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  • Today - Tuesday, December 11, 2018
    • Stocks ended flat after another day of sharp up and down moves for the major averages amid headlines over politics and trade.
    • The S&P 500 shot up as much as 1.4% shortly after the open but surrendered the entire gain and fell as much as 0.6% in the afternoon, then rose as much as 0.8% but rolled over in the final 30 minutes to close just about where it began; the other major averages followed similar paths, although the Nasdaq ended slightly higher.
    • “The fragility of the market stems from the awareness that 2019 will not look anything like 2018 in terms of earnings and economic growth,” says Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Financial. “Investors are getting used to this idea that this could be as good as it gets.”
    • The financial sector (-1%) and Dow Jones Transportation Average (-0.5%) - two key areas for driving economic sentiment - underperformed in the early rally effort and never could totally recover before closing in the red; meanwhile, the defensive-oriented consumer staples (+0.9%), utilities (+0.3%) and health care (+0.3%) groups topped the day's leaderboard.
    • The information technology sector (+0.1%) managed to stay afloat despite missing the influential leadership of Apple, which ended -0.6% following yesterday's rally.
    • U.S. Treasury prices fell, with the two-year yield climbing 5 bps - its biggest daily boost in five weeks - to 2.77% and the benchmark 10-year yield adding 2 bps to 2.88%.
    • January WTI crude oil closed +1.3% to $51.65/bbl.
    • Tencent Music Entertainment (NYSE:TME) has priced its initial public offering at the bottom of its range, contrary to signals earlier that it was aiming for the midpoint.
    • American depositary shares priced at $13 each, the WSJ reports, on the low end of a $13-$15 range.
    • That results in a raise of about $1.1B and values the company at $21.3B -- less than the $25B-$30B that the Tencent spin-off (OTCPK:TCEHY) and underwriters were previously seeking, but still one of the biggest IPOs by market value since Alibaba's coming-out in 2014.
    • The shares will begin trading tomorrow, wrapping up a rocky road to the IPO that included a two-month postponement.
    • General Electric (GE -2.1%) shares fall as low as $6.66 intraday, a level equal to the lowest close for the stock during the financial crisis a decade ago.
    • GE has now fallen ~61% YTD, including 21% in the past month alone.
    • For comparison's sake, Tesla is now worth $4B more than GE, Bespoke notes.
    • Earlier: UBS stays bullish on GE, sees 'plenty of levers' to reduce leverage (Dec. 10)
    • Facebook (FB +0.6%) is starting to test search ads, from its search bar and in Marketplace, in the U.S. and Canada.
    • That squares off against AdWords from fellow duopolist Google (GOOG +1%, GOOGL +0.7%).
    • It's a return of sorts to such advertising for Facebook, which shut down Sponsored Results five years ago but now could see an important revenue stream.
    • The ads will be repurposed News Feed ads starting from a small set of automotive, retail and e-commerce advertisers, TechCrunch notes.
    • SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) is planning a sale of its Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) stake early next year, according to Bloomberg.
    • SoftBank could book a profit of $3B from the sale.
    • Update: Bloomberg reports that no final decision has been made and SoftBank could decide to keep its stake or only sell a portion.
    • SoftBank holds an equity stake in Nvidia and has constructed a $6B collar trade, which allows investors to collect stakes with protection from share price declines. Nvidia shares are down 48% from their early October peak.
    • The sale opportunity would come in tranches that begin to expire in early 2019 with the average price of options between $230 and $240 per share.
    • Uber Technologies (UBER) selects Morgan Stanley (MS -1%) to lead its public offering next year, Bloomberg reports, citing two people familiar with the matter.
    • That will give the investment bank larger share of fees for listing the ride-sharing company that may be valued at as much as $120B.
    • Goldman Sachs Group (GS -1.7%) is also expected to play a role in Uber's IPO process.
    • Morgan Stanley and Goldman declined to comment to Bloomberg.
    • Previously: Uber follows Lyft with confidential IPO filing (Dec. 7)
    • Books have closed in New York around the U.S. initial public offering for Tencent Music (NYSE:TME), and the company is expecting pricing around the midpoint of its range, it tells investors.
    • That would bring the company public at $14 per American depositary share, Bloomberg notes.
    • It expects to price the offering after the market close today.
    • The company, spinning out from Tencent (TCEHY +2.1%), is offering 82M ADS and hopes to raise as much as $1.2B.
    • President Donald Trump threatens to shut down the government over a dispute with Democratic leaders over U.S.-Mexico border wall funding, AP reports.
    • U.S. stock market indexes, which had already reversed course from early gains, wilted further.
    • “If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government," Trump said.
    • Commenting on the heated meeting, Pelosi added "this has spiraled downwards."
    • Previously: Automakers gain as China moves to lower import tariff (Dec. 11)
    • U.S. stock markets' earlier gains lose some steam in midday trading amid President Trump threats to shut down the government and as investors search for clues on U.S.-China trade talks and the Fed's interest-rate hike path.
    • S&P +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.6%, Dow roughly flat.
    • 10-year Treasury yield slips almost 1 basis point to 2.853%, 2 year yield up less than 1 bp at 2.733%.
    • Google (GOOG, GOOGL) CEO Sundar Pichai testifies today in front of the U.S. House Judiciary committee.
