Walmart had a blowout holiday quarter

New York (CNN Business)Walmart’s all-important holiday sales blew past expectations, a sign the retailer can more than hold its ground against Amazon. Walmart’s strong holiday should calm fears about a troubling report from the Commerce Department last week, which showed core retail sales plummeted 1.7% in December, the most in nearly two decades. Walmart’s (WMT) stock jumped 5% in pre-market trading Tuesday. Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

US-China trade talks; VW warns over tariffs; Barclays and Brexit

London (CNN Business)1. Trade talks: US stock futures were pointing higher ahead of more trade talks between the United States and China. Diess told the Financial Times that he agreed with an analyst estimate that import tariffs would cost Volkswagen €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) a year. “In the worst-case situation, that would probably be close to the real figure,” Diess said of the Evercore ISI estimate quoted by the Financial Times. On Sunday, Trump was given the results of an investigation into whether imports of cars and car parts threaten US national security. He has 90 days to act on the report’s findings. He could decide to impose tariffs of up to 25% on imports of vehicles, which experts warn …

Walmart earnings; HSBC warnings; Honda and Brexit

London (CNN Business)1. Walmart reports: Walmart is set to release earnings before markets open in New York. Yet Walmart (WMT) stock has gained over 7% so far this year to trade near $100. 2. HSBC warnings: Shares in HSBC (HSBC) dropped more than 2% in Hong Kong after the bank reported earnings that were below analyst expectations. The bank’s statement highlighted worries that global economic growth could slow further. HSBC said it faced “more challenging market conditions at the end of the year and a weaker global economic outlook.” HSBC also warned about Britain’s looming exit from the European Union, saying that “many” of its UK customers are “understandably cautious about the immediate future” because of the uncertainty around Brexit. …

How US sanctions on Venezuela are rippling through oil markets

New York (CNN Business)US sanctions on Venezuela’s national oil company have accelerated the unprecedented collapse of its oil output and set off a domino effect in the global energy market. Heavy crude is typically cheaper than light crude, but demand for it has become so intense that it’s suddenly trading at a premium to lighter barrels. US Gulf Coast refiners, led by Citgo, Chevron and Valero, blend heavy crude with lighter barrels found in US shale oilfields to churn out gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s government, which relies on oil exports for 90% of its revenue, is searching for other customers for its crude. Venezuela’s oil minister Manuel Quevedo traveled to India last week in an apparent bid …

Market may be ignoring risks of an earnings slowdown

New York (CNN Business)The market is rallying this year. But investors may be ignoring a few risks that could bring trouble in the year ahead. Portfolio manager: Tech earnings will rebound That’s not something that the market is forecasting right now. But she believes an earnings recession is more likely than a full-blown economic downturn. China is another major wild card for investors, according to Sonders and other strategists at Schwab. Sonders and her team pointed out in a report released earlier this month that many big US companies, including paint maker PPG (PPG), chip giant Texas Instruments (TXN) and auto parts supplier Lear (LEA), have cited weakening demand in China on their recent earnings conference calls. Sonders will be …

How elite investors use artificial intelligence and machine learning to gain an edge

New York (CNN Business)Artificial intelligence and machine learning might sound like the stuff of sci-fi movies. But hedge funds, major banks and private equity firms are already deploying next-generation technologies to gain an edge. Much of the technology that elite investors use isn’t really new. Financial firms are just better able to harness the power of AI and machine learning because today’s computers can process information much faster. And there now exists vastly more data than there did years ago. The rise of machine learning Still, technology is rapidly disrupting the financial industry — and will continue to do so. “The rise of machine learning will really make our industry unrecognizable in the future,” said Anthony Cowell, head of asset …

Starbucks has done just fine since Howard Schultz left

New York (CNN Business)Starbucks has been doing great since Howard Schultz stepped down and handed the reins of the company to CEO Kevin Johnson. Apple (AAPL) may be having a problem selling pricey iPhones in China, but expensive coffees and teas don’t seem to be too rich a luxury for Chinese consumers just yet. In its most recent quarter, Starbucks reported same-store sales growth of 1% in China and total sales growth of 18% as the company continues to add more stores. China still a big, growing market for Starbucks Johnson isn’t worried about any potential slowdown in consumer spending in the near-term. “We remain bullish on our path in China and the growth that lies ahead. We are playing …

US-China talks conclude; Soda wars; Brexit warning

London (CNN Business)1. Trade talks conclude: US stock futures were volatile Friday as investors worried about disappointing economic data and US-China trade talks. 2. Soda wars: PepsiCo (PEP) will report earnings before the opening bell. The food and beverage maker has been expanding its portfolio of healthy foods and drinks as consumers turn to more low-calorie, sugar-free options. It’s a tough market. Pepsi rival Coca-Cola (KO) had its worst day since October 2008 on Thursday, plunging 8%. The company said in an earnings report that sales declined 10% in 2018 and it issued disappointing guidance for 2019, citing the global economic slowdown, a strong US dollar and political uncertainty. 3. Brexit warnings: Royal Bank of Scotland has cautioned that a …

