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  • Writer's picturePimm Fox

Friday, February 18, 2022. Featured News

Good morning today is Friday February 18, 2022, I’m Pimm Fox

Coming up Our top stories include:

Those stories and more but first let get caught up on markets,

Equity futures are higher with

S&P 500 futures up 0.5%

Nasdaq-100 futures are 0.7%

and Dow futures are up 0.4%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury is 1.96%.

Oil is $90 a barrel.

Bitcoin is $40,000, gold trades at $1892 an ounce.

The dollar is unchanged vs the euro, Japanese yen and British pound.

At midday the Europe Stoxx 600 is unchanged.

In Asia stocks were mixed. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.7%, the Nikkei 225 dropped 0.4% and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng dropped almost 2%.

Stocks making moves before the bell include

Shares of Deere are up 0.6% after the agricultural and construction equipment company reported fiscal first-quarter profit and sales that beat estimates.

Shake Shack is down 12% after the restaurant chain guided for weaker-than-expected revenue this quarter.

Roku shares slumped 25% after it said supply-chain disruptions continued to affect its growth and TV sales.

Coming up

DraftKings, bluebird bio, DISH Network PPL, Seaboard, CRISPR Therapeutics, Vonage Holdings, Manchester United, Navios Martitime and Safe Bulkers are scheduled to release results. We’ll get existing home sales for January, and e-commerce retail sales for the 4th quarter of 2021 along with the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index for January.

Now our top stories:

A mammoth cargo ship believed to be carrying thousands of vehicles including 1,100 Porsches was on fire and drifting off the coast of the Azores Thursday after its 22 crew members were

rescued from the vessel.

The Felicity Ace, a Panama-flagged cargo ship carrying thousands of Volkswagen Group vehicles departed from Emden, Germany, on Feb. 10 and was scheduled to arrive in Davisville, R.I., on Wednesday.

It is unknown how much of the 650-foot, cargo ship’s inventory was lost in the fire.

The Drive, an automotive website, reported that the Volkswagen Group estimated nearly 4,000 vehicles were on board, including 189 Bentleys. 

In other news:

Mortgage rates hit their highest level in almost three years. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan was 3.92% for the week ended Thursday, according to Freddie Mac. That’s the highest since May 2019.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said that the Fed should raise interest rates by 100 basis points by July 1, and start balance-sheet run-off in the second quarter.

Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said she will support an increase in the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate in March — as well as “further increases in the coming months.”

Intel forecast a 2022 outlook above Wall Street estimates Thursday, after the chip maker provided its promised outlook for the year at an investor meeting.

Walmart Inc. said Thursday that its advertising business, Walmart Connect, has soared 130% over the past year, reaching $2.1 billion.

Coca-Cola raised its dividend and said it planned to resume repurchases this year. 

Shares of cloud company Appian traded 11% higher in Thursday's after-hours market, following the release of fourth-quarter earnings that showed higher revenue in the quarter.

Shares of Dropbox gained 8% after the software company reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that exceeded Wall Street analysts' forecasts.

The company's board also authorized a repurchase of more than $1 billion of its stock. 

Shares of lithium company Livent Corp. were trading 11% higher in Thursday's after-hours market, following the release of fourth-quarter financial results that showed the company winging to a gain from the year-ago period.

American Homes 4 Rent on Thursday said its board approved an 80% increase to the quarterly dividend. The company rents single-family homes.

Solar developer Sunrun is growing fast, but supply-chain woes and Covid-related problems hurt its results in the fourth quarter, causing earnings to fall below analysts’ expectations. Its shares

(ticker: RUN) were down 2.6% in after-hours trading Thursday, Digital Realty Trust Inc. provided stronger-than-expected revenue guidance for the year as the company expects demand for data

centers to grow with the shift of work toward more digital environments.

the Russian military announced that President Vladimir Putin will monitor a sweeping exercise of the country’s nuclear forces Saturday that will involve multiple practice missile launches Joe Biden has warned that Russia is on the brink of invading Ukraine within “several days”, saying the US believes the Kremlin is engaged in “a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in”.

