North America In the U.S.: As part of trade talks with China, President Trump offered a lifeline to telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp stating that he and Xi are working together to give ZTE “a way to get back into business, fast.” ZTE was banned from doing business with the US for violating 2017 sanctions relating to dealings with Iran, Sudan, and North Korea. The US and EU could be facing a logistical battle regarding the US decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran. Since the EU desires to stay in the deal, it will be difficult for the US to sever Iranian bank ties to foreign financial institutions via the Belgium-based Swift network, whose financial messaging system facilitates cross-border payments.
North America In the U.S.: The Trump administration backed out of the Iran deal and levied its first post deal sanctions. However the US remains hopeful that its EU allies will persuade Iran to return to the negotiating table before reigniting its nuclear program. On a separate note, the conflict between Iran and Israel escalated this week with Israel exchanging fire with Iranian assets in Syria. In earnings, 454 companies in the S&P 500 Index have reported, 76.1% beat, 0.9% were in-line, and 23.0% missed estimates. REIT Focus: Blackstone Group L.P. (BX) announced the acquisition of Gramercy Property Trust (GPT) in an all cash transaction, for $27.50/share (a 15% premium to the $23.82 closing price on May 4th, 2018). The
North America In the U.S.: The Trump administration will delay imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Mexico and Canada until June 1st. The delay was expected as the US needed more time to finalize the deals. As expected, the Fed left rates unchanged. Key takeaways were that inflation had moved close to 2% and that spending had moderated from Q1. April nonfarm payrolls increased by 164K which missed estimates of 190K. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% and hourly earnings were up 0.1% m/m. In earnings, 407 companies in the S&P 500 Index have reported, 77.0% beat, 0.7% were in-line, and 32.6% missed estimates. REIT Focus: Prologis, Inc. (PLD) entered into a definitive agreement to acquire DCT
North America In the U.S.: The 10-year Treasury note hit 3% yield for first time since January 2014. The Bond yield backup has driven more talk about the potential for the Fed to implement three additional rate hikes this year. Q1 GDP came in at a 2.3% annualized versus Q4’s 2.9% annualized reading. Although lower than Q4, the reading was the best Q1 reading since 2015, as seasonality has the tendency to drive Q1 GDP figures lower. In earnings, 266 companies in the S&P 500 Index have reported, 78.1% beat, 0.4% were in-line, and 21.5% missed estimates. REIT Focus: Quality Care Properties, Inc. (QCP) entered into an agreement to be acquired by Welltower (WELL) for $20.75/share in an all cash
North America In the U.S.: CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea to meet Kim Jong Un and prepare for a possible summit with President Trump. The trip raised optimism that the two sides could reach a denuclearization deal. In addition, it is expected that South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un may release a joint statement saying they will seek to ease military tension and to end confrontation. REIT Focus: The Macerich Company (MAC) announced that Arthur Coppola will retire as Chairman and CEO of The Macerich Company after 25 years as CEO. Following the news, several research firms raised their outlook for the company given the increased likelihood of M&A activity. ASIA