Market Morning: Huawei Sues, Rare Earth Pawns, 737s Back by August?

Market Morning

Huawei Sues US Government in Texas Court, US Government To Decide Ruling

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Chinese Telecom Huawei is in the news again. This time it’s suing the federal government and wants the latest defense bill declared unconstitutional. Specifically, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2019, which enabled US President Donald Trump to declare a broad ban on federal agencies and contractors from using Huawei equipment on national security grounds, which he did. The argument is that Huawei is controlled by the Chinese government, which would make national security an issue, but Huawei denies that it is controlled by the Chinese government, so it should be quite an interesting case as Huawei would have to prove that it is not controlled by Beijing, which doesn’t really sound demonstrable. In any case, how can the Chinese government be a security threat only if there is no signed trade deal with China, but they are a security threat if there isn’t a signed deal?

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Vincent Pang, Huawei’s senior vice president and head of corporate communications, said that President Trump’s executive order, which draws its authority from the passage of the NDAA, had transcended the boundaries of normal market competition. “This could lead to the start of the fragmentation of the global tech ecosystem and standards,” Pang said on Wednesday at Huawei’s headquarters.

Reddit Co-Founder Regrets Social Media ‘Hustle Porn’

Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit, has seen the light of the damaging nature of social media on people’s work/life balance, and he’s not talking about those who spend too much time on social media generally. Rather, he’s talking about those who spend too much time on social media talking about how little time they spend on social media because they’re spending all their time working, and posting about this. It’s a bit of a mind-bender, but there’s a term for it – “hustle porn”. The icon of this trend is Tesla CEO Elon Musk who has boasted on Twitter (NASDAQ:TWTR) about sleeping on the factory floor and working 80 hours a week (half of them spent on Twitter?). Ohanian apparently saw the light when he went on paternity leave after the birth of his daughter in September of 2017. “Y’all see it on Instagram (NASDAQ:FB) and you certainly see it in the startup community, and it becomes really toxic,” Ohanian told the Wall Street Journal, saying that people who “show off” about how much they work are creating a bad environment for workers.

Ohanian’s chances of slowing this phenomenon are low, as the cat is already well out of the bag, and the capital value of social media followers keeps increasing. Trends to buy Instagram followers along with other sites remain at a premium.

Rare Earths in the Spotlight

Rare earths stocks (NYSEARCA:REMX) are surging as rumors that China is preparing to ban exports of rare earths metals to the United States are finding more sure footing with the publication of an article in a Chinese ruling party paper with the phrase “don’t say I didn’t warn you,” which, in Chinese, means they’re serious. China is the world’s leading producer of rare earths metals, which include cerium , dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium, and yttrium. Bonus points to anyone who can name all 17 in Chinese. They’re used in smartphones and precision-guided bombs, which could mean that the recycling value of your phone may go up over the next few months. And your precision-guided bombs, too.

Boeing 737 MAX Back In Service By August, Maybe

The International Air Transport Association believes that the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX series could be back in service by August, though the ultimate decision rests with regulators. “We do not expect something before 10 to 12 weeks in re-entry into service,” IATA Director General Alexandre de Juniac told reporters in Seoul. “But it is not our hands. That is in the hands of regulators.” The Federal Aviation Administration intends to approve the 737 MAX planes for service late next month, but airlines including Southwest (NYSE:LUV) and American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) have suspended all flights until August. The FAA only has jurisdiction for domestic US flights, though an international summit on the planes is set for sometime around 7 weeks or so from now to decide on the issue on a global scale.

Teva Crashes, Dick’s Soars

Two stocks in the limelight today for different reasons, Teva (NYSE:TEVA) is at 20-year lows on the back of an announcement that the generic drug giant is settling with Oklahoma to avoid litigation on an opioid abuse case for $85 million. Teva has been losing money for two years as generic drugs pricing has come under pressure and its debt service costs have soared after buying Mylan’s generic drugs unit. Meanwhile, Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) is up over 3% in premarket after beating analyst estimates and raising guidance. There’s one retailer that isn’t suffering too much from the retail apocalypse, though the stock is still way down from its 2017 highs.

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