- Boeing Co.(BA) signed a $5.5 billion contract to provide state-owned Iraqi Airways with 40 new aircraft, including 787 Dreamliners and 737s, Thomson Financial reported.
- Schering-Plough Corp. CEO Fred Hassan said he stands behind Vytorin, its cholesterol drug that a study presented at the
- IBM(IBM) announced today that it has learned that it has been temporarily suspended from participating in new business with US Federal government agencies.
- Defaults on bonds and loans in Asia may rise as much as $20 billion over the next two to three years, creating opportunities for investors in distressed assets, said the chief investment officer of Tribridge Investment Partners Ltd.
- Thornburg Mortgage(TMA) Raises $1.35 Billion Through Private Placement.
- The cost to exchange fixed for floating interest-rate payments will decline as the turmoil in credit markets begins to subside and the Treasury boosts note sales, Barclays Capital Inc. and UBS Securities LLC said. “The worst essentially is over” for the financial markets, said Michael Pond, an interest-rate strategist at Barclays in NY.
- MF Global’s Meir Says Oil May Fall to ‘Mid-80’s’ By June. (video)
- Wheat plunged the maximum allowed on the Chicago Board of Trade after the government said US farmers, the world’s largest exporters, will plant more to capitalize on record prices and diminished global inventories.
- Confidence among Japan’s largest manufacturers fell to a four-year low as Toyota Motor and Canon Inc. struggle with the yen’s rise and a US slump.
- Lehman(LEH) to sell $3 billion of shares to raise capital and squash speculation about a cash shortage. Lehman will offer 3 million convertible shares. Demand for the shares was already three times greater than the amount offered as of 6:30 pm in NY. “We still maintain that we don’t need capital, but we’ve realized that perception is the dominant issue in today’s markets,” CFO Erin Callan said. “This is an endorsement of our balance sheet by investors.”
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s biggest charitable fund, is offering $100 million to support development of “bold and unconventional” ways to combat infections and other diseases.
- General Motors(GM) shut its plant in Toledo, Ohio, for a second time in four weeks, bringing to 30 the number of factories idled or partially closed by a strike at supplier American Axle.
- Australian stocks fell the most in 20 years during the first quarter after rising interest rates cut demand for bank shares and slowed the economy’s 17th year of expansion.
Wall Street Journal:
- With their stock prices reeling, Schering-Plough(SGP) and Merck(MRK) mounted an aggressive campaign to defend their $5 billion-a-year franchise for cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia against calls from leading cardiologists to curtail the drugs’ use.
- Western Union Co., hoping to boost its share of the money-transfer market, is teaming up with RadioShack Corp. and a small wireless company to offer a service that lets people send money through their cellphones.
- No Mouth-to-Mouth Is Needed With CPR, Heart Association Says.
- Chinese shares are expected to extend their first-quarter slump into the second quarter, as Beijing’s policy tightening and higher consumer prices weigh on corporate earnings, analyst and economists said.
- Hungering for the kind of revenue needed to field top teams, a wave of stadium construction is sweeping through sports. But not just any stadiums. Super-stadiums.
- Paulson’s Plan Puts Hedge Funds Under Watch. Hedge funds – often described as ‘secretive’, with their pools of cash invested in everything from soybeans to mortgages – may soon find themselves under the watchful eye of the SEC.
- Congress is set to grill oil executives over tax breaks Tuesday. But with record gas prices and company profits, the public has more on its mind than just IRS policy.
- Analyst: How Apple(AAPL) sells 45 million iPhones in 2009.
- Utilities jump on board to plan for plug-in cars. In a sign of accelerating progress on plug-in hybrids – the 100 mpg vehicles you can’t yet buy in showrooms – electric utilities quickly are linking with automakers and tech companies to develop “smart-charging” technology that controls when and how fast a vehicle is recharged.
- The SEC is probing whether short-sellers are spreading bogus rumors to push down shares of Lehman Brothers Holdings(LEH).
- Hedge funds are having their worst year on record after March turned into one of the ugliest months for popular strategies and several funds imploded. March was the worst month since 1998 for hedge funds, citing Hedge Fund Research. The average fund was down 2.4% for the month. Large relative-value traders, who bet on price discrepancies, sustained large losses.
- Radical strategies to fight the credit crisis including temporary suspension of capital requirements, taxpayer-funded recapitalization of banks and outright public purchase of mortgage-backed securities are being actively discusses by governments and central banks.
- UBS set for further writedowns.
The Economic Times:
- The Indian government is under pressure to shut down futures trading in key farm commodities. Several senior leaders even within the UPA government share the widely held view that speculation in futures may be partly fueling food inflation by raising consumer prices without benefiting farmers.
Late Buy/Sell Recommendations
- Reiterated Buy on (DELL), target $27.
- Reiterated Buy on (WW), raised target to $64.
- Reiterated Buy on (IBM), target $146.
Asian Indices are -.75% to +1.50% on average.
S&P 500 futures +.16%.
NASDAQ 100 futures +.04%.
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Earnings of Note
- (HOLX) 2-for-1
10:00 am EST
- ISM Manufacturing for March is estimated to fall to 47.5 versus 48.3 in February.
- ISM Prices Paid for March is estimated to fall to 75.0 versus 75.5 in February.
- Construction Spending for February is estimated to fall 1.0% versus a 1.7% decline in January.
- Total Vehicle Sales for March are estimated to fall to 15.2M versus 15.3M in February.
Other Potential Market Movers
- The weekly retail sales reports, (ALU) analyst meeting, (FST) analyst meeting, CTIA Wireless Forum and Morgan Stanley Banking Conference could also impact trading today.