Financial and Economic Brief - December 5, 2017

by © Liberty Publishing, Inc.

Mixed Numbers for Automakers

Major automakers posted mixed U.S. November new vehicle sales on Friday and predicted a competitive December as they rushed to sell vehicles and lift their 2017 numbers. The November sales results come as the National Automobile Dealers Association said it expects new vehicle sales to fall to 16.7 million units in 2018, after dropping to 17.1 million for the full year in 2017. Brandon Mason, a director at PwC's automotive practice, said a worrying trend for the industry was a rising number of deep subprime loans.
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CVS to Buy Aetna

CVS Health is buying Aetna for $69 billion in cash and stock in a deal that “reflects a rapidly shifting health care landscape”. Aetna stockholders are to receive around $207 a share and will own about 22% of the combined company. The deal could result in lower costs to both CVS and Aetna. Joseph Agnese, a senior analyst with investment research firm CFRA, has said that Aetna participants are likely to benefit the most because CVS may be able to offer them lower co-pays if they shop with them. “This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer health care experience,” said CVS CEO Larry Merlo.
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Upcoming Fed Rate Hikes

According to a Reuters poll of economists, the U.S. Federal Reserve is “almost certain” to raise interest rates later in December, a majority of whom also now expect three more rate rises in 2018. These new expectations come despite a split among policymakers on the outlook for inflation, which has remained persistently low. While the U.S. economy expanded in the third quarter at a 3.3% annualized rate, the poll suggested that may be the best growth rate until the second half of 2019. “This is about just getting back to a neutral level where monetary policy is neither encouraging growth or pushing against growth,” said Brett Ryan, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank.
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News

Financial and Economic Brief - January 16, 2018

• Strong Holiday Sales - According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales rose 5.5% compared to last year, marking the largest jump since the end of the Great Recession.

• Wells Fargo Shares Lower - Shares of Wells Fargo fell after reporting a mixed performance for Q4 2017. They reported revenue of $22.05 billion, which was below the $22.64 billion forecast of financial analysts.

• Consumer Prices Increase - U.S. consumer prices recorded their largest increase in 11 months in December at 0.3%, on gains in the cost of rental accommodations and healthcare.

Financial and Economic Brief - January 9, 2018

• Service Sector Growth Slows - Growth in non-manufacturing economic activity continued to fall in December, after dropping more than expected in November.

• GoPro Cutting 20% of Staff - GoPro is shutting down its drone business and cutting 20% of its staff after “weak demand” for its products.

• S&P, Dow Trade Lower on Monday - The S&P 500 and the Dow were trading lower on Monday, as losses in healthcare and financial stocks hindered Wall Street’s strongest start to a year in a decade.

Financial and Economic Brief - January 3, 2018

• Small Business Hiring Slows - The Small Business Jobs Index closed 2017 at 99.70 after falling 0.16% in December and 0.78% for the year.

• Oil above $60 a Barrel - U.S. crude oil prices rose 1% Friday to more than $60 a barrel, the highest close since June of 2015.

• First Trading Day, Indexes Higher - Wall Street’s main indexes were higher today, the first trading day of the year, lifted by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks.

Financial and Economic Brief - December 19, 2017

• Industrial Production Rises - U.S. industrial production rose 0.2% in November due to a rebound in extracting oil and natural gas after a stoppage during hurricane season.

• Campbell Acquires Snyder’s - Campbell Soups is set to acquire Snyder’s-Lance in a $4.9 billion deal. The deal will almost double Campbell Soup's baked-snacks revenue.

• U.S. Stock Indexes Hit Record Highs - The major U.S. stock indexes hit record highs on Monday, as the tax bill looked set to be passed into law with its $11 billion in corporate deal making. The tax bill, aims to lower corporate taxes to 21% from 35%.

Financial and Economic Brief - December 12, 2017

• Powell’s Early Policy Views - Jerome Powell appears set to let the tax cut “run its course” through the economy as weak growth in wages and inflation promote his view that the economy remains “underpowered”.

• November Jobs Report Strong - According to the November jobs report released on Friday, employers added 228,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%.

• Launch of Bitcoin Futures - Derivatives exchange Cboe Global Markets launched its bitcoin futures late yesterday, marking the first time investors could get access to the market via a mainstream regulated exchange.

Financial and Economic Brief - December 5, 2017

• Mixed Numbers for Automakers - Major automakers posted mixed U.S. November new vehicle sales on Friday and predicted a competitive December as they rushed to sell vehicles and lift their 2017 numbers.

• CVS to Buy Aetna - CVS Health is buying Aetna for $69 billion in cash and stock in a deal that “reflects a rapidly shifting health care landscape”.

• Upcoming Fed Rate Hikes - The U.S. Federal Reserve is “almost certain” to raise interest rates later in December, a majority of whom also now expect three more rate rises in 2018.