Commodities: Global Equities Roundup: Market Talk

The latest Market Talks covering Equities. Published exclusively on Dow Jones Newswires throughout the day.

1644 ET – NZD/USD has met some resistance after Fonterra cut its milk payout to farmers from $6.70 to $6.40, says BNZ. The bank says it cut its projected payout to $6.30 several weeks ago. Milk powder is New Zealand’s biggest export. ([email protected]; @JamesGlynnWSJ)

1644 ET – Okta continues to see robust demand as its corporate clients increasingly worry about protecting their networks. Okta provides identity management for enterprises, letting their employees access services and data securely. Shares rise 2.8% after hours as the company posts a 61% increase in revenue. Still, the company extends its loss to $33.8 million, from $21.2 million a year earlier, on increased research and development and sales and marketing costs. ([email protected]; @austenhufford)

1639 ET – The benchmark IPC index closes down 1% at 46,973 points, while the Mexican peso weakens for a second consecutive session and oil prices retreat after US crude oil inventories fell sharply in the past week. America Movil gains 0.2%, while bread-maker Bimbo falls 2%. The peso closed in Mexico City at 18.8670 to the dollar vs 18.7750 late Tuesday. The Mexican currency has been pressured in recent days as US tax-cut plans progress in Washington. ([email protected])

1633 ET – Citigroup CFO John Gerspach, speaking at an investor event, said the bank would likely take an upfront hit of $20B under the tax plans recently passed by lawmakers. About $16B-$17B of that would be a write-down of the bank’s deferred tax asset, and the rest would be connected to repatriation. While Citigroup and other banks like Bank of America would take a one-time hit, in the longer run the tax plan is expected to significantly lower the tax rates banks pay, boosting profits. Bank executives have pushed for lawmakers to pass the plan, saying it will benefit their customers and stimulate growth. ([email protected])

1627 ET – The NZ50 is up 0.1% in early trade to 8144.74, after a risk-off tone seeped into global markets. A2 Milk is up 0.5% to NZ$8.12 after it settled a legal dispute with Lion in Australia over marketing. “The parties have mutually agreed not to proceed with their cases against each other,” the company says in a regulatory filing, adding that the terms are confidential. Meanwhile, Fonterra Shareholders Fund is only slightly lower after the co-operative lowered its farmgate milk price. ([email protected])

1625 ET – Jones Act operator Crowley Maritime separates its shipping, fueling and services units in a move to boost its logistics business with the focus on big government clients. Defense Department has a $2.3B, multiyear contract with Crowley to provide freight, trucking and logistics services to 40 Army depots and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is using the company for relief supplies to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The restructuring “better ties our markets, customers, processes and technology to be more responsive, efficient and cost effective,” Crowley says. ([email protected])

1615 ET – The Aussie dollar is ground back down to 0.7560 in New York as the risk-off tone to markets saw USD appreciate. ANZ says AUD is likely to trade on global risk factors in the session ahead. The US government continues to debate tax reform, the Brexit debate is getting heated and German coalition talks are ongoing. The US president’s stance on Jerusalem also raises political risk, ANZ adds. ([email protected]; @JamesGlynnWSJ)

1607 ET – WestJet, Canada’s No. 2 carrier, hopes US regulators will grant antitrust immunity so it can discuss fares and schedules with potential JV partner Delta Air Lines on cross-border routes, said Ed Sims, EVP of the Calgary-based discounter. The two carriers currently serve 60 trans-border routes in total and only overlap on two. American Airlines, another potential partner, has much more overlap, he said. WestJet also was drawn to Delta by its long track record of building tight joint ventures with overseas carriers, Sims said. Canada’s Parliament currently is entertaining a law that would allow such ventures to be judged not just on competition laws but on public interest considerations, he said. While WestJet assumes it will be approved, “we see nothing anti-competitive” in the proposed Delta arrangement.”

1605 ET – The Dow slides 0.2% to 24140, the S&P falls less than a point to 2629 and the Nasdaq rises 0.2% to 6776. Political uncertainty has resulted in mixed trading this week with Republicans hammering out differences in the House and Senate’s version of the tax bill, the possibility of a government shutdown looming and Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital disrupting the Middle East status quo. Tech shares are again the best performing S&P sector with Adobe gaining 3.6% and Facebook and Google up more than 1%. Energy shares fall sharply as oil prices plummet 2.9% to a three-week low of $55.96. The WSJ Dollar Index adds 0.2%, helped by a strong ADP jobs report. ([email protected]; @jonvuocolo)

1559 ET – Maersk looks to boost its transhipment volume in Singapore after the takeover of German container operator Hamburg Sud. Chief commercial officer Vincent Clerc told local media Hamburg Sud’s fleet may be re-flaged in Singapore and that he expects more cargo to go through the island state. Maersk’s transhipment volume through Singapore has gone up 69% over the past three years to more than 4.5 million containers. (costas.[email protected])

1552 ET – Fonterra downgraded its farmgate milk price, but not by as much as some economists had expected and this is likely helping the Kiwi hold its own against the US dollar. Fonterra lowered the milk price to NZ$6.40 from NZ$6.75. Westpac, for example, has forecast it dropping as low as NZ$6.20, after whole milk powder prices fell around 16% to date from their peak in February this year. “The fact the kiwi is hanging in there despite a stronger USD may reflect Fonterra’s downgrade perhaps not being as large as feared and also better QV house prices,” ANZ economists say. “However, we suspect it is also reflects market positioning. It points to a decent base of support at present,” the bank says. The NZD/USD was at 0.6878 early in Asia on Thursday. ([email protected])

1529 ET – Food retailers expect to distribute any savings reaped from a tax bill moving through Congress across investors, consumers and employees, says Amin Maredia, chief executive of Sprouts Farmers Market, a fast-growing natural grocery chain. “The intent of the tax reform is to lift all boats,” Maredia tells investors at a Barclays Capital conference. “I think Sprouts would recommend something similar to our board.” Maredia says he’s had many conversations with CEOs lately about what they intend to do with cash freed up by the tax bill if passed, and others agree it should be spread out. “CEO’s are leading and talking to their boards about being more balanced,” he says. ([email protected]; @heatherhaddon)

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