US FINANCIAL MARKET
- U.S. stocks opened flat on Monday as investors found few reasons to keep buying following a strong rally last week and ahead of a heavy week of corporate earnings.
- Hedge funds lowered bullish bets on gold for a fourth week, the longest streak this year. Prices fell 7.6% since reaching a six-month high in March after tension in Ukraine eased and U.S. equities rallied to a record.
- U.S. gasoline prices rise to 13-month high in Lundberg Survey. The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps jumped 8.5 cents in the past two weeks to a 13-month high of $3.6918 a gallon. Prices are the highest since March 22, 2013.
- The highest price for gasoline was in Los Angeles, at $4.26 a gallon. The lowest price was in Salt Lake City, where customers paid an average $3.29.
- Inventories of the motor fuel fell 154,000 barrels in the week ended April 11 to 210.3 million, the lowest since Nov. 15, according to EIA data. Supplies were down 9.9% in eight weeks of contractions as refiners performed seasonal maintenance and sold off stocks of winter-grade gasoline.
- Halliburton forecast a 25% jump in earnings in the current quarter, helped by a recovery in margins in North America and growth in overseas markets. Net income was $622 million in the first quarter compared with a loss of $18 million a year earlier. Revenue rose about 5% to $7.35 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $7.24 billion.
- Kimberly-Clark reaffirms 2014 outlook. It posted revenues of $5.34 billion compared to $5.32 billion in the same period a year ago.
- Pfizer considers $100 billion bid for AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca, Britain’s second-biggest pharmaceuticals group, has been frequently touted as a potential takeover target as it wrestles with patents expiring on a number of best-selling drugs, leaving future growth uncertain.
- Comcast is in talks with Charter Communications over selling or spinning off roughly 3 million subscribers worth approximately $18 billion to $20 billion as part of the divestitures related to its $45.3 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable.
- Kraft recalls 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners hot dogs due to undeclared allergen. The product labels are incorrect as they do not reflect the ingredients associated with the pasteurized cheese in the cheese dogs, FSIS said in a statement on Sunday.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- The Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months climbed 0.8% after rising 0.5% in February.
- Tightest job market since 2008 in U.S. cities prompts higher pay. Companies across the U.S. from Texas to Virginia and Nebraska are struggling to fill positions with metropolitan jobless rates below the 5.2% to 5.6% level the Federal Reserve regards as full employment nationally. Compensation has risen about 2% nationally so far this year and probably will increase by 2.2% next year, 2.5% in two years and 3% by late 2016.
- Obama says 8 million signed up for health-law’s insurance. About 35% of enrollees in the federal insurance exchanges are younger than 35. Obama’s announcement at the White House came two days after enrollment closed for the year.
- Property-tax collections rising at fastest pace since U.S. crash. Local governments are using the money to hire police, increase salaries and pave roads. Property-tax collections nationally rose 3% to $182.8 billion during the last three months of 2013.
- Pipeline delay gives boost to Obama’s political base. Keystone pipeline fate now in hands of Nebraskan jurists. The State Department’s announcement on Friday that it would give government agencies more time to study the project was seen by strategists from both parties as a move to prevent that and boost Obama in the eyes of his supporters.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Japan’s trade deficit widens as export growth weakens. The deficit quadrupled from a year earlier to 1.45 trillion yen ($14.1 billion), larger than a 1.08 trillion yen projection by economists. An 18.1% jump in imports helped widen the deficit to the biggest ever for the month. Exports rose 1.8%.
- U.S. car giant General Motors plans to invest $12 billion in China from 2014 to 2017 and build more plants next year as it competes with aggressive rivals in the world’s largest auto market.
- China’s auto market rose 13.9% to 21.98 million vehicles last year, compared with a 7.6% gain in the United States to 15.6 million. China’s auto market is set to expand 8-10% this year.
- Audi expects to sell half million cars in China this year. In 2013, Audi sold 488,000 vehicles in China and a total of 492,000 including Hong Kong.
- Musk says Tesla will make cars in China in next 3-4 years. The Model S, when equipped with an 85 kilowatt-hour battery, will be priced from 734,000 yuan ($118,000) in China — compared with about $71,000 in the U.S. before federal tax credits.
- The amount of money Amazon.com reports through a tax-exempt vehicle in Europe has dropped sharply in the past two years, even as European sales jumped, after the U.S. tax authority tightened rules it felt were being abused to shift profits. Tesla has been taking orders since August and opened an 800-square-meter (8,600 square feet) store in a Beijing shopping mall late last year.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Texan army under Sam Houston defeated Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto (1836)
- Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia (1960)
Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg.
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.