​he University of Michigan has released its preliminary survey of consumer sentiment for September. The index reading came in at 92.0, a gain from the 89.8 reading in August. While this was an improvement even with the trade war weighing on the minds of consumers, Dow Jones and Econoday were both showing an economist consensus estimate of 91.0. This rebound also is coming off a low that had not been seen in nearly three years.

One issue that cannot be ignored is just how deeply each person’s politics plays into “sentiment” at any given time. The survey had a table showing the readings of sentiment for Democrats, Republicans and independents, and the readings are so far apart that it’s fair to ask if sentiment and confidence are even relevant. Through time, and without much surprise, those who identify as independent voters tend to be in between the views of Democrats and Republicans.

According to the University of Michigan, the current conditions index rose to 106.9 from 105.3 and the future expectations index rose to 82.4 from 79.9. Some 38% of all consumers made spontaneous references to the negative impact of tariffs in the U.S./China trade war, and those who negatively mentioned tariffs also were more negative about the economy and anticipated a rise in inflation and unemployment.

As far as how this report is calculated, the Consumer Survey Center asks questions to 600 households each month (versus roughly 3,000 for the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index) about their financial conditions and views about the economy. The report is viewed as a live gauge on the economy because roughly 70% of gross domestic product in the United States is tied to consumer spending activities. This is a preliminary reading, and the revision and update will be announced in two weeks.




​Is a residential building in New York City 95 stories tall, or is it 86 stories? Many of the richest people in the world opt to buy apartments for the prestige of living at the top of some of the world’s tallest buildings. However, several are not as tall as the builders say they are.

The New York Post recently investigated moves by developers to market buildings with almost 100 floors The ultrarich want to say they live near the top of the world. What the writers found is “that developers are fudging numbers to accommodate them.” The writers also found that the practice was widespread, particularly among the very tallest buildings. The most egregious case may be at what is probably the highest residential building in the world. In New York City’s 432 Park Avenue, the 96th floor is really the 88th.

How do developers “add” floors to buildings? One way is lobby height. Some buildings have lobbies which are several stories tall which take up several floors. A story can be as little as 10 feet or as many as 15 depending on who is measuring. Developers have used ceiling heights of as little as eight feet to measure how high a skyscraper is, although the actual floors are taller.

Another way that developers add floors to a building is to include floors with building mechanical systems like air conditioning, electricity, and systems that support infrastructure. These can be several stories tall but are not habitable. Yet another trick is the typical elimination of the 13th floor to accommodate people who believe that 13 is an unlucky number. All of a sudden, the 13th is the 14th.

The first use of the trick to make buildings seem taller than they are in terms of floor count may have begun when developer Harry Macklowe built the Metropolitan Tower on New York’s Central Park in 1985. The Post reports that “Macklowe advertised the building as having 78 floors when it really has 66.”

How much money is at stake?  Billionaire hedge fund owner Ken Griffin paid $238 million for the penthouse at 220 Central Park earlier this year. It was the most ever paid for a residence in the U.S. The building is 950 feet tall, which makes it one of the tallest in New York but not quite one of the tallest in the world which are in places spread from Taiwan to several cities in China. Griffin may want to check what floors he is buying.


Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) said Wednesday that it is recalling 13,896 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator sport utility vehicles delivered to U.S. dealers and 239 of the vehicles delivered in Canada to repair a transmission problem. The company said that it is aware of one incident related to the issue that occurred while the vehicle was being transported during production and that the incident did not result in any injuries.

Federal regulations require a manual park release cover to be installed and only removable with a special tool. If the cover is missing, the manual park release lever may be accidentally activated resulting in unintended vehicle movement if the electronic park brake is not applied. Such movement increases the risk of a crash.

A related issue is that the instrument cluster of the affected vehicles may have been left in factory mode. In this state, warning alerts and chimes don’t work and do not display the transmission’s gear positions (PRNDL), nor which gear is selected. Federal rules require gear positions and selected gear to be displayed whenever the shifter is not in the park position.

The affected Ford Explorers were built at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant between March 27 and July 24 of this year. The Lincoln Aviators were built at the same plant between April 10 and July 24.[Charles Schwab]
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Ford said dealers would fix the problems before the vehicles are delivered to customers. Dealers will check to see if a manual park release cover is installed and install one if needed. They also will verify that the instrument cluster has not been left in factory mode and clear any diagnostic codes.

The company’s stock closed up 2.7% on Tuesday at $9.48 but traded down about 0.8% in the first half-hour of Wednesday’s regular session at $9.40. The stock’s 52-week range is $7.41 to $10.56, and the 12-month consensus price target is $10.86.

The share price dip likely is due to a weak futures market Wednesday morning following more interest-rate easing and raising concerns over the effect of an escalating trade war on the global economy. Industrial stocks are being hit especially hard.


Copyright ©​ Daniel Cullinane CPA.


Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), which struggled with investors earlier this year, posted an impressive share price increase after it launched the new iPhone 11 and Apple TV+. The rally last week pushed its stock to $218.75, which is up 38.7% this year. That is better than any other of the 30 Dow Jones industrial average components. The Dow is up 16.7% for the same period to 27,219.52.

The new product launches were indeed the tonic the stock needed. It had sold down sharply in mid-summer after Apple announced earnings. The mainstay of revenue, the iPhone, continued to weaken as the iPhone X series did poorly, particularly in the world’s largest wireless market, China. The trade war better China and the United States also dragged on the stock, as anxiety about Apple supply chain interruptions grew. Apple sources many parts of the iPhone from companies in China.

Apple’s management argued that its Services business would replace the iPhone as the company’s growth engine. It is not an easy argument to make. Services revenue in Apple’s most recently reported quarter was $11.5 billion, out of a companywide total of $53.8 billion. iPhone sales totaled $26 billion.

The launch of Apple TV+ is critical to the new strategy. Apple already has a huge music store. Its app store is by far the largest in the industry. By some estimates, total apps downloaded since the store started are more than 130 billion. Many experts believe that app sales cannot continue to grow at rates they have over the past decade.

All this means that Apple’s bet on TV is absolutely critical. At $4.99 for the first month after a seven-day free trial, it is aggressively priced compared to industry leaders Amazon and Netflix, which have price points of $12.99 a month. Apple’s management has gambled that, although its library of content is limited compared to the leaders, the low price, the Apple brand and the hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads and Macs in the world are large enough base to which it can market its streaming service.

A significant number of investors have bought into Apple’s new iPhone and services plan. Its market cap is back near the $1 trillion level. When it announces earnings in the upcoming weeks, that likely will be the catalyst to keep Apple’s share growth rate well ahead of the Dow’s — or to drag it back down


​Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) reported second-quarter 2019 results before markets opened Wednesday. The aerospace company posted an adjusted diluted earnings loss of $5.82 on revenues of $15.75 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $3.33 per share on revenues of $24.26 billion. Second-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $1.87 and $18.55 billion in revenues.

The company’s net loss totaled $2.94 billion in the latest quarter, compared with a profit of $2.2 billion in the second quarter of last year.

Last week, Boeing announced that it would take a pretax charge of $5.6 billion in the second quarter to provide for a reserve to meet customer claims related to the grounding of the company’s 737 Max, so poor quarterly performance was expected. Perhaps just not this poor. The pretax charge and lower delivery rate reduced revenue by $5.6 billion and earnings by $8.74 a share.

Second-quarter adjusted operating loss was reported at a negative $3.75 billion. In the year-ago quarter, profit totaled $2.39 billion. Operating cash flow fell from $4.68 billion in the year-ago quarter to negative $590 million, while free cash flow in the second quarter of 2018 was $4.3 billion compared with a negative $1.01 billion last quarter.

The company’s debt climbed from $12.6 billion at the end of the 2019 first quarter to $17.3 billion at the end of June. Cash on hand rose from $6.8 billion to $9.2 billion in the same period thanks to the new debt. On Monday, Moody’s lowered its outlook for Boeing debt to negative with a rather caustic comment: “The crashes [of two 737 Max aircraft] and grounding have widened a lens on Boeing’s corporate governance and culture.”

Contrary to some expectations, Boeing did not revise its outlook for the year, instead choosing to repeat its previous statement: “The previously issued 2019 financial guidance does not reflect 737 MAX impacts. Due to the uncertainty of the timing and conditions surrounding return to service of the 737 MAX fleet, new guidance will be issued at a future date.”

CEO Dennis Muilenburg said:

This is a defining moment for Boeing and we remain focused on our enduring values of safety, quality, and integrity in all that we do, as we work to safely return the 737 MAX to service. During these challenging times, teams across our enterprise continue to perform at a high level while delivering on commitments and capturing new opportunities driven by strong, long-term fundamentals.

