January 11, 2018 Market Outlook

S&P 500 and Nasdaq Ends Winning Streak

For the first time this year, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed lower, snapping a six-day winning streak. The news that the United States is likely to pull out of NAFTA drove Wall Street down on Wednesday.  The news also drove the currencies of both Canada and Mexico lower and also hurt their respective stock markets.

Although nothing is firm yet, Canada is increasingly getting worried and preparing for several scenarios. American, Canadian, and Mexican officials are due to hold a sixth and penultimate round of negotiations in Montreal from Jan. 23-28. The time to bridge the three countries’ major differences are running out.

DOJ’s Marijuana Directive Cause Confusion

The U.S. Department of Justice failed to first notify federal officials when it reversed last week the $7 billion marijuana business. The officials were supposed to advise banks in states where marijuana is legal. As a result, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an office within the U.S. Treasury Department, was swamped with phone calls from congressional offices, particularly from lawmakers and constituents.

AG Jeff Sessions’ announcement caused confusion among banks about how to do business with marijuana growers, processors and distributors without violating federal money laundering laws. However, FinCEN had no ready answers yet because it received no advance warning of the Jan. 4 announcement by the U.S. Attorney General.

Ford to Install Auto-Emergency Brakes on 2019 Models

In an effort to catch up with industry rivals, Ford Motor Co. (F) announced on Thursday that automatic emergency brakes shall be standard features on two of their key 2019 models. The No. 2 U.S. automaker is offering this new technology designed to help vehicles avoid collisions.

Ford will install the special brakes on its redesigned 2019 Edge midsize crossover vehicle and its new 2019 Ranger midsize pickup. They intend to compete with the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma later this year.

LG’s Factory will soon Operate in Tennessee

The new washing machine factory of LG Electronics in the U.S. will start operating in the fourth quarter of this year. On Thursday, Jo Seong-Jin, Chief Executive of the South Korean company, announced that their factory in Tennessee is now being built. The initial target is to operate on Feb. 2019 but has been moved to an earlier date.

The U.S. International Trade Commission recommended tariffs last November to keep LG and domestic rival Samsung Electronics from selling low-priced washers in the U.S. market. That move would benefit American appliance maker Whirlpool Corp.

South Korea Plans to Ban Crypto Trading

South Korea is making a bold move that sent bitcoin prices falling and throwing the virtual coin market into chaos. On Thursday, the government said it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading. The country’s police and tax authorities have begun raiding local exchanges on allegations of tax evasion.

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