Market Morning: Korean Denuclearization, Ma Hates Trade War, Fox Comcast Battle Royale, Amazon Wants 3,000 Stores

Market Morning

North Korean Denculearization Continues to Tantalize

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While South Korean President Moon Jae-In has been working diligently to bridge the gaps between the two Koreas, US President Donald Trump seems to have thawed somewhat in his relationship with the world’s communist hermit since talks between Trump and Kim began. Trump is now saying that the US is ready for continued talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, provided that the nation commit to denuclearization by 2021. North Korea has invited inspectors from concerned countries to witness its dismantling of a missile engine testing site, and requested that the US take certain “unspecified measures” in exchange for the closing of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, its main nuclear installation.

No word on whether any of this is concrete, but any news of the de-escalation of nuclear tensions can’t be bad, even if it may be hype.

Jack Ma Doesn’t Like the Trade War

Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) CEO Jack Ma is not a fan of tariffs between the world’s two largest economies. Reneging on an earlier promise to create 1 million jobs in the US for his firm, Ma is now saying that the burgeoning trade war between the two nations is throwing a monkey wrench in his plans for economic growth. In retrospect, this should not be surprising, since Alibaba is heavily reliant on retail and retail is the first casualty in a trade war. “This promise [to create 1M jobs  in the US] “was on the basis of friendly China-US cooperation and reasonable bilateral trade relations, but the current situation has already destroyed that basis,” Ma said. “This promise can’t be completed.”

Battle Royale For Sky, Fox and Comcast to Duke it Out

As 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) have been dueling over who gets to take over Sky News, the UK government has come up with a brilliant idea that the two warring companies could not have possibly figured out on their own. They will bid for Sky, and whoever offers the most money, wins. The innovation, called a “bidding” though not a totally new concept in markets, seems to have hit the headlines for some reason, and the centraliziation of the process by regulators seems to have impressed, though it is doubtful that anything different would have happened had regulators not intervened to declare this bidding. The only thing new in the equation that British regulators have introduced here is a limitation of the bidding rounds to 3, effectively forcing Sky to choose a suitor after the third round is completed.

Half a Trillion in Earnings Repatriated Under Trump Out of $3 Trillion

Only one sixth of the capital kept in foreign accounts has been repatriated under the Trump Administration, which is the most in 31 years, but on the other hand it’s only one sixth. Before Trump, the rate for repatriating foreign funds was about 35%, which explains why companies would not want to bring funds back into the United States, since the government would take so much of them. The other reason is that many US companies would prefer keeping their funds overseas simply because overseas markets are growing and companies plan to continue employing those funds in overseas markets. This could have something to do with the current stock market boom.

Amazon’s Attack Against Traditional Retail Has Only Begun

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues to pledge its relentless attack against traditional retail by way of promising to open 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021. Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) all fell on the news. Amazon’s Amazon Go allows shoppers to simply come in, take their stuff, and leave, without any cashier, not even self checkout holding them up. It traditional retailer don’t respond to this, they could be left in the dust, as it is obvious what consumers would prefer.

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