Dow soars 372 points on shutdown deal and oil

New York (CNN Business)Wall Street on Tuesday cheered a reversal of two trends that had been weighing on investors: US politics and oil. Congressional negotiators said late Monday they reached an agreement in principle to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of this week. The deal will not be final until Congress passes it and President Donald Trump signs it — leaving a lot of room for a new development to scuttle the agreement. But Wall Street was optimistic that American lawmakers would avoid another crisis.

The case for why 2019 will be a bad year for markets and 2020 will be even worse

New York (CNN Business)Hedge fund manager Mark Yusko sees eerie similarities between today and the implosion of the dot-com bubble. US stocks, as measured by the S&P 500, plummeted nearly 20% between last fall and Christmas Eve. That’s just shy of what typically qualifies for a bear market. Vicious cycle? But Yusko doesn’t think that matters. He believes the stock market is way too expensive and it will ultimately plunge at least 40% to 50% from all-time highs. “Amazon is a bubble. The stock is wildly overvalued. Netflix is even worse,” he said. One crucial difference between now and the dot-com bubble is most of today’s popular tech stocks are profitable. Back then, many money-losing companies were trading on ill-defined …

China’s back to business; US shutdown risk; Brexit bites

London (CNN Business)1. Back to business in China: Markets in mainland China zoomed higher Monday as investors returned from a week-long break for Lunar New Year. Trump has threatened to increase existing tariffs and enact a third wave of penalties on Chinese goods if the two sides can’t broker a permanent truce before the March 1 deadline. 2. US government shutdown (round 2): The United States is facing another possible government shutdown later this week. Budget talks between Democrats and Republicans ground to a halt over the weekend in a dispute over immigration policy. The disagreement appeared to dash hopes that a deal could be reached by Monday to allow each chamber of Congress plenty of time to pass legislation …

The next round of bank mergers has finally arrived

New York (CNN Business)After a decade-long lull, flashy mergers between American banks are back. After the 2008 financial crisis, mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector stalled as regulation of the industry ramped up and the public remained wary of “too big to fail” institutions. Ten years later, another round of consolidation appears imminent, according to Alan McIntyre, Accenture’s senior managing director for banking. Tech hurdles and interest rates One factor encouraging bankmergers is the sheer amount of money that financial firms now need to invest in technology. It’s necessary so they can protect their systems and keep their digital presenceup-to-date. Internal systems can require a lot of upkeep, while customers have come to expect high quality service on their …

Wall Street hates a lot of big retail stocks

New York (CNN Business)It’s a good time to be a shopper because companies like Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) are keeping prices low. Many companies tread water or even lose money for the first few months of the year and then make giant profits in the second half thanks to back-to-school and holiday shopping. But the rise of Amazon and digital shopping in general has made life even more difficult for prominent retailers. Fewer of those back-to-school and holiday shoppers are heading to a physical location. “Retail is being transformed. You’ve seen Sears go bankrupt,” said Kevin Miller, chief investment officer of the E-Valuator funds. “Many retailers and consumer products are having to play catchup online.” Companies like …

Facebook data; Central banks in focus; SoftBank soars

London (CNN Business)1. Facebook data: Germany’s anti-trust office has ruled that Facebook (FB) is abusing its dominant position in social media by combining data from other sources such as Instagram, WhatsApp and third party websites to build a unique profile of each user. 2. Central banks in focus: India’s central bank cut interest rates Thursday for the first time in six months. The move by the Reserve Bank of India was unexpected — two-thirds of economists polled by Reuters had predicted the bank would keep rates unchanged. The bank cited a drop in inflation, lower oil prices and a global economic slowdown as factors behind its decision. The Bank of England kept interest rates on hold on Thursday, but slashed …

Why tapping America’s oil reserve is a bad idea

New York (CNN Business)President Donald Trump’s crackdown on Venezuela threatens to create a shortage of heavy crude, which American refineries need to churn out gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. But analysts caution that tapping the SPR won’t do much to ease a shortage, especially not in the long run. The problem is that not all crude is created equal. Different regions produce different grades of crude. Some of it, like what comes out of Venezuela, is so thick and heavy that it can’t be put into pipelines. Other crude, like what gets pumped in Texas, is a very light and clear like gasoline. The emergency oil reserve contains crude that is mostly lighter than the 500,000 barrels per day that …