Friday’s Market Prepper

Friday's Market Prepper









"We'll see what happens. If there's a shutdown, there's a shutdown," President Trump told Reuters, but most of the contentious issues between Democrats and Republicans appear to have been resolved. Congress has until 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday to pass a spending bill to fund the government through the end of September. Juggling the budget and still looking for GOP support, a vote on healthcare has been postponed.


The U.S. Commerce Department will release its advance estimate of GDP for the first quarter at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are expecting a 1.1% advance, down from the previous quarter's 2.1%, and still far from President Trump's campaign promise to pull the economy back above 3%. President Bush's term from 2001 to 2008 generated an average GDP annual growth rate of 2.1%, while President Obama's term logged a 1.5% expansion.

President Trump is also threatening to renegotiate another trade deal, this time with South Korea. Stocks of some major exporters headed sharply lower in Seoul on the comments. Trump added that South Korea should pay for its U.S. THAAD missile system and warned of a "major, major conflict" with Pyongyang, but would prefer a diplomatic outcome.

In a move that could eventually open up millions of coastal acres to offshore oil and gas drilling, the President is expected to sign an executive order today known as the America First Offshore Energy Strategy. More energy news? Following their initial meeting yesterday, administration officials will likely meet in May to reach a final decision on whether the U.S. should stay in the Paris climate deal.

How it unfolded... President Trump was "psyched to terminate" NAFTA with an announcement at a Pennsylvania rally on Saturday, but as rumors spread of the possible action, Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto and Canada's Justin Trudeau called urging him not to pull out of the accord. Trump was then convinced "they're serious about it and I will negotiate rather than terminate," he declared in an interview with Reuters.

Eurozone inflation rebounded in April, with the annual rate climbing to 1.9% after taking a surprising tumble to 1.5% in the previous month. That pushes annual consumer price rises closer to the ECB's target of just under 2%. Reason for the spike? The main force was a big increase in energy costs, which were 7.5% higher.

Meanwhile, the ECB held its benchmark interest rate at zero on Thursday as Mario Draghi suggested downside risks to the bloc's economy had diminished and its economic recovery picked up pace. The central bank also stuck with its rate of asset purchases until at least the end of the year, proceeding with a monthly pace of QE bond purchases of €60B.

France's economy slowed a tad at the start of 2017, defying hopes that it had proven resilient to political risks as it headed for a key presidential election. GDP growth in the eurozone's second largest economy expanded by just 0.3% in three months to the end of March, down from the 0.4% pace observed during the prior quarter.

Unfinished business? Italy's Matteo Renzi is running again in primaries for his Democratic Party after he failed to convert his ambitious reform agenda into reality. A vote will take place Sunday. With a national election due by May 2018, Renzi's ability to counter the 5-Star movement, which is at the top of the polls, may be crucial in fending off an existential threat to the eurozone.

European leaders are preparing to recognize the potential for a "united Ireland" within the EU, confirming that Northern Ireland would seamlessly rejoin the bloc after Brexit in the event of a vote for Irish reunification. Diplomats will propose the idea in a summit tomorrow, reflecting the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.


Nasdaq 100 futures surged after-hours on Thursday after encouraging earnings from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL). The online retailer's Q1 profit jumped 41%, marking its eighth straight quarter in the black, while the Google parent's profit grew 29%, with no indications of an advertising backlash. Strong earnings were also seen at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), but both of their revenues missed estimates.

Facebook is pressing its enforcement against what it calls "information operations" - bad actors who use the platform to spread fake news and false propaganda. The new technologies will find phony accounts and expand security measures to protect against "more subtle and insidious forms of misuse." Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will also add customizable security, privacy features and notify users if they have been targeted.

Apple fans in Southeast Asia are rejoicing as the first store in the region is expected to open on May 22, according to CNBC. The launch in Singapore has been shrouded in the company's usual veil of secrecy; legal documents that have come to light in the past detail strict non-disclosure agreements for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) contractors and suppliers, including $50M payouts for each breach.

