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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Fri, 21 Jul 2017, 07:48 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Bank Of England's 'Super Thursday'

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It's data deluge day in London. In addition to a press conference from Mark Carney, the Bank of England will release its monetary policy decision, the minutes from its last meeting and a quarterly inflation report. The central bank is expected to hold rates at 0.25% as a Q1 economic slowdown will likely persuade the majority of policymakers to stand pat.

Economy

Mario Draghi faced a public grilling from Dutch lawmakers on Wednesday, underscoring mounting pressure for a policy change as the region's economy heats up. He was forced to justify the central bank's policy, particularly QE, transparency, and the future of the euro. Following the bruising exchange, the ECB President will head today to the G7 meeting in Bari.

What else is happening at the gathering? Trade will not be on the agenda, according to the Italian Treasury, but G7 leaders will discuss it at the end of the month at a conference in Sicily. The meeting will instead focus on issues including international taxation, cyber security, better coordination of global financial institutions and ways to fight inequality.

Growth in the eurozone will be slightly stronger this year than previously forecast, the European Commission said, adding that some risks to the outlook have eased following the defeat of populist parties in France and the Netherlands. The institution sees the 19-nation economy expanding 1.7% this year - up from 1.6% forecast in February - and growing 1.8% in 2018.

Brazil's Lula da Silva vigorously defended himself during a court deposition yesterday, denying that he had a role in a monumental corruption scheme that involved oil giant Petrobras (NYSE:PBR). In a show of defiance, he repeated his intention to run for the presidency next year, thereby putting himself into a position where he would be immune from charges.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, has subpoenaed Michael Flynn. According to NBC News, the SSCI requested documents related to the probe last month, but Flynn refused unless he was granted immunity. It's the first time the Intelligence Committee has issued a subpoena since an inquiry into 9/11.

Bolstered by the biggest weekly inventory drop of 2017, oil rose more than 3% to $47/bbl on Wednesday, enjoying its best one-day gain of the year. EIA data revealed U.S. crude stocks fell by 5.2M barrels, while Iraq and Algeria joined Saudi Arabia in supporting an extension to OPEC supply cuts. Oil futures are continuing to rally today, however, YTD prices still remain about 11% lower.

Stocks

Verizon is buying Straight Path Communications (NYSEMKT:STRP) for $3.1B, after beating rival AT&T (NYSE:T) in an unusually intense bidding war, WSJ reports. Straight Path holds licenses to use high-frequency radio waves that some engineers think could form the backbone of next-gen 5G wireless networks. VZ +1.6%; STRP -10.6% premarket.

Samsung Electronics has named a new head of mobile marketing, as well as a China chief, as part of a long-delayed executive reshuffle following the arrest of its vice chairman for alleged bribery. The world's top maker of smartphones is widely expected to deliver record profits this year, but the absence of Jay Y. Lee has raised doubts about Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) future direction.

Struggling to recover from a profit warning and accounting scandal in Italy, BT will slash 4,000 jobs across its Global Services business through 2019. Top executives, including CEO Gavin Patterson and former Group Finance Director Tony Chanmugam, will also not receive bonuses as the firm grapples with a "challenging year." BT -3.3% premarket.

Looking to boost global revenues, Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) upcoming Dead Men Tell No Tales rolled out the red carpet in Shanghai today in a rare China premiere for a Hollywood blockbuster. According to website Box Office Mojo, the four previous Pirates of the Caribbean films, the most recent in 2011, have generated over $3.7B in worldwide ticket sales.

Nvidia has announced the launch of a cloud registry for developers to train AI models, but it already sells similar technology to the biggest cloud companies to do just that. Does Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) plan to directly compete with Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft's Azure (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Alphabet's Google Cloud Platform (GOOG, GOOGL)?

"Even before the [2015 E.coli] crisis, we were losing our edge in terms of what it takes to run a great restaurant, and we're getting that edge back," Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) CFO Jack Hartung told Jim Cramer. "We'd made things too complicated over the years." Chipotle is also raising menu prices again, hiking costs in NYC by 5% as the price of avocados continues to climb. CMG +29% YTD.

Already with 1,600 U.S. stores, Aldi has set a minimum target of selling groceries at a 21% discount to its U.S. rivals, including Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), CEO Jason Hart told Reuters. His strategy centers on adding more in-house brands and a massive expansion to further disrupt a U.S. grocery sector that has seen 18 companies go bankrupt since 2014.

Aetna is quitting the last two states - Delaware and Nebraska - where it planned to sell personal health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in 2018. Aetna (NYSE:AET) has now "completely exited the exchanges," the company said in a statement. Humana (NYSE:HUM) and UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) have also pulled out of most of the government-subsidized individual health insurance market.

Fake news? Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) CEO Edward Lampert has blasted the media for "unfairly singling out" the company over the past decade and blamed the negative coverage for the retailer's woes. "It's irresponsible and it's been irresponsible for too damn long," he proclaimed. "Excuse my rant but a lot of what we're doing deserves a chance to see the light of day."

Following a tumultuous six months, AIG is set to name Brian Duperreault as its new chief executive officer. Contract details are being sorted out, but the announcement could happen as soon as today, sources told WSJ. Duperreault, founder and CEO of Hamilton Insurance Group, was once a lieutenant to the company's former chief, Hank Greenberg.

Seeing off a shareholder rebellion, Barclays (NYSE:BCS) CEO Jes Staley has been re-elected to the board after apologizing over his recent mistakes, while shares closed almost 2% higher on the news. Not for long? Shortly afterwards it emerged that the bank will pay more than $97M to settle charges it overbilled clients at its asset management business.

Tesla's first two styles of its solar roof - "black glass smooth" and "textured" - will be priced at about $21.85 per square foot. That's more expensive than a typical roof, but less pricey than a roof with traditional solar and back-up batteries. The product will come "with a warranty for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first," Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) wrote in a blog post.

A major blow in Europe? An advisor to the European Court of Justice has recommended UBER be classified as a transportation company (and subject to local laws governing them) instead of a technology firm. The decision is non-binding, but the court tends to follow the advisory. This "would not change the way we are regulated in most EU countries as that is already the situation today," said an Uber spokeswoman.

Boeing has suspended flight tests of its new 737 Max jetliner because of problems with its engine, though it still plans to deliver the first plane to its customer this month. The LEAP engines are made by CFM, a 50/50 joint venture between GE and France's Safran (OTCPK:SAFRY). Boeing (NYSE:BA) has already secured 3,700 orders for the 737 Max and "will work closely to understand the root cause of the quality issue."

Wednesday's Key Earnings

21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) -1.7% AH facing new inquiries.
MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) -20.6% AH as earnings disappoint.
Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) +0.5% with sales taking a hit.
Snap (NYSE:SNAP) -23% AH as user growth fell short.
Sodastream (NASDAQ:SODA) -6.7% on light guidance.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) -2.5% seeing a profit drop.
Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) +2.7% AH shaking up its board.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.3%. Hong Kong +0.4%. China +0.3%. India flat.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris flat. Frankfurt flat.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude +1.6% to $48.10. Gold +0.4% to $1223.50.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2 bps to 2.39%

Today's Economic Calendar

8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Producer Price Index
9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
1:00 PM Results of $15B, 30-Year Note Auction
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet

 

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