Flavin Nooney & Person Market Flash 7.29.14
courtesy of @seekingalpha
All eyes on Wall Street will be on the Federal Reserve’s policy statement today, as investors comb through clues to determine when a rate liftoff will begin and how aggressive the tightening cycle will be. Although the announcement is expected to point to a growing U.S. economy and stronger job market, a slew of fresh employment, inflation and GDP reports are still on the schedule before the Fed’s highly anticipated September meeting. Today’s statement will take place at 2:00 p.m. ET.
A disorderly resolution to Puerto Rico’s debt problems would be costly not only for the territory but for the United States as a whole, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee. “The continued deterioration…has the potential to further harm retiree investment portfolios across the country,” he added. Attempts to grant the commonwealth’s public authorities access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy provisions have so far made little progress.
Surprise! The roller coaster ride in China is still on full speed. After swinging between gains and losses for most of the session, the Shanghai Composite regained positive momentum to close up 3.5%, snapping a three-day losing streak in the final hour of trade. Some reports are pointing to a rush of buying by government-backed funds toward the end of session, while others attributed the gain to recent support measures and hints of more policy easing.
Standard & Poor’s has warned Brazil it could lose its coveted investment-grade rating in the coming year if fallout from a number of corruption investigations further stymies economic growth and implementation of austerity measures. The agency has now put the country’s foreign currency rating, which is rated one notch above junk, on negative outlook for possible downgrade. The Brazilian real slid 2% to 3.43 per dollar following the announcement, its weakest level in more than 12 years.
Advancing its push for commercial drones, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has laid out a proposal to slice U.S. airspace into different categories of aircraft. The plan describes a “high-speed transit zone” from 200-400 feet above the ground for advanced drones and a no-fly area between 400-500 feet to create a buffer zone with manned aircraft. Simple consumer drones would be restricted to a “low-speed” zone below 200 feet. The system also permits one person to oversee many automated drones well beyond his or her sight, but bans flights around airports.
New hardware from Nokia? Jumping into the virtual reality space, the Finnish technology group has revealed a spherical ball-like camera called OZO that can capture 360-degree videos through eight optical image sensors. Advantages of Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) new camera: Live monitoring – footage can be seen as it’s being shot. Rapid playback – recordings don’t need to be digitally stitched together before they’re viewed.
SpiceJet is in talks with Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) to buy more than 100 single-aisle jets worth about $11B at list prices, in what would be the Indian budget carrier’s largest-ever plane order. A deal for the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max aircraft could be signed during the current financial year, which ends March 31.
Impatient with the pace of change, Barclays (NYSE:BCS) Executive Chairman John McFarlane is set to wield the axe even more quickly at the bank, after firing CEO Antony Jenkins just a few weeks ago. Barclays now plans to cut non-core assets from £57B ($89B) to £20B by the end of 2017 and set aside more money to cover the cost of redress. The move comes as the lender reported a sharp rise in second-quarter net profit to £1.15B ($1.8B) from £161M in the same period last year.
In a larger-than-expected offering, the Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) has sold $2.2B in shares of the Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG), as it further reduces its stake in the lender.”The sale of Citizens…will help us to create a simpler, stronger and more efficient U.K.-focused bank that can better serve the needs of its customers,” said CEO Ross McEwan. After the sale and a buyback, RBS will hold a 23.4% stake in the U.S. retail bank, down from 40.8%.
French oil major Total posted a better-than-expected profit in the second-quarter, helped by increased refining margins in Europe and accelerated cost-cutting efforts. Despite the heavy drop in crude prices, adjusted net profit came in at $3.085B, only a 2% decrease from the same period a year ago. Total (NYSE:TOT) also announced it would sell a 20% stake in its North Sea Laggan-Tormore project to Britain’s SSE (OTCPK:SSEZY) for $881M, in a deal that could herald a fresh wave of North Sea asset sales.
Belgian chemical group Solvay has agreed to buy Cytec Industries (NYSE:CYT) for $6.4B, including debt, to become the world’s second-largest maker of aerospace composite materials. Solvay (OTCPK:SVYZY) will finance the transaction with a €1.5B ($1.66B) rights issue, €1B of hybrid instruments and a senior debt issue.
Chevron plans to eliminate 1,500 jobs across the globe amid the ongoing environment of low oil prices. Chevron (NYSE:CVX) said the cuts are aimed at increasing efficiency, reducing costs and focusing on work that directly supports business priorities, with $1B in targets coming through corporate center cost reductions.
Bombardier may combine its train business with Siemens’ (OTCPK:SIEGY) rail unit, sources told WSJ, stating that Bombardier (OTCPK:BDRAF, OTCQX:BDRBF) is simultaneously preparing to float a minority stake of its transportation unit. The news comes some months after Siemens downplayed the idea that it could combine its rail assets, which include trains, trams and signaling technology, with those of France’s Alstom (OTCPK:ALSMY).
Confirming earlier reports, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) has announced David Taylor will be the company’s next CEO, effective Nov. 1. Taylor has been part of P&G’s turnaround strategy “every step of the way,” said current chief executive A.G. Lafley, who will remain executive chairman. Taylor has worked for the company since 1980, and most recently served as president of the company’s global beauty, grooming and health-care division.
ConAgra has started talks with TreeHouse Foods (NYSE:THS) and Post Holdings (NYSE:POST) regarding the sale of its Ralcorp private label unit, which could be valued at about $3.5B. The companies are said to have joined P-E firms including Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) and Cerberus Capital Management in the auction. Ralcorp, which makes cereal, pasta and other dry goods, has been plagued by integration costs and pressured profit margins since it was acquired by ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) in 2013.
Tuesday’s key earnings
BP (NYSE:BP) +3.5% on cost-cutting plans. (link)
Dupont (NYSE:DD) -1.5% after cutting guidance. (link)
Ford (NYSE:F) +2% on record profit. (link)
Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) +3.8% AH after beating estimates. (link)
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) +3% after increasing its 2015 outlook. (link)
Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) +3.1% following record EBIDTA, raising guidance. (link)
Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) -12.9% AH after warnings on user growth. (link)
U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE:X) -4.1% AH following an earnings miss. (link)
UPS (NYSE:UPS) +5.1% as profit beat expectations. (link)
Yelp (NYSE:YELP) -19.4% AH on a surprise loss, soft guidance. (link)
In Asia, Japan -0.1% to 20303. Hong Kong +0.5% to 24620. China +3.5% to 3789. India +0.4% to 27563.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.2%. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude -0.5% to $47.75. Gold -0.1% to $1095.70.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.26%
Today’s economic calendar:
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
10:00 Pending Home Sales
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
11:30 Results of $15B, 2-Year FRN Auction
1:00 PM Results of $35B, 5-Year Note Auction
2:00 PM FOMC Announcement