Market Morning: Iran Threatens the Straits, Tesla Growing Pains

Market Morning

Iran Warns It May Block the Straits of Hormuz If US Blocks its Oil Exports

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We’ve seen this one before. Slightly less than 20% of daily oil trade go through the Straits of Hormuz, out of the Persian Gulf and out to the rest of the world. Iran is threatening to block them if the United States insists on blocking Iran’s own oil exports to the rest of the world. Most believe the threat is overblown, as Iran has never actually done this and if it did, the Trump Administration would go absolutely ballistic, considering the number and intensity of neoconservative war hawks within it. Iran would not have the capability to stand up to American pressure if the two powers chose to actually fight in the straits, but Iran could still slow oil transport through the 6-mile wide waterway, which would definitely send oil prices skyrocketing even if US forces were able to keep the waterway open, ultimately.

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Growing Pains Are Pain for Tesla Customers in Norway

Production isn’t the only thing that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is struggling to master. Repairs are a problem too, especially in Norway, where Bloomberg reports a quiet revolt is taking hold with relatively new Tesla owners in the country who are tired of waiting so long for repair services.  Customers are reporting waiting months for parts that are meant to cover minor damage, and some are waiting so long that they are considering selling their cars for something different. Tesla sales in Norway have surged over 100% in 2017, straining repair staff and making it difficult for the company to keep up. Tesla is blaming the Norwegian government for holding up repair plans on legal grounds, just making it harder for the company to accommodate its customers. Meanwhile, Jaguar and Mercedes are coming out with their own electric models, and they have established service networks.

No Brexit Deal Odds Now at 50-50, Say Politicians

The chances of British Prime Minister Theresa May failing at concluding an orderly Brexit deal are rising as the days pass. There is no majority in the British Parliament for any type of deal right now, so new elections, and quick, may be the only way forward. No Brexit deal means the terms of trade between what remains of the EU and Great Britain will be unclear, muddied, and slow, harming revenues and earnings for all companies and countries involved in trade. The IMF, which loves counting up humongous sums of money, estimates that a no-deal Brexit would cost the EU about $250 billion in lost deals. The head of Amazon UK (NASDAQ:AMZN), Doug Gurr, went even further to say that the lack of a deal would lead to civil unrest in Great Britain within weeks.

 

$5B Alphabet Fine and Earnings Still Beat Estimates

Alphabet lost $5 billion to European regulators last quarter but earnings are still $11.75 a share, above the $8.90 last year. Unfortunately, this could encourage regulators to fine Alphabet with an even heavier sum the next time it believes it violated one antitrust law or another. In any case, online ad revenue continues to pile up for the ruler of the internet, up 25% year over year to over $26 billion for the quarter.

Eisai, Biogen Move Forward with Alzheimer’s Drug

Japanese Biotech Eisai (OTCMKTS:ESALY) and its partner Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) have decided to move forward with an Alzheimer’s drug called BAN2401, designed to target beta amyloid plaques in the brain. After failing at the 12-month mark in previous trials, the companies believe there is hope as the drug seemed to improve cognitive abilities in patients on the highest dose. We do not know how many patients in the 856-patient trial were on the highest dose. Even though it looks bleak, any small success in Alzheimer’s could lead to a blockbuster drug, because there’s just nothing out there that treats or even slows the disease at all, and it is the most common form of dementia.

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