Market Outlook – May 17, 2018

U.S. Benchmarks Closes in Positive Territory


After ending its 8-day winning streak a day before, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 62.52 points (+0.3%) on Wednesday. The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose as well, gaining 11.01 points (+0.4%) and 46.67 points (+0.6%) respectively.

However the U.S. stock futures are sliding early Thursday. The Dow Jones futures slipped 31 points while the S&P 500 futures fell 4.1 points. The Nasdaq-100 futures dropped 21.25 points.

Retailers JC Penney (JCP), Nordstrom (JWN), and Walmart Inc. (WMT) will be on the spotlight today to report their first-quarter earnings. Investors want to find out how the companies have performed in the wake of Inc.’s (AMZN) rampage in the retail sector.

Kroger Seals Deal with U.K. Online Supermarket


U.S. retailer Kroger Co. (KR) has agreed and sealed an exclusive deal with UK online supermarket Ocado. The British company will use Kroger’s automated warehouse technology in the United States.

As part of the deal, Kroger will be investing $247 million that will translate to a 5% stake in Ocado. The U.K. online supermarket considers Kroger the best positioned supermarket to succeed in the US online grocery market.

Ocado made similar deals in the past with supermarket chains in Canada, France, and Sweden. Shares in Ocado in the London exchange soared 44% and posted a record high after the announcement.

Intel’s Mobileye Clinches Self-Driving Car Deal


The Israel-based autonomous driving unit of Intel Corp. (INTC) has signed an 8 million car supply contract with an unnamed European automaker. A Mobileye official informed Reuters of the deal made.

The contract would be one of the largest deals thus far for Mobileye. Intel and Mobileye are currently competing  with a number of chip and machine vision system manufacturers including Nvidia Corp. (NVDA). The players are bidding to provide the brains and eyes of automated cars.

The deal for the advanced driver assisted systems will commence in 2021. Intel’s EyeQ5 chip, which is designed for fully autonomous driving, will be ready for launching by then.

Facebook, Uber, and Wells Fargo Launches Apology Ads


Three companies reeling from scandals are sending a message of apology. Aside from the apologies, the slick and ‘classic’ ads of Facebook Inc. (FB), Uber, and Wells Fargo (WFC) are conveying a message they are taking responsibilities.

Their respective campaigns were launched in the past few weeks in order to contain the damage they have caused the public. Facebook has been tainted by a vast data breach.  Uber customers are beset by complaints of rampant sexual harassment while customers and workers of Wells Fargo allege repeated mistreatment.

YouTube Sets Launching of New Music Streaming Service


YouTube Music is set to launch on May 22. Customers can expect extra features like personalized playlists based on individual’s YouTube history and other usage patterns. Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) Google’s YouTube said on Wednesday everything is set for the launching of the new music streaming service.

Google will also unveil very soon the YouTube Music Premium. It’s the revamped version of the YouTube Red subscription service but will charge higher ($11.99 monthly for new members) for its original shows. The ad-supported version of YouTube Music will be free of charge while YouTube Music Premium is a paid membership without advertisements.

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