Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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WHAT TO WATCH
Walmart ( WMT ) reports quarterly earnings on Tuesday before the opening bell. The retail giant’s sales figures and commentary will be particularly interesting considering last week’s unusually disappointing U.S. retail sales report .
In a monetary policy environment now characterized by central bank officials’ commitments to patience and data dependence, the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes will carry exceptional weight.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release minutes detailing the two days of meetings that resulted in the central bank’s January decision to hold benchmark interest rate levels unchanged. This came following four rate hikes in 2018 and sparked a swell in stock prices as investors cheered what appeared to indicate a more dovish monetary policy future.
“One key issue is how substantial is the turnaround in views in the January statement and Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference,” UBS economist Seth Carpenter wrote in a note. “We think the minutes will try to imply that the change in tone was not a U-turn, but rather a continuation of their ‘data dependent’ approach.”
16 states sue Trump over emergency wall declaration : California and 15 other states filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released a statement Monday saying the suit alleges the Trump administration's action violates the Constitution. [Associated Press]
Honda's UK plant closure puts car industry jobs at risk : Honda confirmed on Tuesday it is shutting down its UK factory in Swindon in 2021 and putting a total of 7,000 jobs at risk. Swindon, which serves as Honda’s sole European hub, directly employs 3,500 people. But another 3,500 jobs could disappear too. [Yahoo Finance UK]
Tencent-backed plastic surgery app files for U.S. IPO : SoYoung, a Chinese cosmetic surgery website backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., has filed confidentially for a U.S. initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The firm could raise around $300 million in the planned offering. [Bloomberg]
FAA probes Southwest Airlines over baggage weight disparities : Federal air-safety regulators are investigating Southwest Airlines Co. ( LUV ) for widespread miscalculation of the total weight of checked bags loaded onto each of its flights, according to government officials and internal agency documents. [The Wall Street Journal]
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