AOL chief Tim Armstrong is setting up leadership for Oath, the umbrella of brands that AOL parent Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is taking on in buying the core Internet services from Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO). He's tapping Yahoo's Atte Lahtiranta to lead tech, Verizon's Ralf Jacob to manage digital media and AOL president (and former Yahoo) Tim Mahlman to lead advertising.

As the latest member to depart over the course of the company's fundraising process, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) has left the mammoth bank blockchain consortium led by startup R3 CEV. It wants to gather $150M from investors and give them a 60% stake in the firm. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Banco Santander (NYSE:SAN), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and National Australia Bank left the group in quick succession in late 2016.

Bitcoin surged to a new all-time high of $1,331.31 on Thursday, capping a run of more than 20% in April. Investors seem to be betting big on the digital currency as the SEC reviews a petition submitted by the Bats Exchange that will find it reconsidering the listing of the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF. Related tickers: COIN, OTCQB:BTCS

Banks news out of the U.K... Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) has posted its first quarterly profit since 2015 as CEO Ross McEwan stepped up the pace of cost-cutting. Barclays (NYSE:BCS) took a one-off impairment charge on its African business, while boss Jes Staley faces a shareholder revolt. The U.K. government has also cut its stake in Lloyds (NYSE:LYG) to below 1% - more than eight years after a taxpayer bailout.

Making it one of the world's most valuable private technology companies, Didi Chuxing (Private:DIDI) has closed a new $5.5B funding round. That could put its worth at around $50B after snapping up Uber's (Private:UBER) China business last year. Investors reportedly include SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), Silver Lake Kraftwerk, China Merchants Bank and an arm of Bank of Communications.

Anthony Levandowski, the man at the center of UBER's legal spat with rival Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) over allegedly stolen self-driving car technology, is stepping aside as chief of the high profile autonomous project. He's not leaving Uber, but he won't be working on LiDAR sensors (key to the dispute) while the litigation proceeds. Eric Meyhofer will take his place for the time being.

Following outrage over the violent removal of a United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) passenger earlier this month, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) will end overbooking on its flights by the end of June. CEO Gary Kelly said the move had been under consideration for some time. United has meanwhile settled with David Dao, although terms and the amount will be kept confidential.

Shares of Honeywell rose as much as 4% AH following news that hedge fund Third Point had added to its stake in the company. Dan Loeb wants Honeywell (NYSE:HON) to separate its aerospace division, a step he said would create more than $20B in shareholder value. The stock is now a top-five holding of Third Point.

Growing U.S.-Canada trade tensions? Boeing (NYSE:BA) has asked the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate alleged subsidies and unfair pricing for the new CSeries plane. "Bombardier (OTCQX:BDRAF, OTCQX:BDRBF) has embarked on an aggressive campaign to sell CSeries aircraft into the U.S. market at absurdly low prices - less than $20M for airplanes that cost $33M to produce, based on publicly available information."

Thursday's Key Earnings
AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) +1.6% on strong earnings.
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) +4% AH smashing estimates.
Amazon (AMZN) +3.9% AH on cloud, retail sales.
Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) -3.8% AH as profits slipped 11%.
Bristol-Myers (NYSE:BMY) +3.6% topping estimates.
Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) -1% raising EPS outlook.
Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) +2.1% beating expectations.
Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) -1.8% on mixed results.
Ford (NYSE:F) -1.2% on recall costs, weak sales.
GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) -0.8% AH after in-line earnings.
Intel (INTC) -3.6% AH with weakness in data centers.
Microsoft (MSFT) -0.5% AH missing revenue expectations.
Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) -1.8% with light guidance.
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) -4.7% AH on light comparable sales.
UPS (NYSE:UPS) +1.1% increasing deliveries.

Today's Markets
In Asia, Japan -0.3%. Hong Kong -0.3%. China +0.1%. India -0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.3%. Paris +0.3%. Frankfurt +0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow flat. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude +0.9% to $49.38. Gold +0.2% to $1268.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.31%

Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 GDP Q1
8:30 Employment Cost Index
9:45 Chicago PMI
10:00 Consumer Sentiment
1:00 PM Baker-Hughes Rig Count


Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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