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Stock Market News: Amazon Kicks Off Prime Day; Broadcom Breaks It Off With Symantec

By Dan Caplinger - Jul 15, 2019 at 12:00PM

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Markets were mixed as investors look forward to earnings results.

Monday started off mixed for the stock market as investors prepared for an onslaught of second-quarter earnings reports over the next several weeks. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI ) was up just a fraction of a point to 27,332. The S&P 500 ( ^GSPC -0.84% ) was down a fraction of a point to 3,013, and the Nasdaq Composite ( ^IXIC 0.00% ) rose 4 points to 8,248.

In company-specific news, ( AMZN -1.38% ) kicked off its two-day Prime Day event, with hopes that shoppers will flock to its arbitrary July shopping holiday and boost its overall membership numbers. Meanwhile, Broadcom ( AVGO 1.03% ) decided to break off buyout discussions with Symantec ( NLOK 0.17% ), with significant implications for both companies.

Let Prime Day(s) begin

Shares of were down a fraction of a percent as the e-commerce giant celebrated the beginning of its Prime Day sale event. The company made the decision to lengthen the sale to two full days this year, and hopes are high that it will have a hugely positive financial impact. Some estimates put Amazon's likely take at as much as $5 billion this time around, up by more than half from 2018's estimated revenue.

Dozens of blue vans marked with Amazon Prime logo.

Image source:

Prime Day responds to the impact that having a targeted day or period has on shopping behavior. When customers perceive that there are big bargains to be had, they'll go in search of great deals -- but they'll also be willing to consider buying a host of other items that they didn't necessarily have in mind when they first started shopping.

Even though Amazon created Prime Day, you'll find many other retailers that now ride its coattails. Several big-box retailers are offering sales timed directly to Prime Day, fighting back against the threat of competitive poaching from the e-commerce specialist.

In a consumer economy, getting shoppers to open up their wallets is an important facet of success for a retail business. By offering a visible benefit to its Prime members, Amazon is working hard to sustain its recurring membership revenue and remain at the top of the retail game.

Broadcom calls it quits

Shares of Broadcom were higher by nearly 2% following reports that the chipmaker has decided to break off negotiations to acquire cybersecurity specialist Symantec. Symantec shares plunged in response, falling 13% by 11 a.m. EDT.

The two companies had been in talks about a strategic combination since early this month, and subsequent reports had suggested that Broadcom and Symantec had made progress toward consummating a deal, including obtaining financing for a potential buyout. Estimates had suggested that it would cost Broadcom roughly $22 billion, with considerable savings available from synergies from combining the two operations.

However, some skeptics had been concerned about Broadcom's proposed purchase. Just last year, the company had finished a similar-sized acquisition of CA Technologies, bolstering the scope of the business but using up a lot of the company's capacity to integrate new operations. Investors seemed nervous about the possibility that a second major acquisition in such a short time period could prove to be unwieldy.

For Broadcom, going it alone isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if the chip sector can build up a strong rebound from the challenges it's seen lately. Moreover, depending on what happens, it's always possible that Broadcom will come back to the table in due course.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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