Morning Brief

What to watch today: The Fed, deal to form a new US drug maker, and Trump's intel chief resigns


U.S. stock futures were pointing to a modestly lower Wall Street open ahead of the Fed's two-day July meeting, which begins tomorrow. Central bankers are expected to cut interest rates. Meanwhile, former Fed Chair Janet Yellen said she supports a 0.25% rate cut. (CNBC)

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are coming off record closes Friday, and all the major averages posted weekly gains last week for the third time in four weeks. With three trading days left in the month, the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are all on track to post positive July numbers for the fifth year in a row. (CNBC)

It's a busy week for economic numbers, but today is the exception with no major reports on the calendar. The latest ADP private sector employment report Wednesday and the government's July jobs report Friday are among the reports set to be released.

It's a similar story with corporate earnings, with a busy week ahead, including Apple (AAPL) tomorrow. But today gets off to a relatively slow start, with Dish Network (DISH) before-the bell and Beyond Meat (BYND) and Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) after-the-bell.

Shares of generic drug maker Mylan (MYL) were surging about 25% in the premarket as Pfizer (PFE) reached a deal to combine its off-patent drug business with Mylan. The combined company would sell Mylan's EpiPen and Pfizer's Viagra, and it would be domiciled in the U.S. (CNBC)


Negotiators for the U.S. and China face off in Shanghai this week in another attempt to piece together a trade accord amid much lowered expectations for the kind of sweeping deal that appeared within reach this spring. The Wall Street Journal reported that people close to the talks said a major breakthrough soon is unlikely.

* Beijing says China stepping up US soy imports, yet to show up in US data (Reuters)

A U.S. judge is hearing arguments today in President Donald Trump's lawsuit seeking to block a House committee from obtaining his New York state tax returns. Traditionally, U.S. presidential candidates have released their federal tax returns on the campaign trail. But Trump has repeatedly refused to do so, citing audits. (Reuters)

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, will be stepping down in mid-August. He's been long at odds with Trump over the handling of Russia and North Korea. Trump said he'll nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to replace Coats. (CNBC)

* Ratcliffe made his name during Trump inquiries by backing the president (Washington Post)

Facing growing accusations of racism for his incendiary tweets, Trump is seeking to deflect the criticism by labeling Rep. Elijah Cummings, a leading black congressman, as himself racist. Trump called Cummings' majority-black Baltimore district a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" where "no human being would want to live." (AP)

The second 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate takes place tomorrow and Wednesday in Detroit. Medicare for all and the future of the private insurance industry will likely be debated the most among the 20 candidates. Other issues, such as, the 2017 Republican tax cuts and trade are likely to come up during the debate, as well. (CNBC)

The European Commission reportedly will be blocking five countries from accessing parts of the European Union's financial markets, in a move that could hit the United Kingdom after it leaves the bloc. The decision will see the Commission removing certain market access rights from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Singapore. (CNBC)

London Stock Exchange is in advanced talks to buy financial data provider Refinitiv, majority owned by Blackstone Group (BX), for $27 billion including assumed debt. The deal, which will likely be announced this week, is expected to face a long antitrust review before it can close. (Reuters)

Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab said today it will invest $2 billion into Indonesia over the next five years using funds from SoftBank Group. The investment will be aimed at speeding up the development of Indonesia's digital infrastructure, including building a next-generation transportation network around electric vehicles in local cities. (CNBC)

United Airlines (UAL) and security identity firm Clear have struck a deal to expand the number of biometric screening kiosks in airports around the U.S. The partnership includes United buying a stake in Clear. Delta Air Lines (DAL) also has an ownership stake in Clear. (CNBC)

A gunman cut through a fence to avoid security and opened fire at Northern California's popular Gilroy Garlic Festival, killing three and wounding at least 15, before police fatally shot him as terrified people and performers ran for cover. Police are searching for a potential second suspect. (AP)


Genomic Health (GHDX) has agreed to be bought by cancer diagnostics firm Exact Sciences (EXAS). The companies are valuing the cash and stock transaction at $2.8 billion. Genomic Health shares were soaring in the premarket after jumping nearly 5.6% on Friday.

Novartis (NVS) heart failure drug Entresto did not meet its goal in a trial testing its possible application for a new use. The drug is already approved to treat "reduced fraction" heart failure.

Sanofi (SNY) raised its 2019 outlook after the French drug maker posted strong second-quarter numbers. Sanofi's bottom line got a boost from strong growth at its vaccines and rare diseases products.

BlackRock (BLK) is in talks to buy cybersecurity firm Cofense, according to a Reuters report. BlackRock already owns a stake. The talks come after a U.S. national security panel reportedly asked another stakeholder, Pamplona Capital Management, to sell its stake because of unnamed security concerns.

Citi increased its per-share price target on Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) to $955 from $797. That's a nearly 20% bump. Citi's top-end bull case is $1,317 and it's low-end bear case is $329. Chipotle shares closed at nearly $780 on Friday.

Domino's Pizza (DPZ) was rated "sell" in new coverage at Deutsche Bank, which points to the "competitive intrusion" of third-part delivery aggregators. Deutsche Bank said the competitive pressure will increase in magnitude over the next 2 to 3 years.


Disney's (DIS) "The Lion King" may still rule the box office, but Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" certainly held its own this weekend. Tarantino's R-rated ode to Hollywood's golden age opened with $40 million from 3,659 North American theaters, a career best for the filmmaker. (Variety)

U.S. teenager Kyle Giersdorf, who goes by "Bugha," has become the Fortnite World Cup Champion. The 16-year-old beat 99 other players in the Battle Royale game, running, building and fighting his way to last night's $3 million victory. The competition began months ago, with 40 million people attempting to qualify. (The Guardian)