It seems to suggest that the EC is furiously backpedalling from its proposal of just the opposite yesterday, which prompted a major 30 minute rally in Europe. Opinion: Don't buy the latest pipe dream out of Europe.
EU markets stabilize, helped by data. EU stocks were higher midday in Europe after heavy losses yesterday due to the panic about Spain, while the country's 10-year bond yields fell sharply and the euro recovered some of its mojo. Positive data is underpinning the mood, with German unemployment falling to 6.7% in May from 6.8% in April, eurozone inflation dropping to 2.4% from 2.6%, and French consumer spending unexpectedly rising in April. Opinion: Redemption pact for the eurozone?
Top Stock News
CGI to buy Logica for $2.63B. Canadian computer services company CGI Group (GIB) has agreed to acquire U.K.-based Logica (OTC:LGIAF) for £1.7B ($2.63B), 60% above Logica's market cap at the end of trading yesterday. The deal will provide CGI access to a number of European markets as it continues its international expansion. Earnings call transcript: CGI management discusses company outlook.
US Airways, TPG eye codeshare for AMR bid. US Airways (LCC) and TPG Capital may team up to bid for AMR Corp (AAMRQ.PK), Reuters reports. Partnering with TPG would give US Airways more financial flexibility with its bid and added credibility. The talks are not exclusive and the companies are exploring other options. Opinion: Can a US Airways-American merger make you money?
Icahn to try again in shakeup of Forest's trees. Carl Icahn plans to back a minority slate of directors of his choosing at Forest Laboratories' (FRX) next shareholder meeting after failing to get his nominees elected to the board last year, when he wanted to effect a shakeup. Icahn is Forest Labs' second-largest shareholder with a 9.92% stake. Opinion: Investors can benefit from Street's doubts about Forest Labs.
Oracle and H-P due in "divorce court." Jury selection is due to start today in a trial between Oracle (ORCL) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) in their dispute over Oracle's decision last year to stop developing its database software for some H-P server systems. Meanwhile, Larry Ellison has said that Oracle will release an extensive collection of cloud-based tools next week as it works to remain competitive. Opinion: Oracle: A favorable risk-reward picture.
Eni to offload natural-gas grid company in $4.4B deal. Italy's Eni (E) has agreed to sell its controlling stake in Italian natural-gas grid firm Snam to lender CDP in a €3.52B ($4.4B) deal that will provide the oil giant with cash to finance its program to expand its exploration and production. CDP will pay for the purchase by selling a 3% stake in Eni that's worth around €2B. Analyst call transcript: Eni to propose new share buyback plan.
Discrepancies in JPM's marking of trades. JPMorgan's (JPM) CIO may have been marking its trades at different values to that of the bank's own credit swaps desk, Bloomberg reports. With such large positions, even a minor change in the marks could have allowed the division to mask massive losses. You have a centralized accounting group just to make sure things like this don't happen, former Lehman CFO Brad Hintz said. Opinion: 'Fair value' usage key to JPM's next earnings report.
Top Economic & Other News
Japanese industrial output disappoints. Japan's factory output grew a weaker-than-expected 0.2% in April from the month before. Analysts had expected +0.5%. The slowdown stemmed from reduced demand for electronics goods, especially in China. The government expects output to fall in May before rebounding in June. Opinion: Global demographic megatrends.
Irish seen voting yes to austerity. The Irish are expected to vote in favor of the EU fiscal compact in a referendum today even though unemployment of 14.3% gives a bit more juice to opponents who dub it "the austerity treaty." Polls show 60% favoring the measures, although they may have no choice - a "no" vote immediately turns Ireland into Greece. Opinion: Europe's policy options remain limited.
White House wants to delay gas exports. The Obama administration is telling Japan and other allied countries they must wait (past the election?) before moving forward on plans to buy U.S. natural gas. Several companies, including ExxonMobil (XOM), are interested in exporting gas but LNG sales abroad have become a hot-button topic for some lawmakers and environmentalists. Opinion: The inevitability of natgas-favorable legislation.
Obama's electric car program stalling. The White House's $1B+ attempt to build an industry of companies that make batteries for electric vehicles is going flat, the WSJ notes. Firms have few clients and operate well below capacity, and their futures are in doubt. A major problem is that the government gave grants that were linked to production timetables which weren't tied to market demand. Companies that have been suffering include A123 Systems (AONE) and Ener1 (HEV). Opinion: Anti-hype in lithium-ion batteries foretells doom for electric cars.
In Asia, Japan -1.1%. Hong Kong -0.3%. China -0.5%. India -0.6%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.9%. Paris +0.7%. Frankfurt +0.4%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.3% to $88.05. Gold +0.1% to $1567.40.
Today's economic calendar:
Chain Store Sales
7:30 Challenger Job-Cut Report
8:15 ADP Jobs Report
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 GDP Q1
8:30 Fed's Pianalto: Monetary Policy and Economic Outlook
8:30 Corporate Profits
9:45 Chicago PMI
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 EIA Petroleum Inventories
3:00 PM USDA Ag. Prices
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
Notable earnings before today's open: CIEN, JOY