Global & FX

  • Friday, April 29, 2016

  • 6:19 PM
    • Statoil (NYSE:STO) has halted production at its Gullfaks B platform off the coast of Bergen, Norway, following a helicopter crash in the North Sea that killed at least 11 of the 13 on board.
    • Eleven bodies were recovered and the other two were presumed dead as the helicopter, which had departed the platform, was completely destroyed.
    • The passengers worked for different companies but were on assignment for Statoil, the company said, calling it one of the worst accidents in Norwegian oil history.
    • The cause of the crash is unknown, but Norway has imposed a temporary ban on flying the type of helicopter involved -- a Eurocopter EC225LP made by Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY -0.8%).
    • Now read Oil Majors Lose Faith In The North Sea - 100 Shutdowns Looming »
    | 6:19 PM | 1 Comment
  • 1:42 PM
    • Vodafone (VOD -1%) has picked out banks to execute what could be India's biggest IPO -- a public listing of Vodafone operations there that could raise $3B, Bloomberg reports.
    • Bank of America, Kotak Mahindra Bank and UBS will lead the offering, sources said, and they'll be joined by Deutsche Bank, HSBC and ICICI.
    • “We have previously said that we have started preparations for a potential IPO, which includes private conversations with banks, but this is a lengthy process and no decision will be made until we are at the end of it,” Vodafone said in a statement.
    • Now read Vodafone: A Buy For Dividend Investors »
    | 1:42 PM | 3 Comments
  • 1:34 PM
    • Equinix (EQIX +0.6%) is set to finish the sale of several European data centers, a condition required in its $3.6B acquisition of TelecityGroup.
    • The sale is set to wrap up next month, sources told CTFN, saying that the (flexible) deadline was set by the European Commission.
    • The EC had given a conditional OK to the deal in November, requiring that Equinix divested a number of Telecity's data centers. At the time, Equinix said the assets involved contributed only about 4% of combined revenues.
    • While the deal itself -- five data centers in London, two in Amsterdam, and two in Frankfurt -- should only generate hundreds of millions for Equinix, a sale of that size should help set the current market for data centers in what is becoming a rapidly turning market.
    • InterXion (INXN -0.8%) -- set for its own merger with Telecity before Equinix came along -- is considered a potential buyer of the facilities.
    • Now read Data Center REIT Equinix Hits All-Time Highs - What Investors Need To Know »
    | 1:34 PM
  • 11:34 AM
    • A board selloff in the greenback (UUP -0.7%) has gold (GLD +2%) eyeing $1,300 per ounce for the first time since early 2015. Gold is currently up 2.5% to $1,298.
    • There was modest disappointment in some 2nd-tier economic reports this morning, but other than that no clear reason for the dollar decline. Particularly strong are the euro (FXE +0.9%), Swiss franc (FXF +0.8%), and yen (FXY +1.1%). The commodity currencies (FXC +0.1%), (FXA -0.1%) aren't doing a whole lot even as oil takes out $46 per barrel.
    | 11:34 AM | 33 Comments
  • 10:09 AM
    • With little prospect of settlement, Google (GOOG +0.6%, GOOGL +0.7%) is headed for its first European Union sanction this year, sources tell Reuters.
    • The company has no further plan for a settlement after three failed compromise attempts since 2016, sources said, and neither party has much left in the way of incentives to reach a deal.
    • That means a likely sanction in the test case tied to Google's shopping service, which European regulators charged was favored by its search results. A second charge recently followed over Google's Android operating system.
    • Last week's news that Google and Microsoft were burying the hatchet may be a sign that Google will strike a deal with the EC, and avoid repeating Microsoft's own damaging fight with Europeans (That company ended up with fines of more than €2.2B after a decade-long fight).
    • Now read Alphabet/Google Approaching A Fork In The Road »
    | 10:09 AM | 13 Comments
  • 8:21 AM
    • Bernstein calls the early performance of Melco Crown's (NASDAQ:MPEL) Studio City "lackluster" in a fresh note to clients.
    • The resort only accounts for 4% of gaming revenue in Macau due in part to a soft VIP presence.
    • Though the investment firm thinks Melco could squeeze more synergies from Studio City if it bought out the 40% interest it doesn't hold, that move isn't expected until late in 2016 or in 2017.
    | 8:21 AM
  • 6:00 AM
    • Japan Closed
    • Hong Kong -1.50%.
    • China -0.25%.
    • India +0.02%.
    • London -0.52%.
    • Paris -1.19%.
    • Frankfurt -1.10%.
    | 6:00 AM
  • 5:17 AM
    • Eurozone Q1 GDP comes in ahead of expectations with a 0.6% reading.
    • Analysts expected a mark of 0.4%.
    | 5:17 AM
  • 5:11 AM
    • China's central bank fixed the yuan 0.5% higher to give the currency its largest one-day appreciation since the historic revaluation.
    • The People's Bank of China set the midpoint of the yuan trading range at 6.4589 to the U.S. dollar.
    • Market reaction to the move has been mild with the Shanghai Composite Index and Hang Seng Index only retreating slightly, while Japan's market is closed due to a national holiday.
    | 5:11 AM | 4 Comments
  • 4:57 AM
    • Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) offers to sell more of SABMiller's (OTCPK:SBMRY) European brands to appease European Commission regulators. The sale of beer assets in Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland could generate as much as $5B, according to Exane BNP Paribas.
