Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: Wall Street Breakfast
Wall Street Breakfast
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.

Top Stories
Samsung expects record Q3 operating profit. Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) expects that its Q3 earnings beat forecasts as operating profit jumped 91% to a record 8.1T won ($7.09B) and sales rose to 51T-53T won from 41.27T won a year earlier. Earnings were boosted by Samsung's mobile phone division, whose profit is likely to have doubled to 5T won as smartphone shipments passed 58M. Sales of high-end TVs were also strong.

Jobs figures expected to show U.S. is "running in place." Employment figures for September are due out this morning in the penultimate jobs report before the election, with economists expecting that nonfarm payrolls rose by 115,000 - below the 139,000 average so far this year - and that the unemployment rate edged up to 8.2% from 8.1%. "We're running in place," says BofA's Ethan Harris. Since World War II, Ronald Reagan is the only President to win re-election with unemployment above 6%.

Sprint board to talk over Metro PCS bid. The Sprint (NYSE:S) board has scheduled a noon phone meeting to discuss the possibility of renewing its pursuit of MetroPCS (PCS), the WSJ reports. When the board rejected what looked like a sealed deal for MetroPCS in February, Sprint's stock was just $2 a share, but after a rally to $5, progress on the network upgrade, and the iPhone investment paying off, directors may have had a change in attitude.

Top Stock News
UnitedHealth in the lead for $4.5B Brazilian peer. UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) is ahead in the race to acquire a part or a 100% holding in Brazilian insurer and hospital operator Amil Participacoes (OTC:AMPIF), which has a market cap of 9.01B reais ($4.47B), Bloomberg reports. A deal would give UnitedHealth access to an expanding private-insurance market and offer growth opportunities to its Optum unit, a provider of technology and consulting to health systems.

Zynga zinged on profit warning. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) shares sank 20% premarket after it yesterday warned that it expects 2012 bookings of $1.085B-$1.1B, below already lowered guidance of $1.15B-$1.225B. The company also expects Q3 revenue of $300M-$305M - above consensus - but forecast that bookings will amount to just $250M-$255M. Zynga blamed weakness in games within its web "invest and express" category, which include FarmVille and CityVille.

Gannett threatens Dish over ad-skipping tech. Gannett (NYSE:GCI) has threatened to stop broadcasting on Dish (NASDAQ:DISH) if the satellite TV provider doesn't drop the ad-skipping feature on its digital-video recorders or agree to pay large penalties. If Gannett makes good on its warning, Dish subscribers in 19 cities, including Atlanta and Washington, would lose access to various ABC, CBS and NBC-affiliated channels. Witching hour is midnight on Sunday.

Russia mulls opening up Arctic to foreign oil majors. Russia could make a radical shift in policy and allow western crude producers to own oil licenses in the Arctic, Energy Minister Alexander Novak has told the FT. Until now, Russia has awarded such licenses only to state-owned companies, with foreign firms taking just minority stakes in projects. However, Russia needs to attract Western know-how and money for it to fully exploit its Arctic resources.

Island spat hits Japanese car makers. The Senkaku-Diaoyu islands dispute between Japan and China hit Japanese car makers hard in September, with Mitsubishi's Chinese sales plunging 63% on year and those of Mazda (OTCPK:MZDAF) by 35%. Toyota's (NYSE:TM) sales skidded 40%, the FT reports, adding that the company will cut production in China by over half and suspend Lexus exports. Non-Japanese car makers have been benefiting from the spat.

Chambers gives clues to next CEO with Cisco shakeup. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is reshuffling its management, with worldwide sales chief Rob Lloyd becoming President and head of development and sales, and COO Gary Moore being named as a president as well, while Americas sales chief Chuck Robbins will take over Lloyd's old job. The moves come shortly after CEO John Chambers said he might retire in 2-4 years, and named Moore, Lloyd and Robbins (among others) as potential successors.

12 banks make "tolling agreements" over mortgage bonds. New York AG Eric Schneiderman has made "tolling agreements" with 12 financial institutions that will stop the clock on the six-year statute of limitations and allow authorities to bring civil fraud claims against the firms for any wrongdoing related to mortgage bonds from as far back as 2006, Bloomberg reports. The speculation follows Schneiderman this week suing JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) over its mortgage securities.

Credit Suisse hit by double whammy over mortgage bonds. Is Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) one of the 12? U.S. authorities are investigating the bank over its mortgage bonds, Reuters reports, with the company also facing a lawsuit from the National Credit Union Administration for allegedly misrepresenting the underwriting and sale of such bonds to three unions that collapsed after paying over $715M for the securities.

Fiat eyes getting Opel for free. Fiat (FIATY.PK) intends to renew talks to acquire Opel from GM (NYSE:GM) if the U.S. car manufacturer decides to sell the perennial loss maker, Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 reports, with Fiat hoping to get Opel for free. Fiat had tried to buy Opel in 2009.

Canada PM: Cnooc bid raises tough questions. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday said Cnooc's (NYSE:CEO) $15.1B bid for Nexen (NXY) "raises a range of difficult policy questions," and noted that "Canada is a significant investor in other parts of the world." Harper's comments come after the opposition New Democratic Party urged the government to block the deal.

GE draws good interest for $1.6B Thai bank stake. GE (NYSE:GE) has attracted interest from Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) and Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB for its $1.6B, 25% stake in Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya, Bloomberg reports. The speculation comes after GE sold 7.6% of Ayudhya to institutional investors in September and said it was reviewing its "strategic” options for the remaining shares.

BHP boss sells $5.2M in shares to pay hefty tax bill. BHP (NYSE:BHP) CEO Marius Kloppers has sold $5.2M worth of stock in the mining giant's London and Sydney listed shares in order to pay off an expected U.K. tax bill for 245,000 shares that vested to him under a 2007 incentive scheme. The sale comes after Kloppers waived an annual bonus and BHP froze executive salaries due to "the prevailing business climate."

Top Economic & Other News
BOJ resists political pressure for more stimulus. The Bank of Japan has held off from further easing despite fears that the economy is contracting and in the face of increased political pressure, with Seiji Maehara becoming the first Economy Minister in nine years to attend the bank's policy meeting. As expected, the BOJ left its asset-purchase fund at ¥55T ($700B), as well as its benchmark interest rate at 0%-0.1% and monthly bond purchases at ¥1.8T.

Greece: Cash to last until end of November. Greece has until the end of next month before its money runs out unless it receives the next tranche of its bailout, PM Antonis Samaras has told German newspaper Handelsblatt. Touching a German nerve by comparing Greece to the Weimar Republic, Samaras said the ECB could assist by accepting lower interest rates on its Greek debt and roll them over, while the ESM could be used to recapitalize the country's banks.

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Today's Markets:
In Asia, Japan +0.4% to 8863.3. Hong Kong +0.5% to 21012. China closed. India -0.6% to 18938.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.5%. Paris +1.0%. Frankfurt +0.8%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude -1% to $90.77. Gold -0.2% to $1792.10.

Today's economic calendar:
Monster Employment Index
8:30 Nonfarm Payrolls
1:00 PM Fed's Duke: 'Distressed residential real estate'
3:00 PM Consumer Credit

Notable earnings before today's open: STZ

See full real-time earnings coverage »

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