Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wall Street Breakfast: What Moved Markets This Week

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The three major stock market benchmarks surged to another day of new records amid strong corporate earnings reports, steadily extending their gains throughout the session and finishing at their best marks of the day. For the week, the indexes added between 2.1% and 2.3% - the fourth straight weekly gain for stocks - and now hold YTD gains in a range of 7.5% and 8.7%. Check out Seeking Alpha's latest Stocks to Watch article for a preview of next week's busy calendar of events headlined by earnings reports from tech majors.

Stocks again rose to new records yesterday, helped by the Senate vote to reopen the government and provide funding through Feb. 8. The next catalyst for equities could come from the slew of big earnings set to be unveiled this week. Of the 55 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Monday morning, 80% have topped expectations.
The world's political and business leaders, plus the usual smattering of celebrities, are heading to Davos, the Swiss Alpine resort where the World Economic Forum's annual conference begins today. The official theme of the 2018 meeting is to build a shared global narrative and is entitled "Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World." President Trump will be the first U.S. leader to attend the summit since Bill Clinton in 2000.
U.S. trading partners are starting to respond to the Trump administration's decision to slap steep tariffs on imports of solar panels and washing machines. China called them "an abuse," South Korea will file a complaint with the WTO, while Mexico said it would use all legal means at its disposal to ensure the U.S. meets its international obligations.
Negotiators from 11 Pacific Rim nations have agreed on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership amid an arrangement on autos with Japan and the suspension of intellectual property provisions that had been a concern for Canada. The deal will likely be signed in Chile on March 8. Without the U.S., the combined gross domestic product of the agreement amounts to $12.6T, or 15.8% of world GDP. Friday:
The U.S. economy hasn't posted three consecutive quarters of at least 3% growth since early 2005, but that may change today as the Commerce Department publishes its first Q4 GDP estimate at 8:30 a.m. Overall growth for the year is still expected to come in at around 2.3% - because of a sluggish first quarter - but spurred by a weak dollar, tax cuts, and consumer and business spending, the Trump administration could reach its 3% annual growth target in 2018.
Nearly a year after it was promised, Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) first automated grocery store - promising "no lines, no checkouts, no registers" - is opening to the public in Seattle. Technology detects everything consumers are taking or returning to shelves and charges their account when they walk out. The concept raises questions about job creation and destruction by Amazon, especially if the model is implemented at Whole Foods.
Netflix claimed 2M more subscribers than Wall Street expected in the final three months of 2017, ending the year with 117.58M streaming subs around the globe. The results drove shares up 9% AH, resulting in a market cap of more than $100B for the first time. "With greater than expected member growth, we now plan to spend $7.5B-$8B on content on a P&L basis in 2018," Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) said in a statement.
EU antitrust regulators have slapped a €997M ($1.2B) fine on Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) for paying Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) "billions of U.S. dollars" to shun rival chips in its iPhones. "This meant that no rival could effectively challenge Qualcomm in this market," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The fine is massive, thought it's well below the more than $2B the commission could have sought under Europe's antitrust laws. QCOM -1.6% premarket.
Toys "R" Us is shutting down 180 stores, or about one-fifth of its locations in the U.S., as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plans. The news may put pressure on Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) and Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT), whose shares both spiked yesterday afternoon amid trader chatter of buyout activity. Toys "R" Us comprised 11% and 9% of 2016 global sales for Mattel and Hasbro, according to Jefferies.
Handing a victory to Boeing (NYSE:BA), industry experts largely predict the ITC today to back the U.S. Commerce Department's recommendation to slap Bombardier's (OTCQX:BDRAF, OTCQX:BDRBF) CSeries with a near 300% duty on American sales. A Canadian government source told Reuters that the country was expecting the same, further inflaming tensions between Ottawa and Washington during talks to modernize NAFTA.

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