Market Outlook – May 8, 2018

Tech Stocks’ Rally Push Markets Higher


Wall Street had a good start on Monday as the main U.S. indexes finished higher, driven by a rally in tech stocks and jump in oil prices. However, stocks retreated later in the trading session following the tweet of United States President Donald Trump tweeted that his decision on the Iran nuclear is forthcoming.

Apple led the rally and continued its six-day long winning streak. All the three indexes ended the day higher. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.4% while the Nasdaq Composite Index increased by 0.8%. On the tech-heavy index, the ratio of advancers to decliners was1.62-to-1.

Facebook Institutes Biggest Executive Shakeup


For the first time in its 15-year history, Facebook Inc. (FB) instituted its biggest executive shakeup. New heads will take over  Messenger, WhatsApp, and FB’s core app. The longtime Facebook executives who were former heads will take on new responsibilities that would include duties to tackle blockchain technology.

The reorganization implemented by CEO Mark Zuckerberg produced three main divisions under product and engineering organizations. Chief Product Officer Chris Cox will head one of the divisions. He will oversee the new ‘Family of apps’ division composed of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Disney Reports Stronger-than-Expected Earnings


After Tuesday’s session, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) ‘wowed’ investors with an impressive earnings report. The stronger-than-expected profit and sales numbers pointed to the huge success of Marvel’s “Black Panther.”

The blockbuster film opened about halfway through the quarter and added hundreds of millions to Disney’s movie revenue and profit.

The first superhero movie with an African-American lead has become one of the top 10 box-office successes of all time, and is No. 3 locally, behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avatar.” The company reported fiscal second-quarter net income of $2.94 billion on sales of $14.55 billion.

Disney is reaping the harvest from its acquisitions of Marvel, “Star Wars” studio Lucasfilm, and Pixar. The success of their movies is helping to push expectations for its studio business higher.

U.S. Partners in 1st Drone Testing Program Known by Mid-Week


The U.S. Transportation Department is set to announce on Wednesday the companies that have been selected to participate in the government’s drone testing program.

The pilot program will allow a much larger range of tests than are generally permitted by federal aviation regulators. Some of these are flying drones at night, over people and beyond an operator’s line of sight.

Among the candidates vying to be part of this initiative  are the major technology and aerospace companies such as Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Intel Corp. (INTC), Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), and Airbus SE.

FedEx Retirees to Receive Pension Benefits


About 41,000 FedEx Corp. (FDX) retirees and beneficiaries will be receiving pension benefits through annuities. U.S. insurer MetLife Inc. (MET) and FedEx announced on Tuesday they have entered into an agreement to make it possible.

The deal, which includes about $6 billion in pension obligations, is expected to be sealed on May 10. Wells Fargo Securities LLC analyst Sean Dargan, in a research note on Tuesday read, “The deal is the first “jumbo-sized” U.S. transfer of pension obligations to an insurer, measured by premium, since 2013.”

Historically, the U.S. insurer competed for pension transfer deals with less than $1 million. This is MetLife’s entry into jumbo-sized pension transfers.

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