Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street futures are higher this morning after European Central Bank officials promised more stimulus. The dollar is also sharply higher against the euro, while crude oil futures have dipped back below $60 a barrel.
Today’s must-read story is by Fortune’s Erin Griffith who reveals why Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer never pursued a merger with AOL: “Some people on the outside saw similarities between the companies,” said Mayer. “We didn’t.”
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. ECB rolls its tanks on to the lawn as Greek PM faces mutiny
Two of the ECB’s most senior policymakers talked up their stimulus plans, reassuring markets that have been shaken by a sharp correction in recent weeks. The reassurance is particularly welcome as Greece’s ruling coalition is showing clear signs of falling apart under the pressure of imminent bankruptcy.
2. Wal-Mart reports.
The world’s largest retailer reports its first-quarter results before the markets open today. Analysts expect the company to beat profit and sales estimates for the quarter, bringing in sales of $116.2 billion and earnings-per-share of $1.04. Wal-Mart’s (WMT) quarterly results come less than a week after U.S. data showed that retail sales were flat in April, a sign that the economy is still struggling to get ahead after a weak first quarter.
3. An update on U.S. housing.
The number of U.S. housing starts for the month of April will be revealed at 8:30 a.m. ET. After a rough start to the year, much blamed on poor weather, housing starts are expected to bounce back to 993,000, a 7.2% increase over March’s home starts. That would be the biggest month-to-month lift since July last year.
4. JPMorgan Chase shareholders take a look at CEO pay.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shareholders convene today for the company’s annual meeting–and the top issue on the agenda is CEO Jamie Dimon’s $27.7 million pay package. Proxy information firm Institutional Shareholder Services is recommending that investors vote no. Dimon, as Eleanor Bloxham writes for Fortune, brought home his smallest annual paycheck in 2009 when he earned $1.3 million. His largest package was three years earlier, a total of $39 million.
5. Valeant shareholders convene.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) also hosts its annual shareholders meeting today. Shareholders will be looking to CEO Mike Pearson for further guidance on if the fast-growing pharmaceutical company plans to make another big purchase. Valeant beat out Endo International in March to purchase Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) following its failed attempt to acquire Botox-maker Allergan (AGN) last year. Valeant has acquired 100 companies over the past 7 years, including Bausch & Lomb. Activist investor Bill Ackman, who helped Valeant in its bid for Allergan and is heavily invested in the drug maker, said he sees Valeant doing between $7 billion and $20 billion worth of acquisitions a year.