Good morning,

Markets are called to open higher this morning. This is what's happening today:

  • Asian stocks rose as gold headed for its biggest weekly gain since October 2011 as companies from Bank of China Ltd. to Japan Tobacco Inc. reported earnings;
  • Bank of Japan officials will unveil inflation and gross domestic product forecasts after meeting today for the first time since announcing unprecedented monetary easing this month;
  • Data today may show the U.S. economy grew 3% in the first quarter amid speculation the European Central Bank will cut interest rates next month;
  • Shiseido, Japan’s biggest cosmetics maker, lowered its dividend and pledged to cut costs to revive profit. Its shares plunged the most in more than four years.

European Companies Reporting Results Today: – EARNINGS All times CET, estimates where available:

  • Total (FP FP) 8am, 1Q net EU2.92b
  • BASF (BAS GR) 7am, 1Q Ebit ex-items EU2.09b
  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU FP) 7am, 1Q adj. loss-shr EU0.10
  • YIT (YTY1V FH) 7am, 1Q adj. EPS EU0.32
  • Telenor (TEL NO) 7am, 1Q GAAP net NOK3.55b
  • MAN (MAN GR) 8am, 1Q adj. loss-shr EU0.40
  • Outotec (OTE1V FH) 8am, 1Q loss-shr EU0.14
  • Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA SM) TBD, 1Q adj. net EU835.4m
  • Red Electrica (REE SM) pre-mkt, 1Q adj. net EU148.4m
  • OMV (OMV AV) TBD, 1Q sales EU9.52b (2 est.)
  • WPP (WPP LN) 8am, 1Q sales GBP2.52b
  • Rotork (ROR LN) 8am, 1Q sales
  • Ultra Electronics (ULE LN) 8am, 1Q sales

Samsung Electronics posted a record quarterly profit that topped analyst estimates as surging sales of Galaxy handsets helped Asia’s biggest technology company overcome sluggish demand for TVs. Net income climbed to 7.15 trillion won ($6.4 billion) in the three months ended March 31 from 5.05 trillion won a year earlier, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in a statement today. That compares with the 6.73 trillion-won average of 36 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose to 52.9 trillion won from 45.3 trillion won. Demand for Samsung’s smartphones, including the flagship Galaxy S4 set for release today, and cheaper mobile phones targeted at emerging markets are stoking sales in the $358 billion market for handsets. Shipments that may be double those of Apple Inc.’s iPhone are pushing growth in telecommunications, Samsung’s biggest profit driver, as the Korean company warns of stiffer competition this year.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, reported operating profit that beat analysts’ estimates as investments in digital content and warehouses attracted more shoppers. First-quarter operating income was $181 million, the Seattle-based company said in a statement yesterday. Analysts on average had projected $96.8 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 22 percent to $16.1 billion, in line with analysts’ predictions. Margins are holding up even as Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos continues to pour money into expansion. While new warehouses and digital content are costly, they’re also drawing in new customers and outside sellers who in turn generate extra income. That’s helping Amazon’s profitability, according to Daniel Kurnos, an analyst at New York-based Benchmark Co.

BASF SE, the world’s biggest chemical company, posted first-quarter profit that beat analyst estimates on higher demand for fungicides and insecticides and as it reigned in costs at its construction chemicals unit. Earnings before interest, tax and one-time items increased 10 percent to 2.21 billion euros ($2.88 billion), the Ludwigshafen, Germany-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had predicted 2.09 billion euros, according to a Bloomberg survey. Chief Executive Officer Kurt Bock is enlarging the company’s agricultural arm, buying seed-treatment supplier Becker Underwood Inc. last year for $1.02 billion. BASF’s results echo those of U.S. rival DuPont Co., whose first-quarter earnings beat analyst estimates as profit from crop seeds and pesticides hit a record.

For more information on these companies or other stocks and bonds we follow, contact our offices on 25688688.

Good day and happy trading!

Kristian Camenzuli