A Shanghai flu is leaving markets worldwide under the weather. China came out with a much weaker than expected report today on exports. The government says shipments out of the country fell 3.1% in June, when forecasts were for a rise of 3.7%. It's the first time there's been a drop in 17 months. That helped markets in China, on hopes the central bank may offer help. But the effect has been the opposite everywhere else. Yahoo! Finance Senior Columnist Mike Santoli has more in the video above.
Expect a call today for a crackdown on some of the nation's biggest lenders. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will argue that it has the power to regulate debt collection practices under the Dodd-Frank act. The move comes just a day after many of the same banks were dealt a different blow. Several federal agencies are proposing stricter banking rules to prevent future bailouts. Among those rules: a requirement for banks to double the amount of capital they hold as protection against every loan, not just risky ones. The FDIC says many banks still think taxpayer rescues would be available to them, just as they were during the meltdown.
Smithfield Foods (SFD) is going from the frying pan to the fire. Executives from the world's largest pork producer will be appearing today before a Senate committee. They'll be fielding questions about the company's proposed $4.7 billion sale to China's Shuanghui. The deal is expected to be approved despite opposition from farmers and food safety groups. Smithfield stock is up 46% so far this year. It rose 30% in May when the takeover plan was announced.
If you thought the Lone Ranger was going to quietly ride off into the sunset, think again. Though the Johnny Depp movie hasn't made much noise at the box office, we could hear about it for quite some time. Several analysts now think Disney (DIS) will take a $100 million write-down on the film when it reports earnings next month. The movie cost $250 million dollars to make. It took in less than 20-percent of that in its debut this past weekend.
STOCKS TO WATCH
Family Dollar (FDO) has been up as much as 6% in early trading after reporting earnings at 7am. The company says it made $1.05 a share, 2-cents above estimates. Revenue was right in line with expectations at $2.57 billion, rising 9% over last year. Family Dollar says its market share is increasing. The company did warn however that its customers are being forced to make spending choices. So, at this point, the chain is focusing on improving margins. Prior to this morning, Family Dollar stock was down fractionally since the start of 2013. It took a sharp drop in January on a downgrade and has been mounting a comeback ever since.
Yum! Brands (YUM) reports after the closing bell. The big story with Yum! remains performance of its stores in China, where the company has its biggest presence outside the U.S. The question is whether the company's KFC outlets have recovered from a series of setbacks. Analysts are expecting a considerable drop from last year with earnings per share of 54-cents down from 67-cents on revenue that's now south of the $3-billion mark. So far the stock is up 8% this year, and is sitting just pennies above its average price target.
Nu Skin (NUS) has been up 14% in early trading. Shares jumped after the company increased its outlook for the quarter, now estimating revenue will be $680 million, at least $100 million more than it said before. Earnings are also expected to be 1/3 higher than previously predicted. Even before the rise we're seeing now, shares of Nu Skin are up 79% since the start of 2013.
On-line reservation service Open Table (OPEN) has been down as much as 5% since yesterday's close. It actually rose 3% in the regular session, but then Citigroup initiated coverage of the company with a sell rating. The stock is up 32% so far this year, but is still far below its all time high of about $115 a share a little more than two years ago.