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  1. phil

    Indexes seem to be holding up into the close.  

    • Saturday, Dec. 9 – Tuesday, Dec. 12Annual Meeting of American Society of Hematology, Atlanta, GA.
    • Tuesday, Dec. 12Meeting of Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Devices Panel of the FDA's Medical Devices Advisory Committee. Agenda: Marketing application from Intrinsic Therapeutics seeking approval for the Barricaid Anular Closure Device to prevent reherniation of spinal disc.
    • Wednesday, Dec. 13 (10:00 am ET): Eli Lilly LLY 2018 guidance conference call.
    • Thursday, Dec. 14 (8:30 am ET): Express Scripts ESRX: 2018 guidance conference call.
    • Saturday, Dec. 16: FDA action date (PDUFA) on Seattle Genetics' marketing application seeking approval to use Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Look for a decision by Friday, December 15.

    GDPNow Q4 forecast dips to 2.9%

    • Plugging the data in from this morning's job report, the Atlanta Fed tracker now sees Q4 GDP growth of 2.9% vs. 3.2% earlier in the week, and as high as 4.5% in early November.
    • The Blue Chip consensus forecast remains at about 2.7%.
    • December Consumer Sentiment96.8 vs. 98.8 expected and 98.5 prior.
    • Current economic conditions 115.9 vs. 113.5 prior.
    • Index of consumer expectations 84.6 vs. 88.9 prior.

    Restaurant sales flat in November

    • U.S. restaurant comparable sales were flat in November to top the average pace seen in the sector for the first ten months of the year, according to data compiled by TDn2K.
    • Comparable traffic fell 2.50% during the month, but higher prices helped to offset the decline in guests.
    • "Higher check average increases are risky in a market with steadily decreasing traffic, but brands may be using price to support margins as they face rising labor and operating costs," observes TDn2K's Victor Fernandez.

    BP says 2017 one of its biggest years ever as it shifts focus to natural gas

    • The Zohr gas field offshore Egypt will come online by the end of December, marking the completion of what BP (BP +0.7%) calls one of its biggest years ever as it shifts from crude oil toward cleaner-burning gas projects as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy.
    • BP routinely ran over budget and behind schedule on projects through 2010 but has since become a leader in keeping project costs below budget and finishing on time, says Dave O'Connor, head of BP's Global Projects Organization.
    • BP completed seven major projects this year, in Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago, Oman, Australia and in the U.K. North Sea; out of the seven, only the North Sea expansion is focused on crude oil.
    • O'Connor highlights the second phase of the Mad Dog development in the Gulf of Mexico as an example of BP's renewed focus on efficiency and cost savings; the project originally was estimated at $20B in 2012, but after cutting the bells and whistles instead of starting from scratch, the cost came in at $9B last year.
    • The total U.S. rig count increased by 2 to 931, rising for the fifth consecutive week, according to Baker Hughes' latest weekly survey.
    • The oil rig count rose by 2 to 751, while the gas rig count held steady at 180.
    • Metals stocks are mostly higher after China reported exports surged 12.3% in November from a year ago, more than double expectations, and imports climbed 17.7%; X +1.5%VALE +1.3%BHP +1.2%CLF +0.9%FCX +0.8%RIO flat in premarket trade.
    • China’s demand for commodities jumped, as the world’s largest consumer of raw materials saw higher imports of copper, crude oil and iron ore; shipments of copper soared 42%, iron ore jumped 19%, and imports of crude oil hit 9.04M bbl/day, their second highest recorded level ever.
    • Traders say the import data should help support commodity prices, which have been hit by concerns about slowing economic growth in China.
    • Jefferies analysts say sharp declines in Chinese finished steel exports show improved supply-side discipline while low inventories and strong prices and margins further highlight market tightness; the firm says ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) is its sector favorite.

