Thursday Morning Reads
- Economic Situation Still Severe
- Jackson Hole’s Greatest Hits
- Fed’s New Monetary Policy Approach
- The Lesson We’re Learning From TikTok?
- Amazon’s Latest Grocery Store Concept Opens
- Bankruptcies Will Push Malls Over the Edge
- The Pandemic Is Supercharging the Video Game Business
- Kitty Litter Will Arrive By Electric Truck
- Companies Are Putting Everyone at Risk
U.S. equity index futures are off 0.3% ahead of the big event at Jackson Hole, which could also outline how long the Fed's near-zero interest rate environment might last and assess the monetary policy response to the coronavirus pandemic. On the stimulus front, Republicans are reportedly considering a more narrow COVID-19 relief bill as aid talks between the Trump administration and Democrats are at a deadlock. Also on the radar today is a second reading of U.S. gross domestic product for the second quarter, as well as other growth statistics.
Category 4 Hurricane Laura has made a "catastrophic" landfall in Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center, which could render wide areas uninhabitable for weeks or months and knock out power for just as long. While the storm has also threatened the majority of Gulf oil and natural gas production, consumers are unlikely to see big price hikes because the pandemic has decimated energy demand. Officials are still assessing the extent of destruction as search and rescue missions begin in battered neighborhoods near the coast.
Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) is up 10% in premarket trade following news that the FDA granted emergency use authorization for the company's 15-minute COVID-19 test that will be priced at just $5. Abbott says BinaxNOW works without relying on lab equipment - at a time when labs can take as long as two weeks to produce results - and uses a nasal swab and a small reactive card that can be administered by a range of healthcare workers, including pharmacists. The company plans to ship "tens of millions" of tests in September, ramping to 50M tests per month by the end of October.
EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan is stepping down amid growing criticism that he broke COVID-19 guidelines in his native Ireland. Hogan had attended a golf event with 80 other people - including Ireland's Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary, who resigned last week - and was criticized for not complying with quarantine rules when he arrived in the country. The EU will now have to fill a role that has become even more high-profile in recent months, given the EU's post-Brexit free trade negotiations and a pandemic-induced shock to supply chains.
Following threats from Washington to delist Chinese firms that fail to meet its auditing requirements, China is now proposing to let U.S. regulators audit its state-owned enterprises. The concessions are aimed at solving a long-running accounting dispute, but would insist on redacting some information on national security grounds. It may go a long way in resolving renewed tensions. Beijing fired four missiles into the South China Sea overnight after the U.S. blacklisted 24 companies for their efforts in helping China "reclaim and militarize" outposts in the disputed waterway.
Moving further into the grocery sector to challenge Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Kroger (NYSE:KR) and Albertsons (NYSE:ACI), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) today is opening the first location of its new chain of Fresh grocery stores in Woodland Hills, California. The 35,000-square foot store will debut the Dash Cart, a smart grocery cart that tracks shoppers' items and allows them to skip the checkout line, and feature Echo Show devices to ask Alexa where certain items are located. There will also be a service counter for people to pick up orders from Amazon.com, and they can also complete returns there without having to package their items in boxes.
The development comes just a few months after Mayer - then in charge of streaming at Disney (NYSE:DIS) - took the job leading the fast-rising short video app , as well as the role of COO at TikTok parent ByteDance (BDNCE). At the time, it seemed like a consolation prize after Disney's succession planning turned to Bob Chapek to take over as CEO from Bob Iger. It's a notable move coming in the middle of what looks like a sale of TikTok's U.S. operations forced by the Trump administration, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) apparently leading competing outreaches from Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).
Go Deeper: Google not trying to buy TikTok - Pichai
What else is happening...
NBA postpones playoff games amid player boycotts.
World's biggest advertising company resumes its dividend.
Wednesday's Key Earnings
In Asia, Japan -0.4%. Hong Kong -0.8%. China +0.6%. India +0.1%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.2%. Paris -0.5%. Frankfurt -0.4%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.3%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude -0.3% to $43.26. Gold -0.1% to $1951.30. Bitcoin flat at $11398.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -1 bps to 0.68%
Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
8:30 GDP Q2
8:30 Corporate profits
9:00 Fed’s George: "Navigating the Decade Ahead: Implications for Monetary Policy"
9:10 Jerome Powell: "Monetary Policy Framework Review"
10:00 Pending Home Sales
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 Kansas City Fed Mfg Survey
12:30 PM Fed's Barkin Speech
1:00 PM Results of $47B, 7-Year Note Auction
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet