Gold Hits Two-Year Low (AP)
Gold bugs probably just want April to go away… The barborous relic dipped to under $1,400 an ounce earlier today, losing more than $200 in value in the last 10 days alone and hitting a two-year low. This time around, lower-than-expected figures from China have shouldered part of the blame. The world’s second-largest economy had been expected to expand at an 8 percent clip, however Beijing reported a rate of just just 7.7 percent for the quarter — which also trailed last year’s 7.9 percent for the same period. This underperformance only adds a little more fuel to the fire that global production won’t be able to meet expectations this year — following on the heels of disappointing figiures for the U.S. and Europe.
Dish Network Takes a Run at Sprint (Reuters)
The United States’ No. 2 satellite TV proivder, Dish Network (DISH), has offered $25.5 billion in cash and stock to Sprint Nextel Corp (S), in a bid to preempt the acquisition of the No. 3 U.S. mobile services provider by Japan’s Softbank Corp. DISH’s offer comes to approximately $7 per share, which is about a 12 percent premium for Sprint. Just last October, Sprint had agreed to sell 70 percent of its shares to Softbank for $20 billion. With Dish’s new offer, it’s unclear as to how the proposed sale of Sprint shares to Softbank will be resolved. Also up in the air is Sprint’s proposed acquisition of the remaining shares of Clearwire Corp that it doesn’t already hold. You would think with this many communications’ companies in the mix, there would be a cleaner line of communication with shareholders and the media.
Voice of Chavez Still Echoes in Venezuela
Former bus driver, and confirmed Hugo Chavez enthusiast, Nicolas Maduro, has been elected as Venezuela’s new president — garnering just of 50 percent of the popular vote. Henrique Capriles Radonski was Maduro’s competition and ended up with just over 49 percent of the vote. Maduro assumes the reins of a country facing accelerating inflation, consumer good shortages and slowing economic growth. Latin American investors will be watching intently to see if Maduro’s anti-capitalistic election rhetoric is actually put into play now that he’s assumed the country’s highest post. It’ll be interesting to see how Maduro’s election affects Venezuelen bonds, as they were the continent’s worst-performing securities last month. The good news is, they can only get better… right?