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Markets Grow Calm, LA Times Sold for $500m

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Markets finally settled down Tuesday after a big storm that lasted the past few trading days, taking roughly 6% off the highs, which happened to be all-time records. For sure we’ve seen some casualties, but indexes around the world look to have survived mostly intact.

Overnight and into the morning hours overseas, we see Japan’s Nikkei index up 0.2% after getting hit hard previously (-4.7% on Tuesday), while stocks in Europe are finishing in positive territory for the first time in the last 8 days. The implied open for the Dow is again down triple digits, but remember where we started yesterday, and where we wound up (with its 1000-point swing).

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It would seem, overall, that investors will need to acclimate to a somewhat new climate than we’ve seen in the past 100 weeks or so: the perfect storm of higher growth, lower inflation and cheaper money appears to be going bye-bye. Interest rates are surely on the rise — the only question is: how much and how fast? — which will take care of the “cheap money” scenario over time. But that’s no indictment on higher growth, which Q4 earnings season continuing to prove its mettle.

Granted, this may take more time than a mere couple days of volatility for everything to shake out sufficiently. As such, analysts are keeping mindful of volatility continuing in the near term. But ultimately, earnings don’t lie — the best companies post the best quarterly reports, and recent market developments do not change this scenario.

tronc Sells L.A. Times to Board Member

The company that remained following the breakup of Tribune Publishing a few years ago, tronc, Inc. , has sold off two of its biggest remaining assets — The Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune — to tronc investor Patrick Shoon-Shiong for $500 million and pension liabilities totaling $90 million.

Shoon-Shiong joined the tronc board when the billionaire investor put more than $70 million into tronc several years ago, as the company fended off a hostile takeover attempt by publishing rival Gannett Co. (GCI - Free Report) . The LA-based entrepreneur had earlier expressed a vision for how the LA Times would be run under his direction, and he looks to have made that opportunity a reality.

Meanwhile, shares of tronc are up 65% in the pre-market on the announcement of the deal going through. At one point, however, trading was halted on the stock, so we will keep an eye on this throughout the day today.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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