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With our investment news briefs, Money Morning provides investors with a quick overview of the most important investing news stories from all around the world.
Santander IPO Aiming for $7.3 Billion; Deloitte: Flat Holiday Sales; RBS Gauging $8 Billion Share Sell Interest; HBSC Downgrades Lukoil; Citi: BHP May Consider Share Buyback; Lennar Posts Another Loss; Rio/Vale $750 Million Mine Sale Closes;
- Spain's largest bank, Banco Santander, S.A. (NYSE ADR: STD), said it would raise up to $7.3 billion in an initial public offering in shares of its Brazilian unit. Santander hopes to sell 525 million shares, which are expected to fetch between 22 and 25 reais. The new shares are expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 7, and on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange a day later, MarketWatch reported.
- Deloitte LLP forecasted a flat U.S. holiday spending season compared to a year ago on account of cautious, tight consumers and a national unemployment rate that threatens to breach the 10% mark, Reuters reported. Excluding motor vehicles and gasoline, Deloitte expects total retail sales in the holiday season – the November-through-January – to clock in at $810 billion. "Americans continue to save at historically high rates while also paying down debt, and these factors combined suggest another chilly holiday season for retailers," said Carl Steidtmann, chief economist with Deloitte Research.
- Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (NYSE ADR: RBS) is testing the waters for a potential rights offering to the tune of 3 billion pounds to 5 billion pounds ($8.1 billion), sources told Bloomberg. The bank, which is the United Kingdom's largest government-controlled bank, is talking with shareholders to weigh their interest in the sale. "I'd be surprised if they can achieve it. It's ambitious," Julian Chillingworth, chief investment officer at Rathbone Brothers Plc, which manages $21 billion, including RBS stock, told Bloomberg. "There is concern that investors may be faced with quite a lot of cash calls in the sector. I'm not sure RBS shareholders will be that keen to subscribe."
- HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HBC) downgraded is outlook to Russian oil titan Lukoil (OTC ADR: LUKOY) to neutral from overweight, and maintained its overweight rating on Rosneft (PINK: RNFTF), another Russian oil company, MarketWatch reported. HSBC said it saw limited upside potential in Lukoil and that further upside at Rosneft will come from cost-cutting measures and the beginning of tax breaks on exports in East Siberia.
- The world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP), may consider buying back as much as $17 billion worth of its shares, a move that would increase its earnings per share by 10% for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, Bloomberg reported citing a report by Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) analysts. "BHP Billiton still has the balance sheet for mergers and acquisitions, but we see limited opportunities within the current portfolio," said Citi analyst Clarke Wilkins.
- The third-largest U.S. homebuilder, Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) posted a wider-than-expected loss for its fiscal third quarter ended Aug. 31, Reuters reported. The Miami-based company said its net loss was $171.6 million, or 97 cents a share, as revenue fell $720.7 million. Despite its continued dry spell, the company's stock has climbed more than 383% from its low of $3.42 last November.
- U.K. mining giant Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RTP) said it closed the $750 million cash sale of its Corumba iron-ore mine to South American rival Vale SA (NYSE: VALE), MarketWatch reported. The mine sale was announced Jan. 30 as part of a larger deal that included the $850 million sale of a potash project and explorations projects in Canada, which closed in February.