By Lorcan Roche Kelly
Saudi Aramco published an intention to float document yesterday, putting the company on track to list it shares on the Riyadh stock exchange three years after the IPO was first mooted. One of the big unknowns so far is the valuation of the company, with Bank of America offering a range of $1 trillion between its high and low estimate, according to investors who reviewed the research. It does seem likely that Saudi Arabia’s initial target of $2 trillion will not be met, with the kingdom likely to accept a figure between $1.6 trillion and $1.8 trillion, even with incentives offered to make the deal more attractive.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said “there’s no natural reason” a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China could not be signed this month. He made the comment in a Bloomberg interview in Bangkok before meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at a regional summit. President Donald Trump yesterday said that a deal, if one is completed, could be signed in the U.S. In further good news for trade, Ross said the U.S. may not need to place tariffs on imported automobiles after “good conversations” with manufacturers in the European Union, Japan and elsewhere.
McDonald’s Corp. shares dropped more than 2% in pre-market trading after the board of the company announced it was firing Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook because he had a consensual relationship with an employee. Things were worse at Under Armour Inc. which saw its shares plunge by as much as 16% after the company disclosed that federal officials have been probing its accounting practices for more than 2 years. Under Armour reports earnings today. Tiffany & Co. is expected to reject LVMH’s proposed $14.5 billion takeover of the American jeweler as too low.
The positive noises on global trade are driving markets higher today. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.6%. Japan’s Topix index was closed for a holiday. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.9% higher at 5:45 a.m. Eastern Time with automakers posting the strongest gains as the risk of U.S. tariffs seems to be fading. S&P 500 futures pointed to a strong open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.756% and gold was lower.
The final September reading for U.S. factory and durable goods orders is published at 10:00 a.m. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly speaks in New York later, and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde gives her first speech in her new role in Berlin. Ferrari NV, Uber Technologies Inc., Shake Shack Inc., and Hertz Global Holdings Inc. are among the companies reporting earnings today.