- Reuters/Mike Segar
Here is what you need to know.
Saudi Arabia has a new oil boss.Ali al-Naimi is out as the Saudi oil minister after 20 years. The veteran oil minister will be replaced by the chairman of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Aramco, Khaled al-Falih, who has been named head of the newly created Energy, Industry, and Natural Resources Ministry. The shakeup is part of the kingdom’s “2030 vision” to diversify away from its dependence on oil. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is up 2.1% at $45.59 a barrel.
There are more details on a Saudi Aramco IPO. Ambrose Evans Pritchard of The Telegraph reports that Saudi Arabia is planning to list its oil giant Aramco in Hong Kong, London, and New York in addition to Riyadh. The total listing, which is planned for 2017 or 2018, will value the company at $2.5 trillion. According to Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the kingdom will sell just 5% of the oil behemoth.
There’s a split at the Bank of Japan over negative rates. The minutes from the March BOJ meeting show that policymakers had conflicting views on the central bank’s negative-interest-rate policy. The Japan Times reports that the latest minutes showed that a few members had voiced concerns that negative interest rates “had not necessarily exerted its intended effects.” Others, however, believed the recent strength in the yen and in Japanese stocks weren’t because of policy but were due to “the overly heightened risk aversion of investors worldwide.” The Japanese yen is weaker by 0.9% at 108.04 per dollar.
Greece passed more reforms. Greek lawmakers approved “unpopular pension and tax reforms” in hopes of securing more bailout cash, according to Reuters. The measures were passed by a slim margin ahead of Monday’s Eurogroup meetings. The International Monetary Fund has repeatedly called for a restructuring of Greek debt, but so far there hasn’t been any agreement on the matter.
German factory orders gain unexpectedly. Factory orders in Germany unexpectedly rose 1.9% month-over-month in March, ahead of the 0.6% gain that was expected. Monday’s reading was supported by a 6.2% jump in export orders from outside the euro area. The euro is weaker by 0.1% at 1.1390 per dollar.
Berkshire Hathaway misses. The Warren Buffett-led conglomerate announced operating earnings of $2,274 a share, missing the Bloomberg consensus of $2,761. Revenue rose 7.7% to $52.4 billion, but that was shy of the $52.88 billion that was anticipated. Class A shares ended Friday’s session at just under $217,000 apiece.
Twitter is blocking US spy agencies from using its analytics. The Wall Street Journal reports that Twitter has banned US intelligence agencies from using Dataminr, a service it partly owns that provides real-time alerts for breaking news stories. According to a Twitter representative, the company has “never authorized Dataminr or any third party to sell data to a government or intelligence agency for surveillance purposes,” and “this is a longstanding Twitter policy, not a new development.” US spy agencies had used the service for two years before the ban was put in place.
Stock markets around the world are mostly higher. Germany’s DAX (+1.9%) leads the gains in Europe after Japan’s Nikkei (+0.7%) paced the advance in Asia. China’s Shanghai Composite (-2.8%) was the laggard after April trade data showed that exports fell 1.8% and imports tumbled 10.9%. S&P 500 futures are higher by 4.75 points at 2,057.50.
Earnings reports continue to flow. JD.com, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Tyson Foods are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell. Hertz Global, MBIA, and Solar City are among the companies releasing their quarterly results after markets close.
US economic data is absent. A slow week for economic data kicks off on Tuesday with the release of JOLTS – Job Openings and wholesale inventories.