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May 12 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know

Stocks in this article: PFE FOX AZN NDAQ AIG MCK HSH PF

Updated from 6:50 a.m. EDT

Here are 10 things you should know for Monday, May 12:

-- U.S. stock futures rose, European markets were mixed and Asian shares finished Monday's session mostly higher on promises of financial reform.

China's Shanghai Composite rose 2.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.8%. China's State Council over the weekend reiterated a commitment to financial market liberalization. 

2. -- The economic calendar in the U.S. on Monday includes the Treasury Budget for April at 2 p.m. EDT.

3. -- U.S. stocks on Friday rallied in the final hour of trading on Friday, boosting the Dow Jones Industrial Average to an all-time closing high.

The Dow gained 0.2% to 16,583.34, while the S&P 500 added 0.15% to close at 1,878.48. The Nasdaq closed up 0.5% to 4,071.87. The Dow for the week climbed 0.43%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped 0.14% and 1.26%, respectively.

4. -- Nearly 90% of voters in the Donetsk region voted in favor of independence from Ukraine and 10% voted against it, CNN reported, citing an election official.

Pro-Russian separatists eager to declare independence from Kiev held the vote Sunday.

A similar question was put to voters in Luhansk. Preliminary results were expected Monday, officials said, CNN reported.

Acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov slammed the results. "This propagandist farce will not have any legal consequences, only criminal responsibility of its organizers," Turchynov said in a statement Monday.

Russia, however, welcomed the vote.

"Moscow respects the will of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and hopes that the practical implementation of the outcome of the referendums will proceed along civilized lines, without repeat outbreaks of violence," the Kremlin said in a statement.

5. -- Pfizer (PFE) posted videos online this weekend in its latest effort to win over critics of its proposed purchase of British drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN).

In four videos on Pfizer's Web site, CO Ian Read sought to allay concerns that the deal would lead to a loss of stature in science in the United Kingdom. He said Pfizer had expanded its research in Cambridge, Mass., and envisions pursuing a similar strategy for Britain's Cambridge, north of London, where many scientists work.

Pfizer has been trying to buy its British rival since January, but has been rebuffed three times. AstraZeneca said Pfizer's latest offer of $106 billion in cash and stock undervalues the company and that a takeover would disrupt its work on a potentially lucrative pipeline of new drugs.

Pfizer shares rose 0.5% to $29.17 in premarket trading on Monday; AstraZeneca rose 0.9% to $77.93.

6. -- Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) hired Adena Friedman as co-president as part of a broad restructuring of the company that positions Friedman as the most likely to succeed Robert Greifeld as CEO, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Friedman returns to Nasdaq after serving for three years as chief financial officer at Carlyle Group (CG).

Friedman will become president of Nasdaq's information services, technology solutions and corporate client group businesses. She starts next month. 

She is now the "leading candidate" to take over as chief executive when Greifeld departs, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the plans.

7. -- BSkyB said it's in the early stages of talks with 21st Century Fox (FOX) to buy its pay television assets in Italy and Germany.

A deal would create a pay-TV company with the power to sell services in three European territories. It also would allow Rupert Murdoch to consolidate his interests. While 21st Century Fox currently owns 57% of Sky Deutschland and all of Sky Italia, it owns 39% of BSkyB.

8. -- Two front-runners have emerged in the race to succeed Robert Benmosche at the top of American International Group  (AIG), the Journal reported.

Directors at the insurance company have narrowed the field of internal candidates to two executives, Peter Hancock and Jay Wintrob, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The board hopes to make a selection as soon as September.

Hancock runs AIG's global property-casualty business. Wintrob operates the company's life-insurance and retirement business.

AIG's annual shareholders meeting is scheduled for Monday.

9. -- McKesson (MCK), the medical-products company, is forecast by Wall Street on Monday to report fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $2.40 a share on revenue of $35.86 billion.

10. -- Hillshire Brands (HSH) reached a deal to buy Pinnacle Foods (PF), whose brands include Duncan Hines, Bird's Eye, Hungry Man and Aunt Jemima, in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $4.23 billion.

Hillshire shares rose 5.1% in premarket trading to $38.84; Pinnacle shares rose 21.4% to $36.96.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

To contact the writer of this article, click here:Joseph Woelfel

To submit a news tip, send an email

Follow @josephwoe58


Copyright 2014 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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