Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to fall, Epstein dies by suicide, and Hong Kong flights canceled



Worries about the ongoing trade war and slowing global economic growth continue to trouble investors, as U.S. stock futures were pointing to a sharply lower open this morning. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq were all riding two straight weeks of losses, with August tracking as only the second down month of the year. However, 2019 still remains strong with yearly gains ahead of Monday trading of 12.7% for the Dow, 16.4% for the S&P 500, and nearly 20% for the Nasdaq. (CNBC)

The People's Bank of China set the official midpoint reference for the yuan at 7.0211 per dollar today, weaker than Friday's session, but stronger than what market watchers predicted. This is the third consecutive session in which China's central bank set the midpoint at a level weaker than the psychologically important 7-yuan-per-dollar level. (CNBC)

* Goldman Sachs cuts GDP growth forecast as trade war triggers recession fears (CNBC)
* 10-year Treasury yield falls below 1.7% on trade, global growth worries (CNBC)

The Treasury releases the federal budget statement for July at 2 p.m. ET, in an otherwise light day for economic numbers. Key reports out later in the week include CPI, retail sales, productivity, industrial production, and housing starts.(CNBC)

Food distributor Sysco (SYY) is among the few companies out with quarterly earnings this morning. Famous Dave's (DAVE) reports after the closing bell. Later this week, Walmart (WNT), Cisco Systems (CSCO), and Nvidia (NVDA) issue their results.

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The New York City medical examiner has performed the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein, but said the official cause of death is "pending further information." Epstein, accused of sexually assaulting and trafficking girls as young as 14, was found dead Saturday morning from an apparent suicide while in custody. (CNBC)

* Democratic 2020 contenders condemn Trump for spreading Epstein conspiracy theories (Reuters)

Former Obama White House counsel Greg Craig is going to trial today for alleged false statements connected to work he did on behalf of Ukrainian interests. The case was born out of Robert Mueller's Russia probe, though Mueller referred the material to the U.S. Attorney's Office for prosecution. (NPR)

Presidential contender Elizabeth Warren unveiled her plan to combat gun violence, including proposals to triple the tax applied to firearm sales and raise the tax on ammunition even more dramatically. The plan comes in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left at least 31 people dead. (CNBC)

* Warren wows in Iowa as candidates' sprint to caucuses begins (AP)

Hong Kong International Airport has canceled all departures for the remainder of the day, citing serious disruption due to protests. The airport authority said today it had cancelled all flights not yet checked in by the afternoon. The increasingly violent protests since June have plunged the Asian financial hub into its most serious crisis in decades. (CNBC)

Huawei's own operating system has debuted on an internet-connected TV. The Chinese tech giant unveiled the the Honor Vision TV that will be the first device powered by Huawei's operating system, the HarmonyOS. (CNBC)

Saudi Aramco, the world's top oil producer, is buying a 20% stake, worth some $15 billion including debt, in India's Reliance Industries' oil and chemicals business, a move that would help match its enormous crude production with refining capacity, according to the Wall Street Journal.

* Saudi Aramco's first-half net income falls 12% on lower oil prices (CNBC)

BlackRock (BLK) bought a majority stake in Authentic Brands Group, the owner of well-known brands like Sports Illustrated, Nine West, and Aeropostale. The asset management firm did not disclose financial details, though the Wall Street Journal reported the stake is worth about $875 million and values the company at more than $4 billion.

Shared office space manager WeWork could unveil its initial public offering plans as soon as this week, Bloomberg reported. It'll be the first time the start-up shared its full financial picture.

Versace — a unit of Michael Kors owner Capri Holdings (CPRI) — issued an apology following widespread criticism in China of one of its t-shirts. The shirt identified Hong Kong and Macau — which are Chinese territories — as countries.(Reuters)


Tyson Foods (TSN) said about 3,800 workers at a Kansas meat processing plant will be out of work following a Friday night fire that caused significant damage. The company added that it will provide the workers with some guaranteed pay. It is not known how long the plant will be closed. (Reuters)

Novartis (NVS) is expecting faster approvals in China for its new drugs and plans to submit 50 new drug applications in China by 2023, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) is rolling out a new alcoholic seltzer aimed at college-age drinkers of its Natural Light beer brand.

ABB (ABB) shares were jumping about 3.5% in premarket trading, after the Swiss engineering company named Bjorn Rosengren as its new chief executive officer, effective in March. ABB's previous CEO left in April and the company has been in the process of overhauling its operations.


American Simone Biles reasserted her position as the world's unrivaled number one gymnast with an amazing winning performance at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Missouri. Biles became the first woman in nearly 70 years to capture six U.S. senior women's all-around gymnastics titles and first to land a triple-twisting, double back maneuver. (Reuters)