Stock Market Today: Yum! Buys Habit; Stocks Shake Off Iran

It was an interesting session in the stock market today.

Stock Market Today

“Escalation trades” like oil, bonds, gold and defense stocks started off higher on the day, but sank almost immediately from the open. Similarly, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ ETF (NASDAQ:QQQ) rallied off the opening lows, finishing higher by 0.4% and 0.6% on the day, respectively.

The gains may not be all that robust, but the fact that they’re up at all is impressive given the doom-and-gloom talk from this weekend. The stuff going on in Iran is not good, obviously. But as of now, the headlines seem more like an excuse for the market to come in for a much-needed rest than anything else.

That’s clear as growth stocks continue to plow higher and as many stocks are hardly flinching.

Movers in the Stock Market Today

Reports suggest that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may face delays for some of its 5G iPhones due to “its decision to in-source the antenna in package modules instead of purchasing from a third party.” The 5G iPhone is expected to come in two different forms, with sub-6GHz models launching in September and with the mmWave coming in December and January.

Sticking with Apple, the stock was cut from “strong buy” to “buy” at Needham. Despite this “downgrade,” they upped their price target from $280 to $350. The analyst said Apple is still a “Conviction List Pick” for 2020.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), owner of chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, acquired Habit Restaurants (NASDAQ:HABT) for $375 million or $14 per share in an all-cash deal. There is significant untapped potential to grow the Habit concept, both in the U.S. and globally, according to Yum! CEO David Gibbs. Yum! expects the deal to be accretive in 2021.

Ford’s (NYSE:F) overall sales fell 1.3% in the fourth quarter to 601,892 vehicles, hurt by a 4.1% and 41% decline in SUV and car sales, respectively. However, pockets of strength included Lincoln, with sales up 17.8%, and a 15.9% increase in truck sales. As usual, the F-Series was the best-selling pickup in the U.S. for the 43rd consecutive year, with sales up 1.6% to 233,952 vehicles. Mustang sales also climbed 20.4% year-over-year.

Pivotal Research upgraded Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) from “hold” to “buy” and increased its price target from $1,445 to $1,650. The analyst argues that shares will outperform its large-capitalization peers in 2020.

Goldman Sachs analysts increased their price target on Citigroup (NYSE:C) from $84 to $88. The analyst maintained a “buy” rating on the name. Further, the analyst added the stock to their Americas Conviction List.

Streaming ‘Round the Golden Globe

While Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) had the most Golden Globe nominations, AT&T (NYSE:T), owner of HBO and Warner Bros., went home with the most awards Sunday night. AT&T was followed by Disney (NYSE:DIS), Sony (NYSE:SNE) and ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:VIAC). The Oscar nominations will be on Jan. 9 and Netflix might have a chance to restore some momentum then. Despite results, shares still climbed over 3.1% on the day.

One thing was clear from the Golden Globes last night. Streaming continues to take over the entertainment world.

Further proof? On Monday, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced its Fire TV is coming in hot, with over 40 million users. That’s up 8% since September, while the Fire TV Edition will be the newest addition, allowing customers to power soundbars and integrate into autos.

Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU), Amazon Fire’s main competitor, didn’t take a rest on Monday either. The company announced that it will launch Roku TV on 15 TV brands in 2020 in Canada, Mexico, U.S. and the United Kingdom. Shares ripped higher on the news, up more than 4%. The company remains in the early stages of its international expansion plans.

Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell. As of this writing, Bret Kenwell is long T, AAPL, GOOGL, AMZN and ROKU.

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