Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
Pfizer Courts AstraZeneca. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has made a $US100 billion takeover offer for UK pharmaceutical maker AstraZeneca. AZ says that undervalues the company. Still, AstraZeneca shares are surging pre-market.
France OK With GE Bid. Despite reports French economy minister Arnaud Montebourg is encouraging Germany’s Siemens to make a counter-offer to GE’s bid to acquire conglomerate Alstom’s energy assets, the Socialist government doesn’t actually care which firm gets it as long as jobs are maintained, Bloomberg says.
SEC Probes Christie. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether New Jersey Governor Chris Christie improperly diverted funds from the Port Authority to transportation projects in his state.
New Russia Sanctions. The U.S. will impose new sanctions on people and companies close to Russian President Vladamir Putin today. “This is a declaration of war by the Obama administration on the current governing Russian elite,” Ariel Cohen, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based research group, told Bloomberg. As Sen. Robert Menendez said recently, “It’s like standing in a circle and all of a sudden everyone in the circle is getting a bomb thrown on them, and you get the message that it’s getting close.”
Credit Default Swaps Moving Abroad. Large U.S. financial institutions are moving credit default swap agreements overseas to avoid U.S. regulation. U.S. regulators are basically ok with this, the Wall Street Journal says. “The moves are legal, and some officials have argued that the severing of guarantees could even help reduce the risk to the U.S. parent bank should a counterparty to an offshore contract renege on their agreement, some people said.” But some says parent companies could end up shouldering costs if the swaps blow up.
China Hacked Australian Emails. China enjoyed access to Australian politicians’ emails for a year, according to a new report from the Australian Financial Review. From The Guardian:“The newspaper, citing government and security sources, said new information showed the attack had been more extensive than previously thought and “effectively gave them control of” the entire system. ‘It was like an open-cut mine. They had access to everything,’ a source told the newspaper.”
BTC China Suspends Accounts. BTC China has been forced to suspend customer accounts affiliated with a major financial institution. China Merchants Bank had announced on its website it would no longer handle Bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin prices have fallen 13.4% in the past week to $US433.
Pending Home Sales. At 10 a.m. we get pending home sales for March from the National Association of Realtors. Consensus is for a 0.6% gain from a0.8% decline prior.
Dallas Fed. At 10:30 a.m. we get the April manufacturing survey from the Dallas Federal Reserve. Consensus is for a reading of 6.0 from 4.9 prior.
Markets. U.S. futures are up, as are European stocks. Shares in Asia fell. No major earnings today.