The Closer | FT Alphaville

The Closer


A slightly unusual ‘Dow up, Nasdaq down’ day in US stocks – with Apple down for a fifth day. Cue much worry over what – carrier subsidy cuts? A rumoured iPad rival? – might be causing it (Bloomberg, WSJ Marketbeat). Apple’s up 37 per cent year to date. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.56 per cent at 12,921, and the Nasdaq fell 0.76 per cent to close at 2,988 (Reuters).

Argentina said it would nationalise YPF, ousting the 51 per cent stake held by Spain’s Repsol, worth $5bn. In terms of market value, the expropriation would be the largest in the natural resources industry since Yukos in Russia (Financial Times). The Argentine president said the government needed to take control to protect national energy assets, sending a bill to congress to wrest the Repsol stake, and also passing a decree to take immediate management control of YPF (Bloomberg). YPF had blamed protectionism by President Cristina Kirchner’s government for the poor state of fuel production, which has led to a jump in costly energy imports (Wall Street Journal).

Vikram Pandit has said Citigroup might not raise its dividend until next year, as it prepares to submit its capital plan to the Federal Reserve once more. Pandit said 2013 was “one of the options” to ensure the plan’s approval after its rejection first time round (Financial Times). Citi first-quarter revenues rose 13 per cent from the last four months of 2011 as trading revived, but were down 1.6 per cent on the year (Wall Street Journal).

BTG Pactual’s chief executive has been investigated for trades made on his personal account, the bank’s prospectus has revealed a week before its $3.5bn IPO (Financial News). André Esteves received a fine from Italian regulators for a purchase of shares worth €3.4m in beef producer Cremonini five years ago. Consob has alleged that Esteves knew that the group was planning to enter a joint venture with its Brazilian rival JBS when he bought shares in November 2007. BTG Pactual said Esteves plans to appeal the ruling (Financial Times).

Research in Motion is considering hiring banks to help it decide “strategic options” for the company. RIM’s chief executive Thorstein Heins said he would be exploring “strategic opportunities” following the company’s year-end earnings release (Bloomberg).

Avon has rebutted Coty’s latest courting of its shareholders. Coty’s chairman unveiled $14bn of financing commitments in place for its $10bn takeover bid, raising the stakes in a conference call with hundreds of Avon investors (Financial Times). Avon said Coty’s “opportunistic” $23.25 per share offer failed to reflect the company’s fundamental value (Reuters).

Temasek bought $2.3bn of shares in ICBC from Goldman. The investment in a one per cent stake consolidates the Singapore sovereign wealth fund’s bets on three of China’s biggest banks (Reuters). It is the fourth and largest sale of ICBC shares by Goldman (Bloomberg).


Reserve Bank of Australia minutes are out for April. Look for the merest hint of rates getting cut next time, if inflation softens…

UK inflation data (CPI, consensus 3.5 per cent; RPI, consensus 3.7 per cent) land at 0930 London time. Eurozone

Goldman’s are the earnings to watch, at 1400 UK time. (Consensus $3.53 per share.)


– ‘For the first time ever, China has launched more rockets into orbit in a year than the U.S.’

– Jeff Matthews spins off John Hempton’s latest on short-selling and fraud-fighting.

Distressed Debt Investing: ‘I cannot contain my enthusiasm for the JOBS Act.’

– IBM in the long run, or Crossing Wall Street on the case for dead-enders.

– Highly wonkish stuff on DSGE models, via Mark Thoma.