Morning Brief

What to watch today: Netflix's plunge, Mnuchin on debt limit and China, and the FaceApp backlash


U.S. stock futures were pointing to a lower Wall Street open this morning, potentially risking a third straight session of losses for the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq. However, all three indexes remained sharply higher for the month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were about 1% off their record highs, ahead of Thursday trading. The Dow was about 0.5% away from all-time highs. (CNBC)

* Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to CNBC: Progress being made on debt limit deal, markets shouldn't be concerned (CNBC)
* Mnuchin: Call on trade with China counterparts set for today, 'complicated issues' remain (CNBC)
Mnuchin: Treasury will ensure bitcoin doesn't become 'Swiss-numbered bank accounts' (CNBC)

Shares of Netflix (NFLX) were falling about 11% in premarket trading after the streaming service lost U.S. customers for the first time in eight years and missed targets on overseas subscriber additions by a wide margin. For the quarter, Netflix did announce after-the-bell Wednesday earnings and revenue that beat expectations. (CNBC)

Financial companies continue to report quarterly earnings this morning, with Morgan Stanley (MS) out before the bell, along with BB&T (BBT), Blackstone (BX), M&T Bank (MTB), and SunTrust Banks (STI). Meanwhile, Dow stock Microsoft (MSFT) leads the after-the-bell list, along with recent IPO Chewy (CHWY).

* Morgan Stanley beats profit estimates as rising stocks benefit wealth and fund business (CNBC)

Dow component UnitedHealth (UNH) this morning beat estimates with quarterly earnings and revenue, and raised its 2019 earnings forecast, buoyed by strength in the largest U.S. health insurer's pharmacy benefits management business and its insurance plans. (Reuters)

On today's economic calendar, at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Labor Department issues its weekly look at initial jobless claims and the Philadelphia Fed releases its monthly manufacturing index for July. The Conference Board is out with its June index of leading economic indicators at 10 a.m. ET. (CNBC)


Federal prosecutors in New York have ended their campaign finance investigation into alleged hush money payments arranged by President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen to two women who claim they had sex with Trump. The related materials will be made public today at 11 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

Homeland Security acting-Secretary Kevin McAleenan is set to testify today on Capitol Hill, where he's expected to be grilled over the treatment of migrants in detention centers. The hearing comes as lawmakers clash over how to deal with the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. (NPR)

* Wayfair says COO and CTO will retire this year, just weeks after protests over sales to migrant centers (Boston Business Journal)

The U.S. House of Representatives backed resolutions to block the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sending them to the White House, where Trump has promised a veto. Lawmakers want Washington to push the kingdom to improve its human rights record. (Reuters)

* Iran seizes foreign oil tanker in Persian Gulf, 12 on vessel, state media reports (USA Today)

The House quashed a move to start impeachment proceedings against Trump, even as Democratic support for an inquiry grew. The result does not necessarily mean the House will not take up impeachment proceedings again in the future. (CNBC)

* Trump slams congresswomen as crowd roars, 'Send her back' (AP)

The president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is regularly giving counsel to 2020 Trump campaign leaders, leading Democrats to question whether he's violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits White House officials from engaging in some forms of political activity outside the administration. (CNBC)

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer called on the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a national security and privacy investigation into Russia-based FaceApp, whose mobile software application alters users' photos. The app that's gone viral on social media requires full and irrevocable access to users' data and photos. (Reuters)

The House voted to pass a bill that would scrap Obamacare's so-called Cadillac tax, an inactive provision of the health law meant to help control health-care spending. The tax, set to go into effect in 2022, is unpopular with both Republicans and Democrats, who say it punishes the middle class. (CNBC)

Overdose deaths in the U.S. likely fell last year for the first time in nearly 30 years, though the death rate is still seven times higher than a generation ago. But the death rates soared in places where communities were flooded with disproportionate shares of opioids. (AP & Washington Post)

A judge in Manhattan is set to rule on accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's bail proposal today. He's pleaded not guilty and asked the judge to release him on a bond of up to $100 million or higher. (CNBC)

Protesters in Puerto Rico clashed with riot police after days of sustained protests. It comes after a leak of the governor's texts that showed homophobic and misogynistic slurs. (the Guardian)


IBM (IBM), a Dow component, beat estimates on quarterly earnings and met expectations on revenue. The bottom line was boosted by growth in its cloud business.

Apple (AAPL) was upgraded to "outperform" from "market perform" at Raymond James, which pointed to confidence in the upcoming 5G iPhone cycle.

Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) said it expects a stronger second half of the year as 5G telecom-related demand increases. That follows a decline in second quarter profit for the contract chip maker.

SAP (SAP) reported a 21% decline in second-quarter operating profit, with the business software company saying investors should not expect a major improvement in profit margins before next year.

Novartis (NVS) raised its full year outlook for sales and profits, following a 20% rise in second quarter core operating income for the Swiss drug maker.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" at Mizuho Securities in a valuation call, with the firm noting an 80% year-to-date run up in the chip maker's shares.


Internal out-of-bounds, thick rough, low-growing ferns and a missed putt all contributed to Rory McIlroy's shocking quadruple bogey 8 today on the first hole of the British Open, the final major golf championship of the year. The Open is being played in Northern Ireland, McIlroy's home country. (USA Today)

AT&T's (T) WarnerMedia is bringing back "Gossip Girl" in a spin off series that will appear on its new streaming service HBO Max. The reboot follows a new generation of New York teens and is set eight years after the show ended in 2012. (Variety)