Jun 14, 2012
By Rex Crum, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — A relatively mild after-hours trading session was in the works Thursday, with Huntsman Corp. one of the most-active stocks following reports that the chemical company is being shopped around to private-equity firms.
Huntsman HUN +9.23% shares fell more than 8% in after-hours trading after reports surfaced saying Bank of America/Merrill Lynch was inquiring with several private-equity companies about acquiring Huntsman, which is known for making chemicals used in paint, automobiles, clothing, housing and construction. Huntsman has been considered an acquisition target for some time.
AOL AOL -5.65% shares were mostly quiet in after-hours action. The Internet media company’s stock fell more than 5% in the regular market session after its shareholders voted down a slate of potential dissident directors promoted by hedge fund Starboard Value. Starboard, which owns about 5.3% of AOL’s shares outstanding, is known for launching proxy fights to put board members on companies it views as underperforming.
Nokia Corp. NOK -15.77% settled into the after-hours session following a brutal day of trading. The Finnish mobile-phone company saw its U.S.-listed shares fall by almost 16% after Nokia said it would cut 10,000 more jobs and shook up some of its executive positions.
Rex Crum is a reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco.
» Initial relief among investors at the up to €100 billion ($125 billion) bail-out to recapitalise Spanish banks soon evaporated. One worry was that bondholders in Spanish banks might be forced to accept big losses in any debt restructuring that may follow. Another concern was that the plan does nothing to address Spain's long-term debt burden. Moody's downgraded Spain's credit rating to a notch above junk. The yield on Spanish government ten-year bonds jumped above 7%. See article»
» José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, repeated his call for a banking union. Germany's Bundesbank opposes the idea without fiscal reform.
Slipping on Greece
» The finance minister of Cyprus, Vassos Shiarly, said his country's predicament was "exceptionally urgent" and may need a bail-out. Cyprus was also reported to be close to securing another bilateral loan from Russia, this time for €5 billion ($6.2 billion).
» China's inflation rate fell to 3% in May, from 3.4% the previous month, another sign of cooling in the world's second-biggest economy. China's central bank recently cut interest rates for the first time since 2008, by 0.25%, to boost demand. See article»
» Jamie Dimon, the boss of JPMorgan Chase, appeared before a Senate committee to explain his bank's recent $2 billion trading loss on credit derivatives. Mr Dimon gave little away but did say that the chief investment office had been told to reduce its risk exposure in December and had done the opposite. Things should have been scrutinised more closely by executives.
» ING, a Dutch bank, agreed to pay $619m to settle claims that one of its divisions facilitated around 20,000 transactions through the United States from companies and individuals from Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Sudan and Libya in defiance of American sanctions. America's Treasury department described it as the largest fine of its kind. ING is the fourth bank to settle such allegations in the past three years.
» The Federal Reserve released a study showing that the median net worth of American families fell by 39% between 2007 and 2010, to $77,000, a level last seen in 1992. This was except for the top 10% of earners, whose wealth rose slightly. Most of the decline was a result of the collapse in the housing market.
» Facebook went on the offensive to rebut chatter that advertisements on its site are ineffective, an idea that gained credibility when General Motors decided a month ago to stop advertising on the social network. Facebook pointed to research it had compiled with comScore, a digital-marketing consultancy, about the value of displaying brands on its site; critics said the findings were patchy. It also said it would soon roll out real-time bidding for ads through an "exchange" service.
The TomTom club
» Apple struck a deal with TomTom, a maker of satellite-navigation systems, to develop maps for its devices. Apple is ditching Google Maps to create its own app for the iPhone. TomTom reached a similar agreement with Research In Motion a month ago. The company's share price rose by 16% on news of the Apple deal.
» Nokia's share price slumped, after it announced another 10,000 job losses and shook up its management team. The once-mighty mobile-phone company has fallen way behind its rivals in the smartphone market.
