Markets let out a sigh of relief on Thursday after Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed to step aside and relinquish his
Maliki had many worried as earlier this week he deployed special
forces in Baghdad and attempted to dispute his successor's
appointment in Iraqi courts.
With Maliki out of the picture, the U.S. is hoping that the
Iraqi government will become more accommodating to smaller
political groups, thus reducing support for extremist groups.
In other news around the markets:
On Friday, Apple announced that it was planning to store data from
its Chinese users in China, marking the first time an American tech
company has been willing to use data centers in China. Worries
about censorship and privacy have long kept international firms
wary of using the data centers, but Apple's new partnership with
China Telecom marks a turning point, as Apple says the company will
not have access to the encrypted customer data. On Thursday,
Coca-Cola announced that it would buy a 16.7 percent stake in
Monster Beverage Corp and choose two directors to sit on Monster's
board. The agreement will allow Coca-Cola to expand its presence in
the rapidly expanding energy drink space. A Russian convoy of
humanitarian aid arrived at the Ukrainian border on Friday and is
currently being inspected by Ukrainian officials. The supplies are
destined for Donetsk and other eastern Ukrainian cities that have
been affected by the nation's conflict. The inspection is an
important step in easing tension between Ukraine and Russia, as the
convoy was originally believed to be a façade to move Russian
troops into Ukraine. On Friday, SeaWorld is expected to announce a
planned several hundred million dollar investment into the
expansion of its killer whale habitats. The company has been under
pressure from animal rights activists who say SeaWorld's killer
whale shows are an act of animal cruelty. The accusations have
gained popularity from a documentary called Blackfish, hurting the
attendance at the company's parks.
Asian markets ended the week on a positive note; the NIKKEI was
up 0.02 percent, the Shanghai composite rose 0.92 percent, the
KOSPI gained 0.04 percent, the Shenzhen composite was up 1.22
percent and the Hang Seng index rose 0.62 percent.
Europe's markets were higher with the exception of Italy's MIB,
which lost 0.29 percent. The FTSE was up 0.65 percent, the STOXX
600 gained 0.53 percent, the DAX rose 0.53 percent and the CAC 40
was up 0.59 percent.
Energy futures were mixed; Brent futures rose 0.10 percent and
WTI futures were down 0.17 percent. Gold and silver were modestly
lower, down 0.08 percent and 0.01 percent, respectively, while
industrial metals were mixed. Copper was flat and tin gained 0.20
percent, but aluminum lost 1.43 percent and zinc was down 0.35
The euro gained on Friday despite soft GDP data and traded at
$1.3384, up 0.23 percent against the yen and 0.11 percent against
the pound. The dollar was lower against the pound and the franc,
down 0.05 percent and 0.17 percent, respectively, but gained 0.09
percent against the yen.
Notable earnings released on Thursday included:
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:
) reported second quarter EPS of $1.21 on revenue of $119.30
billion, compared to last year's EPS of $1.24 on revenue of $116.94
billion. Kohl's (NYSE:
) reported second quarter EPS of $1.13 on revenue of $1.24 billion,
compared to last year's EPS of $1.04 on revenue of $4.29 billion.
) reported second quarter EPS of $0.95 on revenue of $3.39 billion,
compared to last year's EPS of $0.93 on revenue of $3.20 billion.
J.C. Penney (NYSE:
) reported a second quarter loss of $0.56 on revenue of $2.80
billion, compared to last year's loss of $2.20 on revenue of $2.66
Stocks moving in the Premarket included:
Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:
) was up 19.96 percent in premarket trade following the
announcement of Coca-Cola's investment in the company. Transocean
) was up 0.82 percent in premarket trade after rising 1.52 percent
over the past five days. General Electric (NYSE:
) gained 0.58 percent in premarket trade after gaining 1.49 percent
over the past week. Target (NYSE:
) was down 1.77 percent in premarket trade after rising 0.82
percent on Thursday.
Notable earnings releases expected on Friday include:
Estee Lauder Companies (NYSE:
) is expected to report second quarter EPS of $0.56 on revenue of
$2.66 billion, compared to last year's EPS of $0.24 on revenue of
$2.41 billion. Economics
Notable economic releases expected on Friday include U.S.
industrial production, U.S. PPI and British GDP.
For a recap of Thursday's market action, click .
Tune into Benzinga's #PreMarket Prep today to hear Rachel
Shasha, Nate Tobik & Tim Melvin by clicking
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