Global markets decline on energy shares sell-off
Shares in all the major markets are being punished as the price of oil hits new 5-year lows. With investors concerned that oil could continue to plunge there has been a sell-off of shares across the world, led yesterday by Wall Street. In Asia markets were also weakened by news from China that regulators have tightened rules on using corporate bonds as collateral for short-term financing. In Europe the oil-induced sell-off has been exacerbated by Greece bringing forward its presidential election and the UK’s largest retailer Tesco issuing another profits warning. US stock futures are lower along with gold and oil is making some gains but currently below $66 a barrel.
NFIB Small Business Confidence Index at 7.30am ET
ICSC-Goldman Store Sales at 7.45am ET
JOLTS at 10am ET
Wholesale Trade at 10am ET
American Realty, Krispy Kreme and UTI Worldwide are among those reporting today.
Banks face larger capital reserve requirements
America’s biggest banks may be forced to have larger buffers to protect themselves from unexpected losses. The Federal Reserve is due to meet today to vote on “capital surcharges” for the eight biggest banks which include JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Merck announces plans to acquire Cubist Pharmaceuticals
The pharma sector continues its run of large mergers and acquisitions today as Merck says it will acquire Cubist Pharmaceuticals for $8.4 billion and also assume the firm’s debt. Merck is keen to develop its product range to tackle superbugs as the industry seeks new opportunities in antibiotics which has seen underinvestment in recent years. The firm may have to act fast to realize the full potential of Cubist’s superbug drug Cubicin though as a federal court invalidated four of its patents last week which would allow generic versions to be made in 2016 if the ruling stands. Read the full story.
Health insurance costs outpacing wages
Americans are paying more for their health insurance than ever before with costs outpacing wages. The cost of an employer-based family plan, which accounts for a large percentage of those with health cover, has risen by 73 per cent and the employee’s share of costs has gone up by 93 per cent in the ten years from 2003 according to the study by the Commonwealth Fund. Median family income in that time frame grew by just 16 per cent. Read the full story.
Cat is living the American dream
The internet sensation known as Grumpy Cat is reported to be worth $100 million. Tabatha Bundesen of Arizona has built a business on the back of the internet success of her cat. Personal appearances, commercials and products have been in high demand although she says the $100m figure is far in excess of reality. Read the full story.