Friday's Early Headlines
- Banks to Start TARP Repayments Next Week. - Some major U.S. banks plan to begin repaying government bailout funds next Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) - Get Report, Morgan Stanley (MS) - Get Report and American Express (AXP) - Get Report are among the firms that are expected to repay the funds they received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the report said. The firms received $25 billion, $10 billion and $3.4 billion, respectively.
- GM in Deal to Sell Saab Unit. - General Motors (GMGMQ) could announce as soon as Friday a deal to sell its Saab unit, according to The Wall Street Journal. GM is "very close" to cutting a preliminary deal to sell Sweden-based Saab, but it hasn't yet reached a final agreement, the report said. The sale Saab would mark GM's third deal in recent weeks to rid itself of four of its eight brands as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.
- Barclays Asset Management Unit Officially Sold. - After nearly a week's worth of rumors, BlackRock (BLK) - Get Report said late Thursday it reached a deal to acquire Barclays' (BCS) - Get Report Global Investors Unit, turning BlackRock into the world's largest asset manager.
- Rambus Settles with EU, Avoids Fine. - Memory chip maker Rambus said Friday that European Union antitrust regulators had provisionally agreed to drop a probe and any fines if the company reduced its royalty rates for DRAM memory chip patents, the Associated Press reports.
- G8 Meetings Set to Begin - Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will attend the Group of Eight, or G8, meetings in Italy that run from Friday through Saturday. Geithner is scheduled to meet Friday with Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano and Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, the Treasury said.
- Fed to Hold Off on Buying Bonds. - The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to significantly boost purchases of U.S. Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities when they meet in late June, but could make other adjustments in the face of rising bond yields and fresh signs of an improving economy.
- Senate Passes FDA Tobacco Bill. - The Senate overwhelmingly passed historic legislation Thursday that puts the tobacco industry under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration, The Wall Street Journal reported. Companies are weighing the impact of the bill, which they say also puts severe, perhaps unconstitutional, restrictions on advertising and packaging, the report said.
- A busy week for economic data winds to a close Friday, with the May read on import and export prices set for release, along with the University of Michigan's preliminary read on consumer sentiment for June. The sentiment report is likely to have increased to 69.5 from 68.7 last month, a good sign for investors hoping for the continued recovery of the consumer.