POTUS calls for steel probe!

The White House published President Trump’s request today for an investigation into steel imports. The document states: “As imports of #steel to the United States continue to rise, an examination of foreign practices is urgently needed… President Donald J. #Trump is taking action to ensure America’s steel industry comes first, in addition to his Buy American and Hire American policies.panel-okays-20-provisional-safeguard-duty-on-steel-products

Today, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum prioritizing an investigation initiated by the Secretary of Commerce into whether steel imports threaten to impair the national security… By law the investigation must be concluded and a report submitted within 270 days. If the report concludes that steel imports threaten to impair the national security, and the President concurs, he may take several actions, including #tariffs.”

Publicly traded companies in the steel space include Steel Dynamics $STLD , AK Steel $AKS , U.S. Steel $X and Nucor $NUE $ZEUS

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Pfizer receives grand jury subpoenas from DOJ

Pfizer $PFE confirmed that the company had received grand jury subpoenas from the U.S. Justice Department as part of an antitrust investigation focused onpfizer-logo intravenous saline solution makers, said Reuters.

Note that in a regulatory filing last night, ICU Medical $ICUI disclosed that on April 18, in connection with the Hospira Infusion Systems business that the company acquired in February 2017 from Pfizer.

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ICU Medical received a grand jury subpoena issued by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division.

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Oppenheimer bullish on Visa, MasterCard ahead of results

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The analyst is encouraged by “solid” January intra-quarter volume growth, improving gas price trends, strong retail sales growth, and broadly positive card issuer trends.

Further, Greene continues to believe that MasterCard and Visa are attractive at current levels, given their defensible market positions and strong long-term prospects. Nonetheless, he prefers Visa relative to MasterCard at present given the continuing U.S. volume boost from the Costco $COST wins and JPMorgan Chase $JPM Sapphire Reserve momentum, apparent conservative guidance, and Visa Europe accretion benefits.

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Earnings Raise Red Flag for Stocks

A review of latest quarterly results from corporate America pointing to a slowing economy. Several key companies have either missed their results or have lowered their forward looking guidance. On April 18, 2017, several major corporations just did that. Much of the today’s market weakness was attributed to the price decline in both Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Goldman Sachs images

(GS) following their earnings reports. The weakness in those bluechips caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) to underperform the other major averages and struggle all day. The market action was
an auspicious start to the earnings season, which has been anticipated with great optimism by investors since the November election. Shares of Goldman Sachs fell nearly 5% after reporting downbeat quarterly results, which is exceedingly rare for the investment bank. Commenting on the quarter, Goldman chairman and chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein called the quarter’s operating environment “mixed,” with client activity “challenged in certain market-making businesses.”jnj

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) shares dropped 3% after the healthcare giant posted better than expected profits but lower than expected quarterly sales.  Meanwhile, shares of Netflix (NFLX) declined over 2.5% after the company mixed Q1 report and Q2 guidance.

Industrial goods seller, Grainger (GWW) shares dropped to their 52-weeks low after the firm cut its full year Earnings per Shares (EPS) view to $10.0grainger0-$11.30 from $11.30-$12.40. The firm also lowered its  FY17 sales growth view to 1%-4% from 2%-6%. The firm blamed the pricing acceleration and a 1% reduction in sales from foreign exchange as the culprit for the miss.

Among the notable losers on the day was Barracuda (CUDA), which dropped 17% after it reported quarterly results and provided lowered guidance for the first quarter and fiscal 2018. Also lower was Cardinal Health (CAH), which fell 11.5% after announcing that it will acquire a patient product portfolio from Medtronic (MDT) for $6.1B and warning that it now sees its FY18 EPS to be flat to down mid-single digits, citing the impact of generic deflation and other factors.

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