Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: SA Eli Hoffmann
SA Eli Hoffmann
Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day and delivered to over 900,000 email subscribers.
  • Freddie CEO ignored red flags. Freddie Mac (FRE) CEO Richard Syron chose to ignore internal warnings that, if heeded, could have shielded the GSE from some of its current devastation. As early as 2004, then chief risk officer David Andrukonis told Syron the bad loans the company was buying likely posed "an enormous financial and reputational risk to the company and the country." Syron: "If I had perfect foresight, I would never have taken this job in the first place." He also notes that shareholders and regulators often have contradictory demands. "Sure, it’s hard to deal with the pressures of Congress and shareholders and regulators," a former top FRE executive says, "but that’s why executives get paid so much. It’s not acceptable to blame those pressures for making bad choices." Large shareholders are calling for the ouster of both Syron and Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd.
  • Yahoo shareholder troubles not over yet. The Yahoo (YHOO) saga continues as a large shareholder requested an examination of the election results from last Friday's annual meeting. Capital Research, and related fund Capital World Investors, control 16% of Yahoo shares, and had advised withholding votes for CEO Jerry Yang in response to Yang's perceived mishandling of negotiations with Microsoft (MSFT). Yang says he received support from 85% of shares voted - indicating that few other investors withheld their votes in a year when many investors have been unhappy with management.
  • ImClone opposes $4.5B unsolicited bid. ImClone Systems (OTCPK:IMCL) and its chairman Carl Icahn indicated their opposition to a $4.5B/$60/share unsolicited bid from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY). Bristol-Myers, which has held a 17% stake in ImClone since 2001, is seeking to purchase the 83% of shares it does not already own. The ImClone board felt that this bid "substantially undervalues ImClone," and Icahn questioned whether Bristol-Myers' actions may have been triggered by access to confidential ImClone information. Coming two weeks after Roche Holding's (RHBBY.PK) unsolicited bid for Genentech (Private:DNA), the move reflects the pharmaceutical industry reorienting itself towards biotech. BMY countered by saying its offer is already "full and fair." Some analysts say a deal is likely, though at a higher price.
  • After you finish reading Wall Street BreakfastSeeking Alpha's Market Currentswill keep you current all day long.
  • Swiss Re buys Barclays Life for £753M. Swiss Re (OTC:SWCEY) is buying Barclays' (NYSE:BCS) life insurance unit for £753M ($1.48B), a move that will boost its Admin Re business in the U.K. Swiss Re also took a mark-to-market loss on structured credit default swaps of SWF362M ($346M). It turned a Q2 net profit of SWF600M, short of analyst consensus.
  • Oil touches $118. After breaching $120 to the downside Monday, oil continued to move lower in after-hours trading - posting an overnight low of $118 on the Sept. contract. Tropical Storm Edouard, which oil bulls thought may disrupt production, now seems unlikely to do so. Other bearish factors included a Barack Obama about-face in which he advocated Monday opening up the SPR's light crude supplies, which he said would bring almost-immediate price relief, to be replaced by heavy crude. There were also rumors of heavy selling by a collapsing energy fund. The CRB commodity index (-3.3%) posted its biggest daily drop in four months, lead by natural gas (UNG -7.3%). "Investment monies are exiting away from commodity markets," one senior broker said.
  • GM, Ford ponder engine JV. In an effort to save on R&D, GM (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F) are in talks about collaborating on developing new engines, sources say. A deal could give Ford access to GM's Volt technology.
  • Motorola gets co-CEO. Motorola (MOT) announced it will take on Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) COO Sanjay Jha as co-CEO. He'll head up MOT's mobile-devices unit, which is expected to be spunoff later this year. "Our ability to attract a leader of Sanjay's caliber is a testament to the strong potential of the Mobile Devices business," co-CEO Greg Brown said.
  • Global chip sales were up 8% Y/Y in June, SIA said. First-half sales gained 5.4% to $121B. Strong sales were driven by PCs (40%) and cell-phones (20%). SIA says it is seeing healthy U.S. demand - and even greater strength in emerging markets.
  • Memory sales slump. iSuppli warns the DRAM market is showing renewed weakness after a short-lived Q2 quasi-recovery. Expect Q3 pricing to fall due to bloated inventories, it says. A real recovery may not happen until late 2009. (MU, IFX, QI)
  • Personal income was up $6.8B (+0.1%), vs. -0.2% consensus. Personal consumption +$57.1B (+0.6%) vs. +0.5% consensus. The PCE price index inflation measure jumped 0.8% in June - the biggest increase since Sept. 2005. Core PCE prices +0.3% vs. +0.2% consensus.
  • July factory orders gained 1.7% vs. +0.7% consensus. At almost $458B, orders are at their highest levels since at least 1992. Shipments also set new records. Factory order strength, up 5% from a year ago, may be one of the great untold stories of the downturn. In the 2001 recession orders plunged 10% - though then they weren't buoyed by a weak dollar.
  • Interest rates for week ending Aug. 1: Fed funds 2.08% vs. 1.99% July 25. 3-month T-bills 1.67% vs. 1.57%. 3-month commercial paper 2.02% vs. 2.11%.
  • Challenger said July layoff announcements were up 141% from a year ago to 103K. Hardest-hit were transportation (17K), financial (16K), and retail (12K).
  • Europe retail sales plunge. European retail sales fell by 3.1% in June, more than twice the consensus forecast of -1.3% - and the worst annual decline since at least 1995. High energy and food costs are leaving shoppers with little money for discretionary purchases. "We could possibly have negative growth in the third quarter. Household spending has been very weak," economist James Shugg says. Food sales fell 4.4% and non-foods sales were off 2.2%. From May, they were down 0.4% and 0.6% respectively. Data released yesterday showed Eurozone consumer price inflation jumped to 4.1% in July - its fastest in 16 years - and producer prices rose 8% in June, an 18-year high.

