Market Outlook – May 29, 2018

Oil’s Price per Barrel Continues to Slide


On Tuesday, U.S. crude futures dropped 2% in the latest round of losses. Oil was trading at $66.50 per barrel. The plunge in prices was triggered by Saudi Arabia’s pronouncement that OPEC and Russia could begin to pump more oil to compensate for lost supplies from Iran and Venezuela.

Likewise, the price of the international benchmark for oil, Brent crude, went down to $75.30 following several days of losses. OPEC producers and Russia are set to meet in Vienna on June 22. Top of the agenda is the easing up of the self-imposed supply caps which have been in effect since 2017.

India Trader Group Files Objection to Walmart-Flipkart Deal


The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a trader body in India, filed an objection to Walmart Inc.’s (WMT) $16 billion acquisition of e-commerce firm Flipkart. According to sources, the complaint was filed on Monday with the country’s antitrust regulator. is unlikely to threaten the deal.

The complaint alleges that the U.S. retail giant’s proposed buyout of 77% stake in Flipkart, would create unfair competition and result in predatory pricing. However, some sources said the filing with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is not likely to threaten the deal or pose a challenge to the acquisition.

A lawyer said, “It’s very unlikely the CCI will look into this complaint as both Flipkart and Walmart are not competing in India in relation to any products or services.”  Walmart is aiming to compete with arch rival Inc. (AMZN) in India’s major growth market. Indian trade and nationalist groups contend that small and medium-sized traders will suffer.

Starbucks to Close 8,000 U.S. Stores for Anti-Bias Training


Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), as promised, will close 8,000 company-owned U.S. stores around 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday for its anti-bias training program. Some 6,000 licensed Starbucks cafes will remain open in locations such as grocery stores and airports. Employees in these locations will undergo training at a later date.

Black leaders are hoping the training will reinvigorate decades-old efforts to ensure minorities get equal treatment in restaurants and stores. It will also set an example for other corporations.

Starbucks committed to conducting the training of 175,000 employees after the recent incident at their Philadelphia branch. Two black men were arrested by police while waiting for a friend inside the store. The purpose of the anti-bias is for the participants to recognize their own unconscious biases and avoid unintentional discrimination.

Top Canadian Banks Hit by Cyber Crooks


There’s likelihood that cyber crooks stole data of about 90,000 customers from the fourth and fifth biggest lenders in Canada. On Monday, Bank of Montreal said cyber attackers contacted them on Sunday. They claimed to have possession of personal and financial information of 50,000 of the bank’s clients.

Meanwhile, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce also revealed that a group of fraudsters contacted them too on the same day. The caller said they had electronically stolen 40,000 personal and account information from its direct banking customers.

The fraudsters had threatened to make the data public, the spokesman said, adding that the bank was working with the authorities and conducting a thorough investigation. If proven, the incident would be the first significant assault on Canada’s financial institutions.

MedMen Aims to Become Most Valuable Public Weed Company


There’s a groundswell of U.S. pot companies eyeing to list in the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE), a second-tier stock market in Toronto. Many cannabis retailers and dispensaries want to enter the mainstream but not through the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Medmen will begin trading in CSE in the coming days. The firm from Culver City has an ambitious plan of becoming the nation’s most valuable public cannabis company worth U.S. $1 billion.

Although MedMen has yet to post a profit, they are acquiring and taking over an existing public shell. They opted not to take the traditional initial public offering route. Major U.S. stock exchanges prohibit the listing of cannabis firms that operate in the U.S. The CSE was willing to list such firms because Canada’s securities regulators pose no objections.

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