Friday Morning Market Prepper
Black Friday isn't as big as it once was due to earlier holiday deal hysteria, but it's still a very significant day for retail. The National Retail Federation expects 137.4M Americans to hit stores at some point over the weekend, and around 74% of that population already went shopping on Thanksgiving Day. That's about on par with last year's figures as online sales become a bigger part of the holiday. Adobe even expects Black Friday web purchases to top $3B for the first time, up 11.5% from 2015.
Despite a minor pullback overnight, the dollar continues to climb past more of last year's peaks against the euro. Only the March 2015 high of $1.0457 is now standing in the way of a push towards parity that banks are again saying is on the cards. The greenback is currently worth more than 7.5%against a basket of major trading partners than it was three months ago.
Japan's core consumer prices marked their eighth straight month of annual declines in October, illustrating the sheer scale of the BOJ's struggle to beat deflation and stagnant growth with diminishing policy options. The nationwide core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food costs, fell 0.4% from a year earlier, keeping policymakers under pressure.
German news roundup: Business morale was unchanged in November as Ifo's business climate index remained steady at 110.4, while it was confirmed that the country's final GDP halved its growth rate to 0.2% in Q3. Meanwhile, European Parliament President Martin Schulz is stepping down in January to run in next year's elections in Germany, where he is seen as a potential rival to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Consumers and businesses increased their spending in Q3 as the U.K. economy registered a resilient performance following the Brexit vote. Household spending rose 0.7% from the second quarter and business investment increased 0.9%, according to the Office for National Statistics. Growth overall was unrevised at 0.5%, with trade providing the strongest contribution.
Faced with a rapidly sliding currency in the wake of the U.S. presidential election, the Turkish central bank raised interest rates yesterday for the first time in almost three years. The lira bounced higher after the decision, which included a 0.5 percentage point rise in its benchmark one-week rate to 8%, but reversed course swiftly, hitting a record low. The currency now stands at 3.42 to the dollar, down 15% this year and over 9% in November alone.
"Turkey could open its gates for migrants to Europe if pushed by the EU," warned President Tayyip Erdogan, a day after European lawmakers voted for a temporary halt to EU membership talks with Ankara. MEPs overwhelmingly backed the decision citing Turkey's post-coup purges, the closure of numerous media outlets and the possible restoration of the death penalty.
A new peace accord was signed Thursday between Colombia's FARC rebels and President Juan Manuel Santos, who said he would seek congressional ratification instead of a popular referendum that was rejected in October. But his political opponents have promised a fight in congress and are considering the viability of collecting signatures for a petition calling for another plebiscite.
Crude prices are little changed as uncertainty ahead of a planned OPEC-led crude production cut and thin liquidity due to Thanksgiving kept traders from making big bets on markets. OPEC is due to meet on Nov. 30 to coordinate a cut, potentially together with non-OPEC member Russia, but there is also disagreement within the producer cartel as to which member states should cut and by how much.
Johnson & Johnson has approached Actelion (OTCPK:ALIOY) about a potential takeover in a bid to boost its pharma business, Bloomberg reports. Europe's largest biotech firm has two pulmonary arterial hypertension drugs which J&J (NYSE:JNJ) would love to get its hands on, but deliberations are still at an early stage. Shares in Actelion are up around 13% so far this year, valuing the company at around $17B.
Nasdaq is planning a new trading option for investors to rival IEX Group, the startup that won regulatory approval in June to launch a market with a "speed bump." In a letter to the SEC, Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ) proposed a so-called extended life priority order attribute, which would benefit long-term investors who may not be monitoring minute changes in market prices.
The finance chief of Deutsche Boerse is warning that global rivals would become dominant if the German group's planned $28B merger with the London Stock Exchange (OTCPK:LNSTY) was blocked by European regulators. "The Americans will sit down together with the Chinese to regulate the market," Deutsche Boerse's (OTCPK:DBOEY) Gregor Pottmeyer said at an industry event in Frankfurt.