    • The rights to Pilsner Urquell outside of the U.S. are included in the offloading.
    • Potential buyers of the beer brands include Carlsberg (OTCPK:CABGY) and Heineken (OTCQX:HEINY).
    | 4:57 AM
  • 4:43 AM
    • The unemployment rate in Italy fell to its lowest level in over four years during March as the economy continued to grow. The jobless rate fell to 11.4% to beat the consensus estimate of analysts of 11.6%.
    • GDP in Italy rose 0.3% in Q1.
    • Related ETFs: EWI, HEWI, DBIT
    | 4:43 AM
  • Thursday, April 28, 2016

  • 9:22 PM
    • The French government ordered eight automobile manufacturers to develop plans to cut emission levels for models that failed testing.
    • Environment Minister Ségolène Royal named Renault (OTC:RNSDF), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU), Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF), Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY), PSA Peugeot Citroen (OTCPK:PEUGF), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY), Opel (NYSE:GM), and Ford (NYSE:F) as the automakers in the spotlight.
    • Royal warned that manufacturer sales could be suspended if the emissions improvements aren't adequate.
    | 9:22 PM | 20 Comments
  • 8:31 PM
    • Legislators in China passed a law that will give police broad powers to monitor foreign nonprofits.
    • The new law is consistent with an increased push by President Xi Jinping to limit foreign influence on Chinese culture.
    • The Obama administration reacted swiftly to the development by issuing a statement condemning the action.
    | 8:31 PM | 5 Comments
  • 1:57 PM
    • The Department of Justice is probing how it can assured that Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) and MillerCoors (OTCPK:SBMRY, TAP) won't hold beer prices high through tacit collusion following the merger between A-B and SABMiller, according to CTFN.
    • Tacit collusion involves discrete strategies to prevent competition rather than direct communication over pricing.
    • Some academic studies have indicated that tacit price collusion occurred when SABMiller and Molson Coors merged U.S. operations back in 2007.
    • The independence of the distributor network in the U.S. in a post-MegaBrew world is also being evaluated.
    | 1:57 PM | 3 Comments
  • 1:43 PM
    • In its continuing transition, Telecom Italia (TI +1.5%) has named Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY -1.5%) CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine its deputy chairman.
    • It's a non-executive role for the moment, but it ties de Puyfontaine closer to TI's strategic direction in a year where the French media giant has muscled in to assert greater control over the Italian incumbent telecom, with an eye to making a southern European media hub.
    • TI CEO Marco Patuano left the company in March amid what was widely reported disagreement with Vivendi's approach, including the disposition of Brazilian unit TIM Participaçoes (TSU -2.7%).
    • Patuano's exit (and de Puyfontaine getting closer to strategy) might accelerate pending deals at the carrier, including not only a potential Brazil deal but network and tower deals in Italy.
    | 1:43 PM
  • 6:00 AM
    • Japan -3.61%.
    • Hong Kong +0.12%.
    • China -0.27%.
    • India -1.79%.
    • London -1.04%.
    • Paris -1.43%.
    • Frankfurt -1.69%.
    | 6:00 AM
  • 5:29 AM
    • Global equities have fallen after the Bank of Japan caused a bit of a surprise and decided not to add to its already massive stimulus program.
    • Following a hawkish/dovish wash of a FOMC statement yesterday after the Fed held interest rates at 0.25-0.5%, markets are now eyeing U.S. Q1 GDP data, which is due out this morning. Economic growth is estimated to have slipped to 0.7% from 0.9% previously.
    • In Asia, Japan -3.6% to 16666. Hong Kong -0.1% to 21347. China -0.1% to 9595. India -1.4% to 25699.
    • In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.7%, London -1.3%. Paris -1.5%. Frankfurt -1.4%, Milan -0.9%, Madrid -2.5%.
    • U.S. stock futures: Dow -0.9%, S&P -0.9%, Nasdaq -0.6%.
    | 5:29 AM | 4 Comments
  • 5:12 AM
    • As expected, Germany's unemployment rate remained unchanged at an all-time low of 6.2% in April.
    • The number of unemployed people declined for the seventh consecutive month with a drop of 16,000 on month, topping forecasts for a gain of 4,000.
    • The euro is +0.3% at $1.1353, although the DAX is -1.3%.
    | 5:12 AM
  • 3:27 AM
    • The Nikkei has slumped and the yen has jumped after the Bank of Japan surprisingly held off from increasing its monetary stimulus as it looks to take more time to understand the effect of its negative interest rates.
    • The Nikkei is -3.6%, while the dollar is -3.2% at 108.27 yen.
    • Specifically, the BOJ let three key easing tools unchanged: its ¥80T ($732) target for expanding the monetary base, mostly through buying government bonds; the 0.1% negative interest rate; and a program to purchasing riskier assets such as stocks.
    • The BOJ also put back to 2017 its timeframe for achieving its target of 2% inflation, the fourth delay in about a year.
    • The BOJ's lack of action comes despite the strengthening of the yen over the recent period - aside from today - and inflation not picking up.
    • Data today showed that March CPI fell 0.1% on year vs +0.3% in February. Core CPI, excluding fresh food, dropped 0.3% after being flat.
