NEW YORK, May 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. markets started the week weaker due to mounting pressure from the U.S.-China trade war. The tensions rattled throughout global markets on Monday, which sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower by 160 points or 0.6%. In addition, the Nasdaq Composite declined by 1.6% due to pressure on chipmakers and U.S. technology companies. Major tech giants cut off supply agreements, stirring fear in investors that the trade war tensions were elevating. For instance, Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) cut off Huawei's access to a variety of Google services such as the Android system, Google Play store, and popular apps such as YouTube and Gmail. Google's response came shortly after the U.S. issued a trade blacklist, which banned American companies from selling to Huawei without a proper U.S. government license. However, despite the tensions surrounding Huawei, U.S. stocks began to recover on Tuesday after the U.S. government granted the Company a temporary reprieve on restrictions. Leading into Wednesday, markets pulled back once again after several weaker-than-expected corporate retail earnings and the Federal Reserve's minutes were released. The Fed's minutes highlighted that officials were comfortable with the central bank's accommodative policies, even though it was split on the outlook for interest rates. Markets continued to slip again leading into Thursday after the U.S.-China trade tensions arose once again. Beijing officials told the U.S. that it would need to correct its "wrong actions" in order for the two negotiate trade talks, especially after the U.S. blacklisted Huawei. Sprint Corporation (NYSE: S), Kohl's Corporation (NYSE: KSS), Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM), Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT), L Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LB)
The elevating tensions between the U.S. and China caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to tumble by as much as 388.4 points or 1.5% during the early trading session on Thursday. The S&P 500 declined by 38.91 points or 1.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite pulled back by 124.2 points or 1.6%. The tensions between the U.S. and China flared up again after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to raise tariffs against China from 10% to 25% on certain goods. In retaliation, China also said it would raise tariffs by as much as 25% on products that are currently taxed 5% to 10%. "It has moved into a broader trade war. Initially, it was about tariffs and retaliation, now you're talking about banning companies and it's not looking good in the near-term," said Scott Brown, Chief Economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida. "If you look at the U.S. economy a lot of the growth in earnings comes from what's happening overseas. Now we see that's not been helpful and as the domestic economy slows more than expected, that also could have a negative impact."
Sprint Corporation (NYSE: S) witnessed its share surge by 22% on Monday morning after the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Aji Pai recommended the merger between the wireless communications provider and T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS). Pai recommends the USD 26.5 Billion merger because it would greatly accelerate the development and deployment of 5G technology in the U.S. However, both the FCC and the Justice Department's approval are needed in order for the merger to close. It was reported on Wednesday that the Justice Department antitrust division staff has recommended that the agency file a lawsuit to block the merger, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Kohl's Corporation (NYSE: KSS) reported its quarterly financial results before the market open on Tuesday. The retailer missed earnings estimates and slashed its guidance, causing shares to plunge by 12% shortly after the opening bell. For the quarter, Kohl's reported earnings of USD 0.61 per share on revenues of USD 4.09 Billion. Analysts forecasted earnings of USD 0.68 per share on revenues of USD 3.94 Billion. The weaker quarter was driven by Kohl's declining comparable sales. Within the quarter, the Company reported a comparable sales loss of 3.4% compared to a growth of 3.6% the same quarter last year. As a result of Kohl's weaker-than-expected quarter, the Company cut its full-year earnings forecast from the range between USD 5.80 and USD 6.15 per share to USD 5.15 to USD 5.45 per share. Analysts are estimating earnings of USD 6.04 per share.
Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) shares tanked by 11.3% on Monday morning after a federal judge ruled that the Company had violated antitrust laws. U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh issued litigation against the Company, siding with a previous lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission back in early 2017. Koh noted that Qualcomm was using unlawful practices to license patents for modems used in mobile phones. As a result, Koh ruled that Qualcomm must license its patents to rival chipmakers at a fair and reasonable price. Qualcomm cannot sign exclusive agreements either with smartphone makers that block other rivals from selling their chips. As a result, Qualcomm must submit to monitoring for the next seven years to ensure it abides by the rulings. Additionally, Qualcomm must also renegotiate its major deals and change how it handles business matters.
Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) reported its first quarter financial results before the market open on Wednesday. The retailer surpassed analysts' estimates which sent shares higher by 9.48%. For the quarter, Target reported earnings of USD 1.53 per share on revenue of USD 17.63 Billion. Analysts expected earnings of USD 1.43 per share on revenue of USD 17.52 Billion. Target's stronger-than-expected quarter was primarily due to increased comparable sales both in-store and digitally. Target reported that same-store sales grew by 4.8% on traffic growth of 4.3% for the first quarter. Analysts expected a growth of 4.2%. Digital channel sales grew by 42% compared to 28% in the same quarter last year.
L Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LB) shares spiked by 14.8% on Thursday morning after the Company reported better-than-expected quarterly financial results. The owner of Victoria's Secret reported earnings of USD 0.14 per share on revenue of USD 2.63 Billion. L Brands' earnings came in-line with estimates, while revenue surpassed expectations of USD 2.56 Billion. The stronger-than-expected quarter was primarily led by L Brand's Bath & Bodyworks segment, which witnessed its comparable sales increased by 13%. Meanwhile, Victoria's Secret comparable sales fell by 5%. L Brands raised the lower end range of its earnings guidance for fiscal 2019 due to the stronger quarter. For 2019, L Brands is expecting earnings between USD 2.30 to USD 2.60 per share, up from its previous forecast of USD 2.20 to USD 2.60 per share.
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