• Bloomberg

    Biden Super-PAC Makes Ad Buy in Iowa: Campaign Update

    (Bloomberg) -- Unite the Country, a super-PAC started by former aides of Joe Biden, is launching a $650,000 advertising campaign in Iowa promoting his candidacy.The group’s first spot features a montage of photos starting with Biden as a young man and excerpts from a speech in which Biden highlights his stance favoring marriage equality, his sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act and the assault weapons ban enacted as part of the 1994 crime bill he sponsored.The ad doesn’t mention other Democratic candidates. It also doesn’t mention President Donald Trump, whose attacks on Biden were cited by the super-PAC’s founders as the reason they were forming the group. Trump’s campaign spent $8 million on television and digital ads starting in late October that criticized Biden over his son’s work for a Ukrainian energy firm.Unite the Country bought air time starting Monday in four Iowa markets, according to Advertising Analytics, which tracks political commercials. Biden is in fourth place in the state, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average.Warren Gets Clean Bill of Health in Report (9:10 a.m.)Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is a “very healthy 70-year-old woman,” her doctor said in a medical report released by the campaign Friday.“Senator Warren is in excellent health and has been throughout the 20 years I have served as her physician,” said Dr. Beverly Woo, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “There are no medical conditions or health problems that would keep her from fulfilling the duties of the president of the United States.”The records show that she got her most recent physical examination in January and her annual flu shot in October. Warren has “excellent” cholesterol levels and normal blood pressure. At 5 feet 8 inches, she weighs 129 pounds. Her only medical condition is hypothyroidism, for which she takes levothyroxine, which keeps her thyroid hormone levels normal, Woo said.Warren “has never smoked, used drugs or had any problem with alcohol use,” the report said. “She exercises regularly and follows a healthy diet despite her very busy schedule.”Warren is the only top-tier candidate to release medical records so far. Bernie Sanders, 78, who had a heart attack in early October, said he will make his available at “the appropriate time.” Joe Biden, 77, has not yet released his information but has said he will do so before the Iowa caucuses in February. Pete Buttigieg, who at 37 is the youngest candidate in the race, has not released any records. -- Misyrlena EgkolfopoulouSanders Aims to Break Up AT&T, Comcast (8:34 a.m.)Senator Bernie Sanders’ $150 billion plan aimed at bringing high-speed internet access to all U.S. households would break up Internet service provider and cable “monopolies,” singling out such companies as Comcast Corp., AT&T Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc.“The internet as we know it was developed by taxpayer-funded research, using taxpayer-funded grants in taxpayer-funded labs,” Sanders said in the plan, which was released Friday. “Our tax dollars built the internet and access to it should be a public good for all, not another price gouging profit machine for Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.”Sanders said the internet, telecom, and cable companies “exploit their dominant market power to gouge consumers and lobby government at all levels to keep out competition.” He’d mandate providers offer a “basic, quality Internet plan at an affordable price.”The Sanders plan comes as one of his rivals, Senator Elizabeth Warren, is leading the charge to to break up large tech companies. Warren published an October essay titled “Here’s How We Can Break Up Big Tech,” calling for splitting up Amazon Inc., Facebook Inc., and Google.AT&T, Verizon and Comcast rose fractionally before regular U.S. trading, with gains of less than 0.5%. -- Elizabeth WassermanCOMING UPJoe Biden is on an eight-day, 18-county bus tour of Iowa through Saturday.Presidential candidates including Biden, Sanders and Pete Buttigieg will participate in a forum hosted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday.Warren, Sanders and Biden are scheduled to take part in town hall meetings hosted by UNITE HERE Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas on Dec. 9-11.(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)\--With assistance from Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou.To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Allison in Washington DC at ballison14@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Oil Surges After Saudis Surprise Market With Additional Cuts
    Bloomberg

    Oil Surges After Saudis Surprise Market With Additional Cuts

    (Bloomberg) -- Oil jumped to the highest since September after Saudi Arabia surprised the market by promising significant additional supply cuts beyond what was agreed to with fellow OPEC+ members.Crude futures rose as much as 2.4% in London and New York as Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the country would continue its voluntary cut of 400,000 barrels a day. That brings total cuts implemented by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to 2.1 million barrels a day, he said.“The comments are what drove the market up,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research in Winchester, Mass. “Total cuts are larger and substantially better than what the market was expecting.”The additional supply reduction would take the kingdom’s production down to levels not seen on a sustained basis since 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.After the announcement, Prince Abdulaziz predicted that Saudi Aramco, which just completed an IPO at a valuation of $1.7 trillion, would soon soar above the $2 trillion. The kingdom plans to pump 9.7 million barrels a day, he said. That’s a reduction of about 300,000 barrels a day from its output in November and 100,000 below the year-to-date average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.West Texas Intermediate for January delivery rose 56 cents to $58.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange 11:15 a.m local time.Brent for February settlement gained 75 cents to $64.14 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark traded at a $5.22 premium to WTI for the same month.The oil market faces a tricky patch early next year. Demand growth is slowing and another big expansion in rival production is coming down the pipeline. Together those factors could create another oversupply that drives international prices back down toward $50 a barrel.To contact the reporters on this story: Sheela Tobben in New York at vtobben@bloomberg.net;Alex Longley in London at alongley@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net, Mike Jeffers, Reg GaleFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Costco Sustains Decent Comparable Sales Run in November
    Zacks

