NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. equity futures are indicated lower this morning as Greece continues to weigh on the markets and ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting today and Wednesday, with Chair Janet Yellen's conference on Wednesday afternoon.
European bonds are selling off, as the chance that Greece exits the eurozone, and consequently the European Union, grows in investors' minds. Yields are higher in Italy, Spain and Portugal as the talks between Greece and its creditors falter. Greece has to repay 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the International Monetary Fund at the end of June. It has to make another, larger, payment to the European Central Bank in July.
The spillover effect from the Greek debt debacle is real, as in Germany, the ZEW monthly survey of economic sentiment plummeted to 31.5 in June from 41.9 in May. Separately, in China the Shanghai Composite Index continued its yo-yo ride, closing 3.4% lower.
Meanwhile, the Fed rate hike watch is on as we hear more details on Wednesday about the likelihood for a near-term (September) rate hike.
In the U.S., mergers and acquisitions fever has spread to the health insurance industry, where it has been recently disclosed that Humana (HUM) has put itself up for sale. Yesterday we learned that Anthem (ANTM) approached Cigna (CI) with a $45 billion buyout offer that was turned down. Today we learned that UnitedHealth (UNH) has offered to buy Aetna (AET) for around $40 billion.
Sadly, it will take a little longer next time you are shopping for some khakis as The Gap (GPS) - a competitor of VF Corp (VFC), held in the Trifecta Stocks portfolio -- announced yesterday that it plans to close 26% of its North American stores (175 stores) along with some corporate staff reductions as they seek to restructure their operations.
Earnings calls of note today include: Jefferies (LUK), FactSet Research (FDS), Bob Evans Farms (BOBE), and Adobe Systems (ADBE).
The Federal Open Market Committee meeting begins today. At 8:30 a.m., May housing starts are expected, with consensus at 1.090 million (from a prior 1.135 million).
At 4:30 p.m., the API weekly oil inventories are released.
- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has accused Greece's creditors of "pillaging" the country over the past years and wowed to resist creditors' demands for more austerity,the FT reports. Stocks in Asia and Europe plunged on the continuing dispute over Greece's bailout.
- Bank of Japan head Haruhiko Kuroda said he did not make the comments that sent the yen higher as a prediction of future moves of the nominal exchange rate. Kuroda last week said the yen's real exchange rate was very weak, prompting a jump in the Japanese currency. "I didn't say I do not want a weak yen," Kuroda said.
- Gap (GPS) said it would close a quarter of its specialty shops across North America over the next five years, including around 140 this year. The company did not say how many employees would be laid off as a result of the store closures. As of Jan. 31, Gap had about 141,000 full- and part-time employees in about 3,700 company-owned and franchise stores worldwide.
- Boeing (BA) said it sold 100 of its 737 MAX 8 passenger jets to Dutch aircraft leasing company AerCap, a deal which is worth $10.7 billion at catalog prices. Boeing is a holding of the Trifecta Stocks portfolio, where it was added nearly two years ago, and a competitor of BE Aerospace (BEAV) -- a long-time holding of the Growth Seeker portfolio.
- JetBlue Airways (JBLU) is eyeing a long-range plane from Airbus (EADSY) to carry passengers to long-distance destinations abroad, in a sign it could be preparing to expand the routes it covers. The largely U.S. domestic carrier sees a potential fit for the long-range version of Airbus's A321neo aircraft, JetBlue's Executive Vice President for Commercial and Planning Marty St. George told Reuters.