Walker recall victory deals blow to unions. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker easily won his state's recall vote, which followed his curtailing of public workers' union rights. Walker's victory is a big blow for organized labor, whether it be in other states that might want to follow Walker's lead, or possibly even in the private sector, where unions could find that their bargaining power falls over time. Opinion: Top 10 muni bond ETFs.
Germany industrial output sinks. Industrial output in Germany and Spain fell faster than expected in April, underscoring how the economies in the eurozone's core and periphery are suffering. Germany's output fell 2.2% on month vs. consensus of -1% and Spain's slumped 8.3% on year vs. -6.5% expected. Meanwhile, eurozone Q1 GDP was flat on quarter, confirming the initial estimate, but fell 0.1% on year vs. unchanged initially. Opinion: Eurozone: State of confusion.
Fannie names Timothy Mayopoulos as CEO. Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) has named general counsel Timothy Mayopoulos as its next CEO. Mayopoulos has an interesting story - he was fired from Bank of America (BAC) on the eve of its takeover of Merrill in order to make way for Brian Moynihan; he will now have a hand in policy regarding put-backs of punk mortgages or purchases of new ones from the bank. Opinion: A refinancing boom on European strife.
Top Stock News
Chesapeake in talks to sell $4B in pipeline assets. Chesapeake Energy (CHK) is in advanced discussions to sell its 45.2% limited partner interest in Chesapeake Midstream (CHKM) and other pipeline assets to Global Infrastructure for over $4B. The deal would be part of Chesapeake's strategy to sell assets as it faces a cash-flow shortfall that Alembic analyst James Sullivan believes could hit $22B by the end of 2013. Opinion: Chesapeake gets aggressive to fix debt concerns.
China eyes $27B nuclear IPO. State-owned China National Nuclear Power plans to hold an IPO to raise funding for five projects worth 173.5B yaun ($27B). If the company attracts that amount, it would be the largest IPO in the world this year. Although China halted the construction of nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster, it wants to build up to 100 over the next two decades. Opinion: Inflection year for nuclear equities?
Lockheed Martin gains $2.02B missile contract from Pentagon Defense cuts may be high on the agenda (see below), but that doesn't appear to have stopped Lockheed Martin (LMT) from winning a preliminary contract valued at up to $2.02B to build at least 42 interceptor missiles for the Pentagon's missile defense agency. The contract, which needs to be finalized, runs through July 31, 2018. Opinion: 2 ways to trade Lockheed Martin.
Ancestry.com mulls selling itself. Ancestry.com (ACOM) surged 24% premarket after Bloomberg reported that the company is weighing a sale and has enlisted the help of famous tech banker Frank Quattrone to find buyers. A source expresses confidence P-E firms will show interest in Ancestry, whose valuation has fallen to historically low levels on concerns about slowing subscriber growth. Opinion: Favorable risk-reward on Ancestry.com.
Barclays wins $1.5B Lehman court verdict. Barclays (BCS) is entitled to recover around $1.5B of disputed assets related to Lehman's bankruptcy, a U.S. federal judge ruled yesterday, partially reversing a February 2011 decision. Opinion: Barclays' approach to paying Diamond is laughable.
Home Depot sets long-term goals. Home Depot (HD) has reaffirmed its sales and EPS guidance for 2012 and set new targets for FY15 of operating margin of 12% and return on invested capital of 24%. The company is due to host an investor conference today at 9:00 AM ET. Opinion: Home Depot poised to outpace Lowe's.
Coinstar rises following Starbucks deal. Coinstar (CSTR) has agreed to a deal with Starbucks (SBUX) to roll out thousands of Rubi coffee kiosks featuring Seattle's Best Coffee beverages in groceries, drugstores and mass merchants. The agreement adds another distribution channel for Seattle's Best Coffee, with Coinstar due to start the roll-out in the summer. Shares rose 3.7% post-market. Opinion: Coinstar: Diversification through coffee kiosks is only the beginning
Top Economic & Other News
Stimulus whispers grow louder. The string of weak economic data and the EU debt crisis have put additional stimulus back on the table, the WSJ reports, and Ben Bernanke may move this month to avoid a shift in policy closer to the election. There's also talk of co-ordinated central bank action, as well as hopes for goodies from the ECB when it meets today. Opinion: End the madness: Terminate Twist.
Defense firms threaten WMDs on jobs over budget cuts. Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA), Northrop Grumman (NOC) and other defense contractors are threatening to announce massive layoffs prior to the election if Congress fails to reach a deal that would forestall the automatic implementation of $50B a year in defense cuts on Jan. 1. With major facilities in key battleground states, the firms hope to concentrate minds. Opinion: 2 aerospace defense stocks to buy, 2 to avoid.
In Asia, Japan +1.8%. Hong Kong +1.4%. China -0.1%. India +2.7%.
In Europe, at midday, London +1.4%. Paris +2.0%. Frankfurt +1.7%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.9%. S&P +1.1%. Nasdaq +1.1%. Crude +1.35% to $85.43. Gold +1.3% to $1637.30.
Today's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
7:45 ECB Rate Decision
8:15 Fed's Lockhart: U.S. Economy and Monetary Policy
8:30 Productivity and Costs
10:00 Hearing: Enhancing Bank Supervision and Reducing Systemic Risk (Tarullo)
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
2:00 PM Fed's Beige Book
2:15 PM Fed's Lockhart: U.S. Economy and Monetary Policy
3:30 PM Fed's Williams: Economic Outlook
7:00 PM Janet Yellen speaks at Boston Economic Club
Notable earnings before today's open: BF.B
Notable earnings after today's close: PLL