    Costco Sustains Decent Comparable Sales Run in November

    Costco's (COST) better price management and strong membership trends have been playing a crucial role in driving comps. The metric improves 5.3% during the month of November.

  • Verizon-Sony Partner to Boost Live Sports Viewing Experience
    Zacks

    Verizon-Sony Partner to Boost Live Sports Viewing Experience

    Leveraging 5G Ultra Wideband network, Verizon (VZ) partners with Sony to promote next-gen live sports viewing experience with excellent wireless connectivity, low-latency and high-definition video.

  • The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, Starbucks, Diageo, Fidelity National Information Services and Colgate-Palmolive
    Zacks

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, Starbucks, Diageo, Fidelity National Information Services and Colgate-Palmolive

    The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ExxonMobil, Starbucks, Diageo, Fidelity National Information Services and Colgate-Palmolive

  • GOOGL, AMZN, MSFT & Others to Watch in Healthcare Industry
    Zacks

    GOOGL, AMZN, MSFT & Others to Watch in Healthcare Industry

    Tech giants like Alphabet, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and Apple are foraying into the healthcare industry to capitalize on its prospects.

  • Zacks.com featured highlights include: Target, Medtronic Public, Arconic, Science Applications International and Bristol-Myers Squibb
    Zacks

    Zacks.com featured highlights include: Target, Medtronic Public, Arconic, Science Applications International and Bristol-Myers Squibb

    Zacks.com featured highlights include: Target, Medtronic Public, Arconic, Science Applications International and Bristol-Myers Squibb

  • Rent-A-Center Hikes Dividend: What Else Should You Know?
    Zacks

    Rent-A-Center Hikes Dividend: What Else Should You Know?

    Rent-A-Center (RCII) announces a 16% hike in its quarterly dividend, taking it from 25 cents a share to 29 cents.

  • Target, Gap, Beyond Meat, McDonald's and Costco highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day
    Zacks

    Target, Gap, Beyond Meat, McDonald's and Costco highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

    Target, Gap, Beyond Meat, McDonald's and Costco highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day

  • ExxonMobil to Commence 31-Well Exploration Program in Guyana
    Zacks

    ExxonMobil to Commence 31-Well Exploration Program in Guyana

    ExxonMobil (XOM) has made 14 discoveries at the Stabroek block, wherein recoverable reserves are estimated to be more than 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

  • It's Official: Saudi Aramco to Become the Biggest IPO Ever
    Zacks

    It's Official: Saudi Aramco to Become the Biggest IPO Ever

    Saudi Aramco, which is set to trade on the Riyadh stock market, beat the previous record held by Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba.

  • Autonomous Vehicles Aim New Highs With Driverless Tests
    Zacks

    Autonomous Vehicles Aim New Highs With Driverless Tests

    Alibaba (BABA)-backed AutoX applies for testing its self-driving vehicles, without in-car driver backup, thereby stirring competition in the autonomous-vehicle tech space.

  • 5 Blue Chip Stocks to Buy on the Dip for a Stronger Portfolio
    Zacks

    5 Blue Chip Stocks to Buy on the Dip for a Stronger Portfolio

    As stock market volatility continues, the blue-chip index is showing fluctuation. However, a closer look into the index reveals that not all stocks are erratic.