Boeing also noted that even though it continues to target late 2020 for first deliveries of its new 777X dual-aisle passenger jet, “there is significant risk to this schedule given engine challenges, which are delaying first flight until early 2020.” Boeing should also count on stricter reviews from civil aviation authorities following the 737 Max disasters.

The company’s defense, space and security segment reported revenues of $6.61 billion, up 8% year over year with profits up 159% to $975 million. Boeing’s global services segment posted revenues of $4.54 billion, a jump of 11%, with profit rising 14% to $687 million.

Analysts have forecast third-quarter EPS of $2.20 and revenues of $20.55 billion. For the full year, current estimates call for EPS of $13.11 and revenues of $91.73 billion. These almost certainly will be revised downward.

Boeing’s deferred production costs on the 787 program fell to $20.97 billion, down by $1.06 billion sequentially. Tooling and other non-recurring costs for the program also declined, from $2.53 billion at the end of the first quarter to $2.35 billion.

The company’s backlog of commercial jets now stands at over 5,500 airplanes valued at $390 billion at contract (not list) prices. The value of the backlog slipped by $9 billion sequentially.

The big unknown for Boeing is when the 737 Max will be allowed to fly again. Most recent estimates put the date late in the fourth quarter. Until then, the company will be negotiating compensation with its customers, most likely in the form of discounts on future deliveries. More bad news could be on the way for the current quarter.

Boeing’s shares traded down about 1.3% in early trading to $368.21, in a 52-week range of $292.47 to $446.01. The consensus price target as of last night was $413.57


​Stocks have been volatile, but the S&P 500 is somehow back within about 2% of its all-time highs and the major market indexes are all up easily in the double-digit percentages in 2019. Stocks were indicated to have a slightly lower open on Tuesday, but not by enough that the day’s outcome seemed certain. With all the volatility swings in the stock market, and considering that the bull market is well over 10 years, investors should be pondering what changes they should make for their portfolios and assets heading into late 2019 and as 2020 approaches.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find new ideas for traders and long-term investors alike. Some of the daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy, while some cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

We have provided these calls in a quick-hit summary for easy reading, and additional comments and trading data have been added on some of the calls. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations for Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AJRD) was started with a Neutral rating and a $52 target price at JPMorgan. The stock closed down 1.8% at $50.66 on Monday, and it had a consensus target price of $51.75.

Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that this consumer banking and lending institution is less exposed to low interest rate concerns than the competition. Shares most recently closed at $34.20, with a consensus price target of $38.43.

Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight and the target price was cut to $46 from $64 at Piper Jaffray. Altria closed up 0.4% at $44.04 on Monday and was indicated down the same amount on Tuesday. It previously had a consensus target price of $56.36, and its 52-week trading range is $42.40 to $66.04.

American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) was reiterated as Underweight and the price target was lowered to $25 from $26 (versus a $28.44 close, after a 2.3% gain) at Morgan Stanley. Its consensus target was $38.47 ahead of this call, with a 52-week trading range of $24.23 to $43.89.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) closed up 1.5% at $36.79 on Monday after Elliott Management took a stake and is seeking to make changes. Barclays maintained its Equal Weight rating but raised its target to $35 from $31.

Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AUPH) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $14 target price (versus a $5.80 close) at Oppenheimer. It had a consensus target price of $11.92 and a $523 million market cap ahead of the call.

Banco de Chile (NYSE: BCH) was started with a Neutral rating and assigned a $29 target price for the American depositary shares at Goldman Sachs. It closed down 0.7% at $28.81 on Monday.

Craft Brew Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: BREW) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that Budweiser passed on this small brewer and investors should too. Its shares last closed at $9.30, with a consensus price target of $73.75.

Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Bernstein.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) saw its corporate credit rating and other subsidiary ratings downgraded to junk bond status at Moody’s after the close of trading on Monday. While that was a credit downgrade rather than an equity downgrade, Ford shares closed up 2.1% at $9.54 ahead of the cut and were last seen down 4.4% at $9.13, based on the implied higher borrowing costs that the automaker is now likely to face without its investment-grade rating. Ford’s consensus target price was $10.73, and it has a 52-week range of $7.41 to $10.56.

IDEAYA Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: IDYA) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $30 target price (versus a $7.10 close) at Robert W. Baird. The shares have a 52-week range of $5.42 to $16.90, the market cap is $142 million and the consensus target price is $17.00, with and a street-high target of $20

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (NYSE: IFF) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $140 target price at Societe Generale. IFF closed up 1.7% at $119.93, with a 52-week range of $104.86 to $152.95 and a consensus analyst target of $135.83.

Marathon Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: MPC) was maintained as Overweight but the target price was lowered to $62 from $74 at JPMorgan.

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was reiterated as Overweight and its target price was raised to $58 from $45 (versus a $49.13 close) at KeyBanc Capital Markets. The consensus target price was $48.74 ahead of this call, and the 52-week trading range is $28.39 to $50.00.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) was started as Neutral with a $220 target price (versus a $211.18 close) at Rosenblatt. It had a consensus target price of $263.44.

Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) was maintained as Overweight but the target price was lowered to $115 from $126 at JPMorgan.

Qualys Inc. (NASDAQ: QLYS) was started as Neutral with an $85 target price (versus a $79.35 close) at Rosenblatt. The consensus target price was $95.29.

Shopify Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) was reiterated as Neutral with a $325 price target at Wedbush Securities, but the firm did note that the acquisition of 6 River Systems will help with warehouse fulfillment automation. Shares closed down 5.7% at $358.67 on Monday.

Turning Point Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: TPTX) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $63 target price (versus a $42.75 close) at Wedbush. The firm called the shares undervalued as it believes the company’s portfolio of selective TKIs for cancers (driven by alterations in ROS1, NTRK, ALK, MET and RET, which in aggregate affect about 45,000 new patients each year in the United States) offers blockbuster and best-in-class potential over current and emerging alternatives.

Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) was maintained as Overweight but the target price was lowered to $83 from $96 at JPMorgan.

Wabtec Corp. (NYSE: WAB) was started as Equal Weight with a $73 target price (versus a $70.38 close) at Morgan Stanley.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy with a $49 target price (versus a $48.41 close, after a 2.6% gain) at UBS. It has a consensus target price of $48.50 and a 52-week trading range of $43.02 to $57.56.

Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: WLL) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy and the price objective was slashed to $11 from $19 (versus an $8.04 close, after a 10.6% one-day gain) at Merrill Lynch. The stock was indicated down 1%, and its consensus target price was $19.20. The 52-week trading range is $6.00 to $55.17.

Zscaler Inc. (NASDAQ: ZS) was started as Neutral with a $65 target price (versus a $62.02 close) at Rosenblatt. It had a consensus target price of $80.56, and its 52-week trading range is $30.72 to $89.54.

ALSO READ: Ford Credit Rating Downgraded From Investment Grade to Junk Bond

With the endless media calls for a recession, we have compiled a list of the calls from economists and market pundits and have received some direct commentary after requests from some economists as well. Here are the actual developments rather than the overused blank “recession” call the media is using to show an expected timing and how deep the next recession actually might be.

Small business confidence from the National Federation of Independent Business also eroded in the last look.

Monday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades included Apple, Caterpillar, Costco, Chipotle Mexican Grill, eBay, Groupon, Honeywell, Mastercard, Newmont Goldcorp, Roku, Zoetis and more..

Two government-sponsored entities (GSEs) hold about half of the nation’s mortgage debt. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as the GSEs are known, were placed under Department of the Treasury conservatorship in 2007 when the federal government rescued the two agencies with $191 billion in bailout funding.

Although these GSEs are once again profitable and have paid the Treasury more than $300 billion in dividends over the past several years, they remain under Treasury control and taxpayers may have to bail the firms out once more if the U.S. housing market turns sour again.

For more than 10 years, there have been discussions about what to do with Fannie and Freddie, and the Trump administration has finally delivered a plan it claims protects taxpayers against future bailouts of the GSEs, preserves the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and “helps hardworking Americans fulfill their goal of buying a home.”

The administration’s plan has three major components: return Fannie and Freddie to private control after recapitalizing them, create an explicit federal guarantee of the mortgage-backed securities issued by the GSEs and create more private companies to compete with Fannie and Freddie for mortgage purchases.

The bonds issued by Fannie and Freddie have never had an explicit guarantee backed by the federal government, but investors always acted as if such a guarantee was in place. As it turns out, when push came to shove during the housing crisis, investors were right. Making the guarantee explicit may be required in order to attract investors to the GSE bonds. The administration’s plan would extend the federal guarantee to “any other FHFA-approved guarantors of [mortgage-backed securities] collateralized by eligible conventional mortgage loans or eligible multifamily mortgage loans (each GSE and competitor, a ‘guarantor’).”

Before that happens, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives will have to agree on what role the GSEs play in the U.S. housing market. Democrats who control the House want the companies to increase the number of less-wealthy borrowers who want to buy homes. Republicans who control the Senate generally resist affordable-housing policies, and some want the federal government out of the mortgage market altogether. This is the big reason that the GSEs remain under the Treasury’s thumb 11 years after being put there.

