Stocks opened higher this morning as the world communityis finally moving on Libya. Oil dropped to $101 from $103 when the Libyan Foreign Minister said they were declaring a cease fire. France says strikes are imminent after the U.N. approved a no-fly zone. What's not clear is whether this is too little, too late. ?
The coordinated G7 interventionto weaken the yen, along with some hopes that progress is being made on the nuclear front in Japan, helped the Nikkei to rally 2.7 percent, the most of any of the Asian bourses.
While no one was looking...the Nikkei, which dropped 2207 points from the close on March 10th to the lows this Tuesday (a drop of 22 percent), has now recovered 979 of those points (44 percent).
Supply issues continue to surface in Japan and highlight how tech devices are assembled from pieces all over the world. Sony said several of its manufacturing plants that make Blu-ray discs and lithium-ion batteries remain closed. iSuppli, an analyst firm, said some Apple components made in Japan, including flash memory and a thin battery in the iPad 2 tablet, might be in short supply.
Energy policy in disarray. In the span of 10 months, we have had the Gulf oil spill that questioned the safety of offshore drilling, and now nuclear power is being questioned as an energy source. What's next: windmills cause brain disorders? We are running out of energy options, and more than ever we need a clear, comprehensive energy plan. This should be a new priority for the Obama administration.
1) Precious metal stocks, particularly silver, are stronger as gold and silver rebound.
2) Nike falls 8 percent after missing Q3 estimates ($1.08 vs. $1.12 consensus). Sales growth also fell short of estimates while futures orders (an indicator of future sales) was mostly inline with Street expectations. A big concern for shareholders: margins for the shoe/sports apparel maker in the past quarter fell due to higher materials and transportation costs. That margin pressure is also expected to continue for a few quarters until price hikes begin to offset those higher costs near the end of next fiscal year.
You think you have problems...imagine what Japan is doing to world airline schedules...and profits. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Japan is causing a "major slowdown." The Japan market represents 6.5 percent of scheduled worldwide traffic and 10 percent of industry revenues.
3) Celera , which provides genetic testing services, soars 28 percent after agreeing to be acquired by clinical lab firm Quest Diagnostics for $657 million in cash. Celera shareholders will get $8 per share, a 28 percent premium to yesterday's close. The deal should close at the end of April.
4) Cisco Systems rises 2 percent after declaring its first quarterly dividend of $0.06 per share.
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