While Wall Street waits on Tuesday's
Federal Open Market Committee
meeting, Japan continues to grab the headlines.
We're not talking about the dollar/yen relationship. For now, at least, that seems to have stabilized, the greenback lately sitting at around 111.33 yen.
This time it's the news that
Industrial Bank of Japan
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank
confirmed plans to form a joint holding company by autumn of 2001, and integrate their operations by spring of 2002. The alliance would create the world's largest banking group in terms of assets, those three banks controlling a whopping $1.3 trillion as of March, well above current leader
$735 billion. Though it first has to pass muster at Japan's
Fair Trade Commission
, the deal has sparked hope among investors for further consolidation in Japan's badly crowded financial sector.
Back in New York, stocks seem poised for a bit of a snapback from yesterday's selling. At 8 a.m. EDT, the
futures were up 2, about 1.5 points above fair value and indicating a slight hop at the open. The 30-year Treasury was up 5/32 to 101 14/32, its yield falling to 6.021%.
Whether or not the market can hold any early gains it garners is a bit touch and go. "We're hoping for some volume, but there's not reason to expect it ahead of the weekend" and next week's FOMC meeting, said Sam Ginzburg, managing director of equity trading at
"But I get the feeling that it might not be the worst thing to be a touch long into the weekend with the right stocks at the right prices," he surmised. Ginzburg admits to being one of a small camp who thinks the Fed might not hike next week, though he sees the market rallying even if rates go up by 25 basis points.
"The problem is that people aren't buying when the blood is in the streets. I'd take that bet
go long going into September."
Also factoring into today's action is the quarterly expiration of stock and index options, which may add some volatility to a thin August market.
In Tokyo, the IBJ alliance helped the
pick up 218.37, or 1.2%, to 18,098.11, the first time it's moved through the key 18,000 level since late July.
In Hong Kong, sentiment spillover from Japan and hopes of progress on China's effort to join the
World Trade Organization
gain 163.15, or 1.2%, to 13,566.74. Hong Kong stocks may be benefiting from reports of a fresh influx of foreign funds -- the origin of which are not entirely clear -- to the region.
European markets were higher toward midday amid the improved global sentiment. The London
was up 45.1 to 6163.1, while Frankfurt's
was 48.67 higher, or 0.9%, to 5235.52. The Paris
had gained 33.13 to 4442.03.
Friday's Wake-Up Watchlist
Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
is selling its rotating compressor unit to
for $180 million.
has decided to sell its
division, which publishes
Women's Wear Daily
, for $650 million to
Conde Nast Publications
, the publisher of magazines like
The New Yorker
The New York Times
, a unit of
, is speaking with
about taking a 32% stake in the company,
The Wall Street Journal
reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.
are in talks to merge in a transaction that could be valued at about $15 billion, the
reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
Earnings/revenue reports and previews
Dun & Bradstreet
yesterday warned it doesn't expect to meet analysts' earnings estimates of 40 to 41 cents a share for the third quarter and $1.73 to $1.75 a share for full year 1999. The company now expects full-year earnings to be between $1.62 and $1.65.
Offerings and stock actions
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
(AGIL:Nasdaq) 3 million-share IPO above-range at $21 a share. The estimated range for the IPO had been raised to $18 to $20 from $15 to $17. Agile, based in San Jose, Calif., is a content-management software company.
(LOOK:Nasdaq) 7.7 million-share IPO midrange at $12 a share. The deal was reduced to 9 million shares from 12 million, and then finally to 7.7 million. LookSmart is an Internet directory company based in San Francisco.
New York Times
is pondering an IPO for its Internet unit,
Times Co. Digital
, although a final decision on an IPO hasn't been made yet, the
reported. Chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., in a staff memo, also said the company is considering allowing all employees and not just those who work for the Net division to buy stock at the IPO price, the
article said. The New York Times is a minority shareholder in
, the publisher of this Web site.
Warburg Dillon Read
to buy from strong buy.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
to neutral from outperform. Dillard's posted second-quarter earnings yesterday that fell far short of Wall Street expectations.
Morgan Stanley downgraded
to outperform from strong buy.
to outperform from buy.
initiated coverage of
with an attractive rating.
The Heard on the Street column in the
says that some money managers think earnings for airline stocks are likely to stall and the stocks could slump further.