Friday Morning Reads, News, Charts
- A.I. Made in China by 2030
- Bank Profits Near Pre-Crisis Peak
- Strong Cloud Demand
- Amazon’s Deceptive Discounting
- D.C.-to-New York Hyperloop
- Fewer Reasons to Go to Its Stores
- Miners Back New Scaling Framework
- Violating Sanctions on Russia
- Shut Down By Authorities
- When Something Is Obvious
- Summer Picks in Discretionary Spending
- GE beats for Immelt's last quarter
- FTC investigating Amazon's discounting
- Galaxy Note 8 will debut on Aug. 23
- Facebook explores 'modular' device
- Vodafone revenue growth accelerates
- IMF to join Greek bailout program
- Euro jumps to two-year highs
- U.S. toughens stance on foreign deals
— Bloomberg (@business) July 21, 2017
Bitcoin prices hit a high of $2,948.51 on Thursday evening, just shy of the record high $3,025.47 reached on June 11. It coincides with law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Europe taking out two of the biggest "dark web" operations known to accept cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin backers are also celebrating the move to a new scaling platform, which could speed up transactions.
A historically high number? The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has objected to at least nine acquisitions of American companies by foreign buyers so far this year, according to Reuters. The objections indicate that CFIUS, which reviews acquisitions by foreign entities for potential national security risks, is becoming more risk-averse under President Trump.
The IMF has agreed "in principle" to join Greece's €86B bailout package, ending a long standoff between it and eurozone finance ministers that had threatened the rescue. The fund is also prepared to provide a symbolic loan of up to €1.6B as a sign of good faith, if EU creditors deliver more details on further debt relief measures for Athens.
The euro held near two-year highs against the dollar overnight after Mario Draghi said tapering of the ECB's stimulus will be on the table this fall. Yesterday's 1% gain to $1.1630 was the currency's biggest move since June 27, when Draghi first sparked expectations the ECB will dial back its bond buying scheme.
The U.K. cabinet will accept the free movement of EU citizens for up to four years after Brexit as part of a transitional deal, sources told the Guardian. The news comes after a meeting between Prime Minister Theresa May and British businesses, in which companies stepped up pressure to avoid a so-called hard Brexit.
Military talks aimed at easing tensions between the two Koreas failed to take place today after the North snubbed a call from Seoul. The discussions would've marked the first official such talks since December 2015. A setback for President Moon Jae-in? He took office in May pledging to engage Pyongyang in dialogue.
The U.S. Treasury Department will impose a $2M fine on Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) for what it called a "reckless disregard" of U.S. sanctions on Russia while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the oil giant's chief executive. In early 2014, the company deepened its longstanding partnership with the Kremlin. Calling the fine "outrageous," Exxon said it would fight the findings.
Russia's Rosneft is in talks with Petroleos de Venezuela to swap its 49.9% collateral stake in U.S.-based refiner Citgo for oilfield stakes and a fuel supply deal. Such a move would serve to mitigate complications from U.S. sanctions, Reuters reports. Rosneft (OTCPK:RNFTF) got the collateral for a $1.5B loan to Venezuela, an arrangement that has drawn criticism from U.S. senators.
Meanwhile, Siemens is exiting its Russian power plant joint venture Interautomatika following a scandal that saw four gas turbines it sold turn up in Crimea, a region subject to EU sanctions. Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) has not yet uncovered any indication of violations of export control regulations, but it's halting power generation equipment to state-controlled customers in Russia as a result.
Food with Integrity? Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) tumbled to a four-year low on Thursday after testing confirmed Norovirus in a customer who ate at one of the chain's Virginia restaurants and a video of rodents crawling on the floor of a Dallas shop went viral. Shares of the burrito chain, which have been under a microscope since it was linked to a string of food safety lapses in 2015, fell 4.5% to close at $356.05.
As part of its review of Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) agreement to buy Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM), the FTC is looking into allegations that Amazon misleads customers about its pricing discounts. A Consumer Watchdog analysis found that in 61% of the retail giant's products with reference prices, they were higher than it had sold the same product in the previous 90 days. Amazon called the study "deeply flawed."
Samsung has officially sent out invitations for an Unpacked event in NYC on Aug. 23, where it will presumably reveal the Galaxy Note 8. All eyes will be on the device. Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Note line literally went up in flames a year ago because of faulty batteries and was killed off less than two months after hitting the market.
Facebook is looking into developing a "modular electromechanical device," according to Business Insider, which described a patent for both a phone and smart speaker as potential product categories. Coincidentally, many key members of Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) Project Ara team (which had developed a similar project) now work at Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Building 8, the group responsible for the new patent application.
Vodafone +1.9% premarket after reporting better-than-expected revenue growth of 2.2% in Q1. It was driven by robust performance in Italy and Spain, and accelerating demand in Turkey, although there hasn't been a lot of growth across the U.K., where Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) said the market is still recovering. The company also expects cash flow to jump this year, enabling it to increase dividends.
Ancestry.com is close to hiring banks to lead an initial public offering of the company this year, Bloomberg reports. The private equity-backed company is working with Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan for the listing, which could give it a market value of more than $3B. Ancestry.com already generates more than $1B in revenue and has a growth rate of about 25%.
The ban on laptops in the cabins of planes flying from the Middle East to the U.S. is over, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as large airports in the region have taken steps to increase security. Those measures include checking electronic devices to make sure they don't contain a bomb and pulling more people out of airport lines for additional screening.
Delta Air Lines' $4B plan to renovate its terminal at New York's LaGuardia Airport has been approved by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, even as financial partner Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) exited the deal. Delta (NYSE:DAL) expects to use a combination of direct investments and debt financing, except for an up to $600M contribution by the Port Authority which was previously agreed upon.
Green light for an NY-DC hyperloop? Taking to Twitter, Elon Musk said he had received "verbal" government approval to build the ultra high-speed tunnel, which he claimed would move passengers between the cities in 29 minutes. Officials in Washington and New York downplayed the news, saying they had not approved the project and The Boring Company would need to seek the required permits.
President Trump has announced an initiative led by Merck (NYSE:MRK), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Corning (NYSE:GLW) to manufacture pharmaceutical glass packaging in the U.S. $500M will be allocated to the effort, which will create nearly 1,000 jobs at facilities in New York and New Jersey and at a soon-to-be-determined site in the Southeast. The commitments were made as part of Trump's "Made in America" week.
Abbott (NYSE:ABT) +2.9% with lift from St. Jude.
Blackstone (NYSE:BX) -1.4% missing expectations.
Capital One (NYSE:COF) +4.4% AH cruising past estimates.
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) -4.1% AH on plunging profits.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) +1.5% AH on major cloud growth.
Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) -1.5% after lowering guidance.
Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ:SWKS) -2.6% AH despite a Q3 beat.
Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) -1.4% on mild volumes forecast.
Visa (NYSE:V) +0.9% AH lifting its earnings outlook.
In Asia, Japan -0.2%. Hong Kong -0.1%. China -0.2%. India +0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris -0.7%. Frankfurt -0.8%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.2%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq -0.2%. Crude -0.5% to $46.71. Gold +0.1% to $1247.10.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -3 bps to 2.24%