    • BOJ Web site
    • Inflation Report
    | 3:27 AM | 9 Comments
  • Wednesday, April 27, 2016

  • 8:31 PM
    • America Movil (NYSE:AMX) missed expectations again with Q1 profits despite sales that increased 1.4%.
    • EBITDA slipped 9.6% (down 8.8% in constant currency), and profit margins in Mexico dropped yet again, to 35.7% from a year-ago 41.7% (and Q4's 36.7%).
    • EBITDA in Colombia fell particularly hard, down 13% amid new regulations that included the unbundling of services.
    • Access lines fell 0.8% Y/Y (steeper than Q4) to 365M, again due to mobile disconnections: 284M wireless (down 2M from Q4), 34M landlines, 26M broadband accesses and 22M pay TV.
    • Capex was 26B pesos, and shareholder distributions were 2.8B (chiefly due to share repurchases).
    • Conference call to come tomorrow.
    • Company release
    | 8:31 PM
  • 7:44 PM
    • Telefonica Brasil (VIV +1.2%) posted Q1 profits that nearly tripled as the company cut operating costs by 9%, and sold off towers.
    • Net operating revenues rose just 0.6%, to 10.431B reais ($2.96B), but net income rose 179% to 1.218B reais ($345.6M).
    • EBITDA of 3.79B reais ($1.075B) was up 23.8%.
    • Customer accesses fell to 97.22M (down 8.1%), with mobile accesses down 10.5% to 73.27M and fixed accesses up 0.3% to 23.95M. Of fixed, broadband access hit 7.2M while fiber connections hit 54.2% of its base.
    • Pay TV access were 1.8M (up 4.9%) with strength in premium accesses.
    • Press release
    | 7:44 PM
  • 3:42 PM
    • Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY) is down 4.2% today after news that it will release its next bit of hardware next March -- meaning it will miss out on the traditionally lucrative holiday gaming purchase season.
    • The system, code-named NX, doesn't have many details, including whether it's handheld or a traditional TV-bound console. But it's a big catalyst that will wait until next spring.
    • The company is putting out smartphone games this fall, including entries in Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing. But there's no news on whether those will be free or paid.
    • The NX will also debut with a new entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise, which will also be released for Wii U.
    • Revenues dropped 8% and net profits fell 61%, to ¥16.5B, though the company guided to higher profits for the full year amid flat revenues. It also expects lower sales of the 3DS and Wii U hardware as consumers await the NX's release.
    • Now read Nintendo Mobile: Miitomo, A Sign Of Things To Come? »
    | 3:42 PM | 17 Comments
  • 2:41 PM
    • Shares in Central European Media (NASDAQ:CETV) are 1.4% lower after the company posted a narrower net loss from operations on revenues that grew 2.3%.
    • The company's fully diluted loss per share of $0.31 compared to a year-ago -$0.51, but was worse than an expected loss of $0.20 (one estimate).
    • Revenues of $129M also fell short of an estimate for $131M. TV ad revenues were up 4% at constant rates, though, and carriage fees/subscription revenues were up 6% at constant rates.
    • Press release
    | 2:41 PM
  • 12:57 PM
    • Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) is investing in an Asian rugby video service, the latest in a series of international growth investments by the increasingly global program provider.
    • The company is taking a minority stake in RugbyPass, a direct-to-consumer service covering 23 markets in Asia that was launched in February. It will make some of its content from Setanta Sports Asia available to RugbyPass viewers.
    • Discovery has been increasing investment around its EuroSport purchase, and is working to put the Olympics on more European screens than ever with rights purchases there.
    • Now read Discovery Communications Is A Unique Content Provider Being Valued Like All The Others »
    | 12:57 PM
  • 12:19 PM
    • The merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD -0.4%) and SABMiller (OTCPK:SBMRY) is likely to be approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, sources tell CTFN.
    • The local market is seen having enough beer competition and M&A potential to withstand the long-awaited combination of beer giants.
    • A final decision from the ACCC is expected shortly after it extended its original decision date.
    • SABMiller ADRs stand at $60.85 vs. the post-MegBrew high of $62.60.
    | 12:19 PM
  • 10:36 AM
    • Shares of Adidas (OTCQX:ADDYY, OTCQX:ADDDF) trade at a premium to Nike (NKE -1.3%) for the first time in six years (h/t WSJ's Sara Germano) after the German sports company posted strong sales growth today to bring in new buyers.
    • On a forward look at earnings, Adidas has a 28 price/earnings multiple compared to the 24 P/E on Nike.
    • Both Adidas and Nike are set to benefit from the upcoming European soccer championship and Rio Olympics this summer.
    • Previously: Adidas Q1 earnings rise, ups 2016 guidance for second time (April 27)
    • Now read Nike: Just Add It
    | 10:36 AM
  • 6:00 AM
    • Japan -0.36%.
    • Hong Kong -0.21%.
    • China -0.37%.
    • India +0.16%.
    • London -0.16%.
    • Paris +0.14%.
    • Frankfurt +0.00%.
    | 6:00 AM
  • 5:23 AM
    • Global equities are broadly flat-to-lower ahead of the second day of the FOMC's policy meeting, where the Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.25-0.5%. As ever, there will be much interest in the bank's statement for what it indicates for future decisions.
    • U.S. stock futures are down following Apple's disappointing earnings report, which also hurt shares of its suppliers in Asia.
