Wednesday Morning Reads
- Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) talc cancer trial ends with hung jury. Bloomberg Report
- Credit Suisse (CS) issues letter to defend its loan standards. FT Report
- Instagram (FB) had an outage in several cities but issues have been resolved. Reuters Report
- Some Tesla (TSLA) directors want James Murdoch as Chairman. NY Times Report
- There’s No Escape From This Crash
- Black-Box Charities
- Hedge Fund Hopefuls
- Fight the S.E.C., or I Quit
- Tencent Music Files for U.S. IPO
- Toys ‘R’ Us Lenders Plan to Revive Brand
- Thousands of Other Sites at Risk
- Exception To The Rule
- Gilead Sciences' Biktarvy(R) gets approval in Hong Kong
- Tobacco rivals rise as Juul docs seized
- James Murdoch floated as next Tesla chairman
- Tilray -16% after PepsiCo CFO says company has no plans to invest in pot
- Instagram back up after global outage
- Intel gains, AMD plunges as analyst predicts faster 10nm ramp
- Exxon eyes major investment at Singapore refinery
- GW Pharmaceuticals announces pricing of common stock
Chart of the Day:
Still waiting for that trigger - $IWM
- The Watchlist
- Week Ahead Webinar
- Today's Option Recap
- 2018 Top 5 For Back Half of 2018
- 2018 Top 5 Stocks
Todays Open Interest Changes:
Following Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's description yesterday of the U.S. economic outlook as "remarkably positive," market watchers are on the lookout for more Fedspeak. Speeches from seven Fed officials are on the radar today, just one week after the central bank hiked rates and signaled upcoming gradual increases. Powell will again take the podium, participating in discussion before The Atlantic Festival in Washington D.C. at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Italy's populist government will bow to EU budget pressure, according to reports from Corriere della Sera, reversing plans for wider gaps that had rattled markets. Budget deficit targets will fall to 2.4% of GDP in 2020, and to 2.2% and 2% for the two successive years respectively (instead of 2.4% for all three years). The euro snapped five days of losses on the news, gaining as much as 0.4% to $1.1594.
Boris Johnson has laid out a possible leadership challenge to British Prime Minister Theresa May, amid a deep rift within the Conservative Party over the government's approach to Brexit. "This is not taking back control. This is forfeiting control," he told the annual Tory conference, referring to her Chequers agreement. The plan has already been rejected by the EU and several prominent members of the Conservative party.
Defending OPEC's oil market strategy at the Russian Energy Week in Moscow, Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada hit back at criticism from President Trump. "OPEC is not trying to manipulate the price, it's trying to bring the market to balance," he declared. At the event, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak also said his country has no desire to be a "monopoly" when it comes to supplying gas to European consumers, as work continues on the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Judges at the International Court of Justice, the highest United Nations court, will rule today on an Iranian plea to have American sanctions against the country lifted. Tehran brought the case under a 1955 "friendship treaty" despite its long enmity with the United States. While the World Court's rulings are binding, it has no power to enforce them, and the U.S. and Iran are both among a handful of countries that have ignored its decisions.
The two Koreas have taken another step toward peace, removing landmines along the heavily fortified border. Guard posts are also coming down in the so-called Joint Security Area, with the troops remaining there to be left unarmed. Project details were agreed during last month's summit in Pyongyang, where Kim Jong-un met South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
It's a major victory for the $15-an-hour movement. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has announced the minimum wage for its U.S. employees, with the increase set to take effect next month. "We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," said CEO Jeff Bezos. The move will benefit more than 350K workers, including full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal positions.
Resurrection of Toys 'R' Us? The top lenders of the toy retailer have decided to cancel the bankruptcy auction of its brand name and other intellectual property assets, and revive the Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us companies. Qualified bids wouldn't likely "yield a superior alternative to the plan," as it did not offer "probable economic recovery" to creditors, as well as benefits to stakeholders who would maintain the brands. Related: HAS, MAT, JAKK
Troubled retailer J.C. Penney has appointed Jill Soltau as its next chief executive, succeeding Marvin Ellison, who left the firm for Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) in June. She's joining the company on Oct. 15 from Joann Stores, where she had been CEO and president since March 2015. J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) is also looking for a CFO following the departure of its finance chief, Jeffrey Davis, on Monday.
