Friday Morning Reads
- The Year in Money
- Tax Bill Is Great
- Messy Start to 2018
- Cryptocurrency Competition Heats Up
- Cryptocurrency Trading Desk
- Bitcoin Pump & Dump Scams
- Can You Spot the Latest Blockchain Stock?
- The State of the Trump Bubble
- Durable goods disappoint
- AT&T/TWX extend deal deadline
- Qualcomm rejects Broadcom
- Apple hires more from Amazon Studio
- UNH bids $2.8B for LatAM insurer
- Roche scoops up Ignyta for $1.7B
- Selloff hits the crypto-world
Bitcoin fell as much as 20% to a low of $12,504 overnight, extending its loss from an intraday high this month toward 40% and on track for its worst week since 2013. Investors are having a "reality check," said some traders, while others commented that "a lot of the capital is flowing from bitcoin into alternative coins." There are also reports that the SEC's crackdown on cryptos is about to "get serious."
Congress has passed a stopgap spending bill that keeps the government funded through mid-January, punting thorny policy debates into next year. The most contentious part of the bill is what's called a "pay-go" waiver. The provision suspends rules that bar the government from enacting expensive new programs, like the GOP tax cuts, unless there is enough money in the current year's budget to pay for them.
The euro dipped overnight, falling 0.5% to $1.1817, after Catalan separatists wanting to break away from Spain regained a slim majority in a regional election. "The overall impact is likely to be limited. Catalonia cannot become a sovereign state if no other country recognizes its independence. It won't even be able to have its own currency," said Yukio Ishizuki, currency strategist at Daiwa Securities.
After threatening to cut off financial aid, more than 120 countries defied President Trump on Thursday and voted in favor of a UN resolution calling for the U.S. to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. According to figures from USAID, the U.S. provided some $38B in economic and military assistance to foreign countries in 2016.
The UN Security Council will also vote today on a U.S.-drafted resolution ramping up sanctions on North Korea by restricting 90% of oil supplies to the isolated state. It follows China's request from the council to delay a decision on whether to blacklist 10 ships the U.S. said had violated international sanctions against Pyongyang.
Georgia's Public Service Commission has voted unanimously to allow Georgia Power (NYSE:SO) to continue construction of Plant Vogtle's two nuclear reactors - the first in the nation since 1978 - following the March bankruptcy of developer Westinghouse. The decision will come as welcome news to the Trump administration, which has been trumpeting nuclear power as part of its all-of-the-above energy strategy.
Looking to broaden its oncology portfolio, Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) is paying $1.7B for Ignyta (NASDAQ:RXDX), which has a suite of gene therapies aimed at killing off underlying diseases that drive cancerous tumor growth. The Swiss healthcare firm will pay $27 per share for the U.S. drugmaker, representing a premium of about 74% to the stock's closing price on Thursday. RXDX +72%premarket.
Eric Schmidt has resigned as the executive chairman of Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) board and will move into technical advisor role. "Larry, Sergey, Sundar and I all believe that the time is right in Alphabet's evolution for this transition," he declared. "In recent years, I've been spending a lot of my time on science and technology issues, and philanthropy, and I plan to expand that work."
The judge overseeing the Justice Department's bid to stop AT&T (NYSE:T) from buying Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) has denied a request to tighten protections on confidential data. Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) had requested a protective order on sensitive information be strengthened for fear that their data, which is being used to build the case, would be inadvertently exposed in a trial next year.
One day after Apple acknowledged that it has been downclocking the CPUs in older iPhones (NASDAQ:AAPL) to prevent sudden shutdowns from battery exhaustion, the first lawsuit has arrived. Los Angeles residents Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas are seeking both California and Nationwide class action certification, which would cover everyone residing in the U.S. who have owned iPhone models older than the iPhone 8.
Qualcomm has obtained a permit to test self-driving vehicles on public roads in California as the company expects to be "a key player in the autonomous space." In September, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) announced the 9150 C-V2X chipset, which lets cars communicate with other cars as well as infrastructure like traffic lights, and has begun field trials of Ford vehicles containing the chipsets in San Diego County.
Planemaker wars... Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Embraer (NYSE:ERJ) are discussing a "potential combination," in a move that could consolidate a global passenger jet duopoly provided Brazil's government gives its blessing. The news comes just two months after Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) agreed to buy a majority stake in Bombardier (OTCQX:BDRAF, OTCQX:BDRBF) CSeries jetliner program, a direct rival of Embraer's biggest E-Jets.
Papa John's founder John Schnatter is stepping as CEO, about two months after criticizing the NFL leadership over national anthem protests. He had blamed slowing sales growth on the public outcry and said that customers had a negative view of Papa John's (NASDAQ:PZZA) association with the NFL. Schnatter will be replaced by COO Steve Ritchie on Jan. 1.
Goldman Sachs appears to be growing more comfortable with cryptocurrencies. The group is setting up a trading desk to make markets in digital currencies such as bitcoin, according to Bloomberg. Goldman (NYSE:GS) aims to get the business running by the end of June, but it's still working out security issues and how it would hold the assets.
In Asia, Japan +0.2%. Hong Kong +0.7%. China -0.1%. India +0.6%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris -0.4%. Frankfurt -0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude -0.5% to $58.07. Gold +0.1% to $1272.30. Bitcoin -14.5% to $13303.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.48%