Pence Financial Markets News is published every morning at 8:00 am. We cover US Markets, Economy, Politics , World news and more daily Monday – Friday.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
US STOCKS CLIMB AS ENERGY SHARES REBOUND
- Brent crude oil gained 2.4% at $37.48 a barrel, but remains down more than 30% for the year.
- Natural gas advanced 3.6 % in the US to $2.307 per million British thermal units, adding to a surge of 10 % on Monday.
- US confidence index climbed to 96.5 from 92.6 in November.
- S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index rose 5.2% year-on-year.
Oil up on forecasts for colder weather but supply curbs gains
- In the short-term, colder weather entering Europe and North America following an unusually warm start to winter may provide a mid-term boost to prices.
Pep Boys says Icahn offer is superior, moves to terminate Bridgestone deal
- Icahn’s latest bid of $18.50 per share on Monday values Pep Boys at about $1 billion, while Bridgestone’s previous offer of $17 per share valued the company at about $947 million.
Tesla Ramps up Hiring as Rivals Loom
- A few weeks ago, Elon Musk put out a call on Twitter for “hard-core software engineers” to work on Tesla’s autonomous car program. The company’s inbox was flooded.
- While Mr. Musk was only looking for 100 prospects, he may want to keep the other applicants within ear shot.
- Palo Alto-based Tesla, which grew to 14,000 employees from just 899 at the end of 2010, plans to add 4,500 more workers in California alone during the next four years.
Jeep Boosting Sales to Car-Rental Firms
- Top-selling brand is turning to fleet buyers, as dealer inventories of pricey sport-utility rise.
- Deliveries from Jeep to rental companies shot up in the first 10 months this year nearly 57% over the same period a year earlier.
- Through October, nearly 80,000 Jeeps, or about 11.2% of the brand’s total US volume for that period, were sold to rental car companies.
- Jeep’s total sales increased 23.3% through November—helped this year by the new compact Renegade.
Samsung Pay plans to enable US online shopping in 2016
- Samsung will expand its fledgling mobile payment service to the US next year, allowing user to shop online and with more smartphones that support the electronic wallet.
- Lower-priced Samsung phones will likely start offering the mobile wallet “within the next year.”
- Samsung Pay has already scored a lead over its major rivals Apple and Android, by launching its US service on Sept. 28 with technology that is widely used at most stores.
- Apple Pay and Alphabet’s Android Pay require retailers to install new equipment.
- By accepting payments online, Samsung Pay will compete with established rival PayPal, as well as newcomers such as Visa’s Visa Checkout.
- Samsung Pay had an average of eight transactions per US user within the first four weeks of its launch, the company said in October.
P&G Looks to Lift Olay Sales with Fewer Choices on the Shelf
- P&G has eliminated a sixth of Olay products that don’t fit with its antiaging focus.
- The culling reduced the number of Olay products in the US to roughly 120, according to P&G.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
US Home Price Growth Strengthened in October
- The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index covering the entire nation rose 5.2% in the 12 months ended in October.
Consumer Confidence Rose in December, Conference Board Says
- The group’s index of consumer confidence climbed to 96.5 this month from 92.6 in November.
- Measures of consumers’ outlook on current conditions and on future conditions both improved.
EUROPE & WORLD
Putin’s Bailout Bank Needs a Rescue; It’s an $18 Billion Whopper
- For years, Vladimir Putin used Vnesheconombank (VEB) to pay for “special projects,” from the Sochi Olympics to covert acquisitions in Ukraine to oligarch bailouts.
- Now, the state bank needs a rescue of its own and it could be the Kremlin’s costliest yet.
- Hit by Western sanctions last year, VEB has stopped new lending.
- The cost of its bailout could reach 1.3 trillion rubles ($18 billion), according to several senior government officials.
Toshiba says to seek new $2.5 billion credit line for restructuring
- Toshiba is likely to approach its lenders for the new commitment line.
- Moody’s recently downgraded the company’s debt rating to junk status.
Japan’s Big Banks Step up Foreign M&A Lending
- With slow growth at home, Japanese lenders are financing more deals that don’t involve their compatriot companies.
- Banks in Japan have had a hand in 59% of global M&A loan packages this year, up from 46% last year and a longtime high.
The Tech Taking Over Finance in China
- Chinese Internet companies have transformed the average smartphone into a platform for cashless transactions, bank transfers, loans and investments far beyond what is common in the US.
- Chinese people buy money-market funds, split a restaurant check and pay for services ranging from taxis to takeout food all within the same phone app.
- Last year, nearly a quarter of China’s population—a number bigger than the total US population—made payments online.
- China’s mobile payments this year will total $213 billion, compared with $163.5 billion for the US
- Alibaba’s Alipay has 400 million users.
- Meanwhile, China’s peer-to-peer, or P2P, lenders, which connect investors with borrowers through online networks, are set to make $33.2 billion in loans this year, 43% more than in the US.
- Chinese regulators have begun to lay down ground rules to help prevent fraud cases on P2P loan platforms.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Texas became the 28th state in the United States (1845)
- The Constitution of Ireland, changing the Irish Free State into Eire, went into effect (1937)
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal.
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