Top Friday Morning Reads

Top Friday Morning Reads





Yesterdays Unusual Option Action:



U.S. employers likely maintained a strong pace of hiring in July while raising wages for workers, signs that could clear the way for the Fed to start shrinking its massive bond portfolio. The non-farm payrolls report this morning will probably show around 180,000 additions to the workforce, with average hourly earnings rising 0.3%, while the unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 4.3%


A planned announcement of President Trump's trade action against China has been postponed, sources told POLITICO. Trump was slated to hold an event at the White House today in which he would direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation into Chinese violations of U.S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer.

Beset by scandals and falling support, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reshuffled his cabinet, with his popularity dropping to the lowest level in five years. "The economy remains our top priority... there's much left to do," he told a news conference after the shakeup. "We'll seek to end deflation by accelerating a virtuous economic cycle."

Isolated by its Arab neighbors, Qatar is accelerating efforts to bolster its economy and security. The gas-rich nation approved a draft law that will grant permanent residency to some foreigners, such as highly skilled workers, aimed at making the country a more attractive destination for expatriates. The foreign ministry also completed a deal to buy seven Italian naval vessels worth nearly $6B.

The investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election is taking a step forward as special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly convened a grand jury. The move would give him the power to compel witness testimony and obtain evidence. Links between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia will be investigated, although the president has deemed the probe a "witch hunt."


Overnight earnings roundup: RBS +4% premarket after first half profits smashed estimates, but the bank warned of a tenth consecutive year of losses due to a DOJ settlement. Allianz (OTCQX:AZSEY) said Pimco is a "performance engine again" as the asset management business logged net inflows of €52B in Q2. While Toyota's (NYSE:TM) first quarter operating profit fell 10% from a year ago, the automaker maintained its full-year global sales forecast.

Latest Brexodus: Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) is in discussions about using Amsterdam as its post-Brexit EU hub. The center could employ 150 staff, although it may not be necessary to move employees to the city as some could remain in London. RBS expects the cost of setting up the operation to be in the "tens of millions."

"Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the U.S.A. and create 4K new American jobs. A great investment in American manufacturing!" President Trump tweeted overnight. The plant will produce 300K vehicles a year, with half being dedicated to the Corolla and the rest an unspecified Mazda (OTCPK:MZDAY) model. As part of the deal, Toyota (TM) will take a 5% stake in its smaller rival.

Uber knowingly rented defective cars in Singapore, which were at risk of catching fire, and the ride-hailing firm only moved to fix the electrical problem when a driver was in a vehicle that went up in smoke. According to the WSJUBER's fleet of 1,000 Vezel SUVs were purchased from cheaper "gray market" importers, rather than authorized Honda (NYSE:HMC) dealers.

Raytheon has won the dismissal of a $1B whistleblower lawsuit accusing the defense contractor of overbilling the U.S. government on a contract for satellite sensors. It comes nearly 1.5 years after a federal appeals court revived the case and marks the fifth attempt former Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) engineer Steven Mateski tried to bring his allegations to court under the False Claims Act.

It seems Daimler (OTCPK:DDAIF) wants a piece of the self-flying market as it sunk $30M into Germany's Volocoptor. The aviation startup's ultimate goal is to develop a battery-powered air taxi that could revolutionize transport. The "Volocopter 2X" can currently transport up to two passengers without a pilot, traveling for 27 minutes on a charge at a maximum airspeed of 62 mph.

More fish in the sea... Mini-rocket transporter Vector Space Systems successfully tested its Vector-R launch vehicle from Spaceport Camden on Thursday. The rockets will meet demand from companies that can't foot the bill to ride along with SpaceX (Private:SPACE) or United Launch Alliance (BALMT), but still need to put satellites in orbit.

Jurors in the Martin Shkreli securities fraud trial ended their fourth day of deliberations Thursday without reaching a verdict - and without asking any questions about evidence or testimony. The "Pharma Bro" is charged with defrauding investors in two hedge funds he ran, as well as a drug company he founded, Retrophin (NASDAQ:RTRX).

In the latest string of deals in the sector, Paysafe Group (OTC:PASZY) has backed a £3B takeover offer from a consortium of funds managed by Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and CVC Capital. Payments companies have become sought-after targets as more shoppers switch from cash to paying for purchases by smartphones or other mobile devices.

A sharp industry debate... Bats, a unit of the CBOE, is hitting back at opponents over its efforts to create an alternative to closing auctions. "Both Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ) and NYSE (NYSE:ICE) seem to be comfortable with creating dueling closing auctions themselves but they are unwilling to allow for a non-disruptive closing process when it creates competitive pressures on their revenues," it said in a letter to the SEC.

Did Google want to buy Snap? A new report suggested the tech giant floated an offer to buy the firm for $30B ahead of its IPO, in an effort to beef up its social credentials. Business Insider wasn't sure how formal the discussions were, but Google (GOOGGOOGL) reportedly expressed interest multiple times. Alphabet also contributed to a funding round SNAP raised in May 2016.

Thursday's Key Earnings
Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI+4.1% AH posting record revenues.
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK-2.6% following activity cutbacks.
Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH-4.5% AH amid declining subscribers.
Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD-1.5% missing estimates.
GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO+13.3% AH smashing expectations.
Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC+1.1% AH despite a drop in organic sales.
Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK-0.9% AH with light revenue guidance.
Teva Pharmaceutical (NYSE:TEVA-24% as generic drugs got cheaper.
Viacom (NYSE:VIA-7% AH on an uncertain outlook.
Yelp (NYSE:YELP+18.3% AH following a deal with GrubHub.

Today's Markets 
In Asia, Japan -0.4%. Hong Kong +0.1%. China -0.4%. India +0.3%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.2%. Paris +0.3%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude -0.8% to $48.64. Gold +0.1% to $1275.10.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.23%

Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Non-farm payrolls
8:30 International Trade
1:00 PM Baker-Hughes Rig Count

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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