Euro zone flash inflation data for May is due today, with the consensus being a 0.7% rise year-on-year. The numbers are expected to reinforce the case for a heavy monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank. Barclays (NYSE:BCS), RBS (NYSE:RBS) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) predict an annual inflation reading of 0.5%, far below the ECB's target of 2%. A softer reading will also boost the chances of the ECB loosening its policy towards negative deposit rates.
Massachusetts has sued Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying they violate state law by blocking foreclosure buyback programs. Buyback programs allow a non-profit organization to purchase a foreclosed home and then resell it back to the original owner at a more reasonable price. Massachusetts passed a law in 2012 prohibiting creditors from blocking such programs, although Fannie Mae (OTCQB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTCQB:FMCC) have failed to comply.
Investors have pulled an estimated $4.3B (1.9%) out of Pimco's Total Return bond fund (NYSEARCA:BOND) in May, contracting the world’s largest fixed income fund to $229B. The May outflow was the worst since last October, and has been the 13th consecutive month of outflows for the fund. Investors seem to have started withdrawing from the fund last spring, when the Fed began preparing the market to expect a tapering of its quantitative easing bond buying program.
France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius has announced that the $10B fine on BNP Paribas (OTCQX:BNPQY) is excessive, and that the U.S. should deal with the issue as a partner and not unilaterally. BNP Paribas currently faces a penalty from the U.S. stating it has violated American sanctions on Iran, Sudan and other countries. "The fine has to be proportionate and reasonable," Fabius says. "These figures are not reasonable."
BMW plans to cut €100M ($136M) in German labor costs every year after 2015. The cuts come as the company decides which plants in Bavaria are financially worth it to build its new models. However, BMW (BAMXY) also announced it would invest $1B to enlarge its U.S. plant in South Carolina, increasing the number of employees to 8,800. The U.S. plant will be the company's biggest production facility by 2016.
Apple, which previously took a hard-line stance against Bitcoin (BITCN, OTCQB:BTCS) wallet apps, has updated the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store review guidelines to state apps "may facilitate transmission of approved virtual currencies provided that they do so in compliance with all state and federal laws for the territories in which the app functions." Coinbase is now showing a Bitcoin bid-ask spread of $665.67-$667.16, up ~69% from an April 10 price of $395.34.
Pfizer has agreed to pay $325M to certain third party payers to settle allegations that it defrauded insurers and other healthcare benefit providers by marketing Neurotonin for unapproved uses. The case was brought by Neurotonin buyers who accused it of taking steps to keep cheaper generic versions of the drug off the market. Previously, in May 2004 Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) agreed to pay $430M and plead guilty to criminal charges for illegally marketing Neurotonin for unapproved uses.
General Motors is reported to have filed 2,004 accounts of injuries and deaths from accidents in cars that have been recalled, reports the Center for Auto Safety. The scope of the defect seems to not only cause the airbag not to deploy, but also affects electric power steering and brakes. A Reuters analysis released yesterday also suggests that possibly 74 people have died in accidents stemming from the faulty ignition switch. GM (NYSE:GM) has so far only linked 13 deaths.
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In Asia, Japan +0.7% to 15034. Hong Kong +0.9% to 23291. China flat at 2038. India +0.7% to 24859.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.3%. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt -0.3%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude -0.2% to $102.31. Gold +0.1% to $1245.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +3 bps to 2.56%
Today's economic calendar:
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:30 Gallup US ECI
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
10:00 Factory Orders
11:00 Global Manufacturing PMI
1:50 PM Fed's George: Monetary Policy
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