US FINANCIAL MARKET
Stocks Fall, Oil Again Tops $100 Amid Sanctions – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- U.S. stock indexes fell and bond yields slipped, while oil prices rose to multiyear highs, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued to whipsaw through markets.
- The S&P 500 fell 0.7% early Tuesday.
- The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1%, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite was down 0.5%.
- Stocks tied to Russia’s economy were hardest hit, with Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank, which has big operations in Ukraine and Russia, down 6.9%.
- Polymetal International, a London-listed firm with gold mines in Russia, was down 21%.
- Arms makers were among the best performers.
- In the U.S., the war has further soured investors’ sentiment on markets. Though only 1% of revenues among S&P 500 companies stems from Russia and Ukraine, according to FactSet, investors are still worried about ripple effects on the global economy.
- The geopolitical crisis came when market sentiment was already fragile.
- Economies are facing the highest inflation in several decades, heaping pressure central banks to raise interest rates.
- Oil prices rallied, rising back above $100 a barrel, to their highest level since 2014.
- Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, rose over 5% to $103.11 a barrel.
- Benchmark European natural-gas prices jumped over 16%.
- Members of the International Energy Agency could agree as early as Tuesday to release supplies from oil reserves in an effort to keep a lid on rising crude prices.
- Energy companies’ stocks gained alongside oil prices, with Occidental Petroleum rising 5.3% and Chevron adding 3.6%. Meanwhile, Target’s shares jumped 11% after it reported strong sales during the holiday period.
- On Tuesday, the Russian ruble regained 3.2% of its value against the dollar, after falling almost 30% Monday. Market-data services have shown limited price updates this week, suggesting few transactions are taking place. The Russian stock market remained closed, after plummeting last week.
- In Europe, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 fell 1.7%. The London Stock Exchange suspended trading in shares of Russia’s VTB Bank after it said Bank of New York Mellon had resigned as the depositary for the company.
- JPMorgan Chase also halted trading of two funds because of the crisis in Ukraine.
- In Asia Pacific, stock markets were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.2%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.2%.
Zoom’s Sales Growth Slows as Retreat From Pandemic High Continues – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- Zoom Video Communications sales growth faltered in the fourth quarter, signaling that demand for the company’s videoconferencing application is no longer as entrenched in daily life as more conditions from the Covid-19 pandemic begin to recede.
- The San Jose, Calif.-based company said its sales rose to $1.07 billion for the three months ended Jan. 31, compared with $882.5 million a year earlier.
- Analysts were expecting $1.05 billion in sales for the quarter.
- At 21%, the year-over-year sales gain is the company’s slowest on record, according to data from FactSet.
- In the October quarter, sales increased by roughly 35% year-over-year.
- The company said it had 2,725 customers contributing more than $100,000 over the prior 12 months, a 66% increase from the year-ago period.
- Zoom said it had approximately 509,800 customers with more than 10 employees, up about 9% from the prior-year quarter.
- Zoom posted $490.5 million in net income attributable to common stockholders for the fiscal fourth quarter, up from $260.4 million in the year-ago period.
- Adjusted earnings of $1.29 a share were ahead of analysts’ expectations of $1.07.
- Zoom forecast total revenue between $1.07 billion and $1.08 billion in the first quarter of the 2023 fiscal year, below analysts’ expectations of $1.1 billion. The high-end of its guidance would mean sales growth of roughly 12%.
- For the year, the company said it expects revenue to range from $4.53 billion to $4.55 billion, up about 11% for its recently completed fiscal 2022.
Sea Pledges E-Commerce Growth While Gaming Arm Faces Decline – Bloomberg, 3/1/2022
- Sea Ltd. said it expects e-commerce revenue growth to continue unabated as it expands in Latin America, trying to reassure investors after losing half its market value in a matter of months.
- The Singapore-based company expects e-commerce sales, its main source of revenue, to rise to $8.9 billion to $9.1 billion in 2022 from $5.1 billion in 2021, according to its statement on Tuesday.
