10 Things You Need To Know This Morning

The Scream

Photo: WebMuseum at ibiblio

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

  • Asian markets largely sold off in overnight trading, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng off 0.3 per cent. Shares in Europe are higher across the board and U.S. futures point to a positive open. 
  • Spain sold some €2.52 billion three and five year bonds, above its maximum target. However  yields on the sale continued to head higher, nearing 5 per cent. 
  • The Confederation of British Industry lowered its 2012 growth forecasts for the U.K. by 30 basis points to 0.6 per cent. Separately, the Lloyds Bank barometer of business activity showed that the economic downturn should be short and the economy will begin to expand in the second quarter.
  • China’s service sector slowed slightly from the rapid growth recorded in March, with non-manufacturing PMI declining to 56.1 in April. Indian services PMI increased to 52.8 in April from 52.3 in March.
  • Green Mountain Coffee slashed both its top and bottom line guidance yesterday as demand faltered and it wrote down inventories. Shares in the coffee brewer fell more than 37 per cent in after-hours trading. The company revised its full year earnings expectations to $2.40 to $2.50 per share. Click here to see David Einhorn’s presentation that shredded Green Mountain >
  • HSBC allegedly violated the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering provisions since 2005, Reuters’ Carrick Mollenkamp, Brett Wolf and Brian Grow report. The documents reviewed by Reuters show a massive lapse in compliance and say that it is possible HSBC “intentionally flouted the law.”
  • Visa beat earnings expectations after the closing bell yesterday, reporting EPS of $1.60 against forecasts for $1.51. However insurance giant Prudential missed substantively, with earnings of $1.56 versus the $1.72 Wall Street was looking for. Here’s what the largest companies are telling us about the global economy >
  • Initial jobless claims in the U.S. beat expectations, with 365,000 people filing for first time claims. That’s below last week’s upwardly revised 392,000 figure.
  • General Motors and Viacom both reported better-than-expected first quarter results this morning. Viacom saw earnings per share at $0.98, a dime above forecasts, while GM said it earned $0.93 per share. Analysts had forecast the automaker would report $0.85 per share.
  • Edvard Munch’s iconic painting, “The Scream,” sold for a record $119.9 million at Sotheby’s last night. Estimates before the sale pegged the painting between $80 to $200 million. Take a look at this infamous Sotheby’s chart that preludes recessions.
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