US FINANCIAL MARKET
- U.S. stocks were flat in early trading Monday as gains in drugmaker Merck were offset by investor concern over valuations.
- According to Thomson Reuters data, for the S&P 500, fourth-quarter profit growth is expected to have increased 7.7 % from a year ago, while revenue is expected to have risen just 0.4 %.
- Expected revenue growth for 2014 is currently 3.8 %. Goldman Sachs expects 5.1 % growth thanks to economic improvement.
- S&P 500 earnings growth for 2014 is seen at 10.8 %, compared with 5.7 % growth for 2013, Thomson Reuters data showed.
- Analysts forecast companies to start signaling that they’re ready to spend more on capital expenditures after years of caution on that front and an increase in deal activity and share buybacks. Corporate balance sheets currently hold about $1.3 trillion in cash (excluding the financial companies). They expect big increases in buybacks and deal activity, but also see capital expenditures rising 9 % in 2014, compared with a meager 2 % rise in 2013.
- Suntory Holdings has agreed a $16 billion deal to buy Beam, making the Japanese company the world’s third-largest maker of distilled drinks with a global footprint.
- Luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus said on Friday that hackers may have stolen customers’ credit and debit card information, the second cyber-attack on a retailer in recent weeks.
- Airbus posted an industry record of 1,619 new airplane orders in 2013. After adjusting for cancellations, Airbus total net orders rose 80 % from the previous year to 1,503 aircraft.
- Boeing closed the year with 1,531 gross orders, 1,355 net orders and a record total of 648 deliveries. It remained the world’s largest planemaker but lost the race for orders.
- Airbus said it ended 2013 with an industry-wide record backlog of 5,559 aircraft worth $809 billion at list prices. Boeing’s backlog stood at 5,080 aircraft.
- Toyota Motor took the wraps off a new sports car concept on Monday, underscoring an effort by Japan’s largest automaker to energize its brand and fill a void in its lineup after discontinuing the Supra more than a decade ago. The concept car is called the FT-1.
- General Motors swept the coveted awards handed out each year at the start of the Detroit Auto Show, claiming the top prize in both the car and truck categories. The company’s redesigned Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named 2014 North American car of the year, while its redesigned full-size Chevrolet Silverado pickup was named 2014 North American truck/utility of the year. It was the first time in GM’s history that it won both awards in the same year.
- GM’s CFO said that the U.S. automaker is close to reintroducing a common stock dividend, but he declined to provide any details on timing.
- BMW posted the smallest gain in December sales of Germany’s top three premium-car brands. Deliveries rose 2.3 % last month to 155,835, dwarfed by an 18.4 % surge at runner-up Audi to 130,700 autos, and 11.2 % gain at Mercedes to 139,180.
- Volkswagen said that it plans to make a SUV tailored for the North American market and will invest $7 billion in the region as it seeks to increase sales. VW said the new seven-seater SUV would be launched in 2016. Audi reiterated its goal of selling 1 million Volkswagen and upscale Audi vehicles annually in the United States by 2018. In 2013, Volkswagen Group, which also owns the Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Skoda and Seat marques, sold 600,000 cars in North America.
- Daimler CEO said that the auto maker may build another factory in North America as a way to ramp up global production capacity. Mercedes produces about two thirds of its cars in Germany but 80 % of its sales come from outside the country.
- Mercedes-Benz is also adding touchpad technology pioneered by the iPhone and an iPad-like display to the C-Class sedan to boost its bid to surpass BMW in sales.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- U.S. investigators are looking into whether embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie misused about $2 million in Superstorm Sandy relief funds for an ad campaign that put him in the spotlight in an election year, a lawmaker said on Monday.
- President Barack Obama hailed an agreement struck on Sunday to curb Iran’s nuclear program over six months and argued that imposing additional U.S. sanctions could scupper the deal.
EUROPE & WORLD
- European Central Bank Governor Mario Draghi has won the inaugural Governor of the Year award for 2014 from specialist publication Central Banking. Draghi’s leadership helped restore confidence in crisis-hit Europe, Central Banking said.
- French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler remained hospitalized for a third day in the wake of a magazine report that said President Francois Hollande was allegedly having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the first elected African-American governor in the United States (1990)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.