- Bookings at Sea’s other major business, the gaming division which is facing headwinds in India, are set to decline for the first time ever.
- Total revenue in the fourth quarter more than doubled to $3.2 billion.
- Net loss widened to $617.6 million from $523.6 million as Sea spent more to gain market share in new geographies.
- Sea forecast $2.9 billion to $3.1 billion in bookings at its digital gaming arm, saying online activity will moderate as economies reopen after the pandemic. That compares with last year’s bookings of $4.6 billion.
- For the first time, Sea gave a revenue forecast for financial-services arm SeaMoney, projecting $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion for this year.
- Fourth-quarter revenue from Shopee, Sea’s e-commerce unit, rose 89% to $1.6 billion.
- Revenue from Garena, Sea’s digital entertainment unit, doubled to $1.4 billion.
- Total payment volume for Sea’s mobile wallet rose 70% to $5 billion.
- Sales and marketing expenses climbed 83% to $1.2 billion.
Target Profit Rises as Annual Revenue Crosses $100 Billion – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- Target reported strong sales gains in the holiday quarter, capping off a two-year pandemic run during which the retailer grew its business by nearly $30 billion in revenue.
- For the full year, Target’s revenue hit $106 billion, compared with $77.1 billion for the year ended Feb. 1, 2020, before the pandemic upended the global economy and consumer buying patterns.
- Comparable sales, which include sales from stores or digital channels operating for at least 12 months, rose 8.9% in the quarter ended Jan. 29 from a year prior, the company said.
- Digital sales increased 9.2%.
- Overall profit rose nearly 12% to $1.54 billion, or $3.21 a share, in the quarter compared with the same period last year.
- Strong revenue growth helped offset higher supply-chain costs and spending on wages.
EV start-up Lucid slashes 2022 vehicle production forecast, causing shares to plummet – CNBC, 2/28/2022
- Lucid Group is cutting its car production forecast for this year by as much as 40%, sending shares of the electric vehicle start-up tumbling 14% during after hours trading.
- The company on Monday cited supply chain constraints and parts quality issues for slashing production to between 12,000 and 14,000 vehicles, down from initial expectations of 20,000.
- Lucid announced the production forecast and sales as part of reporting its fourth-quarter results.
- The automaker, which went public via a SPAC deal in July, reported a loss of $1 billion during the fourth quarter on revenue of $26.4 million. It lost $4.8 billion in 2021, the company reported.
- Lucid said customer reservations now exceed 25,000 units, reflecting potential sales of more than $2.4 billion.
- That’s up from 20,000 units in November.
Kohl’s issues better-than-expected outlook as margins withstand supply chain strain – CNBC, 3/1/2022
- Kohl’s on Tuesday reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales that came in below analysts’ estimates for the key holiday quarter, but investors lifted shares as the company issued upbeat revenue outlook for 2022 despite ongoing supply chain obstacles that roiled retailers and shrunk inventories.
- Net sales grew to $6.22 billion from $5.88 billion a year earlier. That was light of estimates for $6.54 billion.
- Kohl’s net income for the three-month period ended Jan. 29 fell to $299 million, or $2.20 a share, compared with $343 million, or $2.20 per share, a year earlier.
- Earnings beat analysts’ estimates of $2.12 a share, according to Refinitiv.
- For fiscal 2022, Koh’s is calling for net sales to rise 2% to 3%.
- Analysts had been looking for year-over-year growth of 2.2%, according to Refinitiv.
- For fiscal 2022, on top of its sales targets, Kohl’s sees earnings per share in the range of $7.00 to $7.50, excluding items, compared with analysts’ expectations of $6.55 a share.
Domino’s shares slide as company announces CEO retirement, weak fourth-quarter results – CNBC, 2/28/2022
- Domino’s Pizza on Tuesday announced a C-suite shake-up and quarterly results that missed expectations on most metrics, sending the stock sharply lower.
