Plus, earnings continue to roll in, Trump’s envoy to Ukraine just delivered a bombshell testimony, and why one penny stock has surged more than 800% so far this week.
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Stocks hovered right around the flatline this morning with the Dow adding just 32 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 slipped just below the flatline, while the Nasdaq dropped -0.1% in early trading.
It was another big morning for earnings with Caterpillar and Boeing both reporting early Wednesday. Caterpillar reported Q3 earnings of $2.66 per share, below consensus estimates of $2.88 per share. Revenue came in at $12.758 billion, falling short of analyst expectations of $13.572 billion. Caterpillar also lowered its full-year earnings per share guidance to a range of between $10.59 and $11.09. “Our volumes declined as dealers reduced their inventories, and end-user demand, while positive, was lower than our expectations,” said CEO Jim Umpleby. “In the fourth quarter, we now expect end-user demand to be flat and dealers to make further inventory reductions due to global economic uncertainty. Caterpillar’s improved lead times, along with these dealer inventory reductions, will enable us to respond quickly to positive or negative developments in the global economy in 2020.” Shares of the heavy machinery manufacturer are currently down -0.55%.
Boeing shares are up 2% even after the aerospace giant reported a more than -50% slide in Q3 profit, and a -20% decline in revenue as the company continues to struggle from two fatal crashes of its 737 Max plane. Boeing struck an optimistic tone when it comes to the beleaguered plane, saying that it expects “regulatory approval of the 737 MAX return to service begins in the fourth quarter of 2019,” and also said that it anticipates gradually increasing the production of the 737 Max to 57 per month by the end of next year. “No incremental negative news on MAX will be a relief for most,” said Credit Suisse analyst Robert Spingarn. Coming up later today, we’ll see reports from Microsoft, Ford, and Tesla after the bell.
President Trump’s envoy to Ukraine testified late yesterday that he was told a military aid package to Ukraine had been withheld by Trump pending an agreement to launch investigations into the president’s political rivals. William Taylor, a career bureaucrat who took charge of the U.S. embassy in Ukraine in June, gave House investigators a meticulously detailed 15-page statement that chronicles an “irregular policy channel” with Kyiv, in which Trump associates circumvented traditional diplomatic routes to pressure Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Trump rival Joe Biden as well as Biden’s son, Hunter. Taylor’s first-hand chronology offers a clear account of a president who used congressionally allocated foreign aid and an Oval Office visit as leverage to extract political favors, bolstering the Democrat-led House impeachment investigation.
The next twist in the Brexit plot could be an early election after U.K. lawmakers voted in favor of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal, but rejected his attempt to fast-track legislation to take the country out of the EU by October 31. The EU is expected to extend the Brexit deadline for another three months, and Johnson says he wants an election to return his Conservative party to a majority so he can pass his deal into law sooner rather than later. However, an early election also needs backing from opposition parties, and parliament may still agree on an alternative timeline for passing the bill, according to one minister.
SoftBank officially disclosed a new financing package that will see it own 80% of WeWork after a $9.5 billion bailout, including a $3 billion tender offer at $19.19 per share, valuing the company at less than $8 billion. Most staff will get less than the paper value of their shares, while deposed CEO Adam Naumann will walk away with $1.2 billion. “The funding provides WeWork with significant liquidity to execute its business plan to accelerate the company’s path to profitability and positive free cash flow,” the companies said in a statement. Sources told CNBC that without the SoftBank bailout, WeWork would have been out of money by the end of next week.
Stocks We’re Watching
Nano Dimension ADR (NASDAQ: NNDM): Nano Dimension shares are up more than 840% so far this week after the company said that it had reached a major sales milestone, selling more than 50 DragonFly systems worldwide since the launch of its commercial sales in Q4 2017. “We are excited to announce the sale of our 50th DragonFly system for additive manufacturing of electronics. Nano Dimension started with a breakthrough idea to change the way the electronics are made and to offer new solutions to develop innovative smart products,” said Nano Dimension CEO Amit Dror in a press release. “I’m proud that our dream has become a reality, as our global customers from various industries validate our unique technology by adopting our solutions and using them to develop and manufacture never-seen-before applications. We celebrate this important milestone as we continue to focus on increasing our global reach and our customer base.” All told, Nano has sold 51 DragonFly systems to leading companies around the world in sectors including defense, tech, electronics, and research.
Under Armour (NYSE: UAA): Shares of Under Armour jumped on Tuesday after the performance apparel and footwear company announced founder Kevin Plank, who has served as CEO since 1996, will step down on January 1 and be replaced by current COO and president Patrik Frisk. As part of the leadership transition, Plank will become executive chairman and brand chief. Baird analyst Jonathan Komp called the CEO transition “an important evolution” for Under Armour, giving Frisk “full day-to-day reign” and allowing Plank “greater strategic freedom.” “We expect the move to elevate Frisk to the CEO role to be viewed favorably internally as well as externally with investors, given his proven track record spanning nearly 30 years across footwear / apparel brands plus vital role in the brand’s ongoing transformation over the past ~2 years,” Komp wrote in a note to clients.