Eurozone unemployment hits record - again. As expected, eurozone unemployment edged up to a new high of 12.2% in April from 12.1% March, with an eye-watering 19.4M people without a job. Meanwhile, inflation rose in line with consensus to an annual 1.4% in May from 1.2% in April, while core CPI increased to a greater-than-expected 1.2% from 1%. Inflation is well below the ECB's target of just under 2%, so could give the bank further room to loosen monetary policy.
Japanese stocks break nine-month winning streak. The Nikkei 225 (EWJ) closed +1.4% today after several volatile sessions, but that wasn't enough to prevent the index from ending May 0.6% lower, its first monthly loss in ten. Stocks rallied following a report yesterday that Japan's $1T Pension Investment Fund could increase its equity allocation.
Clearwire delays vote on buyout offers. Clearwire (CLWR) will adjourn a regularly scheduled stockholder meeting set for today without doing any business and reconvene on June 13. The move gives shareholders more time to digest the $4.40-per-share offer from Dish Network (DISH) and see if Sprint (S) will once again increase its proposal. The latest word from Clearwire on Dish's buyout price is that it's "more actionable" than a previous proposal.
Top Stock News
P&G combines revamp with succession plan. Procter & Gamble (PG) is reportedly amalgamating its CEO succession plans with a reorganization of its brands into four sectors, although the final structure is not yet clear. P&G intends to promote executives to head the sectors as Presidents, with the company hoping that they'll make good candidates to replace recently returned CEO A.G. Lafley when he re-retires. Lafley is expected to stay for at least 2-3 years.
FDA divided over safety of blockbuster heart drugs. A dispute is taking place within the FDA over whether a class of blockbuster cardiovascular drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) significantly increase the risk of cancer. On one side is Thomas Marciniak, who believes they do, and on the other are his bosses, who think the medicines are safe. Companies that make ARBs, which generated $7.6B in U.S. sales last year, include Novartis (NVS), Merck (MRK), Sanofi (SNY), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and AstraZeneca (AZN).
Lloyds profits from U.S. housing recovery. Lloyds (LYG) will make a nice little earner from a portfolio of U.S. mortgage bonds after agreeing to sell the assets to different institutions for £3.3B. That's above the book value of £2.7B, allowing Lloyds to make a pretax gain of £540M as it benefits from the increasing demand for the bonds due to the housing recovery in the U.S. Lloyds' shares were flat at midday in London.
Boeing receives major order for 737 jets. Boeing (BA) has received an order for 60 737 MAX aircraft from British holiday company TUI Travel (TUIVY.PK) in a deal worth $6.1B at list prices, with the booking also including an option for another 90 planes. The order is so large that it will require the consent of TUI's shareholders. The jets will use LEAP-1B engines, which are made by CFM International, the joint venture partly owned by GE (GE).
Dell tells investors to vote for Michael's offer. Not totally surprisingly, Dell (DELL) has issued a letter to shareholders recommending a yes vote to the Michael Dell-Silver Lake offer to acquire the company for $13.65 per share.
Netflix to replace Perrigo in Nasdaq 100. Netflix (NFLX) will become the newest member of the Nasdaq 100 on June 6, replacing Perrigo (PRGO). As of yesterday's close, Netflix's market cap was $12.1B vs Perrigo's $11.05B. Nasdaq gave no reasons for the midseason change.
Top Economic & Other News
Japan remains mired in deflation. Japan's core CPI dropped for the sixth consecutive month in April as prices fell 0.4%, indicating how far the Bank of Japan has to go in achieving inflation of 2%. More positively, Japanese industrial output rose 1.7% on month vs +0.9% in March and consensus of +0.6%. While the increase indicates that companies have boosted output in response to a pick-up in exports, manufacturers expect production to be flat this month and to fall 1.4% in June.
Indian growth declines to weakest in a decade. The expansion in Indian GDP declined to its slowest in a decade in FY 2012 (ending in March 2013), coming in at 5%, while the growth in FQ4 was even lower at 4.8%. Still that did meet consensus and was above the 4.7% in FQ3. The services sector grew strongly in FQ4, while manufacturing and farming also expanded, although mining declined an annual 3.1%. India's Sensex dropped 2.3% while the Indian rupee was -0.3% vs the dollar at the time of writing.
South African rand gets walloped in EM blood-letting. Emerging-market currencies are taking a battering, with the South African rand (EZA) receiving particular punishment. What began as a "drip drip of currency weakness" (WSJ) on concerns about the end of the Fed's QE program has turned into a flood as countries' various problems have become exposed. The rand is down 6.2% since last week and the Turkish lira is -2.25%.