Wall Street slips after Jerome Powell sees strengthening economy, rising inflation

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, testifies during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 27, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 27 February 2018

Wall Street slips after Jerome Powell sees strengthening economy, rising inflation

NEW YORK: Wall Street’s main indexes fell in choppy trading on Tuesday as US bond yields rose after new Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the economy was strengthening and that inflation would rise.
Following his comments, traders of US short-term interest rate futures began pricing in a higher chance of a fourth rate hike this year, based on a Reuters analysis.
The benchmark US 10-year Treasury yields rose to a session high of 2.914 percent.
“Pretty much the market is going to be fluttering back and forth in both directions based on things he says today, so it doesn’t surprise me too much,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
“It’s his first speech and the market is already in a higher volatility phase.”
In his prepared remarks, Powell had hinted that the central bank would stick to its current path of gradual rate hikes despite the added stimulus of tax cuts and government spending.
Powell’s testimony comes at a sensitive time for the market, which has swayed wildly in recent weeks on inflation fears.
Stocks have recovered much of their losses from the early February sell-off, when they shed more than 10 percent.
At 11:21 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 20.34 points, or 0.08 percent, at 25,688.93, the S&P 500 was down 7.08 points, or 0.254713 percent, at 2,772.52 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 28.97 points, or 0.39 percent, at 7,392.50.
US cable giant Comcast offered to buy Sky for $31 billion in an unsolicited approach, taking on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Bob Iger’s Walt Disney in the battle for Europe’s biggest pay-TV group.
Comcast fell 5.2 percent, while Walt Disney dropped 3.1 percent and Twenty-First Century Fox 1.9 percent, dragging down the S&P consumer discretionary index.
In a big week for retail earnings, Macy’s reported higher-than-expected same-store sales growth for the fourth quarter. Its shares jumped 11 percent.
Fitbit slumped more than 10 percent after the wearable device maker forecast current-quarter results below estimates.
Luxury builder Toll Brothers’ shares rose 1.2 percent after it reported quarterly profit that beat analysts’ estimates as it sold more homes at higher prices.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,595 to 990. On the Nasdaq, 1,434 issues rose and 965 fell.


Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

Updated 14 October 2019

Struggling WeWork mulls bailout deals with SoftBank, JP Morgan

TOKYO: Under-pressure start-up WeWork is considering two huge bailout plans including a cash injection that could see Japanese investment titan SoftBank take control of the firm, according to reports.
The office-sharing giant had been on course for a massive initial public offering until last month when questions began to be asked over its governance and profit outlook.
The firm’s valuation plunged from $47 billion in January to less than $20 billion in September and the listing plans have been dropped, while co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down as chief executive.
With New York-based parent company We Co. not expected to push for the IPO this year, the cash-strapped firm is looking for a financial lifeline.
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg News cited unnamed sources close to the talks as saying SoftBank — the US firm’s biggest shareholder — had drawn up a proposal that gives it full control of WeWork.
The move would dilute the voting power of Neumann, who remains as chairman of the company he started in 2010 and also currently maintains control a majority of voting shares.
They also reported that WeWork is looking at a deal with Wall Street giant JP Morgan to raise $5 billion in debt, with the Times saying directors of We would be meeting as soon as Monday afternoon to discuss that.
“WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange financing,” the Journal reported a company spokesman as saying.
“Approximately 60 financing sources have signed confidentiality agreements and are meeting with the company’s management and its bankers over the course of this past week and this coming week.”
The New York-based startup that launched in 2010 has touted itself as revolutionizing commercial real estate by offering shared, flexible workspace arrangements, and has operations in 111 cities in 29 countries.
However, the company, which lost $1.9 billion last year, has faced skepticism over its ability to make money, especially if the global economy slows significantly.