InBev Seeks Overthrow of AB Board; Microsoft Open to New Talks with Yahoo; Crude Retreats; Merrill Lynch to Write Down $6 billion; Freddie and Fannie Tumble; Tighter Fed?; Greenback Weighs on Gold; Prius Goes Solar
- Belgian brewer InBev NV announced yesterday (Monday) that it would attempt to remove the entire Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. (BUD) board of directors after InBev's $46.3 billion hostile takeover offer bid was rejected. InBev is seeking to use a process outlined in Anheuser- Busch's bylaws that allows shareholders to vote on a new board without a meeting, Bloomberg News reported.
- Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said yesterday (Monday) (YHOO), but only if a new Yahoo board is elected, Reuters reported. Carl Icahn, the billionaire financier who owns a 4% stake in Yahoo, has for the past several months been rallying other shareholders to overthrow the current Yahoo board at the company's August 1 stockholder meeting. Icahn said he had "spoken frequently" to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer over the last week. Microsoft walked away after Yahoo rejected a $47.5 billion takeover bid in May.
- Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $3.92 (2.7%) to settle at $141.37 on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday (Monday) after falling as low as $139.50 earlier in the day. Concerns about escalating tensions in the Middle East and tightening supplies sent futures sharply higher last week. Prices dropped after the threat of potential disruptions subsided and investors took profits.
- Merrill Lynch & Co (MER) may write down about $6 billion in the second quarter primarily driven by losses on high-grade collateralized debt obligations, said Citigroup Inc. (C) analyst Prashant Bhatia. Bhatia also forecast a second quarter loss and widened his 2008 loss per share view, Reuters reported.
- Shares of mortgage giants Freddie Mac (FRE) and Fannie Mae (FNM) plunged yesterday (Monday) on liquidity concerns. Investors are concerned the two largest U.S. lenders will need to raise additional capital, Bloomberg News reported. Freddie shares shed almost 18%, with a loss of $2.59 to close at $11.91, while Fannie Mae's shares dropped $3.04, a decline of 16%, to close at $15.74.
- San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Janet Yellen said yesterday (Monday) that the U.S. Fed's monetary policy is shifting "slightly tighter," as inflation concerns mount and start to outweigh worries about economic growth, Reuters reported. "On a continuum I would say things are shifting to somewhat more inflation risk," Yellen told reporters after a speech at the University of California San Diego.
- Gold for August delivery closed down $4.80 to $928.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, MarketWatch reported. Earlier the yellow metal contract had traded as low as $916.60. "Unfortunately, gold doesn't have any independent thought right now, and is simply tracking what goes on in the dollar market," said Frank McGhee, the head precious metal trader at Chicago-based Integrated Brokerage Services.
- The popular Prius hybrid from Toyota Motor Corp. (ADR: TM) is about to get even greener, according to media reports yesterday (Monday). As early as Spring 2009, Toyota plans to install solar panels on the Prius that will provide energy to power the hybrid's air-conditioning unit, MarketWatch reported, making Toyota the first major automaker to utilize solar technology.