Market Wrap: Greece Erasing Debt; U.S. Auto Sales Pop; UBS Nears LIBOR Settlement; Merger Monday!

December 3, 2012 5:49 PM EST
Market wrap-up for December 3rd

End of the Day: S&P 500 down 6.7 to 1,409.46; Dow Jones down 60.0 to 12,965.60; Nasdaq down 8.0 to 3,002.20

The following is a brief summary of events moving markets today:

* Markets got a little boost early in sentiment behind the debt buyback announced by Greece. The country planned to repurchase €10 billion of debt ranging from a minimum of 30.2 percent to 38.1 percent up to 32.2 percent to 40.1 percent. The price outpaced expectations, but will cause Greece to repurchase less debt due to the premium.

Moving forward, Greece also laid down a plan to repurchase up to half of its €62 billion debt held by private creditors.

* Gains all around in November: Automakers updated on U.S. auto sales for the month of November:
  • Ford Motor (NYSE: F) - sales rose 6.5 percent, outpacing expectations of a 2.4 percent gain;
  • General Motors (NYSE: GM) - sales rose 3.4 percent, versus the consensus of 7.6 percent;
  • Chrysler LLC - sales rose 14 percent, slightly shy of the 16 percent expected; and
  • Toyota Motor (NYSE: TM) - sale popped 17.2 percent, missing views calling for a 20 percent improvement.

For more color on the sales, click here.

* A 'considerable' amount?: UBS (NYSE: UBS) ended modestly lower Monday amid chatter that the financial giant is close to entering settlements with U.S. and British regulators over alleged LIBOR rate manipulation. A deal might be announced next week, or come in during January sometime.

A settlement for UBS would come following the $450 million Barclays (NYSE: BCS) reached earlier this year, though sources have said that UBS will settle for "considerably more," according to the WSJ.

* Merger Monday!:
  • Saputo Inc. will acquired Dean Food's (NYSE: DF) Morningstar Foods unit in a $1.45 billion deal. Click here for more color;
  • Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) revised its offer for GrainCorp Limited to A$12.20 a share in cash, with shareholders keeping the current A$0.35 dividend announced in November. For more, click here;
  • Equifax (NYSE: EFX) to acquire CSC's (NYSE: CSC) credit services unit in a deal valued at $1 billion. Click here for more color;
  • Atlas Pipeline Partners, L.P. (NYSE: APL) to acquire Cardinal Midstream, LLC, a privately owned midstream operator, for $600 million in cash; and
  • American Campus Communities, Inc. (NYSE: ACC) acquired a student housing portfolio from Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. (NYSE: KYN) in an $862.8 million deal.

* Back-tion in contraction: The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) factory index fell to 49.5 last month, from 51.7 in October and the consensus calling for a dip to 50.0. The number was the lowest reading since July 2009, data show. The ISM's new orders reading fell from 54.2 down to 50.3 in November, Export orders fell by 1 point to 47 and production rose from 52.4 to 53.7 last month.

* The CEO Shell Game: Normally, Monday's are reserved for M&A activity, but today was a little different. Several firms appointed new CEO's, whether it'd be for the entire company or for an operating unit of the whole. The following is a list of some of the more notable announcements:
  • Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE: NEM) promotes COO Gary Goldberg;

  • News Corp (Nasdaq: NWSA) named Robert Thomson as CEO of the new proposed publishing entity;

  • Iron Mountain Inc. (NYSE: IRM) appoints William Meany as CEO;

  • Alleghany (NYSE: Y) assigned Janet Frank as CEO of PacificComp;

  • MICROS Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: MCRS) elected Peter Altabef to step in for Tom Giannopoulos;

  • Sonoco (NYSE: SON) called on M. Jack Sanders for the role;

  • Northweat Pipe (Nasdaq: NWPX) promoted Scott Montross to fill the position; and

  • Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE: PBI) went to IBM (NYSE: IBM) for Marc B. Lautenbach

Tons of CFOs resigned today as well, click here for more color.

* Seems like a flat offer: House Speaker John Boehner and other members of the GOP sent a letter to President Obama with proposals on how to avert the fiscal cliff, which would kick in $600 billion of new taxes and cut spending start in January 2013.

In summary, the GOP proposal calls about about $1.4 trillion in spending cuts offset partially by $800 billion in new revenue streams. For the letter, click here.

* About those deductions and credits..: Chinese firms were active today following reports that the U.S. SEC began administrative proceedings against Chinese branches of U.S. accounting firms, mainly tied to the "Big Four." Moving on the session were Qihoo 360 Technology (Nasdaq: QIHU), E-Commerce China Dangdang Inc. (Nasdaq: DANG), Renren (NYSE: RENN), and others. To read more, click here.

* Already breaking above 225,000 followers: Whatever your religion, you have to appreciate a medium like Twitter when the Pope said he'll begin to start tweeting. For those interested, his handle will be @pontifex.Click here to go to Streetinsider's Full News Feed and never miss a beat!

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