Stocks fell for a second straight session. Greece’s talks with its creditors stalled again over the weekend, and economic data started the week on a lukewarm note.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,773.92, -124.92, (-0.70%)
- S&P 500: 2,081.89, -12.22, (-0.58%)
- Nasdaq: 5,023.90, -27.20, (-0.54%)
And now, the top stories on Monday:
- Economic data out today was mixed. Industrial production fell 0.2%, missing forecasts for a 0.2% gain. The April print was revised lower to -0.5% from -0.3%. Capacity utilization fell to 78.1% from 78.2%, versus the forecast for 78.3%. The index on mining fell 0.3%, a slower pace from the previous month due to a moderation in the pace of decline in the index for oil and gas drilling. PNC senior economist Gus Faucher summed up the data in an email: “Auto sales were very strong for the month. But lacklustre results in other areas held back production. The stronger dollar is a drag, as it makes exports from the US more expensive and imports to the US less expensive. And energy production continues to decline.”
- The biggest miss was from the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which came in at -2, versus expectations for a reading of 6. The new orders index fell -2.1, and an index measuring expectations for future business conditions fell for a second straight month. In a client note, Barclays economists wrote that the data “implies further headwinds for regional manufacturing, and we look ahead to Thursday’s release of the Philly Fed index for more clarity on this trend.”
- Homebuilder sentiment beat estimates and rose to a nine-month high. The housing market index from the National Association of Homebuilders came in at 59 (versus 56 expected.) Present single-family sales, and sales expected in the next six months also jumped to the highest levels in at least a year.
- CVS is buying Target’s pharmacy business for $US1.9 billion. The drugstore operator will acquire over 1,660 Target pharmacies in 47 states to boost its sales.
- Alibaba is launching a streaming video subscription service called TMall Box Office in China. “Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States,” said Patrick Liu, head of Alibaba’s digital entertainment business. Netflix shares fell as much as 2%.
- Cigna shares surged more than 14% after the Wall Street Journal reported that Anthem has approached the health insurance company for a merger. The companies have reportedly been in talks for several months. Anthem is offering $US175 a share in its second offer. If it comes through, the deal would be the latest of several deals in the healthcare insurance industry that we’ve seen this year as companies seek to lower costs.
- Goldman Sachs wants to lend you money. The investment banking firm is looking to offer loans online to consumers and small businesses to get a piece of the $US850 million-market, according to the New York Times. Goldman has hired Harit Talwar, the former CMO at Discover Financial Services, as a partner. Goldman will be taking on a bigger pool of competitors like Lending Club and On Deck.
- A federal judge ruled that the terms of the government bailout to insurance giant AIG were illegally harsh. But no damages were awarded to Starr International, the company chaired by Hank Greenberg that was one of AIG’s largest shareholders in 2008; Greenberg is also a former AIG CEO. Greenberg had sued the Federal Reserve, arguing that it didn’t have the right to take 79.9% 0f AIG’s equity as a condition for a bailout.
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