February 14, 2018 Market Outlook

U.S. Stocks Finishes Positive for a Third Time

U.S. stocks on Tuesday marked a third consecutive gain on Tuesday as the major benchmarks finished in the green ahead of the inflation data and retail sales figures to be reported on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.18 points, or 0.2%, to 24,640.45. The S&P 500 index advanced 6.94 points, or 0.3%, to 2,662.94, with the consumer staples and the real-estate sectors supporting the climb. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 31.55 points or 0.5% to 7,013.51.

Despite the rally, the Dow and the S&P 500 remain more than 7% below the January record levels after the massive declines last week. Less than halfway of this month, the market has already hit the number of 1% moves seen over all of 2017. The Nasdaq is 6.6% shy of its January all-time high.

U.S. Senators Warns of Spying Chinese Telecoms

U.S. Senators along with spy chiefs are overly concerned about China’s moves to gain access to sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual properties through telecommunications companies, academia and joint business ventures.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed the concerns during a Senate hearing on Tuesday. The worries stem from the spread in the U.S. of what he called “counterintelligence and information security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain overseas vendors.”

Sen. Burr named in particular Chinese telecoms Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. and ZTE Corp. that are known to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government. China has consistently denied that these firms are conduits for spying.

U.S. Solar Investments Overseas Double Under Trump

The Trump administration doubled its financial support for solar power projects overseas in 2017 according to a Reuters review of government documents. The increasing U.S. financial assistance for foreign solar projects comes in the wake of an ongoing federal investigation into past loans granted to solar projects abroad.

It’s contrary to U.S. President Donald Trump’s position on government support for renewable energy projects given his lukewarm attitude to the global warming threat.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the government’s international finance institution, granted more than $630 million in loans to foreign energy projects in 2017. About 90% of the total amount went to solar, wind, or other low-carbon ventures. The agency’s lending doubled to more than $250 million in support of solar projects in Africa, India, and Latin America.

Walmart’s Cloud Network Closes Gap with Amazon

The efforts of Walmart Inc. to stay competitive with Amazon.com Inc. in e-commerce are paying off.  The giant retailer is utilizing six giant server farms, each larger than ten football fields, enable the company to store and manage voluminous customer data in-house.

Walmart spent millions of dollars on these facilities that took nearly five years to build. Their online sales have been on a tear for the last three consecutive quarters and have outpaced wider industry growth levels. Walmart’s decision to build its own internal cloud network shows how determined they are to grab a bigger slice of the online shopping pie.

Walmart is  partly imitating Amazon’s use of cloud-powered big data to drive digital sales.  “It has made a big difference to how fast we can grow our e-commerce business,” said Tim Kimmet, head of cloud operations for Walmart.

Broadcom Agrees to Simple Majority at Qualcomm

After meeting with a proxy advisory firm ISS, Broadcom Ltd. (AVGO) is now amenable to reduce the desired board seats it was trying to win at Qualcomm Inc. from 11 to 6. Broadcom announced the change on Tuesday with the intention of finalizing a sale and ensuring continuity at Qualcomm.

Some Qualcomm shareholders are concerned that replacing the company’s entire 11-member board could create uncertainty during the time it would take to complete the merger of the two companies. The move on board seats reduction comes before the planned initial talks on February 14 between the semiconductor companies. Top on the agenda is the discussion on Broadcom’s $121 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *