1. Asian Stocks Mixed Before US CPI Report, Yen Gains: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Stocks in Asia were mixed following cautious trading on Wall Street as traders await US inflation data that’s set to influence the timing of the Federal Reserve’s pivot to monetary easing. Japanese shares fell at the open after the benchmark Topix slid more than 2% on Monday amid growing speculation the central bank will tweak its policy in a meeting.

  2. Blackwells Questions Disney on Value Act Pension Management Role

    (Bloomberg) — Blackwells Capital contends that Walt Disney Co. should have disclosed that Value Act Capital Management was managing some of its pension fund assets, stirring tensions between the two activist investment firms as they pursue different agendas at the entertainment giant.

  3. Biden-Netanyahu Spat Spills Into Public View as Gaza Deaths Rise

    (Bloomberg) — The almost-daily phone calls stopped months ago. Now the tensions between Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel’s war on Hamas have burst into the open as the two leaders bicker publicly. Late last week, the US announced its army would build a pier to bring aid to civilians in Gaza, with food short and relief groups warning of famine.

  4. Momentum Shifts Toward Russia in Ukraine War, US Spies Warn

    (Bloomberg) — The deadlock in Ukraine is “shifting the momentum” in the war there in Moscow’s favour, US intelligence agencies told senators on Monday. Moscow has made continual, incremental battlefield gains since late 2023 and benefits from uncertainties about the future of military assistance from the US and allies, the top intelligence officials told members.

  5. Half of BOJ Watchers Still See April Move While March Bets Rise

    (Bloomberg) — A slim majority of Bank of Japan watchers still expects the end of negative rates to come in April, but almost everyone agrees there’s a risk the move could come next week, according to a Bloomberg survey. The proportion of 50 economists forecasting the BOJ will end the world’s last negative rate in April slipped to 54% in the latest survey from 59% in January.

  6. ECB Officials Are Leaning Toward Keeping Minimum Reserve at 1%

    (Bloomberg) — The European Central Bank is leaning against any immediate change in the amount of money lenders need to park with it interest-free, removing for now the threat of a hit to bank profitability. Ahead of a crucial meeting on Wednesday on a revamp of the ECB’s framework for implementing monetary policy, a push by some hawkish officials to increase the so-called Minimum Reserve Requirements.

  7. Barred Senegal Opposition Leader Urges Top Court to Cancel Vote

    (Bloomberg) — Senegalese opposition politician Karim Wade asked the nation’s top court to annul a decision to schedule elections for March 24, arguing there’s not enough time to prepare for the ballot. The court bid raises the potential for another delay to a vote that was supposed to take place Feb. 25, before being cancelled by President Macky Sall.

  8. Stock Rally Stalls in Countdown to Inflation Data: Markets Wrap

    (Bloomberg) — Wall Street traders found little encouragement to keep pushing the stock market higher at the start of a week that will bring the last inflation figures before the next Federal Reserve decision. Equities edged lower on Monday, with investors awaiting more clues on whether the recent uptick in consumer prices was just a blip.

  9. Argentina Cuts Rates to 80% in Surprise Move as Inflation Cools

    (Bloomberg) — Argentina’s central bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark interest rate to 80% from 100% as policymakers see monthly inflation cooling while the peso continues to strengthen against the US dollar in parallel markets. Despite annual inflation over 250%, the monetary authority cited a range of factors in explaining the cut late Monday night.

  10. Saudi Wealth Fund Eyes $20 Billion Windfall from Aramco Dividend

    (Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is set to earn about $5 billion in dividend payments every quarter from its stake in Aramco after the government handed it more shares in the state-controlled oil company, which then said it would boost shareholder payouts.

  11. AAP: Advance Auto Parts nears settlement with activist, WSJ says

    Activist hedge fund Third Point has a stake in Advance Auto Parts and is close to a settlement with the company that will add three new directors to its board, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal’s Company to Lauren Thomas.

  12. US natural gas producer EQT Corp. agreed to buy back former unit Equitrans Midstream Corp. for about $5.5 billion in stock, the latest in a flurry of deals in the oil and gas pipeline industry.

    The transaction will give EQT control of the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline project. Championed by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin but years behind schedule following legal battles and local opposition, the $7.6 billion conduit is due to be completed in the second quarter. It will take gas from the land-locked Marcellus shale basin in Appalachia — the biggest US source of the fuel — to markets in the Southeast and, potentially, to liquefied natural gas export terminals on the Gulf Coast. EQT said Monday that the takeover will also help cut the break-even point at which it generates free cash flow, reduce the need for hedging and enhance its agility to cash in on increases in gas prices.

  13. Oracle Corp. surged 13% after reporting a spike in bookings attributed to its closely watched cloud computing business, showing progress in its bid to capture more share of the competitive market.

    Remaining performance obligation — a measure of Oracle’s sales backlog — was $80 billion at the end of the quarter ended in February. That was significantly ahead of the $59 billion expected by analysts. Chief Executive Officer Safra Catz pointed to this figure, which she said was driven by “large new cloud infrastructure contracts signed in the third quarter,” as evidence of momentum. The Austin-based company, known for its database software, is focused on expanding its cloud infrastructure business to compete with Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. That effort has faced headwinds in recent quarters as growth rates slowed. But there were signs of stabilizing in the third quarter, with sales gaining at nearly the same pace as the three months preceding it. Shares jumped to as high as $130.72 in extended trading.

  14. Moderna climbs as much as 10.3%, to its highest level since January, after a government trial website shows the drugmaker is starting a mid-stage study to test its experimental cancer vaccine in patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.

    The trial is in collaboration with Merck & Co. Moderna is also testing the vaccine in the treatment of patients with severe melanomas, another type of skin cancer.

  15. Novo Nordisk A/S’s weight-loss drug, Wegovy, recently gained expanded US approval to include reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

    This expanded approval could further widen use and insurer coverage of the medication. The Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services, US federal health insurance programme for the elderly and certain long-term disabled individuals, is currently reviewing the FDA’s action to expand use of Wegovy. The company is awaiting a similar decision from European regulators that is expected in April 2024.

  16. A block of 640,000 shares in Albemarle Corp., equivalent to 0.5% of float, traded at a market value of $80.1 million at 2:53 p.m. New York time.

    In the past two weeks, there were four other signals: Albemarle closed above its upper Bollinger band and trading in the company’s stock and bonds surged.

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