Wall Street Breakfast Podcast: Cummins To Pay Record Fine

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Cummins distribution headquarters. Cummins is a Manufacturer of Engines and Power Generation Equipment.

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Cummins (CMI) to pay record $1.675B civil penalty in vehicle test cheating settlement. (00:26) iRobot (IRBT) plunges to session lows amid report Amazon (AMZN) won’t offer remedies in Europe. (01:41) SEC at long last approves spot bitcoin ETFs. (02:25)

This is an abridged transcript of the podcast.

Cummins (NYSE:CMI) has agreed to pay a combined $2B in fines and remedies to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of California that charged the company with installing devices meant to cheat emissions controls.

The DoJ announced on Wednesday that under the proposed settlement, Cummins (CMI) agreed to pay a $1.675B in a civil penalty – the largest ever assessed in a Clean Air Act violation. In addition the company will spend more than $325M to remedy the violations related to the software “defeat devices” that circumvented emissions testing and certifications requirements.

Cummins (CMI) must also “complete a nationwide vehicle recall to repair and replace the engine control software in hundreds of thousands of RAM 2500 and RAM 3500 pickup trucks equipped with the company’s diesel engines,” the DoJ said.

The deal also will require the company to “extend the warranty period for certain parts in the repaired vehicles, fund and perform projects to mitigate excess ozone-creating nitrogen oxides emitted from the vehicles and employ new internal procedures designed to prevent future emissions cheating.”

iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) dropped nearly 20% Wednesday amid a report that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) won’t offer concessions in Europe to try to appease the antitrust regulator, according to a Politico report, which cited people familiar with the matter.

The drop comes as Wednesday was the deadline for the parties to submit remedies to the European Commission for the planned purchase.

An Amazon (AMZN) spokesperson declined to specifically comment to Seeking Alpha on the EC remedy and the EC’s press office didn’t immediately respond to Politico Pro’s request for comment.

“We’re working cooperatively with the relevant regulators in their review of the merger,” the Amazon spokesperson told Seeking Alpha in an emailed statement.

The European Commission warned in November, in a statement of objections, that it was concerned about the robot vacuum maker’s $1.4 billion sale to Amazon (AMZN). The EC has until Feb. 14 to make a final decision on the transaction.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved 11 spot bitcoin exchange-traded products after years of rejecting ETF applications.

“Importantly, today’s Commission action is cabined to ETPs holding one non-security commodity, bitcoin (BTC-USD). It should in no way signal the Commission’s willingness to approve listing standards for crypto asset securities,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a statement.

“While we approved the listing and trading of certain spot bitcoin ETP shares today, we did not approve or endorse bitcoin,” Gensler said. “Investors should remain cautious about the myriad risks associated with bitcoin and products whose value is tied to crypto.”

On our catalyst watch for the day,

Other articles to look out for on Seeking Alpha:

Consumer Price Index seen ticking up in December, with core number easing

Salesforce and Slack implement hiring freeze: report

Google to lay off hundreds in voice assistant, hardware teams

U.S. stocks on Wednesday made small moves through most of the day but then experienced a late session upward push, which helped the three major averages end higher.

The Nasdaq (COMP.IND) added 0.75%. The S&P 500 (SP500) rose 0.57%. The Dow (DJI) advanced 0.45%.

Of the 11 S&P sectors, seven ended in the green, led by Communication Services. Energy topped the losers.

Treasury yields made small moves. The 10-year yield (US10Y) was up 2 basis points to 4.04%. The 2-year yield (US2Y) was little changed at 4.37%.

Now let’s take a look at the markets as of 6 am. Ahead of the opening bell today, Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures are in the green. The Dow is up a small fraction, the S & P 500 is up 0.2% and the Nasdaq is up 0.5%. Crude oil is up 1.5% at more than $72 per barrel. Bitcoin is up 3% at close to $47,000.

In the world markets, the FTSE 100 is up a small fraction and the DAX is up 0.25%.

The biggest movers for the day premarket: Praxis Precision Medicines (NASDAQ:PRAX) witnessed a 6% decline in its shares as it initiated a public offering of common stock.

On today’s economic calendar:

  • 8:30 am The Consumer Price Index report will be released. Economists expect a 0.2% month-over-month increase in the core inflation rate and an increase of 3.9% year-over-year.

  • 2:00 pm Treasury Statement

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