Wednesday Morning Reads
- U.S. and Canada still have issues to resolve as trade talks resume (EWW, EWC). WSJ Report
- Robert Mueller will allow written answers from President Trump on some Russia investigation questions, but other topics may fall under executive privilege. NY Times Report
- President Trump is frustrated with FBI Director Chris Wray. NBC News Report
- President Trump believes Nike (NKE) is sending the wrong message with Colin Kaepernick advertising campaign. The Hill Report
- Instagram (FB) plans to introduce shopping app (SHOP, AMZN). Verge Report
- 30 people got sick after eating Kellogg (K) Honey Smacks cereal contaminated with Salmonella. Reuters Report
- Fox (FOXA) has acquired broadcast rights for Premier Boxing Champions. WSJ Report
- England has approved Novartis (NVS) cancer drug, but has rejected Gilead (GILD) drug. Bloomberg Report
- JD.com CEO was arrested on rape allegations
- Saudi Arabia aims for crude at $70-$80
- Dominion-SCANA merger clears final federal hurdle
- Big tech to testify before Senate
- Evercore names top semi picks for year's end, says avoid Intel
- Pentagon extends deadline for JEDI cloud contract
- Report: Instagram building stand-alone shopping app
- Nevsun to be acquired by Zijin Mining for $1.41B
- The Watchlist
- Week Ahead Webinar
- Today's Option Recap
- 2018 Top 5 For Back Half of 2018
- 2018 Top 5 Stocks
#ECB balance sheet has hit fresh high at €4,621.4bn as Draghi keeps printing press rumbling. Total assets rose by another €1.9bn on QE, slowed by banks repaying €1.4bn of their TLTRO loans early. ECB balance sheet now equates to 41.4% of #Eurozone GDP vs Fed's 20.7%. pic.twitter.com/Ig69jWpRE9
— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) September 4, 2018
An emerging market selloff focused on Argentina and Turkey has begun to spread to other major economies in the developing world as contagion fears ripple through the markets. Indonesian equities sank for a fifth day as policy makers attempted to support the rupiah through measures including interest rate hikes, while South Africa's rand, hit hard by the country’s first economic contraction since 2009, is now this week's worst-performing emerging market currency.
Senior officials from the U.S. and Canada are due to meet in Washington today in a bid to settle major NAFTA differences amid pressure from the Trump administration. "No NAFTA is better than a bad NAFTA deal for Canadians and that’s what we are going to stay with," Justin Trudeau told reporters, stating he would insist on keeping the Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism and existing protections that ban U.S. media firms from buying Canadian cultural industries.
Australia's economy sped past all expectations in Q2 as rapid population growth fueled demand for homes and infrastructure, while bolstering consumer spending despite painfully slow wages growth. GDP was 3.4% higher than a year earlier, ahead even of the 2.9% growth boasted by the U.S., a remarkable feat given the nation's ever-changing procession of prime ministers.
Concerns about economic damage from a powerful typhoon weighed on Japanese shares overnight, resulting in the Nikkei's fourth consecutive day of losses. Jebi, the most powerful storm to hit the country in 25 years, rammed through Western Japan, killing at least ten people and leaving more than a million homes without power. It also briefly submerged a large part of Kansai Airport. Many chip plants operate in the region, including Toshiba Memory (OTCPK:TOSYY).
Tropical Storm Gordon has made landfall just west of the Alabama-Mississippi border, but oil prices are partly reversing a strong jump from the previous day, when dozens of U.S. oil and gas platforms were shut in anticipation of the impending disruption. Not as strong as expected? The storm was shifting eastward late Tuesday, reducing its threat to producers on the western side of the Gulf and most Gulf Coast refineries.
Saudi Arabia wants oil to stay between $70 and $80 a barrel for now, according to OPEC and industry sources, as the world's biggest crude exporter strikes a balance between maximizing revenue and keeping a lid on prices until U.S. congressional elections. Shortly after announcing the flotation of Saudi Aramco in 2016, the kingdom began pushing for higher crude prices, but that changed in April when President Trump put public pressure on Riyadh to keep prices in check.
