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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Wed, 4 Sep 2019, 10:34 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Fading Political Risks Boost Markets

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The Hang Seng index soared nearly 4% during Wednesday afternoon trade after leader Carrie Lam announced the withdrawal of a contentious extradition bill. The measure sparked a nearly three-month-long protest crisis that has roiled the city's economy, with last weekend seeing some of the fiercest battles between police and protesters. Railway operator MTR (OTCPK:MTRJY), which has been hit by disruptions in its operations and damage to its infrastructure, jumped 6.4%, while embattled airliner Cathay Pacific's (OTCPK:CPCAY) shares surged 7.2%.

Brexit rebels seize control

Sterling has found some footing, climbing another 0.5% overnight to $1.2142, as U.K. lawmakers delivered a blow to Boris Johnson's Brexit strategy with a vote aimed at delaying the country's exit from the EU. That prompted the British leader to call for a general election, though it seems unlikely to succeed after the opposition said they wouldn't back the maneuver until a no-deal exit on Oct. 31 was ruled out. Investors are attempting to figure out how to play the latest developments, watching sectors including banks, exporters, utilities and homebuilders.
 

Futures rebound

With political risks receding across the globe, Wall Street is pointing to broad opening gains. DJIA futures are up 209 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are ahead by 0.9% and 1.2%, respectively. Bets on deeper Fed rate cuts are also growing following yesterday's grim ISM reading of factory activity in the U.S., which showed the first contraction for the manufacturing sector in three years.

Dorian update

As wind speeds continued to slow as it inches "dangerously" along Florida's northeast coast, the National Hurricane Center has downgraded Dorian to a Category 2. While it is expected to weaken further over the next two days, Dorian is still considered a "powerful hurricane" capable of leaving billions of dollars in damages in its wake. The long road to recovery has already started in the Bahamas as rescue teams begin to assess the damage left behind by the monster storm.

Walmart reacts to shootings

The big-box retailer is discontinuing all sales of handgun ammunition and sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with military-style weapons following two "horrific" shootings at Walmart (NYSE:WMT) stores this summer. The company will also stop all handgun sales in Alaska, marking its complete exit from the handguns category. Separately, Kroger (NYSE:KR) is joining Walmart in asking shoppers not to openly carry guns in any of its stores unless they are authorized law enforcement officers.
 

Below 6%

As a result of escalating tariff war risks, Oxford Economics, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Bloomberg Economics have all cut their forecasts for Chinese GDP growth in 2020 to below 6%. In addition, BofA's Helen Qiao and others are warning that the government's current approach to stimulus is proving insufficient. "The key reason for delayed policy response is policy agencies are waiting for the instruction from top decision makers to shift policy stance towards easing," she wrote in a note.

State AGs target Google

Attorneys general from more than half of the U.S. states will announce their antitrust investigation into Google (GOOG, GOOGL) next week, the Washington Post reports. A smaller group of state AGs will unveil the investigation during a press conference in Washington on September 9, but sources caution that plans could change. The states are reportedly concerned about Google's user data practices and search results algorithms.

Hand-scanning payments

You soon may be able to walk out of Whole Foods without having to pay cash or swiping your card. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) engineers are quietly testing scanners that can identify an individual human hand as a way to ring up store purchases, according to the New York Post. Unlike fingerprint scanners found on mobile devices, the system uses vision and depth geometry to identify the shape and size of each hand before charging a credit card on file. The technology is hoped to be rolled out by the beginning of next year.
Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.2%. Hong Kong +3.9%. China +0.9%. India +0.4%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.3%. Paris +1%. Frankfurt +0.9%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.8%. S&P +0.9%. Nasdaq +1.2%. Crude +0.6% to $54.25. Gold -0.5% to $1547.90. Bitcoin +1.6% to $10471.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +3 bps to 1.49%

Today's Economic Calendar

Auto Sales
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:30 International Trade
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:30 Fed's Williams Speech
10:00 Fed's Kaplan: Monetary Policy
12:30 PM Fed's Bowman Speech
12:30 PM Fed's Bullard Speech
1:00 PM Fed's Kashkari: Economic Outlook
2:00 PM Fed's Beige Book
3:15 PM Fed's Evans: "North American Trade: The Auto Sector"

 

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