DOJ Seeks to Block AT&T's Acquisition of Time Warner: LIVE MARKETS BLOG

 | Nov 20, 2017 | 4:53 PM EST
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Closing Bell 

Here's what happened on Wall Street, November 20, 2017.

It was a strong day across the board on Wall Street with all three major U.S. averages closing in the green.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher 0.31%, the S&P 500 closed up 0.13%, and the Nasdaq ended the day higher 0.12%.

Crude prices fell on Monday to $56.23 per barrel.

Top stories from Monday included Fed Chair Janet Yellen announcing her resignation from the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors upon the swearing in of Jerome Powell as the next Chair, and the DOJ has filed an antitrust suit attempting to block AT&T's takeover of Time Warner.

DOJ to File Antitrust Lawsuit to Block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner

The U.S. Department of Justice will file an antitrust lawsuit that will attempt to block AT&T's (T) $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner (TWX) , Reuters is reporting.

AT&T first agreed to buy Time Warner last October for $85.4 billion and has since been thrust into a lengthy regulatory process attempting to finalize the deal.

Last week, AT&T hired notable media lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, a one-time defender of President Donald Trump, to represent the company should the Department of Justice file a lawsuit attempting to block its acquisition.

Jana Partners Launches Activist Campaign Against Bloomin' Brands 

Activist investor Barry Rosenstein, who heads Jana Partners, has launched an activist campaign against Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) , a restaurant holding company, according to a securities filing.

Jana has acquired an 8.74% stake in the Outback Steakhouse owner and could urge for the company to consider "exploring a sale" of the business.

Shares of Bloomin' Brands were surging over 13% during afternoon trading on Monday. 

Yellen to Step Down From the Board of Governors When Powell Takes Over

Janet Yellen will resign from the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors upon the swearing in of Jerome Powell.

The current Chair of the Federal Reserve submitted her resignation on Monday as a Member of the Federal Reserve System, effective once Jerome Powell takes over. 

Powell was selected by President Donald Trump earlier this month to succeed Yellen, whose term will expire on February 3, 2018.

Yellen was appointed to the Board by President Obama for an unexpired term ending January 31, 2024.

"As I prepare to leave the Board, I am gratified that the financial system is much stronger than a decade ago, better able to withstand future bouts of instability and continue supporting the economic aspirations of American family and businesses," she said in a letter to Trump. "I am also gratified by the substantial improvement in the economy since the crisis," Yellen wrote.

Ford Launches Plug-in Hybrid Law Enforcement Vehicle 

Ford (F) revealed on Monday a new plug-in hybrid vehicle for law enforcement officials, boasting the capability of traveling up to 21 miles without the need for gas.

Ford says that its Special Service Plug-In Hybrid Sedan, the automaker's first plug-in hybrid police vehicle, is specially made for police, fire chiefs, detectives and other government personnel.

"This is the first Ford police vehicle that can potentially get through an entire shift using no gasoline whatsoever," said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. "Anyone can plug this in to any wall outlet to run gas- and emissions-free on battery-only operation."

Amazon AWS Secures Clearance to Provide Services to U.S. Intelligence Community  

Amazon.com, Inc  (AMZN) announced on Monday that its cloud platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has attained authorization to operate workloads up to the Secret U.S. security classification level.

"The AWS Secret Region is readily available to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) through the IC's Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) contract with AWS. The AWS Secret Region also will be available to non-IC U.S. Government customers with appropriate Secret-level network access and their own contract vehicles for use of the AWS Secret Region," Amazon said.

The move establishes AWS as the first and only commercial cloud provider with the ability to serve government workloads across the full range of data classifications, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret, the company added.

Nebraska Regulators Approve Keystone XL Pipeline

On Monday, the Nebraska Public Service Commission in a 3-2 decision approved TransCanada's (TRP) controversial Keystone XL pipeline -- but not on the preferred route.