» América Móvil, Latin America's biggest wireless communications company, increased its holding in KPN of the Netherlands to 7.3%, as it pursues a hostile offer to buy a 27.7% stake. América Móvil is owned by Carlos Slim, the world's richest man.
» There was another revolt against executive pay in Britain, this time at WPP, a global advertising agency. Around 60% of shareholders voted against the £6.8m ($10.6m) package awarded to Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive. The vote is non-binding, but the government is considering legislation to give shareholders more say on pay.
A Spanish success story
» Inditex, one of the world's biggest clothing retailers, beat estimates for its quarterly earnings, notching up a 30% rise in net profit, to €432m ($567m). The company is known for its "fast fashion" business models, rapidly pumping out new designs. Its Zara chain is expanding, opening an online store in China in September. Inditex is now the most valuable company on the Spanish stockmarket.
» The Nobel Foundation reduced the amount of money it will award to the winners of its prizes by 20%, to SKr8m ($1.1m) per prize. In recent years the average return on the capital that was bequeathed by Alfred Nobel has fallen short of covering the foundation's costs.
» Spain requested a bail-out of up to €100 billion ($125 billion) from the European Union to recapitalise its banks. Several questions were left unanswered, including the exact amount of aid the country will need and how the funds will be distributed. Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister, faced angry questions from opposition politicians in parliament, but blamed the previous Socialist government for not helping the banks when it was in power. See article»
» Angela Merkel welcomed Spain's request for a bail-out but stressed it would come with strings attached, as she warned Europe that stopping public-sector reform would be "disastrous". In a speech to members of her party, the German chancellor reaffirmed her opposition to Eurobonds as a way out of the crisis.
» In France the Socialist Party of François Hollande, the newly elected president, was on course to obtain a solid majority in the National Assembly, after securing nearly 40% of the vote, with its Green allies, in the first round of voting in parliamentary elections. The centre-right UMP got 34%. Turnout was 57%, a record low. The second round takes place on June 17th. See article»
» Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, signed a bill to raise fines for taking part in protests without a permit to $9,000, which is close to the average annual Russian salary. Organisers could face penalties of up to $30,000. The authorities raided the homes of opposition leaders, supposedly looking for evidence in connection with violence at an opposition rally. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Moscow in the biggest anti-Putin demonstration so far this year. See article»
Out on strikes
» Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, called for an end to NATO air strikes in residential areas, after 18 people—most of them women and children—were killed in an operation to capture a Taliban leader. NATO uses jets to flush out militants who hide among civilians, but anger has been mounting over the deaths of non-combatants.
» A state of emergency was declared in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine. Violence has erupted between Muslims and Buddhists after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman last month. Hundreds of homes have been burned and at least 21 people have died. The army was sent to quell the unrest. A UN official arrived soon afterwards to hold talks with locals. Thein Sein, the president, warned that the violence could threaten Myanmar's nascent democratic reforms. See article»
» China was set to launch the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, which will carry three crew members to China's orbiting laboratory. If it is successful China will be only the third country, after America and Russia, to make a manned docking in space.
» Japan's prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, called for two nuclear reactors to be restarted to help the economy. Japan faces a severe shortage of power over the peak summer period without its nuclear reactors, all 54 of which were deactivated after the Fukushima disaster last year. See article»
» Barack Obama and Mitt Romney continued to trade barbs on the campaign trail over the president's statement that the "private sector is doing just fine". Mr Romney also gave a big speech on health care, in which he reiterated his plans to make the system more like a "consumer market". The Supreme Court will rule on Mr Obama's health-care act by the end of the month. See article»
» Primary elections were held to decide the parties' candidates for Senate races in Virginia, Maine, Nevada and North Dakota, four states which could determine who controls the upper chamber in November. Also in North Dakota, a ballot initiative that would have made the state the first to eliminate property taxes was soundly defeated.
