Plus, China said the U.S. has “sinister intentions” after the signing of the bill supporting Hong Kong protesters, oil prices are down, and Warren Buffett just lost his bid for Tech Data.
Stocks were lower to start Friday’s short session with the Dow slipping 75 points, or 0.3%. The S&P 500 dropped 0.2%, while the Nasdaq lost 0.3%.
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Stocks took a hit after President Donald Trump signed the legislation supporting protesters in Hong Kong, a move which China’s foreign ministry said shows the U.S. has “sinister intentions.” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad the move constituted “serious interference in China’s internal affairs and a serious violation of international law.” While Trump said in a statement, “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.” AmeriVet Securities’ Gregory Faranello wrote in a note that “China has been vocal about their discontent for signing of the Bill. All eyes now continue to focus on progress on trade (Phase 1) and potential retaliation from China on the President’s actions.”
Oil prices slipped lower today, cutting into a winning November for crude. West Texas Intermediate futures dropped more than 3% to below $57 a barrel, while Brent futures dipped 1.8% to just above $62. “We don’t get any strong bullish impulses for the OPEC meeting. They will continue the cuts and focus on compliance,” said SEB chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop. “We don’t see that they really need to cut more,” citing the forecast oversupply being counteracted by lower demand. OPEC has already agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day through March as U.S. output continues to climb to record levels. “It is highly probably that the group will rollover the deal in its current form until at least the end of 2020, but we see limited scope for a new round of cuts,” said Fitch Solutions.
Tech Data shares are up more than 12% this morning following reports that the company has agreed to be bought by private-equity firm Apollo Global Management for $145, valuing the tech company at $5.14 billion, after an unnamed suitor topped Apollo’s original offer of $130 per share with a bid of $140. That unnamed suitor turned out to be none other than Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which has been sitting on a cash hoard topping $128 billion. Buffett has said he won’t make a higher offer for Tech Data, though it’s now clear that he is trying to put his record cash pile to use. “He’s just not going to throw the money out and earn a rate of return below what his minimum target is,” said David Kass, a professor of finance at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “He is Buffett because he’s patient.”
Black Friday may have just started, but according to Citigroup analyst Paul Lejuez, the day has already been won by three stocks. “Let’s be honest. We can easily write [the holiday review] now – actually we wrote most of this a year ago,” Lejuez wrote in a research report. “Here’s what we would have written in a Monday review note after Thanksgiving weekend if we didn’t write it today.” The analyst is bullish on Target, Five Below, and T.J. Maxx parent TJX Companies for this holiday season.
Stocks We’re Watching
Manchester United Ltd (NYSE: MANU): Manchester United shares are up nearly 15% this week after U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake purchased a stake in the soccer club’s biggest local rival, Manchester City. Silver Lake’s 10% stake in Manchester City, last season’s English champion, values the club at around $4.8 billion, and applying the same model to neighbor Manchester United implies with 13-time Premier League winner is worth about $5.3 billion. “Any bid by a company wanting immediate exposure in Asia should generate a significant premium if [Manchester United] controlling Glazer family ever decided to sell,” said Gabelli & Co’s John Tinker, referring to the Glazer family who own about 75% of Manchester United. Tinker also added that the endorsement of Manchester City by Silver Lake is particularly encouraging as the firm is not seen as “trophy hunters,” but as rational investors. “The Manchester City investment is an endorsement from one of the smartest investors in America,” Tinker said. “But Manchester United has more pedigree, a longer history, a larger fan-base and is the best known team in Asia.”