Las Vegas is the only place I know where money really talks — it says, "Goodbye."
—Frank Sinatra in “The Joker Is Wild”
The Las Vegas Sands hoped to prove Frank wrong today, finishing up 4 percent at the close and rising 2.5 percent immediately after releasing better than expected earnings, but it wouldn’t hold up as LVS ultimately slipped 1 percent after hours.
Robert Hum’s Market Musings
What Wall Street Is Saying Tonight
FOR MARKETS: NO TWIST, NO SHOUT /WSJ: Justin Lahart – "The odds of the Federal Reserve launching yet another bond-buying program dimmed further Wednesday. The stock market didn't seem to care. At the conclusion of its two-day meeting, the Fed released a statement that included only a few minor tweaks to wording, and economic forecasts that were more upbeat than those it offered in January. Gross domestic product this year now looks likely to be stronger, and the unemployment rate lower. Anyone who hoped the Fed would signal it planned to stay in the bond market after June, when "Operation Twist" ends, was disappointed."
HAS OBAMA STACKED THE FED? NOT REALLY /WSJ – Jon Hilsenrath & Kristina Peterson: “Foreign Affairs magazine, a publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, has published an essay online in which two economists from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, Sylvester Eijffinger and Edin Mujagic, argue that President Barack Obama has stacked the Federal Reserve with appointees who will shape U.S. monetary policy for at least the next two decades. It’s the most popular item on the publication’s website.”
Tim Geithner Joined John Harwood for a CNBC Exclusive:
GEITHNER ON THE US & EUROPEAN ECONOMIES: “We're gradually getting stronger. We're in much stronger shape than we were even six, nine, 12 months, 18 months ago. And Europe is doing a better job of managing their crisis. So even though growth is weak and they — even though they've got a really tough, long, hard road ahead of them, they've done a much better job of providing a measure of calm and stability. And they're putting a lot of — financial force behind these reform efforts.”
GEITHNER ON AUSTERITY: “It would be a terrible mistake, economically, for the United States, for us to lurch, prematurely, to extreme austerity, to severe austerity. That would — undo a huge amount of the progress we made repairing the damage from the crisis, would push unemployment up. It would push us back into recession.”
GEITHNER: US ECONOMY 'GRADUALLY GETTING STRONGER' /CNBC – John Harwood: “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressed confidence in the resilience of the U.S. economy despite Europe's woes, slammed Mitt Romney's approach to China policy and dismissed as "remarkably hackish" a Romney adviser's critique of President Obama's tax policy. Geithner spoke in an interview with CNBC near Portland after touring a plant that manufactures street-cars, and as he prepares for an address in San Francisco tomorrow on economic relations with China.”
MEXICO'S FEDERAL WATCHDOG TO INVESTIGATE WALMEX STORE PERMITS /WSJ – Amy Guthrie: “Mexico's public-sector watchdog, the Ministry of Public Functions, said Wednesday it will analyze federal permits secured by retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB for new-store openings to determine whether there was any misconduct on the part of federal government employees in granting construction and other permits. Wal-Mart de Mexico, also known as Walmex, said over the weekend it is cooperating with an investigation by its parent company, Wal-Mart Stores , into allegations that the unit paid bribes to public officials in Mexico to speed new-store openings.
ANDREESSEN HOROWITZ PARTNERS MAKE HISTORIC PHILANTHROPIC PLEDGE /CNBC – Julia Boorstin: A number of big Silicon Valley names, like John Doerr, have signed on to Warren Buffett and Bill Gates promise to give over half their fortunes to charity. But never before has an entire VC firm made the pledge—until today. All six partners at Andreessen Horowitz are committing to donate at least half of their lifetime income from venture capital investments to charity. This is a major commitment from the powerhouse Menlo Park fund that’s backed Facebook and every other major social media company.
NEW J&J CEO ZEROES IN ON RECALLS /WSJ – Jonathan Rockoff & Peter Loftus: Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson's incoming chief executive, said his No. 1 priority is fixing the problems in the company's over-the-counter medicine business following recent recalls that have dimmed sales and damaged the health-care giant's reputation. Mr. Gorsky, who takes the helm of J&J from William Weldon on Thursday, voiced confidence that the health-care giant has taken the steps needed to reintroduce withdrawn products while upgrading manufacturing.
