Momentum of equities continues
U.S. equity benchmarks rose at the start of a week filled with potentially significant catalysts. Treasuries fluctuated and the dollar slipped. After a 2.9 percent gain last week, the S&P 500 index climbed Monday to a five-month high as rising oil prices fueled an advance in energy shares. Financials and consumer stocks also advanced, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fought to stay positive as Boeing declined on reports that the U.S. Transportation Department was examining the 737 Max’s design certification. Equities have been trending upward, and volatility declining, on expectations the Fed will point the way to just one rate hike in 2019 when it meets this week.
GM, union blasted on plant closing
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday to demand General Motors reopen a car plant in Ohio, a state that could play a pivotal role in his 2020 re-election campaign, and he also criticized the United Auto Workers union and touted investments in the United States by Toyota and other foreign car companies. GM said in November it would idle its factory in Lordstown, Ohio, as part of broader cutbacks that would eliminate a total of 14,000 jobs, and it stopped production there two weeks ago. Trump urged GM to close a factory in China or Mexico instead of idling the one in Lordstown.
Lyft moves ahead with IPO filings
The ride-hailing company Lyft said in a new regulatory filing on Monday that it hoped to be valued at up to $23 billion when it lists on the stock market as soon as next week, the highest number for a tech company since Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, went public at a $169 billion valuation in 2014. Lyft’s target value is significantly greater than its $15.1 billion valuation in its last private funding round, a sign that it expects a warm reception from investors. Lyft’s IPO is expected to be quickly eclipsed by that of its chief rival, Uber, which may go public at a valuation of up to $120 billion.
Favoritism charge hits Warner Bros.
Kevin Tsujihara, chief executive of AT&T’s recently acquired Warner Bros. studios division, has stepped down after accusations surfaced that he had pushed for a woman with whom he had a sexual relationship to be considered for roles in the company’s films and television shows. Tsujihara, who has worked at the studio for more than two decades, said he made the decision to leave the company after discussing the matter with John Stankey, WarnerMedia’s chief executive. When the allegations first came to light, a lawyer for Tsujihara said his client “did not have a direct role in the actress being cast in any movie.” WarnerMedia said the investigation into Tsujihara’s behavior would continue.