Recapitalizing Fannie and Freddie won’t come cheap either. Existing investors, including Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management and Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Funds, will expect a big payday for holding onto shares they bought for pennies in 2008 and still own. Fannie and Freddie could recapitalize themselves, but that could take another decade. That leaves either another infusion of federal funds or privatization of one or both GSEs. A total of $200 billion in recapitalization funding is not out of line, and the total could go higher.

Creating more competitors in the secondary mortgage market would have “several compelling benefits,” according to the Treasury report. Among these are helping protect taxpayers against bailing Fannie and Freddie out of the soup again, leveling the playing field for private competitors by guaranteeing private sector loans as well as GSE loans, subsidies on loans would be passed through to borrowers rather than shareholders and promoting innovation in the mortgage lending business.

The Treasury Department’s proposal is long on generalities and short on specifics. Bill Alpert at Barron’s noted 242 appearances of the subjunctive “should,” compared to just 23 occurrences of the active “will.” Given the bitter political division in the federal government, it is unlikely that a major overhaul will take place ahead of the 2020 elections, although there are some things the administration can accomplish by executive order. Even if the political divide magically disappeared, the details missing from the Treasury report could take years to iron out

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on Wednesday announced that the Federal Reserve will lower its policy interest rate from a prior range of 2% to 2.25% to a new range of 1.75% to 2%. The FOMC cited solid job gains, the low unemployment rate, strong household spending as indicators of “moderate” growth in economic activity.

Seven committee members, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell, voted to reduce the fed funds rate while three members voted against the change. James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, wanted a cut to a new range of 1.5% to 1.75% while Esther George, president of the Kansas City Fed and Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Fed, wanted the prior rate left unchanged.

The Fed also released its latest economic projections. The bank expects 2019  GDP growth of 2.1% to 2.4%, an increase of 0.1 points to the lower end of the June projection. The low-end of the 2020 GDP growth projection rose by 0.2 points to 1.7% while the high end remained unchanged at 2.3%. The projection for 2021 also rose by 0.2 points at the low end to 1.7% while the high end remained at 2.1%. The first projection for 2022 growth came in at 1.6% to 2.1% and the longer-term projection was unchanged at 1.7% to 2.1%.

Unemployment is expected to remain low, in a range of 3.5% to 3.8% for this year and 3.3% to 4% next year. Both estimates are unchanged from June. Core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) inflation is projected to fall in a range of 1.6% to 1.8% this year and 1.7% to 2.1% next year. The Fed funds rate range for this year is projected at 1.6% to 2.1%, a sharp drop from the June projection of 1.9% to 2.6%.[Charles Schwab]
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Some analysts had been expecting (hoping for?) another round of quantitative easing, but the FOMC did not go down that road. The President was also among those disappointed by the Fed’s decision:

Donald J. Trump

Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No “guts,” no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!

2:25 PM - Sep 18, 2019
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Others, including former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and co-author Anna Stansbury, have argued that central banks, including the Fed, have reached the limit of what they can accomplish by tweaking monetary policy with the goal of setting inflation rates:

There are strong reasons to believe that the capacity of lower interest rates to stimulate the economy has been attenuated – or even gone into reverse. … What is needed are admissions of impotence, in order to spur efforts by governments to promote demand through fiscal policies and other means.

Markets reacted badly to the FOMC announcement and to the implied decision to cut rates just once more this year. The Dow dropped about 0.6% to 26,94418 after making an initial move higher. The S&P 500 index is down about 0.7% for the day at 2,984.55 and Nasdaq Composite has dropped about a full point to 8,102.42.

While most of Wall Street focuses on large and mega cap stocks, as they provide a degree of safety and liquidity, many investors are limited in the number of shares they can buy. Often the biggest public companies, especially the technology giants, trade in the low-to-mid hundreds, all the way up to over $1,000 per share. At those steep prices, it’s pretty hard to get any decent share count leverage.

Many investors, especially more aggressive traders, look at lower-priced stocks as a way to not only make some good money but to get a higher share count. That can really help the decision-making process, especially when you are on to a winner, as you can always sell half and keep half.

Every week, we screen our 24/7 Wall St. research database looking for stocks with Buy equivalent ratings at major firms and priced under the $10 level (last week’s picks included Callon Petroleum and Tellurian), and this week was no exception. We found five more stocks that could provide investors with some solid upside potential. While more suited for aggressive accounts, they could prove exciting additions to portfolios looking for solid alpha potential.


This was the first “smartphone” type company that was buried when Apple released the iPhone. BlackBerry Ltd. (NYSE: BB) continues transitioning from a mobile hardware provider to a mobile-focused security software and services company. Its portfolio of products includes BlackBerry Secure Unified Endpoint Management, crisis communication, corporate asset tracking, cybersecurity services and other secure collaboration software and communication technologies.

The company also licenses its brand/IP for mobile devices, and its QNX business provides leading embedded software systems. Earlier this year BlackBerry named Bryan Palma as president and chief operating officer. Palma was most recently Cisco’s senior vice president and general manager of customer experience for the Americas. Before joining Cisco, he was the vice president of cyber and security solutions at Boeing.

Scotia Bank has a $10 price objective. The Wall Street consensus target is $10.34, and the shares traded on Friday’s close at $7.54.[Active PK]

See MFord

This venerable automotive giant remains a solid value play now, and demand could jump with a trade deal with China paving the way. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is one of the world’s largest vehicle producers, with over 6 million units manufactured and sold globally. The company has made significant progress executing on its One Ford plan and delivering best-in-class vehicles.

Ford also remains committed to positioning itself well within the evolving auto industry through balanced investments across electrification, autonomy and mobility services. Ford is among the car brands with the most loyal customers.

While Ford continues to struggle amid a volatile global market, exacerbated by some perceived critical missteps, some of that may partially abate this year. Recently Moody’s downgraded Ford’s credit rating from investment-grade (Baa3) to junk (Ba1) status, assigning an outlook of Stable. The rating downgrade impact is somewhat de minimis, but it may be a harbinger of future downgrades and challenges. Merrill Lynch did not disagree with the concerns raised by Moody’s but believe much of these are priced into Ford stock.

Shareholders receive an outstanding 6.47% dividend, though it may be lowered ahead. Merrill has a $13 price target and the consensus target is lower at $10.73. The shares closed on Friday at $9.17.

​General Electric

If any stock has taken a beating over the past two years, it has been this former industrial powerhouse. General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) businesses are organized broadly under seven segments: Power, Renewable Energy, Energy Connections, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation and GE Capital. The company’s products and services include power generation equipment, aircraft engines, locomotives, medical equipment, compressors and others. Over half of the business is tied to service and aftermarket support.

Last year the venerable American industrial giant got the ultimate humiliation of being removed from the Dow Jones industrial average after a stay of over 100 years.

The massive restructuring and debt reduction plans that have been announced come after years of acquisitions and changes in the core business at GE, and in some cases what many on Wall Street thought were ill-advised moves by the former CEO Jeff Immelt. The company’s once dependable dividend has been chopped to $0.04 a share and may be eliminated altogether at some point.

GE investors receive just a 0.42% dividend. Wolfe Research’s $14 price target compares to the consensus target of $10.76. The shares closed at $9.37 on Friday.


This telecommunications company once ruled the cell phone arena, until the advent of the smartphone in 2007. Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) owns two main businesses: 1) Nokia Networks, a network infrastructure equipment supplier to global wireless and wireline operators, and 2) Technologies, its patent/IPR licensing activities.

Recently, Nokia, NTT Docomo and Omron agreed to conduct joint field trials using 5G at their plants and other production sites. As part of the trial, Nokia will provide the enabling 5G technology and Omron the factory automation equipment, while NTT Docomo will run the 5G trial.

The trial follows the increasing demand for wireless communications at manufacturing sites driven by the need for stable connectivity between Internet of Things devices. As background noise from machines and the movement of people have the potential to interfere with wireless communications, the trial will aim to verify the reliability and stability of 5G technology deployed by conducting radio wave measurements and transmission experiments.

The stock is on the Merrill Lynch US 1 list, and the firm’s $7.10 price objective compares with a $6.62 consensus estimate. The stock was last trading at $5.29.24/7 Wall St.
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Sirius XM

Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) is a satellite radio operator serving the U.S. market that has more than 140 channels of music and talk programming. The company provides services for a monthly subscription fee and currently has over 33 subscribers. It also has recently acquired Pandora, an audio streaming business with roughly 70 million active users.

Sirius creates and offers commercial-free music; premier sports talk and live events; comedy; news; exclusive talk and entertainment; and a wide range of Latin music, sports and talk programming. Sirius is available in vehicles from every major car company and on smartphones and other connected devices as well as online.