    • Update: Pichai says Google has no current plans to launch a censored search engine in China, but doesn't rule out a future launch. He says he will be "fully transparent" with lawmakers if Google resumes search products in the region.
    • Pichai says users are in charge of the personal information available to Google: “For Google services, you have a choice of what information is collected, and we make it transparent."
    • Pichai says the company reminds users to do privacy checkups and that 160M users went into their My Account settings in the past 28 days. My Account displays what information Google has and toggles for turning that access off.
    • When asked if Google could improve its dashboard and privacy education methods, Pichai responds that it's "something I think we can do better" and that it's "something we are working on."
    • Previously: Google admits unauthorized location tracking (Aug. 17)
    • Stocks open with a broad rally led by industrial and technology stocks amid signs of progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China; S&P and Dow both +1.2%, Nasdaq +1.3%.
    • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Trade Representative Lighthizer reportedly had a phone call with China Vice Premier Liu to discuss trade issues, and Bloomberg reports China is considering a proposal to cut U.S. auto import tariffs to 15% from 40% - all despite the controversial arrest of the Huawei CFO.
    • European bourses are surging, with Germany's DAX +2.3%, France's CAC +2.4% and U.K.'s FTSE +1.9%; in Asia, Japan's Nikkei -0.3% and China's Shanghai Composite +0.4%.
    • In the U.S., an early look at the S&P sectors shows materials (+1.8%), consumer discretionary (+1.3%), technology (+1.3%) financials (+1.1%) and energy (+1.1%) in the lead, while the defensive-oriented utilities (+0.1%) and real estate (+0.5%) sectors underperform the broader market.
    • U.S. WTI crude oil rises alongside equities, +2.7% to $52.39/bbl.
    • U.S. Treasury prices are lower, with the two-year and 10-year yields up a basis point each to 2.73% and 2.87%, respectively; the U.S. Dollar Index flat at 97.24.
    • Dell (NYSE:DVMT) receives shareholder approval for its tracking stock buyout offer, which will allow the company to return public without an IPO.
    • Holders of more than 61% of the Class V stock voted in favor.
    • The closing is expected to happen on December 28, and Class C shares will start trading on the NYSE on the same day under the "DELL" ticker.
    • DVMT is up 1.4% to $105.50. VMware (NYSE:VMW) shares are up 3.1% to $168.34.
    • Previously: Icahn drops Dell suit, proxy fight (Nov. 15)
    • Previously: WSJ: Dell could offer 50% more cash for tracking stock (Nov. 14)
    • China is taking initial steps to lowers its tariffs on U.S.-made cars back down from 40% to 15%, sources tell Bloomberg. The 15% mark is back to where it stood last May.
    • President Trump has hinted once again on "very productive" conversations with China, although Bloomberg reports that the China Cabinet is still reviewing the auto import proposal.
    • Automakers are getting a bump off the development. BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY) and Daimler (OTCPK:DDAIF) are both up 2.1% in Frankfurt, while Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) are both 2.6% higher in U.S. premarket trading and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is 1.9% higher.
    • Related ETF: CARZ.
    • U.S. stock index futures are are all up by 0.5% on a fresh dose of optimism over the U.S.-China trade dispute.
    • The move higher followed another volatile session on Wall Street, which saw the Dow recover from a 507-point drop on Monday.
    • Most Fed watchers are still expecting a December rate hike, but the fact that there is doubt it - due to recent market moves and a weaker November employment report - appears to be lifting sentiment.
    • Oil is up 0.6% at $51.32/bbl, gold is 0.2% higher at $1252/ounce and the 10-year Treasury yield is up 2 bps to 2.88%.
    • ETFs: SPY, QQQ, DIA, SH, SSO, VOO, SDS, IVV, SPXU, TQQQ, UPRO, PSQ, SPXL, RSP, SPXS, SQQQ, QID, DOG, QLD, DXD, UDOW, SDOW, VFINX, EPS, DDM, QQEW, QQQE, SPLX, SFLA, QQXT, SPUU, SPXE, UDPIX, OTPIX, RYARX, SPXN, SPDN, SPXT, SPXV
    • Google CEO Sundar Pichai is in the hot seat today, testifying before U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) social media practices.
    • The hearing officially focuses on "Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices," but it's also likely to cover accusations of political bias, a controversial plan to return to China, and whether the tech giant violates antitrust laws.
    • While elements of the Brexit deal could still be "clarified," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is ruling out any renegotiation of the divorce agreement after Theresa May delayed a critical parliamentary vote on her proposal to leave the EU.
    • She now plans to meet with European leaders before an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday.
    • If a deal cannot pass through parliament, the range of outcomes runs from a leadership challenge, a May resignation, a general election in the U.K., a second referendum on EU membership or a temporary stop on Britain's withdrawal.
    • After plummeting to 21-month low on Monday, the pound is scaling back some losses, up 0.5% to 1.2624.
    • ETFs: FXB, EWU, GBB, DBUK, FKU, EWUS, DXPS, HEWU, QGBR, DGBP, FLGB, UGBP
    • As it readies mass production of hybrid and electric vehicles, Daimler (OTCPK:DMLRY), parent company of Mercedes-Benz, said it would buy battery cells worth close to $23B by 2030.
    • It currently sources the cells from various suppliers including LG Chem (OTCPK:LGCLF) and SK Innovation (OTC:SKOVF).
