Markets are a mess.
New day, new reasons for investors to be concerned. China's stock market entered bear market territory, down 20% from its high in January. China's President Xi Jinping reportedly told a group of multinational CEOs his country plans to "punch back" at the Trump administration's trade actions. Punching back could mean anything from encouraging Chinese consumers to stay away from buying American goods (risk to Nike (NKE) , Apple (AAPL) , Starbucks (SBUX) , McDonald's (MCD) and countless others) to slowing up M&A activity.
While the trade rhetoric plays out the market is experiencing technical breakdowns across many growth sectors. That could only spur more selling until once-hot sectors like FANG (Facebook (FB) , Apple, Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet (GOOGL) ) find new support levels. Case in point is the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, commonly known as the SOX Index. It plunged below its key 50-day moving average in early afternoon trading Monday and finished the session below that level.
Some of the hardest hit names in the SOX Monday were a who's who of 2018 tech momentum trades, namely Micron (MU) , Nvidia (NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) . Investors moved to unwind speculative bets in the richly valued space on fears of slowing tech equipment demand later this year thanks to trade tensions. These stocks must stabilize so as to signal the broader market selling has run its course.
Welcome to the New General Electric
Looks like (GE) got embarrassed enough by S&P Dow Jones Indices' decision to boot it from the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Specific things that were announced: (1) A focus on the aviation, power and renewable energy businesses moving forward; (2) the spinoff of GE's healthcare unit; (3) the divestment of GE's stake in oilfield services player Baker Hughes; (4) about $500 million in cost savings (likely considerable reduction in HQ staff); (5) an expected cut in GE's dividend once the healthcare spinoff is completed. Said the company: "GE expects to maintain its current quarterly dividend, subject to Board approval, until GE Healthcare is established as an independent entity. At that time, the new GE Healthcare Board of Directors will determine GE Healthcare's dividend policy, which GE expects to reflect healthcare industry practices. Also at that time, the GE Board expects to adjust the GE dividend with a target dividend policy in line with industrial peers."
All in all, tough day for Jack Welch and current executive chairman of AthenaHealth (ATHN) Jeff Immelt as Flannery has broken up the GE empires they once ran. It had to be done though. The worrying thing here is that the stock isn't surging 10% or more on the news, rather just getting a 2.5% pop. That likely reflects concern about the new GE dividend policy, a decline in sales/profit once the healthcare business is spun off and the general mess GE will be in as it extracts these businesses. Quarterly earnings calls will be very confusing -- one part focusing on the results of a still-combined business, one part management hyping the benefits of the breakup. Again, a mess.
Lesson of the Day
A stock is often "cheap" for a reason, keep that in mind.
Pressure on Starbucks (SBUX) shares have continued -- the stock has lost 7.2% over the past five sessions following the disappointing news it released last week. The continued slide comes despite Howard Schultz telling TheStreet's founder Jim Cramer the stock is "cheap" and "undervalued." The market is saying the stock isn't cheap enough as Starbucks battles slowing sales in the U.S. and China and tries to jump-start its innovation.