Sirius is also a leading provider of connected vehicles services, giving customers access to a suite of safety, security and convenience services, including automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery assistance, enhanced roadside assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.

The company reported solid second-quarter results characterized by strong EBITDA growth, which included a positive Pandora contribution and an $898 million stock buyback. Merrill Lynch reset the company’s self-pay subscriber net additions estimate for 2019 to 1 million, versus slightly higher numbers. For 2019, the firm estimates total revenue of $7.8 billion, with an adjusted EBITDA estimate that is now $2.37 billion.

The $8 Merrill price target may be going higher soon. The posted consensus target is $6.92, and shares ended the week at $6.26 apiece.


​Some of the nation’s largest retailers have been battered for years by the rise of e-commerce. Several companies, like Sears, have gone bankrupt. Others, like J.C. Penney, are nowhere near the size they were a decade ago. Several of the healthiest brands based on revenue and strong balance sheets seemed likely to make the transition to the online world.

Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M), 161 years old, appeared to have implemented merchandising and management moves to put it on the right path toward being a successful survivor. Wall Street has changed its opinion of the retailer, pushing its shares down 50% so far this year.

The drop makes Macy’s the worst-performing member of the S&P 500 so far in 2019. To make matters worse for shareholders, the stock is down 61% from its 52-week high.

Until earlier this year, Macy’s had been on a path to renewed growth. Jeff Gennette, chief executive officer since March 2017 and board chair since February 2018, began to close stores and change the focus of what the surviving stores did. The industry thought well enough of Gennette to make him chair of the NRF Foundation, an industry honor. At the end of last year, the press began to seek out Gennette to talk about his formula. In fact, he told Women’s Wear Daily last November that he had a “recipe for success.” That didn’t last long.

Gennette’s formula was a series of programs that, in sum, were focused on an improved balance sheet, a more powerful online presence and much higher sales per square foot in its stores. Some of its lower-performing stores would need to be closed in the name of cost-efficiency. Stores were remodeled, some real estate sold and Macy’s e-commerce lines were broadened and more aggressively promoted. David Swartz of Morningstar describes what went wrong as he examined Macy’s plans, “While the initiatives may be sound, we don’t expect them to bring in vast numbers of new shoppers. We note that Macy’s same-store sales have been weak even as e-commerce has grown. We think Macy’s has been slow to respond to competitive threats.” Swartz believes Macy’s did not close enough stores.

Macy’s also made the kind of mistake that Wall Street punishes most brutally. It lowered its earnings guidance the last time it reported numbers. Investors rely on company guidance to make investment decisions. For the second quarter of this year, revenue was flat at $5.55 billion. However, net income dropped from $166 million to $86 million. The mediocre results were not enough to stand up under the pessimism about the future. Shares plunged and have not recovered.

For those who keep track of store closings by retailer, 24/7 Wall St. follows store count by company and updates the list regularly.

​Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is on the verge of releasing its newest generation of iPhone, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. While the United States is a huge market for Apple, China could play an even bigger role this year, according to one analyst.

Wedbush noted that it is seeing delivery times extend for iPhone 11 preorders across a range of colors and models this week, with its expectations now that iPhone launch units could exceed 75 million (original street expectations were about 70 million) given underlying demand, especially in China.

The base model iPhone 11 currently is seeing preorder activity in the all-important China region that is “roughly double” from a year ago with XR, as it appears the lower price points, dual camera functionality and added colors are hitting the sweet spot for consumers that have waited to upgrade.

To put numbers around this, with Wedbush’s estimation that 60 million to 70 million iPhones in China are currently in the “window of an upgrade opportunity” this is an integral time for Apple to be successful in China and capture these upgrades.

With lower-priced competition across the board, the price cut this time around seems to be a smart strategy for Apple that is already paying dividends, with many Chinese consumers looking at iPhone 11 as the right phone/price points/specs to upgrade, which is key as Huawei and others look to capitalize on the current environment and convert Apple consumers to domestic Chinese smartphones in light of trade tensions.

Wedbush detailed in its report:

With the official launch this Friday with phones hitting the shelves around the world, we expect lines at the flagship stores to exceed the last two releases as roughly 1/3 of the 900 million iPhone users globally have not upgraded their smartphones in more than 3 years and we are modeling many will upgrade to iPhone 11/iPhone 11 Pro this time around. To this point, we now estimate iPhone units could exceed 185 million for FY20 based on the initial demand trajectory out of the gates and show modest YoY growth which is major fuel in the tank as Apple looks to further monetize these customers through services (streaming service launching November 1) as its next leg of growth.

Wedbush reiterated an Outperform rating with a $245 price target, implying upside of 11% from the most recent closing price of $220.70.

Shares of Apple traded up 0.5% to $221.84 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $142.00 to $233.47. The consensus price target is $224.48.


​One issue in calculating the cost over any automobile’s life is the car insurance rates. The cost to buy a car, to keep it fueled (or charged) up and the cost of wear and tear are the first priorities for many drivers. But that the pesky car insurance just has to be considered.

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is not a traditional car company. On top of wanting to skip the traditional car dealership model and sell directly to the public, Tesla announced that it is going to start selling car insurance on its own vehicles.

Tesla Insurance was announced as a competitively priced insurance offering. The company is claiming that Tesla owners will see savings against traditional insurance with up to 20% lower rates. In some cases that saving could even be 30%.

There is of course a catch. Tesla’s announcement indicated that the comprehensive coverage and claims is only being offered to customers located in California, and that the insurance offering will expand to additional U.S. states, in the future.

The company’s news release said:

Because Tesla knows its vehicles best, Tesla Insurance is able to leverage the advanced technology, safety, and serviceability of our cars to provide insurance at a lower cost. This pricing reflects the benefits of Tesla’s active safety and advanced driver assistance features that come standard on all new Tesla vehicles.

Tesla said that its car owners in California can purchase a policy online at the Tesla site in as little as one minute. For new Tesla orders, the company noted that its customers can request a quote before delivery once a vehicle identification number (VIN) has been assigned.

It’s not normal to see a car manufacturer compete with insurance companies to potentially help sell cars. Then again, what’s normal about anything related to Tesla any longer. Taking an economic risk on a car is one thing. Selling the car and taking on risks about the drivers after the car company sells those cars, that’s entirely different



With earnings for the second quarter all but over, and the third quarter of 2019 well underway, many of the top firms we follow on Wall Street are making some changes to the curated lists of stock picks for clients. With the market showing volatility not seen in years, it makes sense to examine the lists and make some changes, as the rest of the year could have additional volatility as the political and geopolitical cycle could prove to be very explosive component.

We regularly watch the Merrill Lynch High Quality & Dividend Yield List of top dividend stock recommendations for changes, and while nothing new was added this week, we did note that the list leans to the more conservative side, and with good reason. Many investors, both large and small, have been selling market strength, so it makes sense to look for low volatility and reliable dividends.

These five stocks on the High Quality & Dividend Yield list offer a higher degree of safety and reliable dividends. Merrill Lynch rates them all as Buy.SPONSORED BY SAMSUNG
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Darden Restaurants

Regardless of interest rate decisions and trade wars, people have to eat, and this company has consistently delivered the goods. Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) is a casual-dining restaurant portfolio company. Its approximately 1,700 restaurants are 100% company-owned and include two large brands: 850 Olive Garden restaurants and 500 LongHorn Steakhouse units. The company’s smaller brands include Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s and Yard House.

The company’s ability to protect margins while driving a strong top line is a sharp contrast to casual dining peers that often struggle to get flow-through in a tough cost backdrop. The Merrill analysts think Darden is well-positioned for an industry shift toward scale, which they think shows up in its capabilities around data analytics and customer insights.

Shareholders receive a 2.89% dividend. Merrill’s price target for the stock is $130, and the Wall Street consensus target is $127.08. The stock ended trading at $121.84 on Thursday.

Emerson Electric

This top stock has been hit hard and offers a tremendous entry point for investors. Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR) is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets.

The company’s Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. The Commercial & Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create a sustainable infrastructure.

Shareholders receive a 3.31% dividend. Merrill has set a $76 price target, while the consensus figure is $72. Shares closed most recently at $59.14.

Public Storage

This self-storage leader always has been a go-to real estate investment trust for investors. Public Storage Inc. (NYSE: PSA) is a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed REIT that primarily acquires, develops, owns and operates self-storage facilities.

As of March 31, 2019, PSA had interests in 2,444 self-storage facilities located in 38 states, with approximately 164 million net rentable square feet in the United States and 35% equity interest in Shurgard, which owned 231 storage facilities located in seven Western European nations, with approximately 13 million net rentable square feet.

Investors receive a 3.05% distribution. The $267 Merrill price target compares with the $237.27 consensus target. The shares closed way above that level on Thursday at $262.24.


