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Stocks Poised for Retreat from Record High; April Retail Sales; Bloomberg Bombshell

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute
Stocks Poised for Retreat from Record High; April Retail Sales; Bloomberg Bombshell

U.S. stock markets will reopen this morning in record territory. Both the Dow and S&P closed on Friday at all-time highs. The Dow ended the regular session at 15,118. and the S&P was perched at 1,633. One thing that could change that: retail sales for April, which were released at 8:30. They were up .1% for the month.

Meanwhile, there has been a shocking admission from one of the most trusted sources in business: Bloomberg. The company is now admitting that reporters for its news division spied on clients who use Bloomberg's data terminals. Still unclear, is the extent to which the spying went on; Bloomberg describes the access as limited and they reportedly disabled it after Goldman Sachs complained last month. In a Bloomberg editorial Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler wrote: “Our clients are right. Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable.”

There was one very happy family on mother's day. Shazi Visram who you see here, sold her Happy Family brand of organic baby and toddler foods to Danone. There's no exact pricetag on the deal but it's said to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. When Visram first laid out plans for her company as a business student 10-years ago she said Danone would eventually be an ideal buyer. She will keep an 8% stake in the company.


JP Morgan Chase (JPM) begins the new week with the possibility of new turmoil. Over the weekend The Wall Street Journal reported that CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon has threatened to leave the company. That is, if shareholders vote split his duties. Dimon's dual role at the company has become the source of contention in the wake of the London Whale trading scandal. Ballots in a non-binding vote will be counted next week to split the chairman and CEO positions. Dimon reportedly spoke of leaving at a private meeting last week. JP Morgan stock is up 40% over the past year. It hit its high back in March.

Next up, San Francisco-based drug maker Theravance (THRX), which is currently up 12% in early trading. Theravance shot up more than 11% on Friday when the FDA approved a new drug it has been testing for C.O.P.D. Meantime, over the weekend, the Irish pharmaceutical company Elan struck a $1-billion deal with Theravance for royalties on that drug and 3-others in late-stage development. This is an intriguing deal because Elan has been fighting a takeover bid. But the company says the new deal with Theravance is totally independent of the other battle.

Now, another drug maker, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (MACK), which reports today. This is a small cap company. Shares rose almost 6% on Friday. Merrimack is focused on developing treatments for cancer. Last month the company reported that a lung cancer drug failed in phase-2 trials. Shares dropped steeply at that point. They've climbed back a bit but are still down 19% this year. The company is expected to post losses of 28-cents a share, but that's a vast improvement from last year when they were more than $2 a share.

Finally this morning, a company that may have played a part in your breakfast: Post Holdings (POST), which was up 3 1/4 percent on Friday. The company is set to report earnings after today's closing bell. You may recall it was spun off from Ralcorp at the beginning of 2012. Just last week it announced the purchase of Hearthside which is a cereal, granola and snack company. Post is expected to post 27-cents a share, down more than 25% with a rise in revenue on higher costs. The stock is up 74% since its debut and it now at an all-time high.