- Net sales dropped 1% to $1.34 billion, missing expectations of $1.38 billion.
- The company said currency fluctuations, an extra week in 2020 and advertising incentives from promotions contributed to the fourth quarter’s decline in revenue.
- U.S. same-store sales rose just 1% in the quarter, dragged down by weak performance by Domino’s company-owned restaurants.
- Analysts were expecting U.S. same-store sales growth of 2.9%, according to StreetAccount estimates.
- Outside the U.S., the chain’s performance also disappointed.
- International same-store sales rose 1.8% in the quarter, falling short of StreetAccount estimates of 6.6%.
- The pizza chain reported fourth-quarter net income of $155.7 million, or $4.25 per share, up from $151.9 million, or $3.85 per share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting earnings per share of $4.28.
HP Raises Annual Profit Outlook, Despite Impact of Russian Sanctions – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- HP raised its annual profit outlook, boosted by strong sales of computers to businesses, but warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would dent its bottom line this quarter.
- The roughly $17 billion in net revenue for the January-ended quarter beat the analyst consensus and reflected sales growth across notebooks and desktops along with a continued recovery in workstations.
- Analysts polled by FactSet expected $16.52 billion.
- Printing revenue fell 4% to $4.83 billion, missing analysts’ $4.91 billion forecast, according to FactSet.
- Commercial PC revenue rose 26% in the latest quarter, the company said, while consumer PC sales declined 1%.
- Peripherals revenue rose 40% in the latest quarter, driven by gaming, the company said.
- HP’s first-quarter profit rose to $1.09 billion, or 99 cents a share. On an adjusted basis, profit rose to $1.10 a share.
- For the quarter, it projected a profit of 95 cents to $1.01 a share, or $1.02 to $1.08 a share as adjusted, roughly in line with analysts’ forecasts, according to FactSet.
- The company estimated a hit of 2 cents to 3 cents to its per-share profit this quarter related to the invasion of Ukraine.
Chevron raises buybacks and says exposure to Russia is limited – Reuters, 3/1/2022
- U.S. oil and gas producer Chevron on Tuesday outlined a plan to raise buybacks and expand oil production through 2026, adding to long-term supply amid a tight market.
- The announcement, part of Chevron’s previously scheduled investor outlook, comes at a time when oil supplies are strained and prices are jumping with countries putting sanctions on oil exporter Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
- Chevron is “relatively less exposed than others in our industry” to the conflict, which played no influence in a decision to raise output by more than 3% per year through 2026, Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth said.
- The second-largest U.S. oil producer plans to pump “well over” 3.5 million barrels of oil and gas per day (boepd) by 2026, Wirth said, up from 3.1 million boepd last year.
- The company now expects to buy back between $5 billion and $10 billion of its shares every year, from $3 billion to $5 billion before. The program would be sustainable for five years with oil prices at $50 per barrel, Wirth said.
IEA Will Deploy Emergency Oil Stocks to Ease Soaring Prices – Bloomberg, 3/1/2022
- The U.S. and other major economies have agreed on a coordinated release of oil stockpiles after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed crude above $100 a barrel, according to people familiar with the matter.
- The International Energy Agency, which represents key industrialized consumers, has agreed to deploy 60 million barrels from stockpiles around the world, the people said, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public.
- Half of that amount will come from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the rest from IEA members in Europe and Asia, one of the people said. That will be the second release from American crude reserves within a few months as soaring fuel costs become a growing political problem for President Joe Biden.
- Crude prices shot above $105 a barrel in London for the first time since 2014 on fears that oil and gas supplies from energy giant Russia could be disrupted, either by the conflict in Ukraine or retaliatory western sanctions.
War in Ukraine Disrupts Ships Around the Globe – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- The world’s biggest container ship operators—A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and Mediterranean Shipping Co.—said they would temporarily suspend services to Russian ports, including those far from the conflict in Ukraine.