» John Bryson, America's commerce secretary, was put on medical leave after reportedly suffering a seizure while driving and hitting two cars. Rebecca Blank, a former economic adviser to Bill Clinton, becomes acting secretary.
» Multiple bombings in Iraq targeting Shia pilgrims killed at least 80 people in cities across the country. It was the deadliest day in the country since American troops withdrew at the end of last year.
» Libya postponed its first free elections because it needs at least another six weeks to organise them. It also arrested lawyers from the International Criminal Court who allegedly shared forbidden information with Saif al-Islam, the son of Muammar Qaddafi. Mr Islam is being held by a local militia.
» The African Union moved its summit scheduled for July to Ethiopia after Malawi, the planned host, refused entry to Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, who has been indicted by the ICC.
» West African countries agreed to seek a UN Security Council mandate to intervene militarily in Mali,where a joint Islamist and ethnic rebel force took over the north of the country earlier this year.
» A navy official in Iran said plans were being drawn up to build a nuclear-powered submarine. Such a vessel would require uranium fuel enriched to a similar level to that used in nuclear bombs. The announcement came a week ahead of Iran's next round of talks with international negotiators about its nuclear programme.
Talk the talk, walk the walk
» In his longest public appearance for more than a month, Hugo Chávez formally registered his candidacy for Venezuela's presidential election in October, and gave a speech to supporters for almost three hours. Mr Chávez has been seriously ill with cancer. His main opponent, Henrique Capriles, earlier led hundreds of thousands of supporters on a 10km (six-mile) walk to register his candidacy. See article»
» Some 15m Mexicans watched the second and final televised debate between candidates in next month's presidential election. None of his rivals appeared to damage the front-runner, Enrique Peña Nieto of the formerly ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party. See article»
» The government of the Falkland Islands announced that it will hold a referendum on the territory's political status in 2013. A large majority of the islanders are likely to reaffirm their ties to Britain and rebuff Argentina's call for talks on sovereignty. See article»
Don’t miss these top stories:
Housing market rebounding, but slowly
Foreclosure filings rise in May
5 ETFs for an income-efficient portfolio
The U.S. housing market is showing some signs of stabilizing, but still faces some serious challenges, according to Harvard’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report, released today. MarketWatch’s Amy Hoak says the report shows there are signals we’ll see stronger sales and more single-family home construction the rest of this year. However, Dan McCue, research manager for Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, said: “Never before has a downturn been so strong and a recovery so weak.”
Also on MarketWatch today, Robert Powell writes in his Your Portfolio column that investors who are looking for income these days might consider dumping the classic 60% stocks and 40% bonds portfolio in favor of one that produces what researchers at Morningstar call an efficient-income portfolio. Take a look at five—or more—exchange-traded funds that fit an efficient-income strategy.
— Anne Stanley , Managing Editor, Personal Finance
Housing market rebounding, but slowly
Promising statistics signal a housing market on the rebound, but there are headwinds keeping markets from bouncing back quickly, according to Harvard University’s annual State of the Nation’s Housing report, released on Thursday.
Read more: Housing market rebounding, but slowly.
Read more: Housing market rebounding, but slowly.
Foreclosure filings rise in May: RealtyTrac
Foreclosure filings rose 9% in May, compared with April, according to the latest RealtyTrac report, released on Thursday. But filings were down 4% compared with May 2011.
Read more: Foreclosure filings rise in May.
Read more: Foreclosure filings rise in May.
5 ETFs for an efficient-income portfolio
If you’re looking for income these days it might be time to dump your classic 60% stocks and 40% bonds portfolio in favor of one that produces what researchers at Morningstar call an efficient-income portfolio.
Read more: 5 ETFs for an efficient-income portfolio.
Read more: 5 ETFs for an efficient-income portfolio.
High-yield investment programs are hype
Investors have a lot of ways to step up risk to increase yields. High-yield investment programs are not one of them, because they’re not even on the risk scale, they’re way off the deep end.
