Markets will be looking at the economy this week. Data on housing, jobs and GDP are all on tap. Tuesday's releases include the S&P Case-Shiller Report on housing and the latest Consumer Confidence report. U.S. first-quarter GDP numbers hit the wires Wednesday morning. That afternoon, the Fed makes their FOMC statement where we'll get their latest forecast for the economy and get an update on "the taper." And finally, the jobs report on Friday.
Pharma mega-merger news continues. Drug giant Pfizer (PFE) is offering to buy Britain's 2nd largest pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) for $99 billion in cash and stock. That's a 15% premium to Friday's close. AstraZeneca, however, is urging shareholders to reject the deal saying the deal undervalues the company. This is Pfizer second attempt at a takeover, after it made an initial offer in January.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and E.U. are set to impose new sanctions on Russia over the continued crisis in Ukraine. This new round will focus on people and companies with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Existing sanctions have yet to thwart the escalating situation, but they may be hurting their economy. Investors have pulled $60 billion of capital from Russia in recent weeks as stocks have tumbled.
General Electric (GE) is one of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching today. The company may have competition in its attempt to acquire the turbine and power grid unit of French company Alstom. Some French officials were pushing for a rival bid from Siemens (SI), who said it wants to engage in talks with Alstom. GE's CEO Jeff Immelt, met with the French president Francois Hollande today. According to Bloomberg, Hollande doesn’t oppose a GE deal, but wants to protect French jobs and maintain the independence of the French nuclear industry. Meanwhile, French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, supports a Siemens bid that would involve exchanging some of the company’s rail assets for Alstom’s energy unit.
Apple (AAPL) is preparing for a $17 billion bond sale that could be the second largest in history, according to the Financial Times. They'll use the sale of the debt to fund its share buyback, instead of using its $150 billion cash pile. About 88%, or about 130 billion of that cash pile, is held over seas. Bringing it back to the U.S. would lead to it to be taxed at a higher rate. Breakout host Jeff Macke spoke with Aaron Task about the bond sale. Macke, who is an Apple shareholder said, “I love that they’re arguing over ways to best serve me.” However, he said all of that financial positioning would be trumped by being innovative. “Fix your stores; maybe make phones a tiny bit bigger,” he said.
It's been a few days since a recording was released that is alleged to be Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling saying he was embarrassed that his girlfriend was taking photos with African-Americans. The NBA is investigating the incident and team members have already held a silent protest. If the tape is authentic and the allegations are true, should the NBA fire or fine him, or should other “market forces” like the players or the public determine Sterling’s fate by not playing for the Clippers and not watching its games? That brings us to today’s poll question. What consequences should there be for racist remarks allegedly made by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling? Vote in our poll and leave a comment below.