November 13, 2017

Changes at GE; Pound under pressure; Oil in focus

1. Changes at GE: General Electric will deliver a major update on its strategy on Monday.

John Flannery, the company's new CEO, is under pressure to restore investor confidence in the face of a serious cash crunch. GE has lost a third of its market value so far this year, making it the biggest Dow loser by a long shot.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Flannery will announce plans to focus on the company's three biggest business lines -- aviation, power and health care.

That means the conglomerate could be looking to exit its other businesses, including lighting and diesel trains.

GE shares were 1% higher in premarket trading.

Another possible announcement: GE could deliver just the second cut to its coveted dividend since the Great Depression.

2. More trouble for May: The British pound was 0.5% lower against the dollar after a turbulent weekend for Prime Minister Theresa May.

May, who leads an already fragile government, is under increased pressure after two ministers left her cabinet. She reportedly also faces a rebellion from other cabinet members over her plans for Brexit.

Another problem: The Sunday Times reported that as many as 40 members of parliament have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in the prime minister.

The pound was trading just above $1.30, or 13% below the its position ahead of the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

3. Oil in focus: Oil ministers from major energy producers are meeting this week at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference.

OPEC and its allies agreed large scale production cuts a year ago, in order to get rid of the world's oil glut and support prices. They have extended the agreement until March 2018.

The question now is whether the cuts will be extended even further.

4. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures were up.

European markets opened higher, while markets in Asia finishing the session mixed.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed 0.2% lower on Friday, pushing its loss for the week to 0.5%. The index had posted gains in each of the eight previous weeks.

The S&P 500 shed 0.1% and the Nasdaq closed flat.

5. Company news: Mattel was up more than 20% in extended trading following reports that rival Hasbro had offered to buy the company.

Shares in British defense contractor Ultra Electronics dropped as much as 23% after the company's CEO stepped down.

French energy firm EDF dropped 6% in Paris after cutting its profit forecast.

Tyson Foods is set to release its earnings before the U.S. open, while Famous Dave's will follow after the close.

6. Coming this week: Monday -- GE hosts key meeting Tuesday -- Home Depot, TJX earnings, Japan and Germany report GDP Wednesday -- Target, Cisco, L Brands earnings; U.S. retail sales for October; U.K. unemployment data Thursday -- Best Buy, Walmart, Gap, Viacom earnings Friday -- Abercrombie & Fitch earnings

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