Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Says The Phase One Trade Deal With China Will Be Signed In Early January

Plus, Trump was impeached by the House, existing home sales slumped in November, and Micron forecast for its financial recovery in 2020.

Stocks were on the rise to start Thursday with the Dow adding 59 points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also gained 0.2%, with the latter hitting a new record high. 

The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump late yesterday on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges. Trump is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached and will now face a trial in the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a press conference following the vote that she would wait to see how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would structure the trial’s rules before she sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate in what appears to be an attempt to pressure McConnell. “We can’t name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side and I would hope that would be soon. So far, we haven’t see anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi said. “This is what I don’t consider a fair trial. That leader McConnell has stated that he’s not an impartial juror, that he’s going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he’s working in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office.” McConnell said on the Senate floor today that House Democrats “may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate” and called the House inquiry the “most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said today that he is “very confident” that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators will sign the phase one trade deal in early January. “It’s just going through what I would consider to be a technical, legal scrub, and we’ll be releasing the document and signing it in the beginning of January,” Mnuchin told CNBC. Speaking on the USMCA trade agreement, Mnuchin added that the NAFTA replacement will give the U.S. economy a boost. “I think we are going to get an excess 50 basis points of additional growth in GDP as a result of this agreement,” he said. “People who say this is just the NAFTA 2.0 just don’t understand the technicalities of this agreement. …This is a whole new agreement that really brings the trading relationship into the modern era. This is our largest trading block – incredibly important to U.S. workers and U.S. farmers. This addresses everything from enabling small businesses to be able to compete more fairly, to expanding agricultural opportunities in opening markets to protecting digital trade.”

Home buying in the U.S. slumped in November as many buyers were priced out of the market as home prices rose. According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of existing homes slipped 1.7% last month to an adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million as the number of properties for sale fell to 1.64 million. The median home price rose by 5.4% year-over-year to $257,400.

Micron shares are up 3.61% as of this writing after the chip maker delivered better-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter. The memory chip manufacturer saw revenue of $5.14 billion—down 35% year-over-year, but ahead of guidance—in the quarter, beating consensus estimates for revenue of $5 billion. Micron said that it expects a recovery in 2020 after a “cyclical bottom” in the second quarter. “Recent trends in our business give us optimism that our fiscal second quarter will mark the bottom for our financial performance … with continued recovery in the second half of calendar 2020,” said CEO Sanjay Mehrotra. “Our significantly improved competitive position, dramatically stronger product portfolio, structurally higher profitability and investment-grade balance sheet position Micron very well to drive long-term shareholder value.”

IAC/InterActiveCorp announced today that it has agreed to spin off all of its shares of online dating company Match Group. Shares of both companies are up 7.4% and 7.55%, respectively. “We’ve long said IAC is the ‘anti-conglomerate’ – we’re not empire builders,” said Barry Diller, chairman and senior executive of IAC. “We’ve always separated out our businesses as they’ve grown in scale and maturity and soon Match Group, as the seventh spin-off, will join an impressive group of IAC progeny collectively worth $58 billion today.” The spinoff of Match has been approved by both boards, though approval is still needed by shareholders.

Stocks We’re Watching

Summit Materials Inc (NYSE: SUM): Summit Materials shares gained 5% yesterday following RBC Capital maintaining its Buy rating on the stock, along with a price target of $28 – 13% higher than the current price. Also yesterday, Citigroup initiated coverage of the stock with a Buy rating and a $30 price target. The construction company has returned 97% since the start of 2019.

DiaMedica Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: DMAC): Shares of this clinical-stage biotech jumped 20.5% yesterday after the company announced the first patient had been dosed in its REDUX Phase II study of its DM199 drug candidate for the treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). “We are thrilled to announce dosing of the first patient in our Phase II CKD study, a significant milestone in the development of DM199,” said DiaMedica Therapeutics Chief Medical Officer Dr. Harry Alcorn. “We believe that DM199 protein replacement therapy could have a meaningful impact on the lives of patients with chronic kidney disease.”

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