The Closer | FT Alphaville

The Closer


The S&P 500 hit 1,400 for the first time since June 2008, providing traders with yet another ‘psychological marker’ (Reuters). The DJIA has also now enjoyed its longest rally since February last year. Apple shares touched $600 — but didn’t stay there (Dow Jones).

The US government discussed tapping strategic oil reserves with Britain. Two British sources told Reuters that the UK has decided to cooperate with a US decision to release stocks, and one source said a formal US request would come ‘shortly’, sending the price of Brent crude down $3 a barrel (Reuters, Financial Times). But the White House quickly rebutted talk of an agreement, sending crude markets up again (Wall Street Journal).

Glencore is preparing a joint bid for Viterra, the Canadian grain trader. A formal offer from Glencore, Agrium, and Richardson International could come as early as next week. Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge could prepare rival bids. Cargill is not planning its own offer (Financial Times).

Cisco unveiled its largest acquisition since 2009, buying NDS for $5bn. The deal for the maker of pay TV software represents another aggressive push by Cisco into video (Reuters). But investors are worried that Cisco has overpaid for a business facing low growth and the challenge the internet poses for pay TV (Financial Times).

An appeals court came close to throwing out Judge Rakoff’s rejection of a settlement between Citi and the SEC. Rakoff’s decision, if it stands, will challenge years of SEC practice on reaching settlements. The 2nd Circuit court said ‘there was no reason to doubt’ the SEC’s claim there was a public interest in its $285m deal with the bank to settle claims of MBS fraud, adding that they had made ‘a strong showing of likelihood of success’ in their appeal (Reuters).

The IMF’s board approved a $36bn loan to Greece as part of the country’s second bailout. Brazil’s representative to the IMF board abstained, however (Dow Jones).

Up next

The Bank of Japan’s minutes for February might offer clues to its new dovishness. Look out for proposals for the BoJ to buy longer-dated bonds than its February diet of mostly two-year debt.

CPI data (consensus of 0.2 per cent month on month) and industrial production (consensus of 0.4 per cent month on month) round out the US numbers day.

Further further reading

– Jeff Sachs’ bid for World Bank president gets demolished in four paragraphs — and then Sachs responds in comments!

– Patrick Chovanec’s take on the fall of Bo Xilai.

– Bank of America’s stress test ‘pass’ is a bad deal for its shares, Dealbreaker says.

– The Bruegel Institute in Europe has a new blog — and asks, appropriately enough, where the European finance blogs are.

– Condor Options sets out to quantify implied volatility skew.

– Republican Party budget plans come with glossy film trailers

Until tomorrow…