    • Weak results from firms such as Canon in Japan helped send the country's equities lower. The Bank of Japan is expected to unveil further easing at its policy meeting tomorrow.
    • European stocks are also soft following mixed earnings from big hitters such as Barclays, Total and Adidas, with Greek equities -3.8% after a meeting on the country's latest bailout was delayed.
    • Japan -0.4% to 17290. Hong Kong -0.4% to 21331. China -0.4% to 9608. India +0.2% to 26052.
    • Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%, London -0.2%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt +0.05%.
    • Dow -0.2%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -1%.
    | 5:23 AM | 6 Comments
  • 4:41 AM
    | 4:41 AM
  • 4:30 AM
    • Spain will hold a repeat general election in June after King Felipe VI yesterday gave up trying to persuade the country's major parties to form a government following three rounds of talks.
    • A caretaker government has been ruling Spain since an inconclusive vote in December, when upstart or minor parties won almost 40% of seats in parliament. That left the two establishment parties, the conservative Popular Party and the Socialists, too weak to form a new government.
    • Investors seem to be unfazed and the Ibex 35 is +0.3%.
    | 4:30 AM
  • 3:26 AM
    • Germany's Gfk consumer confidence index rose to 9.7 heading into May from 9.4 a month earlier and topped expectations that were also 9.4.
    • "Growth is being observed for both economic and income expectations as well as propensity to buy," GFK says.
    • "Consumers are clearly assuming that the German economy will regain some momentum in the coming months," GFK adds. "Income expectation and propensity to buy have both made noticeable gains, once again improving their already very good level.
    • The euro rises nicely vs the dollar and is +0.3% at $1.1326, although the DAX is flat. (PR)
    | 3:26 AM
  • 2:48 AM
    • Donald Trump has declared himself the "presumptive nominee" for the Republican party in November's presidential election after victories in the five north-eastern states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.
    • Trump now has an estimated 950 of 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination.
    • Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton won four of the states as Bernie Sanders took Rhode Island. Clinton has 2,141 of the 2,383 delegates she requires.
    | 2:48 AM | 7 Comments
  • Tuesday, April 26, 2016

  • 8:36 PM
    | 8:36 PM | 4 Comments
  • 12:59 PM
    • Hungary's central bank lowered its benchmark base rate by 15 basis points to a record-low 1.05%. Though the bank signaled limited room for more cuts, some analysts see the rate falling to 0.75% in coming months.
    • Hungary, by the way, is in the negative rate club - the bank's overnight deposit rate is minus 0.05%.
    • Emerging ETFs: CEE, TRF, GUR, ESR
    | 12:59 PM
  • 10:12 AM
    • Orange (NYSE:ORAN) is up 2.7% and knocking on the door of its 52-week high after posting Q1 earnings where a strong rebound in Spain meant a return to growth there, and the company's Africa/Middle East growth strategy continued to bear fruit.
    • Revenues eked out a gain overall, growing for the third straight quarter. Restated EBITDA was down 1.6% to €2.569B, but up 0.3% after excluding impact from an employee shareholding operation.
    • Sales growth resumed in Spain (to 1.8%) after nine straight quarters in decline, but revenues fell 0.7% in France (national roaming declined) and slipped 4.2% in Poland. Meanwhile, they grew 2.3% in Belgium and Luxembourg, 2.8% in Central Europe, and a solid 5.1% growth for mobile services in Africa/Middle East.
    • Mobile customers grew by 5.3M net additions to come to 191M (up 2.9% on comparable basis). Fixed broadband customers grew 2.9% to 17.8M, including 2.226M fiber subs. Digital TV had 8.2M customers (up 10.4% on comparable basis).
    • Press Release
    | 10:12 AM | 1 Comment
  • 6:14 AM
    • The FOMC is today scheduled to start the first of a two-day meeting where it's expected to hold rates at 0.25-0.5%.
    • As ever, there will be as much interest in the Fed's statement as in the decision itself, with all and sundry looking for clues as to what bank officials might decide in their next meetings.
    • Optimism about the economy could signal a rate rise in the near future but pessimism could indicate not anytime soon.
    • Janet Yellen wasn't particularly helpful when she said recently that the U.S. is "on a solid course" but that "we're suffering a drag from the global economy."
    | 6:14 AM
  • 6:00 AM
    • Japan -0.49%.
    • Hong Kong +0.48%.
    • China +0.61%.
    • India +1.17%.
    • London +0.28%.
    • Paris +0.08%.
    • Frankfurt +0.44%.
    | 6:00 AM
  • Monday, April 25, 2016

  • 6:13 PM
    • China's DMG Entertainment is getting out in front of a bidding deadline for a minority stake in Paramount Pictures (VIA -1%, VIAB -1.2%), hiring J.P. Morgan to engage on its due diligence, Variety reports.
    • The disconnect between Viacom (which wants to sell a smaller piece) and bidders who want the studio outright is also discouraging some suitors; Skydance and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX +0.6%, FOXA +0.4%) are not expected to bid actively, Brent Lang notes.
    • Chinese firms continue to be prominent among likely partners for Paramount, as they'd give it more of a foothold in the world's fastest growing cinema market. DMG is worth about $5B and recently partnered with Hasbro to create a live show based around the toymaker's Transformers robots.
