Tuesday's Early Headlines
- Resolution Acquires Friends Provident. - The Wall Street Journal reports that U.K. insurer Friends Provident Group has agreed to be bought by restructuring firm Resolution in a sweetened deal worth about $3.1 billion. Resolution has had plans to acquire three insurers in the next two to three years, targeting companies with management teams that weren't providing enough value to shareholders. Separately, Bloomberg reported that Clive Cowdery, entrepreneur and Resolution's founder, said the company has enough funds for at least two further acquisitions.
- Judge Delays OK of BofA, SEC Settlement. - U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said Monday he needs more information before he can approve the $33 million settlement between Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last week, BofA agreed to settle charges that it misled investors about Merrill Lynch's bonus payment plans.
- Smaller Banks May Need Fresh Capital: Report. - Bloomberg reports that smaller U.S. banks may need $12 billion to $14 billion in additional capital to cope with troubled loans still on their books, according to a monthly report from the Congressional Oversight Panel. While larger banks appear prepared to handle more loan losses, banks with assets of $600 million to $1 billion may face bigger challenges, the panel said.
- Chevy Volt to Get 230 Miles Per Gallon - General Motors said Tuesday that its Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle is expected to achieve city fuel economy of at least 230 miles per gallon, based on development testing using a draft EPA federal fuel economy methodology for labeling for plug-in electric vehicles. The Volt, which is scheduled to start production in late 2010 as a 2011 model, is expected to travel up to 40 miles on electricity from a single battery charge and be able to extend its overall range to more than 300 miles with its flex fuel-powered engine-generator.
- Federal Open Market Committee Convenes Tuesday - The Federal Reserve's policy-making arm will begin their two-day meeting on interest rate policy today, with an announcement to come Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. EDT. The FOMC is expected to hold rates in the target range of zero to 0.25%.
- Other Economic Data Due - At 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Labor Department will post the preliminary reading on second-quarter productivity and unit labor costs. Productivity should rise 5.5% while unit labor costs should fall 2.5%, according to economists' estimates. Later, at 10 a.m. EDT, the Census Bureau will release the June reading on wholesale inventories, which should decline 0.9%.
Tuesday's Earnings Roundup
- Fossil (FOSL - Get Report) reported second-quarter earnings of 25 cents, a nickel better than the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. Revenue fell 10.6% from a year ago to $315.9 million, below estimates for $321 million. The fashion company issued downside guidance for the third quarter, although Fossil did offer a better-than-expected guidance range for the fourth quarter.
- Enterprise GP Holdings (EPE - Get Report) said it had second-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, coming in below the Thomson Reuters average estimate of 37 cents a share. Revenue dropped sharply from a year ago, down 46.9% to $5.43 billion, coming up shy of the consensus target of $5.46 billion.
- Bridgepoint Education (BPI) posted adjusted second-quarter earnings of 34 cents a share, better than the Thomson Reuters consensus of 23 cents a share. Revenue jumped 122% to $110.9 million, exceeding Wall Street's target of $99.2 million. Bridgepoint said new enrollments surged in the second quarter. The education company also offered upside guidance for the full year for the top and bottom line.