Monday Morning Reads

Monday Morning Reads




China said it will reduce tariffs from Jan. 1 on more than 850 goods, including frozen pork, high-tech components and vital medicines, leading the Shanghai Composite Index to tumble 1.4% overnight. It will also cut import levies for more than 8,000 products for 23 countries and regions that have free-trade agreements with China, known as "most favored nation" rates. While the tariff reduction is not directly linked to the American trade war, it will likely guarantee that the coming Phase One trade deal with the U.S. doesn't invite complaints from other trading partners.

More record highs in store

Wall Street futures are starting a holiday-shortened week ahead by 0.2% on the back of easing geopolitical risks and China's plans to cut import tariffs for its trading partners. "The Phase One agreement and U.K. elections have cleared up tail risks, but the market is now transcending that euphoria," said Stephen Innes, strategist at AxiTrader. "With plenty of capital yet to be deployed, markets could even push significantly higher supported by the global growth rebound."
Go deeper: Jeff Miller asks if investors are too complacent.

Big/small haul for 'Rise of Skywalker'

Despite a mixed fan reaction and thumbs-down review from most critics, The Rise of Skywalker took in an estimated $175.5M in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend, marking the lowest opening of the new Star Wars trilogy. It also garnered $198M internationally, bringing its global box office haul to $374M for the weekend, and could become Disney's seventh $1B film released in 2019. The film will be the last Star Wars movie until 2022 as Disney puts the series on a "hiatus."
Go deeper: 'Disney: A Trilogy Of Problems' by Vladimir Dimitrov.

Satellite-to-device tech

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has a secret team working on satellite technology that the iPhone maker could use to beam internet services directly to devices, bypassing wireless networks, Bloomberg reports. It's not a far fetched idea. Apple has increasingly made moves to design and control every aspect of its products, like its own custom A-series silicon and 5G modems. While a clear direction and use for satellites hasn't been finalized, CEO Tim Cook has shown interest in the project and indicated it's a company priority.
Go deeper: Apple seems to be rallying almost every day right now, writes Bill Maurer.

Walmart bets on future of superstore

Supercenters are again front and center for Walmart's (NYSE:WMT) strategy, CEO Doug McMillon told a recent meeting, as the company debates how to best compete with (NASDAQ:AMZN) and its major revenue source: AWS. Besides consumer goods, Walmart's sprawling stores - often open for 24 hours - would include venues to fill medical prescriptions, money transfer kiosks or hair salons. It contrasts from a strategy laid out just a year ago, when e-commerce and other businesses were shown as equal parts of a circle.

Kalanick close to selling entire Uber stake

Uber (NYSE:UBER) co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick has sold more than $2.5B worth of company shares since a lockup period expired last month, leaving him with less than 10% of his holdings. At the rate he's going, he'll be completely divested from Uber within days, raising questions about his confidence in the company and status as a board member. The sales have been a headwind for Uber in its shaky first year as a public firm. Shares are currently trading at around $30, more than a third lower than its $45 IPO price.

Rescue needed for WeWork rescue plan

SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBY) attempt to secure $3B from Japan’s three biggest banks has stalled as the lenders hit internal lending limits to the firm, Reuters reports. It complicates a $9.5B rescue package for WeWork (WE) and could result in SoftBank entering the new year without financing in place. The banks are now seeking ways to provide the funding while offsetting exposure, such as using some of SoftBank's 26% stake in Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) as collateral.

Construction continues on Nord Stream 2

U.S. sanctions have temporarily stopped construction on Nord Stream 2 - as Washington opposes a project that will increase Europe's dependence on Russian energy - though a workaround is already in progress. Gazprom (OTCPK:OGZPY) is the majority owner of the pipeline, which has financial backing from five European companies: Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.ARDS.B), Germany's Uniper (OTC:UNPPY) and BASF (OTCQX:BASFY), Austria's OMV (OTCPK:OMVJF) and France's Engie (OTCPK:ENGIY). Should the sanctions be expanded to western companies in the Nord Stream 2 consortium, Gazprom will buy out their stakes in the project and insulate the project from sanctions.

Beleaguered Starliner returns to Earth

Boeing's (NYSE:BA) Starliner had a "bull's-eye" landing in the New Mexico desert on Sunday after failing to hit the right orbit to reach the International Space Station. The entire ordeal appears to be bad news for Boeing's century-old legacy of engineering prowess, which is already facing heat due to the 737 MAX crisis, but good news for SpaceX (SPACE), which is vying with Boeing to revive NASA's human spaceflight capabilities. Boeing has advanced 1.3% this year, a fraction of the 29% gain posted by the S&P 500 Index, marking its worst underperformance compared with U.S. stocks since 2001.

What else is happening...

New $1.4B loan for Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) Shanghai plant.

JD's (NASDAQ:JD) logistics unit taps banks for IPO.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) rules out loans for Arctic drilling.

Bayer (OTCPK:BAYRY) soars on backing in glyphosate suit.

CSX (NASDAQ:CSX) train derails near Harpers Ferry, W.VA.

Today's Markets
In Asia, Japan flat. Hong Kong +0.1%. China -1.4%. India -0.1%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris flat. Frankfurt -0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude -0.1% to $60.37. Gold +0.4% to $1487.40. Bitcoin +3.6% to $7400.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 1.92%

Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Chicago Fed National Activity Index
8:30 Durable Goods
8:30 New Home Sales
11:00 Survey of Business Uncertainty
1:00 PM Results of $40B, 2-Year Note Auction

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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