    • Hyundai is also pouring almost $7B into clean energy vehicles, developing hydrogen-powered systems for cars, drones and ships amid criticism that the group was too slow to adapt to battery-powered EVs.
    • Related: PLUG, HYGS, FCEL, BLDP
  • Monday, December 10, 2018
    • After more than a year of floating the sale, CBS has a deal to sell its iconic Television City production studios for $750M.
    • Hackman Capital Partners will take over the 25-acre property and sound stage along with the rights to use the Television City trademark.
    • Shares are up 2.3% after hours.
    • Last month, reports had Hackman winning an auction with a total that was expected to top $700M.
    • As expected, CBS has secured continuing rights to produce programs on the campus for at least five years. Among the series produced there are The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Price is Right, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.
    • Primary production for CBS TV will still be at the 40-acre CBS Studios Center in Studio City, Calif.
    • "The sale of Television City unlocks significant value, increasing CBS' financial flexibility, including the ability to redeploy capital for strategic growth initiatives such as additional content investment," says interim CEO Joe Ianniello.
    • Stocks overcame sharp morning losses to finish slightly higher in another volatile session, marked by strong turnarounds in the FAANG names.
    • The S&P 500 wound up closing 1.9% above its session low for its biggest intraday upside reversal since Feb. 6, and the Dow closed 2.1% for its largest intraday bounce since April 4.
    • Knee-jerk selling following news that U.K. Prime Minster May would delay the vote in Parliament originally scheduled for Tuesday on the Brexit plan gave way to a round of buying in Apple (+0.6%), which had been knocked back earlier on reports that a court in China granted Qualcomm an injunction against the company that banned the import and sale of most iPhones in China.
    • Facebook shares climbed 3.2%, while Amazon, Netflix and Google all rose more than 0.6%.
    • Among S&P 500 sectors, strength in information technology (+1.4%) and communication services (+0.7%) helped lift the broader market.
    • But today marked another dismal showing for the financial sector (-1.4%), which added to its position as this month's poorest performer with an 8.4% loss.
    • Energy (-1.5%) was another big loser as WTI crude oil slid 3.1% to $51/bbl.
    • U.S. Treasury prices slipped a bit after last week's hot streak, with the two-year yield adding 2 bps to 2.72% and the 10-year yield rising by a basis point to 2.86%.
    • The U.S. Dollar Index jumped 0.7% to 97.20, benefiting from a 1.7% drubbing in the British pound to 1.2558 vs. the dollar on news of the delayed vote on the U.K.-E.U. Brexit plan.
    • The tech-heavy Nasdaq creeps up to a gain in early afternoon trading as the Dow and S&P 500 pare earlier losses.
    • Nasdaq +0.2%, S&P -0.5%, Dow -0.7%.
    • By sector, technology rises 0.3%. Among individual stocks, Alphabet (GOOG +0.1%), Facebook (FB +2.1%), and Microsoft (MSFT +1.2%) advance.
    • Financials -1.4% and basic materials -1.4%, which includes oil & gas, experience the biggest sector declines. Individual laggards include Wells Fargo (WFC -3%), Bank of America (BAC -2.9%), Citi (C -2.4%), Occidental Petroleum (OXY -3.5%), Exxon Mobil (XOM -2.4%), and EOG Resources (EOG -2.7%).
    • Crude slides 1.5% to $51.81.
    • U.S. 10-year Treasury price slips, lifting yield by almost 1 basis point to 2.86%. Dollar index rises 0.5% to 97.14.
    • Previously: Stock losses mount amid growth concerns, trade uncertainty (Dec. 10)
    • Markets are well off session lows in afternoon action, in part thanks to a speedy reversal in the shares of Apple.
    • Apple earlier was down more than 2% as Qualcomm reported winning a ban on the sale of some iPhones in China. That decline has been completely eliminated over the past 30 minutes.
    • Down nearly 2% earlier, the S&P 500 has narrowed that to just 0.6%. The Dow is off 0.8%, and the Nasdaq has turned barely positive.
    • Google (GOOG +0.2%, GOOGL +0.3%) is accelerating the shutdown of its Google Plus product after revealing a "new bug" that inadvertently exposed access to data.
    • The company had said in October that it would shut the product down after reports that Google didn't disclose a known issue last spring that exposed data of hundreds of thousands of users.
    • Now, some users were impacted by a software update introduced last month, the company says: "No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way."
    • The new bug affected about 52.5M users, it says.
    • Google Plus APIs will now shut down within the next 90 days, Google says, and the sunset of consumer-facing Google Plus will now come in April rather than next August.
    • A bit less than two hours into the session, modest early selling has ramped up, with the Dow down 2%, the S&P 1.75%, and Nasdaq 1.1%.
    • The 10-year Treasury yield is off two basis points to 2.83%.
    • Slight declines in Europe have grown as well, with Theresa May's pulling of a Brexit vote (and subsequent euro strength) a convenient excuse. The Stoxx 600 is down 1.6%. The FTSE is off just 0.5%.
    • ETFs: VGK, HEDJ, FEZ, EZU, IEV, EPV, IEUR, EURL, FEU, DBEU, HEZU, EEA, FEEU, FEP, UPV, ADRU, FEUZ, DBEZ
    • British pound falls 1.1% against the euro and 0.9% against the U.S. dollar as Theresa May addresses the U.K.'s House of Commons announcing a delay in the Brexit pact vote.
