Market Outlook – June 15, 2018

Tech Stocks Rally at Wall Street


U.S. stocks posted gains and closed mostly higher on Thursday. The technology stocks rallied to lift the Nasdaq Composite Index by 65.34 points (+0.9%). The tech-heavy index set an intraday record, closing at 7,761.04 to add to its latest series of recent records.

The S&P 500 Index advanced 6.86 points (+0.3%) while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.89 points (-0.1%). The 1.8% drop of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) dragged the blue-chip index down.

Investors were supportive of the bond-buying program and interest-rate policy laid down by the European Central Bank (ECB). ECB’s program stated a status quo on interest rates and the tapering of its monthly bond purchases.

China Vows Quick Response to U.S. Tariffs


The U.S. is set to release on Friday the revised tariff list meant for China and approved by United States President Donald Trump.  The list amounts to $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, China vowed to strike back quickly if the U. S. hurts the country’s interests. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular daily news briefing, “If the United States takes unilateral, protectionist measures, harming China’s interests, we will quickly react and take necessary steps to resolutely protect our fair, legitimate rights.”

According to a White House official and an industry source, the revised list contains 800 product categories. One administration official also said that Trump has made up his mind to impose “pretty significant” tariffs on Chinese goods. Hence, the two countries seem headed for a trade war.

NAFTA Talks to Continue Amid Trade Tensions


U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland agreed on Thursday to continue negotiations toward a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The U.S. and Canada relationship is currently in tatters following the squabble of Trump and Trudeau after the G7 summit last week. On the side of Mexico, trade officials said the NAFTA talks may continue in July.

Qualcomm Gets Approval to Merge with NXP Semiconductors


Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) finally secures the required nine approvals from global regulators to merge with NXP Semiconductors (NXPI). According to the report published by the South China Morning Post on Thursday, Chinese regulators have approved the $44 billion merger deal.

The trade spat between the U.S. and China was the reason why QCOM’s takeover of NXPI took longer. After months of delay, the approval by China’s Ministry of Commerce effectively eliminates the anti-trust obstacle.

Ford Sales in China Drops Further


Ford Motor Co. (F) announced that its sales volume in the world’s biggest auto market fell 29% in May to 61,744 vehicles from a year earlier. The struggle of the U.S. automaker in China continues despite appointing a new sales head leader and readying new product launches.

On the overall, Ford sold a total of 338,386 vehicles for the first five months of 2018 which is 22% lower compared to the corresponding period a year ago. The reason for Ford’s slump is due partly on the lack of competitive fresh vehicles.

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