    • Now read Viacom: Opportunity Hidden In A Soap Opera »
    | 6:13 PM | 1 Comment
  • 4:03 PM
    • Genting Singapore (OTCPK:GIGNY, OTCPK:GIGNF) announces that it closed its Macau-based subsidiary.
    • Genting Star was originally set up to develop casino properties in Macau, but has been plagued with regulatory issues. Concerns over overcapacity in the gaming mecca may have also been a factor in the decision to close shop.
    • The liquidation of Genting Star isn't expected to impact full-year results for Genting Singapore.
    | 4:03 PM
  • 2:04 PM
    • Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY -1.4%) plans to head to a federal appeals court in an effort to block the UAW from getting a toehold at its plant in Tennessee.
    • A group of skilled trades workers at the facility voted to join the UAW in December, an action upheld by the NLRB.
    • Though the unionization push only covers a small percentage of the total workers at the VW plant, the development could have far-reaching implications with many foreign plants in the south untouched so far by the UAW.
    | 2:04 PM | 6 Comments
  • 12:46 PM
    • The European Commission is set to block the £10.3B (about $14.9B) purchase of O2 (TEF -0.7%) by Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY), a deal that would have created the UK's biggest wireless carrier, Reuters reports.
    • The deal would have merged Telefonica's O2, the No. 2 provider in the country, with Hutchison's Three UK, the fourth-largest. But the result would have been the top carrier and reduced the market to three competitors, facts that came to bear for Margrethe Vestager, head of the EC's Competition Commission.
    • Tricky concessions offered by the two, including divestments, weren't enough to address fears, sources said.
    • Last week as prospects for the deal seemed to dim, Telefonica acknowledged it was looking at a few alternate plans to try to cut a debt pile that amounts to more than $56B.
    • Now read Telefonica Dividend Reliant On EU Politics Following Mixed Q4 2015 Results »
    | 12:46 PM
  • 11:05 AM
    • The NHTSA says Honda (NYSE:HMC) completed its settlement terms over charges it failed to properly report crashes with injuries and deaths.
    • Documents posted on the NHTSA website indicate the Japanese automaker paid a $70M and instituted new reporting procedures.
    • The issue days back to an investigation in 2014.
    • Now read Why The Honda Turnaround Was Needed
    | 11:05 AM | 1 Comment
  • 10:27 AM
    • Brazil's Oi (NYSE:OIBR) is up 18.2 after news that it's starting talks on restructuring $14.3B in debt in a global bond battle likely to dictate the struggling carrier's future.
    • PJT Partners is advising the company in talks with about 25 bondholders, which are working with Moelis Group and may sign NDAs to get a look at the deals.
    • Talks about a restructuring that may be Latin America's second-biggest (behind 2009's $15B Cemex restructuring) could lead to a long-expected takeover. Almost half of Oi's $15.4B in debt matures before the end of 2017.
    • SA contributor Paolo Gorgo expects complicated dealings amounting to "four-player chess" -- involving debenture holders and Telemar and PTIF bond holders as well as Oi bondholders -- that could make the final result inscrutable. "Given the complexity of Oi's debt structure, the many existing unknowns, and the fact that even skilled investors could have a hard time identifying the best debt instruments to invest into, we suggest watching from the side lines until the situation becomes a bit easier to decipher."
    • Updated: Oi says it's entered into a "customary" nondisclosure agreement with Moelis, which is representing bondholders including Pimco, BlackRock, Citadel and many more.
    • Now read Oi's Stakeholders Left In The Dark »
    | 10:27 AM | 1 Comment
  • 8:22 AM
    • According to Bloomberg, the Bank of  Japan is now a top-10 shareholder in about 90% of the companies in the Nikkei 225. The central bank owns more Japanese blue-chips than fund giants BlackRock and Vanguard.
    • “For those who want shares to go up at any cost, it’s absolutely fantastic that the BOJ is buying so much,” says one strategist, apparently unaware that the Nikkei hasn't done a whole lot while the BOJ has been on this buying spree. The average is down 8.4% this year, and pretty much flat since late 2014.
    • The bank, meanwhile, is expected to announce further increases in ETF buying this week (it currently purchases about $27B of ETFs each year).
    | 8:22 AM | 5 Comments
  • 7:48 AM
    • The Kingdom plans to sell less than 5% of its stake in the state-owned oil giant, says Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a TV interview. He expects the company to valued at more than $2T, and wants it to become a holding company with an elected board. Aramco subsidiaries would then also be sold via IPO.
    | 7:48 AM | 11 Comments
  • 6:00 AM
    • Japan -0.76%.
    • Hong Kong -0.76%.
    • China -0.42%.
    • India -0.46%.
    • London -0.19%.
    • Paris -0.58%.
    • Frankfurt -0.73%.
    | 6:00 AM
  • 5:38 AM
    • Global equity and oil charts are a sea of red following a strong week in Europe last week and a fall in German business sentiment this morning, while Chinese shares dropped amid fears about potential corporate defaults.
    • Investors are also staying cautious ahead of policy meetings this week at the FOMC and the Bank of Japan.
    • The Fed is seen keeping rates unchanged at 0.25-0.5%, with investors looking for any changes in guidance. Markets expect the BOJ to further increase stimulus.
    • In Asia, Japan -0.8%, Hong Kong -0.8%, China -0.4%, India -0.9%.
