Morning Blast: Lordstown Motors Bankruptcy, Rough Seas in Shipping

Premarket action on Tuesday had the three major U.S. indexes trading mixed. While the Dow Jones industrials were down 0.01%, the S&P 500 was up 0.21% and the Nasdaq 0.45% higher.

Electric pickup truck maker Lordstown Motors Corp. (NASDAQ: RIDE) filed suit early Tuesday morning against Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, charging the Taiwan-based manufacturing giant with all sorts of things, including failing to purchase $47.3 million in Lordstown stock and “provide additional funding for a joint vehicle development program.” The lack of funding forced Lordstown to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the same time.

Foxconn agreed to pay Lordstown $230 million to purchase the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant in May of last year, and become the manufacturer of Lordstown’s Endurance electric pickup.

Then, in November, Foxconn suspended production at Lordstown’s request because the electric vehicle (EV)  company could not get the price of the truck down to the targeted sales price of $65,000.

According to Lordstown’s SEC filing, the lawsuit against Foxconn “details the fact that Foxconn had no intention of living up to its commitments, particularly with respect to the new vehicle development platform. Foxconn simply used its variety of contractual arrangements with the Company Parties as a tool to maliciously and in bad faith destroy the Company Parties’ business—while leveraging resources gained through the partnership to advance its own business interests.” Foxconn has not commented.

Another dispute surfaced late Monday, when container shipper Danaos Corp. (NYSE: DAC) sent a letter to Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. (NYSE: EGLE) objecting to Eagle’s repurchase last week from Oaktree Capital of a 28% stake in the company for $58 per share and the adoption of a poison pill that, Danaos claims, makes it the only shareholder that cannot purchase more shares in Eagle. Danaos owns a 16.7% stake in Eagle.

Danaos notes that Eagle paid a 35% premium for the stock and said the buyback from and “preferential treatment” shown to Oaktree “exposed Eagle Bulk’s remaining shareholders to unnecessary strategic and financial risk. Indeed, the risk to finance the repurchase with debt is shared by the Company’s remaining shareholders.”

Danaos does not threaten a proxy battle, however, choosing instead to offer to work “constructively with the Board to identify balanced, well-considered, and effective methods to enhance shareholder value on behalf of all shareholders.” That seems unlikely to get a warm reception from Eagle’s management.

Eagle’s stock closed at $45.75 on Monday and traded up by about 1.5% in premarket action Tuesday.

Here is a look at how U.S. markets fared on Monday.

Six of 11 market sectors closed higher on Monday. Real estate (2.21%) and energy (1.71%) posted the day’s best gains. Communication services (−1.88%) and consumer cyclicals (−1.25%) had the day’s biggest losses. The Dow closed down 0.04%, the S&P 500 down 0.45% and the Nasdaq down 1.16% on Monday.

Two-year Treasuries dropped by six basis points to end Monday at 4.65%, and 10-year notes slipped by two basis points to 3.72%. In Tuesday’s premarket, two-year notes were trading at around 4.68% and 10-year notes at about 3.73%.

After U.S. markets open on Tuesday, the Conference Board will release its consumer confidence index for June. Economists have forecast an increase from 102.3 in May to 103.8. At the same time, the Census Bureau will release its report on new home sales for May. Analysts are forecasting a decline from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 683,000 to 665,000.

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