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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Thu, 19 Oct 2017, 08:02 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Flight To Safety Amid Syria Strikes

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While much of the movement has now reversed, investors turned to safe haven assets overnight, after the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk missiles (NYSE:RTN) against an airbase in Syria (aimed at stopping the regime from using chemical weapons). "With acts that he [Assad] has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syria people," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared, warning Russia to consider its support "carefully."

Economy

The American military action will deal a "significant blow to Russian-U.S. relations," according to the Kremlin, calling the strikes an "act of aggression" against a sovereign state and a "made-up pretext" to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq. International reaction? Iran condemned the attacks, while Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Western allies offered further support.

The economic data today will be dominated by the Labor Department's closely watched employment report, which will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. It's expected to show nonfarm payrolls increased 180,000 in March, after rising 235,000 in February, while the unemployment rate is seen having held steady at 4.7%. Wednesday's private employment report from ADP also showed solid hiring.

Facing significant Democratic opposition, Republicans have enacted the "nuclear option" to clear the way for Neil Gorsuch as President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court. His confirmation vote is expected today. Going nuclear means future presidents will have a much easier time getting their Supreme Court nominees confirmed, which could change whom they decide to appoint.

Tough talks between Trump and China's Xi Jinping will begin today as the two discuss thorny issues like trade, foreign policy, security and the world economy. "We had a long discussion already," Trump said last night. "So far, I have gotten nothing. But we have developed a friendship. I think, long term, we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it."

Puerto Rico's power utility has clinched a new deal to restructure nearly $9B of debt, saving one of the rare agreements the island has been able to strike with creditors. PREPA is seen as a bellwether for Governor Ricardo Rossello's approach to leading the U.S. territory out of a decade-long recession.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said he's "in a positive mood" about a breakthrough in Greek bailout talks, but stressed an overall political deal could not be solved at today's meeting of eurozone finance ministers. The negotiations have dragged on for months, freezing Athens' latest loan payout and hurting chances of an economic recovery.

Stocks

Already in the spotlight due to ads appearing next to inappropriate content, YouTube (GOOG, GOOGL) is taking steps against content stealing on its platform with a move to only place ads on videos from partner program participants once their channels reach 10,000 lifetime views. It's also adding a review process for applicants to its YouTube Partner Program.

Twitter has sued the DHS over a demand for records on an anti-Donald Trump account, Reuters reports. The company's pushing back with the argument that its users are protected by the First Amendment. Separately, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) co-founder Evan Williams disclosed that he plans to sell up to 30% of his shares in the messaging platform over the next year.

The first smartphones featuring 5G technology are likely headed for the market in just over two years, according to Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). When they appear, they'll also likely include dual connectivity with an always-on connection to 4G LTE networks. Qualcomm unveiled its first 5G modem - the X50 - in October 2016.

Japan and American officials are not discussing the situation surrounding Toshiba's (OTCPK:TOSYY) bankrupt Westinghouse unit, according to Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko. The news counters recent reports the Trump administration was in talks to ensure U.S. technology secrets and infrastructure didn't fall into Chinese hands.

Meanwhile, bids are coming in for Toshiba's (OTCPK:TOSYY) memory chip business. Foxconn (OTC:FXCOF) and Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) have each submitted offers of over ¥2T (about $18B), while bids around the ¥1T range were seen from Western Digital (NYSE:WDC) and the group including SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCF) and KKR.

With its components division keeping it financially prosperous, Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) said consolidated operating profit for the first January-March quarter was estimated at 9.9T won ($8.76B), up some 48% from a year earlier. However, revenue will likely remain flat at around 50T won. Final earnings results will be released later this month.

"Trial of the century"... Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) de-facto leader has gone on trial in South Korea for his alleged role in a corruption scandal that led to the ousting of President Park Geun-hye. "The defendant, Jay Y. Lee, didn't even know that the contribution was made, because that's not part of his job," his lawyer, Song Wu-cheol, told the court.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller III has been tapped to field claims for the nearly $1B that Takata (OTCPK:TKTDY) has agreed to pay to victims and automakers affected by its faulty airbags. On Feb. 27, the Japanese automotive supplier pleaded guilty to fraud charges, acknowledging that it had provided false safety test data to cover up inflator defects.

According to Reuters, LYFT has nearly completed a funding round of at least $500M, valuing the company at $7.5B. It marks a sharp increase from the $5.5B valuation at Lyft's last financing more than a year ago, as it seeks to spend heavily to compete with its much bigger rival UBER. At this point, it's not clear who invested in the latest round.

"We recognize that it's a growing public health concern," KFC (NYSE:YUM) U.S. President Kevin Hochman told Reuters, giving its U.S. poultry suppliers until the end of 2018 to stop using antibiotics important to human medicine. It marks the last of the big three chicken restaurants, including Chick-fil-A and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), to join the fight against the rise of superbugs.

Adidas has been playing around with 3D printing as a manufacturing method for a while now, but its latest sneaker - the Futurecraft 4D - might be its most ambitious creation yet. 5,000 pairs of the shoes will go on sale later this year, but the company aims to produce 100,000 pairs in total by the end of 2018. Adidas (OTCQX:ADDYY) didn't say how much the sneaker would cost.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.4%. Hong Kong flat. China +0.2%. India -0.7%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris -0.1%. Frankfurt -0.5%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude +1.3% to $52.38. Gold +1.1% to $1266.60.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2 bps to 2.32%

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