Banking on All-Time Market Highs? What to Watch from Morgan Stanley, Apple, XPO

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Let’s focus on what’s driving markets Thursday from Morgan Stanley earnings to Apple’s latest acquisition.

It’s almost Friday!

Jim Cramer is at JPMorgan’s Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, so Jeff Marks–senior portfolio analyst with Action Alerts PLUS, is joining TheStreet’s live show.

Let’s Break Down the Banks

Morgan Stanley (MS) – Get Report, our Real Money stock of the day, posted earnings before the bell Thursday. 

Morgan Stanley reported earnings for the three months ending in December came in at $1.30 per share well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.00. Group revenues, the bank said, rose 21.5% to $10.39 billion, again topping analysts’ estimates of a $9.737 billion tally.

“We delivered strong quarterly earnings across all of our businesses. Firmwide revenues were over $10 billion for the fourth consecutive quarter, resulting in record full-year revenues and net income,” said CEO James Gorman. “This consistent performance met all of our stated performance targets.” 

Apple’s Acquisition

Apple (AAPL) – Get Report has reportedly acquired Xnor.ai, a Seattle startup specializing in low-power, edge-based artificial intelligence tools.

The acquisition which was originally reported by GeekWire, followed Apple’s purchase of AI startup Turi in 2016. Sources with knowledge of the deal told GeekWire that Apple paid an amount similar to what was paid for Turi, in the range of $200 million.

The acquisition suggests that Xnor’s AI-enabled image recognition tools could become standard features in future iPhones and webcams, per GeekWire.

XPO’s Exploring Strategic Alternatives

XPO (XPO) – Get Report announced after the bell Wednesday that it was exploring the sale or spinoff of one or more of its business units.

The logistics giant said it doesn’t intend to sell or spin off its North American less-than-truckload unit.

“We continue to trade at well below the sum of our parts and at a significant discount to our pure-play peers,” said Bradley Jacobs, XPO chairman and CEO. “That’s why we believe the best way to continue to maximize shareholder value is to explore our options, while remaining intensely committed to the satisfaction of our customers and employees.”

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