Stock Market Today - Greece Divide Grows

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- European stocks started the week in the red, and U.S. stock index futures indicate a weaker open for Wall Street right now. Jitters in the bond markets are one factor, but there is also the seemingly eternal problem over in the eurozone.

Greece. What would financial journalists do without you? You are akin to the President for late night talk show hosts -- you give them plenty of material in what seems to be a never ending soap opera.

That said, the headlines out of Greece read poorly, with both parties far apart and the rhetoric getting divisive. It's important that investors recognize the reason this is so well covered by financial journalists is that there could be serious market reactions to a negative outcome, and investors' portfolios should account for that chance in the form of increased risk management.

Sluggish import and export data hit the Chinese market today but the Shanghai composite closed 2.2% higher because the data supports continued intervention by China's central bank. What's bad is actually good in China, and the weak numbers were of course not much of a surprise.

There are reports that the Canada Pensions Plan Investment Board may be the buyer for about half of General Electric's (GE) private equity lending business -- and its more than $10 billion in assets, which it has previously stated it was trying to sell. The rest of the business is being pursued by Growth Seeker's Ares Capital (ARCC), which currently operated a joint venture with GE and its Senior Secured Loan Program. Bloomberg is reporting that Ares has lined up financial backing for the deal.

In Mergers and Acquisition news, there are reports that Shire (SHPG) is angling to try and win control of Actelion, a Swiss biotech behemoth with a market value close to $19 billion, but that Actelion is not currently interested in a Shire bid.

Separately, Monsanto (MON) has offered Syngenta (SYT) a $2 billion break-up fee if they fail to consummate their deal for the company. But, Syngenta remains unimpressed with Monsanto's $45 billion offer and has indicated it does not find the sweetened offer with the break-up fee to be enticing.

Earnings calls of note today include Sears (SHLD), Bio-Reference Labs (BRLI), Casey's General Stores (CASY), H&R Block (HRB), United Natural Foods (UNFI), and Pep Boys (PBY).

There are no major domestic economic reports due today.

Happy trading!

  • Chinese exports fell 2.5% in May while imports plunged by 17.6%, signaling that the Chinese economy was still searching for a bottom and highlighting the need for more stimulus. Imports of oil and iron ore in May fell 11% from a year earlier, underscoring soft demand at home and oversupply.
  • Japan's economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter, as firms boosted their capital investment. The economy grew an annualized 3.9% in the first three months of this year, handily beating a preliminary estimate of a 2.4% gain, and topping a median market estimate for 2.7% growth.
  • Europe's largest economy got off to a strong start of the second quarter, as German exports and industrial output rose by more than expected in April. Seasonally adjusted exports jumped by 1.9% on the month, data from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Monday, far outstripping the consensus forecast of analysts for a rise of 0.1%. Industrial output rose by 0.9% in April from March, beating expectations of a 0.6% increase in a Bloomberg survey.
  • Monsanto (MON) has offered to pay a reverse break-up fee of $2 billion to Swiss rival Syngenta (SYT) if regulators do not approve a merger of the two. Syngenta, which had earlier rejected a $45 billion offer, said the break-up fee was inadequate.
  • The co-chief executives of Deutsche Bank (DB) announced their resignations on Sunday, as pressure from shareholders had intensified following a series of regulatory penalties at the German banking giant. Deutsche Bank's shares jumped by 8% in the morning in Frankfurt on the news.

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