  • The Wrong Way to Fight Porch Pirates
    Bloomberg

    The Wrong Way to Fight Porch Pirates

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- One consequence of America’s Cyber Monday shopping binge is the imminent arrival of $9.4 billion worth of merchandise on the nation’s doorsteps. And that will cue the annual cries of frustration about porch pirates — along with a raft of local news stories on how to evade them, and a few viral tales of consumers attempting to spook them with booby-trapped packages or glitter bombs.The fixation on thwarting porch pirates is understandable. (I, for one, will confess to being irrationally angry recently when a $27 baby onesie was swiped from my front stoop.) But it is also a flawed way of thinking about a legitimate and persistent problem with e-commerce.The problem is not just theft. It is that shipping giants such as United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., as well as big retailers, are not moving fast enough to make delivery of online orders more flexible and to turn over more control to shoppers.Consumers and neighborhood associations should spend less time trying to answer the question, “How can we create a world where expensive goods can sit on my doorstep for hours and not get stolen?” Instead, they should be asking, “How can we make it so that expensive goods are not left on my doorstep in the first place?”UPS and FedEx, to be fair, have made strides toward giving customers more options. Each has a network of thousands of access points where shoppers can pick up packages, including at ubiquitous stores such as Dollar General or CVS Pharmacy. Both shippers have apps that allow residents to provide delivery instructions for a driver.Retailers, too, are getting more creative. Amazon.com Inc. now offers the option of choosing a single day each week for all of your recent orders to arrive, making it easier to ensure you’ll be home when your haul is delivered. And both Amazon and Walmart Inc. are piloting services that rely on smart-home technology that allows a driver one-time, secure access to your home.Surely such a service, or some variation of it, will become commonplace within a decade. (After all, there was once a time when it was creepy to get in a stranger’s car, but thanks to Uber and Lyft that’s now ordinary.) For now, though, the choices for consumers are underwhelming or confusing — or, in some cases, both.For example, UPS and FedEx both trumpet the convenience of letting you reroute an in-progress shipment to an access point. But online shoppers aren’t able to fully take advantage because retailers can put restrictions on packages preventing the recipient from redirecting them. This is likely a well-intentioned anti-fraud tactic, but it means access points aren’t the reliable solution they’re cracked up to be.And retailers aren’t always great at steering customers toward desirable secure options. Amazon, for example, routinely tries to nudge me at checkout to try a pickup point that is a 30-minute drive from my home, even though there is a Whole Foods Market with Amazon lockers in walking distance.But there are bigger ideas that could do even more to ensure package security. What if UPS or FedEx were to more routinely provide narrower time windows for drop-offs, or to allocate more workers for nighttime deliveries when nine-to-fivers are likely to be at home? What if retailers allowed customers to choose their shipping provider at checkout, which might force shippers to compete for their loyalty?Such changes would further complicate the “last-mile” delivery challenges the industry has been addressing for decades, and would likely add costs. But these are the same logistics experts and retailers that were able to make speedy two-day delivery standard.  It’s not unreasonable to expect them to innovate their way to giving shoppers more choice.Even if it’s difficult, improved delivery flexibility is a far better remedy for porch piracy than other headline-grabbing approaches. Police departments have experimented with planting bait packages on doorsteps that are outfitted with GPS trackers, potentially allowing them to catch individual thieves. Texas has a new law on the books that makes package theft punishable by up to 10 years in prison.Never mind that there are already laws against theft. These kinds of punitive measures are not useless, but they are likely to be helpful only in a limited area for a limited period of time.The more productive approach is to focus on reducing the unsecured supply of porch treasures. And no one is better equipped to attack that problem than the retailers and shippers. So shoppers should raise their expectations of these companies and demand that they do more.To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at shalzack@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Should Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) Focus On Improving This Fundamental Metric?
    Simply Wall St.

    Should Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) Focus On Improving This Fundamental Metric?

    One of the best investments we can make is in our own knowledge and skill set. With that in mind, this article will...

  • Bull of The Day: Target (TGT)
    Zacks

    Bull of The Day: Target (TGT)

    Bull of The Day: Target (TGT)

