Stocks Slide at the Start on Spain Jitters

U.S. stocks began Wednesday in retreat, with the benchmark indexes sliding more than 1% on concern about Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis, and rising borrowing costs in Spain and Italy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 110.65 points to 12,821.44. The S&P 500 shed 13.19 points to 1,350.53. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 25.46 points to 2,920.81.

Spanish banks were set to come under more pressure. Reuters said Wednesday that the Spanish government will ask banks to set aside another 35 billion euros ($45 billion) against loans to builders in an announcement set for Friday after the government’s weekly cabinet meeting.

Macy’s is reporting a 38 percent increase in its first-quarter profit as the department store chain continues to reap benefits from its move to tailor its fashions to local markets. The retailer said Wednesday that its net income rose to $181 million, or 43 cents per share, for the three-month period ended April 28. That’s up from $131 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 4.3 percent to $6.14 billion.

GlaxoSmithKline will take its $2.6 billion bid for Human Genome Sciences direct to shareholders this week, after its takeover offer was rejected last month by the U.S. biotech group’s board. The decision to go hostile with the $13 a share cash tender offer sets GSK up for a potentially lengthy battle with those Human Genome investors who believe it is not offering enough.

Home-furnishings chain Bed, Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) said Wednesday that it will acquire Cost Plus Inc. (NASDAQ:CPWM) for $22 a share. That marked a 22% premium over Cost Plus’s closing price of $17.99 on Tuesday. Based on Cost Plus’s 23.5 million shares outstanding as of Jan. 28, the deal would be valued at $517.4 million.






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