January 2, 2018 Market Outlook

Wall Street to Welcome 2018 with Optimism

Wall Street is set to welcome 2018 today on the first trading day of the year. Investors are pondering if the market momentum from 2017 can continue into the New Year. The U.S. stocks futures are mixed in early trading following the market’s slight dip on the final trading session of 2017.

The European markets are mostly negative in early trading although the losses are meek. The Asian markets ended the day with gains. The main Chinese indexes had a good start with gains of 1% to 2%.

New U.S. Tax Rules to Affect Profits of Corporate Giants

Goldman Sachs (GS) forecasted last week that the changes in tax rules would take $5 billion off its profit in the final quarter of 2017. The slash is due to the “repatriation tax” or a one-time tax on the cash it hold overseas.

Other corporate giants will be taking hits between $1 billion and $3 billion each in one-off charges. These are Barclays (BCS) Credit Suisse (CS), UBS (UBS), andoil giant Shell (RDSA). BP (BP) also announced that it will be writing off about $1.5 billion in credits for the fourth quarter of 2017 because of the changes in U.S. tax rules.

Still, all the companies said that the lowering of U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% from 35% would ultimately be beneficial for business.

Oil Opens the Year Above $60 per Barrel

The international benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 and the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 opened the year above $60 per barrel. This is the strongest opening for the first time since 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate hit $60.74 earlier on Tuesday then retreated to $60.63 a barrel. Brent crude hit a May 2015 high of $67.29 before sliding to $67.18 a barrel. The U.S.-based Schork Report said that the growing unrest in Iran has set the stage for oil’s bullish start in 2018.

U.S. Airport Computers Restored After System Outage

Photos of long lines at various airports in the U.S. circulated on social media after immigration desk computers went down for about two hours on Monday. Travelers entering the United States after the holidays were inconvenienced bythe service disruption.

The outage started at about 7:30 p.m. EST and was fixed about 9:30 EST according to the customs agency. All airports were back online after waiting times for travelers were extended longer than the usual. The Customs and Border Protection saw no malicious intent although it gave no explanation as to what caused the processing system outage.

Apple Rush Replacement Batteries for iPhone 6

Apple (AAPL) is working double time to appease irate iPhone owners by making available discounted replacement batteries. Users of iPhone6 or later need not wait any longer as they can already purchase the battery at $29.

Apple originally planned to start offering the battery replacements a month from now. The company confirmed the early availability last Saturday. However, the supplies of some replacement batteries may be limited. It was discovered last week that Apple was slowing down older iPhones on purpose. Apple admitted the problem but said it was to prevent sudden battery shut downs.

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