    • May cites "widespread and deep concern" on the Irish border backstop facet of Brexit.
    • Laughter erupted several times during May's address.
    • "Backstop is now an uncomfortable arrangement for the EU," she said.
    • Looking at new ways to empower House of Commons to make sure the backstop isn't in place indefinitely.
    • May still feels the majority of the House wants Brexit.
    • If Parliament wants a second referendum, "Be honest that this risks dividing the country again," May says.
    • Leader of opposition responds that "Government has lost control."
    • Previously: British pound falls as May delays Brexit vote (Dec. 10)
    • ETFs: FXB, EWU, GBB, DBUK, FKU, DXPS, HEWU, QGBR, DGBP, FLGB, UGBP
    • Stocks turn lower in early trading, weighed by ongoing concerns about economic growth prospects and U.S.-China trade relations; Dow -0.9%, S&P -0.7%, Nasdaq -0.3%.
    • China summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beijing to protest the recent arrest of the Huawei Technologies CFO and warned of severe consequences, and a Chinese court has granted Qualcomm's injunction against Apple, banning sale of some iPhones.
    • European bourses are mostly lower in the wake of Wall Street's weak showing on Friday, with Germany's DAX -0.6% and France's CAC -0.5% but U.K.'s FTSE +0.1%; in Asia, Japan's Nikkei -2.1% and China's Shanghai Composite -0.8%.
    • In the U.S., the information technology (+0.6%), communication services (+0.5%), and consumer discretionary (+0.5%) sectors top the early leaderboard, while real estate (-0.8%), financials (-0.6%), energy (-0.6%) and utilities (-0.6%) lag.
    • U.S. WTI crude oil -1.8% to $51.66/bbl, giving back some of the gains made last week when OPEC and Russia agreed to cut production.
    • Also, U.S. Treasury prices are roughly flat, with the 10-year yield unchanged at 2.85%; U.S. Dollar Index +0.3% to 96.76.
    • Still ahead: October Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
    • Futures were in the green headed into the open, but stocks are slipping in the session's first thirty minutes. The S&P 500 is off 0.8%, and the Dow 0.95%. The Nasdaq is lower by 0.5%.
    • Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) says it has won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning imports and sales of several Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone models in the region.
    • The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court order affects the iPhone 6S to iPhone X, which the court found violated two of Qualcomm's software-related patents for photograph resizing and touch screen application management.
    • Apple could update the software to remove the infringing features and continue selling the phones.
    • Earlier this year, the same court banned the import of some Micron chips.
    • In Citi's Apple target cut this morning, the firm cited Apple's exposure to China, which accounts for about 18% of total sales.
    • Apple shares are down 1.3% premarket. Qualcomm shares are up 2.2%.
    • Previously: Citi has $125 bear case for Apple (Dec. 10)
    • Update: Apple tells CNBC's David Faber that all iPhone models remain available to customers in China.
    • Apple: "Qualcomm's effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world. All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts."
    • Down about 1% at the lows overnight, S&P 500 futures have been climbing over the past 90 minutes, now up 0.25% one hour before the opening bell. Nasdaq futures are up 0.5%.
    • Tivity Health (NASDAQ:TVTY) strikes an agreement to acquire Nutrisystem (NASDAQ:NTRI) in a cash and stock deal.
    • Under the terms of the deal, Nutrisystem shareholders will receive $38.75 per share in cash and 0.2141 Tivity Health shares for each share of Nutrisystem held.
    • The transaction values Nutrisystem at an enterprise value of $1.3B and an equity value of $1.4B, or approximately $47.00 per share.
    • Boards of both companies have approved the merger.
    • "The combined company will be unique in offering, at scale, an integrated portfolio of fitness, nutrition and social engagement solutions to support overall health and wellness. Through this expanded portfolio, Tivity Health will be better positioned to address weight management – a major factor contributing to many chronic diseases. The diversification of Tivity Health's portfolio and increased scale will benefit all the company's stakeholders – including health plans, fitness partners, members and consumers – as these offerings support healthier lifestyles and can lower medical costs."
    • The merger is expected to bring double digit accretion to Tivity Health's adjusted EPS in 2020 and beyond, as well as significant potential for value creation with expected annual cost synergies of ~$30M to $35M.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Citi cuts its Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) price target from $240 to $200 citing China concerns.
    • The firm doesn't expect China to ban or impose additional tariffs on the iPhone maker but notes that if it did happen Apple's Chinese exposure represents about 18% of total sales.
    • Citi doesn't expect Apple to miss its soft guidance for the December quarter but sees the company reporting towards the lower end of its $89B in sales.
    • In Citi's new bear case, the firm sees Apple dropping as far as $125 if revenue growth slows to 2% to 3% a year and gross margins are weaker than expected.
    • Apple shares are down 0.2% premarket to $168.15. Shares have dropped 6% in the past week, 17% in the month, 24% in the quarter, and are down 0.3% on the year.
    • The British pound slides 0.8% against the euro and 0.5% against the U.S. dollar after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May calls off a vote in Parliament on whether to approve her Brexit agreement with the EU, Bloomberg reports, citing a person familiar with the situation.
    • iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (NYSEARCA:EWU) falls 0.3% in premarket trading.
    • The vote in the House of Commons, that had been set for Tuesday evening, is now set to be rescheduled.
    • May is now talking with her top ministers to finalize the government's position.
