Thursday Morning Reads

Thursday Morning Reads








Stocks fell across the globe overnight after the FOMC lifted interest rates for the fourth time this year, while Fed Chair Jerome Powell downplayed implications of market volatility and said the central bank would continue its balance-sheet runoff. The S&P 500 is now 14.5% below its Sept. 20 record high. Well over half of S&P 500 companies are also down by at least 20% from their 52-week highs and some segments of the market, including small-cap stocks, have already confirmed a bear move.


Policymakers in Sweden have taken a decisive step away from an historic stimulus program, hiking interest rates for the first time in seven years. The krona soared on the news, appreciating as much as 1% against the euro, with the quarter of a percentage point increase bringing the repo rate to minus 0.25%. The need for a "highly expansionary monetary policy has decreased slightly," according to the Riksbank, as inflation and inflation expectations are now looking "established."

With a Brexit deal deadlocked in the U.K. parliament, the European Commission is putting in place temporary arrangements - lasting between nine months and two years - in economic sectors where a no-deal Brexit would cause a serious impact to people and businesses in the EU. The decision follow steps taken by Britain that included putting 3,500 military personnel on standby to assist government agencies in the event of any no-deal disruption. A BOE policy announcement is also on tap later today.

Oil prices have resumed declines seen earlier in the week despite OPEC reportedly planning to release a table detailing voluntary supply cut quotas among its members and allies. The cartel's Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo further commended Saudi Arabia, saying the de facto leader of the group was going above and beyond the output cut of 1.2M barrels per day agreed to earlier this month.

Aluminum prices sank to a 16-month low at $1,911 a ton after the U.S. Treasury said it would lift sanctions on the core empire of Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, including aluminum giant Rusal (OTC:RUALF) and its parent En+. Tough penalties were imposed after Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea, but the companies have since "committed to significantly diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control." The news also provided a needed boost to Rusal, with shares soaring as much as 26.8%.

China's foreign ministry said a Canadian woman is undergoing "administrative punishment" for working in the country illegally, marking the third Canadian to have been detained in China following the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged caution and said he would not be "stomping on a table" in response, stating the incident was "a very separate case" from the other two.


A Tokyo court has unexpectedly rejected a request from prosecutors to extend Carlos Ghosn's detention, giving the former Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) chairman a chance to seek bail and fight allegations of under-reporting his income. The arrest last month of the high-flying executive has rocked the world's biggest auto alliance, raising questions over whether the partnership between Nissan and Renault (OTCPK:RNLSY) will survive his downfall.

Third time the charm? SpaceX (SPACE) is scheduled to launch its first navigation satellite for the U.S. military today, after two canceled launches earlier this week due to last-minute technical issues. Poor weather is still looming as a potential problem, with only a 20% chance of favorable conditions around Florida's Cape Canaveral. The Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying a roughly $500M GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT).

Announcing the start of a strategic partnership, Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) said it would team with Verily, Alphabet's (GOOGGOOGL) life sciences unit, on lowering the cost of medical care and improving outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. Their first project will develop a "medication adherence pilot project that will deploy devices and other approaches" to ensure patients are taking their medications.

Ending a self-declared halt to price increases under pressure from the Trump administration, Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Bayer (OTCPK:BAYRY) are among nearly 30 drugmakers that have taken steps to raise the cost of their U.S. medicines in January, according to documents seen by Reuters. Other drugmakers set to raise prices at the start of 2019 include Allergan (NYSE:AGN), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB).

After inking a partnership with Novartis (NVS) unit Sandoz to produce and distribute medical cannabis products, Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) has entered a $100M joint venture with beer brewer AB InBev (NYSE:BUD) to study THC and CBD beverages. Shares of Tilray jumped 15% AH on the news. Drinkable marijuana interest is growing... Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) has invested $4B in Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) and Heineken (OTCQX:HEINY) will introduce a cannabis-infused drink this summer.

The once mighty commodity trader known as Noble Group (OTCPK:NOBGY) has completed its drawn-out $3.5B debt restructuring to emerge as a smaller, unlisted Asia-focused coal-trading business. The debt-for-equity restructuring plan will see 70% of the company's shares being held by a so-called special purpose vehicle representing the previous company’s creditors, with the other 30% will be held by shareholders and management.

Square is making a second attempt to break into banking, refiling its application for an industrial loan company charter. Approval of "Square Financial Services" (NYSE:SQ) would allow the payments company to operate without going through outside banks and intermediaries, and allow it to take federally-insured customer deposits. A green light could also set a precedent for other Silicon Valley fintech firms.

The SEC has voted to adopt a highly contentious two-year "Transaction Fee Pilot" that will allow the regulator to analyze the effects of stock exchange transaction fee and rebate pricing models, broker buy and sell order routing, and trade execution quality. Big U.S. exchanges have objected to the pilot because it would undermine their widely used system called "maker taker," in which exchanges pay rebates for some orders and charge fees for others. Related: ICENDAQ

Wednesday's Key Earnings
General Mills (NYSE:GIS+5% topping earnings forecasts.
Pier 1 Imports (NYSE:PIR-14.4% AH as CEO resigned on failed turnaround.
Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD+9.7% AH on strong guidance, McKesson pact.

Today's Markets 
In Asia, Japan -2.8%. Hong Kong -0.9%. China -0.5%. India -0.1%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.6%. Paris -1.5%. Frankfurt -1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.2%. S&P -0.2%. Nasdaq -0.1%. Crude -3.6% to $46.43. Gold +0.2% to $1258.90. Bitcoin +6% to $4052.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.77%

Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 Philly Fed Business Outlook
10:00 Leading Indicators
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet

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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