This company has a diversified mix of business and remains a favorite at Merrill Lynch. Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) is an industry leader in defense, government electronics, space, information technology and technical services. The company operates in four principal business segments: Integrated Defense Systems, Intelligence, Information and Services, Missile Systems, and Space and Airborne Systems. It is among the companies that make the most from the U.S. government.

On June 9, United Technologies and Raytheon agreed to merge their businesses to create a new aerospace and defense powerhouse. The two companies have received unanimous approval from their respective boards. The new company will be called Raytheon Technologies.

The dividend yield is 2.06%. Merrill price objective is $265. The consensus target is $208, and shares closed at $182.73.


This top consumer apparel company posted outstanding results. V.F. Corp. (NYSE: VFC) is a leading apparel wholesaler of lifestyle brands, including North Face, Vans, Wrangler, Lee, Timberland and Nautica. VFC distributes products globally via department stores, independent retailers, specialty chains and its own retail (full price, outlet and e-commerce).

Coalition segments include Outdoor and Action Sports (68% of fiscal 2018 revenue), Jeanswear (21% of revenue), and Workwear/Imagewear (9% of revenue). The company has reported solid results this year, and it recently spun off its Kontoor Brands to pay down debt.

Shareholders receive a 2.06% dividend. Merrill has a $100 price objective. The consensus figure is $95.10, and shares closed at $83.30.I'm interested in the  Newsletter
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Outstanding metrics and good dividends mean these quality companies make good sense for conservative growth portfolios. With solid total return potential and less chance for volatility, they all are outstanding long-term portfolio additions.​


Daniel Cullinane CPA

2500 Plaza 5 25th fl  Jersey City NJ 07311                                                          phone 732-516-1648  fax 732-516-9778

                 MBA TAXATION                                                                                                         

​A popular pain-killer, generally considered safe and effective, can turn toxic and even deadly if it’s overused — a concern amplified by a study of the possible deadly effects of the drug published earlier this week in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Acetaminophen, an analgesic (a compound that relieves pain), is the most common drug ingredient in America. Many know it as the active ingredient in Tylenol, but it is also present in Anacin, Benadryl, Contac, Dristan, Excedrin, Midol, Nyquil, Robitussin, Sudafed, and many other over-the-counter remedies, as well as in such prescription medicines as Percocet and Vicodin. Brand-name Tylenol and Tylenol PM alone racked up almost $388 million in U.S. sales last year.

While it is often favored because it doesn’t cause the stomach or heart problems that sometimes result from the use of another class of analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen — known as paracetamol outside of the United States — it has long been recognized that it can cause liver damage, especially if used in conjunction with alcoholic beverages.

Interactions with alcohol and other substances can make many otherwise beneficial medications unsafe, even deadly. These are the 25 most dangerous drugs.

The Australian study notes that there has been a noticeable increase in cases of paracetamol (acetaminophen) poisoning, at least in Australia, over the past decade. In fact, it is the number-one pharmaceutical that Australian poison centers receive calls about — and between 2007 and 2017, it was responsible for more than 95,000 hospitalizations in the country. More than 200 cases of paracetamol poisoning during that period were fatal. In other cases, a liver transplant was required.

The problem isn’t that acetaminophen is dangerous in itself, but that in large amounts it outpaces the body’s ability to process it safely. According to one of the study’s authors, Dr. Rose Cairns, a lecturer at the University of Sydney’s School of Pharmacy, “This can lead to build up of a toxic metabolite (or break-down product), which binds to liver cells, causing these cells to die.”

The manufacturers of Tylenol recently lowered the maximum recommended daily dose for single-ingredient Extra Strength Tylenol from eight pills per day (4,000 mg) to six pills per day (3,000 mg). Tylenol is made by Johnson & Johnson, which recently faced lawsuits over its talc and asbestos woes.

The margin of error is slim with the drug. An adult taking more than 4,000 mg of Tylenol a day could be at risk, said Cairns.

She reported that about three-quarters of the overdose cases she and her colleagues studied were intentional, in people using it for self-harm. As for the rest, Cairns added, “People might accidentally overdose because they are in pain, and believe because paracetamol is so widely available, it must be safe…or take multiple different paracetamol-containing products together.”

The study points out that the U.K. limits the amount of paracetamol a customer can purchase and than many European countries sell it only by prescription. This is one way to control how much people take, but there is no guarantee. For example, the world’s most popular prescription drug might be killing people.


​New Secretary of Defense Mike Esper apparently wanted to start his term by making some noise. He accomplished that on Thursday by announcing a review of the bidding for a $10 billion contract for the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) program. Among the bidders on the contract are Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL).

As recently as late June, the Defense Department’s chief information officer, Dana Deasy, said the contract would be awarded to either Amazon or Microsoft by the end of August. Last August, Oracle filed a protest over the bidding process, a protest that was denied in November by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Undeterred, Oracle filed a lawsuit in December with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. That claim was denied in mid-July.

IBM filed a similar protest with the GAO in October that was dismissed in December. By the time the Court of Federal Claims ruled against Oracle last month, both Oracle and IBM had been eliminated from further consideration for the JEDI contract.

Esper was confirmed as the new Defense Secretary less than two weeks later, and a week after that he announced the review of the JEDI contract. In his confirmation hearings, Esper had promised Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that he would discuss the contract with the Pentagon’s inspector general before making the award.

Esper’s announced review also follows comments from the president, who expressed his doubts about whether the contract actually had been competitively bid. Trump claimed he had heard complaints about the bidding from Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. In a comment during a July 18 meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the president responded to a question about the cloud services contract: “They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid. I never had something where more people are complaining. I will be asking them to take a look at it very closely to see what’s going on because I have had very few things with so much complaining.” The president also has a long-standing beef with Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO and owner of the Washington Post.

Pentagon spokesperson Elissa Smith issued a statement Thursday: “Keeping his promise to members of Congress and the American public, Secretary Esper is looking at the [JEDI] program. No decision will be made on the program until he has completed his examination.”

After the news broke Thursday, Amazon stock slid about 2% to close the day down 0.6% at $18.55.32. Shares declined another 0.8% in Friday’s premarket to trade at $1,840.07, in a 52-week range of $1,307.00 to $2,050.50. The stock’s 12-month consensus price target is $2,261.27.



Daniel Cullinane CPA

25 Plaza 5 25th fl Jersey City NJ                                          phone 732-516-1648 fax 732-516-9778

MBA Taxation

n March 1979, one of two nuclear-powered electricity-generating units at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island experienced a partial meltdown. The reactor that had become operational in April of 1978 never generated another kilowatt of electricity again. The plant’s other reactor did not resume operation until 1985.

Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) announced the plant’s closure in May, citing the state legislature’s failure to enact subsidies for clean energy generators. Last month the company filed a report with the state’s Department of Labor and Industry indicating that about 112 employees would be affected by the plant’s closure. Complete decommissioning of the plant is planned to occur by 2074 and all radioactive material will be removed by 2078.

The plant’s closure will reduce power generation by 837 megawatts, almost 45% more than the largest solar photovoltaic farm in the United States, Solar Farm. Three Mile Island generated enough electricity to supply 800,000 homes, compared to Solar Farm’s 579 megawatts of capacity that can supply power to 255,000 homes.

The closure of Three Mile Island highlights a current debate among environmentalists and politicians on the proper role, if any, for nuclear energy in the fight against climate change. The ruckus about nuclear power boils down to three questions, says David Roberts at Vox: is it worth keeping existing plants open, is it worth trying to revive the nuclear power industry and is it worth investing in new nuclear technologies.

Like solar and wind power, nuclear power generation emits no carbon into the earth’s atmosphere. But — there’s always a but — while the nuclear fission reaction itself emits no carbon or other greenhouse gases (GHG), nuclear generation pumps out an average of 65 grams of GHGs per kilowatt-hour (kWh), about the same as wind power but far less than coal’s 900 grams per kWh or natural gas emissions of 450 gram per kWh.[Active PK]

The estimated GHG emissions from nuclear power include calculations related to the purity of the ore, the method used to enrich the ore and the age and efficiency of the reactor, among other things. There are also costs related to GHG emissions from fabricating the steel used in the plants and making the cement used in the thick concrete walls of a reactor.

Taking all that into account, about half of the 20% of nuclear power generation can be considered carbon free. That’s about the same percentage (10%) of carbon-free electricity generated by renewables.

The simple solution would be to replace all 20.2 gigawatts of nuclear generation that will be lost by 2050 with wind or solar or hydro or some other carbon-free source. That solution doesn’t hold up to the reality of cheap natural gas. The reality is that expensive nuclear plants are being replaced by cheap-to-build-and-operate natural gas plants, not renewables like wind or solar.

And that results in more total GHG emissions, not less. If natural gas prices remain low, nuclear plants are likely to accelerate their scheduled closings as their costs increase and those closed plants will be replaced by natural gas generation. Needless to say, new nukes won’t be built.

