MORNING NEWS CALL
• Fed looks past a world in turmoil, confident in U.S. recovery
U.S. central bankers have looked beyond a global deflation threat, fear of energy-sector bond defaults, and a surge of oil patch layoffs to reach what appears to be a firm conclusion: the U.S. recovery is here to stay.
• Tesco begins fightback with cost cuts and asset sales
Britain's biggest supermarket group Tesco plans to cut hundreds of millions of
pounds of costs and sell assets to fund lower prices in response to the biggest
crisis in its 95-year-history.
• Standard Chartered axes equities desks, retail jobs to cut costs
Standard Chartered chief executive Peter Sands moved aggressively to reverse the Asia-focused lender's fortunes by closing the bulk of its global equities business and announcing 4,000 job losses in retail banking.
• Family Dollar 1st-quarter profit nearly halves
Family Dollar Stores Inc, the target of two rival U.S. dollar store chains, reported a 47 percent drop in quarterly profit as margins fell due to higher discounting.
• Samsung Electronics tips first annual profit fall in 3 years
Global smartphone leader Samsung Electronics Co Ltd confirmed expectations for its first annual profit decline since 2011, although a pickup in the
fourth quarter hinted that earnings may have stabilised in the short term.
BEFORE THE BELL
Wall Street pointed to a higher start as minutes from the recent Federal Reserve meeting reassured investors the central bank was in no hurry to start
raising interest rates. Markets will also watch for initial jobless claims and consumer credit data for clues on the health of the economy. The dollar hit a 9year high against the euro, pushing gold lower. Tracking gains in Asia, European shares traded in the green as investors ramped up bets the European
Central Bank was getting closer to adopting a large scale quantitative easing
program. Oil halted a four-session decline after crude stockpiles fell.
STOCKS TO WATCH
• Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO). The discount retailer reported a 47 percent
drop in quarterly profit as margins fell due to higher discounting. Net income
fell to $41.4 million, or 36 cents per share, in the first quarter, from $78 million,
or 68 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $2.56 billion from $2.5
• Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU). The Canadian yoga wear maker on
Wednesday named Stuart Haselden as its new chief financial officer, replacing
long-time executive John Currie, who announced in June his plan to retire by
the end of the fiscal year. Haselden, a former U.S. army officer and avid runner, will step into his new role Feb. 2.
In Other News
• Bank of America (BAC). Under pressure from its U.S. regulator, the bank
has shifted its compliance group from its legal department to its risk oversight
group, a source familiar with the matter said. The Office of the Comptroller of
the Currency pressed for the move out of a belief that the legal group was focused on minimizing the application of rules, the source said.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Race to define car of the future shifts
into high gear
Automakers and Silicon Valley upstarts
are kicking their efforts to define the car
of the future into a higher gear, even
though many of the players disagree
about what that car should be.
The emerging autonomous vehicle technology sector is still in a turbulent stage
akin to the old debate over "Betamax
versus VHS" format. Standards are not
yet defined, winners and losers are not
sorted out and major players disagree
sharply about the best way to bring the
promise of safer, smarter cars to market.
Consider the contrasting visions of the
automotive future put forward at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
this week by Mark Fields and Dieter Zetsche, the chief executives of Ford Motor
Co and Daimler, respectively.
Ford’s approach, Fields says, is to focus
initially on connecting cars and their drivers to the mobile Web, with apps as the
building blocks, and work on sensors
and software that eventually will enable
the development of fully autonomous
vehicles in the next decade. Ford wants
to develop affordable technology for a
broad swath of consumers — the philosophy behind founder Henry Ford’s
Daimler's Mercedes-Benz has a different
idea from Ford - and worlds apart from
Internet company Google Inc, which has
jolted the automotive establishment with
its high-profile effort to develop a fully
self-driving city car.
