Saudi crown prince himself hacked Jeff Bezos’ phone

MBS targeted Jeff Bezos

MBS targeted Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had malware installed on his mobile phone after receiving a WhatsApp message evidently sent from the personal account of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the Guardian reports.
This analysis found it “highly probable” that the intrusion into the phone was triggered by an infected video file sent from the account of the Saudi heir to Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post.
The two men had been having a seemingly friendly WhatsApp exchange when, on 1 May of that year, the unsolicited file was sent, according to sources who spoke to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity.
Large amounts of data were exfiltrated from Bezos’s phone within hours, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The discovery may help to explain (or at least raise questions about) how the National Enquirer received intimate photos of Jeff Bezos and a mistress that contributed to the breakup of his marriage.
Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was also killed 5 months after the hack.
Aside from the dramatic revelation itself, the news raises questions about Jared Kushner who has revealed that he frequently messaged MBS on WhatsApp.

US major indices close lower on coronavirus concerns

No records today

The major US indices are closing lower as concerns about the coronavirus worried investors.
  • The S&P index closed down -8.83 points or -0.27% at 33 to 0.79
  • NASDAQ index fell -18.135 points or -0.19% at 9370.80. The high reached 9397.578 (new all-time intraday high. The low reached 9350.20
  • Dow fell -152.06 points or -0.52% at 29196.04. The high reached 29341.21. The low extended to 29146.47
After the close Netflix reported earnings
  • revenues 5.47 billion versus 5.45 billion estimate
  • global net adds 8.76 million versus 7.6 million estimate
  • +550 K subscribers in US and Canada
  • earnings-per-share $1.30 versus $0.52 expected
  • sees first-quarter streaming paid net change of +7.00 million versus 7.82 million estimate
  • sees first-quarter EPS of $1.66 versus $1.16 estimate
Netflix stock is currently trading down $5.37 or -1.59% at $332.74 and after hours trading despite the beat. The subscriber numbers estimate for the 1st quarter is hurting the market even though this quarters global net adds surpassed the estimates by 1.1 million.
Meanwhile IBM reported:
  • earnings of $4.71 versus estimates of $4.69
  • revenues $21.8 billion versus $21.6 billion estimate
  • IBM is currently trading up $6.69 in after-hours trading

Novak reappointed as Russia’s energy minister but all eyes on US production

Kremlin statement

Actions speak louder than words so this is the best possible endorsement of Russia’s cooperation with OPEC.
Earlier today, OPEC’s secretary general confirmed there will be a meeting in March and said that Russia was expected to continue with OPEC.
In other oil news, Halliburton reported earnings today and along with Schumberger yesterday, they signaled that shale activity has already peaked. The oilfield services giants have keen insight into the industry and today Halilburton CEO Jeff Millers said that spending would keep falling in North America
“2019 solidified the pivot from growth to capital discipline in North America,” Miller said.
The outlook for US production depends on DUCs or drilled but uncompleted wells. In theory, these could allow companies to tap into oil without spending money but some market watchers are skeptical that the wells have any real value.
More on the outlook from Halliburton here via Bloomberg.

European shares close lower on China virus concerns

German DAX unchanged

The coronavirus concerns have sapped upside momentum from European shares. The falls come despite economic data out of Europe that was not bad.   UK employment data was strong and German/EU ZEW sentiment data was also better-than-expected.

The provisional closes are showing:
  • German DAX, unchanged
  • France’s CAC, -0.54%
  • UK’s FTSE 100, -0.57%
  • Spain’s Ibex, -0.57%
  • Italy’s FTSE MIB, -0.6%
In the European debt market, the benchmark 10 year yields are ending mostly lower with Italian yields up marginally.  France’s 10 year yield move back toward the 0.0% level. The low reached 0.001%.
German DAX unchanged_
In other markets,
  • gold slid earlier to a low price of $1546.41, but has rebounded and currently trades at $1557.19. That’s down about $3.50 or -0.23%
  • WTI crude oil futures are down $0.25 or 0.43% of $58.29
In the US stock market the NASDAQ index turned positive after opening lower and traded to it a new all-time high.
The current prices are showing:
  • S&P index -3.04 points or -0.09% 3326.60
  • NASDAQ index +5.068 points or 0.06% at 9394.20
  • Dow industrial average -41.7 points or -0.14% at 29306.64
In the US debt market yields are lower led by declines in the 10 year yield up -4.6 basis points. The yield curve is also flattened with the 2 – 10 spread falling to 23.74 basis points from 26.23 basis points on Friday..

Chinese vice premier Han Zheng: Phase one deal is good for US, China and the world

Speaking from Davos

The Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng speaking from Davos says:
  • Underlying trend of the Chinese economy remains unchanged
  • The Phase one trade deal is good for the US, China and good for the world
Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is saying that
  • US growth projections for this year’s too low and that
  • recent trade deals will lift growth.
  • He added US trade issues it didn’t hurt global economic growth.
Finally, Pres. Trump it is on the news wires saying that he is going to talk ‘big trade deal’ with the European Union.