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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Fri, 15 Dec 2017, 09:58 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Bitcoin Shoots For $10,000

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Many were expecting it to happen before the end of the year, but it now looks like it could occur before the end of November. A day after breaking above the $9,000 level, bitcoin has cracked $9,700, boosted by growing signs of mainstream adoption. About 100,000 Coinbase accounts were added over the Thanksgiving holiday, while CME will list bitcoin futures in the second week of December.

Economy

Former CFPB Director Richard Cordray's hand-picked successor, Leandra English, has sued the Trump administration over the appointment of Mick Mulvaney. The move means a federal court will now decide which law applies when filling a temporary leadership vacancy at the agency, which was created after the financial crisis to protect consumers and keep an eye on Wall Street.

The Senate tax bill is headed for an extended debate this week with the aim to hold a floor vote as early as Thursday. Should it pass, Republican leaders will have to hammer out a compromise between different provisions in the House and Senate bills. President Trump has also signaled he will be more personally involved in the final push.

Extending last week's selloff, China's stock markets fell sharply overnight amid fresh moves to reduce financial risks across the economy. Shanghai -0.9%; Shenzen -1.6%; ChiNext -1.2%. Still, China's industrial firms weathered the broad regulatory crackdown, with profits increasing 25.1% Y/Y in October, compared to the 27.7% pace a month earlier.

Following massive plumes of smoke over the weekend, Indonesian authorities have raised the alert for Mount Agung to the highest possible level, meaning the "potential for a larger eruption is imminent." Official estimates suggest that the uncertainty has cost Bali and its banking industry a staggering 2T rupiah ($150M) since the alert was first raised on Sept. 22.

South Africa will use its annual budget next year to outline "decisive" policy and strengthen its fiscal framework after S&P cut the country's credit rating to junk status, while Moody's placed it on review for downgrade. It comes after Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba shocked markets on Oct. 25 by flagging sharply weaker growth expectations, a wider budget deficit and rising government debt.

Egypt was hit by its deadliest ever terrorist attack this past weekend after gunmen - linked to Islamic State - opened fire and set off explosives at a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula, killing more than 300 people. While the violence is unlikely to threaten the stability of the El-Sisi government, it has devastated the tourist sector, a crucial source of hard currency for the economy.

Gridlock? There can be no final decisions on the future of the Irish border until the U.K. and EU have reached a trade agreement, according to British Trade Minister Liam Fox. The comments came after Brussels warned that trade talks cannot proceed unless an agreement is reached with Dublin and as Ireland's EU commissioner threatened to veto Brexit talks unless there were guarantees about the border.

Stocks

U.S. retailers raked in a record $7.9B in online sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, up 17.9% from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics. Cyber Monday is expected to drive $6.6B in internet sales, which would make it the largest U.S. online shopping day in history. Another big winner? With Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) shares hitting a record high on Black Friday, Jeff Bezos's net worth surpassed $100B.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is now within striking distance of matching Amazon (AMZN) for the first time as it seeks to regain the title of "low price leader." Prices at Walmart.com (NYSE:WMT) are now only 0.3% more expensive than Amazon.com on average, according to a study by Market Track, which analyzed prices of 213 products in 11 categories over a period of 700 days ending Nov. 7.

Meredith has struck a deal to buy magazine publisher Time (NYSE:TIME) for $1.85B in cash as media companies try to find their footing in an increasingly digital world. "The vision is the absolute premiere media company in the country with premium branded content on every platform," declared Meredith (NYSE:MDP) CEO Stephen Lacy. TIME +10.6% premarket.

Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old dual Canadian-Kazakh national, is expected to plead guilty tomorrow to criminal charges stemming from the massive 2014 security breach of Yahoo (NYSE:VZ) and conspiring with Russian operatives. While terms of the plea deal are not yet known, either side could decide to scrap any proposed agreement, which will take place in federal court in San Francisco.

Announcing an extension to their 10-year partnership, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) will bring its artificial intelligence chips to GE Healthcare's (NYSE:GE) 500K imaging devices worldwide and accelerate the speed at which healthcare data can be processed. The companies also said the new Nvidia-powered Revolution Frontier CT system is 2x faster in imaging processing than its predecessor. GE +0.6% premarket.

Swiss private banking has been rocked by the defection of Julius Baer (OTCPK:JBAXY) CEO Boris Collardi to rival Pictet as the war between the country's largest asset managers heats up. Julius shares dropped as much as 5% in Zurich on the news. Current Chief Risk Officer Bernhard Hodler has been appointed as new CEO, but said he did not expect major changes in the bank's strategy.

Outside blood? Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) is poised to hire the head of Rolls-Royce's (OTCPK:RYCEY) civil engines unit, Eric Schulz, to lead its commercial jetliner sales and succeed sales kingpin John Leahy, Reuters reports. Leahy has been in the post since 1994 and is a dominant aerospace figure, making his succession one of most closely watched moves in the industry.

TransCanada has recovered 44,400 gallons, or 1,057 barrels, of oil from the Keystone spill in South Dakota, but has not yet set an expected restart date for the pipeline. About 170 round-the-clock personnel are engaged in clean-up activities. Additional excavation by TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) will be conducted this week for soil remediation purposes.

Looking to boost profits amid volatile energy prices, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) CEO Darren Woods is reorganizing the company's refining and chemical operations, sources told Reuters. The restructuring will combine the fuels and lubricants group with the supply and refining divisions, but it was not immediately clear if the changes will involve job cuts or executive departures.

Memory chip peak? Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) shares fell more than 5% overnight in South Korea, helping drag the KOSPI down 1.4%, after Morgan Stanley cut the tech giant to Equal Weight from Overweight and trimmed its price target by 3.4%. "We see downside risk as NAND prices have started to reverse in 4Q17. Meanwhile, visibility on DRAM supply-demand dynamics has reduced beyond 1Q18."

A potential industry milestone... Samsung Electronics has also successfully developed a graphene-based battery that would take just 12 minutes to be fully charged, compared to current lithium-ion batteries, which take about an hour. Graphene has been dubbed a "miracle material" in the global electronics industry given its strength, electrical conductivity and elasticity.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan -0.2%. Hong Kong -0.6%. China -0.9%. India +0.1%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.3%. Paris +0.2%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude -0.9% to $58.41. Gold +0.5% to $1293.80. Bitcoin +4.2% to $9719.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.34%

Today's Economic Calendar

10:00 New Home Sales
10:30 Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey
11:30 Results of $13B, 2-Year Note Auction
1:00 PM Results of $34B, 5-Year Note Auction
7:00 PM Fed's Dudley: "US Economy: 10 Years after the Crisis"

 

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