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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Fri, 17 Nov 2017, 06:53 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Tensions Weigh On Catalonia Referendum

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Spanish authorities have confiscated millions of voting papers in Catalonia ahead of Sunday's independence referendum, with the vote declared illegal by Madrid and Spain's constitutional court. 4,000 national police officers have also been sent to the region, which makes up 19% of Spanish GDP, to seal polling stations. The end of Europe as a meaningful mission? A 'yes' vote "could be a disruptive event for the euro, with the potential for a sharp decline of up to 5% initially," according to Kathleen Brooks at City Index.

Economy

Diplomats on both sides of the latest Brexit negotiations say they have made progress in Brussels, as the EU indicated it may be open to Britain's hopes for a transitional deal. The talks came ahead of Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to Estonia, where she reiterated the U.K.'s "unconditional commitment" to Europe's security after Brexit.

The ECB should take a two-pronged policy approach, according to governing council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau, stating it should keep policy accommodative, while slowing the pace of its asset purchases. Meanwhile, Fed Vice-Chairman Stanley Fischer said it was important for the central bank to reverse its massive bond buying program as it was supposed to be a temporary measure.

South Korea has banned raising money through all forms of virtual currencies, a move that follows similar restrictions in China on initial coin offerings. While "stern penalties" will be issued on financial institutions and any parties involved in issuing of ICOs, the country's financial regulator will monitor the trading of virtual currencies to see if additional regulations are needed.

According to the IAEA, North Korea's sixth nuclear test conducted on Sept. 3 showed the isolated country has made "rapid progress" on weapons development and poses a "new threat." The warning comes after China, Pyongyang's most important ally, ordered North Korean companies in the country and joint ventures to close down by January, applying recently passed UN sanctions.

Iran may abandon the nuclear deal it reached with six major powers if the U.S. decides to withdraw from it, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told al Jazeera TV. President Trump is currently considering whether the accord serves U.S. security interests and faces a mid-October deadline for certifying that Tehran is complying with the pact.

Stocks

Elon Musk has gone back to the drawing board with his plans for manned missions to Mars. SpaceX (Private:SPACE) aims to land at least two infrastructure-filled cargo ships there in 2022 before his new space vehicle - dubbed the BFR, or "Big F--king Rocket" - carries colonizers to the Red Planet. Along with "Mars City," Musk is planning "Moon Base Alpha," funding both through money SpaceX receives for launching satellites.

Just hours before the big announcement, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) touted its own plans for a "Mars Base Camp" - a space habitat it's creating for NASA. Instead of colonization, the crewed space station would orbit the Red Planet and support long-term exploration on Mars by astronauts on 1,000-day missions. The system would work in tandem with Orion, the spacecraft NASA is developing for crewed missions to deep space.

Looking to regain its license in the British capital, UBER CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will meet the head of the London Transport system this coming Tuesday. The dispute is one of many to confront the new chief executive, who has been brought in to try to clean up the company's reputation following a string of scandals.

Volkswagen has revealed a hit of around €2.5B to its third-quarter results because a program to buy back or retrofit diesel engine cars in North America is proving more complex and time-consuming than expected. Shares fell as much as 4% in Frankfurt on the news. VW (OTCPK:VLKAY) will publish its Q3 results on Oct. 27.

Latest data breach: The payment card information of Whole Foods customers who drank and dined in its taprooms and restaurants has been hacked. The grocery store chain, now part of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), said those locations use separate checkout systems and information of its grocery shoppers weren't affected. Amazon transactions were also not accessed in the breach.

Roku shares surged in their trading debut, a welcome sign for the stalled technology IPO market. Shares of the company rose $9.50, or 68%, to $23.50, closing at their session high and bringing its valuation to $2.2B. According to Dealogic, ROKU's first-day jump is the biggest this year among all U.S.-listed IPOs that raised more than $100M.

One year after Wal-Mart bought Jet.com for $3.3B, shoppers will get a glimpse of how it hopes to use the startup to battle Amazon (AMZN). Jet plans to start selling apparel from niche online sellers that Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has acquired over the past year, WSJ reports, as well as introducing a new line of private-label food and other grocery items.

That didn't take long. Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is building a tabletop smart screen device that would be a direct competitor to Amazon's (AMZN) new Echo Show, TechCrunch reports. Codenamed "Manhattan," it would offer YouTube, Google Assistant, Google Photos and video calling. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is also continuing work on its codename "Aloha" video calling screen.

Confirming earlier rumors, Invesco (NYSE:IVZ) has agreed to acquire Guggenheim Investments' ETF business in a cash and debt deal worth $1.2B. The unit, which includes $36.7B of assets under management, will bring a broad array of funds that expands the company's active, passive and alternative capabilities. Total AUM of ETF assets owned by Invesco now amounts to $196B.

Interference? Following a closed-door hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) revealed it sold more than $270K of ads to Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 election. The company also said that it found Twitter accounts for 22 of the 450 Russia-linked accounts that Facebook (FB) said had bought ads on its platform during the presidential campaign.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton made the rare decision to freeze his staff's plan to approve the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a Chinese-led group after consulting about the subject with the White House, WSJ reports. That means the three-member commission will have to vote on the sale. Founded in 1882, the CSE is the smallest of designated U.S. exchanges with about 1% of U.S. equity trading.

Thursday's Key Earnings

BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) +13.4% on record software sales.
Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) -11% following Walgreens deal drama.
Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) +6% AH boosting earnings guidance.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan flat. Hong Kong +0.5%. China +0.3%. India flat.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.7%. Paris +0.2%. Frankfurt +0.4%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow flat. S&P flat. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude +0.2% to $51.68. Gold +0.2% to $1290.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.31%

Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Personal Income and Outlays
9:45 Chicago PMI
10:00 Consumer Sentiment
1:00 PM Baker-Hughes Rig Count

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