Monday Morning Reads
- Let a Little Sunshine In
- Sucks Being a Bear
- ECB Eyes Review
- Deeper Reforms
- Labor Drought Grows
- Net Neutrality Rules
- Going Cashless?
- Cash Is Rapidly Becoming Obsolete
- Developer Faces Debt Risk
- The Ups & Downs of Leveraged ETFs
- The Bubble Cometh?
- Emerging Stocks Break Decade-Long Downtrend!
— Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) July 16, 2017
The U.K. and EU renew divorce talks in Brussels today with the clock ticking down to a historic exit in March 2019. It's the second such meeting - the first round in June saw Britain concede to the EU's demand to first focus on discussing citizens' rights, the Irish border and a financial settlement. Only when "sufficient progress" has been made on those matters will the EU allow discussions to turn to trade.
The U.S. Senate will delay this week's consideration of healthcare legislation while Arizona Republican Senator John McCain recuperates from surgery, Mitch McConnell said on Saturday. With the GOP holding a 52-48 majority, they can afford to lose only two Republicans. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine have already said they'll vote against the measure.
China's economy maintained its momentum last quarter, matching the 6.9% growth rate in Q1. Consumer spending, factory output and investment were all strong, while retail sales recorded their fastest expansion since December 2015. Local markets stayed in the red, however, weighed down as a major once-in-five-years government work meeting indicated Beijing was looking to increase control over the economy.
"The Washington Post story that we actually hacked [a Qatari government news site in May] is not true," said Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. The report said the country planted a false story that was used as a pretext for the current Gulf crisis. Gargash also said the UAE would not escalate its boycott by asking firms to choose between doing business with it or with Qatar.
Nearly 7.2M Venezuelans went to the ballot box in an unofficial plebiscite on Sunday as President Maduro seeks to create a legislative superbody that his adversaries call the consolidation of a dictatorship. 98% of voters are said to have opposed the new assembly, as well as urging the military to defend the existing constitution and supporting elections before Maduro's term ends in 2019.
It would be the biggest company ever to face a proxy fight. Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management plans to battle for a board seat at Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) in an effort to jolt the products giant whose sales and profit growth have stalled, WSJ reports. P&G shares have underperformed the S&P 500 and the consumer-staples group for the past 10 years.
More consumer wars? Unilever (UL, UN) is locked in a £2B battle with Hormel Foods (NYSE:HRL) to buy Reckitt Benckiser's (OTCPK:RBGLY) food business, according to the Sunday Times. Reckitt is rushing to offload the unwanted division after receiving a series of knockout bids in recent weeks. Binding offers for the unit are expected in the next few weeks.
Wells Fargo is preparing to jettison a "handful" of businesses, which are not "top-tier providers," as it looks to restore investor confidence in the wake of its sham accounts scandal. "We get a little bit smaller, a little bit less complex and we can focus on what we're good at," Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) CFO John Shrewsberry told FT. "We could be more focused."
Cryptocurrencies took a beating over the weekend. Bitcoin traded as low as $1,836, down about 8% on the day, and almost 40% from its high of $3,018 on June 11, while ether plunged almost 20% to $155, knocking off about 60% from its high of $395 on June 13. The selloffs are yet another stark reminder that digital assets remain highly speculative trading vehicles.
Jumping further into the financial cybersecurity market, Big Blue has launched a new mainframe system capable of running more than 12B encrypted transactions per day. "We think this will be broadly adopted across financial services, government, retail and travel and transportation," announced Ross Mauri, general manager of IBM Z.
San Marino is set to become the first country in the world to be upgraded to a nationwide 5G network after Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) said it would use the enclave as a test bed for the new technology. It will double the number of mobile sites and install a network of small cells in the capital this year that will provide the backbone for the future network.
Disney is building an immersive Star Wars hotel as part of a flurry of investments announced Saturday by the company. Theme parks are Disney's (NYSE:DIS) second-largest division after TV. It's been investing heavily in the business on the premise that park attractions can't easily be "replicated" or made obsolete by new technology.
Winnie the Pooh has been blacked out from Chinese social media in the lead-up to the country's 19th Communist Party Congress this fall, according to the FT. No official explanation was given, but observers said the crackdown may be related to past comparisons of the physical appearance of President Xi to the Disney-owned (DIS) fictional bear.
Twitter is in talks to screen the US PGA Championship after Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY) lost its exclusive broadcast for the event, FT reports. The group has been looking to grow its user base through live sports. Earlier this year, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) won rights to stream 31 smaller PGA tour golf tournaments around the world.
Airplanes to airwaves. Dame Carolyn McCall has been named CEO of broadcaster ITV (OTCPK:ITVPY), leaving EasyJet (OTCQX:ESYJY) to find a new pilot. The change in leadership comes at a difficult time for the budget airline, which is in the midst of repositioning its business in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Uber is suspending operations in Macau from July 22 as it could "not secure a business environment" to "unlock the full benefits of ride-sharing." Global retreat? UBER recently announced it would cede control in Russia to search giant Yandex following last year's pullout in neighboring China.
In Asia, Japan +0.1%. Hong Kong +0.3%. China -1.4%. India +0.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.3%. Paris -0.2%. Frankfurt -0.5%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow flat. S&P flat. Nasdaq flat. Crude +0.1% to $46.56. Gold +0.1% to $1229.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.31%
Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Empire State Mfg Survey