Major benchmarks gave up some ground on Monday morning, with market participants reacting negatively to signs that the U.S. and China might not actually find resolution on the trade front as quickly as hoped. Some investors also seemed nervous about how quickly the stock market has posted strong gains in its latest move into record territory. As of 11 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 11 points to 27,994. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) fell 4 points to 3,117, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) moved lower by 20 points to 8,521.
A couple weeks ago, HP (NYSE:HPQ) got an unexpected merger offer from Xerox (NYSE:XRX), and yesterday, Xerox got its answer. Meanwhile, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) made a decision on a key addition to its infrastructure, and although it didn't get as much publicity as its controversial HQ2 selection did last year, it still had big implications for a Southern state.
HP wants to go it alone -- for now
Shares of HP fell 1% after the printer and computer hardware company responded to Xerox's early November offer to combine forces. Although the answer wasn't what some HP investors had hoped, it still left the door open to talks in the future.
On Sunday, HP's board of directors said in a press release that it had unanimously rejected the unsolicited Xerox merger proposal. As is typical with such rejections, HP said that Xerox's offer significantly undervalued the company and therefore isn't in HP shareholders' best interests.
However, HP did say it was open to exploring a potential combination. The company's main concern was that Xerox's revenue has declined over the past year, raising what HP called "significant questions for us regarding the trajectory of your business and future prospects." In addition, HP wanted to explore exactly how much a combined HP-Xerox could save through merger-related synergies.
Even with the rejection, HP shares remain well above where they traded before Xerox made its offer. That suggests that shareholders haven't given up entirely on the idea of a possible merger between the tech companies, even if it might look different than initially proposed.
Amazon heads south again
Shares of Amazon.com were up a fraction of a percent following its announcement that it will locate a new fulfillment center in Mississippi. The new facility will create 500 full-time jobs, and Amazon said wages for those positions would start at $15 per hour along with benefits.
DeSoto County will be the home of the 1 million square foot fulfillment center, which is directly across the Tennessee state border from Memphis. That gives the unit proximity to one of the most important shipment airports in the nation, as FedEx has its headquarters in Memphis and uses the city airport as its global SuperHub.
The facility will handle a variety of larger items for shipment to customers. Among the products Amazon named were sports equipment, patio furniture, fishing rods, kayaks, bicycles, and large household goods.
State and local officials were predictably ecstatic about the news, as it validates Mississippi's and DeSoto County's viability as an economic hub. For Amazon, the center represents just another step forward in its efforts to build and improve its delivery efficiency.