Monday's Market Prepper
- Online Retail Taking Over
- Debt Island
- Three Themes This Week
- Tangle of Economic Problems
- Signs of Fading
- Cheap Funds, Heavy Debt, Growing Risk
- New Wave of Ransomware Threats
- Oil Surges 2.5%
- Tesla’s Solar Roof Pricing Is Cheap Enough to Catch Fire
- Sears CEO’s Master Plan
- A Good Lesson For Millennial Investors
- Another Watergate?
- Shocked to Find
- Futures start week with little movement
- Oil jumps on supply cut chatter
- WannaCry puts focus on cybersecurity
- Google unveils new ad policies
- North Korea fires a new ballistic missle
- WDC takes Toshiba to arbitration
- Brexit bust? JPM buys Dublin building
- Self-driving partnership: Waymo, Lyft
— FactSet (@FactSet) May 15, 2017
Security officials are scrambling to find out who was behind the WannaCry ransomware attack, which struck 200K victims in at least 150 countries, and is believed to have been stolen from the NSA. Shares of cybersecurity stocks are on watch amid fears a second wave could cause more chaos, while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) pinned blame on the U.S. government for not disclosing more software vulnerabilities. Premarket movement: HACK +10%, FEYE +3% CYBR, +3%, CSCO +2%, PANW +2%, SYMC +2%, QLYS +1%.
"We are working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies," stated a G7 communique issued on Saturday that once again fell short of an explicit promise to avoid protectionism. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrapped up the finance chief gathering with the following statement: "We do not want to be protectionist but we reserve our right to be protectionist to the extent that we believe trade is not free and fair."
Oil prices are up 2.7% to $49.15 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world's top two producers, said that a crude production cut would be extended from the middle of this year until March 2018. While the output cut will initially be on the same volume terms as before, they hope other producers will join in their efforts. OPEC is due to meet in Vienna on May 25.
Emmanuel Macron was sworn in as French president on Sunday, promising to return confidence to a nation that had been "broken" by a spate of terror attacks and a sluggish economy. European equity funds saw record inflows totaling $6.1B in the days after Macron's election win, according to data from EPFR, while BofA analysts feel that flows could increase further in the coming months.
Centrists are well-positioned to be in charge of Europe's two largest economies. Angela Merkel's CDU party won a clear victory in weekend state elections held in North Rhine-Westphalia (home to more than 20% of German voters), while the Social Democrats recorded their lowest share of the region's vote since WW2. It's the last vote before September's general election.
Greece has slashed its 2017 growth forecast to 1.8% from 2.7%, according to a mid-term budget plan, driven by uncertainty caused by delays in concluding its latest review of bailout reforms. The projections are also lower than those of the EU Commission, which cut its growth estimates last week to 2.1%, from 2.7% predicted three months ago.
China managed to rope in the U.S. at the last minute for its weekend Silk Road summit as President Xi hailed his country's initiative as "the project of the century." Matt Pottinger, Special Assistant to the President and senior director for East Asia at the National Security Council, led the American delegation to the forum.
The United States will "continue to tighten the screws" on North Korea, declared Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, after Pyongyang's latest missile test. She also mentioned sanctions and working with the international community. Following the launch, the isolated regime boasted that its new rocket could carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead."
However, Pyongyang is willing to have dialogue with the U.S. if "the conditions are there," said Choi Son Hui, North Korea's foreign ministry director general for U.S. affairs. The remarks come days after President Trump said he was willing to meet with Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances." The last time the two countries sat at the negotiating table was in 2008.
JPMorgan has agreed to purchase a building in Dublin with room for 1,000 staff as Ireland continues a major campaign to attract firms in the wake of Brexit. It has been mainly competing with Paris and Frankfurt to attract financial firms. "This new building gives us room to grow and some flexibility within the EU," said JPMorgan's (NYSE:JPM) Carin Bryans.
Google is changing how it enforces its ad policies: AdSense will now remove adverts on a page-by-page basis, instead of targeting entire websites that violate its standards. Since Google (GOOG, GOOGL) and its publishers share ad revenue, the more "surgical" approach will mean more money for the both of them and fewer disruptions.
The FTC kicked off 2017 by targeting Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) over allegedly anti-competitive behavior, and unsurprisingly, companies the chipmaker competes with agree. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) have filed briefs supporting the agency's lawsuit, stating Qualcomm uses its dominant position in the mobile processor industry to squeeze others out.
The WSJ claims that The Legend of Zelda will follow in the footsteps of Animal Crossing, Super Mario and Fire Emblem as the next big name Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY) franchise heading to your mobile device. But the titles have yet to add significantly to Nintendo's bottom line. It earned less than ¥20B ($176.4M) from smartphone games in the fiscal year ended March 2017.
Potentially derailing a much-needed capital injection, Western Digital (NYSE:WDC) is seeking international arbitration to stop partner Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSYY) from selling its chips unit without consent. A legal battle could delay or put an end to the auction that could fetch some $18B and has attracted suitors such as KKR, Foxconn (OTC:FXCOF) and Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO).
Despite the fresh setback, Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSYY) shares climbed 3.4% in Tokyo, buoyed by news that progress is being made towards capping some of its nuclear liabilities in the U.S. The owners of the unfinished Vogtle plant in Georgia - led by Southern Co. (NYSE:SO) - have come to a preliminary agreement to limit Toshiba's guarantees on the much-delayed power project at about $3.6B.
Scientific instruments maker Thermo Fisher is in talks to buy drug ingredients producer Patheon (NYSE:PTHN). An agreement could be announced as early as this week, Bloomberg reports, but there's no certainty a deal will be reached. Patheon is worth about $3.8B based on its current share price, while Thermo Fisher (NYSE:TMO) has a market value of about $67B.
Escalating a fight with UBER, Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) Waymo has signed a collaboration agreement with LYFT to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream. The two will work on pilot projects and other product development efforts. The alliance also makes Waymo a GM partner, by way of Lyft's work with (and investment by) the auto giant.
SpaceX is aiming to launch a fourth Inmarsat-5 (OTCPK:IMASY) satellite into space tonight, marking the heaviest load lofted by a Falcon 9 rocket to date. The departure comes two weeks after the last SpaceX (Private:SPACE) mission, matching a three-year-old company record for the shortest time between consecutive launches. It's targeting two per month for all of 2017 and once a week by 2019.
In Asia, Japan -0.1%. Hong Kong +0.9%. China +0.2%. India +0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris -0.3%. Frankfurt -0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude +2.7% to $49.15. Gold +0.3% to $1231.90.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.33%