What's moving markets today
Businesses operating in the United Kingdom have expressed deep frustration about the chaos the country plunged into last night due to Brexit. The British government suffered a historic defeat in the parliament over the divorce agreement it struck with the rest of the European Union. It is facing a confidence vote on Wednesday.
Companies and business organizations are worried the result of the vote means Britain is closer to crashing out of the union without a deal, which would mean new trade barriers and red tape.
Bob Shanks, Ford’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said Wednesday a no-deal exit would be “catastrophic for the UK auto industry and for Ford’s manufacturing operations in the country.” Ford (F) has two engine plants in the country, employing 13,000 people.
US stocks opened higher on Wednesday as big bank results impress Wall Street.
Snap (SNAP) plunged 11% after CFO Tim Stone exited after just eight months on the job. Payment processor First Data (FDC) spiked 18% after reaching $22 billion deal to be sold to fintech firm Fiserv (FISV).
Fourth-quarter results from Goldman Sachs (GS) are in, and they're better than analysts expected. The company earned more than $2.5 billion in the last three months of 2018. It netted nearly $10.5 billion for the entire year.
Shares of the investment bank moved up more than 2% before market open. It’s the first earnings report for CEO David Solomon, who took the reins in October.
Goldman said that it made $1.2 billion in revenue from financial advisory fees, which jumped 56% compared to the same quarter in 2017 because of a spike in finished mergers and acquisitions across the industry.
Meanwhile, bond trading revenue plunged 18% to $822 million. The trading division has been an ongoing headache for the bank. Trading has also been a problem sector-wide this quarter.
The insane level of market volatility last last year took its toll on BlackRock.
The Wall Street giant said Wednesday its total assets under management fell 5% from a year ago in the fourth quarter, dipping below $6 trillion.
Average investors and large institutional firms pulled money from some of BlackRock's (BLK) pricier funds. But BlackRock's massive iShares ETF business is still booming in spite of the market volatility.
BlackRock said a record $81.4 billion flowed into its iShares funds during the fourth quarter -- proof that investors still love inexpensive passive funds and don't value stock picking advice as much as they used to.
CEO Larry Fink predicts that the bumpy ride on Wall Street may not be over yet either. He said during a conference call that "political, economic and social outlooks globally remain clouded and unclear" and added that investors remain concerned about trade tension with China, interest rates in the US, weak growth in Europe and the rise of populist politics.
In other words, buckle up.
Bank of America reported record and better-than-expected profits, sending the stock more than 4% higher before the market open.
The bank brought in $7.3 billion in profit last quarter. Full-year profit from 2018 reached $28.1 billion. Both are records for BofA (BAC).
The consumer division showed solid growth, but trading stumbled. Bond trading revenue fell 15% last quarter. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Citigroup (C), which released earnings earlier this week, took similar trading hits.
Market volatility appears to have spooked investors. Repeat sell-offs may have encouraged them to stay on the sidelines or cash out investments without making new ones.
Fiserv, a financial services company, is buying rival First Data in an all stock-transaction worth $22 billion.
The acquisition "unites two premier companies to create one of the world’s leading payments and financial technology provider," according to Fiserv.
The departure of another high-level exec at Snap Inc. (SNAP) is hitting the stock hard. Shares are down roughly 11% in premarket trading.
After market close on Tuesday, the struggling messaging app said CFO Tim Stone is leaving just eight months after joining Snap from Amazon.
Here's who else that has left over the last year, per our Heather Kelly:
- HR chief Jason Halbert
- VP of Marketing Steve LaBella
- Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan
- CFO Drew Vollero (Stone's predecessor)
- VP of Product Tom Conrad
Investors have been watching closely to see how banks handled major market volatility at the end of last year.
US stock futures are pointing higher after a day of relative calm on Wall Street.