Monday January 1, 2018 – Friday January 5, 2018
On Monday, markets were closed for the New Year.
On Tuesday, the PMI manufacturing index for December was up 1.2 points to 55.1. Markets rallied and the Nasdaq composite closed above 7,000 for the first time, and the S&P 500 also closed at a record high. The dollar fell and gold rose to $1,317 an ounce, its highest level in more than 3 months.
On Wednesday, motor vehicle sales for December rose 400,000 to an annualized 17.9 million units, and the ISM manufacturing index for December rose 1.5 points to 59.7. Construction spending for November rose .8% on top of the prior month’s 1.4% gain. The Federal Reserve released minutes from its last meeting and it showed members voted to increase interest rates partially on expectations of increased growth in the economy due to recently enacted tax cuts by Congress. The Dow Industrials, S&P 500, and Nasdaq composite all closed at record highs.
On Thursday, the ADP employment report for December saw a gain of 250,000 for private payrolls and the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending December 29th saw crude oil inventory decline 7.4 million barrels. Jobless claims for the week ending December 30th rose 3,000 to 250,000. Markets rallied on the unexpected strength of the ADP employment report and the Dow Industrials closed above 25,000 for the first time, and only 35 days after breaking 24,000. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite also closed at record highs.
On Friday, nonfarm payrolls for December came in at a disappointing 148,000, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1%. Average hourly earnings rose .3%. Markets, however, shrugged off the news and opened modestly higher. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
BlackBerry Limited (NYSE: BB) and Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) announced Wednesday morning that the two companies will collaborate to push for the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicle technology for automotive OEMs. Both companies signed a statement of intent to make Blackberry’s operating system the foundation for Baidu’s Apollo autonomous driving open platform. Shares of BlackBerry reached a 52-week high of $13.97 on Thursday morning.
Dominion Energy, Inc. (NYSE: D) and SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG) announced on Wednesday morning, an agreement for the companies to combine a stock-for-stock merger. SCANA shareholders will receive 0.669 shares of Dominion Energy common stock for each share of SCANA common. SCANA Corporation reached as high as $49.77 per share on early trading Wednesday.
An investor group led by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC (NYSE: APO) and Värde Partners, Inc. has agreed to acquire from Fortress Investment Group LLC all of Fortress’s equity interest in OneMain Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: OMF). Upon completion of the transaction, Apollo and Värde will own approximately 40.5% of OneMain. After the announcement, OneMain reached a new 52 week high of $34.71 per share on Thursday.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) announced its financial results on Thursday for its fiscal first quarter of 2018. Net sales increased 7.9% to $30.7 billion, which beat analysts’ estimates of $30.4 billion. However, net income for the first quarter dropped 22.1% to $821 million, or $0.81 per share, compared to $1 billion, or $0.97 per share, for the same period last year. Shares of the company dropped over 5% after the announcement.