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Fly Intel - End of Day Brief - Friday March 15, 2019

Stocks end higher, capping a strong week with fresh gains

The S&P capped its best week since November with another advance as a recent recovery in big tech names has fueled a week-long rally for stocks. While Facebook (FB) had a down day following some executive departures and backlash regarding the use of its service to livestream a terror attack, Apple (AAPL) had another winning session despite losing a court case in its ongoing fight with Qualcomm (QCOM).

ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Empire State manufacturing index fell 5.1 points to 3.7 in March, missing expectations. Industrial production edged up 0.1% in February, which was softer than expected, and capacity utilization dipped to 78.2% from 78.3%. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose 4.0 points to 97.8 in the preliminary reading for March, which was better than expected. The JOLTS report showed that job openings rose 102,000 to 7.58M in January, hitting another record high. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is down one rig from last week to 1,026 rigs.

In China, the government said it would cut value-added taxes, reinforcing expectations for an eventual pick-up in the economy.

TOP NEWS: A jury in a San Diego court determined that Apple violated all three Qualcomm patents being argued over in the case and ordered that the iPhone maker pay $31.6M in damages, according to multiple media reports. Following the news, Apple told Bloomberg that it was "disappointed" with the outcome of the patent trial, adding that Qualcomm's intellectual property claims are "an attempt at distraction." Later on, Qualcomm confirmed the ruling in a statement, calling that verdict "the latest victory" in its worldwide patent litigation directed at "holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them." Shares of Apple and Qualcomm closed 1.3% and 2.2% higher, respectively.

Facebook shares fell 2.5% following the announcement of the departure of two Facebook executives, Chris Cox and Chris Daniels, as well as the livestreaming of a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand on its service. In a note from founder Mark Zuckerberg after the market close yesterday, he said that chief product officer Chris Cox has opted to leave the company. Zuckerberg also announced that VP of WhatsApp Chris Daniels has also decided to leave.

In earnings news, Oracle (ORCL) shares were in focus after the software giant reported better than expected results for its fiscal third quarter. The company also provided upbeat earnings guidance for the fourth quarter and raised its quarterly dividend 26%. Following the report, however, BMO Capital analyst Keith Bachman downgraded the stock to Market Perform from Outperform, saying he believes the company can sustain about 2% constant currency revenue growth, but is "dubious" the company can improve its revenue growth rates.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Ford (F) is looking to cut 5,000 jobs in Germany as it seeks to return to profit in Europe.

MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers Boeing (BA), which rose 1.5% after AFP reported that a source said Boeing will be rolling out a software upgrade for its 737 MAX to prevent stalling in 10 days. However, Boeing stated, according to Reuters, that its software upgrade for the 737 MAX will be rolled out "in the coming weeks" and that this "timeline has not changed." Also higher were Broadcom (AVGO) and Ulta Beauty (ULTA), which gained a respective 8.2% and 8.3% after reporting quarterly results.

Among the notable losers was Tesla (TSLA), which slid 5% after after the car maker last night unveiled its Model Y, a mid-size SUV that will start at $39,000 and is expected to have a Spring 2021 delivery target. Also lower was Adobe (ADBE), which fell 4% after reporting quarterly results.

INDEXES: The Dow rose 138.93, or 0.54%, to 25,848.87, the Nasdaq gained 57.62, or 0.76%, to 7,688.53, and the S&P 500 advanced 14, or 0.50%, to 2,822.48.


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