HD Supply IPO, Visa Sues Wal-Mart: Morning Buzzers
U.S. stock futures are still looking optimistic after yesterday’s gains, as investors wait for data on consumer confidence and industrial production. Economists are expecting good news from the consumer report, as the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment held at 84.5, its highest level since July 2007 this month.
Futures at 8:30 a.m.: DJIA: -0.07% S&P 500: +1.67% NASDAQ: +1.44%
Here’s what’s buzzing Friday morning:
Visa (NYSE:V) is suing Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to try and stop the retail giant from seeking more damages related to swipe fees after it and other retailers opted out of a $7.25 billion settlement. Visa is seeking to end the litigation between itself and retailers who claim that credit card companies had been illegally fixing swipe fees that are charged to retailers each time a customers uses a credit card. Most retailers decided not to take the settlement — which they believe didn’t offer enough money and would stop them from taking legal action over the fees in the future — leaving them freedom to pursue their own legal action.
T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) are reportedly not directly a part of the National Security Agency’s data collection program, due to their ownership ties with foreign companies. T-Mobile USA is owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG and Verizon Wireless is co-owned by Verizon Communications and Britain’s Vodafone. The companies are not completely in the clear, however, because most calls made on those networks have to pass through networks that do work with the NSA.
HD Supply is looking to benefit from the housing rebound by giving an IPO to sell 53.2 million shares, or about 29 percent of the company. The buildings supply firm — owned by The Carlyle Group (NYSE:CG), Bain Capital, and Clayton Dubilier & Rice — is planning to use money from the IPO to reduce its debt. The company was purchased by said owners for $8.5 billion in 2007, but the IPO only values the company at $4.3 billion.
Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRKA) (NYSE:BRKB) new commercial property and casualty insurance unit is open for business. The specialty insurance group will offer an array of insurance options, but will focus mostly on excess and surplus lines products. In a press release, the company said it was excited about the ”growing importance of this market segment in providing tailored solutions to customers.”
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