    • The government is expect to formally announce to Parliament its stance on the way forward later today.
    • Previously: U.K. permitted to unilaterally reverse Brexit (Dec. 10)
    • ETFs: FXB, EWU, GBB, DBUK, FKU, DXPS, HEWU, QGBR, DGBP, FLGB, UGBP
    • Stocks across the globe are flashing red, while U.S. equity futures were off to a softer start to the new week on fresh worries about U.S.-China trade tensions.
    • Those include frictions over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and tariff comments from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
    • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also warned Sunday that he considers March 1 - when the current trade truce is scheduled to end - as "a hard deadline."
    • Asia: Nikkei -2.1%; Hang Seng -1.2%; Shanghai -0.8%; Sensex -2%.
    • Europe: FTSE 100 -0.3%; CAC 40 -0.5%; DAX -0.5%.
    • U.S. futures: Dow -0.4%; S&P -0.4%; Nasdaq -0.4%.
    • Oil is down 1.7% at $51.70/bbl, gold is flat at $1252/ounce and the 10-year Treasury yield is steady at 2.86%.
    • ETFs: SPY, QQQ, DIA, SH, SSO, VOO, SDS, IVV, SPXU, TQQQ, UPRO, PSQ, SPXL, RSP, SPXS, SQQQ, QID, DOG, QLD, DXD, UDOW, SDOW, VFINX, EPS, DDM, QQEW, QQQE, SPLX, SFLA, QQXT, SPUU, SPXE, UDPIX, OTPIX, RYARX, SPXN, SPDN, SPXT, SPXV
    • Australia took the world’s largest LNG exporter crown from Qatar for the first time in November, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon.
    • It follows the start up of a number of export projects in the country over the past three years, most recently the Ichthys project offshore its northern coast.
    • "We expect a new wave of projects to be launched which will see Qatar regain its position as the leading exporter by the early 2020s," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Neil Beveridge.
    • ETFs: UNG, UGAZ, DGAZ, BOIL, EWA, FXA, IAF, KOLD, UNL, QAT, AUSE, CROC, DCNG, KROO, FAUS, EWAS, HAUD, GAZB, DAUD, DBAU, FLAU, UAUD
    • The British government may reverse its decision to leave the bloc without consulting other member states, according to the bloc's top court.
    • The landmark ruling will fuel the campaign to thwart the divorce on the eve of a possible make or break vote in the British parliament.
    • Despite repeatedly saying government will not seek to delay or reverse Brexit, Theresa May must decide today whether to postpone tomorrow's vote.
    • ETFs: FXB, EWU, GBB, DBUK, FKU, EWUS, DXPS, HEWU, QGBR, DGBP, FLGB, UGBP
    • Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) has named Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) executive Daniel O’Day as its new chief executive officer, tapping an industry veteran to fill a management vacuum. He'll begin the job on March 1, 2019.
    • Up to Friday’s close, Gilead's shares have fallen nearly 14% since former CEO John Milligan and Chairman John Martin's departures were announced by the company in late July.
    • Previously: WSJ: Gilead Sciences to hire Roche exec O’Day as its next CEO (Dec. 09 2018)
    • Japanese prosecutors have indicted former Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) Chairman Carlos Ghosn on charges of underreporting his compensation on five years of Nissan's financial reports.
    • In addition, Nissan as a company was indicted over the same allegations.
    • By citing new suspicions, prosecutors also gained the ability to detain Ghosn without the possibility of bail for as long as 22 more days.
  • Sunday, December 9, 2018
    • There's no bounce from Friday's drubbing just yet. At about 8:30 ET on Sunday evening, U.S. stock index futures are down about 0.8% across the board.
    • The Nikkei is down 1.8% in Monday morning action in Tokyo.
  • Saturday, December 8, 2018
    • Disney's (NYSE:DIS) $71B deal to acquire Fox's (NASDAQ:FOX) film and television divisions and Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) agreement to buy pay-TV operator Sky (OTCPK:SKYAY) will create companies that together control nearly 40% of all programming spending in the U.S, according to a report by Ampere Analysis.
    • Globally, the two will account for 20% of such spending.
    • "Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) was on course to catch - and overtake - the top Hollywood studios by content spend. However, in light of the two new combined entities, Netflix would now need to triple spend to achieve this feat."
    • A close ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday became the first cabinet minister to float a possible Plan B if, as expected, parliament next week rejects her proposal to leave the EU.
    • "If it (May's plan) doesn't get through anything could happen: people’s vote, Norway plus, any of these options could come forward,” Amber Rudd, the work and pensions minister, told BBC radio.
    • ETFs: FXB, EWU, GBB, DBUK, FKU, EWUS, DXPS, HEWU, QGBR, DGBP, FLGB, UGBP
    • There had been some indication that an expansive alliance between Ford (NYSE:F) and Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) could be announced before the end of the year, but CNBC has been advised by a highly placed source at one of the carmakers, that it now looks like it will take until sometime in January.
    • The tie-up could involve sharing assembly plants in the U.S. and other markets, combining marketing and distribution operations in some areas, working jointly on products, and possibly even partnering on the development of autonomous and electrified vehicles.
    • More than a hundred thousand people took to the streets of France on Saturday in a fourth consecutive weekend of protests, with nearly 1,400 people arrested by police across the country.
