July 29 - Summary of business headlines: Herbalife raises forecasts; Markets step back ahead of Fed meeting; Publicis to merge with Omnicom; Hudson Bay offers $2.4b for Saks; Elan to join with Perrigo; June home sales fall. Havovi Cooper reports.
Herbalife reporting better than expected earnings after the bell. The company raised its forecast for the year-sending shares higher. It's a victory for activist investor Carl Icahn, who has been fighting Bill Ackman over the merits of the company as an investment. The Fed freak-out is taking hold! S&P, Dow and Nasdaq all ended lower today ahead of an FOMC meeting. J' t'aime's the buzz word-- as French ad firm Publicis unites with American Omnicom in a $35.1 billion merger. The new company will trade in New York and Paris. But the deal is not set in stone just yet... the new group needs anti-trust clearance from at least 45 countries. Lord & Taylor's parent Hudson Bay offering $2.4 billion to buy Saks. HBC's paying a luxurious 30 percent premium to May's average stock price, which is when news first leaked out on Saks putting itself up for sale. And a drug deal also making headlines today. Elan's shedding the shamrock and going with American Perrigo for $8.6 billion. Tax savings are a big incentive in that deal. In Europe news of the mergers pushed shares higher. Rising mortgage rates taking a toll on home sales. Contracts to buy used homes fell in June, down from a six-year high touched in May. We're in the heart of earnings season with over 67 percent of S&P 500 companies beating analysts' estimates, but S&P Capital IQ analyst Alec Young says that's not good enough. SOUNDBITE: ALEC YOUNG, INTERNATIONAL EQUITY ANALYST, S&P CAPITAL IQ (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Earnings so far, companies are beating a low bar. Can we see some other areas besides consumer discretionary, financials putting up some decent numbers? Only about half the sectors are expected to post positive growth this quarter, so we don't have great breadth in terms of earnings growth." Solar stocks got a boost today, thanks to an agreement between the European Union and China to regulate solar panel prices.