DAILY MARKET REPORTS
- Many investors view the health-care bill as a barometer of the Trump administration’s ability to implement its wider policy agenda.
- A vote to replace the Affordable Care Act is now expected to happen Friday after a one-day postponement.
- New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in February, but shipments surged.
- Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dipped 0.1 percent last month.
- Oil edged higher, boosted by hopes that an OPEC output cut was beginning to balance a long-oversupplied market, but benchmark prices were on track for weekly losses.
- Micron Technology jumped 12%, a day after the chipmaker’s current-quarter revenue and profit forecasts beat expectations.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
Trump administration grants permit for Keystone XL pipeline: TransCanada
- The United States has issued a presidential permit for TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL oil pipeline.
- U.S. President Donald Trump will announce the permit alongside TransCanada CEO Russell Girling at the White House later Friday.
- The pipeline linking Canadian oil sands to U.S. refiners had been blocked for years by former President Barack Obama, who said it would do nothing to reduce fuel prices for U.S. motorists and contribute to emissions linked to global warming.
- Environmental groups have forcefully opposed the pipeline.
- The multibillion-dollar Keystone XL pipeline would bring more than 800,000 barrels per day of heavy crude from Canada’s oil sands in Alberta into Nebraska, linking to an existing pipeline network feeding U.S. refineries and ports along the Gulf of Mexico.
Steven Mnuchin Says Tax Overhaul Plan Coming Soon
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration is close to completing its proposal to overhaul the U.S. tax code and said any legislation to reduce corporate and individual rates needed to be comprehensive.
- The Treasury secretary said the administration still has reservations about a border-adjustment provision in the House Republican tax plan that taxes imports and removes taxes from U.S. exports.
- Mr. Mnuchin said he was worried about how currency movements that result from those tax changes could create headwinds for U.S. exporters.
Micron Tech Beats Earnings Expectations
- Micron posted better-than-expected profit.
- Revenue of $4.65 billion for the period met expectations.
Halliburton warns of first-quarter profit miss as costs rise
- The world’s No. 2 oilfield services provider warned that its first-quarter profit would likely miss analysts’ expectations due to higher costs and weak demand in markets outside North America.
ProShares No Longer Wants to Pay Charles Schwab to Sell Its ETFs
- Firm is first to withdraw its shares from the commission-free platform.
- The decision was made earlier this year partly because ProShares no longer wanted to pay the fees required for shelf space on the platform known as ETF OneSource.
- ProShares and Schwab also disagreed over how much customer data should be shared.
- ProShares first started selling five of its ETFs via the Schwab supermarket in 2014.
- ETFs, which trade like stocks on exchanges, have some tax and trading advantages over mutual funds and typically come at a lower cost than many funds run by traditional stock and bond pickers. They have gained popularity in recent years, pulling in hundreds of billions in new assets.
Amazon Defeats IRS in Tax-Court Case
- Amazon prevailed over the Internal Revenue Service in a more than $1.5 billion dispute over the online retailer’s transactions with a Luxembourg subsidiary.
- The U.S. Tax Court ruled Thursday that the IRS made arbitrary determinations and abused its discretion in several instances, marking another setback for the agency in high-profile international corporate tax cases.
YouTube’s bid to grab TV dollars imperiled by advertiser revolt
- YouTube has begun reviewing its advertising policies and will take steps to give advertisers more control, Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
- Google also plans to hire more people for its review team and refine its artificial intelligence – a key step, since much of the ad-serving is handled by automation.
SEC charges two Israeli residents with Mobileye insider trading
- Two Israeli residents have been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with insider trading in Mobileye before the maker of sensors and cameras for driverless vehicles agreed to be acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion.
- The SEC said the purchases resulted in about $427,000 of profit for Darvasi and $4.5 million for Waldman, after the announcement caused shares of Jerusalem-based Mobileye to rise 28.2 percent in one day.
Disney board extends CEO Iger’s contract by one year
- Disney board extended the term of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger by one year as it continues searching for a successor to a long-serving leader who is popular on Wall Street.
- The extension, until July 2, 2019, is a third for the 66-year-old Iger, who said last month he was open to extending his term.
- Originally, Iger had said he would retire in April 2015, but he then agreed to stay through June 2016 and then later to remain until June 2018.
Blackstone sells stake in SeaWorld to China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye
- China-based Zhonghong Zhuoye Group will buy Blackstone’s 21 percent stake in SeaWorld Entertainment.
- SeaWorld said Zhonghong Group would buy the stake for $23 per share, a premium of nearly 33 percent to the stock’s close on Thursday.
- Zhonghong Group – a diversified holding company for investments in real estate, leisure and tourism – will pay about $429 million for the stake.
All drill, no frack: U.S. shale leaves thousands of wells unfinished
- U.S. shale producers are drilling at the highest rate in 18 months but have left a record number of wells unfinished in the largest oilfield in the country – a sign that output may not rise as swiftly as drilling activity would indicate.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
Airplanes Boost U.S. Durable-Goods Orders
- Orders for durable goods—products designed to last at least three years, such as cars and refrigerators—increased 1.7% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $235.39 billion in February.
- Last month’s rise in orders reflected a 47.6% increase for civilian aircraft and parts, following an 83.3% gain in January for the volatile category.
- Excluding transportation, orders rose a modest 0.4% in February and 0.2% in January.
U.S. core capital goods orders dip, but shipments surge
- Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dipped 0.1 percent last month after rising 0.1 percent in January.
- Shipments of these so-called core capital goods jumped 1.0 percent after declining 0.3 percent in January.
- Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government’s GDP measurement.
- Orders for machinery inched up 0.1 percent while shipments increased 0.9 percent.
EUROPE & WORLD
Saudi in ‘serious discussions’ with NYSE for Aramco IPO listing: foreign minister
- “Our objective is to try to complete the IPO sometime in 2018. There are serious discussions with the New York Stock Exchange about having the NYSE be one of the exchanges for the Aramco IPO and I believe the decision will be made on the financial merits,” Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News.
Germany increases electric car charging points 27 percent in 2016
- Germany now has 7,407 charging points, electricity industry group BDEW said on Friday.
- Of those added last year, 292 units were fast charging (direct current) points that can reload an electric car in minutes instead of hours.
- The number of electric cars in Germany rose 29 percent to 77,153 in 2016, up from just 4,000 in 2011, BDEW said.
- BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and Daimler plan to build about 400 next-generation charging stations in Europe that can reload an electric car in minutes instead of hours.
BMW China venture’s vehicle sales to rise 20 percent in 2017
- In 2017, premium vehicle sales are predicted to outperform China’s overall auto market, which is expected to slow as a tax cut on small-engine cars is rolled back and the economy continues to slow.
- BMW, whose China sales grew 11.3 percent last year, is the country’s second-largest premium brand after Volkswagen’s Audi and is racing to stay ahead of third-place Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, which recorded 26.6 percent growth in 2016 China sales thanks to a fresher model lineup.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Queen Elizabeth I died at age 69 after ruling England for more than 40 years (1603)
- Robert Koch announced the discovery of the tuberculosis bacillus (1882)
- NATO begins launching air strikes in an attempt to force Serbia to cease hostilities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo (1999)
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