- The Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing major disruptions for the global shipping industry, with hundreds of vessels trapped at ports, cargo being derailed and freight rates surging.
- On Monday, the U.K. banned entry to all Russian vessels to its ports. Shipping executives and port officials in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany said containerized cargo destined for Russia would be stopped and inspected.
- Ship movements in the Black Sea, a key oil and foodstuff export route whose northern side is shared between Russia and Ukraine, have been frozen. More than 200 vessels are waiting to cross the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, which monitors ship movements.
More supply chain pain as airspace closures hit air cargo – Reuters, 3/1/2022
- Global supply chains, already hit hard by the pandemic, face new disruption and cost pressure as airspace bans following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raise concerns over a fifth of air freight.
- Transport between Europe and north Asian destinations like Japan, South Korea and China is in the front line of disruption after reciprocal bans barred European carriers from flying over Siberia and prevented Russian airlines from flying to Europe.
- Airlines responsible for moving around 20% of the world’s air cargo are affected by those bans, Frederic Horst, managing director of Cargo Facts Consulting, told Reuters on Tuesday.
- In December, air cargo rates were 150% above 2019 levels, according to the International Air Transport Association, spurring inflation that has rocked economies around the world.
Starbucks Threatened to Shutter Stores Over Organizing, Union Claims – Bloomberg, 3/1/2022
- The labor group organizing workers at Starbucks has filed 20 complaints over the past week accusing the company of workers’ rights violations that range from a threat to shut down all stores in the Buffalo, New York, market to discriminatory enforcement of policies.
- The complaints, filed with the Buffalo regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, represent an escalation of the sprawling legal struggle between Starbucks and Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union.
- The group claims that the company illegally coerced employees during “effectively mandatory” anti-union meetings, while pro-union employees were barred from the sessions.
- It also accuses Starbucks of enforcing rules on dress codes, language and Covid-19 quarantines in a way that discriminates against union-affiliated workers, and illegally restricting employees from talking to reporters.
- Workers United is organizing staff at more than 100 Starbucks locations.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
U.S. Manufacturing Growth Firms on Stronger Orders, Output – Bloomberg, 3/1/2022
- U.S. manufacturing activity advanced in February after an omicron-related setback a month earlier, as new orders growth and production accelerated.
- The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of factory activity increased to 58.6 from 57.6 in January, according to data released Tuesday.
- Readings above 50 indicate expansion.
- The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the measure to improve to 58.
- ISM’s new orders measure advanced nearly four points to a five-month high of 61.7 following Covid-19 related softness in January.
- The group’s gauge of order backlogs jumped by 8.6 points, the most in 11 years, while supplier delivery times slowed further.
- Average lead times in February set record highs in all three categories.
- For materials used in the production process they climbed to 97 days.
- Lead times for capital equipment grew to 173 days and for supplies used in maintenance, repairs and operations they rose to 50 days.
- The ISM employment index declined to its lowest level since October, though continued to indicate hiring growth in the sector.
- Meantime, the group’s gauge of export orders jumped to a one-year high of 57.1, while a measure of imports picked up.
U.S. construction spending surges in January on homebuilding – Reuters, 3/1/2022
- U.S. construction spending surged in January, boosted by strong outlays on single-family homebuilding and private nonresidential structures.
- The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that construction spending increased 1.3%.
- Data for December was revised higher to show construction outlays rising 0.8% instead of 0.2% as previously reported.
- Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending gaining 0.2%.
- Construction spending increased 8.2% on a year-on-year basis in January.
- Spending on private construction projects shot up 1.5% in January. Outlays on residential construction increased 1.3%.
- Single-family homebuilding spending advanced 1.2%, while outlays on multi-family housing projects dipped 0.1%.
- Spending on public construction projects gained 0.6% in January.
- Outlays on state and local government construction projects fell 0.5%, while federal government spending soared 13.8%.
