Market Outlook – July 23, 2018

Trump to Meet with European Commission President

 

With the U.S. figuring in trade battles on many fronts, President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday this week. The White House said the meeting will focus on improving transatlantic trade and forge a stronger economic partnership.

However, Washington is not showing any signs of backing off from a trade war. The U.S. is preparing to implement another round of tariffs on Chinese goods that is worth $200 billion.

On Monday, European stocks slid due to the new threats from Trump. Also, global markets were affected by news that the Bank of Japan could scale back its monetary stimulus faster than expected.  As a result, the report added to investors’ anxieties over rising protectionism and tense geopolitics.

China Will Not Devalue Currency

 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry disclosed on Monday that the country has no intentions of devaluing the yuan to stimulate exports. China said their currency is driven by market forces. The government will not resort to measures like the competitive devaluation of its currency.

Washington said last week that it was monitoring the currency’s weakness amid the escalating bilateral trade row. But China is confident the threats and intimidation on trade would never work on China. U.S. Trump said he was ready to go $500 billion.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last Friday the department will review yuan’s weakness and form part of its semi-annual report on currency manipulation.

Alphabet Inc. Takes Center Stage

 

Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), the parent of search engine Google, will take center stage after the close of trading on Monday. The web giant’s report and earnings call will commence at 4:30 P.M. Eastern Time.

The company quietly posted strong returns in 2018. GOOGL rose by about 14.5% to easily beat the 5% rise of the S&P 500 Index. Already, analysts are predicting the stock to increase by as much as 9% over the next four weeks.

Revenue is forecast to grow by over 23% to $32.11 billion. Simultaneously, acceleration in earnings growth is seen by the second half of the year. The rise would be about 39% for the full year.

Hasbro Moves Beyond Closure of Toys “R” Us

 

The shares of Barbie-maker Hasbro Inc. (HAS) surged Monday after reporting their second quarter sales that topped expectations. The domestic market continues to suffer from the demise and eventual bankruptcy of industry giant Toys R Us.

Hasbro sales for the three months ending in June fell 7% from the same period last year to $904.5 billion. The figures came as a surprise because the forecast is $833 million.  CEO Brian Goldner said, “2018 is unfolding as expected as our teams manage the liquidation of Toys R Us in many markets and address the rapidly evolving European retail landscape.”

Goldner continued, “We are investing in our business – in innovation, entertainment and a modern global commercial organization, to drive profitable growth in 2019 and beyond.

Fox Shareholders To Decide on Disney Offer

 

The acquisition of 21st Century Fox (FOXA) by Walt Disney Co. (DIS) might become official this week. The shareholders of Fox will meet on Friday and the approval of the deal is in the offing. Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) made a bid for the same Fox assets but withdrew last week.

The price of FOX A is trending upward since the bidding war. The stock is now up +33.22% year-to-date. Disney’s content portfolio will become even more formidable if the deal pushes through. The Fox assets will combine with Marvel, Pixar and LucasFilm.

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