Global markets are sitting at 10-month highs this morning. Central bankers meeting in Jackson Hole curiously refrained from aggressive talk of an endgame in rate cuts; traders have taken this to mean that rate hikes are not imminent.
Mr. Bernanke's comments that the economy was on the verge of recovery helped U.S. stocks Friday and are helping Asian stocks today, though ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet warned of a "very bumpy road ahead" and that rebuilding a stronger regulatory system would be a long and difficult assignment.
1) Procter & Gamble agreed to sell its prescription drug division to the Irish specialty drug maker Warner Chilcott for $3.1 billion in cash. The unit, which P&G has been shopping since December, generates $2 billion in annual sales and produces drugs including Actonel (for osteoporosis) and Enablex (for overactive bladder treatment).
2) Credit card companies are rising in pre-market trading this morning. Capital One is up 2 percent, American Express rises 2 percent, and Discover Financial Services rises 9 percent following an upgrade from Barclays. Boosting them to "overweight," Barclays sees a steady rise in earnings over the next 3-5 years on continued improvement s in credit card defaults.
3) Speaking of financials, Bernstein downgrades PNC Bank as valuation is now less attractive.
"Based on accelerating credit pressures that surfaced in 2Q results, PNC 's "late cycle" loan mix, and signs that the commercial phase of the credit cycle could be a long and severe one for banks, we see a potentially rougher and/or longer ride through the later stages of the cycle for PNC, with marginal profitability for the next several quarters."
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