Tuesdays Market Prepper
- First Rate Rise In A Decade?
- Price Outlook
- Earnings Set-Ups
- Anxiety About Taxes
- Who’s in Charge Now
- Best Quarter Ever
- Plenty of Challenges Remain
- Tunnel Under Los Angeles
- 10 Questions
- Pfizer edges past profit estimates
- Under Armour crushed after guidance cut
- Trick or treat at FOMC meeting
- Apple could drop Qualcomm chips
- More record profits at Samsung Elec
- Halloween spending to reach $9.1B
- Overnight earnings roundup: BP, SNE
- Alphabet ditched autopilot feature
- Netflix pulls plug on House of Cards
- South Korea, China reset relations
Yesterdays Unusual Option Action:
Janet Yellen is likely presiding over one of her final meetings as the FOMC begins its latest two-day policy get-together. Fed Governor Jerome Powell is widely expected to be named chair; he has been seen as closest to Yellen of all the candidates and is set on normalizing interest rates. The Fed is not expected to take any actions when it releases its statement tomorrow, though it could point markets toward a rate hike at its December meeting.
More than 179M Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year and are expected to spend about $9.1B on costumes, candy and parties, according to the National Retail Federation. That's an all-time high since the association first began tracking Halloween spending 12 years ago. "Retailers are helping customers celebrate in style with a huge selection of costumes, candy and decorations to cater to ghosts and goblins of all ages."
Despite the bloc's strengthening economy, eurozone inflation unexpectedly slowed in October, cooling to 1.4% from 1.5% in the previous month. ECB President Mario Draghi has already warned that headline inflation figures will probably decline over the next few months due to the rebound in oil prices. However, core inflation, which excludes volatile energy, food, alcohol and tobacco prices, also dropped, falling below 1% for the first time since March.
Ousted Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont has traveled to Brussels and been offered asylum after Spanish prosecutors prepared rebellion and sedition charges against him and other regional heads due to their declaration of independence. Outmaneuvered? The two main pro-separatist Catalan parties have agreed to field candidates in the regional poll called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for Dec. 21.
Even as its peers in the U.S. and Europe begin to wind down stimulus, the Bank of Japan is holding its monetary policy steady, keeping its short-term interest rate at -0.1% and maintaining its yield curve control and asset purchases. The BOJ also trimmed its inflation forecasts, expecting core consumer prices to grow 0.8% in the fiscal year 2017/2018, lower than its previous projection of 1.1%.
China's official manufacturing PMI missed expectations in October, coming in at 51.6, with both production and demand falling during a week-long national holiday. Activities in the energy and manufacturing industries also slowed due to the country's crackdown on pollution in some regions. The official services PMI meanwhile fell to 54.3 from 55.4 in September, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
South Korea and China have agreed to normalize relations almost a year after Beijing launched a punitive economic war against Seoul over its decision to host a U.S.-operated missile shield. THAAD has shaved 0.4 percentage points off South Korea's gross domestic product expansion in 2017, according to Bank of Korea estimates, preventing it from growing at the fastest pace since 2011.
Locked in an intensifying legal dispute with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is designing iPhones and iPads for next year that would jettison the chipmaker's components, sources told WSJ. Modem chips from Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and possibly MediaTek would be placed in the devices instead as Qualcomm is reportedly withholding software critical to testing its chips in Apple prototypes.
SoftBank is breaking off talks on a merger between its subsidiary Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), according to the Nikkei, due to a failure to agree on the ownership parameters. Shares of both firms tanked Wednesday in response to the report. SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) is expected to approach Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) as early as today to propose an end to the two companies' merger discussions.
CenturyLink has won antitrust clearance from the FCC for its purchase of Level 3 Communications (NASDAQ:LVLT). With final regulatory approval, the company has scheduled its Q3 earnings release for next Wednesday, Nov. 8. The $24B deal will also see CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) expand its reach in the business communications market and compete with AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
The semiconductor supercycle has propelled Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) to another quarter of record operating profit, which nearly tripled to 14.53T won ($12.9B) in Q3. As a result, the company will double annual dividends to 9.6T won ($8.5B) in the next three years, with 2017 capital spending to reach 46.2T won ($41B). Leadership changes? Samsung also recommended a new board chairman amid changes at the top of its three main divisions.
Other overnight earnings: BP +3.8% premarket after restarting share buybacks following a rise in third-quarter production. Sony (NYSE:SNE) +5%premarket thanks to a strong performance from its PlayStation gaming unit. Profits at Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) climbed on commercial aircraft revenues, but its legal risk has now spread to the U.S.
Hershey is hoping for some Halloween momentum, with the stock only up 1% YTD. "This whole season is the confectionery company's biggest of the year, but the day before Halloween is the best day due to trick-or-treaters," declared CEO Michele Buck. Hershey's (NYSE:HSY) core candy brands are stronger than ever, with sales up about 5% this year, even as consumers increasingly opt for healthier choices.
Kare Schultz will officially join Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA) as CEO tomorrow, a day before the company reports its third quarter financial results. He will succeed Yitzhak Peterburg, who was serving as interim CEO since Erez Vigodman stepped down in February after failing to turn around the fortunes of the world's largest maker of generic medications. TEVA +3% premarket.
Alphabet's Waymo stopped developing features that required drivers to take control in dangerous situations, according to CEO John Krafcik, as autopilot reliance left users prone to distractions and ill-prepared to maneuver. "It's hard to take over because they have lost contextual awareness," he said during a Waymo (GOOG, GOOGL) media tour. "Our technology takes care of all of the driving, allowing passengers to stay passengers."
While Netflix was leaning towards ending the show a while ago, it has now been confirmed that the upcoming sixth season of House of Cards will be the last. It follows allegations of unwanted sexual advances surfaced against lead actor Kevin Spacey. House of Cards was seen as a game-changer for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), widely considered the first streaming show to take the fight up to Hollywood.
Heading back to Capitol Hill... Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) will appear before a third congressional hearing today to discuss Russian disinformation. The scope of the campaigns may be broader than the companies initially reported. Facebook will likely report that roughly 126M users in the U.S. may have seen content created by Russian government-backed trolls around Election Day.
In Asia, Japan flat. Hong Kong -0.3%. China +0.1%. India -0.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt +0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude -0.2% to $54.05. Gold -0.3% to $1274.10.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.38%Today's Economic Calendar
FOMC meeting begins
8:30 Employment Cost Index
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:00 S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index
9:45 Chicago PMI
10:00 Consumer Confidence
10:00 State Street Investor Confidence Index