DAILY MARKET REPORTS
- Facebook, Amazon and industrial stocks helped Wall Street extend its recovery on Thursday as fears over a trade war between the United States and China eased.
- Shares of Boeing, Caterpillar – hit the most on Wednesday after China retaliated with $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods such as soybeans, autos, chemicals and some types of aircraft – also rose more than 1%.
- Economic data on Thursday showed that the U.S. trade deficit increased to a near 9-1/2-year high in February, but the shortfall with China narrowed sharply.
- Facebook shares were up about 3% after Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company had not seen “any meaningful impact” on usage or ad sales since the data privacy scandal.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
Monsanto misses profit estimates as corn disappoints
- Monsanto, which is being acquired by Germany’s Bayer, missed analysts’ quarterly profit estimate on Thursday on lower volumes and prices for corn.
- Net sales fell to $5.02 billion from $5.07 billion.
- Sales in the company’s corn seeds and traits business dropped 6.2 percent to $2.72 billion during the second quarter.
- Soybean business sales rose 6 percent to $912 million, the U.S. seeds and agrochemicals company said.
- Net profit rose to $1.46 billion from $1.37 billion a year earlier.
Facebook says data leak hits 87 million users, widening privacy scandal
- Facebook said the personal information of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, up from a previous news media estimate of more than 50 million.
- Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call with reporters that Facebook had not seen “any meaningful impact” on usage or ad sales since the scandal, although he added, “it’s not good” if people are unhappy with the company.
- Zuckerberg told reporters that he accepted blame for the data leak, which has angered users, advertisers and lawmakers, while also saying he was still the right person to head the company he founded.
- He said he had not fired anyone over the scandal and did not plan to. “I’m not looking to throw anyone else under the bus for mistakes that we made here,” he said.
JPMorgan Chief James Dimon Likes the Bank’s Growth Prospects, Despite Risks
- JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon complimented the administration of President Donald Trump in his annual letter to shareholders on Thursday, saying tax cuts and deregulatory efforts are helping his bank make more money.
- He praised the Trump administration for insisting that “rules around cost-benefit analysis be properly applied” and for trying to give regulators “the proper authority to use common sense”.
GE to restate two years of earnings by April 13
- General Electric said on Wednesday that it planned to provide restated results for 2016 and 2017 to reflect a new accounting standard by April 13.
- The updated accounting standard takes into account revenue from long-term contracts, which are being scrutinized by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- GE had said in February that it expected to take a $4.2 billion accounting charge as it switches to the new standard.
J.M. Smucker to buy Ainsworth Pet Nutrition for $1.9 billion
- J. M. Smucker said it would buy Rachael Ray Dog food maker Ainsworth Pet Nutrition for about $1.9 billion in cash to strengthen its pet food portfolio, and was exploring options for its U.S. baking business, including a sale.
- Smucker’s deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions of pet food companies by traditional processed food makers and comes on the heels of General Mills’ purchase of high-end pet food maker Blue Buffalo Pet Products for about $8 billion.
- Mars, Cargill and Nestle have also added pet food companies to their portfolio, fighting for a share of the fast-growing $30 billion U.S. pet food market.
Broadcom completes move to U.S. from Singapore
- Broadcom said it had completed its move back to the United States from Singapore, weeks after President Donald Trump blocked its $117 billion offer to buy Qualcomm on national security grounds.
- The company said it exchanged all shares of Broadcom Ltd to newly issued stock of Broadcom Inc on a one-for-one basis and that its stock would continue to trade under the same ticker.
- The move to the United States could allow Broadcom to buy U.S. companies without coming under the scrutiny of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has the power to stop deals that could harm national security.
Boeing says India’s Jet Airways signs firm order for 75 737 MAX jets
- Boeing said it has won a binding order from Jet Airways for 75 of its 737 MAX narrowbody jets, as the Indian carrier expands to meet domestic passenger demand that has shown no sign of abating despite years of growth.
- Based on Boeing’s list prices, the deal could be worth between $7.2 billion and $9.7 billion depending on which 737 MAX variants the airline chooses.
- Boeing said in July it expected Indian airlines to order up to 2,100 aircraft worth $290 billion over the next 20 years, calling it the highest-ever forecast for Asia’s third-largest economy.
Nike’s HR Chief Says Company Fails to Promote Enough Women, Minorities
- Nike’s top human-resources executive told employees Wednesday that the sportswear giant “has failed to gain traction” in hiring and promoting women and minorities, weeks after complaints of inappropriate workplace behavior led to a leadership shake-up.
- Monique Matheson wrote that the company wants “to create a culture of true inclusion. As part of our plan, we need to improve representation of women and people of color.”
NYSE Parent to Buy Chicago Stock Exchange
- The owner of the New York Stock Exchange has reached a deal to buy the Chicago Stock Exchange, after a two-year acquisition effort from a Chinese-led investor group failed.
- Intercontinental Exchange didn’t disclose the terms of the transaction. Last month, the Chicago exchange ended an effort to sell itself to the investor group for around $20 million after the Securities and Exchange Commission blocked the deal.
- The acquisition by the NYSE would end the independence of the last U.S. regional stock exchange, which handles less than 1% of U.S. stock-trading volume.
- The transaction, which requires SEC approval, is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, ICE said.
