Plus, developments in the impeachment inquiry, union worker strikes have cost GM $1 billion in the last 3 weeks, and Apple shares are up on strong new iPhone demand.
Stocks opened mixed to start Tuesday, with the Dow down 220 points, or -0.8%. The S&P 500 added 0.2%, while the Nasdaq gained 0.3% at the opening.
“We have now tariffed our way into a manufacturing recession in the U.S. and globally,” said Bleakley Advisory Group chief investment officer, Peter Boockvar.
Stocks quickly fell Tuesday morning after disappointing manufacturing data added fuel to fears about the U.S. economy. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said that U.S. manufacturing activity contracted to its worst level since June 2009 in September. The ISM’s Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 47.8%, marking the second consecutive month of contraction, while its new export orders index was down to 41%, down from 43.3% in August and the lowest level seen since March 2009. ISM chair Timothy Fiore said that trade is weighing on the manufacturing sector. “Global trade remains the most significant issue, as demonstrated by the contraction in new export orders that began in July 2019,” Fiore said. “Overall, sentiment this month remains cautious regarding near-term growth.”
Rapid new developments in the House impeachment inquiry came out yesterday. Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, Attorney General William Barr, and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo have all been implicated in the widening scope of the investigation. Giuliani has been subpoenaed for records of his dealings with Ukraine, while Pompeo and Barr’s roles in the cover-up are being examined by U.S. Attorney John Durham, the prosecutor leading the investigation. It has also come to light that Trump sought help from Australia’s prime minister to investigate the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
The strike by General Motors union workers has cost the auto giant more than $1 billion, according to JPMorgan. The workers have been on strike since September 16, as GM and the United Auto Workers union continue contract negotiations. JPMorgan analyst Ryan Brinkman says GM should be able to recover some of the lost profits as a result of the strike by shifting production from the third quarter into the fourth. “GM likely has me ability to recover a portion of these lost profits by shifting production from 3Q into 4Q, although the automaker will also likely be limited in its ability to add production for vehicles already in high demand or in launch mode (such as its high profit full-size ‘heavy duty’ pickup trucks),” Brinkman said. GM shares are down nearly -3% Tuesday.
Silicon Valley investors and executives are holding a summit today to discuss whether the financial industry’s system for IPOs is still working after a year in which many of the biggest deals have flopped, including Uber, Lyft, last week’s Peloton debut, as well as the failed high-profile IPO of WeWork. Venture capitalists and executives are expected to discuss alternative strategies including direct listings. Bill Gurley, general partner at venture capital firm Benchmark and one of the meeting’s organizers said that bankers have been “mis-pricing” IPOs for decades, and direct listings may be a better option as fewer banks are involved. “I’m not anti-banker, I’m pro-algorithm,” Gurley said.
Apple shares are up nearly 1% Tuesday morning after CEO Tim Cook said iPhone 11 sales are off to a “very strong start.” In an interview with German publication Bild, Cook said the company “could not be happier” with the launch of the new iPhone, though he didn’t reveal any specific sales figures. JPMorgan raised its price target for Apple yesterday, citing stronger-than-expected demand for the new phones, and said they expect the company will sell more than 1 million more iPhones than the firm had previously expected. McDonald’s shares are down -2.6% this morning after JPMorgan analyst John Ivankoe lowered his estimate for same-store sales growth from 6% to 5% and cut his full-year earnings expectations for the fast food giant. Ivankoe said conversations with McDonald’s management “suggest 3Q trending softer than we thought.” The analyst cited “less value attention” around McDonald’s’ buy-one-get-one-for-$1 deal relative to last year’s 2-for-$5 deal, as well as the chain’s “uninteresting” Spicy BBQ chicken sandwich released in the middle of the quarter as reasons for the downbeat estimate.
Stocks We’re Watching
Lynas Corp (OTC: LYSCF): Shares of this rare-earth producer are up 64% so far this year, and nearly 10% over the last month after it was reported Lynas had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder for the review and due diligence of potential sites for its new Cracking & Leaching plant. “We are very pleased to announce this MOU with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. … Access to infrastructure and a skilled workforce makes it an attractive investment destination and with this MOU we can further assess the suitability of potential sites in Kalgoorlie for our Cracking & Leaching plant. The local councils in both of our preferred locations have welcomed the opportunity to host our Western Australian Cracking & Leaching facility and we look forward to updating the market on further developments,” said Lynas CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze.
Thor Industries (NYSE: THO): Thor Industries shares were up nearly 16% yesterday after the recreational vehicle specialist reported strong earnings results in its fiscal fourth quarter. The company reported an increase to revenue of 23.3% compared to last year. Gross profit for the quarter came in at $331.81 million, an increase of 35.76% from $244.41 million in the same period last year. “As we look ahead to fiscal 2020, we see many reasons for optimism as we leverage the global growth opportunities of EHG. Our confidence was reinforced at the recent Düsseldorf Caravan Salon in late August, the Hershey RV show in mid-September and our Open House event held last week. Each of these important events were well attended and reflected the current optimistic sentiment of our independent dealers and consumers,” said Thor Industries president and CEO Bob Martin.