Morning Brief

Another record trifecta for US stocks—but can it continue?

Key Points


For the second time this month, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were coming off simultaneous record closes, after not having done so for nearly 17 years. U.S. stock futures were stalled this morning, with markets in Europe and Japan under some pressure. (CNBC)

Japan's Nikkei stock index fell 1.6 percent, as the yen surged. The currency moves were triggered by San Francisco Fed President John Williams, signaling a case for holding rates steady. Meanwhile, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart speaks at 12:30 p.m. ET. (Reuters)

Oil prices remained near five-week highs this morning, fueled by talk of producers taking action to prop up the market. U.S. crude gained almost 3 percent on Monday in New York trading — now about 16 percent higher than lows earlier this month. (Reuters)


Soros Fund Management sharply cut its shares in the world's biggest gold exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), according to quarterly SEC filings. The George Soros run group also nearly doubled down on its bearish U.S. stock market bet. (WSJ-subscription)

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), run by Warren Buffett, increased its stake in Apple (AAPL) by 55 percent as of June 30, regulatory filings revealed, even as prominent investors like Soros and Carl Icahn shed theirs. Berkshire also cut its stake in Wal-Mart (WMT). (CNBC)

Rite Aid (RAD) and Hertz Global (HTZ) represent new investments for Greenlight Capital, according to filings. David Einhorn's hedge fund also increased its General Motors (GM) stake, cut its Apple stake by 16.5 percent, and dissolved its Macy's stake. (M) (Reuters)

Hedge fund ValueAct, run by Jeff Ubben, took a $1.1 billion stake in Morgan Stanley (MS), according to regulatory filings. Ubben praised Morgan CEO James Gorman, even as the bank's stock performance lagged that of the S&P 500 this year.


Hain Celestial (HAIN) shares were falling about 25 percent in the premarket, after the organic food maker announced a delay in its annual earnings report because of accounting issue. Hain also said it did not expect to reach prior sales or profit targets. (AP)

Home Depot (HD), out with earnings this morning, matched estimates with quarterly profit of $1.97 per share. Revenue was also essentially in line. Home Depot raised its earnings guidance for the full year to $6.31 per share. Rival Lowe's (LOW) reports tomorrow. (CNBC)

Aetna (AET) is sharply cutting its participation in Obamacare exchanges next year, withdrawing from 11 of the 15 states. Aetna said the move was designed to limit the health insurance giant's financial exposure moving forward. (CNBC)

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google underscored its open-to-all strategy with today's release of Duo, a video-calling app that's a direct alternative to Apple's FaceTime. Duo allows users to place video calls between Android phones and iPhones. FaceTime only works on Apple devices. (NY Times)

Nearly 15 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the World Trade Center mall officially reopens today, with about half of the 113 tenants open for business at noon ET. The remainder will be cutting the ribbons on their shops before the holiday season. (CNBC)

Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel passionately justified his financial support of lawsuits against Gawker Media in a New York Times column, saying it's not his role to judge what reporters should cover. He added journalists should condemn those who willfully cross it. (NY Times)

Billionaires Carl Icahn and Mark Cuban were butting heads on social media over presidential politics. Cuban called out Icahn, who supports Donald Trump, saying Icahn still invests in companies despite the "strangulation regulations" supported by Hillary Clinton. (CNBC)

Clinton leads Trump by 9 points — 50 percent to 41 percent — in the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll. The numbers were virtually unchanged since last week.


It's a busy morning for economic numbers, beginning with the government's July consumer price index and housing starts at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Fed issues July industrial production and capacity utilization numbers at 9:15 a.m. ET.

In addition to Home Depot, fellow retailers Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), TJX (TJX), and Advance Auto Parts (AAP) also report earnings this morning. Another retailer, Urban Outfitters (URBN), is out after the closing bell, along with restaurant chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI).

Shake Shack (SHAK) is celebrating the opening of its 100th restaurant by giving free burgers to the first 100 guests at all its locations worldwide (except those in ballparks and stadiums) starting at 10:30 a.m. this morning.


Global mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP) reported a record $6.4 billion annual loss, the worst in its history. However, BHP gave an upbeat growth and cash flow forecast for fiscal 2017.

U.S. industrial gas supplier Praxair (PX) is in talks to buy German rival Linde. The talks, according to Reuters, were in the early stages. A combination would create a company worth more than $60 billion.

AIG (AIG) has struck a deal to sell mortgage guaranty unit United Guaranty to Arch Capital Group for about $3.4 billion in cash and stock. Dow Jones had reported Monday that such a deal was imminent.

A judge threw out a lawsuit against General Motors (GM) by a Texas woman who claimed a 2012 crash was caused by the faulty ignition switch problem that later resulted in a 2.6 million vehicle recall.

Volkswagen (VLKAY) and the Justice Department have held settlement talks to resolve the criminal probe surrounding the automaker's diesel admissions scandal, according to Reuters.


U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, who had hoped to add a fourth gold, came up short on the balance beam in Rio on Monday, winning bronze. Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands won gold, while American Laurie Hernandez took silver. Biles goes for gold again today, competing in the floor. (NBC News)

Bahamas sprinter Shaunae Miller dove across the finish of the 400m to upset world champion Allyson Felix of the U.S. by just 0.06 seconds. Felix's silver and a bronze from Biles added to the leading American medal count of 75, which included 26 gold, 23 silver, and 26 bronze. (NBC News)