10 Things You Need To Know Before The Opening Bell

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Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The risk of contagion from the Greek crisis continues to lead the news this morning, with European CDS hitting new highs. Spain and Portugal have been strongly impacted, both experiencing a bond sell off. Here’s how much the Greek bailout is costing you >
  • BP (BP) is under increasing political scrutiny for its roll in the Louisiana oil spill disaster, and both Congress and the White House are now on the offensive against the firm. It has emerged that President Obama has been the largest recipient of BP campaign funds. See photos of the oil rig explosion that sparked the crisis >
  • The alleged Times Square terrorist apprehended by police has admitted guilt in his involvement in the plot. Faisal Shahzad has been cooperating with authorities, revealing information about his Pakistan training, leading to two arrests in that country.
  • Embroiled in a series of scandals and lawsuits, the Goldman Sachs (GS) hierarchy is now considering removing Lloyd Blankfein from his post as Chairman and CEO, or separating the two roles. Shareholders largely remain in support of Mr. Blankfein, according to the same report. See our winners and loses from the Goldman Sachs fraud fallout >
  • French bank Societe Generale beat analysts expectation for Q1 results, sharply improving over the year previous. The bank did reveal €3 billion in exposure to the Greek lending market, however.
  • AB InBev (BUD), the brewing conglomerate, reported better than expected Q1 results beating analyst expectations for profits. This was a result of better than expected sales in Brazil, according to the company, and Q2 shouldn’t see similar analyst beating results.
  • The pound is moving up today lock step with the UK’s election polls which are now pointing towards a Conservative victory in tomorrow’s election. While a hung parliament may be the result, it looks as if the Conservatives are at least going to be at the centre of the country’s political leadership. See how to play the UK election in the markets here >
  • Prudential PLC, the UK insurer, has had a $21 billion rights issues halted by the UK market regulator over fears the company does not have the financial strength to handle the burden. The rights issue is meant to fund a massive Asian expansion for the firm, through the acquisition of AIA.
  • Gold (GLD) continues to trade lower after yesterday’s big selloff. Stocks are mixed, but mostly lower.
  • The U.S. Congress is on the brink of pushing through a tax cut package that would see the government spend an additional $10 billion to support small business. The package would subsist of “bonus depreciation and a 100% exclusion of capital gains.”
  • Bonus: Halle Berry’s breakup with Gabriel Aubry has been anything but clean, with Berry calling her ex-partner a “loser” since the two split after four years of dating.

Get more market commentary here throughout the day.

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