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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Fri, 17 May 2019, 11:11 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Who's Taking Control Of Brexit?

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Drama heats up in the U.K. House of Commons tonight as two rival factions in Parliament battle between competing visions of the Brexit endgame. Labour's Yvette Cooper and Conservative Nick Boles are trying to delay Brexit day to avoid crashing out of the EU on March 29 without a deal, while Theresa May has thrown the weight of her government behind a plan to scrap the contentious Irish border backstop, which would mean more haggling with Brussels. It's up to Parliament's speaker John Bercow to pick which amendments go to a vote and he has a track record of surprising decisions.

Economy

U.S. stock index futures inched between small gains and losses overnight as two major U.S. companies - Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) - plunged post-earnings after stating that weakness in China's economy was weighing on their results. The latest corporate warnings follow a new report from Washington that could help feed economic fears. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the recent government shutdown will cost the U.S. about $3B in reduced output in 2019, shaving about 0.4 of a percentage point off GDP in Q1.

Consumer confidence figures are also due out this morning, which likely will reveal how much the government shutdown affected Americans. However, other economic reports are set to be delayed. The Bureau of Economic Analysis is pushing off the initial look at Q4 gross domestic product and December personal income reports scheduled for this week because of the just-ended five-week shutdown.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is set to lead trade discussions with Chinese representatives at the White House tomorrow and Thursday. Among those in the U.S. delegation is adviser Peter Navarro, who is especially known for his hard-line views on trade. The Chinese are expected to offer a big increase in purchases of U.S. farm products and energy, along with modest reforms in industrial policies, but will likely fight U.S. demands for deep economic structural changes.

Prospects for a deal between the two economic giants will be tested as the DOJ unsealed indictments against China's Huawei, accusing the telecom equipment maker of evading Iranian sanctions and conspiring to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS). U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has insisted the charges are "totally separate" from trade talks, although China's foreign ministry has urged the U.S. to stop its "unreasonable suppression" of Chinese companies.

"The U.S. has decided to follow the path of stealing Citgo from Venezuela," President Nicolas Maduro declared after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on its parent company - state-owned oil giant PDVSA. While the sanctions will hit Citgo, the penalties will have a minimal effect on other American refiners, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Other large U.S. importers of Venezuelan crude are Chevron (NYSE:CVX), PBF Energy (NYSE:PBF) and Valero (NYSE:VLO).

Stocks

California utility owner PG&E is preparing to name longtime turnaround specialist James Mesterharm as its chief restructuring officer as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to crippling wildfire liabilities. On Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission also approved PG&E's (NYSE:PCG) plans to tap up to $6B in so-called debtor-in-possession financing to help it operate while under bankruptcy protection. PCG -12.2% premarket.

Brazil's top prosecutor is pursuing criminal charges against executives at Vale (NYSE:VALE), while the government may seek higher damages than the $5.3B it imposed on the world's largest iron-ore miner over a 2015 dam collapse. Shares of Vale tumbled 18% on Monday after the company suspended its dividend and buybacks following Friday's deadly dam collapse that killed at least 65 people.

Walmart's online retailer Flipkart (FPKT) has told the Indian government the company faces the risk of "significant customer disruption" if new curbs for e-commerce are not delayed by six months, sources told Reuters. The retailer is also worrying about its U.S. supply lines with aggressive bids for more truck drivers. According to CNBC, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) will pay an average of $87.5K per year to its truckers starting next month.

Saudi Arabia has hedged nearly its entire 4.9% stake in Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) in a bid to protect against a stock price drop, FT reports. The move comes about five months after Elon Musk said the Saudis would back a deal to take the electric car maker private, a claim the SEC later determined was "false and misleading." TSLA shares have dropped about 16% since the Saudi strategy was enacted on Jan. 17.

It's the first sale in Japan for the Boeing 737 MAX (NYSE:BA). ANA Holdings (OTCPK:ALNPY) will purchase 20 of the new jets for list prices of $2.3B as the country faces pressure from the Trump administration to cut its trade surplus with the U.S. ANA is also buying 18 A320neos worth $1.99B after becoming the first in Japan to pick Airbus's (OTCPK:EADSY) narrowbody five years ago.

Executive moves... U.S. oil producer SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD) has appointed industry veteran Paul McKinney as its next chief executive officer, succeeding interim CEO Bill Griffin, who replaced ousted James Bennett last year following pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn. Snap (NYSE:SNAP) has also named its Chief Accounting Officer Lara Sweet as interim CFO following the departure of Tim Stone, who recently quit less than a year after taking the job.

Facebook's latest move in the face of heavy criticism over its content policies is the layout for an independent oversight board to review and enforce its approach. In the draft charter, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) notes the board would have 40 members who would serve three-year terms. Those members would take on "our most difficult and contested decisions about taking down or leaving up content," including issues around "artistic expression, suspected hate speech or bullying."

It's official! Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is investing 40B shekels ($10.9B) on a new chip-making factory in Israel and will receive a $1B state grant for the expansion. In the last two years, the U.S. semiconductor giant scooped up Israel's Mobileye for $15.3B and announced a $5B investment to upgrade its local facilities. That's resulted in an explosion for Intel's Israeli exports, which reached $3.9B last year vs. $300M in 2017.

Two U.S. House panels will hold a joint hearing on Feb. 13 on T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint's (NYSE:S) proposed $26B merger and the potential impacts on consumers as the tie-up awaits antitrust approval from the FCC. The deal has already gotten a nod from Team Telecom, which collectively refers to CFIUS, the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department.

Privacy concerns? There's a new FaceTime bug - that relies on a group video calling feature - which lets users hear through someone else's iPhone even if the recipient hasn't picked up the call. After being alerted to the issue, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it will issue a software patch later this week. News of the bug comes before the tech giant's highly-anticipated earnings, which will be released after the bell today.

Monday's Key Earnings

Caterpillar (CAT) -9.1% on big earnings, guidance miss.
Nvidia (NVDA) -13.8% with gaming, cloud, China woes.
Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) -6.6% AH giving a soft outlook for 2019.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.1%. Hong Kong -0.2%. China -0.1%. India -0.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London +1.4%. Paris +0.6%. Frankfurt +0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.1%. S&P flat. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude +0.9% to $52.47. Gold +0.4% to $1307.70. Bitcoin -0.9% to $3382.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.74%

Today's Economic Calendar

FOMC meeting begins
8:30 International trade in goods
8:30 Retail Inventories (Advance)
8:30 Wholesale Inventories (Advance)
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:00 S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index
10:00 Consumer Confidence
11:30 Results of $20B, 2-Year FRN Auction
1:00 PM Results of $32B, 7-Year Note Auction

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