Market Outlook – May 18, 2018

U.S. Benchmarks Back in the Red


On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Index lost 54.95 points (-0.2%) to end at 24,713.98. The broader S&P 500 index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index shed -0.1% and -0.2% respectively.

Although the U.S. stock futures were pointing to a modestly higher opening for Wall Street on Friday, all three major benchmarks are poised to drop this week. Dow Jones appears heading to -0.5% drop for the week while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are both looking at -0.3% losses.

China Denies Making Offer to Boost to U.S. Imports


News circulated that China has proposed to boost its importation of American goods by $200 billion. The proposal which U.S. officials announced on Thursday aims to reduce the massive trade imbalance between the two countries.

However, Beijing denied they made such offer. Lu Kang, the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “These rumors are not true.” A top level Chinese delegation is in Washington for the continuation of trade talks this week. United States President Donald Trump also met with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He at Oval office on Thursday.

Walmart Posts 33% Growth in Online Sales


The quarterly earnings report presented by Walmart Inc. (WMT) on Thursday showed that the online sales of the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer are growing.  It also indicated that Americans still prefer to shop in  stores.

CEO Doug McMillon is currently preparing Walmart for the digital era. The online sales grew by 33% during the previous quarter. The giant retailer expects online sales to increase further to 40% for the full year.

Laura Kennedy, vice president of retail insights at Kantar Consulting, disclosed that the e-commerce business of Walmart is just 4% of total sales in the U.S. She said, “The real issue with Walmart is that most of what they sell is food and people don’t buy food online.” Walmart is a well-known brand for its value but is embarking on an ambitious long-term plan to shift perceptions of its brand.

Paypal Acquires Swedish Startup for $2.2 Billion


PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL) announced on Thursday that the worldwide online payment operator is set to make its biggest acquisition ever. Paypal is acquiring iZettle for $2.2 billion to give the company a bigger footprint in physical stores.

iZettle is a Swedish startup that provides small businesses with card readers that can be connected to smart phones and tablets. They also offer platforms for sales and inventory tracking.

Cambridge Analytica Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in NY


Cambridge Analytica LLC filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a New York court late Thursday. The political data firm that became the center of controversy involving the privacy data breach on Facebook Inc.’s (FB) users listed assets amounting to $100,001 to $500,000 and liabilities ranging from $1 million to $10 million.

Both Cambridge Analytica and its British parent SCL Elections Ltd announced in early May that they would shut down operations immediately to begin bankruptcy proceedings following a sharp decline in business.

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