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Fly Intel - End of Day Brief - Monday Jan 6, 2020

Stocks end higher as U.S. army reportedly seeks withdrawal from Iraq

Wall Street's major averages appeared poised to start the week with an extension of Friday's slide that had been triggered by escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. However, stocks began to reverse after hitting some early session lows and the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all closed with gains amid reports that U.S. forces have told Iraq that they will defer to "the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq" and reposition forces over the next few days and weeks.

ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Markit's services PMI rose to 52.8 in the final December print, up 1.2 points from the 51.6 reading in November and above the 52.2 preliminary December figure.

Meanwhile, the AFP news agency reported that the U.S. army has told Iraq that it is preparing to "move out." Reuters later reported that a "U.S.-led coalition" told the Iraqi military that it will withdraw from the Middle Eastern country "out of respect for the nation's sovereignty."

TOP NEWS: Yum! Brands (YUM) announced an agreement to acquire The Habit Burger Grill (HABT) for $14 per share in cash, or a total of approximately $375M. Yum CEO David Gibbs, who will be adding the Habit brand to a stable that already includes Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, said, "We've emerged from our three-year transformation stronger and in a better position to accelerate the growth of our existing brands and leverage our scale to unlock value from strategic acquisitions."

In other M&A news, Xerox (XRX) confirmed in a press release that it has obtained $24B in binding financing commitments from Citi, Mizuho and Bank of America to complete its "value-creating" proposed combination with HP Inc. (HPQ).

Class A shares of Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) rose 2.7% on Monday after Pivotal Research analyst Michael Levine upgraded the stock to Buy on the belief shares will outperform the other large cap Internet names in 2020 as estimates move higher.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) was in focus after Law360 reported that a judge in California said that the company has reached a midtrial settlement of a talc case brought against the company.

MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was O-I Glass (OI), which rose 7.2% after the company announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Paddock Enterprises, has voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to "equitably and finally resolve" all of its current and future asbestos-related claims. Also higher was Callaway Golf (ELY), which gained 3.2% after Bloomberg said that a Topgolf IPO could come this year. An initial public offering of Topgolf could be positive for Callaway given its 14% stake in the driving range operator.

Among the notable losers was Pier 1 Imports (PIR), which dropped 16.9% after Bloomberg reported that the company is weighing bankruptcy. Also lower was Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), which fell x% after reporting quarterly results.

INDEXES: The Dow rose 68.50, or 0.24%, to 28,703.38, the Nasdaq gained 50.70, or 0.56%, to 9,071.46, and the S&P 500 advanced 11.43, or 0.35%, to 3,246.28.


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Disclosure: I may trade in the ticker symbols mentioned, both long or short. My articles represent my personal opinion and analysis and should not be taken as investment advice. Readers should do their own research before making decisions to buy or sell securities. Trading and investing include risks, including loss of principal.

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