Morning in Arizona

Morning in Arizona

The Headline Animator

Friday, February 17, 2017

Peace Out

Financial Review

Peace Out

DOW + 4.28 = 20,624
SPX + 3.94 = 2351
NAS + 23.68 = 5839
RUT + .73 = 1399
10 Y – .03 = 2.42%
OIL + .04 = 53.37
GOLD – 5.60 = 1236.00

Starting Presidents’ Day a bit early, so today’s review is a bit on the light side. Thanks for your patience.

US stocks have spent the past week setting new record after new record. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted 5 consecutive record high sessions before slipping yesterday. The Dow managed to hang on for a small gain and a sixth straight record.  European markets are sinking in early trading. The majority of Asian markets closed the week with small losses.

Samsung’s chairman is in jail. Jay Y. Lee will be indicted tomorrow, per South Korea’s special prosecutor, after he was arrested over his alleged role in the nation’s widening corruption scandal. It throws the firm into a leadership crisis for the first time in its corporate history, and is a huge blow to Samsung Electronics, the key unit where Lee serves as vice chairman. Other Samsung executives may also be arrested.

All that remains of Hanjin Shipping will be liquidated following a South Korean court order which pulled the plug on the company. Previously the world’s seventh-largest container shipper, Hanjin applied for court receivership in late August after its creditor banks halted further support.

Eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund seem likely to miss next week’s deadline to agree on a €7-billion-euro bailout for Greece. The two sides remain at loggerheads over an IMF demand that Athens be granted debt relief and easier surplus targets, meaning a pact may now be months away. While Greece won’t face bankruptcy trouble until July, Eurozone officials were racing to strike a deal so the drama wouldn’t be forced into the upcoming Dutch and French elections.

Complications in restructuring Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company and segregating its finances from those of the government are slowing the march toward what is expected to be the biggest IPO in history. The Wall Street Journal reports the listing of a minority stake in Saudi Aramco is now unlikely to happen until late 2018 at the earliest.

S&P Global said it could cut its rating of Toshiba credit by several notches should the Japanese firm receive financial support that includes debt restructuring.

Unilever has rejected a proposed $143 billion-dollar merger offer from Kraft Heinz, saying the bid was too low and it fundamentally undervalues the company.

Mmm, Mmm, NOT good. Campbells Soup said earnings for the latest quarter fell to $205 million, or 33 cents per share, from $414 million, or 85 cents per share in the year-earlier period. Revenue also fell. Topline was a miss; bottom line was a beat.

Deere & Company posted better than expected earnings, even as revenue slipped. Agriculture and turf and construction and forestry sales topped expectations. Deere shares have rallied about 20% in the past 3 months.

Wells Fargo will give investors a peek into its efforts to rebound from its fake account scandal when it releases monthly customer account numbers and holds a conference call later today. The bank has reported a dramatic decline in consumer checking account openings in recent months. It’s now looking to shut more than 400 branches.

The Justice Department has joined a 2011 lawsuit accusing UnitedHealth of gaming the Medicare program and fraudulently collecting hundreds of millions of dollars by claiming patients were sicker than they really were.

The five-year investigation, unsealed yesterday says UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest Medicare Advantage insurer, allegedly collected payments from false claims that it treated patients for conditions they didn’t have, for more severe conditions than they had, conditions that had already been treated, or diagnoses that didn’t meet the requirements for risk adjustment.

General Motors chief Mary Barra visited Opel’s German headquarters and gave assurances the GM unit would remain independent and current management would remain in place in any deal with Peugeot parent PSA Group. The two companies previously said they were in talks regarding a PSA purchase of GM’s European car operations.

AT&T opened its unlimited wireless data plan to all customers, a few days after a similar move by Verizon. Previously, AT&T had only offered such plans to customers of its DirecTV service. The move leaves all four national wireless carriers, including T-Mobile and Sprint, offering similar unlimited plans and leaving price and network claims as the major differences.

A muzak-streaming service launched its global offensive. The Spotify-backed “Soundtrack Your Brand” plans to push into global markets with its own music catalog and $22 million in fresh, outside funding. It already has deals to pipe its music into McDonald’s and Tag Heuer stores, and is now going up against Canada’s Mood Media, the market leader in commercial background music.

Amazon was awarded a patent earlier this week for a system in which a package would be “forcefully” propelled from a drone, and would be helped to land by measures including a parachute.

SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday. The mission, taking off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will carry a Dragon supply ship to the International Space Station.

US markets will be closed Monday in observance of Presidents Day.

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