March 13, 2018

Tech deal blocked; Inflation watch; UK-Russia tensions

1. Tech deal blocked: The White House has blocked Broadcom's $117 billion bid for Qualcomm due to national security concerns.

President Donald Trump said Monday that there is "credible evidence" that Broadcom and its affiliates "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."

He said the two companies must "immediately and permanently abandon the proposed takeover."

Broadcom said in a statement late Monday that it is reviewing the order and that it "strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns."

Broadcom primarily makes chips for wired broadband communications, such as modems, Wi-Fi and routers. Qualcomm is known for inventing 2G and 3G wireless network technology, and it has been investing heavily in 5G.

Shares in Qualcomm were down about 5% premarket. Broadcom's stock was flat.

2. Inflation watch: The US Labor Department is set to release its Consumer Price Index for February at 8:30 a.m. ET. Wall Street will pay close attention to the inflation data.

Inflation rose faster than economists expected in January. Investors fear that rising prices could prompt the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates more quickly — and steeply — than it had planned.

Inflation fears have receded in recent weeks, especially after the February jobs report showed strong employment gains but a slowdown in wage growth.

3. UK in the spotlight: British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that Russia was "highly likely" responsible for the attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal.

May demanded a response from the Russian government by the end of Tuesday. Britain could respond with diplomatic expulsions, asset seizures and a push for sanctions.

Separately UK finance minister Philip Hammond will deliver an update Tuesday on government finances and the British economy.

With just a year to go before Brexit, the UK economy is growing at a slower pace than the European Union as a whole.

4. Global stock market overview: US stock futures were pointing up, but the gains were small.

European markets were mostly higher in early trading. Asian markets ended the day with some modest gains and losses.

The Nasdaq rose for the seventh day in a row and hit a new record on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 both lost ground.

5. Coming this week: Tuesday -- Consumer Price Index report; Dick's Sporting Goods earnings Wednesday -- Signet Jewelers earnings; US retail sales Thursday -- Dollar General and Broadcom earnings Friday -- Tiffany earnings

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