Wells Fargo has asked a U.S. District Court to order dozens of customers who are suing the bank over the opening of unauthorized accounts to resolve their disputes in private arbitrations instead of court. The motion is in response to the first class action lawsuit filed against Wells (NYSE:WFC) since it agreed to pay $185M in penalties and $5M to customers for opening up to 2M accounts in their names without permission.
In a letter sent to financial watchdogs, a group of U.S. lawmakers has reportedly warned that President-elect Donald Trump could provide special protection for Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB). Some House Democrats say he will have "ample opportunity to influence policy decisions," including the DOJ's proposed $14B fine, and claim the German institution is the only major Wall Street bank that has continued to lend to Trump Inc. DB -1.5% premarket.
It's official, China expects to issue a nationwide regulation banning smoking in public places before the end of the year. The country has more than 300M smokers and is the world's largest producer and consumer of tobacco products, according to the World Health Organization. Related tickers: PM, MO, RAI, BTI
Another $181M has been approved by BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) and Vale (NYSE:VALE) in financial support for their Samarco mine disaster in Brazil. The amount is part of a $1.2B provision already foreshadowed by BHP and will include credit lines of $115M each to carry out stabilization work. The accident 12 months ago killed 19 people and led to the filing of charges against 21 officials and employees.
Looking beyond the initial set-up of websites, GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY) is in talks to acquire Host Europe Group as it seeks to expand into the more profitable web hosting business and broaden its customer base in Europe. HEG could be valued at about €1.7B, or over 12x its forecast 2016 core earnings of €140M, sources told Reuters.
Google is nearing a settlement with Indonesian tax authorities for no more than $73M, almost five times less than the country initially sought. "Consider this tax amnesty for Google," declared Muhammad Haniv, head of the tax office's special-cases unit. The Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) unit declined to comment, but in the past has said it had paid all applicable taxes and was cooperating with the government.
The U.S. Navy is warning more than a hundred thousand sailors of a data breach, after a laptop belonging to an employee of Navy contractor Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:HPE) was compromised. The Navy learned of the incident on Oct. 27 and determined that names and Social Security numbers of 134,386 current and former sailors were accessed by "unknown individuals."
Lockheed Martin has received an interim payment of $1.28B for its 10th contract for F-35 fighter jets, according to the Pentagon. The payment is to ensure there will be no major production delays while the final terms for 90 F-35 Lightning II jets up to a maximum of $7.19B were being finalized. The sale would be Lockheed's (NYSE:LMT) biggest F-35 order yet.
The biggest version of Airbus's A350 twin-engine jet made its first flight Thursday as the four-turbine Boeing 747 (NYSE:BA) and the European manufacturer's own A380 superjumbo struggle to find buyers. The A350-1000 (OTCPK:EADSY) seats 366 people in three classes. That's just 44 fewer than the latest version of the 747, and with a vastly improved fuel burn thanks to the aircraft's new engine design and composite construction.
Lufthansa pilots are extending strike action until Saturday and targeting long-haul flights, further raising pressure on management in a long-running pay dispute. The airline has already grounded nearly 1,800 flights since the walkout started on Wednesday, disrupting travel plans for more than 315,000 Lufthansa (OTCQX:DLAKY) passengers.
Just in Prime... Pilots with the Air Transport Services Group (NASDAQ:ATSG) unit that hauls packages for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and DHL have been ordered back to work by a federal judge, halting a strike that threatened to disrupt holiday deliveries. The pilots walked off the job early Tuesday over what they said were violations of their collective bargaining agreement, but U.S. District Judge Timothy Black said there was "no evidence" to support their claims.
In Asia, Japan +0.3% to 18381. Hong Kong +0.5% to 22723. China +0.6%to 3261. India +1.8% to 26316.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.1%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude -0.7% to $47.63. Gold flat at $1188.90.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.36%