Unexpectedly Strong Retail Sales Pull Markets Back from the Brink
Financial Daily Dose 5.27.2022
May 27, 2022
Target and Walmart may have taken it on the chin last quarter, but solid results from other retailers—from Macy’s to the Dollars (Tree and General)—“defied Wall Street’s expectations” and helped boost stocks on Thursday. The gains “put the S&P 500 on track to snap a stretch of weekly losses that had gone on seven consecutive weeks and had pushed the index to the brink of a bear market” - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and MarketWatch
Broadcom has moved forward with the potential deal we reported earlier this week and will purchase software company VMWare “in a transaction valued at $61 billion that would reshuffle the vast market for enterprise computing technology.” The acquisition clocks in as the year’s second-largest, not too far behind Microsoft’s $75B play for Activision Blizzard - NYTimes and WSJ and Bloomberg and Law360
Not content to let Lina Khan’s FTC have all of the antitrust fun, Tom Vilsack an the Ag Department are out with a proposed rule aimed at leveling the playing field in the poultry industry, where a “handful of meat processors” dominate the scene. The rule “would require companies to disclose certain details to farmers, like how pay is calculated; how much feed, chicks and supplies are provided to other growers; and where the farmers rank under a performance-based system that determines how they are paid” - NYTimes
Big Four mainstay Ernst & Young is reportedly mulling a “world-wide split of its audit and advisory businesses, amid regulatory scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest in the profession.” The move would mark the “biggest structural change at a Big Four firm since Arthur Andersen fell apart some 20 years ago” - WSJ
Because actions have consequences—even for Elon—a group of Twitter shareholders has filed a proposed class action against the Tesla CEO alleging that he “tried to create doubt about his planned deal to buy the social media company in order to do so at a lower price, causing Twitter’s valuation to drop by $8 billion” – Law360
U.S. mortgage rates have fallen to 5.1%, the biggest drop since 2020, “offering homebuyers a slight reprieve from this year’s massive surge in borrowing costs” that has brought a noticeable chill to a years-long hot streak in the housing market - Bloomberg
Well, so much for Carl’s turn as a vegan warrior. After a much-publicized campaign (at least in the business sections) by activist Carl Icahn to force the McDonald’s Board of Directors to improve its treatment of the animals used in its food products, Icahn’s hand-picked slate of board nominees garnered “only about 1 percent of investor votes” - NYTimes and WSJ and Law360
Bolt, the payments startup exposed by the Times for its CEO’s penchant for “inflat[ing] metrics and overstat[ing] Bolt’s technological capabilities in pursuit of ever higher valuations,” has begun laying off employees. Current CEO Maju Kuruvilla blamed “structural changes” and “macro challenges” for the terminations - NYTimes
You can have your Goodfellas and Casinos. Over here, we’ll embrace the mildly mawkish and bid our farewell to Ray Liotta with a cornfield in the background - Movieclips
Stay safe, and have a great holiday weekend. We’ll see you back here next week.
The Robins Kaplan Financial Daily Dose features top stories and latest news headlines in financial markets, banking, securities and technology topics.
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