#PreMarket Primer: Monday, December 22: White House Struggles To Respond To Sony Hack
The White House is struggling to find an appropriate response to the cyber attack and violent threats against Sony Corp (NYSE: SNE), which were linked to the North Korean government.
Republicans in Washington have been pushing the President to enact financial sanctions against the country, but Obama has been reluctant, saying that although the act must be taken seriously, it would not be considered an act of war.
Instead, Obama is looking to create new legislation that will prevent cyber attacks of this kind in the future.
In other news around the markets:
Over the weekend, violence against American police officers put pressure on protesters throughout the nation to take a step back from their demonstrations condemning police involvement in two recent deaths of unarmed black men. In New York City, two police officers were fatally shot on Saturday afternoon by a gunman who later committed suicide.
Protest leaders have said the shooting has no connection with the protests organized by those who are campaigning against racism within the police force and vowed to continue on with their peaceful demonstrations.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi defended OPEC’s decision not to cut production, saying that the current decline in prices has been driven by influences outside the cartel. Al-Naimi said that the lack of cooperation between Gulf producers and those outside OPEC has played a role in the price slump.
He also blamed speculative traders, saying that misleading information has also crippled the commodity’s price.
Walgreen Co (NYSE: WAG) is set to make a major decision about whether or not to go global in exactly one week. The US-based drugstore will put the decision as to whether or not to merge with UK-based Alliance Boots up for a vote among its shareholders.
If the merger is completed, it would make Walgreen the largest prescription drug purchaser in the world. The company is set to release its earnings report on Tuesday, with most analysts expecting to see that the stock price has increased 4 percent since last year.
On Saturday night, Dish Network Corp (NASDAQ: DISH) subscribers lost access to 21st Century Fox’s (NASDAQ: FOX) news and business channels after the two couldn’t come to a distribution agreement. Dish Network accused Fox of using its sports and entertainment channels as leverage for the contract for its news and business segments despite the fact that the two are completely separate.
Fox responded saying that several other distributors have agreed to the same terms. The loss of the Fox channels could spell disaster for Dish Network, as the company has gone through several similar battles which resulted in a loss of those networks for customers.
Asian markets were up across the board with the exception of the Shenzhen composite, which fell 2.86 percent. The NIKKEI gained 0.08 percent, the Shanghai composite rose 0.65 percent, the KOSPI was up 0.68 percent and the Hang Seng index rose 1.26 percent.
Europe’s markets began the day on a positive note; the FTSE gained 0.87 percent, the STOXX 600 was up 0.68 percent, the DAX gained 0.62 percent and the CAC 40 rose 0.97 percent.
Energy futures were higher on Monday; Brent futures rose 1.78 percent and WTI future gained 1.91 percent. Gold and silver gained 0.11 percent and 0.53 percent respectively, while industrial metals were mostly higher with the exception of aluminum, which fell 0.24 percent. Copper gained 0.69 percent, zinc was up 2.54 percent and tin rose 0.39 percent.
The euro began the week trading at $1.2265. The common currency gained 0.59 percent against the yen and 0.36 percent against the pound, but remained flat against the franc. The dollar was also higher against the yen, up 0.26 percent. The greenback also gained 0.01 percent against the pound, but lost 0.26 percent against the franc.
Notable earnings reports released on Friday included:
- Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.27 on revenue of $3.72 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.04 on revenue of $3.61 billion.
- CarMax, Inc. (NYSE: KMX) reported third quarter EPS of $0.60 on revenue of $3.41 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.47 on revenue of $2.94 billion.
- BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) reported a third quarter loss of $0.05 on revenue of $793.00 million, compared to last year’s loss of $0.67 on revenue of $1.19 billion.
- Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) reported second quarter EPS of $0.47 on revenue of $676.30 million, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.43 on revenue of $610.50 million.
Stocks moving in the Premarket included:
- Schlumberger NV (NYSE: SLB) was up 0.46 percent in premarket trade after rising 9.40 percent over the past five days.
- Halliburton Co (NYSE: HAL) rose 0.35 percent in premarket trade after gaining 6.75 percent over the past week.
- Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was up 0.31 percent in premarket trade after rising 1.89 percent on Friday.
- Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) was down 0.30 percent in premarket trade after falling 1.15 percent on Friday.
No notable earnings releases expected on Monday.
Monday’s economic calendar will be relatively thin with releases including Italy’s trade balance, US existing home sales and Eurozone consumer confidence.
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