China begins congress to change leadership. Outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao has set his successor, who's expected to be Vice President Xi Jinping, a target of doubling per-capita income by 2020. Speaking at the 18th Communist Party Congress, which opened today and will herald a once-in-a-decade change of leadership, Hu also called for a deeper financial overhaul in which the private sector will have "equal access to the factors of production."
Argentine judge orders seizure of Chevron assets. An Argentine judge has ordered the seizure of all of Chevron's (NYSE:CVX) assets in the country, according to a lawyer representing Ecuadorian plaintiffs attempting to collect an $18B judgment won last year in a lawsuit over pollution in the Amazon rain forest. Chevron said it is unaware of either a filing by the plaintiffs or a court order in Argentina.
Siemens to wield the axe on costs. Siemens (SI) plans to slash €6B in costs by the end of FY 2014 after saying that FQ4 net profit from continuing ops slipped 2% to €1.48B, although that did beat consensus. Revenue climbed 7% to €21.7B. The conglomerate forecast that FY 2013 profit will fall to €4.5B-€5B from €5.18B last year, partly due to about €1B of expenses from the savings program.
Top Stock News
AngloGold counts cost of South African strike... AngloGold Ashanti's (NYSE:AU) Q3 earnings were badly hit by the months-long strike at its mines in South Africa, with profit plummeting 63% to $168M and EPS of $0.61 missing forecasts. The strike has so far caused the company to lose 250,000 oz of gold production and led Q3 costs to rise 12%. To make up for the lost output, AngloGold is cutting 2012 capital spending by $200M to $2B-$2.1B.
...and UAL counts the cost of Sandy. Superstorm Sandy hurt United Continental's (NYSE:UAL) profit by $35M in October and revenue by $90M after the airline canceled 5,300 flights during the month. Traffic fell 3.3% and capacity 4.4%, although the combined load factor rose to 82.9% from 82%, and passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 0.5%-1.5%.
ITC clears way for tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The ITC yesterday voted 6-0 that U.S. solar-panel manufacturers have been harmed by illegal dumping from their Chinese rivals, opening the way for the Commerce Department to impose tariffs. The department has said these will mainly be 24%-36%, although some companies face duties of up to 250%. The Chinese are already planning their retaliation in what could turn into a bit of a trade war.
Fannie Mae makes net profit of $1.8B. Fannie Mae (OTCQB:FNMA) swung to a net profit of $1.8B in Q3 from a $5.1B loss a year ago as an improving housing market enabled a $9B drop in loan loss reserves to $67B. As with Freddie Mac (OTCQB:FMCC), more and more of Fannie's loan book - now 63% - consists of mortgages originated post-bubble, thus making them stellar credits - theoretically. The company expects to report an annual profit for the first time since 2006.
CBS net profit rises 16%. CBS's (NYSE:CBS) Q3 net profit climbed 16% to $391M as adjusted EPS of $0.65 beat consensus, although while revenue edged up 2% to $3.42B, the figure missed forecasts. CBS's affiliate and subscription fee revenues rose 12% and entertainment sales almost 3%, but ad income slipped 3%. The insane spending on the U.S. election should prove to have been a boon for CBS's Q4 results. Shares rose 1.5% in post-market trading.
Emirates dangles carrot to Boeing over new 777. Emirates would order 100 upgraded Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777 jets once the plane maker decides to develop the aircraft, Emirates President Tim Clark has said. However, Boeing is reportedly at least a year away from taking bookings on the 777X. Clark added that Airbus' (OTCPK:EADSF) new A350 could be attractive if the European firm changes the design.
Judge rejects Fox request to ban Dish's ad-skipping tech. California Judge Dolly Gee yesterday declined Fox's (NASDAQ:NWS) request for a preliminary injunction against Dish's (NASDAQ:DISH) ad-skipping AutoHop features on its Hopper DVRs. Fox is suing Dish over the technology - which it argues breaches copyright law - as are Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC Universal and CBS (CBS).
How companies avoid saying "bankruptcy." Eastman Kodak (EKDKQ.PK), AMR (AAMRQ.PK) and 27 other large companies out of 90 that entered bankruptcy protection in 2007-2012 didn't tell investors that they were preparing for Chapter 11 before they filed, a WSJ investigation finds. Securities law doesn't require such disclosure even though it could be thought to be material to investors.
Top Economic & Other News
Japan in first current account deficit in three decades. Japan swung to its first current account deficit since 1981 in September, with the gap coming in at an adjusted ¥142B ($1.8B). Economists attributed the figure largely to one-off factors such as a surge in iPhone imports, and don't expect deficits in the coming months. Still, for some the shortfall is a sign Japan is nearing the point at which it won't be able to finance its mammoth debt from domestic sources only.
Greece passes more austerity, unemployment keeps climbing. In the face of some of the heaviest protests yet, Greece's Parliament - as expected - last night passed austerity measures demanded by the Troika. The action should set the stage for the release of the next tranche of bailout funds. Separately, unemployment rose to a fresh record high of 25.4% in August, with the youth rate at 58%. There are now more Greeks without jobs than with.
BOE leaves rates unchanged. The Bank of England has left its benchmark interest rate at 0.5%, while its £375B asset purchase program - which ended on October 31 - remains on the shelf for the moment. Next up very soon is the ECB.
PBOC confident over GDP growth target. China will "definitely" meet or surpass its GDP growth target of 7.5% this year, People's Bank of China Vice Governor Yi Gang said at the Communist Party Congress. Yi noted that China's economic direction is improving, as is loan demand. Inflation is "not bad," while recent cross-border capital flows are "normal."
In Asia, Japan -1.5% to 8837. Hong Kong -2.4% to 21567. China -1.6% to 2072. India -0.3% to 18846.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.3%. Paris +0.5%. Frankfurt +0.6%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude +0.1% to $85.30. Gold +0.1% to $1715.30.
Today's economic calendar:
8:30 Trade Balance
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
1:00 PM Results of $16B, 30-Year Note Auction
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
Notable earnings before today's open: AAP, AINV, AMRC, APU, BCRX, CNQ, DF, DUK, EBIX, ES, EZCH, FE, FSYS, GTXI, HK, KIOR, KSS, MFC, MWW, NOG, PGNX, PMT, POZN, PPL, SMBL, SNSS, SVNT, THI, TNK, VMC, WEN, WIN
Notable earnings after today's close: OTCPK:AFFY, AGO, CBOU, CUBE, DAR, DGIT, DIS, DLB, DNN, EGLE, EVEP, GRPN, HALO, HOGS, IGT, IO, JAZZ, JWN, LGF, MCHP, MDRX, MKL, NVDA, PSA, RNDY, SD, SPRD, SQNM, UBNT, WPRT, WR, ZGNX, ZIP
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