Tuesday Morning Reads
- Big Bank Problem Even Bigger
- Bullish on India
- A Dangerous Economic Myth
- It’s Showtime For Apple
- Fruitless Search For An Impossible Dream?
- Marijuana Opportunity Is This Big
- Futures higher with Fed meeting on tap
- Theresa May seeking 9-12 month Brexit delay
- Instagram adds in-app checkouts
- Rosenblatt cuts Micron estimates before earnings
- Netflix will not join Apple TV service
- Starboard outlines opposition to Bristol-Myers/Celgene tie-up
- Chesapeake Energy +3% as crude oil gains, Raymond James ups stock target
- Ford to boost SUV production at Kentucky plant
- Musk never sought pre-approval of tweets
- Argus downgrades Boeing to Hold from Buy
- Google takes on the video game industry
- Buyout funds circle WPP unit Kantar
Looking to diversify its revenue sources, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) will take a stab today at revolutionizing the $130B+ gaming industry currently dominated by incumbents like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Nintendo (OTCPK:NTDOY). Reports suggest that the main focus isn't on a console - rumored to be called "Yeti" - but instead on a streaming platform that can be likened to "Netflix for video games." Cloud gaming can let users stream wherever they are - on a phone, computer or tablet - with a speedy internet connection.
There's another positive session in store for Wall Street, with U.S. stock index futures pointing to gains of 0.3%. Market focus is largely attuned to central bank expectations, with the Fed due to kick-off its two-day policy meeting later in the session. Most investors expect the FOMC to strike a dovish tone and lower its "dot plot" to show little or no further tightening in 2019.
Paring yesterday's entire 1% loss, the British pound is opening on a firmer footing at $1.3261 following the latest outbreak of Brexit-related volatility. Today should have been the day Theresa May brought her Brexit agreement back to Parliament for a third time, but House Speaker John Bercow barred her from that action unless her deal changed significantly. Reports now suggest she's drafting a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk, formally requesting a Brexit delay of nine to 12 months.
"From next Saturday, we will ban 'Yellow Vest' protests in neighborhoods that have been the worst hit as soon as we see sign of the presence of radical groups and their intent to cause damage," French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe declared after sacking Paris's police chief. In a stronger attempt to shore up its economy, France is also forcing banks to raise their capital buffers to cope with any downturns.
Iranian leaders have announced the construction of two new nuclear reactors, which are being built in conjunction with Russia, although it remains unclear if the Trump administration views this as crossing a red line since its abandonment of a landmark nuclear accord in 2018. The news could affect economic sanctions waivers the U.S. was considering, including deals permitting oil imports to eight major Iranian clients, including China and India.
More calls for a social media crackdown... In a letter to Japan's Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked the G20 chair to make platform monitoring central to the world leaders’ upcoming summit in Osaka in June. "It is unacceptable to treat the internet as an ungoverned space," he said. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) confirmed yesterday that a live-streamed video showing last week's New Zealand mosque attacks was viewed 4,000 times before it was removed.
Apple is poised to unveil its long-rumored TV service next Monday, and ahead of the event, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) confirmed it won't be joining the company's streaming offering. "While Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is a great company, we prefer to let our customers watch our content on our service," CEO Reed Hastings told reporters at the company's offices in Hollywood.
Tencent is putting about 10% of its managers on notice as the company shakes up its workforce amid cooling growth and intensified competition, Bloomberg reports. Last month, JD.com (NASDAQ:JD), one of China’s largest e-commerce sites, said it would lay off 10% of its senior executives this year. Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) is scheduled to report earnings on Thursday with analysts forecasting a 16% drop in net income for Q4.
Foxconn will start production at its new Wisconsin factory by the end of 2020, however, the facility will assemble smaller Generation 6 LCD screens after initially planning to manufacture advanced larger displays. In February, Foxconn (OTC:FXCOF) reiterated it would still build the Wisconsin factory following reports that suggested otherwise, although it stopped using the $10B investment figure mentioned in recent releases.
The SEC is doubling down on the government’s demand to find Elon Musk in contempt of a previous fraud settlement. It's "stunning" that he didn’t seek pre-approval of any of his Tesla-related (NASDAQ:TSLA) tweets in the months since he was ordered by a judge to do so, according to the agency. While the EV maker appointed an attorney for the job in late December, that person monitored the tweets in real-time, not approving them beforehand.
The U.S. Air Force has outlined a five-year plan that showed the extent of the Pentagon's push to bring back Boeing's (NYSE:BA) F-15 fighter in an upgraded version. The $7.8B investment would see a jump in eight of the planes next year to 18 each year through 2024. While Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) F-35 would get $37.5B over the five years, the more advanced plane would still take a hit (48 F-35s are planned to be purchased each year from fiscal 2021-2023 instead of the 54 previously planned).
Media roundup: Kevin Tsujihara is out as chief at Warner Bros. (NYSE:T) amid ongoing fallout from accusations of sexual impropriety. Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) have announced the distribution adjustment multiple in connection with their $71B deal for Fox's media assets, while ESPN extended its UFC relationship to make ESPN Plus the exclusive location to see the pay-per-view MMA events.
Finalizing its Brexit contingency plans, Citigroup's (NYSE:C) new broker-dealer in Frankfurt is now fully operational. The investment firm has begun trading on the main European exchanges and issuing in capital markets on behalf of institutional and corporate clients that can no longer be served through its British entities. It has also begun clearing on the Eurex exchange.
Half of all new analysts and entry-level associates at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) must be female, according to new objectives set out by the investment bank, which also outlined targets for black and Latino hires for the first time. While the diversity goals "are aspirational, we have access to an incredible talent pool and believe they can be achieved," CEO David Solomon and two of his deputies said in a memo.
Bitcoin movement has been out of the news for quite some time, but the crypto just breached $4,000 for the first time in more than two months (up 5% YTD). A number of tailwinds are building that could help Bitcoin (BTC-USD) prices recover, according to Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors. The dollar isn’t as strong as it was last year and regulated infrastructure being built around cryptos is leading pension and endowment funds to start investing in coins.
In Asia, Japan -0.1%. Hong Kong +0.2%. China -0.2%. India +0.7%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.5%. Frankfurt +0.8%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.3%. S&P +0.3%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.6% to $59.76. Gold +0.6% to $1308.80. Bitcoin +0.8% to $4001.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.59%