    • After delaying a fuel-tax increase this week, French officials say the government is now considering another gilets-jaunes demand: the reinstatement of a decades-old wealth tax that Emmanuel Macron abolished as one of his first acts as president.
    • ETFs: EWQ, FLFR
    • A bail hearing for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been adjourned until Monday, after she appeared in court following her arrest in Canada.
    • She faces U.S. accusations that she covered up her company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.
    • China warned Canada on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Meng, calling the case "extremely nasty."
    • Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster continues to believe that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) acquiring Target (NYSE:TGT) would make sense as the company looks to rapidly grow its physical retail presence to compete head on with Walmart (NYSE:WMT).
    • "Amazon’s core retail competency lies in logistics (not merchandising). The Amazon Go initiative, for example, works so well because it leverages logistics in physical retail," writes Munster.
    • While Amazon operates 107 of its own physical retail stores (including Amazon Go, Amazon 4-star, Amazon Pop-Up, and Amazon Books) and has ~500 Whole Foods Market stores in its portfolio, the Seattle giant would still by dwarfed by Walmart's +11K stores even after it does set up the 3K cashier-less stores as has been reported.
    • In full disclosure, Munster postulated something similar about a year ago, but adding intrigue to the new note is the 24% drop in Target's share price over the last 90 days.
  • Friday, December 7, 2018
    • Uber (UBER) filed IPO documents confidentially with regulators this week, according to a Bloomberg source.
    • Bankers reportedly told the ride-hail company it could be worth as much as $120B on the public market.
    • Uber hasn't selected a lead banker, but Morgan Stanley played a key role in writing the prospectus.
    • Rival Lyft (LYFT) announced Thursday that it filed its IPO prospectus with the SEC.
    • Previously: Lyft files IPO documents (Dec. 6)
    • Stocks fell sharply again on continued U.S.-China trade tensions, capping the biggest weekly percentage drop for the S&P 500 since March.
    • Yesterday's brief optimism over the possibility that the Fed might slow its pace of interest rate hikes succumbed to renewed fears about the impact of tariffs on the U.S. economy, which intensified after comments by Trump administration officials suggesting they plan to take a tough stand in 90-day negotiations with China.
    • Stocks had edged higher in early trading after the November jobs report showed slower job growth, enough to suggest the U.S. economy remains healthy while reducing the danger of the Fed raising interest rates too aggressively.
    • "You've gone from a period of zero sensitivity to headlines to a period of hypersensitivity," said James Athey, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments. "We're now in a world where no one knows which way is up and which way is down."
    • For the week, the S&P plunged 4.6%, the Dow sank 2.2% and the Nasdaq tumbled 3.1%.
    • Today's worst performers among S&P sectors were information technology (-3.5%), consumer discretionary (-3.1%) and industrials (-2.6%), while utilities (+0.4) ended as the only group in positive territory.
    • Trade-related stocks such as Deere, Caterpillar and Boeing fell 4.6%, 3.7% and 2.6%, respectively.
    • WTI crude oil climbed 2.2% to $52.61/bbl, although it gave up a good chunk of its early gains, after OPEC and Russia agreed to a production cut of 1.2M bbl/day to address weakening oil prices; even so, the S&P energy sector failed to hold on to big gains, finishing -0.5%.
    • U.S. Treasury prices extended their recent rise amid the equity selloff, with the two-year yield tumbling 7 bps to 2.70% and the 10-year yield slipping 2 bps to 2.85%; for the week, the two-year fell 11 bps and the 10-year yield dropped 16 bps.
    • Finally, the VIX jumped 11.2% to 23.57, rising more than 30% for the full week.
    • Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) warned employees not to travel to China, according to an internal memo obtained by Nikkei Asian Review, before withdrawing the ban,
    • Cisco warned that "due to recent events surrounding the arrest of a Chinese citizen in Canada on the request of United States law enforcement authorities, Cisco is implementing a restriction of all nonessential travel by U.S.-based Cisco employees into China."
    • The Chinese citizen in question was Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on charges of violating sanctions against Iran.
    • After Bloomberg broke the story of the ban, Cisco told NAR that the memo was "sent in error" and that it doesn't "reflect  Cisco policy."
    • Markets go up, and markets go down. For U.S. stock markets, it's now down's turn, as U.S.-China trade tensions persist.
    • Nasdaq -2.3%, S&P 500 -1.8%, Dow -1.8%.
    • Amazon (AMZN -2.3%), Apple (AAPL -2.4%), Alphabet (GOOG -2.4%), and Microsoft (MSFT -2.8%) all off by more than 2%.
    • By sector, consumer services -2.1%, healthcare -2.1%, and tech -1.9%.
    • The basic materials sector--which includes oil & gas companies-- is up 0.1%; utilities +0.5%.
    • Previously: Tech lunch: Huawei woes weigh down Wall Street (Dec. 7)
    • Online retail sales for the period from November 1 to December 6 was up 18.6% Y/Y to $80.3B, according to tracking by Adobe Analytics.
    • Sales from smartphones were up 55% to $23.7B during the period.
    • The number of shoppers who bought items online to be picked up in store was up 46% from a year ago.
    • The firm forecasts total online retail sales for November and December to top $124B.
    • Major e-commerce players: WMT, TGT, AMZN, M, GPS, HD, EBAY, W, ETSY, SHOP, COST, AAPL, JWN, KSS, NKE, URBN, FL, DKS.
