Federal Reserve cuts benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points

Fed Chair Powell says more rate cuts could be needed if economy weakens

The Federal Reserve voted to cut interest rates by a quarter-percentage point for the second time in as many months to cushion the economy against a global slowdown amplified by the U.S.-China trade war. While they left the door open to additional cuts, officials were split over the decision and the outlook for further reductions.

Voting for the today’s 25 basis point cut today were Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, John Williams, Michelle #Bowman, Lael #Brainard, Richard #Clarida, Charles #Evans, and Randal #Quarles. Voting against the action were James #Bullard, who preferred at the meeting to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 1.5% to 1.75%, and Esther George and Eric Rosengren, who preferred to maintain the target range at 2% to 2.25%.

FOMC Chair Powell votes for rate cut., Stockwinners

The Federal Reserve said in today’s statement, “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in July indicates that the labor market remains strong and that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate. Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Although household spending has been rising at a strong pace, business fixed investment and exports have weakened. On a 12-month basis, overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy are running below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed.”

Trade Negotiations

Fed Chair Powell said the Fed has to try to look through near-term volatility due to “complex” trade negotiations to react to the underlying economic situation. Powell said the central bank needs to be careful to not overreact but also to not underreact.

The Fed continues to see a strong labor market and reiterated that economic activity has been rising at a moderate rate. Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low.

Stockwinners.com

There was still a split between solid household spending, but weakening in business fixed investment and exports. Inflation is still running below 2%, while market-based measures of remain low. The Committee continued to appeal to implications of global developments for the economic outlook and low inflation as rationale for the easing.

More from Powell: this is a time of difficult judgments and disparate perspectives. The bulk of the FOMC is taking it meeting-by-meeting. He continues to believe it’s better to be proactive when adjusting policy, and when trouble is seen approaching on the horizon, you should steer away from it if possible. The Fed has repeatedly shifted policy to support the economy, showing the Fed’s willingness to to move based on an evolving risk picture. There’s real uncertainty around the effects of the trade policy. On the funding issues seen this week, Powell said analysts took appropriate actions to address the pressures. If there are additional pressures, analysts have the tools to address the funding pressures and analysts will not hesitate to use them. The Fed will be returning to the question of when to build the balance sheet. The level remains uncertain, however.

STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners.

This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

No more rate hikes in 2019

Majority of Fed members see rates unchanged for rest of 2019

Members see rates to remain unchanged in 2019, Stockwinners

Minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting read, “With regard to the outlook for monetary policy beyond this meeting, a majority of participants expected that the evolution of the economic outlook and risks to the outlook would likely warrant leaving the target range unchanged for the remainder of the year.

Several of these participants noted that the current target range for the federal funds rate was close to their estimates of its longer-run neutral level and foresaw economic growth continuing near its longer-run trend rate over the forecast period.

Participants continued to emphasize that their decisions about the appropriate target range for the federal funds rate at coming meetings would depend on their ongoing assessments of the economic outlook, as informed by a wide range of data, as well as on how the risks to the outlook evolved.

Short term rates should decline as 30-year rates rise, Stockwinners

Several participants noted that their views of the appropriate target range for the federal funds rate could shift in either direction based on incoming data and other developments.

Some participants indicated that if the economy evolved as they currently expected, with economic growth above its longer-run trend rate, they would likely judge it appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate modestly later this year.”

Economic growth in 2019 likely lower than previous forecast

“Participants continued to view a sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective as the most likely outcomes over the next few years.

Underlying economic fundamentals continued to support sustained expansion, and most participants indicated that they did not expect the recent weakness in spending to persist beyond the first quarter.

Nevertheless, participants generally expected the growth rate of real GDP this year to step down from the pace seen over 2018 to a rate at or modestly above their estimates of longer-run growth. Participants cited various factors as likely to contribute to the step-down, including slower foreign growth and waning effects of fiscal stimulus.

A number of participants judged that economic growth in the remaining quarters of 2019 and in the subsequent couple of years would likely be a little lower, on balance, than they had previously forecast. Reasons cited for these downward revisions included disappointing news on global growth and less of a boost from fiscal policy than had previously been anticipated.”


STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners.

This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

Stewart to be acquired by Fidelity National in deal valued at $1.2B

Stewart to be acquired by Fidelity National in deal valued at about $1.2B

Stewart to be acquired by Fidelity National in deal valued at about $1.2B , Stockwinners.com
Stewart to be acquired by Fidelity National in deal valued at about $1.2B ,

Stewart Information Services Corporation (STC) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Fidelity National Financial (FNF).

Under the terms of the agreement which has been unanimously approved by Stewart’s Board of Directors following a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, Stewart shareholders will receive $25.00 in cash and 0.6425 common shares of Fidelity for each share of Stewart common stock they hold at closing, subject to the adjustment and election mechanisms described below.

