Employment Report Flops and the NSA Gets Nosy: Morning Buzzers
The highly anticipated Employment Situation report was released this morning. Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in May, according to the May 2013 Employment Situation report. The gain was more than expected by many analysts, but the headline unemployment rate actually ticked up from 7.5 to 7.6 percent. Last month’s payroll increase of 165,000 was downwardly revised to 149,000. The number of unemployed persons remained “essentially unchanged” at 11.8 million. The labor force participation rate has come down 0.4 percent this year to date.
Futures at 8:30 a.m.: DJIA: +0.35% S&P 500: +0.49% NASDAQ: +0.51%
Here’s what’s buzzing on Friday morning:
Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON), the world’s largest seed company, is being sued by farmers over genetically modified wheat that may have contaminated the regular food supply. Monsanto is accused of having field-tested their Roundup Ready weed killer across 16 states without permission from the government. South Korea and Japan have both halted their U.S. wheat purchases following the scandal, and European Union officials say they will be testing all incoming shipments for the genetically modified wheat.
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) will be facing some angry investors at its annual investors meeting today. Some of the company’s biggest investors are expected to bring some serious discontent to the meeting regarding the company’s bribery scandal in Mexico. Investors are expected to vote against directors over the scandal and ask for disciplinary action against those involved, but since the founding Walton family owns over half the company’s shares, change is unlikely. It was reported last year that the company’s Mexican subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico, bribed Mexican officials to ease expansion into the country.
Samsung shares have fallen after analysts cut profit expectations for the new Galaxy S4. Previous estimates had expected the company to sell 80 million of the phones this year, but that number has been cut to 60 million. Analysts from JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) said that the smartphone’s, “peak-quarter number seems way below our previous estimates.” Shares fell 6.2 percent by the end of Seoul trading, a four month low for the company.
The National Security Agency is tracking phone data from Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), and Sprint (NYSE:S). The NSA has access to information on calls made from within the U.S. The White House claims these measures are ”a critical tool in protecting the nation from terror threats.” As the case unravels the access the NSA has to American’s private information is being brought to light. Several newspapers have reported that the NSA also monitors personal Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) pages and customers’ purchase information from credit card companies.
UBS (NYSE:UBS) has come under investigation in France. The company is accused of offering clients investments that would help them evade taxes. UBS allegedly helped wealthy clients set up undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland. Last week, France put the company’s French operations under a formal investigation, signifying that there is serious and consistent evidence that could implicate the company in a crime.
TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) has reached a patent deal with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) owned Motorola Mobility over DVR technology. The agreement has allowed the companies to avoid a trial that was set to begin next week. A spokesperson from Motorola Mobility said that the company is “pleased that all parties involved have reached an agreement to resolve pending litigation.” TiVo’s stocks rose to their highest point in three years following news of the agreement.
Business Gear Up For National Doughnut Day: National Doughnut Day falls on Friday, June 7 this year, and Dunkin’ Donuts (NASDAQ:DNKN), Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI), and Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD) will all give away free doughnuts to mark the occasion. The businesses are also using the holiday, which has historical roots in the Salvation Army’s volunteer efforts during World War I, to expand their international operations… (Read more.)