The (early) Lunch Wrap | FT Alphaville

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Good morning New York,

FT ALPHAVILLE

We’d prefer to be compared with our previous attempts, thanks very much: Stress tests in Europe maybe aren’t the mugging by reality they used to be… they’re putting up a little bit more of a fight this time. Though how much, asks David?

The Matthew effect on the Internet: Cardiff unearths a study which suggests that the arbitrary endowment of early and meritless success — “privilege and luck” — is a big contributor to later success.

NEWS

Alstom forges ahead with energy unit sale to General Electric: Alstom forged ahead on Wednesday with its planned deal to sell its energy business to General Electric despite French government objections, formally accepting a binding $13.5bn cash offer from the US engineering giant. (Financial Times)

China poised to pass US as world’s leading economic power this year: The US is on the brink of losing its status as the world’s largest economy, and is likely to slip behind China this year, sooner than widely anticipated, according to the world’s leading statistical agencies. (Financial Times)

Shell’s first-quarter profit beats market expectations: Royal Dutch Shell’s first-quarter profit dropped 3 per cent to $7.3bn but came in far ahead of market expectations, marking a turnround in the company’s fortunes under new chief executive Ben van Beurden. (Financial Times)

Twitter hit as user numbers disappoint: Shares in Twitter dropped 11 per cent to their lowest since the messaging platform’s initial public offering when it failed to reverse a trend of slow user growth, shaking investor confidence that it could ever grow to the size of Facebook. (Financial Times)

Rolls-Royce nears sale of £1bn energy unit to Siemens: The UK engineering group on Tuesday confirmed it is in talks over the sale of a unit that makes small and medium gas turbine generators for the oil and gas industry and small industrial power plants. (Financial Times)

Pfizer flies in to clear path for £60bn AstraZeneca takeover: Pfizer‘s chief executive flew into London on Tuesday to urge ministers to back its proposed £60bn takeover of AstraZeneca which he said would create a scientific powerhouse with a big presence in the UK.(Financial Times)

BNP warns of US fines ‘far in excess’ of $1.1bn provision: BNP Paribas warned that its fine by US authorities over possible breaches of US sanction rules could be “far in excess” of the $1.1bn provision it took in February, already one of the biggest taken by any lender so far. Reporting a 5.2 per cent rise in net profit in the first quarter to €1.68bn, the Paris-based lender said that “a high degree of uncertainty exists as to the nature and amount of penalties that the US authorities could impose”.(Financial Times)

Markets: European equity markets opened cautiously ahead of an expected move later by the US Federal Reserve to reduce further the pace of its monthly asset purchases by $10bn to $45bn. The FTSE 100 was broadly flat in early trading in spite of better than expected earnings from oil giant Royal Dutch Shell which topped the risers. Supermarket chain Tesco led the fallers.Germany’s Dax slipped 0.1 per cent while the euro stayed flat against the dollar at €1.38 as did the pound at £1.68. Gold fell by 0.1 per cent to $1,295 per troy ounce while Brent crude declined by 0.3 per cent to $108.60 per barrel. Ten-year Treasuries and gilts were broadly unchanged. Meanwhile, following the Bank of Japan’s announcement that it would keep buying assets to increase the monetary base by an annual Y60tn-Y70tn, Tokyo equities bucked the trend of a broader fall across many Asian bourses. (Financial Times)