CROCS FIRST-QUARTER PROFIT UP; OUTLOOK DISAPPOINTS /Reuters: “Crocs reported quarterly results that beat Wall Street expectations, helped by a strong demand in Asia and the Americas, but the shoemaker forecast a disappointing second quarter, sending its shares down 8 percent in extended trade.”
LAS VEGAS SANDS 1Q NET JUMPS 72% ON SURGING ASIAN CASINOS /DJ: “Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s (LVS) first-quarter earnings rose 72 percent on continued revenue growth from the casino operator's Asian properties, particularly in Singapore. Las Vegas Sands has reported soaring earnings over the past year as a booming Asian gambling sector drives up its top line, though the company's earnings growth has slowed in recent quarters amid concerns that economic and legal restrictions in China could cause growth in Macau to lose steam. The company, which is best known in the U.S. for its Italian-themed Venetian resort in Las Vegas, already generates most of its revenue from profitable casinos in Macau and Singapore. It recently gained a bigger foothold in Macau — the only place in China where gambling is legal — with the official launch of Sands Cotai Central, its fourth casino in the gambling enclave.”
BURGER KING MAKES CAGE-FREE PROMISE /AP – Tracie Cone: “Burger King on Wednesday became the first major U.S. fast-food chain to pledge that all of its eggs and pork will come from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017. The move by the world's second-biggest burger chain helps it satisfy growing demand among customers for humanely produced fare and adds fuel to an industry-wide shift to consider animal welfare when purchasing food supplies.”
H&R BLOCK LOOKING FOR NEW CFO; TO CLOSE MORE STORES /Reuters: Top U.S. tax preparer H&R Block said it was looking for a new finance chief, and that it would close about 200 underperforming company-owned stores and eliminate 350 full-time positions, its second round of store closures and job cuts in three years. Shares of the Kansas City Montana-based company, which cut 400 jobs and shut equal number of stores in 2010, fell 16 percent to $14 in trading after the bell.
Before the bell:
AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Exxon Mobil, PepsiCo, Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever, UPS, Aetna, Alcatel Lucent, Altria, Amerisourcebergen, Barclays, Celgene, CME Group, Colgate-Palmolive, Deutsche Bank, Dow Chemical, Invesco, JetBlue, Kellogg, Lockheed Martin, Monster Worldwide, Moody's, Occidental Petroleum, Raytheon, Starwood Hotels, Time Warner Cable, Tyco, Waste Mgmt., Whirlpool.
After the bell:
Amazon.com, Starbucks, Angie's List, Clearwire, Coinstar, Expedia, Principal Fincl., Western Digital, Zynga.
Tomorrow’s Economic Data
830 w/e 4/21 Initial claims
1300 7-Yr Note Auction
1000 Mar Pending home sales
1100 Apr KC Fed Survey
1630 Fed Balance Sheet
1630 Money Supply
Tomorrow on CNBC
THE COSTCO CRAZE: INSIDE THE WAREHOUSE GIANT
Premieres 9pET / PT
Trip Adler, Scridb CEO (700a)
Hugh Johnston, PepsiCo CFO (700a)
Greg Fleming, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney President (700a)
Robert Kapito, BlackRock President (710a)
Rep Paul Ryan, R-WI (800a)
Marvin Goodfriend, Tepper School of Business (840a)
Alan Krueger, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman (230p)
Troy Alstead, Starbucks CFO (400p)
Peter Kraus, AllianceBernstein CEO (430p)
Dave Barger, JetBlue Airways CEO (500p)
Rep Eric Cantor, R-VA (700p)
Follow Tom Rotunno on Twitter: @tomrotunno
Questions? Comments? Email us at NetNet@cnbc.com
Follow NetNet on Twitter @ twitter.com/CNBCnetnet
Facebook us @ www.facebook.com/NetNetCNBC