Keeping the nukes operating for longer is one solution. Exelon, which had lost money for five years on its operations at Three Mile Island, had hoped for subsidies from the state to help it remain open. One way to generate those subsidies is by setting a price on carbon, often referred to as a carbon tax. Politicians tend to avoid any contact with a policy that includes a tax, however, which is why this may not already be in place.

The evolving consensus answers are “yes,” “no” and “yes” says Roberts. In that sense, the closure of Three Mile Island could be a harbinger of a new effort to reduce carbon emissions. Or it could be the canary in the coal mine.


.Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) released fiscal first-quarter financial results after markets closed Wednesday. The firm said that it had $0.81 in earnings per share (EPS) and $9.2 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates that called for $0.81 in EPS and $9.29 billion in revenue. The fiscal second quarter from last year had $0.71 in EPS and $9.2 billion in revenue.

Total quarterly revenues were slightly higher and up by 2% in constant currency compared to the same period last year. Cloud Services and License Support revenues totaled $6.8 billion, while Cloud License and On-Premise License revenues were $812 million.

At the same time, short-term deferred revenues were $10.1 billion. Operating cash flow for the trailing twelve months was $13.8 billion.

The board of directors increased the authorization for share repurchases by $15 billion. It also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.24 per share of outstanding common stock. This dividend will be paid to stockholders of record as of the close of business on October 10, with a payment date of October 24.

It was also announced that co-CEO Mark Hurd will take a leave of absence for health-related reasons.

Safra Catz, Oracle CEO, commented:

Non-GAAP earnings per share grew 14% in USD and 16% in constant currency. As our low margin hardware businesses continue to get smaller, while our higher margin cloud business continues to get bigger, we expect Oracle’s operating margins, earnings per share and free cash flow all to grow. We’re off to a good start in FY20, and we expect this to be our 3rd consecutive year of double-digit non-GAAP earnings per share growth.

Shares of Oracle closed at $56.19, with a 52-week range of $42.40 to $60.50. The consensus analyst price target is $56.62. Following the announcement, the stock is down more than 3% at $54.40 in the after-hours session.

​Late Tuesday, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) said in a statement that it had issued a bulletin to operators of the company’s 737 MAX 8 passenger jet “directing operators to existing flight crew procedures to address … erroneous input” from one of the plane’s sensor.

The government of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee has reported that the October 29 crash of Lion Air flight 610 that killed all 189 passengers and crew onboard experienced erroneous input from one of its AOA (angle of attack) sensors.

The 737 MAX family is Boeing’s newest generation of single-aisle passenger planes and the company’s best-selling aircraft, with more than 4,500 orders. The company has delivered more than 200 of the planes to customers, including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Ryanair.

Last April, Lion Air ordered a total of 50 737 MAX 10s in an order valued at $6.24 billion at list prices. In all, Boeing’s order book lists 201 orders from Lion Air and 13 deliveries. The first delivery took place in May 2017. The plane that crashed was delivered to the airline in August.

The faulty sensor is supposed to maintain proper airflow over the plane’s wings. In some instances, if the sensor detects that the plane is about to enter an aerodynamic stall, it automatically tries to push the plane’s nose down.

In the case of Lion Air flight 610, Bloomberg reports that the plane nosed downward so suddenly that it may have slammed into the water at a speed of 600 miles an hour.

Lion Air had replaced the AOA sensor in the crashed aircraft the day before the fatal flight following a reported problem with the airspeed reading.

Boeing’s bulletin released Tuesday is a routine response by aircraft and engine manufacturers sent to operators and calling attention to “safety measures and maintenance actions they should take,” according to Bloomberg. This is not going to be the last word from either regulators or Boeing.

In Wednesday’s premarket session, Boeing’s shares traded up about 0.6%, at $368.75 in a 52-week range of $259.56 to $394.28. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $415.09.


​here are 5 major changes in the payouts and collections of the Social Security Administration you should know about for 2019, and some of them are something to cheer about while others mean Uncle Sam makes out better.

1) Benefits are going up

That’s right, those already on or about to start receiving Social Security benefits will get a 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment in monthly benefits beginning now. For the average beneficiary, that’s a raise of $1,422 to $1,461 — which amounts to $39 per month or $468 per year. Not a gigantic bump, but certainly better than nothing! And it will also help those who subscribe to Medicare Part B pay for this year’s increase of $1.50 a month, or $18 per year.

Note: Seniors Scoop Up Unclaimed $20,500 Checks (See If You Qualify)

2) But … maximum taxable earnings are rising

Workers and employers pay 6.2 percent of their earnings to fund Social Security. For 2019, maximum taxable earnings will increase by $4,500, from $128,400 to $132,900. This means the maximum Social Security tax rises from $7,960.80 in 2018 to $8,239.80 in 2019 — or an additional $279. Not an extraordinary leap, but still …

3) The earnings limit also increases

If you are receiving Social Security check or plan to this year, you may still work and earn up to $17,640 and receive your full benefit from the government. That’s an increase from the previous limit of $16,920. If you earn more than $17,640, Social Security will deduct $1 for every $2 you earn. That’s a savings of up to $360.

4) Higher work credit earnings in force

Americans earned one work credit, equaling three months of Social Security benefits, for every $1,320 earned. That amount now increases to $1,360. You can earn up to four credits a year if you earn at least $5,440. To qualify for benefits, you'll need to accumulate a minimum of 40 credits.

Note: Some Seniors have added $1,000 a month to their Social Security — More Details Here

5) More aid for elderly and disabled Americans

Americans who receive Supplemental Security Income — a welfare program that provides the elderly, blind or disabled with little or no income with cash assistance for food, clothing, shelter and health care coverage — will get an increase this year from $21 a month, from $750 to $771. For couples, the increase is $32, from $1,125 to $1,157.

Important: The U.S. government gives away literally trillions of dollars in benefits and programs. Now a special report shows how people over 50 are cashing in. Many benefit from a little-used loophole in the Social Security program to increase their monthly checks by as much as $1,000



​Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) reported second-quarter 2019 results before markets opened Tuesday morning. The world’s largest defense company posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations of $5.00 on revenues of $14.43 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $4.05 on revenues of $13.4 billion. Second-quarter results also compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $4.77 and $14.2 billion in revenues.

Cash flow from operations totaled $1.7 billion in the most recent quarter, up from a cash flow deficit of $72 million in the year-ago quarter following pension contributions of $2 billion.

Lockheed raised revenue guidance for the full fiscal year from a prior range of $56.75 billion to $58.25 billion to a new one of $58.25 billion to $59.75 billion. The EPS estimate was also raised, from $20.05 to $20.35 to a new range of $20.85 to $21.15. Operating profit also was boosted from $6.10 billion to $6.25 billion to a new range of $6.33 billion to $6.48 billion.

CEO Marillyn Hewitt commented:

The corporation achieved another quarter of strong operational and financial results across all four of our businesses, which allowed us to grow our backlog to a new record level and to increase our financial outlook for 2019. Our team remains focused on driving growth, investing in innovative solutions, and creating long-term value for shareholders.

The company repurchased 600,000 shares of its stock valued at $219 million during the second quarter and paid dividends totaling $622 million.

All four of the company segments posted a year-over-year gain in sales and operating profit. Sales rose by more than $200 million in each segment, while profit was up by $6 million in the rotary and mission systems units and $48 million in missiles and fire control units.

Analysts expect Lockheed to post third-quarter sales of $14.43 billion and EPS of $4.84. Full-year EPS is forecast at $20.57 on sales of $58.06 billion.

Investors cheered the raised guidance and the better-than-expected top-line and bottom-line results by snipping about 0.5% from the share price. The company did note that the impact of U.S. actions canceling sales of Lockheed’s F-35 joint strike fighter is not included in the raised guidance. That’s probably the reason for the tepid response to otherwise solid results.

Shares traded down about 0.7% in the late morning Tuesday, at $355.33 in a 52-week range of $241.18 to $373.37. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock was $382.39 before results were announced.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecast of global gross domestic product and growth nation by nation has just hit the lowest level since the financial crisis. The headline of the new analysis, called the Interim Economic Outlook, last posted in May, is “OECD sees rising trade tensions and policy uncertainty further weakening global growth.”

The weakness is widespread, the analysis shows, which means it is evident in both advanced and emerging economies. The specific numbers for global GDP growth are for 2.9% this year and 3.0% in 2020. Those nations with the largest GDP revisions that are lower than in May are those with the most exposure to trade wars.

Before providing the national figures, OECD Chief Economist Laurence Boone said, “The global economy is facing increasingly serious headwinds and slow growth is becoming worryingly entrenched. The uncertainty provoked by the continuing trade tensions has been long-lasting, reducing activity worldwide and jeopardising our economic future. Governments need to seize the opportunity afforded by today’s low interest rates to renew investment in infrastructure and promote the economy of the future.”

