What's moving markets today
Goldman Sachs sparked a mega rally for bank stocks on Wednesday, helping to carry Wall Street higher.
Goldman Sachs (GS) was the best performer on the Dow and the S&P 500. The Wall Street bank spiked 10%, its best day since March 2009, on better-than-expected results. Bank of America (BAC) jumped 7% on its own earnings beat.
The market, especially tech stocks, lost a bit of steam late in the day after The Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors are pursuing a criminal case against China's Huawei. The Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) closed slightly lower.
Snap (SNAP) plunged 14% following the resignation of its CFO Tim Stone.
12:49 pm ET: Dimon called the US-China relationship the most important in the world for the next 100 years.
He said that after some initial reluctance, Corporate America supports efforts to reform China's trade practices.
"The business community can get very selfish when it comes to trade," DImon said.
He sounded cautiously optimistic about progress on trade talks.
"This has to be fixed. I think China knows and is serious. You now have serious people on both sides that are actually talking," Dimon said.
12:41 pm ET: JPMorgan is prepared in case the United Kingdom to crash out of the European Union.
"A hard Brexit will be a disaster for Great Britain. We don't think it will happen because it's bad for Europe," Dimon said.
Instead, Dimon suggested negotiations would be extended if needed.
Still, JPMorgan has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare in case he's wrong.
"The Brits were dealt a bad hand — and they played it badly," he said.
12:35 pm ET: Dimon warned that another government debt ceiling scare would be an "unmitigated disaster."
He said that JPMorgan spent $50 million to $75 million preparing for the 2011 debt ceiling impasse.
12:25 pm ET: Jamie Dimon is frustrated with Washington.
The JPMorgan Chase (JPM) boss called the government shutdown a "self-inflicted wound" that is a "negative" for the economy.
"You can't have a democracy where you refuse to compromise," Dimon said while speaking at a Manhattan luncheon hosted by the Economic Club of New York.
Dimon urged Washington to focus on reforming America's education, infrastructure, immigration and trade policies.
Big banks are powering Wall Street higher.
Financials (XLF) were easily the biggest winners, soaring nearly 2%.
Even BlackRock (BLK) rallied despite disclosing a 5% decline in assets.
Citigroup released a candid equal pay report showing that the median pay for women employees is nearly one-third less than it is for men.
The discovery was part of a pay equity review of Citi's 200,000-person global workforce. It found the pay for women globally is 71% of the median for men. It also said that the median pay of its US minorities is 7% less than non-minorities.
The report focused on "raw pay," which gauges median total compensation when salaries aren't adjusted for seniority, job title or location.
If those factors were considered, Citi said women globally are paid nearly the same as men as are US minorities compared to non-minorities.
The disparity in the two statistics indicate that women are under represented in high-ranking positions.
Citi reiterated its goal to boost the number of women and US minorities in senior roles at the bank, and said that doing so should help reduce the difference in its raw pay gap numbers.
It aims to bolster representation in high-ranking positions to at least 40% for women globally and 8% for black US employees within the next two years.
This year's larger analysis follows a similar report in 2018 that only examined 36% of its workforce spanning three countries.
Citi says that it was the first US bank to release a pay gap report last year. It was forced to do so because of both a new UK law and a push from activist shareholder Arjuna Capital.
Natasha Lamb, Arjuna Capital's managing partner, praised this year's report:
This new level of transparency provides investors with baseline metrics to understand broad pay equity at the company, that is the difference between what men make and what women make, and what minorities and non-minorities make on a median, unadjusted basis.
There is a pay gap in most fields, but it's particularly stark in finance.
"In finance, women are essentially being as productive, but they're not getting the payoff because they're not getting onto the accounts or the clients that they're needing to," says Pamela Coukos, former senior adviser at the Department of Labor and CEO of Working Ideal, a company that provides consulting on inclusive workplaces previously told CNN Business.
Is every little thing going to be alright for fans of cannabis-infused drinks? New Age Beverages, which sells CBD-based teas and sparkling waters, announced a deal Wednesday to begin making (Bob) Marley-branded cannabis beverages.
We're taking this iconic Bob Marley 'don’t you worry feeling' and bottling it. Cannabis-infused beverages and Bob Marley are a match made in heaven," said Brent Willis, CEO of New Age Beverages (NBEV).
The company already sells Marley-branded organic cold brew coffees and yerba mate drinks. So getting into CBD, the nonpsychoactive component found in cannabis, was a natural extension.
Willis told CNN Business he had been working with Docklight, a firm owned by Peter Thiel-backed Privateer Holdings that has the license for Marley-branded cannabis products, on a deal for several months. The two companies will share the profits from the new Marley CBD drinks.
The drinks will be available first in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan -- where recreational cannabis is legal. And Willis has high (sorry) hopes for them.
That may be true. But investors weren't jamming to the Marley news. Shares fell 6% Wednesday -- although they are still up nearly 30% this year on hype about legal cannabis.
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.
There are no more words to describe the frustration, impatience, and growing anger amongst business after two and a half years on a high-stakes political rollercoaster ride that shows no sign of stopping,” said Adam Marshall, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.
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.