“Last year, our Board initiated a review of strategic alternatives for the company, and after an extensive process, we determined that capitalizing on the Fidelity platform will best enable us to support the Stewart brand and continue providing the service our customers have come to expect,” said Thomas G. Apel, Stewart’s Chairman of the Board.

“Combining with Fidelity National Financial will create a strong portfolio of customers and business relationships, and will provide us with the ability to grow the Stewart brand.”

Based on Fidelity’s closing stock price on March 16, 2018, the merger consideration represents total value per Stewart share of $50.20, a 23% premium to Stewart’s closing stock price on March 16, 2018 and a 32% premium to Stewart’s closing stock price on November 3, 2017, the trading day prior to Stewart’s announcement that it would undertake a review of strategic alternatives.

If the combined company is required to divest assets or businesses exceeding $75 million in order to procure required regulatory approvals up to a cap of $225 million of divested revenues, the purchase price will be adjusted down from $50.20 on a pro-rata basis relative to the actual amount of revenues required to be divested between $75 and $225 million to a minimum purchase price of $45.50 per share of common stock.

As an alternative to the default mixed transaction consideration described above, each Stewart shareholder will have the ability to instead receive either $50.00 in cash or 1.285 common shares of Fidelity for each Stewart share held, subject to a customary pro ration mechanism to the extent that either the cash or the stock portion of the merger consideration is over-subscribed.

The proposed transaction is subject to approval by Stewart’s shareholders and regulatory authorities and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

The company will be closely working with regulators to obtain the necessary approvals as soon as possible, and the transaction is expected to close by the first or second quarter of 2019.

If the deal is not completed for failure to obtain the required regulatory approvals, Fidelity is required to pay a reverse break-up fee of $50 million to Stewart.


STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners

This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

WMIH and Nationstar to merge

WMIH, Nationstar enter definitive merger agreement

Nationstar and WMIH to merge. Stockwinners.com
Nationstar and WMIH to merge.

WMIH Corp. (WMIH) and Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM) with its flagship brand Mr. Cooper announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Nationstar shareholders may elect to receive $18.00 in cash or 12.7793 shares of WMIH common stock for each share of Nationstar common stock they own, subject to an overall proration to ensure that 32% of the total outstanding Nationstar shares are exchanged for the stock consideration.

Upon completion of the transaction, Nationstar shareholders will own approximately 36% of the combined company and WMIH shareholders will own approximately 64%.

The aggregate consideration payable to Nationstar shareholders will consist of $1.2 billion in cash and WMIH shares currently anticipated to be valued at approximately $702 million.

In addition, approximately $1.9 billion of Nationstar’s existing senior unsecured notes will be refinanced at closing.

WMIH has secured $2.75 billion of financing commitments in connection with the transaction. Upon closing the Transaction, all outstanding WMIH Series B Preferred Stock and all outstanding warrants to purchase shares of WMIH common stock will be converted into common stock of WMIH.

The shares issued pursuant to these conversions are included in the pro forma ownership percentages referenced above. Holders of WMIH’s Series B 5% Convertible Preferred Stock (the “Series B Stock”) will receive approximately 444 million shares of common stock following the mandatory conversion of the Series B Stock at a fixed conversion price of $1.35 per share.

Between signing and closing of the transaction, we expect that holders of the Series B Stock will receive approximately 21 million shares of common stock in accordance with the terms of the Series B Stock.

Finally, upon closing of the transaction, holders of the Series B Stock also will receive a special distribution of approximately 11 million shares of common stock.

As a result, upon consummating the transaction, and on a pro forma basis, holders of the Series B Stock will be expected to own approximately 477 million shares of common stock or approximately 43% of the combined company.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies and is subject to approval by the shareholders of both companies, as well as regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

An entity owned by investment funds managed by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC, holding approximately 68% of Nationstar’s voting shares, has contractually agreed to support the transaction and elect cash consideration for approximately 34 million shares, subject to proration.

KKR, which owns 24% of WMIH’s voting shares, has also agreed to support the transaction.

The transaction is anticipated to close in the second half of 2018.

WMIH Corp. engages in reinsurance business with respect to mortgage insurance in runoff mode.

Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. provides servicing, origination, and transaction based services primarily to single-family residences in the United States.

Jay Bray, CEO and Chairman of Nationstar, said, “We expect this merger to create value for our shareholders in both the near and long-term, including immediate accretion on a cash EPS basis and a cash premium for those of our stockholders who elect to receive the cash merger consideration.

I am passionately committed to continuing and accelerating our growth and investment as a leader in our industry, leveraging our best-in-class integrated servicing and originations platform.

The Nationstar Board and management team have taken considerable steps to make homeownership simpler and more rewarding for our three million customers and we look forward to identifying additional opportunities to enhance value for the combined company’s shareholders.” The operating business will retain the Nationstar Mortgage name and Dallas Headquarters and, at least initially, be traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “WMIH”.


STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners

This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.