We’re here with our weekly investing news roundup. Each week we catch you up on the important investing news from last week as well as take a look at the week ahead.
After a busy Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, retailers will fight for consumers’ attention online as Cyber Monday kicks off. Online shopping has continued to increase in popularity and we’ll find out soon how well brick-and-mortar retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are able to compete with Amazon.
We found out last week that OPEC would hold production levels despite the continued drop in oil prices. This hit oil company stocks hard, with drops across the board for oil companies including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Transocean, and Schlumberger.
There are a number of notable companies that have earnings releases this week. See the full list at the end of the roundup, including links to their Google Finance pages.
As usual we will kick off the investment news roundup with some of the bigger economic news from the previous week.
OPEC Holds Production Unchanged; Prices Fall – The oil cartel OPEC decided on Thursday not to cut petroleum production, despite the plunge in prices in recent months that has indicated the diminishing clout of the organization. On news of the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the price of Brent crude oil, a global benchmark, fell an additional $4 to a four-year low of about $73. American crude dropped below $70, an even more significant threshold.
30-year fixed-rate mortgage stays below 4% in latest week – The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.97% in the week ending Nov. 26, down from 3.99%, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Wednesday.
U.S. household debt edges higher in Q3 – Americans took on slightly more debt in the third quarter, up 0.7 percent to total $11.7 trillion, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The increase of $78 billion from the previous quarter was driven by auto and student loans and credit card balances, and continues a general trend since the middle of last year.
U.S. third-quarter growth raised to 3.9% – Ehe economy in the second and third quarters posted its best back-to-back growth in 11 years, offering fresh evidence that the U.S. entered the final three months of the year with a good head of momentum. The government on Tuesday said gross domestic product rose at a 3.9% annual pace in the third quarter instead of 3.5%. Combined with a 4.6% gain in the second quarter, the U.S. has posted its best six-month stretch of growth since the middle of 2003.
Consumer Confidence Tumbles – Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in November. The Conference Board’s latest consumer confidence reading came in at 88.7, down sharply from October. Expectations were for the reading to come in at 96, up from 94.5 last month.
Single-Family Housing Starts in U.S. Rise Along With Permits – Groundbreaking for single-family homes climbed in October and permits for all future projects reached a six-year high to signal construction will add to U.S. economic growth in early 2015. Starts of one-family houses advanced 4.2 percent to a 696,000 annualized rate last month, the most since November 2013, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. A drop in the construction of apartments pushed total starts down 2.8 percent to a 1.01 million pace.
We’ll continue our investment news roundup with notable corporate/company news from the past week:
Tiffany same-store sales sparkle, shares hit record high – Upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co reported a better-than-expected rise in same-store sales, mainly due to strong demand in the Americas, sending its shares to a record high. The company’s new jewelry lines, such as the Atlas Collection and Tiffany T, have been popular with customers.
Twitter Tests Feature Enabling Retailers to Offer Discounts – Twitter Inc. is testing a way for users to redeem discounts through merchants’ tweets, expanding its online commerce efforts. The microblogging service is using technology from CardSpring Inc., acquired four months ago, that enables linking the deals to credit cards so they can be used later.
H-P’s Revenue Drops Again Ahead of Planned Split – This is Meg Whitman ’s Hewlett-Packard Co.: Dramatically improved profits and no revenue growth. In her three years as CEO of the Silicon Valley pioneer, Ms. Whitman’s savvy management has led to higher profitability, more cash in company coffers and greater confidence among investors. But Ms. Whitman presides over a shrinking giant. Revenue has declined for 12 out of the last 13 quarters, including a 2.5% decline in the three months ended Oct. 31 compared with a year earlier, the company said Tuesday.
Chinese Social-App Group Momo Expects to Raise $256.6 Million in IPO – The Chinese maker of social-media dating and chat mobile apps, Momo Inc., expects to raise $256.6 million from a planned stock offering, the company said in a regulatory filing. That figure includes shares to be sold publicly and privately and assumes shares will sell at the mid-range of its planned offering range of $12.50-$14.50 per American Depositary Share. Additional shares the underwriters may choose to sell aren’t included.
Two Music Publishers Suing Cox Over Piracy – Two music publishers are taking aim at a new target in the battle against illegal song downloading: the cable industry. Wednesday afternoon, BMG Rights Management LLC and Round Hill Music LP sued cable giant Cox Communications Inc., claiming that Cox, which provides Internet service to millions, is deliberately turning a blind eye to illegal downloading by its subscribers.
Goldman Sachs making a bigger bet on Asia than U.S. stocks for 2015 – Next year should be positive for the four big global stock indexes, but it could be a banner year for Asia stocks compared to Wall Street. That’s the crystal-ball view from Goldman Sachs, in its 2015 outlook for equities, released Thursday. In dollar terms, Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, is expected to return 11%, while Japan’s TOPIX I0000 is set to return 8%. That’s versus a 5% return for both the S&P 500 and the Europe Stoxx 600.
Home Depot facing at least 44 civil suits in data breach – Home Depot Inc. said Tuesday that it faces at least 44 civil lawsuits in the U.S. and Canada related to a widespread data breach at the home-improvement retailer earlier this year. The company, which is also under investigation by several state and federal agencies, warned that the claims and probes “may adversely affect how we operate our business, divert the attention of management from the operation of the business and result in additional costs and fines,” according to a filing.
Philip Falcone Quits as Harbinger Group CEO – Investor Philip Falcone is stepping down as chairman and chief executive officer of publicly traded Harbinger Group Inc. to focus on his hedge fund firm. Bloomberg “Money Clip” Host Olivia Sterns reports.
Wal-Mart Top Merchant Leaves, Reshuffles U.S. Executives – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ’s chief merchandising officer is leaving the retailer just days before the annual Thanksgiving shopping frenzy known as Black Friday, causing a broader shake-up in the company’s namesake U.S. division.
GoPro Developing Line of Consumer Drones – GoPro Inc. is developing its own line of consumer drones to expand from its core business of making wearable video cameras popular with surfers and other sports enthusiasts, according to people familiar with its plans.
GoPro Developing Line of Consumer Drones – Black Friday isn’t the best day for your website to crash. Best Buy’s website was down for over an hour on Friday, as shoppers flooded the Internet looking for deals. “A concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues that led us to shut down BestBuy.com in order to take proactive measures to restore full performance,” said spokeswoman Amy von Walter.
The Week Ahead
The following notable companies releasing their earnings:
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO)
Barnes & Noble (BKS)
Christopher & Banks Corporation (CBK)
The Cooper Companies (COO)
Dollar General (DG)
United Natural Foods (UNFI)
Next week’s economic calendar includes the ISM Index on Monday; motor vehicle sales and construction spending on Tuesday; ADP Employment Change, Crude Inventories, the ISM Non-Mfg Index, and the Fed’s Beige Book on Wednesday; Jobless claims on Thursday; and finally the Employment Situation, Trade Balance, and Factory orders on Friday.
That’s all for this week’s investment news roundup. Stop by every Monday to catch up on the major investment news from the previous week.