The revision in U.S. growth pegs it at 2.6% this year. That is down from 2.8% in 2018. For 2020, the expectation is 2.0%, which is well below administration forecasts. The world’s second-largest economy, China, should have substantial slowing, to 6.1% this year and 6.0% next. The Chinese economy has grown by over 7% for most years in the past two decades. India, the largest of the less mature emerging economies also is expected to show a sharp deceleration in growth to 5.8% this year and 6.0% in 2020. Its recent growth rate has been 7% a year or better. India is also one of the nations with the fastest-growing populations.

In some nations, the OECD is forecasting recessions. First of these is deeply troubled Argentina, which is near default on its sovereign bonds. The OECD expects a drop of 2.7% in GDP this year and 1.8% next. Turkey’s economy is expected to fall 0.3% this year then recover to an increase of 1.6% in 2020.

Overall, the revisions having been pushed downward in almost every nation suggests that the world’s economy is in trouble again.

​September Newsletter 1





​Bob Iger, the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) board chair and chief executive officer, has been on the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) board since 2011. He decided to leave as of September 10. He gave no reason for his departure, nor did Apple. However, the reasons are clear. Apple TV+, its play into the streaming market, launches within two weeks of the competing Disney+ product.

Iger joined the Apple board almost immediately after Steve Jobs died and had a prominent position. He was chair of the Apple board’s nominating committee, which picks new board members, and he was a member of the compensation committee, which sets the pay for Apple’s senior management. Iger made $377,000 as Apple board member last year, a modest sum for a man worth tens of millions of dollars. He also owns just over 50,000 Apple shares. The stock currently trades above $218 a share.

Apple and Disney each believe that they need to be major players in a crowded market dominated by Netflix Inc. (NYSE: NFLX) and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). Netflix has over 150 million subscribers worldwide, while Amazon has over 100 million via its Prime membership program. Netflix has a base monthly price of $12.99 for its “standard” plan. The base monthly rate for Amazon Prime is $12.99, but that includes free shipping and special offers on some Amazon.com products.

The competition is fierce and also includes products from WarnerMedia and CBS. The largest independent company in the business is Hulu. Apple and Disney will go head to head in a market in which both believe they need to become a dominant force.

Disney+ launches on November 11, and Iger repeatedly has made it clear the service is critical to Disney’s future. Its library of videos is substantial. It includes Disney films and exclusive access to Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, all brands Disney owns. The Marvel and Star Wars libraries contain some of the most successful movies in history, based on box office ticket sales. At a monthly price of $6.99, the service is priced well below Netflix and Amazon.

Apple released final details on Apple TV+ this week as it launched new versions of its iPhone, Apple Watch and tablets as well. It has set a price of $4.99 a month, starting with a seven-day free trial, which puts it well below all its major competitors. It will launch on November 1. Apple does not have a library nearly as extensive as Disney’s. It will, however, have original programming, which includes content from a partnership with Oprah Winfrey.

Apple’s original content is a significant part of its ability to enter the competitive battlefield. Netflix and Amazon spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year to produce their own programming. The strategy is meant to get new subscribers and keep them because they can watch programs that are not available anywhere else. The plan is so crucial that Netflix has borrowed billions of dollars to underwrite its productions.

Industry experts believe that most people who stream content will subscribe to just one or two services, but few will subscribe to three, four or more. NPR editors recently wrote about the explosion of video-streaming services, “It can be frustrating when viewers try to figure out which service has what they want to watch — Netflix, Prime, Hulu? It’s about to get worse, as more streaming services launch this year.”

Because Disney and Apple are so late to the video-streaming game, they will need to dig for subscribers who probably have one or more services already. Each needs to compete based on its low price point, programs and whatever original content it can produce. That makes Apple and Disney mortal enemies in a business sense. Iger, under the circumstances, could not stay on Apple’s board

The last week of August proved to be one in which the salvos in the trade war between the United States and China took a breather. On top of President Trump’s statement that China wanted to come back to the negotiating table was some lightening news out of China itself, with the trade ministry saying that it did not want to keep piling on to the trade war. While less negative news is, of course, a positive, there is no resolution yet, and that resolution will either take a long time to see and it may not be an outright “OK, we’re best buddies again!” As of now, tariffs appear to be on schedule. All that said, the financial markets reacted favorably in the past week over less new tension. What really matters at this point is ignoring some of the headlines and doing a real-world analysis to see what is really at stake.

If the public only listened to the talking heads on TV or the rants on social media, the trade war is the end of the world and the end of the U.S. recovery as we know it. The reality is something quite different. It’s important to consider what the real numbers are behind imports and exports in the scale of the broad U.S. economy — and China’s latest manufacturing data will feel like a recession there. The U.S. gross domestic product is currently running over $21 trillion. The GDP reading peaked at $14.8 trillion in 2008, before getting hammered during the Great Recession, and it took until the second quarter of 2010 to get back above that figure. At the end of 2016, U.S. GDP was $18.9 trillion.

24/7 Wall St. tracked multiple Dow and key company moves from Friday, August 30, 2019, compared with the close a week earlier. Technology stocks were excluded because almost all have direct exposure and even more indirect exposure to China. We also have taken data directly from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) first to show what the actual trade numbers are as of 2018.

The USTR showed that China was the third-largest U.S. goods export market in 2018 with a total of $120.3 billion in goods sent there. That was actually down by 7.4% from 2017, but the USTR showed that it was up 72.6% from 2008 and up 527% from 2001 before China joined the World Trade Organization.[Intuit QuickBooks]
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Where the proof that China has more to lose than the United States is on how much the U.S. imports in goods that come from China. The tally of $539.5 billion in imported goods from China in 2018 alone was 6.7% higher than in 2017. The United States imports from China were shown to be up by 59.7% from 2008 and up 427% from 2001, before China’s WTO accession. All in all, U.S. exports to China account for 7.2% of overall U.S. exports and U.S. imports from China account for 21.2% of total U.S. imports in 2018. That’s $120 billion in goods sent there versus $539.5 billion we have taken in.

It’s imperative to keep in mind that the United States is now really a services and materials economy rather than a manufacturing one like China. U.S. imports of services from China were $18.4 billion, versus $58.9 billion in U.S. exports of services to China in 2018. The USTR showed that the leading services exports from the United States to China were in travel, intellectual property (trademark, computer software) and transport sectors. The $41.5 billion in services surplus pales in comparison to the goods deficit of more than $419 billion.

Once you look at the categories of what we import from China and what we export to China, it’s easy to see how and why the stocks of American companies most dependent on China as suppliers or as customers are getting pinched by the stock market. The top import categories from China into the United States in 2018 were as follows: electrical machinery ($152 billion), machinery ($117 billion), furniture and bedding ($35 billion), toys and sports equipment ($27 billion) and plastics ($19 billion).

The top export categories by the United States to China were ranked as follows: aircraft ($18 billion), machinery ($14 billion), electrical machinery ($13 billion), optical and medical instruments ($9.8 billion) and vehicles ($9.4 billion). U.S. total exports of agricultural products to China were $9.3 billion in 2018, with China being the fourth largest agricultural export market, ranked as follows: soybeans ($3.1 billion), cotton ($924 million), hides and skins ($607 million), pork and pork products ($571 million) and coarse grains excluding corn ($530 million).

A.O. Smith Corp. (NYSE: AOS) manufactures residential and commercial gas and electric water heaters, boilers, tanks and water treatment products and is about one-third reliant on China. After a 0.8% rise to $46.52 on Friday, A.O. Smith shares closed the week up 3.3%, and they are still down about 23% from the high.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has seen its shares rise and fall with news on China, but it also has an iPhone refresh cycle coming soon. Most important in this context is that just about everything made by and for Apple is manufactured in China, and the company also sells into China. Apple closed down 0.1% at $208.74 a share on Friday, but this was a one-week gain of 3%, and Apple is down roughly 10% from its 52-week high.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) has seen its shares not directly as affected out of China due to its ongoing woes (and maybe even progress) on the 737 Max. Boeing closed up 0.37% at $364.09 on Friday, and its gain for the week was 2.27%. Boeing shares are still down almost 20% from their highs prior to the 737 Max crashed and subsequent grounding. This remains a 737 Max recovery story despite having sales exposure of jets to China. That said, the USTR notes about $18 billion in exposure to aircraft exports should imply Boeing and the company’s 2018 annual report showed direct revenue to China as being $13.7 billion and other Asia revenues (excluding China) of $12.1 billion.

Bunge Ltd. (NYSE: BG) may not be the dominant food company in America, with its $7.5 billion market cap, but when the news talks about soybeans investors should think of Bunge. Shares closed up 1.5% at $53.41 on Friday, which allowed for a small gain of just 0.4% for the week, and they are still down about 25% from the 52-week high.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) sells large amounts of its heavy earth and infrastructure building equipment to China and the Asia Pacific region, and the international component was about 59% of total revenues in 2018. Its shares were up 1% at $119.900 on Friday, and it was up 4.3% from the prior week’s close. Caterpillar is still down about 25% from its 52-week high.

