Wall Street Breakfast: Lyft Begins Trade After Pricing IPO At Top Of Range

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It’s the first IPO in the ride-hailing market and the first in a string of tech companies that are planning to go public in 2019. With over $2B raised so far, Lyft last night priced shares at $72 (at the high end of its range), putting its valuation at over $24B. Beginning trading today on the Nasdaq under ticker “LYFT,” the question for investors will be if they can forgive the steep losses the firm has been reporting so far and feel that growth is paying off.

Equities get boost from trade talks

Stocks across the globe are finishing the first quarter on a strong note, with China closing up 3.2%, Europe ahead by 0.5% at midday and U.S. futures pointing to gains of 0.3% at the open. “We had a very productive working dinner last night,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said as he left his hotel to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for a second day of trade talks. Bond yields are also continuing to move higher after a prolonged slide on worries about the global economic outlook.

Stock market’s best quarter in 10 years

The S&P 500’s 12.3% gain so far for the first quarter is its best quarterly gain in nearly a decade and its finest start to the year since 1998. The quarter certainly benefited from an oversold bounceback after the fourth quarter’s heavy 14% slump, but analysts still see a positive period ahead. While there could be some bumps in Q2 as the market struggles with earnings growth and a slower economy, positive U.S. China trade relations and investing sentiment could propel stocks higher.

Theresa May in last-gasp Brexit push

It’s now been two full years to the day since the U.K. asked the EU for a divorce, but questions still linger as to how Brexit will end. In a last-ditch bid, Theresa May has asked the House of Commons for a “blind” Brexit vote for today – meaning MPs will have the ability to approve her Withdrawal Agreement without the Political Declaration that sets out terms for a future trade deal with the EU. Boris Johnson is meanwhile holding meetings across the Conservative Party, preparing to launch his bid to become prime minister. Sterling -0.2% to $1.3017.

Tightening ad rules ahead of EU elections

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is toughening rules on political advertising in Europe ahead of upcoming legislative elections on May 26. All such ads will be labeled as “paid for,” offering information on who bought it, for how much and how many people have seen it (broken down by age, location and gender). Only advertisers located and authorized in a given country will be able to run political ads, mirroring policies elsewhere where the tools have been rolled out.

Huawei tops $100B in annual revenue

On the back of a booming consumer business, Huawei’s revenue grew 19.5% in 2018 – surpassing $100B for the first time – despite its battle with the U.S. and its claims that the company’s equipment could be used for Chinese spying. While Huawei has tried to counter the negative news through a public relations push as well as a legal offensive, some feel the developments will bode well for rivals Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC).

Anti-stall system activated in Ethiopian crash

Officials investigating the fatal crash of a Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX in Ethiopia have reached a preliminary conclusion that a suspect flight control feature automatically activated before the plane nose-dived into the ground, WSJ reports. The consensus was relayed during a high-level briefing at the FAA and is the strongest indication yet that the same automated system, called MCAS, also misfired in a Lion Air flight, which crashed less than five months earlier. BA -0.4% premarket.

AstraZeneca plows big money into cancer therapy deal

Bolstering its oncology push, AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) has struck a deal worth up to $6.9B to sell and develop Daiichi Sankyo’s (OTCPK:DSNKY) promising new cancer drug. “Trastuzumab deruxtecan could become a transformative new medicine for the treatment of HER2 positive breast and gastric cancers,” CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement. Shares in Daiichi surged 16% in Tokyo on news of the deal, which AstraZeneca will partly fund through a $3.5B share sale and $1.35B upfront payment. AZN -4.8% premarket.

Big bank executive departures

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) CEO Tim Sloan, who has worked at the lender for 31 years, is stepping down immediately. Sloan took over as CEO soon after the scandal over employees opening millions of bogus accounts broke in 2016 (since then, scandals have emerged in other business units as well). The No. 2 at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is also leaving his post. Colm Kelleher, who joined the bank in 1989, will retire on June 30.

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