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Takeda Acquires Millennium for $8.8 Billion; Gas Prices Driven to Another Record High; Jobless Claims Drop; Car Sales in India Up Again; China's Trade Deficit Narrows; 100,000 Angry Airline Passengers; Favorable Amgen Ruling; BJ's Wholesale Club Gains on Sales Increase
- Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd said yesterday (Thursday) that it would buy Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. (MLNM) for $8.8 billion in the largest-ever overseas acquisition by a Japanese drug maker. The friendly cash offer of $25 per share - a 53% premium the closing Millennium share price on Wednesday - is expected to improve the company's cancer drug business.
- U.S. retail gas prices extended their record run yesterday (Thursday), the national average price of a gallon of gas rose 1.4 cents overnight to a record $3.357 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Prices have set a string of records in recent weeks, and are 56 cents higher than a year ago.
- The number of workers applying for unemployment benefits fell by a larger-than-expected 53,000 last week the Labor Department said. Jobless claims fell to 357,000 in the week ended April 5 from an upwardly revised 410,000 in the previous week. Still, the four-week moving average of new claims, rose to 378,250, the highest since October 2005.
- Passenger car sales rose for the sixth straight year in India, where growing demand and tax cuts sent sales up 12% to 1.2 million units from March 31, 2007 to the same day this year. "India's economic growth story has really benefited the automakers," R.K. Gupta, who owns shares of carmakers among the $100 million he manages at Credit Capital Asset Management Ltd, told Bloomberg. "Going forward, there are issues. Growth is going to slow in India and the higher interest rates are going to hurt."
- China's quarterly trade surplus fell for the first time in more than three years, as exports slowed the nation's growth. The trade surplus shrank 10.2% to about $41.6 billion in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier, Bloomberg reported.
- AMR Corp.'s (AMR) American Airlines announced it canceled 933 flights yesterday (Thursday) to continue inspections on MD-80 aircraft wiring. American has now canceled 2,500 flights since Tuesday, Reuters reported. The carrier estimates 100,000 travelers have been affected by the cancellations.
- Amgen Inc. (AMGN) rose 2.39, a 5.75% increase to close at 43.98 after a ruling from U.S. District Judge William Young that Roche Holding Ltd.'s (OTC: RHHBY) anemia medicine Mircera violates patents owned by Amgen. Roche plans to appeal the ruling. Standard & Poor's equity analyst Steve Silver said, "any legal delay in Mircera's launch will continue to be viewed favorably for AMGN, though we expect the shares to remain volatile as the situation continues to unfold." Silver has a hold ranking on Amgen shares, BusinessWeek reported.
- BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. (BJ) stock gained on news that same-store sales rose more than analysts expected with a 6% increase in March, MarketWatch reported. Total sales increased 8.5% to $858.1 million for the month. Shares gained $1.43, a 4.05% increase, to close at $36.76.