They instead passed the "Alternative Mainline Route," which will affect some 40 landowners who otherwise would have been unaffected by the preferred TransCanada pipeline, as it stretches it farther east.

Their approval marks the final significant regulatory hurdle the controversial pipeline faces. Shares of TransCanada were higher over 1% following the approval.

Honeywell to Cut Illinois Plant's Workforce by 170

The multinational conglomerate said on Monday that it would slash the workforce at its Metropolis, IL. plant by 170 as it temporarily shuts down production of UF6 at the site due to a global oversupply.

Additionally, a number of contractor positions will also be laid off.

Honeywell (HON) will house a small workforce at the plant, sufficient to keep it maintained, and reportedly intends to restart production once the oversupply moderates.

The company's stock has reacted favorably to the news, climbing over 1% in midday trading on Monday. 

In a statement to WPSD Local 6 in Kentucky, Honeywell said:

"As a result of this business outlook, Honeywell plans to temporarily idle production of UF6 at its Metropolis site, while maintaining minimal operations to support a future restart should business conditions improve. Because of this, the company intends to reduce the full-time workforce at the plant by 170 positions, as well as a number of contractor positions. Honeywell intends to restart once business conditions improve and will keep the plant in a state of readiness and continue to support minimal on-site operations to ensure a successful restart. While industry analysts indicate that demand is unlikely to increase between now and 2020, we will actively monitor market conditions to determine optimal conditions to support restart."

Nomura Takes Amazon Price Target to $1,360

Analysts at Nomura on Monday hiked their price target on shares of Amazon.com, Inc  (AMZN) to $1,360 from $1,100, while affirming their "Buy" rating on the e-commerce giant's stock.

The revised price target follows a review of the company's outlook and a comprehensive analysis of Amazon's margins. The firm believes growing segments, including its cloud unit and the expanded use of third-party sellers, will prove beneficial for its gross margins.

Nomura estimates Amazon's growing margin can potentially rise to 45%-46% by 2022 from an estimated 35% this year, allowing for up to $160 billion of incremental investment spending.

"With nearly all retailers playing defense, the few willing and able to go on the offensive have been digging ever-increasing moats to take ever-increasing share," analyst Simeon Siegel wrote. "To this end, we took a deep dive into Amazon's margin structure, and backing into segment GMs [gross profit margins], we believe that mix shift alone could drive 1000+bps of LT GM lift, powering a $160 billion investment into deepening Amazon's moat."

Uber to Purchase Thousands of Cars from Volvo

Uber Technologies, the ride-hailing giant, on Monday announced an agreement to buy thousands of cars from Swedish automaker Volvo to ready a fleet of fully autonomous, on-demand vehicles, the Financial Times is reporting.

The purchase by Uber expands upon its fleet of already 200 Volvo sporty utility cars, equipped with the company's self-driving technology that carries out tests in cities like Pittsburgh.

Uber will buy up to 24,000 XC90 vehicles between 2019 and 2021 in a deal worth potentially $1.4 billion for Volvo, according to Financial Times calculations.

Premarket

U.S. stock futures were rising across the board on Monday, pointing to a higher opening on Wall Street. 

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up over 0.10%, S&P 500 futures were climbing 0.09%, and Nasdaq futures were higher 0.14% ahead of the opening bell at 9:30 a.m. ET.

European markets were mostly mixed throughout the session, but have rebounded thanks to a stabilizing euro. Germany's DAX was in the green, as was the CAC 40 in France. The FTSE 100 was also climbing higher. 

In Asia, markets were mixed with the Nikkei 225 slumping, but the Hang Seng Index climbing higher. The Shanghai Composite Index was also steadily higher.

Bitcoin rose to a new all-time high on Sunday, Nov. 19, as the cryptocurrency surged above $8,100.

Investors turn to key earnings on Monday expected from Agilent Technologies Inc. (A) , Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) , Intuit Inc. (INTU) , Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW)  and Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN)

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