Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: Rachael Granby
Rachael Granby
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.

  • Celgene buys Abraxis. Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) agreed to buy Abraxis BioScience (ABII) in a cash-and-stock deal that values the firm at $2.9B. For Celgene, the purchase will provide access to Abraxis' oncology treatments, including Abraxane, for breast cancer patients. The deal is a 17% premium to Abraxis' closing price yesterday.
  • Sanofi-Aventis picks up TargeGen. In another acquisition related to oncology treatments, Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) will buy closely-held TargeGen to add treatments for certain forms of leukemia and blood disorders. Sanofi will pay $75M at the deal's close, and additional payments at different stages of drug development. All told, Sanofi's payments could reach as much as $560M.
  • Lawmakers scrap bank fee. Congressional Democrats abandoned a controversial proposal in the financial reform bill that would have levied a $19B tax on the country's largest banks and hedge funds. Several Republicans who are crucial to the bill's passage were uncomfortable with the tax, which was added to the bill at the last minute. Instead, lawmakers will offset the bill's costs by winding down TARP early and assessing a $5.7B fee on banks through the FDIC.
  • Telefonica ups Vivo bid. Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) raised its bid for Vivo (NYSE:VIV) for the second time, ahead of Portugal Telecom's (NYSE:PT-OLD) shareholder meeting today. The offer is now €7.15B ($8.7B) for PT's share of their Vivo joint venture, a 10% increase from Telefonica's earlier bid. It's unclear whether the sweetener will be enough to convince PT's core shareholders, who have opposed a deal thus far. Premarket: TEF +2.4%, PT-OLD +6.4% (7:00 ET).
  • ECB tender demand lower than expected. The ECB's tender was met with low demand today, a positive reflection on banks' abilities to raise money from capital markets. A total of €131.93B ($160.92B) in funds were allotted with a 91-day maturity, at a fixed rate of 1%, well shy of forecasts that had run as high as €250B. The news helped lift European markets and the euro: London +0.8%, Paris +1%, Frankfurt +0.5%, Spain +2.1%, euro +0.8% vs. the dollar (6:00 ET). In the banking sector, premarket: UBS +2%, STD +4.5%, LYG +1.5%, CS +1.9%, BCS +4.8%, HBC +1.4%.
  • AstraZeneca rises on court ruling. A U.S. District Judge ruled that a patent on the active ingredient in AstraZeneca's (NYSE:AZN) Crestor cholesterol drug is valid and enforceable, and will remain in effect until 2016. Companies including Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA) had challenged the patent as they sought to market copies of the medicine. Crestor was AstraZeneca's third-biggest seller last year, and the ruling helped AstraZeneca's shares gain nearly 9% in the closing minutes of yesterday's trading session.
  • Anadarko approved BP well designs. Anadarko (NYSE:APC), a minority partner on the leaking Gulf well, has largely tried to stay out of the spotlight, but media reports show that Anadarko approved several key aspects of BP's (NYSE:BP) well designs, aspects that have been sharply criticized by lawmakers. Anadarko also signed off on significant operational decisions made by BP that could have been a factor in the explosion at the well. An Anadarko spokesman acknowledged that the company knew the "long string" design was being used and was aware of the number of centralizers, but said they "all met industry standards if executed correctly. The problems were caused by BP’s execution of each of these.” Premarket: BP +6.3% (7:00 ET).
  • AT&T loses iPhone exclusivity. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will start selling the iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL) in January, sources said, bringing an end to AT&T's exclusive hold on the smartphone in the U.S. Apple and Verizon declined to comment, but the media reports were enough to push AT&T's shares down nearly 2% yesterday. Research in Motion (RIMM) closed -4.4% yesterday as broader iPhone availability could hurt BlackBerry sales. Analysts suggest Verizon customers could buy as many as 3M iPhones per quarter.
  • Qatar may take Greek bank stake. The Qatar Investment Authority is reportedly in talks to take a strategic stake in National Bank of Greece, Greece's largest lender. The sovereign wealth fund would likely buy a 5-7% stake, in line with its policy of buying less than 10% stakes in financial institutions. The purchase would be worth around €250M ($304M).
  • Lehman creditors object to Ch. 11 plan. A group of Lehman Brothers (OTC:LEHMQ) creditors, including pension fund Calpers and John Paulson's hedge fund, objected to the investment bank's bankruptcy plan. The group said the current plan will create conflicts among creditors, and treat some large bank creditors better than smaller, non-bank creditors. As a result, they claimed, there could be years of needless lawsuits. The group is asking for a July 14 hearing to consider its objections.
  • Citi shares trigger circuit breaker. Citigroup (NYSE:C) became the second stock to trigger the NYSE's new circuit breakers, after 8,820 of Citi's shares went through at $3.3174 at 1:03:51 p.m. - a 12.7% drop from the previous trade. After the halt, Citi's shares resumed trading normally, and closed -6.75% to $3.73.
  • Foreclosures were one-third of Q1 home sales. Foreclosed properties accounted for 31% of the U.S. home sales in Q1, according to a new report by RealtyTrac, and the average price for foreclosed properties was 27% below that of regular sales. "In a normal market, only 1 to 2 percent of home sales are foreclosures," explained Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, "so this is certainly a significant level."
  • SEC settles with fired lawyer. The SEC agreed to pay $755,000 to an enforcement lawyer who claimed he was wrongfully terminated for aggressively pursuing an insider-trading case involving the hedge fund Pequot Capital Management. The lawyer, Gary Aguirre, had been at the agency for 11 months before he was fired. As part of the settlement, which is the equivalent of four years and 10 months’ pay, Aguirre will drop two related claims against the SEC.

Earnings: Tuesday After Close

  • General Mills (NYSE:GIS): FQ4 EPS of $0.41 in-line, guides FY11 EPS below consensus. Revenue of $3.57B (-2.1%) vs. $3.55B. Shares -3.8% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan -2.0% to 9383. Hong Kong -0.6% to 20129. China -1.2% to 2398. India +0.9% to 17701.
  • In Europe, at midday, London +0.7%. Paris +0.8%. Frankfurt +0.6%.
  • Futures: Dow +0.5%. S&P +0.7%. Nasdaq +0.55%. Crude +0.8% to $76.54. Gold +0.1% to $1244.10.

Wednesday's Economic Calendar

Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.

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