Massachusetts can sue Equifax over data breach, judge rules
- Massachusetts can move forward with a lawsuit accusing credit reporting firm Equifax of failing to safeguard its databases or provide prompt notice of a breach that exposed the personal data of 147 million people, a state court judge has ruled.
- A Suffolk County Superior Court judge in Boston, in a decision made public on Wednesday, denied a motion by Equifax to dismiss a lawsuit Massachusetts Attorney General filed after the breach was disclosed in September.
- The lawsuit alleged that Equifax knew or should have known by March 2017 that a serious security vulnerability existed in computer code that the company used in its systems but failed to patch or upgrade its software to eliminate it.
AbbVie in deal with Biogen to delay Humira biosimilar U.S. launch to 2023
- AbbVie said it signed a deal with Biogen and its joint venture partner Samsung Bioepis that would fend off U.S. competition of their rival version to blockbuster drug Humira until 2023.
- This is the second deal AbbVie has signed over the past year as it tries to safeguard patents on Humira, which is the world’s top-selling prescription medicine.
- Samsung Bioepis’ license to market its biosimilar will kick off on June 30, 2023, after which Samsung will pay royalties to license Humira patents, AbbVie said in a statement.
- Biogen expects to launch the biosimilar, Imraldi, in Europe in mid-October this year.
US ECONOMY & POLITIC
U.S. Trade Gap Widens in First Months of 2018
- The U.S. trade gap widened in February, largely reflecting an increase in the goods deficit and a decline in the services surplus the U.S. typically holds.
- The trade deficit in goods and services rose 1.6% from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted $57.6 billion in February.
- The politically sensitive goods trade deficit with China fell 18.6 percent to $29.3 billion.
- The deficit with Mexico surged 46.6 percent in February.
U.S. Jobless Claims Rose Last Week
- The number of Americans claiming new unemployment benefits rose last week but remained near multidecade lows, offering fresh evidence of the labor market’s strength.
- Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., increased by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 242,000 in the week ended.
- Initial claims remain near levels last seen in the 1970s. They have held below 300,000 for 161 consecutive weeks, matching the longest streak in weekly records going back to 1967.
- The four-week moving average of claims, a more-stable measure, increased by 3,000 to 228,250.
- Thursday’s report showed the number of claims workers made for longer than a week dropped by 64,000 to 1,808,000 in the week ended March 24, the lowest level since December 1973.
Trump Administration Unveils Plans to Send National Guard Troops, Build Base Walls Near U.S.-Mexico Border
- The White House said Wednesday it would deploy National Guard troops to the border with Mexico and would consider building a wall along at least one military base set on the border.
- Few details about the size, scope or timing of the National Guard deployment were available.
Trump Tells Military Commanders to Finish ISIS Fight in Syria Quickly
- President Donald Trump has agreed to keep U.S. troops in Syria, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, but only until the defeat of the Islamic State extremist group, a task he expects to be completed in a matter of months.
- Mr. Trump’s decision, at a White House meeting, was a recognition of military commanders’ argument that they needed more time. But Mr. Trump made it clear that he expected the rest of the operation to go quickly.
- The decision made clear that the U.S. no longer will lead stabilization and recovery efforts in formerly Islamic State-controlled areas in Syria, U.S. officials said.
EUROPE & WORLD
Canada trade deficit jumps as rail problems cut grain exports
- Canada’s trade deficit in February jumped to C$2.69 billion ($2.10 billion) from C$1.94 billion in January as rail transport problems slashed exports of wheat and canola, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
- The deficit was larger than the C$2.00 billion shortfall predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll. Canada has only recorded two monthly trade surpluses since October 2014.
- Exports grew by 0.4 percent. Exports of aircraft and other transportation equipment rocketed by 19.6 percent.
- But exports of farm, fishing and intermediate food products dropped by 17.2 percent, the largest fall on record. Continuing shortages of rail cars in western Canada cut exports of wheat by 41.6 percent and canola by 40.1 percent.
Peugeot boss says CO2 fines will create Chinese ‘Trojan Horse’
- A major European carmaker could be brought “to its knees” by carbon dioxide emissions fines, allowing a Chinese buyer to step in with its own electric vehicle technology, Peugeot maker PSA Group’s chief executive said.
- Carlos Tavares, who chairs European auto industry lobby group ACEA, said that policymakers had failed to anticipate this outcome of the European Union’s 2020 CO2 goals.
- His comments underscore concerns about foreign influence over European manufacturers, jobs and technology, which have risen since China’s Geely snapped up 10 percent of Germany’s Daimler in February.
Uber to suspend service in Greece after new legislation
- Ride-hailing service Uber said on Thursday it would suspend its licensed service in Greece after the approval of local legislation which imposes stricter regulation on the sector.
- Uber, which operates a licensed service in the Greek capital, has faced opposition from local taxi drivers who accuse it of taking their business.
- Following widespread protests, court battles and bans, Uber has taken a more emollient stance under its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, suspending operations in various cities in order to comply with local regulations.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Pocahontas married John Rolfe. (1614)
- George Washington cast the first presidential veto. (1792)
- Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for giving away atomic secrets to the Russians. (1951)
- Winston Churchill resigned as prime minister of Britain. (1955)
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