Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to fall, oil rises after Saudi attacks, and union strike at GM


U.S. stock futures are pointing to a lower open and oil prices are jumping, following the weekend attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production. Crude is well off the nearly 16% jump it saw at session highs, but could still post its biggest one-day percentage gain in nearly three years. The drop in futures puts the Dow's eight-day win streak in jeopardy, as well as a string of three consecutive weekly gains for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq. If the Dow can somehow finish higher, it would post its first nine-day win streak in two years, having last done so in September 2017. (CNBC)

Drone strikes crippled the heart of Saudi oil production over the weekend, hitting the world's largest crude processing facility and the kingdom's second-largest oilfield. Aramco, Saudi's national oil company, was forced to cut production by 5.7 million barrels per day or about 50%. That is equivalent to about 5% of the global oil supply. (CNBC)

President Donald Trump authorized the release of oil from the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve after the attacks. He added the U.S. is "locked and loaded" but is waiting on Riyadh to determine who launched the strikes before proceeding on a course of action. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, but the U.S. has suspected Iran. (CNBC)

* Saudi Arabia reportedly aims to restore one-third of lost oil output by Monday (CNBC)

Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), and other energy stocks are getting a boost following the jump in oil prices. Exxon and Chevron, both among the 30 Dow components, will help limit any losses seen by the Dow Jones industrial Average.

On today's economic calendar, the New York Fed's Empire State Manufacturing Index is out at 8:30 a.m. ET. No earnings reports of note are out today. (CNBC)

Shares of Alder Biopharmaceuticals (ALDR) were skyrocketing about 80%, after the company agreed to be bought by Denmark's Lundbeck for nearly $2 billion. Alder is a U.S.-based firm specializing in migraine treatments. (Reuters)

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About 48,000 members of the United Auto Workers union went on strike early today as contract talks with General Motors broke down. The last time the union declared a strike at GM was in 2007. The two-day work stoppage was estimated to have cost the Detroit automaker more than $300 million a day. (CNBC)

* Bottles of Cristal and steak dinners mark UAW corruption probe, say prosecutors (CNBC)

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, collapsing under the weight of thousands of lawsuits from states and individuals seeking damages stemming from the opioid crisis. Purdue's board approved the much-anticipated bankruptcy filing, days after reaching a tentative deal to settle some 2,000 opioid lawsuits. (CNBC)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes besides tobacco and menthol in response to a recent nationwide spate of sometimes deadly lung illnesses that U.S. health officials have linked to vaping. The Trump administration has announced plans to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from store shelves. (Reuters)

A committee of Boeing (BA) board members is reportedly set to deliver its findings to other directors this week on how the company can design and build safer airplanes after the fatal crashes of two 737 Max jets. Recommendations include changing corporate reporting structures, creating a new safety group, and changing the cockpits of future planes. (CNBC)

* UAE regulator not optimistic on Boeing 737 MAX return this year (Reuters)

Trump is headed to New Mexico today for a campaign rally, an ambitious goal as the state hasn't voted for a Republican president since 2004. The Trump campaign argues it's still in play and has put it — along with Nevada, New Hampshire and Minnesota — on the short list of states that Trump lost in 2016 and is plotting to win in 2020. (AP)

* Biden, other hopefuls set for down-home Southern politics (AP)
* Sen. Bernie Sanders has overhauled his New Hampshire operations as his campaign fights to maintain support there (NY Times)

Trump rejected Democrats' calls for impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after a new report involving sexual misconduct allegations, encouraging Kavanaugh to sue for libel and suggesting the Justice Department could "rescue" him. It was unclear what action the Republican president was advocating the Justice Department take. (CNBC, Reuters)

Hong Kong's businesses and metro stations reopened as usual today after a chaotic Sunday when police fired a water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who blocked roads and threw petrol bombs outside government headquarters. The demonstrations are the latest in nearly four months of sometimes violent protests. (Reuters)


Walt Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger has resigned from Apple's (AAPL) board of directors. His departure comes as both companies prepare to launch competing video services, Disney+ and Apple TV+.

Square (SQ), PayPal (PYPL) and other payment firms are likely to grab as much as $280 billion in revenue from banks by 2025, according to a new study on global payments from consulting firm Accenture.

Blackstone (BX) bought Canadian office and industrial property manager Dream Global Real Estate Investment Trust for about $4.7 billion.

Lyft (LYFT) and Uber (UBER) were both upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at HSBC. However, the price targets for both ride-hailing stocks was cut — to $62 from $67 for Lyft, and to $44 from $49 for Uber.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB) was downgraded to "sell" from "hold" at Stifel Nicolaus, citing the near term outlook for the cannabis producer as well as negative investor sentiment for the sector.


The star-studded film "Hustlers" earned $33.2 million for its opening weekend, riding stellar reviews and Oscar talk for Jennifer Lopez. It's a record for a film from STX Entertainment, which was launched less than five years ago. But "It: Chapter Two" brought in $40.7 million to keep the top spot domestically in its second week. "It" has earned a total of $153.8 million (AP).