Boeing’s debt on review for downgrade by Moody’s

Gold Futures Drift Lower, Settle At One-week Low

Gold prices drifted lower Monday as the dollar held fairly steady and equities found support as the U.S. and China look all set to sign the phase on trade deal this week.

Easing worries over concerns about U.S.-Iran tensions weighed as well on gold.

The dollar index advanced to 97.53 in early trades, and despite paring gains subsequently, remains around the flat line. It was last seen at 97.35, just down from previous close.

Gold futures for February ended down $9.50, or about 0.6%, at $1,550.60, the lowest settlement in about a week.

On Friday, gold futures for February ended up $5.80, or about 0.4%, at $1,560.10 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended down $0.109 at $17.996 an ounce, while Copper futures for March ended up $0.0475 at $2.8610 per pound.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to visit Washington this week to sign the phase one trade deal, which is said to include reduced tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for increased Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview on Sunday that the agreement calls for China to purchase $40 to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products annually.

Mnuchin described the agreement as “very, very extensive,” although the deal will not completely resolve the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Crude Oil Futures Settle At Near 6-week Low

Crude oil prices declined sharply on Monday amid easing worries about U.S.-Iran tensions, resulting in the futures contract settling at their lowest level in about six weeks.

Higher crude inventories in the U.S. and uninterrupted crude production in the Middle East despite the tensions between the U.S. and Iran continued to weigh on oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended down $0.96, or about 1.6%, at $58.08 a barrel, the lowest price since early December.

Brent crude futures were down by about 1.2% at $64.20 a barrel in late afternoon trades.

On Friday, WTI crude oil futures ended down $0.52, or 0.9%, at $59.04 a barrel.

With the U.S. and China set to sign a phase one trade deal in Washington on Wednesday, traders appeared to shrug off reports about a volley of rockets slamming into an Iraqi airbase north of Baghdad where U.S. forces have been based.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is scheduled to be in Washington on Wednesday. The phase one trade deal is said to include reduced tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for increased Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview on Sunday that the agreement calls for China to purchase $40 to $50 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products annually.

Mnuchin described the agreement as “very, very extensive,” although the deal will not completely resolve the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Hassan Diab sues federal government over extradition to France

Ottawa sociology professor Hassan Diab is suing the federal government over his extradition to France on allegations of terrorism.

Diab, his wife and two young children have filed a notice of action in Ontario Superior Court seeking tens of millions of dollars for alleged abuse of process, infliction of emotional distress and other claims.

Visa To Buy Fintech Company Plaid For $5.3 Bln

Visa Inc. (V) Monday said it has agreed to buy financial technology company Plaid for $5.3 billion.

Plaid’s products allows consumers to share their financial information with thousands of apps and services such as Acorns, Betterment, Chime, Transferwise and Venmo.

“We are extremely excited about our acquisition of Plaid and how it enhances the growth trajectory of our business,” said Al Kelly, CEO and chairman of Visa. “Plaid is a leader in the fast growing fintech world with best-in-class capabilities and talent. The acquisition, combined with our many fintech efforts already underway, will position Visa to deliver even more value for developers, financial institutions and consumers.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the next three to six months. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Visa plans to fund the deal from cash on hand and debt issuance. This transaction will have no impact on Visa’s previously announced stock buyback program or dividend policy.

V closed Monday’s trading at $195.33, up $1.56 or 0.81%, on the NYSE. The stock further gained $0.47 or 0.24% in the after-hours trading.

GameStop stock drops as holiday sales plunge

GameStop Corp. GME, +0.00% shares dropped in the extended session Monday after the videogame retailer forecast same-store sales below the Wall Street consensus and said that holiday sales had dropped more than 25%. GameStop shares fell 9.8% after hours, after closing flat at $5.43 in the regular session. For the nine-week period ending Jan. 5, GameStop said global sales fell 27.5% to $1.83 billion, and same-store sales fell 24.7%. "We expected a challenging sales environment for the holiday season as our customers continue to delay purchases ahead of anticipated console launches in late 2020," said George Sherman, GameStop chief executive, in a statement. "However, the accelerated decline in new hardware and software sales coming out of Black Friday and throughout the month of December was well below our expectations, reflective of overall industry trends." The company said it expects same-store sales to drop 19% to 21% for fiscal 2019, while analysts surveyed by FactSet estimate a decline of 17.7%.

Boeing’s debt on review for downgrade by Moody’s

Moody’s Investors Service late Monday said it placed its debt ratings on Boeing Co. BA, +0.09% on review for downgrade, thanks to a likely "more costly and protracted recovery for Boeing to restore confidence with its various market constituents, and an ensuing period of heightened operational and financial risk, even if certification of the (737 Max) comes relatively near-term." News last week that major Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. SPR, -2.78% will lay off workers in connection with the Max grounding "was unexpected and is an example of the ongoing event risk weighing on (Boeing’s) credit profile," Moody’s said. Boeing’s 737 Max jets have been grounded worldwide since March after two deadly crashes months apart were connected to a faulty anti-stall system. The airplane’s return-to-service date has been stretched for months. "Moody’s considers that the longer the grounding runs, the greater the risk to Boeing’s already blemished reputation," the debt ratings agency said. Boeing’s senior unsecured debt is rated A3, one of the lower echelons of investment-grade bonds. Moody’s on Monday downgraded Spirit’s debt to junk territory on liquidity concerns. Shares of Boeing rose 0.1% in the extended session after ending the regular trading day up 0.1%.