Fund Flows & Issuance: According to Lipper, for the week ended January 25th, investment grade funds posted a net inflow of $1.589bn. The total year-to-date net inflow into investment grade funds ended the week at $9.697bn. Per Bloomberg, investment grade corporate issuance through Thursday was ~$25bn. Thus far, $146.8bn of investment grade corporate bonds have been issued in January.
(WSJ) Apple Sues Qualcomm Over Licensing Practices
- The suit, filed Friday in federal district court in the Southern District of California, claims that Qualcomm leveraged its monopoly position as a manufacturer of baseband chips, a critical component used in cellphones, to seek “onerous, unreasonable and costly” terms for patents, and that Qualcomm blocked Apple’s ability to choose another supplier for chipsets.
- The complaint seeks $1 billion in rebate payments that Apple says Qualcomm has withheld as retribution for Apple’s participation in an investigation by South Korea’s antitrust regulator.
- Apple said in a statement that it sued Qualcomm “after years of disagreement over what constitutes a fair and reasonable royalty.”
(Bloomberg) Ford Seen as ‘Canary’ With Record Leases Spurring Used Glut
- A glut of used vehicles has started to depress prices. That trend will intensify as Americans will return 3.36 million leased cars and trucks this year, another jump after a 33 percent surge in 2016, according to J.D. Power. The fallout has already begun, with Ford Motor Co. shaving $300 million from its financial-services arm’s profit forecast for this year.
- “Ford is the canary in the coal mine,” said Maryann Keller, a former Wall Street analyst who’s now an auto industry consultant in Stamford, Connecticut.
- This drag may be hitting the rest of the industry, too. A National Automobile Dealers Association index of used-vehicle prices declined each of the last six months of last year. When auto lenders lease out vehicles, they charge the customer a monthly payment and make an assumption of the car or truck’s value when it will be returned for resale. If vehicles are depreciating more than expected, losses can pile up.
- “We haven’t seen anything that suggests that what’s happening to our portfolio is different from what’s happening across the industry,” Bob Shanks, Ford’s chief financial officer, told analysts in November.
- Another way automakers could cope is by expanding their offerings of certified pre-owned vehicles — used cars with extended warranties — to try to bolster prices.
- The question for auto companies is whether pulling those levers will offset any losses from overlooking the true cost of using hefty incentives and discounted leases to boost new-vehicle sales.
(Bloomberg) Dow Sees DuPont Merger Closing in 1H, CEO Says on Conf. Call
- Dow Chemical says DuPont merger could be a “2Q close”; confident that company can solve EU antitrust concerns, CEO Andrew Liveris said during conf. call.
- Says other jurisdictions will “fall in line” after EU
- Sees Trump using executive orders to lift regulatory burdens
- Sees DOW benefiting from infrastructure plan, Keystone Pipeline decision
- DOW is a big U.S. exporter, so Trump border tax “big positive”
- Sees Trump lifting regulatory burdens in 30-60 days
- Sees new plant delays maintaining ethylene operating rates