Plus, “good things are happening” in the trade meetings between the U.S. and China, the Fed will continue its overnight funding operations through January 2020, and GM just improved their offer to end the UAW strike.
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Stocks were higher this morning on hopes of a partial deal between the U.S. and China, with the Dow surging 450, or 1.7%. The S&P 500 was also up 1.7%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.9%.
President Trump told reporters last night that trade talks between the two countries were going “really well.” Trump also confirmed in a tweet this morning that he will be meeting with Chinese Vice Premiere Liu He today. This week’s talks are the first senior-level in-person negotiations since talks fell apart this past summer, and come just days before the U.S. is set to hike tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods from 25% to 30%. Trump tweeted this morning that “good things are happening” in the meetings and if the two countries are able to reach agreement on a partial deal, he could sign it immediately without the lengthy congressional approval process. A partial deal could include greater agricultural buying, the delay of further tariffs, and the ratification of an earlier-agreed-upon currency pact, leaving more difficult issues for later negotiations.
Iran said missiles attacked one of its oil tankers in the Red Sea over night, marking the latest in a series of attacks on oil infrastructure in the region recently. A spokesman from the National Iranian Tanker Company initially said that the attack originated from Saudi Arabia, but later withdrew their claim. Growing tensions in the world’s most important oil producing region have been met with growing calls for restraint from the biggest economies in the world. While Brent Crude futures spiked above $60 per barrel on news of the attack, the news didn’t have a wider impact on the stock market. And RBC Capital Markets’ chief commodities strategist Helima Croft commented that “the market has been entirely too complacent given that we are one security incident away from a war.”
The Federal Reserve announced this morning it will continue its overnight funding operations through at least January 2020, and will buy $60 billion of Treasury bills per month through the second quarter of next year. This move follows last month’s disruption in U.S. money markets that caused a spike in overnight repurchase rate and forced the Fed to inject cash into the money markets to stabilize rates. The central bank said in a statement this morning that “these actions are purely technical measures to support the effective implementation” of interest rate policy and don’t “represent a change” in its monetary stance. “In particular, purchases of Treasury bills likely will have little if any impact on the level of longer term interest rates and broader financial conditions.”
GM sweetened its latest offer to theUnited Auto Workers union. The automaker is willing to up the amount of money it’s committed to investing in U.S. factories to $7.7 billion in an attempt to end the union’s 26-day strike. GM said the offer is good for both sides and is “fair and worthy” of the union’s support. Gerald Johnson, GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing, said in a company-wide message this morning that its latest proposal addresses the union’s top concerns, including preserving health costs and a “clear path” for temporary workers to get to permanent employment. “Our offer builds on the winning formula we have all benefited from over the past several years,” Johnson wrote. “We remain focused on building a stronger future for everyone.”
Wendy’s shares are up 3.5% this morning after the fast food chain shared more details about its plan to launch breakfast nationwide and teased its yet-to-be-released Q3 earnings. Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor said North American same-store sales grew by 4.4% in the quarter, which it is scheduled to report on November 6. And PG&E shares are up more than 5% this morning after the California utility began restoring power to 738,000 customers impacted by its blackout this week. However, Citigroup analyst Praful Mehta said the bankruptcy exit plan proposed by a PG&E bondholder group led by Elliott Management has a better chance to be selected than the company’s own plan, and said that if the bondholders do win, things don’t look good for shareholders. “As long as the bondholder plan wins, we see very few scenarios where the existing shareholders will be left with any value,” Mehta wrote.
Stocks We’re Watching
MasTec Inc (NYSE: MTZ): Shares of MasTec are up nearly 60% so far this year and nearly 3% over the last week. This company is a master at constructing large-scale infrastructure for its telecom customers and it presents investors with an interesting investment opportunity to take advantage of the move to 5G as “large scale 5G deployments are expected over the next several years, which will include additional and improved tower capacity, as well as deployment of numerous higher bandwidth small/micro cells and distributed antenna systems to densify network performance,” the firm said in its latest 10-K filing with the SEC.
Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU): Shares of this popular athlesiure store are up 63% so far this year and more than 4% over the last week. Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy recently initiated coverage on LULU shares with an Overweight rating and a $227 price target – nearly 13% than the current price. “While shares are close to their 52-week high and investors expect ongoing double-digit growth in women’s and steady mix shift to higher-margin digital, we believe men’s, better-than-expected performance in China, improving profitability in Europe, success in recently launched self-care, and loyalty program adoption could be upside catalysts.”