Morning Brief

Wall Street set to slide after BOJ shocks markets

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were sharply lower this morning, caught up in a global selloff that started in Japan. The central bank there stunned investors by keeping monetary policy steady, disappointing those betting on further stimulus. The Nikkie fell 3.6 percent and the yen soared about 3 percent. (CNBC)

The decline in U.S. futures this morning follows post-Fed meeting gains on Wednesday that brought the S&P 500 less than 2 percent away from last May's all-time high. The Fed held interest rates steady, warning of a slowing U.S. economy and sticking to its gradual rate hike message. (CNBC)

The government releases its first assessment of first-quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. ET. GDP is seen advancing at a 0.7 percent annual rate, half the rate during last year's fourth quarter. (CNBC)

European stocks were lower this morning. Meanwhile, ECB President Mario Draghi is hitting back at his German critics, saying that the bank's policies are working, remains independent, and criticism could ultimately damage the euro zone's economy. (CNBC)

U.S. oil was pretty flat this morning, after hitting highs back to November Wednesday on gains of nearly 3 percent. Crude is up about 18 percent for the month, and up 65 percent from the 2016 lows on Feb. 11. But prices are still off about 55 percent since the June 2014 lows. (CNBC)

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) has agreed to buy medical device maker St. Jude Medical (STJ) for $25 billion. The offer represents a 37 percent premium to St. Jude's closing stock price Wednesday. (Reuters)

French pharma giant Sanofi (SNY) is making an all-cash offer to buy U.S. biotech firm Medivation in a deal worth about $9.3 billion, representing a 50 percent premium over the San Francisco-based firm's recent volume weighted average share price prior to takeover rumors. (Reuters)

Valeant (VRX) , with five directors stepping down, replaced by four new members and incoming CEO Joseph Papa. Separately activist investor Bill Ackman, a big Valeant shareholder, promised lawmakers he would urge the drugmaker to reduce prices. (WSJ)

Ford (F) earnings beat Wall Street estimates, but revenue missed. CEO Mark Fields told CNBC the automaker would continue to deliver great results.

Facebook (FB) shares were soaring in premarket trading, after widely exceeding earnings estimates and also beating on revenue. The social network said monthly active users, a key metric, were 1.65 billion at the end of the first quarter, higher than forecasts. (CNBC)

Facebook also proposed a new share structure to allow CEO Mark Zuckerberg to "keep founder control," while making good on a promise to put 99 percent of his shares into philanthropy. He said one of his charitable goals is to cure all diseases by the end of the century. (CNBC)

Charles Schwab (SCHW) will stop selling mutual funds that carry a load as of May 2. Figures from the Investment Company Institute show that investors pulled more than $500 billion from such funds with a commission between 2010 and 2014. (WSJ)

Volkswagen, accused of manipulating emissions test data on its diesel vehicles in the U.S. and Europe, faces a $9 billion buyback of its diesel vehicles. VW chief Matthias Mueller said, "Rules were broken and boundaries overstepped." (CNBC)

At least 14 doctors and patients were killed after a direct airstrike destroyed a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo, said medical charity Doctors Without Borders, which supports the facility. (NBC News)

Fresh off his first traditional policy speech, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump was back in classic form on the stump in Indiana, making fun of rival Ted Cruz for tapping Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running-mate. (NBC News)

Reeling from Tuesday's losses, Bernie Sanders said he's scaling back his upstart Democratic bid for the White House and laying off hundreds of campaign workers. (NY Times)

Eight years after the financial crisis, unemployment is at 5 percent, deficits are down and GDP is growing. Why do so many voters feel left behind? President Barack Obama told the New York Times he has a theory.


The busiest week of earnings season continues, with UPS (UPS), Viacom (VIAB), and MasterCard (MA) leading the way this morning. Amazon (AMZN) reports quarterly results after the bell this afternoon, along with Amgen (AMGN) and Expedia (EXPE).

In addition to those GDP figures, the government also releases initial jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. ET. Forecasts call for claims of 257,000 last week, up from the prior week's 42 and a half year low of 247,000.


Marriott (MAR), which is buying Starwood (HOT), reported adjusted quarterly profit of 87 cents per share, 3 cents above estimates, while revenue also beat forecasts. However, Marriott's current quarter forecast was short of forecasts.

PayPal (PYPL) earned an adjusted 37 cents per share for its latest quarter, 2 cents above estimates, with revenue slightly ahead of expectations. The payment service saw per-user transactions climb. It's also continuing its rollout of its Venmo peer-to-peer payment service.

Texas Instruments (TXN) beat estimates by 3 cents with earnings of 65 cents per share, with revenue also above estimates. While weathering weakness in the mobile phone and wearables market, the chipmaker is predicting solid earnings and revenue guidance.

Japanese electronics giant Sony posted a 666.5 percent rise in pretax profit for its full fiscal year, helped by cost cutting in its smartphone business and the continued popularity of the PlayStation 4.

Deutsche Bank (DB) posted a 58 percent drop in net profit in the first quarter, to $267 million, compared to the same period last year. The group posted a revenue decline of 22 percent year-on-year.

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) came in 7 cents ahead of estimates with quarterly profit of 68 cents per share, with revenue just slightly below. The restaurant chain's bottom line benefitted from more cost controls, and same-restaurant sales were up 1.7 percent from a year earlier.


The 2016 NFL draft is already off to an exciting start after the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles made deals to move up the board. Thirty-one NFL prospects will be taken in the first round tonight in Chicago. (USA today)

SpaceX, the commercial space firm run by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, plans to send a Dragon spacecraft to Mars as soon as 2018. And it appears NASA will assist. SpaceX recently completed its first successful ocean platform landing of a Falcon rocket. (CNBC)