1. Stock Futures Ease for Second Day
Stock futures slipped on Thursday, the second day stocks flashed red after they started the fourth quarter with two rallies.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq at last check were all around 0.5% lower.
Stocks had ticked briefly higher late Wednesday before ending the session in the red and halting a two-day winning streak that marked the start of the quarter.
On Wednesday the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 42 points, or 0.14%, to 30,273, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.25%.
A key economic report due out at 8:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern on Thursday is weekly jobless claims. A survey from The Wall Street Journal says analysts forecast a rise of 203,000.
And analysts are awaiting Friday’s jobs report, with analysts forecasting a rise of 275,000, according to TWSJ.
2. OPEC+ Slashes 2% of Global Oil Output
OPEC+, which includes Russia, on Wednesday agreed to cut oil production by 2 million barrels of oil a day, or 2% of global production.
The move is likely to increase energy prices and help Russia finance its war on Ukraine.
President Joe Biden is “disappointed by the short-sighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of [President Vladimir] Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” a White House statement said.
“At a time when maintaining a global supply of energy is of paramount importance, this decision will have the most negative impact on lower and middle-income countries that are already reeling from elevated energy prices.”
In the past three months oil prices have dropped from $120 a barrel as traders mulled the prospect of a global recession. Bloomberg News reported Thursday morning that U.S. crude-oil futures were trading at more than $88 a barrel, up 11% this week.
The White House statement said that U.S. gasoline prices are down $1.20 a gallon since the start of the summer. The Wall Street Journal reports they are again ticking higher.
Meantime, The Journal reported that the Biden administration is planning to ease sanctions on Venezuela, a move that could reopen U.S. and European markets to oil exports from the country.
In exchange for the sanctions relief the government of President Nicolas Maduro would resume talks with his opponents to “discuss conditions needed to hold free and fair presidential elections in 2024,” the paper reported, citing people familiar with the proposal.
If the deal is concluded, it would add only a limited amount of new oil to the market, TWSJ reported. That’s because Venezuela’s state-run industry has collapsed because of underinvestment, corruption and mismanagement.
3. Musk, Twitter Still Working Out Terms; Trial Prep Continues
Elon Musk’s representatives and Twitter TWTR unsuccessfully discussed cutting the price at which the entrepreneur would buy the microblogging platform, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
And even as Musk has indicated that he would go forward with the original terms for the takeover, $54.20 a share or $44 billion, several issues remain unresolved, the paper said. These include what the two sides would need to do before each would drop the lawsuit it filed against the other, and whether closing of the deal would be conditioned on Musk, Tesla’s TSLA CEO, securing financing, the paper reported.
Meantime, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Apollo Global Management APO of New York and the San Francisco investment firm Sixth Street Partners, which had sought to provide financing for Musk’s Twitter buyout, are no longer in talks with the billionaire entrepreneur.
In addition, media reports say that the Delaware Chancery Court judge overseeing the Musk-Twitter trial is continuing with preparations for the case.
The reports quote the judge as saying in a Wednesday decision that Musk’s team allowed some encrypted communications relevant to the case to disappear.
“If defendants deleted documents after they were under a duty to preserve, some remedy is appropriate, but the appropriate remedy is unclear to me at this stage,” the Journal quoted the judge as saying.
4. Ford Motor Lifts Price of F-150 Lightning Pro
Ford Motor (F) plans to raise the price on the model-year 2023 F-150 Lightning Pro electric ;pickup by $5,000, or 11%, a move reflecting the supply-chain disruptions of the past couple of years and cost inflation.
The 2023 Pro model will be priced at $51,974. A Ford spokesperson told Reuters that those who have already scheduled their orders, including commercial and government customers, are unaffected by the price hike.
In August the Dearborn, Mich., auto giant raised prices on the F-150 Lightning group between $6,000 and $8,500 depending upon the model. On Oct. 4 Ford reported that September EV sales tripled from a year earlier to nearly 4,700.
5. Brookfield Asset Rocks Into Music Publishing
Private-equity firm Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) and Primary Wave Music, the New York independent publisher, have agreed to a $2 billion deal to invest in music copyrights.
The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the transaction, that the new venture has acquired Joey Ramone’s music-publishing assets for around $10 million. The companies say the venture also has several other deals in progress.
This is Brookfield’s first foray into music catalogs, the paper reported.
Under the terms, Brookfield will take a significant minority interest in Primary Wave and commit $1.7 billion to fund a permanent-capital vehicle focused on acquiring music rights from top acts.
As part of the deal, Creative Artists Agency — the Los Angeles talent and sports manager — becomes a strategic partner and minority investor in Primary Wave, “tapping the talent agency’s film, television, theatrical and branding teams to help market and find uses for the acquired copyrights,” the paper reported.
“It means there isn’t any good acquisition that we couldn’t do in the music business,” Primary Wave Chief Executive Larry Mestel was quoted as saying. “We’re not limited by size or opportunity.”