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Investing, Stocks  | January 28, 2019

Mega-cap tech companies Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook, (NASDAQ:FB), Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) are all in line to report earnings. The sector has been under pressure over the last few months, although semiconductor stocks heated up over the last week with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up 4.4%. On the trade front, a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to sit down with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer from January 30-31 in a meeting that National Economic Council chief Larry Kudlow says will be "very, very important" as the March 1 deadline draws nearer. The FOMC is expected to hold the federal funds rate in a target range of 2.25% to 2.50% when it meets on January 29-30. The handy CME FedWatch Tool now indicates (based on futures trading) a 0.5% chance of a rate increase in the meeting next week, a 5.7% chance at the meeting in March, a 9.4% probability in May and 24.5% odds for a hike in June. Now that the government shutdown is over for at least a few weeks, economic data should start rolling in again. The Labor Department is scheduled to post the January jobs report on February 1, with economists expecting a solid gain of 185K jobs and an unemployment rate of 3.9%.

Notable earnings reports: Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), AK Steel (NYSE:AKS), J&J Snack Food (NASDAQ:JJSF) and Crane (NYSE:CR) on January 28; Apple (AAPL), Advance Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), L-3 Communications (NYSE:LLL), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) on January 29; Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), Alibaba (BABA), Visa (NYSE:V), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), AT&T (NYSE:T), PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), Boeing (NYSE:BA), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) on January 30; Amazon (AMZN), General Electric (NYSE:GE), Mastercard (NYSE:MA), Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG), DowDupont (NYSE:DWDP), UPS (NYSE:UPS), Altria (NYSE:MO), Blue Apron (NYSE:APRN) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) on January 31; Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) on February 1.

IPO action: It's a very quiet week again in the IPO market after the government shutdown stopped forward motion on many deals. The SEC is far enough behind schedule that even highly-anticipated launches by tech players such as Uber (UBER), Lyft (LYFT) and Pinterest (PINIT) may have been pushed back a bit. While there are no pricings upcoming, the lockup period for IPO shares expires at Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE:CWK) and Sonos (NASDAQ:SONO) on January 29, as well as Arlo Technologies (NYSE:ARLO) on January 30.

  Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM) to $0.35 from $0.335, Aflac (NYSE:AFL) to $0.27 from $0.26, Apartment Investment (NYSE:AIV) to $0.40 from $0.38, Arthur J Gallagher (NYSE:AJG) to $0.42 from $0.41, Affiliated Managers (NYSE:AMG) to $0.40 from $0.30, Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) to $0.80 from $0.75, Amphenol (NYSE:APH) to $0.26 from $0.23, AvalonBay (NYSE:AVB) to $1.52 from $1.47, Chevron (CVX) to $1.15 from $1.12, Exelon (NYSE:EXC) to $0.3623 from $0.345, Kansas City Southern (NYSE:KSU) to $0.40 from $0.36, Moody's (NYSE:MCO) to $0.50 from $0.44, 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) to $1.48 from $1.36, Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) to $0.50 from $0.46, Maxim Integrated (NASDAQ:MXIM) to $0.48 from $0.46, Principal Financial (NYSE:PFG) to $0.55 from $0.54, Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) to $0.14 from $0.13, Simon Property (NYSE:SPG) to $2.10 from $2.00, S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI) to $0.59 from $0.50, Xylem (NYSE:XYL) to $0.24 from $0.21, Avista (NYSE:AVA) to $0.388 from $0.3725, Boston Private (NASDAQ:BPFH) to $0.13 from $0.12, Commerce Bancshares (NASDAQ:CBSH) to $0.245 from $0.2238, Crane (CR) to $0.37 from $0.35, California Water (NYSE:CWT) to $0.195 from $0.1875, Ethan Allen (NYSE:ETH) to $0.21 from $0.19, Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) to $0.16 from $0.13, First Commonwealth (NYSE:FCF) to $0.10 from $0.099, First Horizon (NYSE:FHN) to $0.13 from $0.12, Healthcare Services (NASDAQ:HCSG) to $0.1963 from $0.195, LogMeIn (NASDAQ:LOGM) to $0.36 from $0.30, MDC Holdings (NYSE:MDC) to $0.31 from $0.30, Meredith (NYSE:MDP) to $0.57 from $0.545, Mobile Mini (NASDAQ:MINI) to $0.28 from $0.25, MarketAxess (NASDAQ:MKTX) to $0.48 from $0.42, National Instruments (NASDAQ:NATI) to $0.25 from $0.23, Polaris (NYSE:PII) to $0.63 from $0.60, Piper Jaffray (NYSE:PJC) to $0.41 from $0.375, Standard Motor (NYSE:SMP) to $0.23 from $0.21, Woodward (NASDAQ:WWD) to $0.16 from $0.1425.

U.S. auto sales: Manufacturers are scheduled to report December U.S. sales numbers on February 1. Edmunds expects sales to increase by 1.3% Y/Y during the month to 1.169M units. Fleet transactions are anticipated to account for 20% of all sales. December forecast by automaker - General Motors (NYSE:GM) -2.6% to 193K, Ford (NYSE:F) +11.5% to 178K, Toyota (NYSE:TM) -2.4% to 163K, Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) +2.9% to 137K, Honda (NYSE:HMC) +6.3% to 111K, Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) -15.2% to 105K, Hyundai/Kia (OTCPK:HYMLF) +6.9% to 82K, Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) -8.0% to 36K, Tesla (TSLA) 17K units.

