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Forgot About Dre. Huge news for rap legend Dr. Dre. Apple is in preliminary talks to buy Beats Electronics, the popular headphone company co-founded by Dre, for $US3.2 billion. The story was first reported by the Financial Times. The deal could make Dre hip-hop’s first billionaire.
Mega-Merger Deal Collapses. The $US35 billion proposed merger between advertising giants Omnicom and Publicis has fallen apart. The merger was first announced last July. “The challenges that still remained to be overcome, in addition to the slow pace of progress, created a level of uncertainty detrimental to the interests of both groups and their employees, clients, and shareholders,” Publicis chairman Maurice Lévy and Omnicom CEO John Wren said in a joint statement.
Germany Disappoints. German exports fell 1.8% in March, the biggest drop in 10 months. Economists were looking for a 1.0 % increase. Factory orders also unexpectedly fell by 2.8%.
China’s Inflation Slows. China’s consumer price index inflation fell to 1.8% April from 2.4% in March. This was much lower than the 2.1% expected. “Actually, the low- inflation environment has persisted for nearly two years,” noted Societe Generale’s Wei Yao. “Although money and credit growth are still running at double-digit pace, China seems to be experiencing a number of symptoms of debt deflation. It is certainly an odd case, but if taking the credit to zombie companies out of the picture, the assessment of debt deflation makes good sense.”
Bombay’s In Modi Mode. The S&P BSE Sensex rallied to an all-time high, reports Bloomberg’s Santanu Chakraborty. An estimated 814 million Indian voters have been heading to the polls in what’s been the biggest election in history. Opposition leader Narendra Modi is the frontrunner. Considered a champion of economic growth, markets appear to be pricing a Modi win.
Fannie Mae’s Cash Machine. The mortgage finance behemoth controlled by the U.S. government said yesterday that it would be sending the U.S. Treasury a check for $5.7 billion after reporting a quarterly profit. “Once it has made the latest payment in June, it will have returned $US126.8 billion to taxpayers in return for the $US116.1 billion in taxpayer aid it received after being placed under the government’s wing at the height of the financial crisis,” reported Reuters’ Margaret Chadbourn.
Markets Are Mixed. Markets closed up in Asia with Japan’s Nikkei gaining 0.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rising 0.1%. Europe is down ith Britain’s FTSE dow 0.3%, France’s CAC 40 down 0.6%, and Germany’s DAX down 0.3%. US futures are lower with Dow futures down by 20 points.
JOLTS For Yellen. The Job Openings & Labour Turnover Survey results will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. According to the JOLTS report, U.S. companies had 4.173 million job openings. “JOLTS has garnered more attention lately as Fed Chair Yellen often cites the survey when assessing the state of the labour market,” noted Credit Suisse.
Goldman Still Bullish On The Economy. Most economists were shaken by the BEA’s recent report that U.S. GDP growth decelerated to just 0.1% in Q1. However, some economists see resiliency in the underlying economy. “We continue to forecast 3.5% GDP growth in H2,” wrote Goldman Sachs’ Kris Dawsey in a new note to clients. “Under our current forecasts, real GDP would increase 2.6% on a Q4/Q4 basis in 2014, below the 2.8 – 3.0% central tendency included in the Summary of Economic Projections from the March FOMC meeting.”
Johnny Football Tumbles. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel was selected No. 22 overall by the Cleveland Browns during Thursday’s NFL draft. This was a huge disappointment for the star quarterback who was widely-expected to go in the top eight. “#SadMaziel???” tweeted the NFL.
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