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Daily Agenda: Deal for Greek Debt Again in Doubt

Grocery operators Royal Ahold and Delhaize announce merger; Japanese stocks hit 18-year high; Netflix announces stock split.

Uncertainty over the Greek economy remains the primary risk narrative for global financial markets. After days of optimism that a last-minute deal was nearly at hand, reports from Athens indicate that the proposals put forward by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday have not met the approval of creditors. As the Eurogroup, the finance ministers of the euro zone, meets today to discuss the crisis yet again, the sticking points appear to remain focused on public entitlements and taxation. Any agreement achieved will still require approval from Greece’s parliament. Greece’s ruling Syriza coalition is bitterly divided over the proposed concessions.

European grocers to merge. Dutch international retailer Royal Ahold today acknowledged an agreement to acquire Belgian supermarket operator Delhaize Group in a transaction that will create a combined market capitalization of nearly $30 billion. Each firm has a dominant position in regions of the U.S. with franchises including the Stop & Shop, Giant and Food Lion chains.

Telecom acquisition rejected. Martin Bouygues, CEO of French telecoms operator Bouygues Telecom, today announced that the board of his company had unanimously rejected the proposed acquisition of Bouygues by Altice, which was valued at roughly €10 billion ($11.3 billion). Bouygues said that the deal would have cost jobs and created antitrust issues that were unacceptable.

Nikkei reaches 18-year high. The Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Nikkei Stock Average today closed at 20,868.03, the highest day-end level since December 5, 1996. Japanese equity markets have been one of the primary beneficiaries of the massive easing program initiated by the Bank of Japan as liquidity floods financial markets and investors wager that a weak yen will put Japanese companies on more globally competitive footing.

German business confidence wanes. German IFO business sentiment data for June released today registered weaker than forecast with both current assessment and future expectations sub indices declining sequentially for the month. The headline business climate index fell to 107.4, versus a prior reading of 108.5.

Netflix announces stock split. In a statement issued yesterday, Netflix announced that its shares would split on a seven-to-one basis in the form of a stock dividend payable July 14. The streaming movie franchise has seen its stock surge by nearly 100 percent year-to-date.

U.S. GDP improves. Final revised U.S. GDP for the first three months of 2015 released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis met consensus forecasts at -0.2 percent compared to the previous quarter. This marginal rebound from the second revision was driven in part an an increase in personal consumption levels

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