NEW YORK (
) -- Here are the top stock market headlines for the morning of Wednesday, April 7, 2010.
Wednesday's Early Headlines
- Greenspan, Citi Execs Expected to Face Grilling -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as well as former Citigroup (C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report CEO Chuck Prince and former Citi Chairman Robert Rubin, will appear before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to face questioning on the cause of the financial crisis. The hearings on Wednesday and Thursday will examine Citigroup's role in financing, packaging and selling subprime mortgage loans.
- Mortgage Applications Fall; Rates Jump -- The Mortgage Bankers Association said its Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, fell a seasonally adjusted 11% last week, as refinancing applications plummeted 16.9% from the prior week. On the other hand, purchasing applications inched 0.2% higher compared with the previous week, the survey showed. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate jumped to 5.31% last week from 5.04% the previous week, the MBA said.
- Geithner to Visit Beijing Thursday -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will meet Thursday in Beijing with a Chinese vice premier as the U.S. and China find themselves in a currency dispute. A Geithner spokesman said the Treasury secretary would meet with Wang Qishan, the vice premier in charge of economic affairs, according to reports. Geithner said over the weekend he would delay a report to Congress on the currency policies of major U.S. trading partners so that the U.S. can hold discussions with Chinese officials.
- Goldman Sachs Denies It Bet Against Clients -- Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report defended its business model and its actions ahead of the 2008 financial crisis in a letter to shareholders published Wednesday. While the letter argues Goldman's "direct exposure to AIG (AIG) - Get American International Group, Inc. Report was minimal," it acknowledges that "Goldman Sachs and every other financial institution and company benefitted from the continued viability of AIG." Addressing criticisms that Goldman bet against mortgage products it was selling, the letter states that Goldman was merely offsetting exposures and were not a "bet against our clients."
- Renault, Nissan, Daimler in 3-Way Pact -- The Renault and Nissan (NSANY) alliance unveiled Wednesday a broad strategic cooperation agreement with Germany's Daimler (DAI) . The Renault/Nissan alliance will take a 3.1% stake in Daimler, while Daimler will get a 3.1% stake in Renault and a 3.1% stake in Nissan.
- Macarthurs Rejects Peabody's Increased Bid -- Australia's Macarthur Coal rejected an increased takeover offer from U.S. coal miner Peabody Energy (BTU) - Get Peabody Energy Corporation Report. MacArthur's board unanimously voted against Peabody's offer of 14 Australian dollars ($12.91) a share, or a total of about $3.3 billion, which was an increase from Peabody's earlier bid of A$13 a share. "Peabody's revised proposal remains highly conditional and does not fully value Macarthur and its significant growth prospects," Macarthur Chairman Keith De Lacy said in a statement.
- CKE Gets Alternative Takeover Offer -- CKE Restaurants (CKE) said Wednesday it received an alternative takeover proposal to acquire all its outstanding shares. CKE Restaurants said its board has determined "after consultation with the company's financial and legal advisors, that the takeover proposal is reasonably expected to lead to a 'superior proposal,' as such term is defined in the agreement and plan of merger that was entered into on February 26, 2010 with affiliates of private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners." CKE didn't disclose the identity of the company making the proposal.
Wednesday's Earnings Roundup
- Monsanto (MON) posted a second-quarter profit of $1.70 a share on revenue of $3.89 billion, below the Thomson Reuters average estimate for a profit of $1.73 a share on revenue of $3.93 billion. While Monsanto confirmed its full-year earnings range of $3.10 to $3.30 a share, it acknowledged that its goal of doubling 2007 gross profit by 2012 is unlikely.
- Family Dollar (FDO) reported a second-quarter profit of 81 cents a share on revenue of $2.09 billion, compared to the consensus target for a profit of 78 cents a share on sales of $2.09 billion. Looking ahead, Family Dollar offered better-than-expected earnings guidance for its third quarter and full year.
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-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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