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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Wed, 20 Mar 2019, 7:14 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Stocks Boosted By Deal To Avert Shutdown

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Dow futures are pointing to triple-digit gains as U.S. lawmakers reached a tentative $1.38B border security deal that could help avert another government shutdown. Democrats kept funding for physical barriers along the border far below President Trump's $5.7B request, but Republicans blocked efforts to place certain limits on detention beds, an issue that had derailed the talks over the weekend. The deal still has ways to go before heading to Trump's desk for approval.

Economy

With expectations for a Fed rate hike this year hanging by a thread, market watchers today will be tuning in to further hints on the outlook for monetary policy. Most of the focus will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who will be speaking at the Hope Enterprise Corporation Rural Policy Forum at 12:45 p.m. ET, as well as speeches this afternoon from Fed Presidents Esther George and Loretta Mester.

"We now all need to hold our nerve," Theresa May will tell MPs today, as she pleads for more time to secure changes to her Brexit deal. The EU has refused to reopen the divorce agreement as talks continue in Brussels, though May insists she can get legally binding changes to replace the contentious Irish border "backstop." The British parliament is also set to hold a debate on Brexit on Feb. 14.

Twelve Catalan separatist leaders go on trial in the Supreme Court in Madrid today over their roles in the region's failed independence bid in 2017. The case comes at a delicate time for the minority government of Pedro Sanchez, with a parliamentary vote on Spain's budget due this week. Differences could lead to the collapse of Spain’s ruling coalition and usher in early elections.

Foreign partners of Venezuela's PDVSA are facing pressure from the state-run oil firm to declare whether they will continue as minority stakeholders in Orinoco Belt projects following U.S. sanctions, Reuters reports. France's Total (NYSE:TOT), Norway's Equinor (NYSE:EQNR), Russia's Rosneft (OTCPK:RNFTF) and U.S.-based Chevron (NYSE:CVX) are facing difficulties getting cashflow out of the country, straining their ability to continue their JVs output and exports.

The White House is demanding that Iraq end purchases of energy from Iran after pulling out of the Iranian nuclear accord and reapplying sanctions. However, Baghdad called the demand impossible as the energy-starved nation is reliant on its neighbor for much of its electric and natural gas needs. Last October, the Trump administration scored a multibillion-dollar Iraqi power generation agreement for General Electric (NYSE:GE), after Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) had been on the verge of landing the deal.

Stocks

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, chairman of the Small Business Committee, is backing a new proposal to tackle one of Democrats' favorite talking points: stock buybacks. The plan would raise taxes on capital gains as a way to discourage companies from pursuing share repurchases by reducing the difference between what investors pay compared to dividends, which are taxed at individual income rates.

Another hit to Huawei? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cautioned allies against deploying gear from the Chinese telecom equipment giant on their soil, which the U.S. believes could be used for espionage. "If that equipment is co-located where we have important American systems, it makes it more difficult for us to partner alongside them." Bad news for Huawei has generally been seen by investors as an opportunity for Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC).

Legislators in Georgia are pushing for a 4% tax on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and other streaming services, such as digital books and music downloads, that would subsidize construction of high-speed internet lines in rural areas. Price breakdown: If you spend $13 on a Netflix subscription, you could be taxed about 50 cents on your bill. Only a handful of other states - Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Washington - have imposed this kind of tax so far, but similar proposals have been introduced in legislatures nationwide.

With upcoming challenges in mobile gaming, PC-based e-sports and streaming, Sony (NYSE:SNE) is shaking up its flagship games division by appointing Jim Ryan, its London-based deputy president, as PlayStation chief. "This industry is relentlessly fast moving, and to remain the market leader, we must constantly evolve ourselves with a sense of urgency," Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said in a statement.

The CEO of Colgate-Palmolive is leaving the position after almost 12 years, marking the latest changing of the guard at the world's largest consumer goods companies. Ian Cook will be replaced by Colgate (NYSE:CL) chief operating officer Noel Wallace at the start of April. The CEOs of Unilever (NYSE:UL), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) and Beiersdorf (OTCPK:BDRFY) have left within the past six months, following departures at Nestle (OTCPK:NSRGY), Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ) and Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB).

Walmart and logistics firm Deliv have pulled the plug on a key same-day grocery delivery partnership, dealing a setback to the retailer's race against rival Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Sources told Reuters that Deliv drivers had to frequently wait 40 minutes or more to collect grocery orders when they showed up at stores because Walmart (NYSE:WMT) gave priority to customers during regular hours.

Meanwhile, Amazon is acquiring Eero, a developer of easily connected home internet routers. While financial terms were not disclosed, its latest push into the smart home market follows the acquisition of video doorbell maker Ring last year for $1B. Amazon's (AMZN) primary home device is its own Echo smart speaker, powered by Alexa.

Tech crackdown? Online platforms including Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) should be regulated in how they distribute news content and these efforts should be enforced by a state regulator, according to a new U.K. government report. It also said they should sign a "code of conduct" to govern their commercial agreements with publishers and called on the U.K.'s competition authority to investigate online advertising to "ensure fair competition."

Nissan's CEO will meet Renault's (OTCPK:RNLSY) chairman this week in Japan as they look at ways to strengthen their partnership after the ouster of former alliance leader Carlos Ghosn. It comes at an important time... Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) this morning booked around $84M in charges related to under-reported compensation for Ghosn, and slashed its annual profit outlook on weaker global sales.

The Pentagon is initiating a review of SpaceX's (SPACE) Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy to determine whether the launch vehicles complied with certain guidelines of the U.S. Air Force. In December, SpaceX completed its first national security space mission for the U.S., breaking into the lucrative market for military space launches dominated by Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT).

Monday's Key Earnings

Aurora Cannabis (OTC:ACB) -5.5% amid lower prices, shrinking margins.
Omega Healthcare (NYSE:OHI) -3.6% AH posting weaker guidance.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +2.6%. Hong Kong +0.1%. China +0.7%. India -0.7%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +1.2%. Frankfurt +1.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.8%. S&P +0.7%. Nasdaq +0.9%. Crude +1.8% to $53.33. Gold +0.4% to $1316.90. Bitcoin -0.5% to $3568.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2 bps to 2.68%

Today's Economic Calendar

6:00 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
10:00 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
12:45 PM Jerome Powell Speech
5:30 PM Fed's George: "Charting America's Economic Course"
6:30 PM Fed's Mester: Monetary Policy and Economic Outlook

 

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