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) has farming exposure globally, but slower or no imports from China will hurt Deere in many markets. Deere was actually down 1% at $154.91 on Friday, but it still rose over 5% from the prior week. The stock is still down close to 10% from its 52-week high.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has frequently been said to sell more cars in China than in the United States. Whether that holds true in the future and whether manufacturing stays or migrates remains to be seen. GM was up 0.5% at $37.09 on Friday, but that was a gain of almost 3% for the week, and it is still down almost 11% from its 52-week high. GM’s dividend yield is over 4%.

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) continues to have a big reliance on China and Asia Pacific manufacturing and destination. Its shares closed down 1% at $84.50 on Friday, but it rose 5% over the course of the week, even after Friday’s loss. Nike is down about 6% from its 52-week high.

The top technology sector stocks took it on the chin as well, and there is zero chance that any of these companies can immediately mitigate their exposure to China via manufacturing, parts inclusion and selling into the country. Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) has a market cap north of $200 billion, and its shares closed up 1.15% at $47.41 on Friday. That’s a gain of 5.45% for the week, and Intel’s 52-week high is $59.59. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) was flat at $31.45 on Friday, but it rose 6.5% over the last week. AMD is now down only about 10% from its high.24/7 Wall St.
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Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA) has a $100 billion market cap and closed up 0.3% at $167.51 on Friday. Its gain for the week was 3.1%, and it is still down about 40% from its highs of $292.76. Nvidia’s woes and worries around sales into artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining markets go beyond just China.

Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) has close to a $95 billion market cap, and its shares closed up 1.7% on Friday at $77.77, for a gain of 5.8% from the prior week’s close. Qualcomm’s 52-week high is $90.34. As the dominant processor for smartphones, there is no escaping China here. And guess which nation that rhymes with China was the one to block the Qualcomm-NXP Semiconductor merger in the past (Hint: it’s China).

Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) is the independent pure-play leader in memory, and it has 50% exposure to China as its chips might end up in anything that needs DRAM or flash memory. Micron was up 1.3% at $45.27 on Friday, and its gain was about 5.4% for the week.

As a reminder, 24/7 Wall St. showed ahead of this week’s recovery how some of the top Chinese stock reactions are starting to be less severe than some of the reactions in their American counterparts. These are obviously not the only companies that have direct exposure to China, nor do include some of the smaller companies that have an even larger exposure to China. If tensions are rekindled, it’s important to understand where the tariffs actually will hit on both sides of the equation.

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It’s almost as if something funny is happening in the global bond markets. Sadly, it’s not laughable funny. The trend of negative bond yields in Europe and Japan has moved beyond just the sovereign debt markets, and the on-again, off-again slightly inverted U.S. Treasury yield curve is making some serious headwinds. It turns out that corporate debt with high credit ratings, and in some isolated cases even mortgages, reportedly are coming with negative interest rates internationally. The corporate spreads in U.S. corporate bonds are now low enough, on top of record-low interest rates, that companies would be foolish to ignore the opportunity to grab vast amounts of capital on the cheap.

While Treasury yields in the United States have not gone negative, major U.S. and foreign corporations have decided to issue vast sums of new corporate note and bond offerings. In the week of September 6, tens of billions worth of corporate bonds have either been priced or filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Some U.S. companies are even issuing bonds overseas to take advantage of even cheaper rates there. If a company has major operations in Europe or Japan, it isn’t even really exposing its U.S.-denominated corporate balance sheets very much so long as its operating margins are higher than the after-tax interest tax comparisons are positive.

Corporate debt issuance is not just for short-term views, over the next year or two. Many of the debt offerings are for 10, 20 and 30 years before the bonds mature. Some companies will be using these new issuances to pay down existing debt that was set to mature in the next few years, but some companies also can increase their cash arsenals for new opportunities or as a buffer if the current slowdown turns into a recession.

24/7 Wall St. has tracked many numbers of filings through SEC filings and press releases. Most of these are shown without comment due to how many offerings have priced or are being negotiated right now. One report from Thursday even suggested that the issuance of corporate debt had reached a weekly record of more than $70 billion, and that was on a four-day week that hadn’t ended yet.

Unfortunately, there are also many leverage loans hitting the markets as well. There is also no single way to view these issuances. The markets and federal fund futures are still pricing in multiple interest rate cuts from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Even after less robust payrolls report on Friday, the CME FedWatch Tool still has a 91.2% probability of a 25 basis point cut at the September 18 Federal Open Market Committee meeting and was still at greater than a 50% chance (58.5%) of another 25 basis point cut at the October 30 meeting.

If rates are going lower, companies should be able to borrow even cheaper ahead — unless the economic readings and earnings stories continue to get weaker — and then spreads would widen out or the corporate bond market would become much more restrictive on which companies can offer “cheap” debt.

These are just some of the priced or pending corporate bond offerings seen during the week of September 6.

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) sold $500 million worth of senior notes with a 2.75% coupon maturing in 2029 to redeem its outstanding 5.00% senior notes coming due in 2020.

Amphenol Corp. (NYSE: APH) sold $900 million in 2.800% senior notes due in 2030 to tender certain upcoming maturities and for general corporate purposes.

Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM), or Blue Cross and Blue Shield as most people know it, sold $2.5 billion in notes, as follows:

$850 million at 2.375% due 2025
$825 million at 2.875% due 2029
$825 million at 3.700% due 2049

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) raised $7 billion in new debt offerings at a slight discount to par value, as follows:

$1.00 billion at 1.700% due 2022
$750 million at 1.800% due 2024
$2.00 billion at 2.050% due 2026
$1.75 billion at 2.200% due 2029
$1.50 billion at 2.950% due 2049

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) sold nearly $4 billion worth of notes and bonds overseas, which are owed as ¥430 billion with as follows:

¥108.5 billion of five-year notes
¥61.0 billion of seven-year notes
¥146.5 billion of 10-year notes
¥19.0 billion of 15-year notes
¥59.0 billion of 20-year notes
¥36.0 billion of 30-year notes24/7 Wall St.
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​British American Tobacco PLC (NYSE: BTI) sold $3.5 billion worth of notes for its BAT Capital subsidiary, as follows:

$1 billion at 2.789% due 2024
$1 billion at 3.215% due 2026
$500 million at 3.462% due 2029
$1 billion at 4.758% due 2049

Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) issued two series of notes with a $2 billion tally:

$1 billion at 1.750% due 2024
$1 billion at 2.125% due 2029

CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX) issued $1 billion in new debt, as follows:

$400 million at 2.400% due 2030
$600 million at 3.350% due 2049

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) issued $500 million worth of 2.875% notes due in 2049.

Danaher Corp. (NYSE: DHR) sold nearly €6.2 billion worth of notes for its European subsidiary D.H. Europe Finance, as follows:

€1.25 billion at 0.200% due 2026
€1.25 billion at 0.450% due 2028
€1.75 billion at 0.750% due 2031
€1.25 billion at 1.350% due 2039
€750 million at 1.800% due 2049

KeyCorp. (NYSE: KEY) sold $750 million worth of senior medium-term notes with a 2.55% coupon due October 1, 2029.

Murphy Oil USA Inc. (NYSE: MUR) sold $500 million worth of 4.750% senior notes due in 2029.

Newmont Goldcorp Corp. (NYSE: NEM) sold $700 million worth of 2.800% senior notes due 2029 to repay upcoming debt maturing, and these even have a make-whole call provision.

Phillips 66 Partners L.P. (NYSE: PSXP) sold $900 million worth of senior notes, as follows:

$300 million at 2.450% due 2024
$600 million at 3.150% due 202924/7 Wall St.
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Unilever Group N.V. (NYSE: UL) sold more than $1.3 billion in senior notes for its Unilever Capital subsidiary, as follows:

$500 million at 2.600% due 2024
$850 million at 2.125% due 2029

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM) issued $450 million in 4.500% senior notes due 2049.

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) issued $7 billion worth of new debt:

$500 million floating rate notes due 2021
$500 million floating rate notes due 2022
$500 million at 1.650% due 2022
$1.5 billion at 1.750% due 2024
$2.0 billion at 2.000% due 2029
$2.0 Billion at 2.750% due 2049

Willis Towers Watson PLC (NASDAQ: WLTW), via Willis North America, sold $1 billion in senior notes, as follows:

$450 million at 2.950% due 2029
$550 million at 3.875% due 2049

Additional filings seen during the week but without formal pricing were as follows:

Evergy Inc. (NYSE: EVRG)
Mohawk Industries Inc. (NYSE: MHK)
Verisk Analytics Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSK)