Futures Trade Flat as Euro Zone Leaders Meet
U.S. stock index futures wavered in a narrow range Monday as investors waited on news from the euro zone finance ministers and officials on the terms of a Greek debt restructuring as well as other issues in the euro zone debt crisis.
Over the weekend the Institute of International Finance (IIF) – the body that represents Greece’s private creditors - denied reports a deal over the Greek debt issue could not be reached, despite talks breaking down between itself and the European Union (EU), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank, the so-called troika.
Private bondholders will likely take a hit of 65 to 70 percent on their holdings, with Greece's new bonds featuring 30-year maturity and a progressive coupon, or interest rate, averaging out at 4 percent, a bank official close to the talks told Reuters over the weekend.
The deal is seen as crucial to Greece securing a second round of bailout funding by March, meaning it will not be able to repay 14.5 billions euros (dollar conversion?) in maturing bonds that month. If that happened, Greece would default on its debt, an event that would very likely precipitate a wider crisis.
European finance ministers are due to meet in Brussels at around 8.30am New York time to discuss the current roadblock to any deal over the Greek debt situation being reached. Also on the agenda for the meeting will be the European permanent bailout fund and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). Meanwhile, France and Germany are expected to call for a relaxation of global bank capital rules to prevent lending to the real economy being choked off, the Financial Times reported.
The EU announced it would back a U.S. call for sanctions on oil imports from Iran. However, the sanctions will not come into effect until July1 in order to give EU member states time to fulfill existing contracts with Tehran.
Meanwhile, Research In Motion’s co-founders and CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis bowed to investor pressure and stepped down from their roles at the struggling Blackberry maker over the weekend.
Thorsten Heins, a former Siemens executive who has risen steadily at the Canadian company to become one of two chief operating officers, took over as CEO on Saturday, RIM said.
Gas producer Apache is to buy privately owned oil and gas company Cordillera Energy Partners in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $2.85 billion to expand its acreage of oil and petroleum liquid fields.
News Corp is considering bidding for Turkish group Calik Holding's media assets ATV and Sabah, according to reports.
Asda, the British arm of U.S. retailer Wal-MartStores said it would invest over 500 million pounds ($776 million) this year, opening 25 new stores and three depots and creating up to 5,000 jobs.
There are no economic reports due out on Monday. However, earnings news includes fourth quarter earnings from Halliburton, before the opening bell, which is expected to report sharply higher profits.
After the close U.S. railroad operator CSX reports results, which are expected to show higher profit driven by auto and metals shipments according to Reuters.
Texas Instruments is expected to report weak fourth-quarter results due to broad-based soft demand. Since the company already warned that the fourth quarter would be weak, the focus will be on its guidance for the first quarter.
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Coming Up This Week:
MONDAY: Earnings from CSX, Texas Instruments
TUESDAY: 2-yr note auction, FOMC meeting begins, Obama's State of the Union address; Earnings from DuPont, J&J, McDonald's Travelers, Verizon, Apple, Yahoo
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, FHFA house price index, pending home sales, oil inventories, FOMC meeting announcement, Bernanke press conference; Earnings from Boeing, ConocoPhillips, United Tech, Delta, Motorola Solutions, Amgen, Netflix, SanDisk, Symantec
THURSDAY: Durable goods orders, jobless claims, new home sales, leading indicators, 7-yr note auction; Earnings from AT&T, Caterpillar, 3M, Nokia, AutoNation, Bristol-Myers, Time Warner Cable, Motorola Mobility, Starbucks
FRIDAY: GDP, consumer sentiment; Earnings from Chevron, P&G, DRHorton