Zetsche presented a futuristic Mercedes
prototype at CES that could drive itself
down city boulevards while passengers
used hand gestures to call up information about restaurants along the route or
receive invitations to party from friends
Where Ford wants to make autonomous
cars for "Everyman," and Google envisions cars as pod-like appliances, Daimler presented robotic driving as part of a
technology package that sets its premium cars apart from plebian rides. At
the same time, Zetsche said Daimler
could extend the self-driving concept to
tiny "green" cars such as its Smart EV or
into car-sharing programs such as its
Car2Go enterprise - potentially challenging Google in that sphere.
"I hope you will still recognize us as be-
MORNING NEWS CALL - U.S. EDITION
January 8, 2015
• Dick's Sporting Goods Inc (DKS). The company is holding early-stage conversations with a handful of buyout firms about going private, according to
people familiar with the matter. There is no formal sale process for the sporting
goods retailer, these people said on Wednesday, and the Coraopolis, Pennsylvania-based company could still decide not to go forward with a deal if the preliminary talks do not pan out.
• Dish Network Corp (DISH). The company is not averse to buying traditional
TV ads to woo young viewers away from their cable or satellite subscriptions
to its less costly Sling TV streaming service. Dish's marketing campaign, "Take
Back TV", will also include buys on mobile and social platforms and through
device distribution partners like Roku and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN).
• General Motors Co (GM). The automaker’s luxury Cadillac brand has cut
the price most customers will pay for its 2015 CTS to counter slumping demand in the United States for the marquee sedan. The company told Cadillac
dealers on Wednesday that it was cutting the price of the three best-selling
packages of options on the car by as much as $3,000, a spokesman confirmed. The base price of the 2015 model remains unchanged at $46,340, but
the price for the luxury, performance and premium packages was reduced by
$1,000 to $3,000, Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said.
• Google Inc (GOOGL). Indian property search website Commonfloor.com
has received funding from Google Capital, an equity fund backed by the company, the online portal said in a statement. Commonfloor will invest the funds
in product technology and marketing, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer, Sumit Jain, told Reuters.
• Janus Capital Group Inc (JNS). More than 60 percent of the roughly $1.1
billion raised by Bill Gross for Janus Capital came from a Morgan Stanley
(MS). wealth management office in California, WSJ reported on Wednesday,
citing industry executives who have viewed confidential brokerage data. The
wealth management office in La Jolla, California, which employs one of
Gross’s personal financial advisers, routed more than $700 million to Gross’s
Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund (JUCAX) in October and November, the newspaper said. Reuters has not been able to independently verify
• KKR & Co LP (KKR). The private equity fund said it had set up a nonbanking financial company in India for lending to the real estate sector, with an
investment from Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. This will be KKR's second non-banking finance company in India, it said in a statement.
• Novartis AG (NVS). A panel to the U.S. FDA unanimously backed the approval of Novartis' copy of Amgen Inc's (AMGN) blockbuster cancer drug Neupogen, setting the stage for the regulator's first approval of a biosimilar. The
biosimilar could be priced at the same level as Neupogen, but cost to insurers
and consumers would be lower, Novartis executives told the panel.
• Sony Corp (SNE). The company will delay sales of the PlayStation 4 gaming
console in China, originally scheduled for Jan. 11, due to "various factors",
according to a statement. Sony Computer Entertainment said in the statement
that a new sale date had not yet been determined. Prolonged negotiations with
Chinese authorities were part of the reason for the delay, a company source in
China told Reuters.
• Alliance Data Systems (ADS). Pacific Crest raised price target to $340 from
$305 citing company’s assembled a portfolio of businesses across retail card
services, marketing, data analytics and loyalty programs.
• Lululemon Athletica (LULU). SunTrust raised price target to $66 from $62
considering company’s new stores that continue to be immediately profitable
with industry-leading sales.
• Red Hat (RHT). Evercore ISI cut rating to hold from buy stating that retirement of company’s CFO Charlie Peters may act as a bit of an overhang on the
stock over the next 6-12 months.
• SAP (SAP). Evercore ISI raised rating to buy from hold saying that while in-
ing the inventor of the car," Zetsche told
Reuters. "But we should be defined by
our future, not by our past."
