China, the world’s biggest consumer of iron ore, boosted imports of the material to a record 57 million metric tons in April. China’s purchases of copper and copper products reached a record 399,833 metric tons last month, compared with 374,957 tons in March. Oil rose to a six-month high on May 12 after China, the world’s second-biggest energy-consuming country, increased crude imports by 14 percent in April.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Monday May 18 2009 - Before Opening Bell
Bank of America (BAC 11.48, +0.81, +7.59%) was upgraded to buy from neutral and added to the conviction buy list at Goldman Sachs, which says the stock overhang should start to abate and that the bank may earn 25 cents a share during the second quarter, well above consensus estimates of a penny a share.
Analysts at J.P. Morgan lifted their rating on MGM Mirage Inc. (MGM 8.31, +0.64, +8.34%) to overweight from neutral and raised their year-end price target to $11 from $9. They cited the company's improved liquidity position after its recent capital raise as well as "really low" investor expectations for MGM's same-store Las Vegas Strip portfolio.
Citigroup upgraded home builder Lennar Corp. (LEN 9.50, +0.69, +7.83%) to buy from hold, saying the stock is trading on a roughly 50% discount to its peers based on price to book value.
Home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. (LOW 19.87, +1.42, +7.70%) said its second-quarter profit declined to $476 million, or 32 cents a share, from $607 million, or 41 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell to $11.8 billion from $12 billion. Lowe's forecast second-quarter profit of 51 cents to 55 cents a share with comparable sales expected to decline in a range of 4% to 8%. Analysts, on average, estimated the retailer to earn 25 cents a share in the first quarter and 50 cents in the second quarter.
Other Headlines (pre-market)
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures edged higher Monday, with the housing market in the spotlight as a builder's index is due for release after figures from home-improvement retailer Lowe's topped expectations.