GE Continues Selling Down Baker Hughes Stake
Topic of the day
General Electric continues to whittle down its stake in Baker Hughes by selling 43.7M shares of the oil and gas company. Based on a price of $20.54 per share, that would theoretically bring in about $900M. GE gave up majority control of the company in 2019 and began a program last year to fully sell down its stake. In a filing, the company said it now has about 267.7M shares remaining, representing about 25.7% of Baker Hughes' shares outstanding. GE had announced in late July 2020 that it would sell its entire remaining stake in the oilfield services provider over the next three years. At the time, GE still held 35.6 percent of Baker Hughes. The Baker Hughes shares GE still owns are worth about $5.50 billion at a price of $20.54.
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The Swiss stock market ended trading on Friday with losses. Traders spoke of an overall quiet end to the week. Once again, the reporting season was the main focus. Growth data from Europe for the first quarter did not move. For the euro zone stood a minus of 0.6 percent compared to the previous quarter, but the forecasts had assumed minus 0.8 percent. In Germany, however, GDP was worse. However, Martin Moryson, DWS chief economist for Europe, believes the German recovery is only postponed. The SMI fell by 0.5 percent to 11,022 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, 18 price losers and two winners faced each other. 41.66 (previously: 42.61) million shares were traded. Top performer in the SMI was Swiss Re (+2.9%). The figures for the first quarter were better than expected, it said. The return to profit had been expected, but not necessarily to this extent. Thanks to a more significant increase in net premiums, profits also rose more strongly. As costs from Corona claims should ease in the future, the market is likely to bet on accelerated profit growth in the course of the year. Schindler shares lost 4.4 percent despite convincing quarterly figures. Shares in mail-order pharmacy Zur Rose fell by another 5.6 percent. Bank stocks Credit Suisse (-1.1%) and UBS (-1.4%) were also down. Here, there had been profit-taking across the sector, a trader said. "The price driver issue with the release of risk provisions is probably sufficiently priced in and no longer surprises anyone," said the participant.
The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.3%. Shares of British bank Barclays fell 7% as an unexpected rise in costs clouded the bank’s quarterly earnings. In Paris, the CAC 40 and the SBF 120 gave up 0.5% each on Friday. In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 gained 0.05%, while the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.2%. Among construction stocks, Saint-Gobain rose by 1.3 percent after the French building materials group increased sales by 14 percent in the first quarter and thus performed significantly better than expected. In the steel sector, Vallourec surprised the market with a profit forecast that was a good 20 percent above previous market expectations. The market rewarded this with a 3 percent increase in the share price. Thyssenkrupp was down 0.8 percent, while Salzgitter fell by 3.3 percent. The raw materials sector as a whole suffered from profit-taking and lost 1.8 percent across Europe. In London, shares in Astrazeneca rose sharply by 4.3 percent. The quarterly figures and the confirmed outlook were very well received. After better business figures, BBVA gained 2.6 percent. BNP was down 0.8 percent on the Paris Stock Exchange despite better figures. Erste Group also declined by 0.4 percent after the presentation of figures. Aixtron rose by 4.4 percent after several buy recommendations. After a somewhat sluggish start, the IPO of the Munich-based laboratory services provider Synlab went quite well. The first price of the share in Xetra trading was 18 euros and corresponded exactly to the issue price, which had already been at the lower end of the initially stated range of 18 to 23 euros. At the close of trading, however, the share stood at 19.24 euros.
U.S. stocks slipped Friday but posted monthly gains after a streak of strong earnings reports.The S&P 500 lost 30.30 points, or 0.7%, to 4181.17 Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 185.51 points, or 0.5%, to 33874.85, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 119.86 points, or 0.9%, to 13962.68. For the month, the S&P 500 added 5.2%, its biggest one-month gain since November. The Dow rose 2.7%, and the Nasdaq climbed 5.4%. Shares of Twitter fell $9.87, or 15%, to $55.22 Friday after the social media company warned that user growth could cool in the coming quarters. Meanwhile, Clorox fell $3.44, or 1.9%, to $182.50 after cutting its earnings forecast, citing pressure from higher commodities prices and freight costs. Amazon (-0.1%) had a record first quarter, benefiting from the momentum of e-commerce as well as growth in advertising revenue and its cloud data storage business. On Friday, the European Commission accused Apple (-1.5%) of distorting competition in the online music market by abusing its dominant position in the distribution of dedicated applications via the App Store. Chevron (-3.6%) posted a profit in the first three months of 2021 for the first time in a year, buoyed by recovering oil and gas prices. Rival Exxon (-1.6%) also reported a quarterly profit on the back of higher commodity prices and lower costs. General Electric (-0.5%) revealed on Friday that its stake in Baker Hughes (0.6%) had decreased from 30.1% to 25.7% at the end of January, following stock sales. Intel (-1.3%) is going to ask for nearly 8 billion euros of public aid in Europe to build a factory in the Old Continent, several media reported on Friday, citing an interview of the CEO, Pat Gelsinger, with Politico Europe.
Asian markets were mostly lower, although trading was lackluster, with holidays in Japan and China and little in the way of fresh news to drive direction. In Seoul, the South Korean stock market does not benefit from the fact that a short-selling ban on shares is lifted. In Hong Kong, meanwhile the Hang Seng Index registers a decline of 1.5 percent.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield closed at 1.63% on Friday, leaving it up 6.6 basis points this week, its biggest such increase since mid-March. But for the month benchmark maturity slid 11.7 basis points in April.
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