How markets are reacting to Iran

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12:32 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Sanders campaign responds to billionaire's Bernie warning to Wall Street

From CNN's Matt Egan and Ryan Nobles

Jeff Gundlach correctly predicted Donald Trump's 2016 victory. Now, the billionaire investor is warning investors that Bernie Sanders is the "odds-on favorite" to win the 2020 Democratic nomination.

The Sanders campaign crafted a clever response that nods to their hopes for Gundlach to be right -- and the US senator's anti-billionaire stance.

"A stopped Rolex is right twice a day," a Sanders campaign spokesman said.

A Sanders White House would strike fear into the hearts of many on Wall Street. The self-described democratic socialist wants to raise taxes on Corporate America and the rich, curb stock buybacks and outlaw fracking.

12:00 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Stocks rally as Trump eases fears about Iran

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday after President Trump said that minimal damage was done to bases in Iraq attacked by an Iranian missile strike Tuesday night and that Iran appears to be standing down.

The Dow rallied more than 200 points in late morning trading following Trump's comments. It is now about 1% from its all-time high. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each hit new records.

Oil prices, which had spiked overnight, retreated. And gold, which had been rallying lately due to rising geopolitical tensions, pulled back as well. The CNN Business Fear & Greed Index rose too and remains in Extreme Greed territory, signaling that investors are not overly worried about the Iran situation.

12:16 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Crude oil plunges in stunning reversal

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

Oil prices fell sharply Wednesday, reversing the initial panic spike caused by fears of a deeper conflict between the United States and Iran.

US crude tumbled 4%, hitting session lows, after President Donald Trump signaled tensions could be easing.

"Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world," Trump said in a highly-anticipated speech.

Crude briefly dipped below $60 a barrel after Trump's remarks, giving back all of the gains from last week's US drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander.

It's a dramatic pullback from the high of $65.65 late Tuesday after Iran lobbed missiles on bases in Iraq that house US troops.

Trump confirmed that no Americans were harmed in that attack. And rather than signaling a US military response, Trump vowed to impose new sanctions on Iran.

10:09 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Tesla worth nearly as much as GM, Ford combined

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Tesla (TSLA) shares have been on an electrifying run as of late -- and as a result, the company is now worth almost as much as the combined market values of Big Three rivals General Motors (GM) and Ford (F).

Tesla's stock hit a new all-time high of just under $476 a share in early trading Wednesday. At that price, Tesla's market value was nearly $86 billion. GM is worth around $50 billion while Ford has a market cap of about $37 billion.

Tesla is also worth about $15 billion more than the combined market caps of Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and Ferrari (RACE). It's approximately $15 billion higher than the combined value of Japanese car companies Honda (HMC) and Nissan (NSANY) too. And Tesla is closing in on Volkswagen (VWAGY), which is currently worth about $96 billion.

No wonder Elon Musk is dancing! But Tesla still has a ways to go before it surpasses Toyota (TM) is the most valuable auto company on the planet. The RAV4, Corolla and Camry maker is worth about $200 billion.

12:52 p.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Watch out for Bernie, billionaire investor warns Wall Street

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

Investors are underestimating the likelihood of a President Bernie Sanders, according to billionaire Jeff Gundlach.

Gundlach, who correctly predicted Trump's presidency, believes Sanders is the "odds-on favorite" to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Financial markets broadly will have to deal with the fact there could be a scare," Gundlach, said during a webcast Tuesday evening.

And Gundlach did not rule out that Sanders could beat Trump.

A Sanders presidency could be a worst-case scenario for Wall Street. The US senator has vowed to take on big banks, raise taxes on corporations and the rich, curb stock buybacks and outlaw fracking.

Yet near-record stock prices suggest investors are not pricing in much of a chance of Sanders taking the White House.

Sanders is only given a 31% chance of winning the Democratic nomination on predictions market PredictIt, compared with 43% for Biden.

"Bernie is stronger than people think," Gundlach said.

Gundlach is skeptical about the other leading Democrats, arguing Pete Buttigieg is "so very young," the party won't nominate a billionaire like Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren is "down for the count."

And Gundlach reminded investors that many doubted Trump's ability to win the 2016 GOP nomination.

Update: The Sanders campaign has crafted a clever response to Gundlach.

9:36 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Stocks shrug off Iran escalation

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

US stocks opened mixed on Wednesday, following a roller-coaster night as tensions between the United States and Iran escalated further.

Dow futures fell some 400 points over night after Iran attacked military bases in Iraq in retaliation against the US drone strike of Qasem Soleimani. In the New York morning, however, worries about a further escalation abated in Wall Street.

  • The Dow opened 0.2%, or 46 points, lower, but retraced its modest losses within the first moments of trading.
  • The S&P 500 kicked off flat in positive territory.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened flat in negative territory.

Both the S&P and the Nasdaq managed to climb into the green in the first minutes of trading.

Oil prices, which also climbed over night, have come back down. US oil futures are down 0.6% at $62.30 a barrel. 

8:30 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

American private sector jobs rise faster than expected in December

From CNN Business' Anneken Tappe

American private sector employment increased by 202,000 jobs in December, according to the ADP National Employment Report. That's way more than economists had expected.

It was the biggest increase of private sector positions added since April last year.

The services sector did particularly well, adding the most jobs since the last spring.

Even though the correlation between the ADP report and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report is limited, the better-than-expected ADP number suggests the US labor market remained strong at the end of 2019. The BLS' jobs report is due at 8:30 am ET.

Despite the strong year-end performance, job growth has moderated throughout 2019, and particularly manufacturers, energy companies and smaller businesses have shed jobs.

"Unemployment is low, but will begin to rise if job growth slows much further," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

8:32 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Corona-maker reports strong beer sales but cannabis slumps

From CNN Business' Danielle Wiener-Bronner

Corona and Modelo seller Constellation Brands popped about 4% before the market opened on Wednesday after reporting its third-quarter earnings results and raising its guidance for the year.

Both Corona and Modelo Especial performed especially well. Constellation plans to launch a hard seltzer under the Corona label to make the brand even stronger.

The alcohol company's net sales grew about 1% for the quarter.

Constellation, which has made a significant investment in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, has been shuffling its portfolio to accommodate changing tastes.

Consumers still love premium beer and hard liquor like Svedka vodka. But they've turned away from middling wine brands. Net sales of beer popped 8% in the quarter compared to the same period last year, but fell 10% for wine.

For now, the bet on Canopy isn't paying off. The cannabis brand has been struggling, and its losses are dragging Constellation down.

7:52 a.m. ET, January 8, 2020

Macy's shares jump after reporting holiday sales

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Beleaguered retailer Macy's (M) said its same-store sales during the holiday season fell 0.6%.

Investors were apparently pleasantly surprised by the numbers: The stock jumped 5% in premarket trading.

The department store had a rough 2019 as shoppers shift their allegiance to the internet and big box rivals, like Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT) and TJ Maxx (TJX). The stock lost roughly 40% of its value over the past year.