DOJ accuses BP of "gross negligence." The Department of Justice yesterday sharpened its rhetoric against BP (BP) and Transocean (RIG) over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, accusing the companies of "gross negligence" in deciphering a key pressure test. Such a finding in an upcoming trial, which is set for January, could almost quadruple the civil damages BP has to pay to $21B. Shares were -3.8% premarket.
Doubts rise about effectiveness of Monsanto's corn. Evidence is mounting that Monsanto's (MON) genetically modified corn is losing its effectiveness to bugs, the EPA has said, with studies finding that root worms on two Illinois farms had become resistant to insecticide that the corn produces. Corn accounted for $4.81B of Monsanto's sales last year, or 41% of the total.
FedEx issues profit warning due to weak global economy. FedEx (FDX) has slashed its FQ1 EPS forecast to $1.37-$1.43 from an earlier estimate of $1.45-$1.60 and vs. consensus of $1.56. With EPS coming in at $1.46 in FQ1 last year, the current period could represent FedEx's first quarterly decline since 2009. "Weakness in the global economy constrained revenue growth at FedEx Express more than expected in earlier guidance," FedEx said. Shares fell 2.8% in after-hours trading, while those of UPS (UPS) dropped 2.3%.
Top Stock News
Nokia "boom or bust" phone disappointing some even before launch. Nokia (NOK) is set to introduce its new flagship smartphone today, with the Lumia 920 expected to operate on Windows 8 and feature wireless charging support. The device will apparently only have an 8 mega pixel camera, though, as opposed to the 41 MP sensor on the Symbian-based PureView 808. The device is seen as boom or bust for Nokia, but has apparently disappointed industry insiders for not being enough of an improvement over the Lumia 900.
ING to offload $3B Capital One stake. ING (ING) intends to sell its entire 54M shares in Capital One (COF) in a public offering. The Dutch bank is the largest stakeholder in Capital One with about 10% of the company, having received the shares as part of Capital One's purchase earlier this year of ING Direct. COF closed at $56.49 yesterday, making the 54M shares worth $3B.
Judge lets AMR throw out pilots' contract. AMR (AAMRQ.PK) yesterday won a major victory after bankruptcy judge Sean Lane approved the carrier's refiled request to void its labor contract with pilots as part of its bankruptcy restructuring. The decision comes after pilots rejected a new deal last month, and after AMR made changes to its request with regards to furloughed pilots and code-sharing.
Zuckerberg pledges to hold Facebook shares for at least a year. Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't intend to sell any of his shares for at least 12 months, the company said yesterday. Zuckerberg will be eligible to offload stock following lockup expirations in the autumn. Facebook's disclosure is seen as an attempt to boost confidence following the slump in its share price, although maybe Zuckerberg's just waiting for the stock to recover.
Intel cutting energy consumption of latest chip. Intel (INTC) is slashing the power consumption of its flagship Core line of chips from 17 watts to 10 watts as it seeks to facilitate mobile computers that are thinner and lighter, and can last longer on one battery charge. However, analyst Patrick Moorhead says Intel needs to cut energy consumption to 4 watts for tablets that don't have cooling fans, such as the iPad.
North America's oldest company explores IPO. Hudson Bay, the oldest company in North America, hopes to raise C$500M in an IPO in Toronto that would value the retailer at C$3.5B-C$4.5B. Hudson explored a listing last year but abandoned the idea because of the weak market. The firm, which traces its roots back to 1670, owns the storied New York based Lord & Taylor chain, as well as The Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters stores in Canada.
Top Economic & Other News
Spain plays game of chicken with ECB. Knowing (hoping) that the ECB is set to start bond purchases, Spain has begun a game of chicken: Finance Minister Luis de Guindos said the country isn't so sure it will submit to a full-blown bailout if the terms are too harsh. Germany thought it had a deal - forcing Spain and Italy into Greek-like austerity in exchange for allowing the ECB to buy government debt.
Saudi Arabia could become oil importer - Citi. Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude exporter, risks becoming an oil importer in the next 20 years if its oil consumption grows in line with peak power demand, Citigroup says. "Indeed, we would expect consumption to continue to outstrip population growth as Saudi Arabia’s currently young population ages and consumer spending increases, supported by rising GDP per capita," the firm writes.
In Asia, Japan -1.1%. Hong Kong -1.5%. China -0.3%. India -0.7%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt +0.7%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow -0.2%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude -0.2% to $95.14. Gold -0.1% to $1693.60.
Today's economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:30 Productivity and Costs
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:45 ISM New York Business Index
Notable earnings before today's open: DG
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