Pisani: Europe Banks Sag as US Retail (!) Climbs

Friday's late day reversal seems to have calmed overseas markets; European indices are plus or minus one percent for the most part, though Greek bonds are again weak. There are 3 percent to 4 percent declines in European banks. These banks have recently been dragged down by concerns of exposure to worrisome bonds issued by Greece, Spain, and Portugal.

Over the past month:

Bank of Ireland down 30 percent,

National Bank of Greece down 33 percent,

Credit Suisse down 24 percent,

Deutsche Bank down 22 percent,

ING down 22 percent),

Barclays down 16 percent.

Over the weekend, the G7 finance ministers meet near the Canadian Arctic and agreed that their governments should continue supporting their economies

European finance ministers tried to ease concerns over Greece's debt. Over the weekend, Germany's finance minister told German media "all our partners outside the euro zone have the clear impression that Europeans can solve these problems."


1) CVS Caremark rises 3 percent after topping Q4 earnings estimates by a penny. Overall revenues grew less than expected as its pharmacy services revenues were a bit disappointing - offsetting a better-than-expected 4.9 percent rise in retail pharmacy same-store sales.

2) Hasbro jumps 8 percent pre-open after the toymaker's results handily beat estimates ($1.09 vs. $0.81 consensus). Better-than-expected revenues were helped by strong sales of its popular line of "Transformers" toys (boys segment up 16 percent) as well as puzzles and games (up 18 percent).

Looking ahead, Hasbro expects it "should be able to grow revenues and earnings per share" this year - exceeding current analyst forecast of sales and earnings declines.

3) CIT hired former head of Merrill Lynch and NYSE Euronext John Thain as its next Chairman & CEO. The company hopes his hiring will help the commercial lender get back on track after it was forced to declare bankruptcy last year amid debt restructuring struggles.

4) Home Depot rises 1.5 percent after being upgraded at Morgan Stanley after the brokerage firm expressed optimism over the housing market. In its report, the firm believes "the turn in housing is real" and that the home improvement retailer will see positive comps and improving margins this year.

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