GE Is Back; Deutsche Bank Merger Looking More And More Likely; China Vows To Buy US Soybeans
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Throwback the clock and fire up the jet turbines, GE is back baby!
CEO Larry Culp announced a new comeback plan that included reducing the conglomerate’s debt load, fixing its struggling power business, and easing uncertainties in share price. But the real olive in the lunch martini was the announcement that GE had agreed to settle a claim with the Justice Department stemming from its clusterf*ck of a subprime mortgage business … for less than investors had anticipated.
It’s safe to say that GE probably had the worst 2018 of any company that didn’t burn down half of California. Massive debt and “decades of bad decisions” left the company rigid and bulky. It fired a CEO and even got kicked out of the Dow.
Culp’s initial assessment of the company wasn’t well received back in October but investors were singing a different tune yesterday, as the stock rose almost 12%. Godspeed Larry. Godspeed.
WHO DID THIS?
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Deutsche Bank … the German government went all “hold my beer.”
Deutsche Bank, the former bulge bracket investment bank, was given an ultimatum by the powers that be in Deutschland: shape up, or face a fate worse than being Deutsche Bank … merge with Commerzbank.
Who created this monster?
Talks of an arranged marriage have been bubbling since before DB became the Pluto of Wall Street. But now German government sources tell the Journal that the merger has been pre-approved by the country’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, and has buy-in from both governing parties in Berlin.
The jury among DB and Commerz investors (read: actual finance professionals) is still out, but Cerberus which holds large a stake in both banks said it wouldn’t block a merger if proposed. It’s rationale? It can’t get much worse …
BACK ON MY BEANSH*T
Ahead of a self-imposed March 1st deadline, President Trump met with China’s Vice Premier yesterday at the White House to chat trade and tariffs. What came out of this much-anticipated meeting, you ask? Brace yourself for this … soybeans. Yup, China has agreed to buy a bunch of f*cking beans.
Just how many? Five million tons of soybeans, which is in addition to the 5M tons that Beijing agreed to purchase just weeks after Trump and Xi met in Argentina in December.
This may seem like a literal f*ck ton, but China, in a typical year, purchases between 30M and 35M tons of the soy sauce ingredient from the US. Starting last July, thanks to stalling trade talks with the US, the communist country turned to Brazil to fulfill its insatiable, and, quite frankly, worrisome, appetite for soy.
Is anyone happy about this?
Funny you should ask. According to Donny Politics, US farmers are going to be very, very happy about the news. In addition to soybeans, China indicated it would begin purchasing other US agricultural goods as well. Long sorghum.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Rise and shine, Amazon is back, er, still, in the black with a third straight record profit. Bezos and Co. bottom line jumped 63% from last year with $3B in profit. Profitable businesses like cloud computing contributed to the big quarter. AMZN shares fell after hours, however, after the company warned about increased spending going forward.
- DJT is considering a former pizza man (no, not Papa John) and presidential candidate, Herman Cain, for a Federal Reserve governorship. Cain, the former chairman of the Kansas City Fed is one of many candidates that Trump is meeting with.
- Nintendo has doubts about the Switch. The company cut its fiscal year sales estimates from 20M units to just 17M. And the video game pioneer has pushed back the release date of its Mario Kart mobile phone game until at least this summer. Still, the creators of the worst video game character of all time, Waluigi (change my mind), raked in $1.46B, vs. $1.36B expected, for the quarter.
- Brookfield Asset Management has raised a $15B property fund making it the second largest private real estate fund ever if you’re keeping track at home.
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