Stocks are trending higher at mid-day as deal news provides
support to prices and offset renewed worries over Greece's debt
situation. Commodities are also getting a lift as crude oil futures
surge above $100 a barrel.
Worries that Greece may need an additional bailout accelerated
on Monday. Over the weekend, Greek Finance Minister George
Papaconstantinou said the country is increasingly struggling to
meet deficit-reduction targets and is mulling a European bailout of
its debt, if it continues to be unable to access capital markets
European governments have agreed to spend the next several weeks
reviewing ways to provide more financial aid to Greece, which
received a 110 billion euro ($159 billion) lifeline last year,
MarketWatch said. This morning, S&P cuts its rating on Greek
credit to B from BB-.
In deal news:
Shares of biotech firm Alkermes Inc. (
) are higher after it announce a cash and stock merger valued at
$960 million with Elan Drug Technologies, a unit of biotech group
Elan Corp. (
), At the closing of the deal, approved by boards of Elan and
Alkermes, Elan will receive $500 million in cash and a 25% equity
stake in Alkermes PLC. The companies said the merger will
immediately be accretive to cash earnings and the combined
companies will have revenues in excess of $450 million
Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (
) has offered to buy Dollar Thrifty Auto Group Inc. (
) in a cash and stock deal worth $72 a share at Friday's closing
price for Hertz stock. Hertz said it is offering $57.60 in cash and
0.8546 of its own shares for every Dollar Thrifty share.
Elsewhere in company news:
Shares of American International Group (
) are lower after Barron's reported this week that the U.S.
government is preparing to shed its stake in the insurer through a
huge stock offering, but shareholders might wish for a bailout of
their own. AIG quickly became the poster child for speculative
excess during the 2008 U.S. financial meltdown, the article says.
The company required more federal bailout money than any other to
avoid a collapseb more than Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C)
and General Motors (GM) combined. Even the European Union's rescue
of Greece proved less costly. At the peak of the AIG catastrophe,
the Federal Reserve and Treasury's Troubled Asset Rescue Program
had to pump in nearly $140 billion.
Pfizer (PFE) announced today that its Phase 3 immunogenicity and
safety trials of Prevnar 13 in adults aged 50 years and older have
met all study endpoints. The two Phase 3 trials demonstrated that
Prevnar 13 was at least as immunogenic to pneumococcal
polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) for the 12 disease-causing serotypes
common to both vaccines, the company said. Pfizer shares are still
Shares of McDonald's (MCD) are higher in the regular session
after seeing a boost in the pre-market following its report of
April same-store sales. The burger chain said global comparable
sales rose 6.0% in April. Performance by segment was as follows:
U.S. was up 4.0%; Europe was up 6.5%; and Asia/Pacific, Middle East
and Africa we up 6.5%. McDonald's shares are up 1.25%, or $1, to
Citigroup (C) announced today that shares of its common stock
will begin trading on a split-adjusted basis based on its 1-for-10
reverse stock split wherein every ten shares of outstanding C
common stock is combined into one share of common stock without any
change in par value per share.
Apple (AAPL) shares are higher as Reuters reports that the
Cupertino, Calif.-based computer and mobile device maker overtook
Google (GOOG) as the world's most valuable brand, citing a study by
global brands agency Millward Brown. The Apple brand is now worth
$153 billion, the study reportedly says. The article notes that is
almost half Apple's market capitalization.
In earnings news:
--Dynegy Inc. (DYN)reported on its Q1 earnings, swinging to a
net loss of $77 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared with
net income of $145 million, or $1.20 per diluted share for Q1 2010.
DYN revenue fell to $505 million, from last year's $858 million,
below analysts' estimate for a $534.62 revenue.
--Sempra Energy (SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services provider,
reported higher Q1 net income today of $258 million, or $1.07 per
share, compared with the prior-year quarter's $106 million, or
$0.42 per share. Q1 earnings included a $96 million after-tax
charge, or $0.38 per diluted share, due to a 2010 litigation
settlement. Excluding this, the company's EPS increased 34%. SRE
revenues were down to $2.43 billion versus last year's $2.53
Commodities are higher. June gold contracts are up 1.13%, to
$1,509 an ounce while June crude oil contacts are up 3.97% to
$101.07 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 3.24% to
$40.13 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down 1.36%,
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.22% at
$147.07. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.46% to $56.91.
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 6.29% to $36.65.
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