    • In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%, London -0.5%, Paris -0.65%, Frankfurt -0.9%, Madrid -0.6%, Milan -1.2%.
    • U.S. futures: Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.3%. Nasdaq -0.4%. Crude -1.55%
    | 5:38 AM | 1 Comment
  • 4:28 AM
    • China's total domestic and foreign debt grew to a record 237% of GDP in Q1, the FT calculates, or 163T yuan ($25T).
    • The surge in borrowing comes as the Chinese government yet again turns on the spigots in order to boost stuttering growth.
    • What worries economists is not the size of the debt, which is comparable to the U.S. and the eurozone, but the speed with which it has accumulated. The Chinese figure was 148% at the end of 2007.
    • "Every major country with a rapid increase in debt has experienced either a financial crisis or a prolonged slowdown in GDP growth," Goldman Sachs' Ha Jiming wrote this year.
    | 4:28 AM | 16 Comments
  • 4:13 AM
    • The German Ifo institute's business-climate index has slipped to 106.6 in April from 106.7 in March and missed consensus of 107.
    • The current-situation reading fell to 113.2 from 113.8 and undershot forecasts that were also 113.8, and while the expectations print edged up to 100.4 from 100 it missed estimates of 100.8.
    • The euro is +0.3% at $1.1256, while the DAX is -0.9%.
    • CESifo Web site
    | 4:13 AM | 1 Comment
  • 4:03 AM
    • Major car manufacturers have given mixed signals about their prospects in China amid the country's cooling economy.
    • Toyota (NYSE:TM) is not certain it will reach its goal of selling 2M cars by 2025, while Ford (NYSE:F) CEO Mark Field said there is "nothing that we're ready to talk about" in terms of further expansion. Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAF) is a bit behind in some of its plans to invest €22B ($24.7B) in China over five years.
    • Still, Honda (NYSE:HMC) is looking for sales to increase to 1.07M vehicles in 2016 from the 1.01M that the company and its joint-venture partners sold in 2015.
    • Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) is aiming for "significant double-digit growth" for jeep sales, although it warns about overall pricing pressure.
    • Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF) expects vehicle sales to moderate during the rest of 2016 after jumping 39% on year in Q1.
    | 4:03 AM | 8 Comments
  • 3:38 AM
    • Saudi Arabia is today due to unveil "Saudi Vision 2030," a plan to overhaul the kingdom's economy in order to reduce its massive reliance on oil revenues, which account for 80% of its income but are taking a battering amidst the plunge in oil prices.
    • Prince Mohammed bin Salman - who controls state-oil monopoly Saudi Aramco, the national investment fund, economic policy and the Ministry of Defense - intends to create the world's largest sovereign-wealth fund with over $2T in diversified assets and to sell under 5% in Saudi Aramco in an IPO.
    • Bin Salman wants to "make investments the source of Saudi government revenue, not oil,” he told Bloomberg. "Within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn’t depend mainly on oil."
    • ETFs: KSA
    | 3:38 AM | 28 Comments
  • Friday, April 22, 2016

  • 7:43 PM
    • Sony (SNE +0.8%) said today that it would delay announcing its full-year results (and forecasts) as it's still assessing damage from last weekend's earthquake in Kyushu.
    • The company had planned to post results next Thursday morning, but will now delay until sometime in May.
    • Counting the damage is going on at the company's Kumamoto Technology Center, as well as at third-party suppliers of components. But the suspended operations is likely to have an adverse impact especially on its Devices and Imaging Products & Solutions segments.
    • Yesterday, Sony said it cut its profit estimate due to an impairment loss it was taking on its camera business amid slowing smartphone sales. Shares had fallen 5.4% in yesterday's U.S. trading.
    • Now read Sony: Film Slate Ready To Deliver »
    | 7:43 PM
  • 7:14 PM
    • Yahoo (YHOO -0.5%) and advisers are set to spend the weekend narrowing down more than 10 first-round bids for its core business, ranging from $4B-$8B, Bloomberg reports -- with an eye to moving forward as soon as next week.
    • They'll aim for about seven finalists and plan to offer them increased access to internal docs and management.
    • The higher-end bids reportedly came from bidders who haven't spent as much time with Yahoo, which should lead to more scrutiny into the structure of the offers.
    • In addition to the known bidders (that hadn't denied reports) -- Verizon (VZ +1%), YP Holdings, TPG, and Bain/Vista Equity Partners -- one or two other strategic firms were involved.
    • Echoing earlier reports, SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY +3.4%) isn't in the bidding but is likely eager to talk with anyone who also wants the Yahoo Japan stake.
    • Despite the progress, a final decision is likely at least a month away.
    • Now read Yahoo Sale Could Reboot Online Ad Competition »
    | 7:14 PM | 71 Comments
  • 6:40 PM
    • Chinese consumer-finance firm Yirendai (YRD +9.2%) says its chief technology officer, Nian Duan, resigned the post for personal reasons that appear to be a new business.
    • Yihan Fang, the company's CEO, is taking over the CTO responsibilities for the time being.
    • "We will continue to invest in technology product development and build a strong engineering team to support the strong growth momentum of our business," she said. "In the meantime, we wish all the best for Nian's future endeavor as an entrepreneur."