Read more: High-yield investment programs are hype.
Read more: High-yield investment programs are hype.
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Mining and Energy
Environment and Sustainability
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Thursday closed with strong gains amid reports of possible action by global central banks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 155.38 points, or 1.2%, to 12,651.91. The S&P 500 Index added 14.22 points, or 1.1%, to 1,329.10. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 17.72 points, or 0.6%, to 2,836.33.
U.S. stocks end sharply higher
Commentary June 14, 2012
Stocks may move modestly higher in early trading on Thursday despite the release of another disappointing jobs report. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 27 points. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
In yet another blow to Europe's efforts to contain the deepening debt crisis, Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded two euro area members, Spain and Cyprus, and placed their bond ratings on review for further possible downgrade. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
India's inflation increased at a slightly higher than expected pace in May, making it harder for the central bank to cut interest rates as widely expected. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
The Swiss National Bank on Thursday decided to retain the exchange rate cap and the near-zero interest rate, but said it "will not tolerate" further gains in the currency and is prepared to take necessary measures at any time. The central bank said it will continue to enforce the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 per euro "with the utmost determination." The bank also said it is prepared to buy foreign currency in unlimited quantities for this purpose. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Spain's benchmark 10-year yield hit a euro-era record of 7 percent, while Italy saw no respite from rising borrowing costs in the debt market on Thursday. Investors are increasingly concerned about the outlook for peripheral euro zone nations despite a EUR 100 billion bailout for the Spain's banking sector. Caution also prevails ahead of the crucial election in Greece on June 17, the outcome of which could decide whether or not the country would leave the euro area. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Falling energy prices drove a larger than expected drop in consumer prices in May, according to figures released Thursday by the Labor Department. The consumer price index, a measure of inflationary pressure on the economy, fell by 0.3 percent in May after remaining relatively unchanged, a 0.0 percent change, in April. Most economists had expected to see consumer prices decline, but by a somewhat smaller 0.2 percent level. Compared to May 2011 levels, however, consumer prices were up 1. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
New claims for unemployment insurance in the U.S. came in higher than expected for the week ending June 9, according to figures released Thursday by the Labor Department. The Department estimated new claims at a seasonally adjusted level of 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 380,000. Additionally the larger than expected increase comes atop revised figures that put the level of initial claims for the week ending June 2 at 377,000. Most economists had (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Thursday, Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (PIR) raised its earnings outlook for the full year, after it reported a 26 percent rise in first-quarter profit, on the back of a comparable store sales growth of 7.2 percent. The home-furnishings retailer's bottom line came in line with Street view, while revenue topped the expectations. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Smithfield Foods Inc. (SFD) on Thursday reported lower earnings for the final quarter that missed estimates, dented by weak margins at its fresh pork business. The Packaged meat maker plans to buy back up to $250 million of common stock over the next two years. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Kroger Co. (KR) on Thursday reported better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, as identical supermarket sales, excluding fuel, rose 4.2%. The Grocery retailer lifted its annual earnings forecast and announced new $1.0 billion share repurchase program. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Thursday, Nokia Corp. (NOK) said it will shed another 10000 jobs by the end of next year and shut down some facilities, in a move to save costs and streamline operations. Also, the Mobile handset firm is selling its luxury mobile brand Vertu to private equity firm EQT VI for an undisclosed amount. (Jun 14, 2012) Full Article
Todays WS Events
Apache Investor Day At 9:00 AM ET
Apache Corp. (APA) will host its 2012 Investor Day. The event is scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM ET on June 14, 2012. To access the webcast, log on at www.apachecorp.com (Jun 14, 2012)