Amazon briefly joined Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) yesterday to become the second publicly listed U.S. company in the $1T club. The e-commerce giant is so far up 75% in 2018, adding over $435B in market cap - or about one Walmart (NYSE:WMT). Analysts cite Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) ever-diversifying portfolio as a value driver, including the purchase of Whole Foods, last-mile deliveries and its push into advertising.
Big Tech goes to Congress... Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey will testify today before the Senate Intelligence Committee about how the big technology companies are preparing for midterm elections. Google (GOOG, GOOGL) executives Larry Page and Sundar Pichai were also invited to appear, but the offer was declined. The hearing is a follow-up to the one convened in November on Russian election interference.
The health joint venture formed by Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) has hired Jack Stoddard, most recently general manager for digital health at Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), as chief operating officer. Author and physician Atul Gawande started as CEO in July. The project was formed to deal with the problem of high healthcare costs for the three companies' combined 1.2M workers.
Theranos, the once-celebrated Silicon Valley blood-testing firm, is about to dissolve itself months after top executives were indicted for defrauding investors. The move follows a failed attempt by the company to sell itself, during which it reached out to more than 80 potential buyers through Jefferies Group. Theranos (THERA) will attempt to pay unsecured creditors its remaining cash in the coming months, WSJ reports, adding that big name investors had lost about $1B.
JD.com CEO Richard Liu was arrested in Minneapolis on Friday following an allegation of rape, according to a public information police report. He had spent last week at a residency for a Ph.D. program in business administration offered by the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, and the charge surfaced by a female student from China. Despite denying wrongdoing and being released by police, JD.com's ADRs (NASDAQ:JD) fell 6%to $29.43 on Tuesday.
A big pivot toward e-commerce... Facebook's (FB) Instagram is working on a standalone app for shopping, The Verge reports, which would allow users to browse goods from merchants that they follow and seal the purchase inside the app. There are few other details around the plan for now, but more than 25M businesses already have Instagram accounts, 2M of which are advertisers.
Britain's William Hill is expanding further into the U.S., signing a 25-year sports betting deal with casino operator Eldorado Resorts (NASDAQ:ERI). William Hill (OTCPK:WIMHY) shares rose 5.5% in London on news of the third such U.S. deal in just over a month, following a U.S. Supreme court ruling in May that lifted a ban on sports betting and opened the door to states regulating the industry.
Bayer's $63B Monsanto purchase has suffered delays, legal battles over Roundup herbicide and now will yield lower earnings than earlier forecast, but the company's CEO said he has "no regrets." "The Monsanto business is very healthy," Werner Baumann told Bloomberg. Bayer (OTCPK:BAYRY) shares still slipped 2.3% in Europe on a series of mixed results and the weaker profit outlook.
30 more cases of illnesses linked to Salmonella contamination of Kellogg's (NYSE:K) Honey Smacks cereal have been reported, according to the CDC, bringing the total to 130 cases across 36 states. So far 34 people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have occurred. While Kellogg in June decided to recall 1.3M boxes of Honey Smacks, the contaminated cereal is still being sold in some locations.
Toyota is recalling more than a million of its Prius (NYSE:TM) and C-HR compact crossover vehicles globally due to the risk of fire. If dust accumulates on the wire harness or the cover, the insulation on the wires could wear down over time due to vehicle vibrations. This could cause an electrical short circuit, which could generate heat and lead to a risk of fire.
Boeing's KC-46 mid-air refueling tanker program has finally scored FAA certification. Earlier in July when Boeing (NYSE:BA) reported quarterly results, the company said it would spend an additional $426M before taxes on the program as it worked through test delays and production changes. Analysts had said they were worried that the additional expenses would slow shares, adding that the higher tanker costs came with unchanged earnings and cash flow forecasts. BA -0.8% premarket.
In Asia, Japan -0.4%. Hong Kong -2.6%. China -1.7%. India -0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.5%. Paris -0.9%. Frankfurt -0.6%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.4%. S&P -0.3%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude -1.4% to $68.89. Gold +0.1% to $1199.70. Bitcoin -5.2% to $6977.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.9%
Today's Economic Calendar
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:30 International Trade
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:20 Fed's Bullard: U.S. Monetary and Economic Policy
12:30 PM Fed's Williams Speech
4:00 PM Fed's Kashkari speech
6:30 PM Fed's Bostic Speech