SENSE OF URGENCY
The urgency among the companies looking to profit from connected vehicle technology, including the hardware and software required for automated driving, is
increasing. Several automakers, including Mercedes, General Motors Co and
Volkswagen AG's Audi, have said they
want to have vehicles capable of significant levels of hands-free driving on the
road between 2016 and 2020. That
means contracts to supply hardware and
software need to be signed now.
The head of Google’s autonomous vehicle project, Chris Urmson, is scheduled
to speak next week at an industry conference in Detroit to send the message that
Google wants to forge partnerships with
traditional automakers and suppliers to
get its technology on the road.
Research firm IHS Automotive has estimated that self-driving car technology
will add more than $31 billion in revenue
for Google by 2040.
It is not clear, however, how automakers
and such traditional technology suppliers
as Continental, Delphi Automotive,
Robert Bosch GmbH or Visteon Corp,
will welcome Google and other Silicon
Valley companies looking to muscle their
way between automotive brands and
Volkswagen, for example, announced at
CES this week that it has partnered with
Google rival TomTom to provide mapping data for its vehicles. Accurate maps
are critical for autonomous driving, and
they also provide richer information to
drivers based on their location.
SHAKING UP STATUS QUO
Investors are betting that whatever happens, the status quo will be upended.
Enthusiasm is high for companies positioned to benefit from increased automation and digital connectivity - including
ride-sharing companies such as Uber,
which aim to blow up traditional car ownership.
Valuations for some technology upstarts
in the auto sector have soared above
many of the industry's stalwarts.
“You will see the Old Guard lose its
(share price) multiples and the New
Guard valued at crazy levels,” said
Cathie Wood, chief executive of Ark Investment Management LLC, which invests in shares of companies it believes
will benefit from the growth in connected
and autonomous vehicle technology.
The traditional auto sector is also investing heavily to avoid being eclipsed.
“It’s protecting our future,” said Tim Yerdon, vice president of Visteon’s con-
MORNING NEWS CALL - U.S. EDITION
January 8, 2015
vestor sentiment is near a trough the company has potential to‘re-rate’ as
more revenue is recognized ratably.
• Zumiez (ZUMZ). SunTrust Robinson raised price target to $45 from $34 to
factor company’s increase in transactions and dollars per transaction for the
fourth month in a row.
nected services. “We have to play in it
one way or the other.”
By Paul Lienert and Ben Klayman
0830 Initial Jobless Claims: Expected 290,000; Prior 298,000
0830 Jobless Claims 4-Week Average: Prior 290,750
0830 Continued Jobless Claims: Expected 2.368 mln; Prior 2.353 mln
1500 Consumer Credit for Nov: Expected 15.00 bln; Prior 13.23 bln
COMPANIES REPORTING RESULTS
• Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY). Expected Q3 earnings of $1.19 per share
• Constellation Brands (STZ). Expected Q3 earnings of $1.14 per share
0800 Global Payments Inc. (GPN). Q2 earnings conference call
0830 Apollo Education Group Inc. (APOL). Q1 earnings conference call
0930 Cantel Medical Corp (CMN). Annual Shareholders Meeting
1000 Family Dollar Stores Inc. (FDO). Q1 earnings conference call
1030 Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ). Q3 earnings conference call
1645 Helen of Troy Ltd. (HELE). Q3 earnings conference call
1700 Barracuda Networks Inc. (CUDA). Q3 earnings conference call
1700 Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY). Q3 earnings conference call
• Campbell Soup Co. (CPB). Amount $0.31
• General Mills Inc. (GIS). Amount $0.41
• Linn Energy LLC. (LINE). Amount $0.10
• Lincoln National Corp. (LNC). Amount $0.20
• LinnCo LLC. (LNCO). Amount $0.10
• Landstar System Inc. (LSTR). Amount $1.00
• RPM International Inc. (RPM). Amount $0.26
• UDR Inc. (UDR). Amount $0.26
• Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. (WDR). Amount $0.43
(All analysts' estimates are according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/)
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(Compiled by Samarendra Sahoo, Nikhil Kumar and Pradip Kakoti in
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