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.

Eurozone shares fall after S&P warning. Major eurozone indexes were lower midday in Europe after S&P yesterday placed the ratings of the entire eurozone on "Creditwatch with negative implications," including Germany and France. S&P's statement on Germany could be a challenge to the ECB to get printing: the agency said that if the bank's policy isn't effective in offsetting the shocks that Germany is experiencing, "we could lower the score."

Ford starts search for new CEO. Ford (NYSE:F) has begun to look for a replacement for CEO Alan Mulally, who is 66 and is expected to leave the automaker within two years, The Wall Street Journal reports. Candidates include at least two internal senior managers and two former executives. Chairman Bill Ford has repeatedly said that the firm would like to appoint from within.

Veolia to sell €5B in assets. Paris-based Veolia Environnement (VE) plans to sell €5B ($6.7B) in assets over the next two years, including in the U.S. and U.K., in order to cut debt to "less than" €12B by the end of 2013. Veolia will also exit the Transdev transport business.

Microsoft's plan to dominate the living room. Starting today, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox owners with Kinect motion controllers will be able to navigate through music, movies, TV shows and games with the wave of their hands or the sound of their voices. Microsoft's big bet on the powerful reach of the Xbox is another step toward trying to turn the device into a one-stop shop for content, gaming, entertainment, and even cloud storage.

Lehman nearing endgame. Lehman (OTC:LEHMQ) is due to today begin one of the last stages of its three-year-old bankruptcy process with the presentation of its payout plan to a judge in Manhattan. The bank has support from over 95% of voting creditors for a program to pay $65B in periodic distributions to investors. Lehman still needs to sell more than half of its $65B in assets.

Corzine dismissed internal warnings about EU risks. MF Global's (OTC:MFGLQ) former Chief Risk Officer, Michael Roseman, warned Jon Corzine and directors several times about the firm's growing bet on European bonds before resigning in March this year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Corzine rebuffed Roseman's concerns and threatened to leave if the board didn't trust his judgement.

Belgium on the brink of a government. Belgium's new cabinet will be sworn in today, capping a record 541 days without a federal government for the debt-laden country. Parliament still has to have a vote of confidence in time to send new premier Elio Di Rupo to the EU summit that starts on Thursday.

Norway sovereign fund starts to get active at U.S. firms. Norway's $550B sovereign-wealth fund, which has invested $98B in U.S. stocks, is pushing to make it easier to replace directors at six firms over worries about performance and governance. The fund isn't demanding board changes at this point, although it might. The companies include Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) and CME Group (NASDAQ:CME).

Alpha in $200M agreement over mining disaster. Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) has reportedly agreed to a $200M settlement over civil and criminal charges connected to last year's Massey Energy mining disaster. An announcement is expected today.

Olympus "rotten to the core." As expected, an investigative panel finds Olympus's (OTCPK:OCPNY) senior management was "rotten to the core" and hid up to $1.7B of losses from investors. The company faces possible delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange unless it reports earnings by December 14.

Asian Development Bank warns on "downside risks." Asia is facing "much greater downside risks" because of the possibility of new recessions in the U.S. and EU, and the threat of destabilizing capital flows, the Asian Development Bank said. The possibility of another global financial crisis means Asian countries must have "sufficient flexibility" to rapidly adjust policies.

Google accuses Verizon of blocking access to payments app. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has accused Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) of blocking users from installing its Google Wallet payments app on the new Android-powered Galaxy Nexus line of smartphones. A joint venture called Isis between Verizon, AT&T (T), and T-Mobile (OTCQX:DTEGY) - due to be launched soon - will be a direct competitor to Google Wallet.

EU probes Apple, publishers for antitrust violations. The EU is investigating major publishers and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) for allegedly restricting competition in the e-book market. The publishers include Harper Collins (NASDAQ:NWSA) and Simon & Schuster (NYSE:CBS).

Perrigo to join Nasdaq 100 indexes. Perrigo (NASDAQ:PRGO) will be added to the NASDAQ-100 Index, the NASDAQ-100 Equal Weighted Index, and the NASDAQ-100 Ex-Tech Sector Index prior to the market open today. Perrigo will replace Joy Global, which is listing on the NYSE under the new symbol JOY.

Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan -1.4% to 8575. Hong Kong -1.2% to 18942. China -0.3% to 2326. India -0.3% to 16805.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt -0.7%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.6%. Crude flat at $100.98. Gold -0.6% to $1723.50.

Tuesday's economic calendar:
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
10:00 IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism

Earnings Results: Companies that beat EPS expectations last night and today include Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL).

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

Notable earnings before Tuesday's open: AZO, BMO, TOL

Notable earnings after Tuesday's close: SAI

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