Thursday, February 20, 2014

Today's Headlines

  • Ukraine Engulfed by Deadly Clashes as EU Seeks Peace Deal. Deadly clashes engulfed Ukraine’s capital for the second time this week as European Union negotiators held hours of talks with President Viktor Yanukovych and his rivals to try to end the bloodshed. A truce agreed on last night was shattered this morning as skirmishes broke out at the protest camp on Independence Square. While the Health Ministry reported seven killed, including two policemen, the opposition Svoboda party said more than 60 were dead. EU foreign ministers were locked in talks for most of the day as police were given the green light to fire live rounds
  • Kiev Chaos Jumps Borders as Markets Teeter: East Europe Credit. Markets from Hungary to Poland and Russia are suffering contagion from the violence rocking Ukraine’s capital, sending bond yields higher and currencies lower as the turbulence afflicting developing nations deepens. Hungary’s forint weakened for a third day today, while Russia’s ruble rebounded from an all-time low. The yield on Poland’s 10-year bond was little changed after climbing the most in a week. Ukraine’s debt due in June gained, sending the rate to 33 percent at 12:44 p.m. in Kiev after it jumped 19 percentage points to a record 42 percent yesterday.
  • Euro-Area Recovery Loses Pace as Manufacturing Weakens: Economy. The euro-region recovery showed signs of cooling this month, with weaker-than-forecast manufacturing and services keeping pressure on the European Central Bank to loosen policy. The factory gauge for the euro region unexpectedly slipped to 53 from 54 in January, while the services measure rose less than estimated to 51.7 from 51.6, Markit Economics said today. A composite gauge fell to 52.7 from 52.9.
  • Europe Stocks Little Changed as Stoxx 600 Trims Loss. European stocks closed little changed, trimming losses in the final minutes of trading, after data showed Chinese manufacturing shrank for a second month and Federal Reserve minutes signaled stimulus cuts will continue. BAE (BA/) Systems Plc plunged the most since October 2008 after predicting profit will drop as much as 10 percent this year. Randstad (RAND) Holding NV tumbled 11 percent after reporting quarterly results that missed estimates. TUI AG dropped 5.4 percent after one of its largest shareholders sold a 15.7 percent stake in the company. Technip SA rallied the most since July 2009 after saying its profit margin will increase next year. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid less than 0.1 percent to 334.78, paring a loss of as much as 1.1 percent.
  • Nigeria’s Boko Haram Kill 47 in Attack on Northeastern Town. At least 47 people were killed by suspected Boko Haram Islamists in the northeastern Nigerian town of Bama yesterday, a police official said. Bama is 130 kilometers (81 miles) from Maiduguri in Borno State. “The local government secretariat, the state low-cost housing estate, schools and several other buildings” were destroyed, Lawal Tanko, a police spokesman, said in an interview yesterday. “We have had 47 dead recorded, while several persons were confirmed injured, some already in the hospitals there.”
  • Facebook(FB) Values WhatsApp Like Miracle Drug: Real M&A. Facebook Inc. (FB)’s $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp Inc. is valuing the text-messaging service at a multiple investors currently only bestow on companies developing life-saving drugs. Based on a goal of reaching 1 billion WhatsApp subscribers, Facebook is buying the mobile application for about 19 times estimated sales, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The only U.S. companies that fetch such lofty valuations are drugmakers that are developing treatments for cancer, Crohn’s disease and other ailments, the data show.
  • Wal-Mart Forecast Trails Estimates as Economy Hurts SalesWal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, forecast profit this year that trailed analysts’ estimates as the sluggish U.S. economy and government benefit cuts threaten to restrain sales. Profit per share in the year through January 2015 will be $5.10 to $5.45, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said today in a statement. The average of 28 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was $5.55 a share.
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