Wednesday Morning Reads
- End of An Era
- Fed Chair Urges Economic Support
- End this Recession Now!
- House Lawmakers Condemn Big Tech
- Who Pays For The Toilet Paper
- Oaktree Deal Crushed
- Decade-Long Copyright Battle
- Whole Foods Is Left Behind
- Teen Spending Drops to Record Low
- ‘Great Polarization’
- New WAYT!
- The Reboot Of The Us Economy
President Donald Trump continues to take the markets on a wild ride, this time boosting U.S. stock index futures, saying he would still support specific forms of fiscal stimulus after calling an end to negotiations yesterday. Trump tweeted yesterday afternoon that another COVID relief bill would only go through after the election, sending stocks tumbling. Trump said a sticking point on aid for state and local governments amounted to a bailout of blue states. But he later tweeted support for a standalone bill for $1,200 stimulus checks, $25B in relief for airlines and paycheck protection program funds. Futures climbed steadily overnight. S&P futures (SPX) are up 0.8% and Nasdaq futures (NDX:IND) are up 0.6%. Major indexes in Europe are little changed, while Asia was mixed.
The House antitrust subcommittee has released its report on Big Tech after a 16-month investigation, concluding that four tech giants - Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) - enjoy “monopoly power” and that antitrust laws need changes that might result in business separations. The near-450-page report features a swath of recommendations, including imposing structural separations and prohibiting dominant platforms from entering adjacent business lines - what subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline has called a "Glass-Steagall" law for the Internet.
Apple (AAPL) has confirmed the iPhone event will happen on October 13 with the tagline "Hi, Speed" likely referring to the 5G smartphone lineup. The digital-only event starts at 10 AM PDT. The lineup will likely be called the iPhone 12 with some models bearing "mini" in the title for the first time. Potential pricing is likely to range from $659 for the Mini to $1,099 for the Pro Max.
General Electric (NYSE:GE) disclosed yesterday that the SEC is considering civil action against the company for possible securities law violations. The SEC and Department of Justice have been investigating GE's accounting for two years after the company disclosed a surprise $6.2B charge related to an insurance portfolio of long-term care policies and said it would pay $15B over seven years to fill a shortfall in reserves. Former GE employees have said the company was lax in its oversight of the insurance business and did not internally acknowledge that its results were getting worse, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The U.S. Labor Department has contacted Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), questioning the companies' plans to hire more Black employees. Each company said in June that it planned to double Black leadership in the coming five years, but each last week received a letter from the agency overseeing federal contractors raising the question of whether the pledges violate federal race discrimination laws. Federal contractors are required to address areas of potential discrimination, and at least in Microsoft's case the company has been asked to prove its actions are not illegal.
SpaceX (SPACE) hauled in another notable defense contract, with the Pentagon issuing the company a $149M award from the Space Development Agency to help supply part of a proposed Pentagon missile-warning system. The SDA contract covers an early version of a small satellite system intended to identify and monitor a new generation of hypersonic missiles. SpaceX will use its Starlink assembly plant in Redmond, Washington to build four satellites fitted with a wide-angle infrared missile-tracking sensor supplied by a subcontractor. The system is seen as a countermeasure to potential new weapons from Russia and China. The contract is said to highlight the rapid gains made by SpaceX to gain credibility in emerging tech around advanced, low-orbiting sensor networks.
The hits keep coming - or rather, getting delayed - for the movie industry, with Universal Pictures (NASDAQ:CMCSA) the latest to push back a major release. The studio is moving Jurassic World: Dominion a year later, to June 2022. While that's different from recent delays of in-the-can films that were set for fall releases (the film was scheduled for June 2021), it demonstrates the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic is playing with film production schedules. The latest Jurassic World sequel was about three weeks away from completing principal photography in the UK.
AT&T (NYSE:T) is moving forward with plans for an auction of DirecTV, The New York Post says, even though a first round drew bids less than a third of what the telecom giant paid for the satellite broadcaster five years ago. A handful of suitors has been invited to a second round of bidding, though the opening figures came in around 3.5 times EBITDA of about $4.5B - implying valuation of about $15.75B, the Post reports.
Tuesday's Key Earnings
In Asia, Japan -0.05%. Hong Kong +1.05%. China closed. India +0.9%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.11%. Paris +0.05%. Frankfurt -0.09%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.62%. S&P +0.8%. Nasdaq +0.6%. Crude -1.82% to $39.93. Gold -0.8% to $1893. Bitcoin -1.2% to $10619.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2.4 bps to 0.764%
Today's Economic Calendar
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
1:00 PM Results of $29B,10-Year Note Auction
1:00 PM Fed's Bostic Speech
1:00 PM Fed's Kashkari Speech
1:00 PM Fed's Rosengren Speech
2:00 PM FOMC Minutes
2:00 PM Fed's Williams Speech
2:15 PM Fed's Kashkari “Economic Implications of Structural Racism”
3:00 PM Fed's Williams Speech
3:00 PM Consumer Credit
4:30 PM Fed's Evans: U.S.Monetary Policy