DAILY MARKET REPORTS
- Concerns around inflation continued to plague investors ahead of Wednesday’s report on consumer prices.
- The 10-year Treasury yield is hovering at 2.844%.
- The CBOE Volatility Index VIX, a widely-followed measure of short-term stock volatility, rose about 1 point to 26.70, but stayed well short of the 50-point level it touched last week.
- More than three-fifths of the companies on the S&P 500 have reported earnings, with nearly 78% of them topping profit expectations.
- Under Armour rose more than 15% after the sportswear maker reported quarterly revenue that beat analysts’ estimates.
- AmerisourceBergen jumped nearly 12% after the WSJ reported Walgreens made a takeover approach for the drug distributor.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
PepsiCo beats sales estimates on snacks boost
- PepsiCo sales topped forecasts in the fourth quarter, as higher demand at its snacks business made up for a decline in sales of sugary drinks.
- The company said organic sales at its Frito-Lay division rose 5 percent in the quarter, buoyed by demand for salty snacks including Cheetos and Lay‘s.
- Organic sales at PepsiCo’s North American beverages fell 3 percent as U.S. consumers continued to move away from sugary drinks.
- Total revenue rose slightly to $19.53 billion, topping analysts’ average expectation of $19.39 billion.
- PepsiCo recorded a net loss of $710 million, compared to a year-earlier profit of $1.40 billion, reflecting a $2.5 billion one-time charge related to new U.S. tax laws.
Under Armour kicks up a revenue beat, shares jump
- Under Armour beat estimates for fourth-quarter revenue, sending shares up nearly 15% as strong international sales alleviated a bad run of results.
- International revenue saw strong growth, boosting overall sales up 5 percent to $1.37 billion. Analysts on average were expecting $1.31 billion.
- Sales in North America continued to decline, falling 4 percent as rivals Nike and Adidas continued to gain market share.
- The company reported a loss of $87.9 million in the quarter, compared with a profit of $103.2 million a year earlier. The loss was largely due to restructuring charges and a one-time tax expense.
Blue Apron shares jump as revenue drop smaller than feared
- Blue Apron shares jumped in premarket trading after the meal-kit maker reported a smaller-than-expected drop in sales and a tick up in average revenue per customer in the fourth quarter.
- Revenue was $187.7 million, down 13 percent but exceeding analyst estimates for $185.1 million.
- Average revenue per customer rose to $248 from $245 in the third quarter and $246 a year earlier.
- Total orders and customers fell.
- The subscription service had 746,000 customers in the quarter, compared to 856,000 in the prior quarter and 879,000 a year earlier.
Walgreens Makes Takeover Approach to AmerisourceBergen
- Walgreens has made a takeover approach to drug distributor AmerisourceBergen, a move that could help boost profitability at the drugstore giant and insulate it against external threats in an increasingly competitive health-care landscape.
- The companies are in early-stage talks to combine, cautioning that no deal is imminent and there may well not be one.
- Should there be a transaction, it would be substantial: AmerisourceBergen had a market value of $19.6 billion as of Monday’s market close.
- Walgreens had a market value of $67.8 billion.
- Walgreens is Amerisource’s largest customer, representing 30% of its revenue last year.
Broadcom reduces Qualcomm board nominees before March 6 showdown
- Broadcom cut the number of board seats it was trying to win at Qualcomm to six from 11, and reiterated that its offer for the company was only good until the conclusion of a March 6 shareholder meeting at the chipmaker.
- The company had nominated a slate of 11 directors to replace Qualcomm’s board, after it rejected the first bid, worth $103 billion.
- Broadcom’s move comes a day ahead of planned talks between the semiconductor companies to discuss the potential $121 billion deal.
Wells Fargo CEO Sloan says bank stable after Fed-imposed restrictions
- Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan on Tuesday reiterated that the bank was stable after the U.S. Federal Reserve imposed several regulatory restrictions, and said there was no change to his cost-cutting measures.
