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Reports US

US stock market, economy and companies update (April 21, 2014)

April 21, 2014, Monday, 15:28 GMT | 10:28 EST | 19:58 IST | 22:28 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- US equity trading volumes are way below average this morning thanks to the Easter holiday weekend. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.09%, S&P500 is flat and the Nasdaq is down 0.08%.

- In FX trading, the major pairs were largely contained within their narrow holiday ranges. EUR/USD is holding above 1.38, while USD/JPY rose to two-week high above ¥102.60 during the Asian session after Japan reported a wider-than-expected trade deficit.

- Yesterday there were UK press reports that Pfizer was said to be mulling a $100 billion bid for AstraZeneca. Follow-up reports out this morning suggest that the two companies met and talked a few months ago, negotiations went nowhere and talks are dormant right now. Nevertheless, there are also other report suggesting AZN has hired Goldman and Morgan Stanley to work as advisors for a possible defense. AstraZeneca's US-traded ADRs are up nearly 6%.

- Shares of Sarepta gained more than 60% in the premarket after disclosing that it received FDA guidance on submitting an NDA for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy candidate eteplirsen. The company is planning to submit an NDA for the drug before the end of the year, possibly under an accelerated approval pathway. Recall that last November, the FDA disclosed that that the failure of Protensa's drisapersen meant an eteplirsen NDA filing would be premature and raised considerable doubt about key concepts supporting drisapersen and eteplirsen. SRPT is down to +45% midmorning, while RNA is up 6% or so.

- Oil services giant Halliburton is up 4% or so after modestly exceeding revenue and earnings expectations. The company reported solid profits compared to a small net loss a year ago. The firm said gains in overseas markets made up for the very weak quarter in North America, and also said that activity in NA would pick up later this year. SLB and BHI are up nearly 2% a piece in sympathy.

- Consumer healthcare goods firm Kimberly Clark barely met beaten down consensus expectations in its first quarter, and earnings were flat on a y/y basis. The firm said continuing input cost inflation and FX headwinds remain a big problem for the business. Shares of KMB had slipped more than 2.5% in the premarket but are back to unchanged mid morning.

- AMD gained as much as 8% in the premarket and has continued gaining ground in cash trading, with shares up more than 12% before turning around mid morning. AMD offered positive FY14 comments after the close on Thursday.

- After Walmart's big money transfer announcement last Friday, multiple analysts have cut ratings on MoneyGram. Shares of MGI are down more than 10% this morning after the analyst actions, compounding Friday's losses.

***Looking Ahead***
- 11:30 (US) Treasury to sell combined $48B in 3-Month and 6-Month Bills

***Economic Data***
- (US) Mar Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index: 0.20 v 0.20e
- (US) Mar Leading Index: 0.8% v 0.7%e