    • Related ETFs: XRT, IBUY.
    • Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY, OTCPK:VLKAF) says it can produce up to 15M electric cars a year using its new MEB vehicle platform tailored for the new style of axles, drivetrains and other EV features.
    • The German automaker plans to invest more than €11B in EVs and AVs by 2023, underpinned by the ability to mass produce off the MEB platform.
    • Earlier this week, Volkswagen Herbert Diess said the company would also consider using Ford (NYSE:F) plants in the U.S. for production of new EV models such as the Volkswagen I.D. Crozz, Volkswagen I.D. Buzz and Audi e-tron SUV.
    • After rising slightly at the opening, U.S. stock markets now turn down.
    • S&P 500 -1.0%, Dow -1.0%, and Nasdaq -1.3%.
    • By sector, healthcare -1.4% and tech -0.7% lead the laggards, while basic material +1.1% and utilities +0.2% still notch gains.
    • Why? Take your pick--higher oil prices; the weaker-than-expected jobs report may not be enough to slow the Fed's pace of rate hikes; stronger-than-expected consumer sentiment may also add to worries about Fed's rate-hike path; and while President Trump tweets "China talks are going very well!", there's nothing concrete on that front yet.
    • U.S. 2-year Treasury price rises, lowering yield by 1 basis point to 2.76%; 10-year Treasury price falls, lifting yield almost 1 bp to 2.89%.
    • Previously: Stocks edge higher at the open after tepid jobs report (Dec. 7)
    • Stocks push slightly into the green, overcoming pre-market losses after the weaker than expected November non-farm payrolls report raises hopes that the Federal Reserve could slow down its pace of interest rate hikes in the future; Dow +0.3%, S&P +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.1%.
    • But Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones, said the numbers are not weak enough for the Fed to deviate from its monetary policy trajectory: "The market is reading too much into this. The report was solid, not great, but it is still enough to keep the pace on track."
    • Major European bourses are sharply higher, with U.K.'s FTSE +2.3%, France's CAC +1.9% and Germany's DAX +1%; in Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed +0.8% while China's Shanghai Composite finished flat.
    • In earnings news, Broadcom +4.1% after the company exceeded earnings estimates.
    • The S&P sectors are mixed, with energy (+1.9%), materials (+0.8%) and financials (+0.6%) in the early lead while real estate (-0.9%), utilities (-0.6%), health care (-0.4%) and information technology (-0.3%) are early laggards.
    • WTI crude oil +4.8% to $53.98/bbl as OPEC and its allies reportedly agree to a 1.2M bbl/day production cut.
    • The U.S. Treasury yield curve has steepened a bit, with the two-year yield down a basis point to 2.76% and the 10-year yield up 2 bps to 2.89%; the U.S. Dollar Index -0.1% to 96.76.
    • Futures now point to markets opening mixed after the November jobs report showed weaker-than-expected job creation, but the unemployment rate steady at 3.7%, its lowest level since 1969.
    • S&P 500 futures flat, Dow +0.1%, and Nasdaq -0.2%.
    • Average hourly earning rose 0.2% from October, missing the 0.3% consensus.
    • November nonfarm payrolls increased by 155K, short of the 200K consensus, and down from revised +237K in October.
    • Labor force participation rate remained steady at 62.9%.
    • U.S. 10-year Treasury yield pretty much flat at 2.886%.
    • Crude oil +4.2% at $53.66; gold +0.4% at $1,249.10.
    • Previously: Job gain of 155K trails estimates (Dec. 7)
    • November Nonfarm Payrolls: +155K vs. consensus +200K, +237K previous (revised from 250K).
    • Unemployment rate: 3.7% vs. 3.7% consensus, 3.7% previous.
    • After a week of stock market motion sickness, a jobs report today that meets or exceeds expectations could offer a dose of calm.
    • Economists expect payroll gains of 200K for November, an unchanged unemployment rate of 3.7% and average hourly earnings rising by 0.3%.
    • Futures are down again ahead of the open, but rebounded on Thursday after media reports suggested the Fed could tighten monetary policy at a slower-than-expected pace. Dow and S&P 500 -0.4%; Nasdaq -0.5%.
    • Oil is down 0.5% at $51.26/bbl, gold is 0.2% higher at $1246/ounce and the 10-year Treasury yield is up 1 bps to 2.89%.
    • ETFs: SPY, QQQ, DIA, SH, SSO, VOO, SDS, IVV, SPXU, TQQQ, UPRO, PSQ, SPXL, RSP, SPXS, SQQQ, QID, DOG, QLD, DXD, UDOW, SDOW, VFINX, EPS, DDM, QQEW, QQQE, SPLX, SFLA, QQXT, SPUU, SPXE, UDPIX, OTPIX, RYARX, SPXN, SPDN, SPXT, SPXV
    • The news isn't getting any better for Huawei after the arrest of CFO Meng Wanzhou.
    • Japan plans to ban government purchases of equipment from the Chinese firm and ZTE (OTCPK:ZTCOY) to beef up its defenses against intelligence leaks and cyber attacks.
    • Pushed by a U.S. initiative, Australia, New Zealand and Britain's BT Group have already blocked Huawei from building 5G networks amid fears that the equipment could contain "backdoors" for use by spies.
  • Thursday, December 6, 2018
    • Stocks fought back from steep losses after WSJ reported Federal Reserve officials are considering whether to signal a new wait-and-see mentality after a likely rate hike at their meeting later this month.