    • Yirendai went public in December, the last U.S.-listed technology IPO before SecureWorks began trading today. It debuted then at $10, and closed at $11.59 today.
    | 6:40 PM
  • 5:11 PM
    • (JD -1.7%) has priced $1B in notes in a pair of tranches.
    • The Chinese online seller is offering $500M of 3.125% notes due 2021, and $500M of 3.875% notes due 2026. It's expecting net proceeds of $983.5M, to be used for general purposes.
    • The company runs with a far lower debt ratio than At last report, it had total cash of $3.3B against total debt of $539M.
    • Shares are down 12.3% YTD, but have risen 24% since Feb. 9.
    • Now read Low Valuation Justifiable »
    | 5:11 PM | 3 Comments
  • 4:13 PM
    • A group of SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY +3.1%) investors have written the boards of that company and Sprint, calling for a probe into SoftBank heir apparent Nikesh Arora over alleged conflicts of interest.
    • The investors also claimed he's overpaid and making poor investment choices. The letter, sent to the boards earlier this year, says Arora isn't just responsible for global investment activity at SoftBank -- he's also a senior adviser at private-equity firm Silver Lake.
    • "Thus, he oversees the process of identifying and pursuing potential investment opportunities in the technology sector (at SoftBank)," the letter states "This dual role has the potential to reward Silver Lake to the detriment of SoftBank."
    • Stakes in DramaFever and have soured as well, the letter says, suggesting poor investment performance, and that $138M in pay -- making him the third-highest paid exec in the world -- is "excessive."
    • "I think my track record speaks for itself," Arora says. "Since my time at SoftBank, the last 18 months, I always strived to put the company first and I think none of the comments have any substantive bearing in fact."
    | 4:13 PM | 4 Comments
  • 3:30 PM
    • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) plans to recall as many as 1.1M vehicles in a global action due to a rollaway risk.
    • Models covered by the recall include 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s, as well as 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees.
    • About 80% of the affected vehicles are in North America.
    • Now read Will Ford Buy Fiat Chrysler?
    | 3:30 PM | 7 Comments
  • 3:06 PM
    • Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY) chief Vincent Bollore got political at the company's annual shareholder meeting, warning that Canal Plus' six longtime channels could be shut down if losses continued.
    • That might be remedied, he seemed to suggest, if France's antitrust board sped up clearance of a deal for a five-year exclusive distribution of Al Jazeera's BeIN Sports. Bollore said a recovery is dependent on Canal Plus' ability to get sports rights.
    • Canal Plus has hit debt of €1B as losses accelerate, from €180M in 2014 to €250M in 2015 and €400M in 2016.
    • Folding the channels would make sense, Bollore suggested. “The only part that is hurting Canal Plus are its (pay TV) channels made in France. It’s totally imaginable to have a Canal Plus group made of Canal Overseas, CanalSat, Studiocanal, the free-to-air channels D8 and D17 and Canal News (if the antitrust board allows us to rebrand iTele).”
    • Now read UbiSoft Faces The Risk Of Takeover From Vivendi »
    | 3:06 PM | 4 Comments
  • 9:26 AM
    • Perhaps the "Google of China" is getting still more Google-ish. Search engine Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) says it's formed a self-driving car team in Silicon Valley, with plans to stock the group with more than 100 researchers and engineers by year's end.
    • The company says it's currently looking to hire individuals with auto industry experience.
    • "Baidu is fully committed to making self-driving cars a reality," says Jing Wang, who will act as general manager of the autonomous driving unit called ADU-US.
    • The company says it's starting small, with "autonomy-enabled" regions, and working incrementally from there.
    • Apple's Project Titan hit the auto-technology news again the other day on word it's running a secret R&D lab in Germany.
    • Shares are -1.2% premarket in U.S. trading. Baidu reports earnings after the close next Thursday.
    • Now read Baidu Break-Up Continues With Video Spin-Off »
    | 9:26 AM | 6 Comments
  • 6:00 AM
    • Japan +1.20%.
    • Hong Kong -0.72%.
    • China +0.22%.
    • India -0.12%.
    • London -0.39%.
    • Paris -0.39%.
    • Frankfurt -0.50%.
    | 6:00 AM
  • 5:32 AM
    • Eurozone finance ministers are in Amsterdam to discuss the Panama Papers, EU budget and Greek debt crisis, with the later topic making significant headlines.
    • "Don't expect any deals today," Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters, noting however, that he was "hearing good news from Athens" regarding a reform package.
    • The struggling country needs more bailout aid so it can pay back debt that matures in July.
    • ETFs: GREK
    | 5:32 AM | 5 Comments
  • 5:17 AM
    | 5:17 AM | 6 Comments
  • 5:05 AM
    • Eurozone business activity slowed in April, despite further price discounts, providing disappointing news for the ECB a day after it left monetary policy unchanged.
    • Markit's Composite Flash PMI dipped to 53.0 from last month's 53.1, matching a 13-month low in February.
    • Commenting on the survey, Markit's Chief Economist Chris Williamson said that the euro area economy remains "stuck in a low growth rut with the PMI once again signaling GDP growth of just 0.3% at the start of the second quarter."
    | 5:05 AM | 1 Comment
  • 3:43 AM
    • Leaders from 130 nations are gathering in New York for the formal signing of the climate change accord reached in Paris four months ago, which aims to limit the overall world temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.