    • Gold prices settled at their lowest level in nearly five months, as gains in the U.S. dollar and stocks and another surge this week for bitcoin dulled demand for the yellow metal.
    • February Comex gold slipped 0.4% to settle at $1,248.40/oz., the lowest since July 20, capping a 2.6% loss this week; the SPDR Gold Trust ETF and the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF tumbled a respective 2.6% and 3.9% for the week.
    • Also, “the solid jobs report implies the Fed can remain on a path of higher interest rates well into 2018,” says Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “Higher rates and higher real rates, especially since wage inflation appears stable for now, are likely pressuring gold.”
    • “Gold’s role as a safe haven and a store of value is greatly diminished at this point,” says Barnabas Gan, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking, noting improved risk appetite after the postponing of a U.S. government shutdown and further progress in Brexit talks likely will continue to weigh on gold into next week.
    • Boeing (BA +0.7%) continues to grind higher, now up ~4.5% this week to a new 52-week high, as the stock is seen as a big winner in tax reform coming out of Congress.
    • On CNBC last night, CEO Dennis Muilenburg was bullish on tax reform, saying tax cuts would unleash pent-up economic energy and that Boeing would use the savings to further innovation.
    • "We're a big growth engine for the economy… driven by what we're seeing [in] commercial traffic growth around the world," Muilenburg says, planning to leverage the fact that "less than 20% of the world's population has ever taken a single flight, believe it or not. This year alone, 100M people in Asia will fly for the first time. We see traffic growing at 7% a year, it's going to outpace GDP and it's going to drive economic growth."
    • "The first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket," the CEO says of the company's next-generation rocket, which is being assembled and will see test flights in 2019.

    • CNBC sources say Elon Musk confirmed Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is working on its own AI hardware to reduce dependence on Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA).
    • Musk made the comments during a talk at a company party last night. His guest was Telsa’s VP of hardware Jim Keller, who was a chip architect at AMD. 
    • Tesla’s current Autopilot hardware system utilizes Nvidia graphics cards.   
    • Musk and Keller cited power and cost control and better efficiency among the benefits of using custom hardware.         
    • Previously: Bloomberg: Tesla replacing Nvidia with Intel for infotainment components (Sept. 26)
    • Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is casting a long shadow in a surprise appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show, according to The Wall Street Journal's Dan Neil. He writes that Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY), Jaguar (NYSE:TTM) and BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY) are just a few of the automakers rolling out their EV concepts to carve out space in the autonomous, connectivity, electrification evolution of the industry.
    • Neil sees Tesla as a survivor despite the slow pace of Model 3 production so far and widely-discussed financial pressures. His colorful explanation is below.
    • "The company’s prodigious burn rate, an estimated $8,000 per minute—have brought out the three-eyed ravens squawking auguries of doom. Oh, please. If Tesla were to run out of money today, by tomorrow Chinese and Arab investors would be dueling in the streets over it. The doors would still open. The Model 3 would still come out and, with the help of a half-million friends, would still hasten the rise of emission-free electrics, which was Mr. Musk’s objective all along. His ownership position may not make it to the promised land but the company will."
    • Ars Technica also walked away from the LA Auto Show with a favorable view of Tesla and the Model 3.
    • Recode sources say that SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBFOTCPK:SFTBY) could invest $300M in food delivery company DoorDash.
    • The companies are still in the talking stage so the deal could fall through or materialize with a different value. 
    • SoftBank’s investment could conflict with its pending investment in Uber (Private:UBER), which operates DoorDash competitor UberEats.  
    • Previously: SoftBank Vision Fund invests in Compass (Dec. 7)

    MoviePass helps theater chain to record attendance

    • Studio Movie Grill announces record attendance for 2017 after getting a jolt of traffic from MoviePass (NASDAQ:HMNY) subscribers.
    • The company says the MoviePass model has gone over well with value-seeking millennials and is a clean fit for its dine-in concept.
    • "We are in the business of creating the habit of movie going and we are excited to be an early adopter of MoviePass," says Studio Movie Grill CEO Brian Schultz.
    • Studio Movie Grill, which has has 29 locations across 9 states, is planning to expand in 2018.
    • Source: Press Release
    • Related stocks: AMCCNKRGCMCS.

    Digitimes: Apple suppliers shipments down on month, expect weak Dec.

    • Digitimes sources report that Largan wasn’t the only Apple (AAPL +0.4%) supplier that had weak shipments in November with a further drop expected this month.
    • Catcher technology, a chassis maker, had revenue drop 10.4% on the month in November. 
    • General Interface Solutions, which provides touch panels, had a 15.53% decline after expecting sales to grow into next year. 
    • The sources say Apple lowered its iPhone X component orders 30% below forecast in November and expect the same sequential percentage drop in Q1 due to seasonality and fewer working days in the quarter. But Q1 shipments could grow on the year. 
    • Apple suppliers that can move with news: Skyworks (SWKS -0.1%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS+0.7%), Qorvo (QRVO -0.4%), and Broadcom (AVGO -0.3%).  
    • Previously: Apple suppliers recover after Broadcom sales comments (Dec. 7)
    • Previously: Apple suppliers drop after Largan warns of lower Dec. revenue (Dec. 6)

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