Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: SA Editor Yigal Grayeff
SA Editor Yigal Grayeff
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.

AMR files for bankruptcy protection. AMR (AMR) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, "in order to achieve a cost and debt structure that is industry competitive and thereby assure its long-term viability."

Yields near 8% in latest Italian bond auction. It was another horror story in the latest Italian bond auction as yields on three-year paper rose to a euro-era record of 7.89% from 4.93% only a month ago. The yield on a 10-year bond increased to a fresh high of 7.56% from 6.06%. Still, at least Italy was able to raise €7.5B ($10.06B), near the top end of its goal, sending the euro higher vs. the dollar.

Facebook targeting $100B IPO by June. Facebook is considering filing for an IPO by the end of the year and going public between April and June, with the company looking to raise $10B at a market cap of $100B, reports say. The social network is likely to debut with over $4B in revenue, making it bigger than Yahoo (YHOO).

Fitch turns bearish on U.S. outlook. Fitch yesterday revised its outlook on the U.S. to Negative while affirming the country's AAA-rating, citing "declining confidence" that Congress will agree on timely measures to reduce debt. The change represents a slightly greater than 50% chance of a downgrade from the ratings agency within a two-year timeframe.

Speculation about France's rating mounts as Finmins meet. S&P could downgrade the outlook on France's AAA rating in the next 7-10 days, ahead of lowering the credit rating itself, La Tribune reports. Yesterday, Moody's placed the subordinated debt of 87 EU banks on review with the view that the average downgrade will be 2 notches. The developments, as well as Italy's bond auction, add to the pressure on the eurozone, whose finance ministers are meeting today to work out how to boost the bloc's bailout fund, and to approve the next tranche of loans for Greece and Ireland.

AT&T's Leap of faith. As it looks to salvage its $39B acquisition of T-Mobile (OTCQX:DTEGY), AT&T (NYSE:T) is reportedly in talks to sell a large chunk of T-Mobile's customer accounts and some of its cellular spectrum to second-tier carrier Leap Wireless (LEAP).

Cyber Monday sales up 18%. Early estimates show that Cyber Monday sales rose 18% from a year earlier, with the question now being whether retailers can maintain the apparent momentum from the whole Thanksgiving weekend. "Apparent" because there are some like Barry Ritholtz who are skeptical about the figures, based as they are on unreliable surveys, while others such as Adrianne Shapira warn of lower margins.

Japan unemployment rises. Japan's unemployment rate increased to 4.5% in October from 4.1% in September, coming in well above the 4.2% that economists had expected. The unfavorable data will put additional pressure on Japan to expand its stimulus efforts in the face of a rising yen and a troubled eurozone.

Banks in peace talks with MBIA. Seven financial giants, including Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), are in talks to reach a truce with bond insurer MBIA (NYSE:MBI) over a complex web of allegations connected to mortgage debt and other securities, sources say. Any agreement would end a legal battle over billions of dollars in losses stemming from the financial crisis, although MBIA may have to make payments to its interlocutors.

Yahoo speculation continues to swirl. THL Partners is rumored to be interested in buying Yahoo's (YHOO) U.S. operations, Reuters reports, a break from other bidders who are looking at either a minority stake or a collaboration with the Internet portal's Asian partners. Such bidders include P-E firm Silver Lake and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which are reportedly submitting a plan to take up to a 20% stake in Yahoo. TPG Capital is also eyeing a minority holding.

MF Global trustee finds $200M in client cash. MF Global's (OTC:MFGLQ) trustee may finally have had a breakthrough in the month-long search for missing customer money, discovering around $200M at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) in Britain, although that would still leave hundreds of millions missing. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Jon Corzine bet $11.5B on European sovereign debt, nearly twice the net $6.4B disclosed to shareholders in August.

Paulson gave hedge funds heads up on Fannie and Freddie. In its latest expose on the financial crisis, Bloomberg reports that then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told several hedge fund managers in late July 2008 how a government takeover of Fannie Mae (OTCQB:FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTCQB:FMCC) would be possible. This was despite testifying in the Senate just prior that government intervention was improbable. Paulson apparently broke no law, nor is it clear that the managers traded on the information. The government took over the mortgage giants in September 2008.

Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan +2.3% to 8478. Hong Kong +1.2% to 18256. China +1.2% to 2412. India -1.0% to 16008.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.3%. Frankfurt +0.6%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.5%. S&P +0.8%. Nasdaq +0.6%. Crude +0.65% to $98.85. Gold +0.3% to $1716.00.

Tuesday's economic calendar:
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:00 S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
10:00 Consumer Confidence
10:00 FHFA Housing Price Index
10:00 State Street Investor Confidence Index
11:30 Fed's Yellen: 'The Global Economic Recovery'
12:30 PM Fed's Lockhart: Economic Outlook
8:00 PM Fed's Kocherlakota: 'Making Monetary Policy'

Earnings Results: Companies that beat EPS expectations last night and today include Hillenbrand (NYSE:HI).

For full real-time earnings coverage, please click here.

Notable earnings before Tuesday's open: TIF

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