So much for waiting until Wednesday. Stocks are shooting higher in premarket trading despite the fact that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke isn't talking for two days. Dow futures have been up triple digits, and the NASDAQ has been nearly 30 points higher for much of the morning.
There's pressure this morning for a bacon-maker to break itself into bits. We're talking of course about pork producer Smithfield (SFD), which has been the object of a takeover attempt by a Chinese company. The Wall Street Journal reports that shareholder "Starboard Value" is urging Smithfield to explore a breakup. In a letter to be delivered today, Starboard proposes Smithfield separate itself into three companies. It says the break-up would value Smithfield's holdings between $44 and $55. China's Shuanghui has offered $34 a share for the company.
Apple (AAPL) is divulging details this morning on government data requests. The company has posted a statement on its website saying it got between 4,000 and 5,000 requests for customer information over the past six months. But this was not strictly related to terrorism. Apple says the most common requests came from police investigating robberies and other crimes, searches for missing children and people with Alzheimer's disease, as well as attempt to prevent a suicide. Apple's disclosure follows similar ones from Microsoft and Facebook last week.
Netflix (NFLX) has just announced a new programming partnership. The streaming service revealed a deal this morning to air original shows from DreamWorks (DWA). The agreement is the largest one yet for Netflix involving original programming. It's also the first time DreamWorks characters will be shown on the small screen as a branded collection of shows.
STOCKS TO WATCH
First this morning is Spanish telecom giant Telefonica, which is up more than 3.5% in early trading. A Spanish newspaper is reporting that AT&T (T) has put in a $93-billion bid to take over the company. Telefonica is denying the report. No comment so far from AT&T. The gains this morning push Telefonica stock just above the price where they started the year, around $13.75 a share.
Next up is Weyerhaeuser (WY) which made a number of announcements over the weekend. The lumber giant says it has signed a deal to buy Longview Timber for more than $2.5-billion dollars from Brookfield Asset Management. In a separate release, the company said it's exploring a merger, sale, or spin-off of its real estate company. And finally, the company board has named Doyle Simons to replace the retiring Dan Fulton as CEO in August. Weyerhaeuser is down about 3%. But shareholders don't have much reason to complain. Thanks to gains in 2012, the stock is up 35% over the past year.
Now SolarCity (SCTY), which is trading higher again this morning after posting a 6.6% climb on Friday. For the uninitiated, SolarCity like Tesla (TSLA) is a pet project of Elon Musk. On Friday, Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to outperform from neutral. SolarCity has in fact been dubbed an "Elon Musk trade" as it bucks the broader markets. Year-to-date SolarCity's shares are up 194%. That's beats even Tesla which is up 184% in the same time.
Finally, Discover Financial Services (DFS), which is set to report earnings sometime today. Analysts expect the company to post profits of $1.14 a share up from $1.oo a year ago on sales just topping $2-billion. Last week Oppenheimer labeled Discover an outperform saying the company has managed to diversify its lending during a period of slow credit card growth. Discover is now up 20% year-to-date. It has climbed an impressive 44% over the past year.