Friday Morning Reads
- ‘Last Hurrah’ for Central Bankers
- What Trump Gets Wrong About Oil and Iran
- U.S., China Dust Off Corporate Deals
- Wealth Tax on Very Rich
- S&P 5,000? t
- Our Connected Tech Future
- ‘Designed by Clowns’
- Tongue-In-Cheek Tweet
- Hackers Cripple Airport
- “But I Got Contracts”
- Nobody Feels Overpaid
- December jobs growth trails consensus
- Six Flags -11% after revenue warning, China partner stops payments
- 5% of U.S. refining capacity is on the block
- Post-CES, Citi puts 'positive catalyst watch' on hot-handed tech name
- Credit Suisse has three top mortgage finance picks for 2020
- Piper names Bank OZK a top idea for 2020
- Morgan Stanley sees 15% upside in McKesson in premarket analyst action1h
- Tesla PT hiked to $553 at Piper Sandler on China growth potential42m
- Nektar up 3% premarket on new Bristol-Myers collaboration1h
- Piper Sandler assigns $1 PT to Aurora Cannabis
- Sorrento up 58% premarket on non-binding takeover bid
- New Boeing docs: 'Deeply disturbing' picture
The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report this morning could buttress the Fed's assessment that both the economy and monetary policy are in a "good place." U.S. stock futures are pointing to more records (Dow 29K?) ahead of the data, which is expected to show nonfarm payrolls increasing by 164,000 in December, a near 50-year low unemployment rate of 3.5%, along with modest wage gains. The pace of hiring remains more than enough to keep the longest economic expansion in U.S. history on track despite a deepening downturn in manufacturing and unsettled trade disputes.
Speaking of a crowded labor market, Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) is reportedly offering a $100K per year salary for manager-level positions at select Taco Bell locations in the Midwest and Northeast. The development is just one of many examples of the wage inflation pressure being felt in parts of the restaurant sector. That wildcard is part of the 2020 earnings matrix across the fast food industry, which for decades had been seen as offering the quintessential low-wage job.
Go deeper: 'Yum Brands' Big, New, Growth 'Habit'' by J.G. Collins.
A new trove of internal messages released by Boeing (NYSE:BA) will add to the hurdles of David Calhoun, a longtime board member who will take over as CEO next week. "This airplane (737 MAX) is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys," said one company pilot in 2016, while another employee asks: "Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn't." Perhaps most notable among the communications are efforts to avoid simulator training - an expensive and time consuming process - which helped make the 737 MAX Boeing's best-selling jetliner.
Go deeper: Read all the emails here.
Canada's Justin Trudeau, along with several other Western leaders, has accused Iran of unintentionally downing Flight PS752 with a surface-to-air missile, though the head of the country's national aviation department has denied those allegations. Iran has now invited the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board to take part in the investigation after initially stating it would not allow Boeing (BA) to take part in the probe or inspect the black boxes from the crash. U.S. officials have expressed concern about sending employees to Iran because of the heightened tensions, while their role could be limited by sanctions.
Go deeper: Muilenburg's greatest strength and weakness was his optimism, quotes John Mason.
A new budget proposed by California Governor Gavin Newsom includes a plan to allow the state to contract with generic drug makers to provide medicines to all Californians. He believes that the government's purchasing power may be sufficient to cut drug prices to the state's 40M residents, almost 33% Medicaid enrollees. Newsom is also in favor of authorizing the California Department of Health Care Services to negotiate drug prices for international buyers, a situation that could potentially enable the state to achieve discounts on par with Canada.
Instead of setting a yearly challenge for himself as he has done annually for the past ten years, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is predicting major developments over the next decade. "While I expect phones to still be our primary devices through most of this decade, at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology," he wrote in a post. Other important themes Zuckerberg is forecasting are a private social platform, decentralizing opportunities and new forms of digital governance.
Go deeper: Elazar Advisors says FB has multiple earnings drivers starting now.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been building a business selling ads on its Fire streaming television platform, and now it wants to sell some ads for the first time on other streaming TV systems such as Apple TV and Xbox, WSJ reports. Publishers were told the company could fill ads at higher prices - as much as $40 per thousand impressions - than other third-party ad-selling platforms. Connected TV ad spending is expected to rise to nearly $8.9B this year, up from $6.9B in 2019, according to eMarketer.
Go deeper: Kwan-Chen Ma stacks up Amazon against Facebook and Google.
Many are looking to carve out exemptions from California's new "gig worker" rule - which obligates companies to pay overtime, healthcare and workers' compensation - and one industry just scored a victory. Los Angeles Superior Court judge William Highberger has issued a temporary restraining order, saying AB5 does not apply to independent truck drivers because they are subject to federal statute. California is home to 450,000 contract workers, and roughly 70,000 of them are independent big-rig owner-operators.
Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF) successfully defended its title as the world's best-selling luxury-car brand in 2019, topping archrivals BMW (OTCPK:BAMXF) and Audi (OTCPK:AUDVF) for the fourth year in a row. The automaker's sales increased 1.3% to 2.34M vehicles, making it the highest annual sales volume in its history. "The record year underscores once more the strong demand for Mercedes-Benz vehicles, even amidst far-reaching changes in the mobility landscape," said Mercedes Chairman Ola Kaellenius.
Even with U.S. energy production at an all-time record, seven different U.S. refineries are on the block now, accounting for about 5% of U.S. crude oil processing capacity, according to data compiled by Reuters. The properties are having trouble finding bidders because of unfavorable locales, worries about falling margins, and the coming restart of nearby facilities in the Caribbean. There's also pressure from new international shipping fuel regulations, known as IMO 2020, and U.S. renewable fuels standards that require refineries to blend in biofuels.
What else is happening...
In Asia, Japan +0.5%. Hong Kong +0.3%. China -0.1%. India +0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt +0.3%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.4%. Crude -0.2% to $59.46. Gold -0.3% to $1549.30. Bitcoin -1.1% to $7808.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 1.86%