Arkansas Best Investor Conference Call At 8:30 AM ET
Arkansas Best (ABFS) will host a conference call at 8:30 AM ET on Panther Expedited Services Acquisition. To access the webcast, visit arkbest.com To access the call, dial (800) 410-4177. For replay, dial 800) 633-8284 or (402) 977-9140 with the conference call ID 21595624. (Jun 14, 2012)
EI DuPont De Nemours To Present At Deutsche Bank Conference;webcast At 10:20 AM
EI DuPont De Nemours & Co. (DD) will present at the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference. The event is scheduled to begin at 10:20 AM ET on June 14, 2012. To access the webcast, log on at http://investors.dupont.com/phoenix.zhtml?p=irol-eventDetails&c=73320&eventID=4786550 (Jun 14, 2012)
Freeport McMoran To Present At Deutsche Bank Conference;webcast At 11:40 AM
Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) will present at the Deutsche Bank Global Industrials and Basic Materials Conference. The event is scheduled to begin at 11:40 AM ET, June 14, 2012. To access the webcast, log on to http://www.media-server.com/m/p/fbr45yby (Jun 14, 2012)
Kroger Q1 12 Earnings Conference Call At 10:00 AM ET
Kroger Co. (KR) will host a conference call at 10:00 AM ET on June 14, 2012, to discuss Q1 12 earnings results. To access the live webcast, log on to www.thekrogerco.com/finance/financialinfo_investorconferencecalls.htm (Jun 14, 2012)
VF Corp. Investor Shareholder Meeting At 2:45 PM ET
VF Corporation. (VFC) will present at the Investor Shareholder Meeting at House of Vans ,in Brooklyn, New York. The event is scheduled to begin at 2:45 PM ET, June 14, 2012. To access the live webcast, log on at www.vfc.com (Jun 14, 2012)
U.S. Department of Labor | Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report:the week ending June 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 380,000. The 4-week moving average was 382,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 378,500.
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SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA
In the week ending June 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 386,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 380,000. The 4-week moving average was 382,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 378,500.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending June 2, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 2 was 3,278,000, a decrease of 33,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,311,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,281,500, a decrease of 2,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,284,000.
UNADJUSTED DATAThe advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 373,540 in the week ending June 9, an increase of 49,155 from the previous week. There were 400,608 initial claims in the comparable week in 2011.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.4 percent during the week ending June 2, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,071,217, an increase of 15,080 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.8 percent and the volume was 3,491,359.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending May 26 was 5,824,739, a decrease of 145,990 from the previous week.
Extended benefits were available in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia during the week ending May 26.
Initial claims for UI benefits by former Federal civilian employees totaled 1,350 in the week ending June 2, a decrease of 109 from the prior week. There were 2,207 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 97 from the preceding week.
There were 15,753 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending May 26, a decrease of 435 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 38,146, a decrease of 346 from the prior week.
States reported 2,555,513 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending May 26, a decrease of 17,045 from the prior week. There were 3,293,507 claimants in the comparable week in 2011. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 26 were in Alaska (4.6), Puerto Rico (3.7), Pennsylvania (3.5), Illinois (3.4), California (3.3), New Jersey (3.3), Oregon (3.2), Nevada (2.9), Rhode Island (2.9), Massachusetts (2.8), and New York (2.8).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 2 were in Oregon (+975), Virginia (+838), New Mexico (+531), Wisconsin (+213), and Nevada (+189), while the largest decreases were in California (-4,168), North Carolina (-2,683), Texas (-1,854), Massachusetts (-1,373), and Georgia (-1,367).
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Hourly Market Report
|Gold||1620.10||1621.10||+ 2.50||+ 0.15 %||1625.10||1616.40|
|Silver||28.90||29.00||+ 0.04||+ 0.14 %||29.24||28.75|
|Platinum||1478.00||1485.00||+ 17.00||+ 1.16 %||1494.00||1459.00|
|Palladium||618.00||625.00||+ 1.00||+ 0.16 %||630.00||616.00|
|Rhodium||1225.00||1325.00||+ 0.00||+ 0.00 %||1275.00||1225.00|
1872 - Trade unions are legalised in Canada.