Market Morning: Bear Market Overview, J&J Fights Back, Facebook Gets Stern Letter, Moonves Out to Dry

Stock Market Roundup

Bear Market Who’s Who

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Marketwatch came out with a good infographic showing which leading stocks, sectors, and indices are in bear markets. The results are unsettling, if you’re a bull. Of the major indices, the S&P 600 Small Cap Index is the only one actually down in bear market territory, 22% from highs. Three sectors within the S&P 500 are in bear markets – Materials, Financials, and Energy, with Industrials and Information Technology on the brink. The worst performing stocks are Mohawk Industries (NYSE:MHK), General Electric (NYSE:GE), Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC), Coty (NYSE:COTY), and Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR). All FAANG stocks are in bear markets, plus DowDupont (NYSE:DWDP), Citigroup (NYSE:C), AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Philip Morris (NYSE:PM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), 3M (NYSE:MMM), AT&T (NYSE:T), and Home Depot (NYSE:HD).

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Johnson & Johnson Defends Against Asbestos Baby Powder Reuters Bombshell

Reuters really got Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) on this one. Expect Erin Brokovitch 2 in theatres sometime in the next decade if J&J ultimately loses here. JNJ shares were still in freefall yesterday, down over 3%, after falling over 10% on Friday after word broke that the company actually knew about asbestos in its baby powder product since the 1970’s. The problem is that talc powder is mined and naturally contains asbestos, which is also in the Earth’s crust when the stuff is mined. In its defense, J&J said Reuters omitted information demonstrating the Baby Powder is safe and does not cause cancer; that J&J’s baby powder has repeatedly been tested and found to be asbestos-free; and that the company has cooperated with the FDA and other regulators around the world to provide information requested over decades. The crux of the problem is a total of three tests that showed evidence of asbestos from three different labs between 1972 and 1975, the results of which were not reported to the FDA. Asbestos was also discovered in a mine that sourced the raw material for the baby powder, though that does not link the product to asbestos directly.

Facebook vs “Civil Rights Community”, the Latter is Very Upset

The so-called “Civil Rights Community” has given Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) a Very Stern Letter indicating how outraged it is about bigotry and hatred. “We write to express our profound disappointment regarding Facebook’s role in generating bigotry and hatred towards vulnerable communities and civil rights organizations. The public has given your company the benefit of the doubt for far too long and ignorance is no longer an excuse. It’s become abundantly clear that, as currently constituted, your leadership team is unable to adequately address the valid concerns of the civil rights community.” Facebook shares are down 36% in 5 months, so maybe the public isn’t giving them the benefit of the doubt over bigotry and hatred. 31 civil rights groups joined in on this letter, demanding that CEO Mark Zuckerberg step down and COO Sheryl Sandberg be taking off the board entirely. Apparently, Russian operatives targeted the self-proclaimed clientele of these groups to get them to vote for Trump, and they are livid about this, even though nobody was forced to vote a certain way. It is doubtful that Facebook will take the letter seriously.

Moonves Out $120M By CBS, Who Are Also Very Upset

Les Moonves, former CEO of CBS (NYSE:CBS), which is also in a bear market 33% down from its highs, will lose his $120M severance pay for “…willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract, as well as his willful failure to cooperate fully with the company’s investigation,” according to a statement released by the CBS board of directors. According to leaked details of the investigation published by the New York Times, Moonves tried to destroy evidence and bribe accusers with jobs at CBS. Moonves reportedly advanced the careers of women who had sex with him. Moonves claims all sexual encounters were consensual. (At least he didn’t demote them.) Instead of paying Moonves his severance, CBS donated some of the money to 18 organizations who are trying to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.




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