Morning Brief

What to watch today: The Fed, CNBC's exclusive with Huawei's CEO, and another Tesla departure



U.S. stock futures were higher this morning after Wall Street's best day in two weeks saw the Dow surge more than 350 points on hopes for a U.S.-China trade deal and interest rate cut signals from the Fed. The Dow and S&P are both less than 2% away from their record highs. (CNBC)

The Fed ends its two-day policy gathering this afternoon, followed by Chairman Jerome Powell's post-meeting news conference. The timing of a possible Fed rate cut, which would be the first in more than a decade, remains up for debate. (CNBC)

President Donald Trump, asked if he still wants to demote Powell, told reporters Tuesday: "Let's see what he does." The president added he wants a "level playing field" from the central bank. (CNBC)

On the economic front, mortgage application volume was not as stellar as last week's nearly 27% increase as rates climbed slightly. Overall home loan filings were down 3.4% this week. Refis were off 4%. But on an annual basis, both were strongly higher. (CNBC)

Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Winnebago (WGO) issue quarterly earnings this morning. Oracle (ORCL), Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) and Steelcase (SCS) are out with numbers after today's closing bell. (CNBC)


Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei downplayed the impact of the U.S. ban on the company, in an interview with CNBC today, just days after the Chinese telecom giant said it expects $30 billion less revenue for the year. Ren said he's not concerned since Huawei will still book more than $100 billion in revenue this year. (CNBC)

Blackstone (BX) co-founder Steve Schwarzman believes there's little reason to be hopeful about the prospect of a trade deal coming to fruition at next week's G-20 summit. Schwarzman told CNBC today, "I think that's extremely improbable because there has been almost nothing happening since May when the discussions ended." (CNBC)

Blackstone's Schwarzman Gives Oxford Record Gift of $188 Million (WSJ)

Beijing has over the past year lowered duties on goods from countries that compete with America, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "Americans are likely suffering more than President Trump thinks" as a result of the trade war, the report said. (CNBC)

* Xi supports North Korea's direction on issues ahead of visit (AP)
* As China cuts support for electric carmakers, auto firms could face a 'war of attrition' (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) is considering moving up to 30% of its China-based manufacturing out of the country, according to a report in Japan's Nikkei news service. Apple would reportedly move ahead with such a plan even if the U.S. and China come to an agreement on trade.

The House Judiciary Committee is set to interview former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks behind closed doors today, the first time lawmakers will hear from a person linked to the president's inner circle since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. (AP)

Democratic 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden appealed to a billionaire Republican donor for fundraising help in his presidential campaign. But the financier, Trump-supporting New York supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis, declined. The businessman said he "just smiled." (CNBC)

* Trump officially kicks off reelection campaign at Florida rally (AP News)
* The president floats a new slogan: 'Keep America Great' (USA Today)

House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters requested that Facebook pause development of Libra, an upcoming cryptocurrency that the company plans to release in 2020. "Given the company's troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium," the California Democrat said. (CNBC)

* Senator proposes bill that would blow up business models for Facebook and other tech giants (CNBC)
* Facebook's cryptocurrency is already facing political pushback in Europe (CNBC)

Alphabet (GOOGL) was urged by shareholder activists to break itself up before regulators force the Google parent to do so. Shareholder group SumOfUs plans to make an official proposal at Alphabet's annual meeting today. (Reuters)

Tesla's (TSLA) vice president of human resources and head of diversity, Felicia Mayo, has left the company. Mayo's departure follows the resignation of several other Tesla executives in the last year, including the company's general counsel and the CFO who's retiring. (CNBC)

* Tesla investors regain confidence in a quieter Elon Musk (CNBC)

Efforts to get Boeing (BA) 737 Max jetliners back in the air have been delayed, in part, by concerns about whether the average pilot has enough physical strength to turn a manual crank in extreme emergencies. (WSJ)

CBS (CBS) is preparing a bid for Viacom (VIAB), according to the Wall Street Journal. That follows discussions about a bid at last week's CBS board meeting, and a bid is expected within the coming weeks.

MGA Entertainment has abandoned its second attempt to buy rival toymaker Mattel (MAT), which had rejected the Bratz doll maker's latest bid. The MGA CEO said it's in the best interests of the company not to move forward with a Mattel offer. (LA Times)

New York state lawmakers are set to approve a sweeping climate plan that calls for the state to essentially eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the next 30 years. Business groups have called the bill impractical and potentially disastrous. (NY Times)

* Trump plan expected to be revealed today to give new life to aging coal-fired power plants (USA Today)

PG&E (PCG) settled claims with local governments over wildfires for $1 billion. The payments settle claims that had been on hold due to the utility company's bankruptcy filing. (Reuters)

Online pharmacy Valisure warned the FDA that it found a chemical believed to cause cancer in valsartan, a widely used blood pressure medication produced by Novartis (NVS) and other pharmaceutical companies. The FDA will evaluate its findings and will respond directly to the online pharmacy firm. (CNBC)

Federal authorities intercepted a record 16.5 tons of cocaine onboard a ship at the port of Philadelphia, with an estimated street value of $1 billion. Members of the ship's crew were arrested and charged. (USA Today)


Adobe (ADBE) reported adjusted second-quarter profit of $1.83 per share, 5 cents above estimates. Revenue also topped forecasts. The software maker's results were helped by growth in its Creative Suite business and its digital media offerings. However, Adobe also gave lower current quarter guidance.

U.S. Steel (X) said its second-quarter earnings would be lower than Wall Street had been expecting, due to softer demand and lower prices.

La-Z-Boy (LZB) earned an adjusted 64 cents per share for its latest quarter, matching forecasts. Revenue was short of estimates. The furniture maker also said that additional U.S. tariffs on China imports would likely force the company to raise prices because of higher raw material costs.

Jabil (JBL) matched forecasts with adjusted quarterly profit of 57 cents per share. The contract electronics manufacturer's revenue beat estimates. Apple (AAPL) is Jabil's biggest customer.

Private equity firms who had been interested in buying NCR (NCR) have walked away without striking a deal for the automated teller machine and barcode scanner maker, according to the New York Post.


Not every sequel this year is going to bomb at the box office. Disney/Pixar's (DIS) "Toy Story 4" is out this weekend and already garnered a 98% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. If it does as well as expected, Deadline reports that it could bring in $260 million globally.