- The U.S. federal reserve in early February imposed several regulatory restrictions on the third-largest U.S. bank – a move that Wells estimates will cut its annual profit by $300 million to $400 million this year.
Unilever threatens online ad cuts to clean up internet
- Consumer goods giant Unilever, one of the world’s biggest advertisers, has threatened to pull investment from digital platforms such as Facebook and Google that “create division” in society or fail to protect children.
- “Unilever, as a trusted advertiser, do not want to advertise on platforms which do not make a positive contribution to society,” Keith Weed, chief marketing officer at the maker of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap said.
- Google and Facebook are estimated to have taken half of online ad revenue worldwide in 2017 and more than 60 percent in the United States.
Google is introducing automatically updating and interactive emails for Gmail
- Users could see automatically updated flight information in a booking confirmation email.
- They could fill out surveys without leaving a message or review close-up shots of products in a marketing pitch without opening a browser window.
Peltz steps down from Mondelez board, Trian president to take seat
- Activist investor Nelson Peltz will leave the board of Mondelez International, but keep the seat for his hedge fund, after saying he was happy with the progress made by the confectionary company since he joined in 2014.
‘Whistleblower’ alleges VIX manipulation, urges regulatory probe
- A scheme to manipulate Wall Street’s fear gauge, VIX, poses risk to the entire equity market and costs investors hundreds of millions of dollars a month, a law firm on behalf of an “anonymous whistleblower” told U.S. financial regulators.
- The law firm told the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission that he discovered a market manipulation scheme that takes advantage of a widespread flaw in the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX).
- The CBOE Volatility Index measures the cost of buying options and is the most widely followed barometer of expected near-term stock market volatility.
- Investors using exchange-traded products linked to the VIX were pummeled last week and two banks, Credit Suisse Group and Nomura, said they would terminate two exchange traded notes that bet on low volatility in stock prices.
US ECONOMY & POLITIC
Five Key Numbers from President Donald Trump’s 2019 Budget
- Lower Revenues: $2.7 trillion Over 10 Years
- Higher Deficits: An 87% Increase in 2019
- Cuts to Domestic Spending: 41% Over a Decade
- A Boost at the Pentagon: 7.4% Compared With Last Year’s Proposal
- Stronger Growth: The Economy Expands 3% Annually
Trump’s budget balloons deficits, cuts social safety net
- President Donald Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion budget plan Monday that envisions steep cuts to America’s social safety net but mounting spending on the military, formally retreating from last year’s promises to balance the federal budget.
- If enacted as proposed, though no presidential budget ever is, the plan would establish an era of $1 trillion-plus yearly deficits.
- Trump’s budget revived his calls for big cuts to domestic programs that benefit the poor and middle class, such as food stamps, housing subsidies and student loans.
- The plan would put up $200 billion in federal money over the next 10 years in hopes of leveraging a total of $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending, relying on state and local governments and the private sector to contribute the bulk of the funding.
- It would eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
- The administration wants NASA out of the International Space Station by 2025 and private businesses running the place instead.
- The budget also includes $1.6 billion for the second stage of Trump’s proposed border wall, a 65-mile segment in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
Home Prices in Two-Thirds of U.S. Cities Have Hit Record Highs
- Prices for single-family homes, which climbed 5.3 percent from a year earlier nationally, reached a peak in 64 percent of metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
- Of the 177 regions in the group’s survey, 15 percent had double-digit price growth, up from 11 percent in the third quarter.
- At the end of December, only 1.48 million existing homes were available for sale, 10.3 percent less than a year earlier.
- Sales of previously owned homes, including single-family houses and condos, increased 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.62 million in the fourth quarter.
Powell says Fed will be vigilant for financial stability risks
- Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed would keep watching for financial stability risks and preserve “essential” improvements in financial regulation since the 2007-2009 crisis.
- Powell, speaking on the heels of a market rout that shaved 10 percent from the value of major U.S. stock indexes, said the Fed would “preserve the essential gains in financial regulation while seeking to ensure that our policies are as efficient as possible.”
