Monday Pre-market US: Key News & Data

by: Between the Hedges

From Between the Hedges:

Weekend Headlines

- President Bush urged Congress to extend tax cuts enacted in his first term and asked lawmakers to address rising energy and health-care costs.
- China plans to let investors buy stocks using margin and sell shares short, seeking to channel more of the nation’s $4 trillion of bank deposits into the stock market and boost trading.
- The global takeover boom shows no sign of peaking. If anything, buyout firms are setting their sights on bigger targets, and corporations are stepping up the pace of purchases while financing remains cheap.
- Flextronics Intl.(NASDAQ:FLEX) said it agreed to sell its software unit to a Kohlberg Kravis Roberts affiliate for about $900 million.
- BAA Plc, the target of a hostile takeover from Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial SA, said it rejected a bid led by Goldman Sachs Group(NYSE:GS) that valued the world’s largest airports operator at $16.5 billion.
- China’s economic growth rose an estimated 10.2% in the first quarter, President Hu Jintao said, as manufacturing investment and exports surged.

Wall Street Journal:
- The Chicago Mercantile Exchange(NASDAQ:CME) and the Chicago Board of Trade(BOT) are closing a loophole that had undermined the anonymity of electronic trading.

NY Times:
- LensCrafters will spend an estimated $312 million to upgrade its stores, aiming to distance itself from low-priced competitors.
- Toyota Motor(NYSE:TM) is considering building its eighth North American assembly plant and is looking at four southern US states for the site.
- Three top Israeli generals warned in separate interviews this week that the army is ready to invade the Gaza Strip to put an end to Palestinian rocket attacks if ordered.
- The US baby boom generation has heeded the advice to stay physically active and is also experiencing more injuries requiring surgery.
- News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) is introducing a poker show even as the Travel Channel’s “World Poker Tour