A final ruling has come down in the long-awaited merger between U.S. telecom majors Sprint and T-Mobile U.S. TMUS. The original announcement of a pending close, dating back to July of last year (with the initial announcement dating back to April 2018), has finally passed a federal judge this morning, who has declared the merger does not violate anti-trust laws. The 170-page ruling allows the $26.5 billion deal to finalize.
As a result, shares of both companies are up in today’s pre-market: T-Mobile +9.5%, Spring +73%. In fact, four companies in total are directly impacted in this merger, including Japan’s Softbank and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, originally the parent company of T-Mobile U.S. The merger, which brings the number of major U.S. telecom service providers from four to three. This is bound to have many impacts throughout the industry, including products and pricing.
Later today, Fed Chair Jay Powell appears on Capitol Hill to testify about the state of the U.S. economy. Based on prepared statements ahead of Powell’s testimony, the Chairman is expected to address how closely the Fed is monitoring the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. We have already seen guidance for companies with significant exposure to China ratcheting down expectations based at least somewhat on the outbreak.
After the opening bell this morning, a new read on December job openings hits the tape. The November read came in at 6.8 million, which was easily the lowest total of the past 12 months, and represents the lowest mark in almost two years. This survey, dating back to the beginning of the 21st century, continues to slowly glide downward from all-time highs seen toward the end of calendar 2018.
We also get new data on Q4 Household Debt today during regular trading. Total household debt hit an all-time record $14 trillion last time around, though the percentage of household debt to GDP has come down significantly from the crisis point of the Great Recession, now more than a decade ago. The concerning news is that both overall household debt and its percentage of GDP once again is trending up. The headline number for Q3 was +3.3%.
This morning, game manufacturer Hasbro HAS posted mixed Q4 results, beating bottom-line estimates in a big way — $1.24 per share versus a Zacks consensus of 89 cents — on revenues of $1,428 million, which was short of the $1,453 million analysts had been expecting but +2.8% year over year. Its U.S./Canada segment grew 3% based on strong demand for Star Wars products, while International fell 1%. For more on HAS’ earnings, click here.