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Pre-Market Primer: Spain Will Seek European Help This Weekend


The US trade deficit narrowed and reports are coming out that Spain will seek help to deal with its failing banks.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Stock futures are looking down after disappointing economic announcements from Europe and waning expectations for central bank intervention on the continent.

Germany's imports and exports both fell on a monthly basis in April. Exports from Europe's largest economy dropped 1.7% and imports slowed 4.8% amidst waning demand. France's trade deficit widened to 5.8 billion euros from 5.7 billion euros.

French business confidence fell in May and Italian industrial production fell 1.9% in April.

Sources told Reuters that Spain will officially request European help to save its troubled banks over the weekend.

The US trade deficit narrowed to $50.1 billion in April from $51.8 billion in March. Falling crude oil prices and a strengthening of the US dollar helped bring down the costs of imports to the United States in April and May.

Stock futures pointed to a lower opening this morning. Dow (^DJI) futures are down 0.48% to 12,347.00, S&P 500 (SPY) dropped 0.44% to 1,304.30, and Nasdaq (^IXIC) futures declined 0.34% to 2,522.00.

Japan's economy expanded faster than expected by 1.2% in the first quarter for an annualized growth rate of 4.7%. The country's growth shows an increase in consumer activity, but a strong yen could reduce demand for the country's exports.

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) will hold its annual meeting today. Activist investors Carl Icahn and Mason Hawkins will replace four directors of Chesapeake with their picks. CEO Aubrey McClendon's personal use of company funds and profligate purchases of natural gas-producing land has resulted in a cash flow shortfall of $10 billion in 2011. McClendon will face a tough vote on executive compensation today. The CEO earned $17.87 million last year.

Chesapeake is planning to sell its pipeline assets for $4 billion to Global Infrastructure Partners.

Though General Motors (GM) might disagree, comScore, the web statistics monitoring company, revealed today in a blog post that experts are reconsidering the effectiveness of Facebook (FB) advertising. The title of the post, "It's Time to Change the Discussion on Measuring Facebook Effectiveness," says it all. The organization is preparing a new white paper on social media advertising, arguing that the methodology of past studies of ad effectiveness on Facebook is flawed.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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