The US president’s comments yesterday came as Kyiv and Moscow blamed each other for clashes in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, incidents the west fears will be used as a pretext for a coordinated Russian military campaign. Russia reiterated its threat to take “measures of a military-technical nature” after it complained that the US had “twisted” draft proposals Moscow put forward to address its concerns over European security.

Speaking at the White House, Biden offered a bleak assessment, noting there was a “very high risk” of a Russian invasion. “Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack

Ukraine,” he said. “My sense is it will happen in the next several days.”

President Putin has made up his mind to invade Ukraine, senior government figures believe, with western leaders accusing Moscow of orchestrating “false flag” attacks in the east of the country.

In Washington President Biden warned that an invasion could take place within “several days”, describing the risk as “very high”. Boris Johnson said Moscow was behind shelling in Ukraine’s

disputed east, which led to a strike on a nursery. He described the situation as “very grim”.

Invesco will shut its Emerging European fund, which has substantial investments in Russian companies, next month after deeming it no longer commercially viable.

The Invesco fund has 66 per cent of its portfolio invested in the shares of companies listed on the Russian stock market. Three of its five biggest holdings — the oil groups Gazprom and Rosneft,

and the bank Sberbank — are majority-owned by the Russian state.

Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s most influential venture capital groups, plans to move deeper into cryptocurrency markets, earmarking at least $500mn for investments in digital assets.

The California-based firm announced yesterday that it had set aside $500mn-$600mn for a fund that would primarily invest in cryptocurrency tokens traded on third-party exchanges. The push is part of a business-wide rejig, with a dedicated fund allowing it to play a more active role in cryptocurrency networks, including validating transactions and voting on governance matters.

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, the automaker’s bold bet to lead its transformation into selling more electric vehicles, replaced the Tesla Model 3 as Consumer Reports’ “Top Pick” for an electric vehicle in 2022.  

Federal auto safety regulators are probing hundreds of complaints from Tesla drivers who say they have experienced a phenomenon dubbed “phantom braking.”

The people who have filed complaints say the brakes engage while using the “Autopilot” semi-autonomous driving system in their Teslas.

US private equity firm will put in NZ$200mn ($134mn) Silver Lake has agreed to invest in the organisation behind New Zealand’s All Blacks, as private equity firms continue to buy into sport amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the terms of the deal, Silver Lake will back a new commercial entity that will contain New Zealand Rugby’s revenue-generating assets, according to a statement.

Silver Lake is already a major investor in sport, having taken a minority stake in the group that owns Manchester City football club. It is also a backer of sports retailer Fanatics, and Endeavor,

which owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts series.

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector producer, reported its most profitable quarter on record. Arch Resources, the next biggest, posted its best results since large asset sales five years ago.

Australia’s largest coal-fired power station will close seven years earlier than planned, joining a list of plants forced offline in the country by the proliferation of cheap wind and solar energy.

The plant’s owner Origin Energy, a major utility and gas producer, said the 2.88 gigawatt Eraring power plant, located in the coal-rich Lake Macquarie region north of Sydney, was unable to compete with the “influx of renewables” and would close in 2025.

Sempra Energy's (NYSE:SRE) Southern California Gas utility unveiled a proposal to develop what it says would be the largest green hydrogen pipeline system in the U.S., aiming to deliver renewable energy to the Los Angeles area and help meet the state's goal to become carbon neutral by 2045.

SoCalGas said the Angeles Link project would support the integration of renewable electricity resources such as solar and wind and would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions

from electric generation, industrial processes, heavy-duty trucks, and other hard-to-electrify sectors of the Southern California economy.

Gold futures jumped on Thursday to settle above $1,900 an ounce for the first time since June of last year, as a flare-up in tensions between Russia and Ukraine renewed concerns about a

wider military conflict.

Hong Kong’s hospitals reached 90% capacity on Thursday and quarantine facilities were at their limit, authorities said, as the city struggles to snuff out a record number of new COVID-19 cases

by adhering to China’s “zero tolerance” strategy.

Philip Lane, chief economist of the European Central Bank, has shifted his position on eurozone inflation by saying it looks unlikely to drop below its 2 per cent target in the next two years.