U.S. Positioned to Withstand Economic Shock From Ukraine Crisis – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- As Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a war against Ukraine, half a world away the U.S. economy appeared to be rebounding from a winter surge of Covid-19 infections.
- A range of U.S. data suggests U.S. economic activity picked up in recent weeks. Many Wall Street analysts expect the Labor Department on Friday to report large job gains in February and a further decline in unemployment.
- These developments suggest that the U.S. is in a position to withstand the economic shock that might emanate from battlegrounds in Ukraine. Those effects could push U.S. inflation higher from already elevated levels, but the economic expansion appears to be on solid ground.
- STR LLC, a research firm that tracks hotel trends, said occupancy at U.S. lodgings hit 59% in mid-February, up from 50% early in the month and 45% during the same period a year earlier.
- Meantime, the Transportation Security Administration said airport checkpoint counts hit 2.15 million in late February, compared with 1.54 million at the end of January and 1.19 million at the same time a year earlier.
- In all, consumer spending in the first half of February was up 7.2% from a year earlier, compared with a 2.7% increase in the first two weeks of January, according to data from Earnest Research, which tracks credit- and debit-card purchases.
- Chris Varvares, head of U.S. economics at IHS Markit, an economic advisory firm, estimates higher oil prices will shave 0.4% percentage point from the U.S. growth rate in 2022, to 2.5% for 2022 from its prewar forecast of 2.9%, and have almost no effect in 2023 and 2024.
- Moody’s Analytics, another economic advisory firm, estimates a sustained move of oil prices up to $100 a barrel would slightly sap U.S. consumer spending in other markets, but not in a highly disruptive way. It estimates a shock of this kind would shave just 0.2 percentage point off the U.S. growth rate in 2022.
- The firm has already lowered its growth forecast to 3.5% this year, from its forecast of 3.7% before the war, said Mark Zandi, its chief economist.
Russia-Ukraine War Risks Putting Fed in Bigger Bind – Wall Street Journal, 2/28/2022
- The war in Ukraine isn’t likely to prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates next month, but any worsening of inflation pressures could force the central bank to tighten policy even more aggressively than already hinted by senior officials.
- In public comments and interviews last week, Fed officials endorsed plans to lift rates at their March 15-16 meeting. They said it was too soon to tell how the war will affect the economic outlook but they are monitoring developments carefully.
- Their problem is that they had anticipated U.S. inflation, now running at a 40-year-high, to peak this quarter. Geopolitical developments that push up prices through the spring, particularly for energy and commodities, could force the Fed to accelerate rate increases this summer, which would raise the risk of a recession next year.
- During geopolitical shocks, the Fed generally avoids taking steps that increase uncertainty. But with inflation running far above its 2% target and the Ukrainian crisis threatening to push prices even higher, the Fed could face considerable urgency to continue with planned rate rises.
EUROPE & WORLD
Russia Targets Civilian Areas in Ukraine, Threatens Kyiv After Missile Strike on Kharkiv – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- Russian forces bombarded the center of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and warned of further strikes against the capital, Kyiv, as Moscow, frustrated in its plans for a quick victory, switched to a new strategy of pummeling civilian areas in an attempt to demoralize Ukrainian resistance.
- On Tuesday afternoon, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it would strike Ukrainian intelligence and communications facilities in central Kyiv that it said are being used for “information attacks” against Russia, and urged residents living near these facilities to leave their homes for their own safety
- Western diplomats took the warning as a signal that a massive strike on Kyiv’s residential areas was imminent. Some of the remaining staff at foreign embassies left the Ukrainian capital.
- Live-cam footage from Kharkiv’s central Freedom Square showed a missile landing just outside the local government’s headquarters at 8:01 a.m. local time, with a fireball charring nearby buildings and cars. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the missile strike caused dozens of casualties.
