Morning Brief: Trump tax cuts led to $29B gain for Buffett's Berkshire

Monday, February 26, 2018

What to watch today

On Monday, the latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) shareholders from Warren Buffett will likely be a big topic of market discussion, with Buffett revealing that the Trump tax cuts led to a $29 billion gain for Berkshire in 2017.

Investors will also continue to keep an eye on Walmart (WMT) and Amazon (AMZN) shares, which last week diverged notably as Walmart fell 11% after disappointing earnings on Tuesday and Amazon shares closed at a new all-time high on Friday of $1,500 on the nose.

Another story surely to make headlines in the week ahead is the increasing number of major companies distancing themselves from previous relationships with the NRA in the wake of this month’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida that killed 17. On Saturday, both Delta (DAL) and United Air Lines (UAL) would no longer offer discounts to NRA members.

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Top news

The Weinstein Company to file for bankruptcy: The board of directors of The Weinstein Company said the New York film and TV studio planned to file for bankruptcy after talks to sell it collapsed, several media outlets reported. The firm had been seeking a deal to spare it from bankruptcy after more than 70 women accused film producer Harvey Weinstein, its ex-chairman and once one of Hollywood’s most influential men, of sexual misconduct including rape. Weinstein denies having non-consensual sex with anyone. [Reuters]

Justices take up critical challenge to public sector unions: The Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case that could deal a painful financial blow to organized labor. All eyes will be on Justice Neil Gorsuch Monday when the court takes up a challenge to an Illinois law that allows unions representing government employees to collect fees from workers who choose not to join. The unions say the outcome could affect more than 5 million government workers in 24 states and the District of Columbia. [AP]

JPMorgan CFO emerges as contender to succeed Dimon: JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) 48-year-old chief financial officer Marianne Lake is one of the most senior women on Wall Street and has been on the bank’s short list of possible successors for years, people familiar with its board say. January’s announcement by the bank of executive moves makes her an even more likely contender. In one respect, Lake would be a historic choice, the first female chief executive of one of the largest U.S. banks. [The Wall Street Journal]

General Electric to restate two years of earnings: General Electric (GE), the United States’ largest industrial conglomerate, will restate its earnings for 2016 and 2017 as it adopts a new accounting standard, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. The updated accounting standard, which will take into account revenue from long-term contracts, will result in a 13 cent cut in reported earnings per share for 2016 and a cut of 16 cents per share for 2017, according to the company’s 10-K filing. [Reuters]

Yahoo Finance coverage of Warren Buffett’s annual letter to shareholders:

F or more of the latest news, go to Yahoo Finance

Fireworks explode behind the Olympic flame during the Closing Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 25, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Florien Choblet – Pool/Getty Images)

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The Morning Brief provides a quick rundown on what to watch in the markets, top news stories, and the best of Yahoo Finance Originals.