Wednesday Morning Reads
- Adventures in Beach Ball Drowning
- Global Fight Over Taxing Tech
- Major Employers Left Out
- A Decade’s Worth of Progress
- Google Faces $5 Billion Lawsuit
- Zuckerberg Defends Hands-Off Approach
- Most Expensive Sibling Rivalry
- Tiffany Stock Plunges ssils in the Boardroom
- How Big is the Racial Wealth Gap?
- Sell-side gushes over Zoom Video results
- Oil slips with OPEC meeting doubt over potential cheating
- Wall Street rally set to continue
- Apple is tracking looted iPhones
- Google faces $5B lawsuit over 'private' internet use
- Novavax secures source for COVID-19 vaccine adjuvant
- Sports betting to the rescue in California?
- Qudian to become Secoo's largest shareholder
- Insider buy at HP
- U.S. launches probe into foreign digital taxes
- FSD Pharma rockets on FDA approval of FSD-201 trial to treat COVID-19 patients
- Shortage of antidepressant Zoloft
"Despite several issues of importance - national riots, Chinese relations, an ongoing pandemic - the stock market is primarily focused on a single thing: the restart of U.S. and global economic activities," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. The sentiment led S&P 500 futures to tack on another 0.6% gain overnight as Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed renewed "optimism" about a coronavirus vaccine. On the economic calendar, the ADP Employment Report today will give a fresh read on the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic, while oil climbed 2% on anticipated output cuts at the upcoming OPEC+ meeting.
A surge in video conferencing usage saw revenue growth at Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM) jump 169% to $328.2M as the company reported top and bottom line beats for Q1. Zoom also doubled its revenue guidance for the year, pushing up shares as much as 4.5% in AH trading on Tuesday. In keeping with its previous practices, the firm didn't disclose active user numbers, though analysts at Bernstein estimate Zoom's mobile app had 173M monthly active users as of May 27, up from 14M on March 4.
Facing internal unrest over the company's gentle approach to moderating posts from President Trump, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees he stood behind his decision, one he called "tough" but "pretty thorough." Policies will be reviewed to see if they need to change for the future. Facebook employees particularly took issue with a post by Trump that threatened violence, including the words "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Similar posts on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) were flagged for violating policy.
Thieves who made off with iPhones from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail locations in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington and Philadelphia quickly learned that they were loaded with special security software. On-screen messages displayed: "This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted." The social unrest sweeping across the nation comes just as Apple is in the process of opening more than 100 stores following an extended closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Trump administration is opening a "Section 301" investigation into taxes on digital commerce - proposed by a range of trading partners - that could affect revenues booked by tech giants like Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG, GOOGL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). The move could ultimately lead to punitive tariffs and heighten the chances of another global trade dispute. France already agreed to postpone its new digital tax until at least the end of 2020 after the U.S. threatened to impose tariffs of up to 100% on imports like French wine, cheese, handbags and porcelain.
Many have doubted that the U.S. could go negative like Japan and parts of Europe, but St. Louis Fed economist Yi Wen says that's what it would take to achieve a V-shaped economic recovery. "I found that a combination of aggressive fiscal and monetary policies is necessary. Aggressive policy means that the U.S. will need to consider negative interest rates and aggressive government spending, such as spending on infrastructure." Wen cited historical examples like President Roosevelt's aggressive fiscal stimulus package during the 1930s and huge surge in government spending once World War II began.
The Shanghai-London Connect program, years in the making, has so far produced only one listing - Huatai Securities (OTCPK:HUATF) - which raised $1.5B last June. China's market regulator has now approved a fresh listing for China Pacific Insurance (OTCPK:CHPXY), signaling a revival of the program. While the ties could bring the nations closer, other news overnight may go in the other direction. Boris Johnson pledged to let into the country nearly 3M Hong Kong citizens - who are British overseas passport holders - due to China's new national security law, and place them on a possible path to U.K. citizenship.
One of the most widely prescribed antidepressant medications in the U.S. has fallen into short supply, according to a new list from the FDA. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) said some versions of its name-brand Zoloft, such as 100 milligram tablets in 100-count bottles, were scarce because of higher demand during COVID-19, while generics faced shortages of certain ingredients. Zoloft prescriptions climbed 12% Y/Y to 4.9M in March, the most ever in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg, but receded to 4.5M in April.
French luxury goods group LVMH’s (OTCPK:LVMHF) $16.2B takeover of Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF) is looking less certain, according to Women's Wear Daily. It's the latest big merger said to be on the rocks amid a deteriorating situation in the U.S. market brought on by a COVID-19 pandemic and severe social unrest. Further challenges include spending pattern shifts, the collapse of international tourism and trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
After postponing its annual Prime Day event due to COVID-19, Amazon (AMZN) is reportedly setting up a "summer sale" for June to boost sellers hurt by the outbreak and swimming in inventory. The company told brands it would launch a fashion sale June 22, to run anywhere from 7-10 days, and that participation in the event was "invitation only." It's building landing pages with a working title "Biggest Sale in the Sky," and has asked brands to meet an end-of-Wednesday deadline to submit deals with a discount of at least 30%.
What else is happening...
Sports betting to the rescue in California?
In Asia, Japan +1.3%. Hong Kong +1.4%. China +0.1%. India +0.6%.
In Europe, at midday, London +1.5%. Paris +2%. Frankfurt +2.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.8%. S&P +0.6%. Nasdaq +0.5%. Crude +1.7% to $37.43. Gold -0.6% to $1724.40. Bitcoin -5.6% to $9527.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +3 bps to 0.71%