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Pre-Market: Amazon Announces Streaming Music Service; Consumer Spending Drops Unexpectedly


Siemens AG plans to cut 11,600 jobs.

Stock futures pointed toward a lower open on Friday. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures fell 0.08% to 16,668. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were down 0.09% to 1,916.10. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved lower, falling 0.04% to 3,734.


Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is expanding its premium Prime membership service by offering streaming music to users, numerous sources told Buzzfeed. Unlike music streaming competitors like Spotify, Rdio, and soon-to-be Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)-owned Beats Music, which offers users comprehensive libraries, Amazon's music service will be limited to a select grab bag of songs that are at least six months old. Amazon has already reached agreements with Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE), and Warner Music, and a number of smaller independent labels to provide music. Shares of Amazon were up 0.54% in pre-market trading.

Siemens AG (OTCMKTS:SIEGY) will eliminate at least 11,600 positions, which amounts to 3% of its workforce, as it attempts to cut $1.34 billion in costs. The news comes as Siemens is bidding against General Electric (NYSE:GE) for the energy assets of French multinational Alstom (EPA:ALO). If Siemens' June 16 counteroffer is accepted by Alstom, it could anger German unions since Siemens' has promised to create new jobs in France to sweeten its bid. GE was down 0.15% in pre-market trading.

Chinese billionaire Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Group will acquire Australian natural gas distributor Envestra Ltd. (OTCMKTS:EVSRF) for $2.2 billion. Envestra's 14,000 miles of pipelines will soon belong to Ka-shing, who has been busy acquiring natural gas transmission services. In England, Ka-shing has doubled the size of his natural gas transmission holdings since 2012 after acquiring Wales & West Utilities Ltd. for $1.1 billion.

BNP Paribas (OTCMKTS:BNPQY) is facing a $10 billion penalty to end an investigation by US Justice department for violating sanctions. It's being alleged that the Paris-based bank conducted transactions with sanctioned countries including Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. BNP Paribas is seeking to settle the investigation for $8 billion.


US consumer spending dropped unexpectedly in April, following the biggest surge in over five years. Household purchases dropped 0.1% following a 1% gain in March. Personal income rose and personal disposable income both rose 0.3% to $43.7 billion and $44.6 respectively. Personal consumption decreased by 0.1% to $8.1 billion. The Chicago PMI will be release at 9:45 a.m. Consumer sentiment comes at 9:55 a.m. The Department of Agriculture will release its end-of-the-month index of prices received by farmers at 3:00 pm. The Fed's Loretta Mester, Jeffrey Lacker, and Charles Plosser will all be speaking today.

Global Markets

Asian shares trended lower overnight, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index ending three weeks of advance. In Japan, industrial output fell 2.5% in April thanks to a rise in sales tax, which cut down household spending. The International Monetary Fund said it won't be until 2017 that Japan reaches its 2% inflation target. In Europe, stocks saw little movement in either direction, amid lower trading volume. UK housing prices rose for the 16th month in a row. Representatives from Russia, Ukraine, and the EU will meet today in Berlin to hash out natural gas contracts. Ahead of the meeting, the EU has told the Ukraine that it must pay Russia a fair price for natural gas.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
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