Blockade on Russia Central Bank Neutralizes Defense Against Sanctions, U.S. Says – Wall Street Journal, 3/1/2022
- The U.S. and European Union blocked Russia’s central bank from using its emergency reserves to protect the economy from the Western pressure campaign, a salvo the bank’s governor said risked triggering a financial crisis.
- The coordinated action blocks the central bank from selling dollars, euros and other foreign currencies in its reserves stockpile to stabilize the ruble.
- Announcing the move Monday in Washington before U.S. markets opened, U.S. officials said they intended the sanctions to stoke already surging inflation, and the actions against the Bank of Russia are intended in effect to neutralize the country’s monetary defenses.
- In Moscow, the governor of the Bank of Russia warned that the Western sanctions on Russia’s financial system had exacted a dire toll on the Russian economy.
- The sanctions have cut major Russian banks’ access to the dollar and other reserve currencies and will soon sever some from the Swift financial transaction messaging system.
- “The conditions for the Russian economy have altered dramatically,” Elvira Nabiullina said in a statement Monday. “The banking sector is now experiencing a structural liquidity deficit,” she said, referring to a shortage of easily accessible money critical to keep the financial system running.
Global food supply at risk from Russian invasion of Ukraine, Yara says – Reuters, 3/1/2022
- Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens global food supplies, Norwegian fertilizer maker Yara International said on Tuesday, adding that the international community needed to reduce its dependence on Russian raw materials for agriculture.
- Ukraine and Russia are both major exporters of some of the world’s most basic foodstuffs, together accounting for about 29% of global wheat exports, 19% of world corn supplies and 80% of world sunflower oil exports.
- But Russia also exports crop nutrients as well as natural gas, which is critical for producing nitrogen-based fertilizers.
- Yara said that in total, 25% of the European supply of the key crop nutrients nitrogen, potash and phosphate come from Russia.
- David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said last week that war in Ukraine would have a dramatic impact on the organization’s ability to reach the 120 million people it feeds, adding that food, fuel and shipping costs would “skyrocket” in what he described in a Twitter post as “an absolute catastrophe”.
Russian Steelmaker Severstal Suspends Europe Sales on Sanctions – Bloomberg, 3/1/2022
- Russian steelmaker Severstal PJSC suspended sales to Europe, its biggest export market, after billionaire owner Alexei Mordashov was sanctioned, along with other tycoons in the country.
- The company, which sells about 3 million tons of steel per year to Europe, is looking at new avenues for sales after being forced to suspend deliveries, a person familiar with situation said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
- Severstal’s global despositary receipts fell 14% as of 2:49 p.m. in London trading, after slumping 68% on Monday. Share trading in Moscow has been halted since Monday. Severstal declined to comment.
- The sanctions will tighten the European steel market, where prices rallied to a record last year, dealing another blow to industries already facing soaring energy bills.
Jeep, Dodge maker Stellantis aims to double revenue to $335 billion by 2030 – CNBC, 3/1/2022
- Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, intends to double its net revenues to 300 billion euros ($335 billion) by 2030, CEO Carlos Tavares announced Tuesday.
- The automaker plans to do so while sustaining a double-digit operating profit margin as it largely moves to all-electric vehicles, Tavares said during an investor presentation outlining Stellantis’ business plans through 2030.
- Stellantis – the world’s fourth-largest carmaker – plans to increase its software-based businesses and services and selling 5 million all-electric vehicles by 2030, including all passenger car sales in Europe and 50% passenger cars and light-duty trucks in the U.S.
- The automaker plans to generate more than 20 billion euros ($22.3 billion) in industrial free cash flow in 2030. It also is targeting 25% to 30% dividend payout ratio, and intends to repurchase up to 5% of outstanding common shares through 2025.
- The announcements did little for the company’s stock. Stellantis shares on the New York Stock Exchange were down Tuesday morning by about 4% to $17.50 a share. The company’s stock is up about 10% since the merger.
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- The 20-month-old son of Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped. (1932)
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