What's moving markets today
US stocks finished mixed on a quiet Monday.
- The Dow closed down 54 points, or 0.2%, erasing the slight gain it made just after the opening bell. Monday was the fourth straight day the index dropped.
- The S&P 500 was about flat.
- The Nasdaq increased 0.1%.
Avis Budget Group (CAR) jumped more than 7% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock from a sell all the way to a buy.
Activision Blizzard (ATVI), the video game maker, dropped nearly 8%. Like others in the industry, the company is struggling to compete with the likes of Fortnite. It was the S&P 500’s worst-performing stock Monday. It reports earnings Tuesday.
Shares of Starbucks (SBUX) increased 0.3% — the stock is trading at an all-time high.
Dryden Pence, chief investment officer for Pence Wealth Management, said he expects to see better earnings from those companies for the rest of the year.
"Typically, you will see stronger results later on in the year," he told First Move anchor Julia Chatterley. "Overall, technology companies and these companies in particular are going to do quite well in the future."
Pence expects stronger growth from Apple because, he notes, the company has a lot more going for it than just iPhone sales.
Investors "forget that Apple is a tremendously large company with many other things," he said. For example, he points out that Apple's growing services business raked in more than $10 billion alone last quarter.
Pence is a major shareholder in Amazon, Google and Apple.
It's a quiet Monday on Wall Street. The markets are mixed:
- The Dow is down 27 points.
- The Nasdaq is up .20%.
- The S&P is up 0.01%.
Here's an interesting way to get people to come back to some of America's floundering shopping malls -- start selling CBD-infused products.
Green Growth Brands (GGBXF), a cannabis company that owns the Seventh Sense Botanical Therapy brand of body and skin care lotions and oils derived from hemp, said Monday it has a deal with Simon Property, the nation's largest mall operator, to open stores in its shopping centers.
Simon (SPG) runs some of the most high-profile malls in the US, including Roosevelt Field on Long Island, The Galleria in Houston and the Woodbury Common outlets just north of New York City. The first Green Growth/Seventh Sense store is slated to open at Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis in March.
Don't be surprised to see Green Growth strike more deals with US retailers either. Peter Horvath, the company's CEO, is a former executive with Victoria's Secret and American Eagle Outfitters.
Walmart's (WMT) streaming plans took another step with the addition of a board member from show business.
NBCUniversal International Group chairman Cesar Conde has been appointed to Walmart's board of directors, the company announced this morning. He currently oversees NBCUniversal's operations outside of North America.
"Cesar brings strong skills as a global executive and expertise in brand management, finance, digital and media that will complement our board of directors' experiences," said Greg Penner, chairman of Walmart's board.
Conde's appointment might help guide Walmart with its entertainment plans. Walmart announced last year it was partnering with movie studio MGM to make new shows for Walmart's streaming service, Vudu. It also struck a deal with Eko, a video startup, to create "original [and] interactive content."
📈Shares of Restaurant Brands International (QSR) are up 20% for the year.
Consumer confidence is already low and there's another sign it might be dinged again: Lower tax refunds.
The IRS said the average refund is down roughly 8%. Refunds for the first full year of the overhauled tax code averaged $1,865 compared to $2,035 for tax year 2017.
If Americans are getting less money back, that might mean they're going to spend less of their refund.
Morgan Stanley announced it is paying $900 million to purchase Solium, a Canadian-based administrator of stock plans. Solium is Morgan Stanley's largest acquisition since the 2008 financial crisis.
Solium specializes in serving startups that are private or that recently went public. The move will give Morgan Stanley a "greater opportunity to establish and develop relationships with a younger demographic and service this population early in their wealth accumulation years,” said Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman.
Solium's clients include some old-line companies, but also startups such as Shopify (SHOP), which had its IPO in 2015, as well as privately held companies like Instacart, Stripe and Levi Strauss & Co.
Morgan Stanley is paying a 43% premium from the Friday closing price of Solium on the Toronto stock exchange. Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) were slightly higher in premarket trading Monday on the news.