Spotlight on Caterpillar: Caterpillar is expected to report revenue of $14.3B for Q4 and EPS of $2.98. An even bigger focus of investors will be on what the construction and mining equipment seller has to say about the impact of the recent economic slowdown in China. On Wall Street, JPMorgan is brimming with confidence on CAT into the big report. "From a longer-term perspective, our top pick remains Caterpillar as we believe that its resource business is still in the early stages of recovery and should support out-year earnings growth as well as opportunities for shareholder friendly capital allocation,” wrote the JP analyst team. In case you missed it, Caterpillar is a member of royalty now after sliding on to the list of S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats.

Spotlight on Apple: The company's pre-announcement earlier this months turns the focus to Apple's guidance for Q1, the update on China. Morgan Stanley heads into the report with a positive view. "We believe the recent pullback is an attractive entry point given upcoming services launches and shares already pricing in extremely cautious iPhone replacement cycle and average selling price headwinds," the analyst team wrote.

Macau The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau could update on Macau gross gaming revenue numbers for January late next week. Macau GGR is expected to have been impacted by the enforcement of a smoking ban and a slowdown in visitors ahead of the Chinese New Year in February. The forecasts from analysts for January GGR growth are spread across a wide range of -10% to -1%, indicating the sector could post its first negative growth month since the middle part of 2016. Looking ahead to next month, the view from Melco Resorts & Entertainment (NASDAQ:MLCO) CEO Lawrence Ho is definitely more positive, with the gambling exec noting that all of the company's properties are sold out for the New Year holiday. Ho's confidence is similar to the outlook delivered by Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) execs during the company's earnings call.

M&A tidbits: Bojangles (NASDAQ:BOJA) will stop trading after the buyout by Durational Capital Management and The Jordan Company closes on January 28. Shareholders at WildHorse Resource Development (NYSE:WRD) are due to vote on the company's merger with Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) on January 31. The window shopping period on the $600M Omega Healthcare Advisors (NYSE:OHI)-MedEquities Realty Trust (NYSE:MRT) merger expires on February 1.

All eyes on Canada: The CanTech Investment Conference runs in Toronto from January 29-30. Featured speakers include Canopy Growth's (NYSE:CGC) Bruce Linton, Cardiol Therapeutics CEO David Elsley, Lexaria Biosciences (OTCQX:LXRP) President John Docherty and Eleven Gaming's Zach Hyman. Companies due to be at the event include Martello Technologies (OTC:DRKOF), Kraken (OTCQB:KRKNF), Braingrid Limited, Blue Rush, AcuityAds (OTCPK:ACUIF), VersaPay (OTCPK:VPYYF) and Good Life Networks.

Trucking talk: Volkswagen (OTCPK:VWAGY) subsidiary Traton Group hosts its Capital Markets Day on January 29. Traton houses the MAN, Scania and VW brands for the company. There is some talk that the German automaker plans an IPO this year for Traton in a move that could raise funds for a full buyout of Navistar (NYSE:NAV)

Business updates: Platform Specialty Products (NYSE:PAH) will release preliminary 2018 full year financial performance numbers on January 28. Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) will update investors on a call scheduled for January 29 the recent operational results from Project SpringBoard. Kane Biotech (OTCQB:KNBIF) is scheduled to host a conference call and webcast on January 30 to provide an update on the company's business strategy including product developments, licensing, business development and other initiatives in progress. MagneGas Applied Technology Solutions (NASDAQ:MNGA) has a conference call scheduled for January 31 to provide an update on the company’s business strategy including the transformational rebranding, technology developments, recent acquisitions and other initiatives. OncoSec Medical Incorporated (NASDAQ:ONCS) plans a 2019 business outlook conference call on February 1 to provide a clinical update from its KEYNOTE-695 study, an overview of its recently announced collaboration registrational-enabled cervical cancer study with the Gynecologic Oncology Group Foundation, as well as a review of key value generating milestones the company expects to achieve in 2019.

Analyst/investor days: Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) on January 29.

Jefferies conference: Vail, Colorado is the setting for the Jefferies 8th Annual Winter Restaurant, Foodservice, Gaming, Lodging & Leisure Summit on January 30 - February 1. Consumer-facing companies at the event include Dave & Buster's Entertainment (NASDAQ:PLAY), BJ's Restaurants (NYSE:BJ), Casey's General Stores (NASDAQ:CASY), Chefs's Warehouse (NASDAQ:CHEF), Chuy Holdings (NASDAQ:CHUY), Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), Brinker International (NYSE:EAT), Eldorado Resorts (NASDAQ:ERI), Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN), Noodles (NASDAQ:NDLS), Dave & Buster's Entertainment (PLAY), Ruth's Hospitality (NASDAQ:RUTH), PlayAGS (NYSE:AGS) and Vail Resorts (MTN).

Stock splits: Churchill Downs (NASDAQ:CHDN) will trade at an adjusted basis on January 28 following the three-for-one split. "Our share price has increased considerably as we have expanded our business and we believe a stock split will increase liquidity and make equity ownership in CDI more accessible," stated CEO Bill Carstanjen.

Courtroom drama: PG&E (NYSE:PCG) will appear in court on January 30 for a hearing on the company's probation terms.

Barron's mentions: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is called cheap at 10X forward earnings and with an estimated $16B in free cash flow in the hopper. A screen by the publication for companies that have attractive valuations and strong returns on assets yielded Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC), Teradyne (NYSE:TER) and Gentex (NASDAQ:GNTX). Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL) is called an intriguing value play due in part to its 81% stake in VMware (NYSE:VMW).

A revolutionary initiative is helping average Americans find quick and lasting stock market success.

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