Friday Morning Market Prepper
The U.S. Labor Department's jobs report for November will be the last major piece of economic data before the Federal Reserve's next meeting. Economists expect 175,000 jobs to be added, up from 161,000 in October, and see the unemployment rate remaining at 4.9%. If the report comes close to those estimates, the Fed will likely raise rates in December for the first time in a year.
Italy will hold a constitutional referendum on Sunday that has become a de facto vote on whether the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi should keep his job. What's it about? The reforms would remove power from the Senate to enable laws to be passed quickly. The latest polls showing the overhauls are likely to be rejected has investors worried about a "financial meltdown," as Italy's shaky banking sector would have a tough time raising much-needed capital.
Also on Sunday, there is a rerun of the Austrian Presidential election, with two candidates at opposite ends of the political spectrum competing for the largely ceremonial post. Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer will face off against the Green Party's Alexander Van der Bellen after the summer's election results were annulled following concerns over how some postal ballots were handled. Polls show them neck-and-neck.
Theresa May is "extremely confident" she can trigger the Article 50 process to leave the EU by the end of March even if she loses a Supreme Court appeal next week. Former members of the Remain campaign have told FT that a feared full-blown parliamentary revolt will not materialize, and pro-EU MPs will instead wage a war over the "Great Repeal Bill" to bring EU law into domestic legislation.
Francois Hollande will not seek re-election for a second term in France's 2017 Presidential election, injecting new uncertainty into next year's race. "Today I am aware of the risk of not being able to unite" people behind my candidacy, he said from the Elysee Palace. Another leftist candidate will now be sought to take on conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been proclaimed the new King of Thailand after the recent passing of his father, who reigned for seven decades. The country's benchmark stock index has climbed about 7% since Bhumibol's death and the economic impact from the mourning period appears limited, with the Bank of Thailand leaving its growth forecast for 2016 unchanged at 3.2%.
Threatening to retaliate, Iran has called the U.S. Senate's vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act for another decade a violation of the 2015 deal with six major powers that curbed its nuclear program. ISA was first adopted in 1996 to punish investments in Iran's energy industry and deter its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The extension was passed unanimously on Thursday.
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine General James Mattis to head the Department of Defense, making the announcement during a post-election victory rally in Cincinnati. Because he only retired in 2013, "Mad Dog" Mattis would need Congress to waive a requirement that a defense secretary be a civilian for at least seven years before taking the top job at the Pentagon.
Starbucks shares roasted more than 10% in after-hours trade following news that Howard Schultz would step down as CEO in April 2017. However, the coffee chain giant's shares have since recovered and are now down only around 2% premarket. Kevin Johnson, current COO of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), will replace Schultz, who will become executive chairman and focus on new high-end coffee shops.
Almost a year after its last product VP jumped ship, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has finally found a replacement to take on the challenging job of rekindling the service's stalled user growth. Keith Coleman, a longtime Google (GOOG, GOOGL) product manager, has been working at a small, little-known company called Yes for the past few years. Twitter took an interesting route to hire Coleman: it acquired his seven-person startup.
President Obama is poised to block a Chinese company from buying Germany's Aixtron (NASDAQ:AIXG) because Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC), a major U.S. defense contractor, is among the chip equipment maker's customers. It would mark only the third time in more than a quarter century that the White House rejected an investment by an overseas buyer as a national security risk. AIXG -1% premarket.
BP is planning to press ahead with a major deep water project in the Gulf of Mexico - the latest evidence oil companies are tentatively wading back into big-ticket projects amid signs a two-year crude market slump is ending. BP said it reduced the cost of phase 2 development of Mad Dog - as the project is known - to $9B, compared with an initial $20B estimate in 2013.
Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by a federal jury in Dallas to pay more than $1B to six plaintiffs who said they were injured by defectively designed Pinnacle hip implants and were failed to be warned about risks. J&J (NYSE:JNJ), which still faces nearly 9K lawsuits over the implants, stopped selling the product in 2013 after the FDA toughened regulations on artificial hips; it plans to appeal the verdict.
Red alert, parents. Toys 'R' Us will have Hatchimals and the Nintendo NES Classic at select stores this weekend. Both products have been sold out at a number of retailers and have been highly sought by consumers this holiday season. Hatchimals has Spin Master (OTC:SNMSF) trading at all-time highs on the Toronto exchange, while Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY) has had an equally impressive year in Tokyo. Shares of both companies are up 60% YTD.
Alibaba is not buying e-commerce company Snapdeal (Private:DEALS) and is not in talks to do so, sources told Reuters, dampening talk that an acquisition was in the works. Previous reports suggested Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) was in discussion with the Indian startup, which is valued at more than $1.7B.
As U.S. airlines began flights this week to Havana, the long-awaited travel surge to Cuba is already in doubt. Citing weak demand, American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) has announced it will cut nearly 25% of its flights to the island in 2017. "This was done purely to remain competitive in the market," spokesman Matt Miller said. "We can't speculate on what the next administration may do."
SpaceX looks like it may be back on track to launch again soon following a major explosion that destroyed one of its rockets in September. Investigations concluded that the fireball was caused by a fueling problem. A liftoff date for 10 of Iridium's (NASDAQ:IRDM) next-generation satellites is planned for December 16 via a SpaceX (Private:SPACE) Falcon 9 rocket, pending approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The All Access subscription-based streaming video service will offer live NFL games beginning on Sunday. The agreement covers all games that air on CBS throughout the rest of the current season and post-season, and covers all tablets and connected TV devices. Adding the highly watched programming will be a big boost for CBS as it looks to track toward 4M subscribers of the service by 2020 (as of July, a 1M count had been recorded).
CNN is apparently looking to hire Fox News (FOX, FOXA) anchor Megyn Kelly. Her contract is up in July 2017. Sources told Drudge Report that CNN (NYSE:TWX) President Jeff Zucker was talking to Kelly and offering her a potential show on his network, but he couldn't match the $20M a year Fox was reportedly offering to keep her on its airwaves.
As part of a deal to keep jobs in the state, Carrier's parent company United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) has received $7M worth of tax breaks from the state of Indiana. In exchange, the firm will invest more than $16M in its Indianapolis plant. Speaking at the factory, President-elect Donald Trump reiterated that American companies will not leave the country "without consequences," but promised to lower the U.S. business tax rate "from 35% to 15%" and do away with "many regulations."
Dollar General (NYSE:DG) -5% amid deflation and lower SNAP benefits.
Kroger (NYSE:KR) +3.3% despite falling food prices.
Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC) -5.4% AH giving weak guidance.
TD Bank (NYSE:TD) unchanged after in-line earnings.
Workday (NYSE:WDAY) -11.8% AH on worries over delayed deals.
In Asia, Japan -0.5%. Hong Kong -1.4%. China -0.9%. India -1.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London -1.1%. Paris -1.4%. Frankfurt -1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.2%. S&P -0.3%. Nasdaq -0.5%. Crude -1.6% to $50.21. Gold +0.2% to $1171.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.43%