Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks struggling, US-China tariffs, bitcoin and more


U.S. stock futures were lower this morning with China trade talks appearing to be at a deadlock. Despite Friday's gains, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are coming off their largest weekly losses of 2019, and the Dow has posted three consecutive weekly losses. (CNBC)

* Here's how China may retaliate to Trump's tariff hike (CNBC)
* JP Morgan: Tariff battle is just the start of a global trade reordering (CNBC)

Bitcoin jumped above $7,000 over the weekend, continuing a stunning comeback for the cryptocurrency in 2019. It marks yet another move higher for the world's most-valuable cryptocurrency, which is now up nearly 90% since the start of the year. (CNBC)

Uber (UBER) remained under pressure in premarket trading after dropping 7.6% in its debut session Friday, one of the worst first-day performances ever for a high profile IPO. The stock closed below $42 per share with a market cap of $69.7 billion. (CNBC)

* Uber's IPO caps an era of mediocrity and small thinking in Silicon Valley (CNBC)

There are no earnings reports of note out this morning, while Legg Mason (LM), Famous Dave's (DAVE), and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) release quarterly numbers after today's closing bell. Separately, there are no economic reports on the calendar for today. (CNBC)


White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow acknowledged that the Chinese do not directly pay tariffs on goods coming into the U.S., contradicting President Donald Trump's claims that China will pay for tariffs imposed by the U.S. (CNBC)

* Beijing defiant on trade war: 'No one should expect China to swallow bitter fruit' (Reuters)

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has issued subpoenas to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig demanding six years of Trump's federal tax returns. (CNBC)

Swedish prosecutors reopened their investigation into a rape allegation against Julian Assange. The development could frustrate the U.S. government's effort to bring the WikiLeaks founder to trial over a massive leak of classified documents. (WSJ)

Millions of Philippine voters will cast their mid-term election ballots today to select new lawmakers — a political exercise that is likely to strengthen President Rodrigo Duterte's rule, according to analysts. (CNBC)

States filed a lawsuit accusing Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) of orchestrating a sweeping scheme with 19 other drug companies to inflate drug prices — sometimes by more than 1,000% — and stifle competition for generic drugs. (Reuters)

Lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret is "rethinking" its annual fashion show. L Brands CEO Les Wexner said in a memo to employees that network television is no longer the "right fit" for the event. (CNBC)

CNBC has the inside story of why Amazon (AMZN) bought PillPack in its effort to crack the $500 billion prescription market. It won't be an easy market for Amazon to win. PillPack needs relationships with PBMs to reach consumers.

* Amazon mistakenly told some sellers that it's now blocking ads with 'religious content' (CNBC)


Qualcomm (QCOM) awarded its executive team stock bonuses after its multi-billion settlement with Apple (AAPL) over long standing patent disputes. That included a stock bonus worth about $3.5 billion for Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf.

Philip Morris (PM) has suspended a global social media marketing campaign involving its new heated tobacco device. That came in response to inquiries by Reuters into the campaign's use of youth-oriented online personalities.

Weatherford International (WFT) plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The oilfield services company has lost money steadily following the 2014 oil price collapse and has a substantial debt load.

Charter Communications (CHTR) is offering its subscribers exclusive original shows starting this month, including a reboot of NBC's popular 1990s sitcom "Mad About You."

Nielsen Holdings (NLSN) has lowered its sale price in hopes of keeping private equity firm Advent International at the bargaining table, according to the New York Post. Advent is the only remaining bidder for the company best known for TV ratings.

Merck (MRK) was upgraded to "overweight" from "neutral" at Atlantic Equities, which cited a number of positive factors for the drug maker including valuation.


Walt Disney's (DIS) "Avengers: Endgame" topped the weekend box office for the third straight weekend with $63.1 million in North American ticket sales. It's still the second-biggest film ever globally with $2.48 billion, pacing behind "Avatar." (Variety)