Earnings: Tuesday Before Open

  • CapitalSource (NYSE:CSE): FQ3 EPS of $0.12 misses by $0.11. [PR]
  • Cimarex Energy (NYSE:XEC): Q2 EPS of $2.68 beats by $0.15. Revenue of $589M (+80.7%) vs. $600M. [PR]
  • Covidien (COV): FQ3 EPS of $0.72 beats by $0.06. Revenue of $2.6B (+14.4%) vs. $2.5B. [PR]
  • Global Industries (NASDAQ:GLBL-OLD): Q2 EPS of -$0.12 vs. consensus of $0.39. Revenue of $300.5M vs. $319M. [PR]
  • NiSource (NYSE:NI): Q2 EPS of $0.09 misses by $0.01. Revenue of $1.8B (+15.2%) vs. $1.5B. [PR]
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (NYSE:MTU): FQ1 profits fall 66% to ¥51.2B ($475M), less than half the ¥127.8B analysts expected. MTU lost ¥16B ($150M) on subprime-based assets, bringing its total credit-crisis losses to $1.3B. [Bloomberg, Reuters]
  • W&T Offshore (NYSE:WTI): Q2 EPS of $1.86 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $461M (+69.1%) vs. $433M. [PR]

Earnings: Monday After Close

  • Anadarko (NYSE:APC): Q2 EPS of $1.78 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $2.79B (-39.2%) vs. $3.68B. Shares -5.4%. [PR]
  • Comstock Resources (NYSE:CRK): Q2 EPS of $1.50 vs. consensus of $1.24. Revenue of $172M (+107%) vs. $227.5M. Shares +1.1%. [PR]
  • DaVita (NYSE:DVA): Q2 EPS of $0.90 beats by $0.07. Revenue of $1.41B (+7.2%) vs. $1.37B. Shares +2%. [PR]
  • Gasco Energy (GSX): Q2 EPS of $0.03 in-line. Revenue of $12.6M (+147.1%) vs. $11.8M. [PR]
  • Hecla Mining Company (NYSE:HL): Q2 EPS of -$0.01 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $64M (+44%) vs. $83M. [PR]
  • HCP Inc. (NYSE:HCP): Q2 FFO of $0.57 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $251M (+21.5%) vs. $262M. Shares [PR]
  • Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI): Q2 EPS of $0.69 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $1.59B (+2.9%) in-line. [PR]
  • Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG): Q2 EPS of $0.97 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $2.79B (+0.1%) in-line. Shares +1.8%. [PR]
  • Rackable Systems (RACK): Q2 EPS of -$0.12 misses by $0.11. Revenue of $76M (-7.6%) in-line. Shares -13.5%. [PR]
  • St. Mary Land (NYSE:SM): Q2 EPS of $1.29 beats by $0.01. Revenue of $357M (+44.4%) vs. $297M. [PR]
  • Syniverse (SVR): Q2 EPS of $0.42 beats by $0.05. Revenue of $128M (+39.6%) vs. $117M. Shares +9.75%. [PR]
  • UDR Inc. (NYSE:UDR): Q2 EPS of $0.36 in-line. Revenue of $139M (+12.2%) vs. $129M. [PR]

Today's Markets

  • Markets dropped in Asia Tuesday, while India was up strongly. Nikkei -0.14% to 12,915. Hang Seng -2.51% to 21,950. Shanghai -1.86% to 2,691. BSE +2.63% to 14,961.
  • In Europe, bourses are broadly higher at midday. London +1.6%. Paris +1.4%. Frankfurt +2.2%.
  • Futures at 6:30a.m. are up. Dow +0.76%. S&P +0.84%. Nasdaq +0.95%. Crude -1.52% to $119.50. Gold -1.56% to $893.40.

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