Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow points up, Disney stock sinks, and Tesla safety under question



U.S. stock futures were pointing to modest gains at the Wall Street open, in contrast to Monday's sharp sell-off and Tuesday's strong rebound. Dow futures were under a bit of pressure today, largely due to Walt Disney's (DIS) drop after a big quarterly earnings miss. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq broke six-day losing streaks with their Tuesday gains. The Dow was up for the first time in five sessions. (CNBC)

* 10-year Treasury yield hits October 2016 lows as bonds rally on trade concerns (CNBC)

China's central bank set the official midpoint reference for the yuan at 6.9996 — stronger than 7 per dollar today — two days after Washington labeled Beijing a currency manipulator. The yuan has been weakening in recent months, especially as the trade war between the U.S. and China intensified. (CNBC)

Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio urged investors to have bets on "both horses" in the U.S.-China trade dispute. The founder of the world's largest hedge fund argued that investors still have a historic opportunity to buy into China as it opens up its markets to foreign investments. (CNBC)

Shares of Walt Disney (DIS) were falling about 4% in premarket trading after the media conglomerate late Tuesday missed estimates with earnings and revenue. Disney said the integration of the $70 billion in assets acquired from the former 21st Century Fox was responsible for the miss. (CNBC)

* 'Dark Phoenix' dragged down Disney's box office earnings despite 'Avengers' success (CNBC)
* Disney's bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and ad-supported Hulu will cost $12.99 per month (CNBC)

On today's earnings calendar, CVS Health (CVS), and Wendy's (WEN) are out with quarterly results before the stock market opens. This afternoon's after-the-bell list includes numbers from Fox (FOXA), Roku (ROKU), Lyft (LYFT), TripAdvisor (TRIP), and Zillow Group (ZG). (CNBC)

Homeowners rushed to take advantage of a sizable drop in mortgage interest rates last week, with refinance applications surging 12%, a stunning 116% improvement over the year-ago period. Last week, total mortgage application volume rose 5.3%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. (CNBC)


President Donald Trump, whose racially incendiary rhetoric critics blame for stoking violence, faces an uncertain welcome today as he heads for the sites of the two latest deadly mass shootings, one of them being investigated as a hate crime. Trump will visit Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, where shootings occurred just 13 hours apart. (AP)

* FBI opens domestic terrorism investigation into Gilroy shooting (NY Times)
* Signs of Republican movement to support gun bills with new restrictions (NPR)

North Korea said today leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the U.S. and South Korea over their joint military exercises. Its four rounds of weapons demonstrations in two weeks come during a stalemate in nuclear negotiations. (AP)

Hong Kong is facing its "most severe situation" since its handover from British rule in 1997 following weeks of demonstrations and the central government is considering what measures to take next, the head of Beijing's Cabinet office responsible for the territory said today. (AP)

Members of the House Judiciary Committee requested records from the National Archives related to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's time in the White House under President George W. Bush. The request renews the records fight that dominated Kavanaugh's nomination hearings before sexual misconduct accusations. (CNBC)

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has pulled Tesla (TSLA) up on claims regarding the safety of its Model 3 sedan. NHTSA Chief Counsel Jonathan Morrison sent Tesla CEO Elon Musk a cease-and-desist letter last year to say it had become aware of "misleading statements" made by the company about the vehicle's safety rating. (CNBC)

Democratic Sens. Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal have written to Facebook (FB), questioning whether there was a "worrying pattern" of poor privacy protection for children using its Messenger Kids app. The app, launched in December 2017, is designed for users under the age of 13. (Reuters)

* Twitter says it may have used user data for ads without permission (Reuters)

As Amazon (AMZN) bolsters its PillPack business to take on the prescription drug market, industry stalwarts CVS (CVS) and Walgreens (WBA) are vigorously defending their turf, setting up a protracted battle between the old guard and the new. The two companies say PillPack is requesting transfers of prescriptions for patients who haven't provided consent. (CNBC)

Walgreens (WBA) plans to shutter 200 stores in the U.S. as the company pares back its locations in the U.K. The new store closures represent less than 3% of its 10,000 locations in the U.S., Walgreens said in a statement, adding that it anticipates "minimal disruption to customers and patients. (CNBC)

The Food and Drug Administration is threatening to take criminal action against Novartis (NOVN), saying the drugmaker used data it knew was inaccurate in its application for a $2.1 million gene therapy that was approved in May. The agency said the gene therapy should remain on the market, even while it's still assessing the situation. (CNBC)

Problems with British Airways' IT systems left thousands of passengers facing flight cancellations and delays at airports in the airline's third major computer failure in a little more than two years. Today's woes are the latest in a string of problems at the airline, which is also smarting from a $230 million fine this month for a huge customer data breach. (Reuters)


Weight Watchers (WW) reported mixed quarter earnings, though the weight-loss company raised its full year forecast as it sees upbeat member recruitment trends. The stock was jumping more than 25% in premarket trading.

Match Group (MTCH) reported better-than-expected results for its second quarter. The dating service operator also raised its full-year forecast. Match's performance was helped in part by strong subscriber growth at its Tinder service. The stock was soaring 18% in the premarket.

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) matched forecasts with adjusted quarterly earnings, and the casino operator's revenue came in slightly above analyst estimates. The company said strength in Macau and upbeat hotel revenue in Las Vegas helped drive results.

Papa John's (PZZA) missed forecasts for adjusted quarterly profit, although the pizza chain's revenue came in above estimates. Papa John's is also forecasting a loss of 10 to 40 cents per share for 2019, compared to prior estimates of breakeven to a 50 cents per share profit.

Hertz Global (HTZ) smashed expectations of its adjusted quarterly profit. The car rental company also saw revenue come in above Wall Street forecasts, rising to a record high. Hertz said its bottom line was also helped by productivity improvements.


Beyonce's portrait for last year's Vogue September issue is on its way to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery for limited display. The photographer, Tyler Mitchell, is the first African-American photographer and one of the youngest to shoot a cover for the iconic magazine. (NY Times)

Record England soccer goalscorer Wayne Rooney will leave U.S. Major League Soccer team D.C. United to return to play and coach in his home country from January 2020. The forward has easily been the highest paid player in D.C. United's history, with a reported annual base salary of $2.7 million and $5 million coming through guarantees. (CNBC)