    • With each country's signing of the pact, they must also submit an action proposal plan for the deal to be effective.
    • The target date is 2020, but if enough countries ratify, officials say the agreement could enter into force much sooner.
    | 3:43 AM | 8 Comments
  • 2:36 AM
    • President Obama has arrived in the U.K. to make an impassioned appeal for Britain to remain in the EU, stating the outcome of the decision is a matter of deep interest to the United States.
    • "The European Union doesn't moderate British influence - it magnifies it," Obama declared in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
    • His visit is a welcome one for Prime Minister David Cameron, who is leading the "In" campaign, but it has drawn scorn from those arguing that Britain should leave the bloc.
    | 2:36 AM | 10 Comments
  • Thursday, April 21, 2016

  • 3:54 PM
    • Orange's (ORAN -1.2%) African expansion continues apace, as it's wrapped its acquisition of Tigo, a mobile operator in the Democratic Republic fo the Congo.
    • Orange has taken over 100% of Tigo, which serves a population of more than 80M with a mobile penetration rate of just 50%.
    • Nearly one in 10 people in Africa are already Orange customers, as the French telecom runs operations throughout the continent. Orange is moving to take leadership roles in markets where it already has operations.
    • Now read Buy On Weakness? Analyzing Tech's 'Biggest Losers' Of Week 13 »
    | 3:54 PM
  • 3:49 PM
    • VimpelCom (VIP -1.7%) and Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) have an extension to finish a slowgoing merger of their Italian operations, to Aug. 18.
    • The companies asked for more time to combine Wind Telecomunicazioni (VimpelCom's unit) and Three Italia (Hutchison's).
    • The combo, which would merge the No. 3 and No. 4 mobile operators in Italy, s getting a hard look from European competition regulators.
    • Meanwhile, VimpelCom priced $1.2B in bonds in two tranches -- $500M in 6.25% senior notes due 2020, and $700M in 7.25% senior notes due 2023.
    • That offering should settle on Tuesday; proceeds will be used for general purposes.
    • Now read Russian Telecoms: Perspectives And Ideas For 2016 »
    | 3:49 PM
  • 3:32 PM
    | 3:32 PM
  • 10:57 AM
    • Vivendi (OTCPK:VIVHY -2%) is actively pushing Telecom Italia (TI -0.1%) toward a sale of its Brazilian unit, TIM Participaçoes (TSU +1.8%), sources tell CTFN.
    • The French media giant's stance on TIM was a clear catalyst for the March departure of Marco Patuano as TI's chief executive, as Patuano was inclined to hold on to the business.
    • A series of machinations over the past year took place around the possible merger of TIM with debt-laden carrier Oi (OIBR -3.5%) before the prospects of a deal imploded.
    • An M&A lawyer said that when Vivendi inherited its Telecom Italia stake in 2014 (via its sale of broadband company GVT to Telefonica), it was already expressing an interest in getting out of Brazil and taking charge of TI as a media platform.
    • Rivals Telefonica Brasil (VIV -0.2%) and Claro (AMX +1.5%) aren't likely candidates to take over TIM due to regulatory issues. Oi is surely a candidate again, but more desperate for a move than TIM. Brazil might go for a bid from someone like Vodafone (VOD -0.8%), though.
    • Now read Oi's Debt Restructuring: A 4-Player Chess Game »
    | 10:57 AM | 4 Comments
  • 8:55 AM
    • Just one month after the ECB pulled out its massive bazooka, did traders expect even more measures today? The euro (NYSEARCA:FXE) has shot higher by 0.7% vs. the dollar after the ECB left policy unchanged.
    • In his post-meeting press conference, Draghi says the ECB sees rates either holding steady or lower for an extended time. "We have a mandate for the whole eurozone, not just Germany." Take that Bundesbank!
    • Perhaps currency punters are reacting to Draghi's disavowal of helicopter money, noting the operational (not enough choppers?) and legal challenges.
    • Europe's Stoxx 50 (NYSEARCA:FEZ) is bouncing around, but currently lower by 0.5%.
    | 8:55 AM
  • 7:54 AM
    • As expected, the ECB left rates unchanged as it begins to implement the new policies from its March bazooka.
    • The bank has begun expanding monthly asset purchases to €80B, along with other non-standard measures.
    • Mario Draghi's press conference starts at 8:30 ET.
    • Now read: EUR's Calm Before The Storm? (April 21)
    | 7:54 AM
  • 7:30 AM
  • 7:09 AM
    • Honda (NYSE:HMC) plans to make any an even larger push into alternative fuel cars with new versions of its Clarity model.
    • The Japanese automaker will sell a hydrogen fuel-cell hatchback later this year and an all-electric Clarity next year. A plug-in hybrid Clarity will launch late in 2017.
    • By building off a shared platform, Honda will save costs as it broadens its green car push.
    • Honda has a long-term goal to be two-thirds electric by 2030 with its vehicle sales.
    • Now read Why The Honda Turnaround Was Needed 
    | 7:09 AM
  • 6:24 AM
    | 6:24 AM | 20 Comments
  • 6:00 AM
    • Japan +2.70%.
    • Hong Kong +1.82%.
    • China -0.66%.
    • India -0.07%.
    • London -0.57%.
    • Paris -0.30%.
    • Frankfurt +0.11%.
    | 6:00 AM
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