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Pre-Market: Vodafone Reveals Extensive Wire Tapping; US Adds 217,000 Jobs in May


New York State's Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky is pressuring BNP Paribas to ax COO and others.

Stock futures pointed toward a higher open on Friday. Before the opening bell, Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures rose 0.12% to 16,839. Futures on the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) were up 0.03% to 1,939.10. Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures moved higher, rising 0.06% to 3,778.50.


Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has said secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to every mobile phone conversation on its network not only exist, but are being used in many of the 29 countries in which it operates. The revelations are included in its 40,000-word Law Enforcement Disclosure Report published today, which is the most comprehensive survey of conversation and location monitoring by governments compiled so far. While AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Deutsche Telekom (OTCMKTS:DTEGY), and Telstra (OTCMKTS:TLSYY) have published similar surveys, they've been restricted to these companies' domestic operations. Vodafone assures that it is not the only network that's being spied on, and that secret wires have been connected to other telecom groups. Shares of Vodafone were up 1.28% ahead of the opening bell.

BNP Paribas (OTCMKTS:BNPQY) is under pressure from New York State's top financial regulator Benjamin Lawsky to fire the French bank's Chief Operating Officer Georges Chodron de Courcel in addition to 12 more bank employees. The dismissals would be part of the $10 billion settlement being sought by US authorities for BNP violating sanctions against Iran. The US-BNP dispute is having broader implications, noted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who warned could hurt trade talks between the US and the EU. In other bank-fine news, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) could be forced to pay at least $12 billion to settle investigations by the Justice Department into the handling of shoddy mortgages. Shares of Bank of America fell 0.39% in pre-market trading.

Acer (OTCMKTS:ACEYY) is looking to expand its cloud-computing business, which has so far remained a small, yet profitable outfit. The Taiwan-based company will also grow its low-cost smartphones business in an attempt to offset declining laptop sale. Acer trails Lenovo (OTCMKTS:LNVGY), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Dell as the fourth-largest personal computer maker in the world. Acer has been taken in a new direction by its CEO Jason Chen, who joined the company five months ago following its worst quarterly loss on record. Acer's cloud products, including a new consumer service called Build Your Own Cloud, will be competing against more established offerings in the cloud computing space, like those from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Dropbox.


The US economy added 217,000 jobs in May, just about the average monthly gain over the past six months. The unemployment rate remained at 6.3%. US household wealth rose 1.9% to $81.8 trillion in the first quarter according to Federal Reserve data, which showed household wealth was up 11% since last year and 43% since the recession's lows in 2008. Consumer credit will be released at 3:00 p.m.

Global Markets

ECB stimulus drove little fanfare in Asian markets overnight, where stocks were mixed across the board. In China, bank regulators have pledged to expand loans and curtail borrowing costs in order to provide the slowing economy with available funds. While the country is expected to grow at a slower pace in 2014, a new report from the World Bank says that Beijing's ability to employ economic support could allow China to meet its 7.5% growth target. In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has requested a review of the country's largest pension fund, the Government Pension Investment Fund, which will reveal an overhaul of its investments in September or October of this year. European stocks rose, led by Spanish blue chips. In Germany, exports rose at their fastest pace in almost two years, and the country's central bank raised it 2014 growth forecast.  

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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