For the commute home, or while frantically dropping off your tax forms at the post office alongside the other procrastinators,
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Apple filed a lawsuit in California on Friday claiming Samsung’s Galaxy line of mobile phones and tablet devices are copies of the iPhone and iPad, according to court papers seen by Reuters. The suit alleges Samsung “slavishly” copied the Apple products’ look, product design and user interface, violating patents and copyright.
Toyota’s upscale Lexus brand is set for a design shake-up as it battles to revive stodgy sales and a slipping image among young car buyers, writes the FT. An edgier look will be on display this week when Lexus lifts the wraps on a “concept” sedan, known as the LF-Gh, at the New York auto show.
News that S&P had revised its credit rating outlook for the US to negative caused stocks to plunge and gold to hit a record just shy of $1,500 an ounce, reports the FT’s global market overview. The FTSE All World index was down 1.5 per cent, led by a 1.7 per cent decline in the Eurofirst 300 index and a 1.1 per cent fall in the S&P 500 index. Brent crude was down 1.7 per cent to $121.35 a barrel. At first take, there was a somewhat perverse reaction in the currency markets and the bond markets, given that S&P had essentially said that the dollar and Treasuries are not as safe as they were yesterday. US Treasury yields were lower across the curve. Yields of the longest-dated 30-year bonds, which would be the most vulnerable to the US’s fiscal troubles, were down by 2 basis points to 4.45 per cent. Ten-year and two-year notes were also lower, by 3 basis points a piece, to 3.37 per cent and 0.66 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, the dollar index was up 0.9 per cent.
Philips, the Dutch electronics group, on Monday said it would spin off its lossmaking television division into a joint venture with Chinese TV manufacturer TPV Technology, reports the FT. The venture, which will have a licence to market TVs in Europe under the Philips brand, was the first big move by chief executive Frans van Houten, who took over on April 1.
Nestlé underlined its determination to expand in fast-growing emerging markets with the acquisition of a majority stake in one of China’s best-known regional foods groups, writes the FT. Nestlé said the deal to buy 60 per cent of family-owned Yinlu Foods Group would spearhead its push into products geared to local tastes.
Citigroup has taken radical action to cushion the impact of new global capital rules for banks, putting up for sale a $12.7bn portfolio of bad assets that were responsible for some of its huge losses during the financial crisis, says the FT. Citi revealed the move on Monday alongside first-quarter results that showed a 32 per cent drop in net income that was narrowly better than analysts’ expectations.
Standard & Poor’s issued a stark warning to Washington on Monday, cutting its outlook on US sovereign debt for the first time, reports the FT. The agency kept America’s credit rating at triple A but, for the first time since it started rating US debt 70 years ago, cut its outlook from “stable” to “negative”. FT Alphaville reckons that the revision was a message directed at Washington rather than Wall St. Meanwhile, cabinet ministers in Japan, the second biggest holder of US Treasuries after China, reiterated on Tuesday that US debt remains “an attractive product”, according to Reuters.
Bloomberg Businessweek has an update on the latest refinancing efforts of Energy Future, previously called TXU and once known as The Biggest Leveraged Buyout of All Time.
Bought for $43bn by private equity groups KKR and TPG in 2007, the company’s revenues nosedived along with the price of natural gas and it is now trying to extend the maturity of its loans coming due this year — and will pay a hefty price for the privilege: Read more
European politicians could be forgiven for the occasional smug smile following S&P’s unprecedented revision of the US outlook to negative.
The credit rating agency stress tested Washington, DC and — unsurprisingly — found that a separation of powers, practically useless debt ceilings and a highly polarised body politic do not make for easy and predictable fiscal planning. Read more
Live markets commentary from FT.com
No prizes for guessing one of the biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 on Monday morning.
The Federal Reserve is likely to signal at its April 27 meeting that it will conclude asset purchases in June as planned, while declining to rule out further quantitative easing after QE2 ends, the FT says. Even dovish members of the FOMC acknowledge that economic risks have changed since QE2 was announced last year. However, they are cautious on signalling hiking interest rates while the economy is fragile. Ben Bernanke’s first post-FOMC press conference will likely emphasise this ‘extended period’ of low rates, Bloomberg reports, creating an outlet for Bernanke to dial back rogue statements by Fed hawks between FOMC meetings.
Opec countries do not need to increase oil output, with markets currently well-supplied, the organisation’s secretary-general has announced, according to the WSJ. Saudi offerings of blended crude designed to replace high-quality Libyan grades had not received buyers, Abdalla Salem El Badri added. Brent crude fell below $123 and US crude fell $1 to $108 on Monday, Reuters reports, with reports of Saudi cuts to production and forecasts of oil demand destruction continuing to sway the market from different directions.
Finally some good news for shareholders of the absurdly named Bwin.PartyGaming Digital Entertainments (BPDE).
Wall Street banks have been losing chief financial officers at an unusually high rate since the crisis, a trend that is unnerving investors who remain wary of risk and regulation, the FT reports. Bank of America’s replacement of Chuck Noski on Friday leaves Goldman Sachs as the only major bank not to have replaced its finance chief in the last two years. David Viniar has served at Goldman since it went public in 1999 — a normal tenure for CFOs throughout corporate America, but increasingly rare at banks. Analysts said BofA’s move was a ‘red flag’ and ‘eyebrow-raising’, following concerns over how banks will respond to fresh capital requirements and regulation.
Banks underwriting Glencore’s initial public offering have given research to potential investors arguing that the commodities powerhouse is worth between $53bn and $69bn, Reuters says. Barclays Capital and Credit Suisse research also predicts high earnings growth. Barclays forecasts that EBITDA will more than double to $12.9bn in the next two years. With research done before a flotation typically excluding sales of new shares, the estimates imply that Glencore’s valuation will hit $78bn after the IPO. However, the complex parts of Glencore’s operations — trading, mining, and its stake in Xstrata — make a valuation difficult to pin down.
NYSE Euronext will likely ask Nasdaq OMX for a $2bn reverse break-up fee before it is ready to engage in talks about merging, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters. NYSE wants guarantees that any deal would survive antitrust scrutiny, but its request far outweighs the amount Nasdaq is prepared to offer, of around $250m, the sources added. Nasdaq’s joint bid with ICE suffered rejection by NYSE’s board last week over antitrust issues. NYSE’s $5bn valuation of its derivative business also contrasts with Nasdaq’s $6.3bn offer, creating concerns over taxable gains in the deal, a source said.
The Swiss surgical products and medical services group Synthes has confirmed it was in takeover talks with Johnson & Johnson, reports the FT. Shares in Synthes rose more than 12 per cent in European markets on Monday, on speculation the deal could value it at $20bn. However, Synthes warned that it could give no assurances on the terms of a deal. The mooted capitalisation would make any takeover J&J’s biggest ever deal, Bloomberg reports. J&J’s previous biggest acquisition, of Pfizer’s consumer health unit in 2006, totalled $16.6bn. J&J is pushing ahead with due diligence on Synthes’ books, the WSJ says, noting that the acquisition would give J&J ‘immediate presence’ in the trauma market and in orthopaedic devices.