A congressional committee has asked federal regulators to terminate the Trump Organization’s lease for its signature hotel in Washington, citing possible irregularities in the company’s

financial reports.

The request, if honoured, would also scupper the planned sale of the property for $375mn to a Miami investment group, a transaction that would bring an expected $100mn profit to the

former president’s company.

That transaction is currently in a 45-day review by the General Services Administration, the federal agency that leased the property, known as the Old Post Office Building, to the Trump

Organization in 2013 for redevelopment as a five-star hotel.

Allianz ALIZY -1.36% SE set aside more than $4 billion for legal expenses stemming from losses its investment funds racked up during the March 2020 market panic when their options trades

went bad.

Air Canada on Friday posted a loss that narrowed more than analysts expected in the fourth quarter, with revenue beating analyst forecasts as restrictions continue to ease and more

customers returned to travel.

Shares of DuPont de Nemours Inc. DD, -2.91% rallied 1.6% in premarket trading Friday, after the chemicals company announced an agreement to sell a majority of its Mobility &

Materials (M&M) business for $11 billion in cash to Celanese Corp Celanese (NYSE:CE) +2.3% post-market following a Bloomberg report that it is nearing a deal to

buy DuPont's (NYSE:DD) mobility and materials unit for more than $10B, with an agreement set to be announced as soon as Friday.

Pilgrim's Pride (NASDAQ:PPC) sunk 8.6% in after hours trading after JBS withdrew its offer to buy the remainder of the company it didn't already own.

Universal Music Group has struck a partnership with NFT platform Curio to develop non-fungible token (NFT) collections for its record labels and artists, the companies said on Thursday.

The deal is a major move into a potentially new revenue stream by the world’s largest music company, which, like its rivals, depends heavily on streaming music for its financial survival.

Universal Music said it plans to work with Curio to develop digital artwork and other collectibles for the company and its artists.

Curio also will serve as an online outlet where fans can buy officially licensed NFTs, starting in March with collaboration from Capitol Music Group and the British singer-songwriter Calum


Meta Platforms' (NASDAQ:FB) worst month ever continues: The stock tacked on another 4.1% loss Thursday, another $24 billion in market capitalization out the window as the stock dropped out of the top 10 most valuable companies.

Bitcoin is now legal in Ukraine as its parliament approved in final reading a bill that caters to the president’s recommendations.

However, the country has not made bitcoin a legal tender. The bill details requirements that Bitcoin service providers such as exchanges should abide by and determines fines for violations of

the law’s provisions, in addition to determining that the country’s National Securities Commission regulate the cryptocurrency market.

Redfin Corp. shares plunged nearly 17% in after-hours trading Thursday, after executives predicted losses in the first quarter of 2022 would exceed full-year losses in 2021 as the company

maintains an iBuying business that a rival dropped.

Shares of Quidel (NASDAQ:QDEL) jumped 5% in after-hours trading after reporting Q4 2021 results that beat on both the top and bottom lines.

LPL Financial (NASDAQ:LPLAreported total net new assets of $6.1B for January 2022 which translated to a 6% annualized growth rate.

AptarGroup Non-GAAP EPS of $0.93 beats by $0.02, revenue of $814M beats by $29.32M

San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (NYSE:SJT) declares $0.0857/share monthly dividend, -

17.1% decrease from prior dividend of $0.1034.

Robert D. Lindner Sr., who went to work every day into his 90s and helped build United Dairy Farmers into a business that combined a regional chain of convenience stores and dairy

product manufacturing, died on Wednesday. He was 101. The money from milk, cream and ice cream sales at UDF became the basis for the rest of the Lindner family's business ventures,

including American Financial Group – now ranked 376th on the Fortune 500 list of American businesses. 

Famed ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and his wife, Nancy Shevell, have sold their penthouse on New York’s Fifth Avenue for about $8.5 million, roughly 45% less than what they paid for it in 2015,

according to a person familiar with the situation.

At 7AM

Coming up

Deere, which recently saw its shares hit a record high, holds a conference call to discuss first-quarter fiscal-2022 results.

The Conference Board releases its Leading Economic Index for January.

Thanks for listening, have a successful day and a great weekend.

U.S. markets are closed on Monday

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