Joining the OLED revolution... Japan's Sharp (OTCPK:SHCAY) has finally jumped into the organic light-emitting diode market as it looks to catch up to rivals. The long-awaited decision comes as the major iPhone supplier continues its recovery after being bought two years ago by Taiwan's Foxconn (OTC:FXCOF). Sharp will offer the OLED panels in its new smartphones later this year and plans to sell the screens to other manufacturers.
Instagram is back up for some users after suffering a worldwide outage days after it installed a new head of the app. Long-term insider Adam Mosseri took the helm of the photo-sharing app on Monday, a week after its co-founders resigned. Instagram (NASDAQ:FB) has more than one billion active monthly users and has grown by adding features such as messaging and short videos.
As 21st Century Fox prepares to sell off most of its assets to Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), its future is coming into focus. CEO Lachlan Murdoch has firmed up how much of his executive roster will look, post-merger, and has announced that those properties left behind in the merger will simply be known as "Fox" (NASDAQ:FOXA). Disney has yet to announce its new executive structure - and how it's incorporating incoming brass.
Clinching the fourth largest corporate bond sale on record, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has successfully borrowed $27B to fund its $39.7B acquisition of pan-European broadcaster Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY). The U.S. cable group raised the funds across 12 tranches of floating- and fixed-rate bonds, ranging from two- to 40-year maturities, following a protracted takeover battle and high-stakes auction against Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA).
Shares of Aston Martin were under some pressure on their first day of trading in London, dipping as low as £17.75 after opening at £19, as the £4.33B ($5.6B) IPO gave rival Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) a trading peer. The famed automaker sold about 25% of its stock to institutional investors and company staff, while private investors will be eligible to buy shares from Monday.
Add another name to the shortlist for Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) next chairman. Some company directors have proposed that James Murdoch, fellow board member and CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX), succeed Elon Musk in the role, after the latter stepped down in a settlement with the SEC. Murdoch hasn't volunteered for the post nor has he discussed it with directors, NYT reports, as the board has not engaged in any "serious" discussions.
Latest clampdown... The FDA has seized more than a thousand pages of documents from Juul Labs - related to the company’s sales and marketing practices - after a surprise inspection that's part of the agency's efforts to combat "epidemic" levels of teenage vaping. Shares of rival tobacco companies, including Philip Morris (PM +2.8%), Altria (MO +1.6%), British American Tobacco (BTI +1.5%) and Imperial Brands (OTCQX:IMBBY +1.6%), rose yesterday in response. Juul has grabbed about 70% of the U.S. e-cigarette market since it launched in 2015.
Shares of volatile cannabis companies Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) and Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) plunged 16% and 6% respectively in yesterday's trade after PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) CFO Hugh Johnston told investors that the corporation has no plans to invest in marijuana. "The difficulties in investing in that category, particularly in the U.S., where federally these things are still not legal, are quite a considerable challenge," he announced on an earnings conference call.
Exxon Mobil is considering a multi-billion dollar investment at its Singapore refinery, the company’s largest, as the shipping and oil refining industries scramble to prepare for new marine fuel regulations starting in 2020. New rules from the International Maritime Organization limit sulfur content to 0.5%, from 3.5% currently, to curb pollution produced by the world's ships. Singapore is also home to Exxon's (NYSE:XOM) biggest integrated petrochemical complex.
Jamie Dimon is doubling down on his criticism of shareholder meetings. "I love my shareholders. I speak to them in various forms all the time. But the shareholder meeting has become a farce. That's what it is, we all know that," the JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) CEO declared at the American Enterprise Institute. He also said the meetings, along with excessive litigation and regulation, are preventing many companies from going public.
In Asia, Japan -0.6%. Hong Kong -0.1%. China closed. India -1.5%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.5%. Frankfurt -0.4%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.3%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.1% to $75.31. Gold +0.1% to $1207.70. Bitcoin -0.8% to $6456.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2 bps to 3.07%
Today's Economic Calendar
6:30 Fed's Evans: Economic Outlook
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:05 Fed's Barkin: “The Outlook for Tomorrow: Five Numbers to Watch”
8:15 ADP Jobs Report
9:45 PMI Services Index
10:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing Index
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
12:00 PM Fed's Harker Speech
1:00 PM Fed's Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard:”Payment System”
2:15 PM Fed's Mester speech
4:00 PM Jerome Powell Speech
8:00 PM Fed's Kaplan speech