China is down a bit more than 1 percent on a currency flap between the U.S. and China, and on vague concerns of higher interest rates.
1) Credit card trends improving: Capital One reported net charge-offs (loans unlikely to be collected) declined to 10.19 percent, from 10.41 percent in January. Delinquencies (30 days late or more) of 5.51 percent, from 5.8 percent in January. Auto loan charge-offs are also improving. Barclays Capital said "credit trends are improving and could be even better in the coming months if we experience the normal seasonal tailwinds." Several firms--including Macquarie and William Blair--raised estimates for the quarter.
2) Phillips-Van Heusen rises 4 percent after announcing it would acquire Tommy Hilfiger from private equity firm Apax Partners. At a price tag of $3.0 billion, the acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger is valued more than the current $2.4 billion market cap of Phillips-Van Heusen, the maker of Izod and Calvin Klein. The deal is expected to be accretive to earnings this year.
3) Boston Scientific plunges 17 percent after Bernstein Research noted that the medical device maker is suspending all sales of its implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICDs—similar to a pacemaker) indefinitely due to am FDA review of documentation errors related to the manufacturing process.
On the still unconfirmed report, rivals St. Jude and Medtronic are getting a small boost - up 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
4) PepsiCo moves up 1 percent after raising its annual dividend by 7 percent to $1.92 and announcing a $15 billion stock buyback program, continuing the string of dividend hikes and share repurchases companies have announced this quarter.
5) Wal-Mart is up 1 percent after being upgraded to "buy" at Citigroup on expectations the discounter will remain very aggressive with its pricing strategies to continue building its market share.
Citi also raises the retailer's full-year comps and boosts earnings estimates by $0.04 to $4.04, above the current Street consensus estimate of $3.98.
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