  • How a Vegan, Alcohol-Free Christmas Is Taking Over the World
    Bloomberg

    How a Vegan, Alcohol-Free Christmas Is Taking Over the World

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- This Christmas, instead of a free-range turkey, how about a beef-less Wellington washed down with a few glasses of “Nosecco”? And rather than falling asleep watching the Queen, why not tune in to your inner self with a spot of meditation?This might not sound like traditional festive fun, but now that the craze for all things vegan has crossed the Atlantic, it’s what British retailers are betting on to lift sluggish supermarket sales and see off brutal conditions on the high street, at least for a spell.A rough estimate suggests that across the big U.K. supermarket chains, meat-free offerings of traditional Christmas fare are up by between 40% and 400% this year. This underlines how veganism has moved from niche to mainstream over the course of 2019 as more  consumers cut out animal products altogether, or reduce their meat intake with a “flexitarian” diet. Just look at the popularity of the vegan sausage roll introduced by baker Greggs Plc. There’s likely to be at least one vegan at any big Christmas gathering, and so being able to cater for them with plant-based canapés is crucial. And while many families won’t ditch the turkey altogether, they may well replace another meat protein, such as beef or gammon, with a fancy nut roast, savory yule log or vegetable wreath. Sales of plant-based substitutes still represent a small share of the overall grocery market, but they can have a significant influence over shopping habits. Being able to buy a good selection of food for a vegan daughter, for example, is likely to determine where shoppers fill up their grocery carts for the whole family. No wonder the category has become a key battleground.There’s another reason why it’s worth supermarkets’ while to go vegan. Plant-based versions of festive favorites such as pigs in blankets tend to be more complex to make and require innovative ingredients. J Sainsbury Plc is this year offering party food made from the blossom of the banana tree, which can be used as a substitute for fish. This builds on the popularity of the jackfruit, a tropical fruit that is a good alternative to pulled pork. All of this added value means supermarkets can charge a premium.QuicktakeThe Vegan EconomyThat won’t last forever though. The U.K. arms of the German discounters Aldi and Lidl are piling into this market too. Lidl has two Christmas-specific vegan lines, while Aldi has nine, including pastry crowns and vegan cocktail sausage rolls. Neither had a plant-based offering last year. Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc recently cut the price of its foods that are free from certain ingredients, such as gluten, while Tesco Plc has launched an affordable plant-based range.In another sign of the times, supermarkets this Christmas season are bulking up on party drinks that are low in alcohol, or contain none at all. Not only do they  tend to be premium products, particularly non-alcoholic spirits, but retailers don’t pay duty. So, while they can charge the same or more for a fancy but sober drink, they get to keep a bigger slice of the selling price.It helps that the market is growing rapidly, as many consumers, particularly younger people captivated more by their social media feeds than their real social life, reduce their alcohol intake. Beer led the way, spawning Budweiser’s Prohibition Brew and Brewdog’s Nanny State, with wines and particularly spirits exploding this year. Demand from supermarket shoppers follows the trend in clubs and pubs where “mocktails” are now a staple of the cocktail menu. Going on the wagon is usually associated with January, but the run-up to Christmas can also be a time for restraint as people become more conscious of pacing themselves through rounds of festive events, not to mention all of those designated drivers. Asda, the U.K. arm of Walmart Inc., estimated that December sales of low- and no-alcohol drinks are double those of the average month. It’s all part of the new mood around Christmas, characterized by rising environmental awareness and a focus on health and wellness. Throw in the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and the general election, and there are fewer celebrity blockbuster Christmas advertisements this year, with most retailers returning to traditional themes such as family and nostalgia for the past.Even tree trimmings are falling in with the trend. The Sanctuary range from John Lewis features pastel hued baubles including Buddha heads and an ornament depicting a woman reclining in a luxurious bubble bath. Its focus is on serenity — something that’s often in short supply over the busy festive season.After the decorations come down, consumers may continue to embrace plant-based diets with Veganuary, which has rocketed in popularity over the past five years. Dry January will bolster sales of no- and low-alcohol ranges.  But beyond that, it could well be retailers themselves that are in need of some self-care. The months following the holidays are often lean ones, as consumers rein in spending after the excess of Christmas. It can also be tricky for supermarkets to accurately gauge demand and control waste when consumers switch in and out of different food and drink trends so dramatically. This year could be particularly hard if the election is followed by the return of fretting over Brexit. So these swings will be an extra burden to manage.The New Year hangover may still be with us, even if it is an alcohol-free one.To contact the author of this story: Andrea Felsted at afelsted@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Mexico Regulator Says Disney-Fox Deal Not Stalled by Injunction

    (Bloomberg) -- An injunction granted to Televisa by a Mexican court will not delay the approval of Walt Disney Co.’s purchase of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets, according to a statement from Mexico’s telecom regulator.The injunction doesn’t deal with the approval of the acquisition, but rather with the finding of an investigating authority that rejected Televisa’s argument that the merger represented an illegal concentration in the industry, according to a statement from the telecom regulator known as IFT.Televisa argued the regulator, which oversaw the deal in Mexico, unfairly dismissed its arguments about threats to competition from the deal, a person familiar with the matter said.According to the statement from the telecom regulator, the judge’s decision is not final, deals only with the regulator’s investigating authority and doesn’t have an impact on the approved acquisition.The IFT said in March it approved Disney’s purchase of the Fox assets on the condition that the companies agree to sell Fox Sports channels and programming rights in Mexico. The regulator gave Disney a six-month extension to sell those assets in November.To contact the reporter on this story: Dale Quinn in Mexico City at dquinn40@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ney Hayashi at ncruz4@bloomberg.net, Andrea NavarroFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Oilprice.com

    Six Oil Stocks To Survive The Shale Bust

    The U.S. shale patch is showing serious signs of financial distress, but a few companies continue to drill profitably for oil & gas in America’s most prolific shale basins

  • AT&T (T) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    AT&T (T) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, AT&T (T) closed at $38.20, marking a +0.26% move from the previous day.

  • Boeing (BA) Stock Sinks As Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Boeing (BA) Stock Sinks As Market Gains: What You Should Know

    Boeing (BA) closed at $345.68 in the latest trading session, marking a -0.91% move from the prior day.