Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise, Fed chief Powell speaks, and Hong Kong braces for protests


U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher open ahead of the Friday trading session, but the key event of the day takes place 30 minutes after the opening bell. That's when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell addresses the central bank's economic summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all on pace to end their three-week losing streaks. The Dow has also been higher in five of the past six trading days, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have been lower in two of the past three sessions. (CNBC)

* Fed's Powell will find it hard not to rock markets with his comments (CNBC)
* Economist who first linked yield curve inversions to recessions sees a 'pretty high' chance of downturn (CNBC)

The only report on Friday's economic calendar comes at 10 a.m. ET, when the government releases new home sales for July. Meanwhile, retailers Foot Locker (FL) and Buckle (BKE) are out with quarterly earnings this morning, along with restaurant chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB). No profit reports are scheduled for release after today's closing bell. (CNBC)


China will soon unveil a plan to impose retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. products, the editor-in-chief of China's Global Times newspaper said today. Global Times is a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily. (Reuters)

Hong Kong braced for multiple anti-government demonstrations today and a "stress test" of the airport this weekend, as weeks of protest in the Chinese-ruled city showed no signs of let-up amid rising tension between China and some Western nations. (Reuters)

* Google disables YouTube channels it linked to Hong Kong influence operation (Washington Post)

North Korea's top diplomat said today that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a "diehard toxin" who only complicates denuclearization talks and North Korea was ready for both dialogue and standoff. Talks aimed at dismantling the North's nuclear and missile programs have stalled since a failed second summit in February. (Reuters)

* Pompeo says the US message on Huawei is clear. Trump's words say otherwise (CNBC)

The Trump administration unveiled a proposal that would make it easier for health-care providers to know whether a patient has a history of addiction. The change is seen as helpful for providers who could, for example, unknowingly prescribe a potentially harmful drug, such as opioids, to a patient with an addiction history. (CNBC)

Some of the world's most powerful leaders meet in France this weekend for the G-7 summit, where the focus will be on cohesion. The summit comes at a delicate and uncertain time especially for the U.K. as its relationship with its closest neighbor Europe undergoes a seismic shift with Brexit, and it looks to the U.S for closer trade ties. (CNBC)

Huawei announced the commercial availability of an AI chip today, pitting it against major American giants like Qualcomm and Nvidia, as it looks to defy continued U.S. pressure and prove it can still bring out core technology. The chip, called the Ascend 910, was first unveiled in October last year and is aimed at data centers. (CNBC)

* Huawei says impact of U.S. trade restrictions less than feared (Reuters)

U.S. toy maker Hasbro (HAS) will buy Entertainment One for about $4 billion in cash, adding the independent studio with preschool brand Peppa Pig. The deal provides the Nerf and Power Rangers toymaker with new exposure. It has been tying up with movie studios such as Paramount Pictures and Disney to boost sales of toys linked to big movie franchises. (Reuters)

VMWare (VMW) shares were off about 5% in premarket trading. VMWare announced the acquisition of Pivotal Software (PVTL) and Carbon Black (CBLK) in separate deals. Dell Technologies (DELL) is a controlling stakeholder in both VMWare and Pivotal. Separately, VMWare best estimates with quarterly earnings and revenue. (Reuters)

Investors are rushing to get a piece of privately held Impossible Foods before it goes public, according to the Wall Street Journal. Brokers handling transactions in the secondary market told the Journal that investors are jostling to get a piece of the maker of plant-based meats, with some deals that value the company as much as $5 billion. (CNBC)

Walmart (WMT) and Tesla (TSLA) are seeking to resolve issues surrounding Tesla solar energy systems sold at Walmart stores. Earlier this week, Walmart sued Tesla for "widespread negligence" involving repeated fires involving those systems. (Reuters)


Gap (GPS) came in 10 cents ahead of consensus with adjusted quarterly profit of 63 cents per share, with revenue in line with forecasts. However, the apparel retailer's comparable store sales fell by 4%, and its traditionally strong Old Navy brand saw a comparable store sales decline of 5%. The stock was lower in the premarket.

Ross Stores (ROST) reported earnings-per-share and revenue that came in slightly above forecasts. However, the company also said it sees a slight impact on its third and fourth-quarter earnings from the 10% tariff on goods sourced from China. The stock was under some pressure this morning.

Salesforce (CRM) shares were up about 7% in premarket trading after the company beat Wall Street estimates with its latest financial report. The business software company also gave an upbeat full-year guidance.

HP Incorporated (HPQ) beat analyst estimates with quarterly profit, with the computer and printer maker's revenue essentially in line. HP also announced that CEO Dion Weisler will step down in November due to family-related reasons. Enrique Lores, head of HP's imaging and printing unit, will take over. The stock was off 8% in the premarket.


Fox Searchlight's horror movie "Ready or Not" scored a $2 million opening day at nearly 2,500 North American locations. The movie has scored well with critics and forecasts had been in the $8 million to $12 million range for the first five days of release. (Variety)

Taylor Swift's seventh studio album, "Lover," is here. Out Friday, the sprawling 18-track album is less focused and more openhearted." This album is certainly not "1989," Swift's previous album of the year-winning release, which had a dialed-in tracklist of modern pop. (USA Today)