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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Fri, 22 Sep 2017, 11:44 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Hurricane Irma Pushes Through Florida

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Hurricane Irma has knocked out power to nearly 4M homes and businesses in Florida, threatening millions more as it creeps up the state's west coast. While the storm made landfall Sunday as a Category 4, it has now weakened to a Category 1, but forecasters say Irma still remains very dangerous. It's a major event for the insurance industry and hurricane-related stocks: Munich Re estimates losses of between $20B-$30B.

Economy

Hurricane Harvey is expected to be one of the costliest disasters in postwar U.S. history, and a likely drag on third-quarter economic growth by a full percentage point, Goldman Sachs said in a weekend research note. While the U.S. contends with the destruction caused by two ferocious hurricanes in three weeks, Americans are also marking the anniversary of one of the nation's most scarring days - Sept. 11, 2001.

The United Nations will vote on fresh North Korean sanctions later today as Pyongyang threatened Washington that it would pay a "due price" for spearheading a resolution against its latest nuclear test. The U.S. wants the Security Council to impose an oil embargo on the North, halt its key export of textiles and subject leader Kim Jong Un to travel and financial bans.

Accusing it of "distorting facts," Saudi Arabia suspended any dialogue with Qatar on Saturday, just after a report of a call between the leaders of both countries that suggested a breakthrough in the Gulf crisis. The discussion came a day after President Trump offered to serve as a mediator to help resolve the dispute, which has shaken the economy of the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

Chinese authorities plan to shut down domestic bitcoin exchanges, delivering a final blow to a once-thriving industry of commercial trading for virtual currencies, WSJ reports. The move comes after months of scrutiny by Beijing, including a ban last week in China on initial coin offerings, a kind of fundraising via virtual currencies.

It's the first big parliamentary test of Theresa May's Brexit plans. The U.K. House of Commons will vote later tonight on the EU Withdrawal Bill, which is designed to ease the country's exit from the European Union. The decision should kick off a busy week for pound traders, with inflation and retail price data tomorrow, and a BOE policy meeting on Thursday.

The IMF must decide by year-end if it will fully participate in Greece's current bailout, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told reporters in Thessaloniki, stating Athens will be financially independent by 2018 and without supervision from its creditors. "We can live with or without the IMF presence," he declared. "What we cannot do is live with the IMF setting one foot in and leaving one foot out."

Amid worries that energy demand would be hit hard by Hurricane Irma and its aftermath, crude prices are trading higher on Saudi oil talk. The world's largest producer said it discussed the possibility of extending the supply cut between OPEC and non-OPEC members with Venezuela and Kazakhstan (the current pact is due to expire in March 2018). Crude futures +0.7% to $47.83/bbl.

Stocks

Ending months of speculation over who will lead the drugmaker, TEVA has named Kare Schultz as its new chief executive as it struggles under the weight of an acquisition streak, generic competition and tough pricing environment. The healthcare veteran joins the company with about 30 years of experience in the industry, most recently serving as CEO of Denmark's H. Lundbeck (OTCPK:HLUYY). TEVA +7.4% premarket

Details of Apple's 10th anniversary smartphone have been leaked ahead of tomorrow's highly anticipated launch. The "iPhone X" (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to be priced as high as $1,000, with facial recognition software, an edge-to-edge OLED screen and wireless charging capabilities. An iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will also be unveiled, but they'll only contain basic upgrades from previous models.

A video programming strategy revamp at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is underway at the urging of CEO Jeff Bezos, in a push to lift Amazon Studios' profile to the level of prestige usually firmly occupied by HBO (NYSE:TWX). Amazon has confirmed five new projects to Variety that fit the profile Bezos is looking for: high-profile shows that can demonstrate global appeal, a la Game of Thrones.

CBS is paying at least A$201.1M ($162M) in cash to buy Australia's Ten Network Holdings, according to documents released by the latter's administrator. CBS, the most-watched television network in the U.S., agreed to buy Ten last month, but neither party disclosed a price tag at the time. The beleaguered broadcaster was placed in administration in June.

With a test system going live in Las Vegas next month, T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) has set a goal for launching a nationwide internet-of-things network by mid-2018. It will use new "narrowband" radio standards, so named because their signals use skinnier swaths of the wireless airwave spectrum that are ideal for small sensors that need less bandwidth than the average smartphone.

Equifax struggled over the weekend with its response to its massive data breach, which exposed personal identification data of potentially as many as 143M Americans. Consumers continued to criticize Equifax's (NYSE:EFX) efforts, citing ongoing problems with a website set up to help them, while regulators urged everyone affected to freeze their credit reports, a move some lenders fear could ding credit growth.

France, Germany, Italy and Spain want digital multinationals like Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) to be taxed in Europe based on their revenues, rather than only profits. The nations' finance ministers have written to the EU's president and Commission to produce an "equalization tax" that would make companies pay the equivalent of the corporate tax in the countries where they earn revenue.

As retailers wrestle with how to best to use their physical spaces and attract customers, Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) is opening a new store next month that is a fraction of the size of its typical locations. Called Nordstrom Local, the shop will offer services such as manicures and on-site tailoring, but won't carry any clothes. A changing economic model?

The U.S. State Department has approved arms sales packages worth more than $3.8B to Bahrain after it held up a similar arms transaction last year over human rights concerns. The deal includes 19 F-16V jets made by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), and updates to Bahrain’s existing fleet, as well as patrol boats with machine guns and anti-tank missiles made by Raytheon (NYSE:RTN).

India has won a price cut on a 20-year liquefied natural gas deal with ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) in a rare contract renegotiation, a bad sign for producers in a heavily oversupplied global market. "This trend is overall a negative for sellers, as they are forced to provide more flexibility to buyers' needs to maintain their markets," said Saul Kavonic, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie.

A growing movement to eventually ban traditional fuel cars has received a boost from China. The country is developing a timetable to end gas and diesel auto sales, but it hasn't delineated a timeframe like the U.K. and France, which will ban the vehicles by 2040. Seeing the future? Chinese-owned carmaker Volvo (OTCPK:GELYY) confirmed in July that all its new car models would have an electric motor from 2019.

It's not the only one... Mercedes-Benz will offer electric versions of all its models by 2022, according to parent company Daimler (OTCPK:DDAIF), which said it would similarly convert its Smart city car brand to become fully electric. Daimler's R&D chief also announced that spending on R&D needs to increase going forward, while the automaker disclosed a new cost saving plan with a target of €4B.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +1.4%. Hong Kong +1%. China +0.4%. India +0.6%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.6%. Paris +1.2%. Frankfurt +1.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.6%. S&P +0.6%. Nasdaq +0.8%. Crude +0.7% to $47.83. Gold -0.7% to $1342.20.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +3 bps to 2.09%

Today's Economic Calendar

1:00 PM Results of $24B, 3-Year Note Auction

 

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