- Powell officially took over last week, but on Tuesday a ceremonial swearing-in was held and attended by family and friends.
EUROPE & WORLD
General Motors to Close South Korea Plant
- GM is sending a tough message to thousands of South Korean workers during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, saying it will close a Korean factory in May and pressure union officials for additional cost cuts to stem losses.
- The company, once the dominant player in the international auto industry, has gotten significantly smaller.
- GM now holds the No. 4 slot behind Volkswagen, Toyota and the Nissan/Renault alliance in global vehicle sales.
Fox Offers to Insulate Sky News to Mollify British Regulators
- Fox offered to bolster the editorial independence of Sky’s news operations to meet concerns of British regulators and ease approval of its $16 billion bid for the portion of the pay TV giant it doesn’t already own.
- The offer is the latest move in what has become an important side show to the separate, $52 billion bid by Walt Disney for a big chunk of Fox assets, including its 39% stake in Sky.
Pratt details engine glitch affecting Airbus jet deliveries
- Pratt & Whitney said it expects to present a fix to European regulators this week for a problem with its new geared turbofan jet engine that halted deliveries of Airbus’ latest version of its most popular aircraft model.
- Pratt, a unit of United Technologies, has suffered a series of problems with the new engine, but had said in January that the problems were largely behind it.
- Europe’s air safety regulator on Friday issued an emergency warning about “inflight shutdown” of the engines. On Monday, Pratt said the issue affects 43 engines on 32 A320neos.
- Pratt said it was evaluating another 55 engines delivered to Airbus that are part of the group thought to have the problem.
MGM Resorts opens $3.4 billion casino in Macau as revenues boom
- MGM Resorts opened its $3.4 billion casino resort in Macau on Tuesday, just days ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, hoping to ride a boom in business in the world’s biggest gaming hub.
- MGM Cotai, which will more than triple the number of MGM’s hotel rooms to 1,972, marks a major expansion in non-gaming attractions amid uncertainty over the renewal process of its casino license that expires in two years.
Gucci helps Kering fashion strong sales growth
- Rising online sales also propelled growth last year, as did growing appetite from younger shoppers.
- Overall revenues at Kering rose to 4.26 billion euros ($5.25 billion) in the fourth quarter, up 27.4 percent year-on-year.
- Kering posted a 56.3 percent rise in operating income to 2.95 billion euros for 2017 as a whole.
$88.2B price tag for rebuilding Iraq after Islamic State war
- Authorities estimate Iraq needs $88.2 billion to restore a country smashed after the Sunni extremists seized the country’s second-largest city of Mosul and a mass of territory in June 2014.
- Of the money needed, Iraqi officials estimate $17 billion alone needs to go toward rebuilding homes, the biggest single line item offered Monday on the first day of meetings.
- While the U.S. will not make any new direct aid pledges at the conference, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to announce an over $3 billion financial package, an American official said.
- The over $3 billion package now planned for Iraq from the Americans will come from the Export-Import Bank of the United States, according to a U.S. official.
- The U.S. alone spent $60 billion over nine years — some $15 million a day — to rebuild Iraq.
- The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.
- Officials acknowledge a feeling of fatigue from international donors, especially after the wars in Iraq and Syria sparked the biggest mass migration since World War II.
Daimler warns of supply chain risk from switch to electric cars
- Daimler warned that a fall in demand for diesel cars and a switch to electric vehicles could force it to prop up its supplier base.
- Daimler’s suppliers are being forced to invest to help electrify the entire Mercedes-Benz range by 2022, prompting the carmaker to warn about the impact of the shift to electrified cars in its report.
- Daimler said earlier this month that its profit growth would be dampened this year by spending on new technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles.
TODAY in HISTORY
- France exploded its first atomic bomb. (1960)
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who won the 1970 Nobel Prize for literature, was deported from the Soviet Union. (1974)
- The Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announces the discovery of the universe’s largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093. Astronomers named this star “Lucy” after The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. (2004)
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