    • The S&P 500 lost just 0.2% after being down as much as 2.9% earlier in the session, while the Dow slipped 0.3% after shedding as many as 785 points, or 3.1%, and the Nasdaq actually finished with a 0.4% gain after falling as much as 2.4%.
    • Stocks had been swamped after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada amid allegations the company violated U.S. trade sanctions on Iran, sparking worries about any potential U.S.-China trade deal as well as possible retaliation against U.S. companies doing business in and with China.
    • The early selloff in stocks fueled a flight to safety in U.S. Treasury bonds that pushed yields lower across the curve, sending the two-year yield 3 bps lower to 2.77% and the 10-year yield down 5 bps to 2.87%; however, the two-year and 10-year yields had dropped as low as 2.68% and 2.82% intraday, respectively.
    • Among the S&P sectors, energy (-1.8%), financials (-1.5%) and materials (-1.4%) underperformed the broader market.
    • The energy group tumbled alongside crude oil prices, as WTI fell 3% to $51.56/bbl amid reports that OPEC could wind up cutting production less than the market expected.
    • Financial stocks fell amid the continued decline in Treasury yields, but like most other groups, they were able to recoup much of their early losses; however, Citigroup sank 3.5% after its CFO said it no longer expects Y/Y revenue growth for its markets business in Q4.
    • Most of the FAANG stocks rallied into the close on broad-based buying interest, with Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon and Netflix all rising between 1.2% and 2.7%; Apple, however, closed -1.1%.
    • Walmart (NYSE:WMT) acquires Art.com's assets for undisclosed terms. The deal is expected to close in early CY19.
    • Art.com has 2M curated images on its e-commerce platform and offers on-demand customization services.
    • Walmart plans to operate Art.com's assets as a standalone business much like Jet and Hayneedle.
    • Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLAnotifies holders of bonds due in March that if they elect to convert them, they'll get paid half in cash and half in stock--a sign that the electric car maker's confident that it can generate a sustainable profit.
    • The notice, viewed by Bloomberg, relates to the $920M convertible bond due at the beginning of March. The equity-conversion price is $359.88 per share, a level Tesla's stock closed above on Thursday for the first time since Aug. 8.
    • “This would be a clear sign that, if there was a meaningful amount paid in cash, then they feel they can consistently produce cash flow and profit,”  said Bloomberg Intelligence's Joel Levington.
    • Previously: Tesla pokes out gain amid broad market declines (Dec. 6)
    • The Trump administration confirms plans to roll back Obama-era rules that effectively required new coal-fired plants to capture and store a portion of their carbon dioxide emissions.
    • The EPA plan announced today would no longer mandate that plants meet the strict goals of achieving emissions equal to or less than what plants would have achieved with carbon capture and storage technology.
    • The revised emission limit would be 35%-43% weaker than existing standards for most coal plants and could be achieved without capturing any carbon emissions.
    • Analysts at Moody's do not expect the rollback will cause any new coal plant openings in the foreseeable future, as “existing coal plants are being challenged by low-cost natural gas and renewables, and an easing of regulations won’t change that.”
    • ETFs: XLU, UTG, VPU, KOL, GUT, IDU, BUI, FUTY, RYU, UPW, PSCU, FXU, SDP, PUI, FUGAX, JHMU, BUYN, XU
    • Lululemon (NASDAQ:LULU) reports comparable store sales were up 6% in Q3. Including online sales, comparable sales increased 17%.
    • Direct to consumer revenue rose 44% to rep 25.3% of total sales.
    • Revenue from China was up 71% during the quarter.
    • Gross margin was up 110 bps to 54.4% of sales vs. 52.2% a year ago.
    • Adjusted operating margin was up 80 bps Y/Y off the extra sales leverage.
    • The company expects Q4 revenue of $1.115B to $1.125B vs. $1.12B and Q4 EPS of  EPS of $1.64 to $1.67 vs. $1.65 consensus. Full-year EPS $3.65 to $3.68 is anticipated vs. $3.60 consensus.
    • LULU -6.3% AH after shedding 1.6% before the bell.
    • Previously: Lululemon Athletica beats by $0.06, beats on revenue (Dec. 6)
    • The WSJ's Nick Timiraos reports the Fed is considering adopting a "wait-and-see" approach after a rate hike this month.
    • At a minimum, this would mean stepping back from the path of quarterly rate hikes that's been the rule for about the last two years.
    • The news helped stocks continue to rally from this morning's near-3% declines. At the close, the Nasdaq is up 0.4% and S&P 500 down 0.15%.
    • Down more than 2% earlier in the session, Nasdaq has turned green minutes before the closing bell. The S&P 500 and DJIA have shaved their large early declines to down 0.3% and down 0.4%, respectively.
    • Cloud-related tech stocks move against the pressure and into the green following yesterday's Cloudera (CLDR +12.2%) earnings report.
    • The First Trust Cloud Computing ETF (NASDAQ:SKYY) is down 0.3% compared to the 0.5% drop for the Nasdaq.
    • Among the movers: (WDAY +1.4%), (TWLO +6.4%), (BOX +1.9%), (SPLK +1.3%), (DATA +2.9%), (HDP +12.4%), (NOW +2.4%).
    • Previously: Cloudera reports Q3 beats (Dec. 5)