Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street to continue three straight weeks of selling

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures pointed to a sharp decline at Wall Street's open as the stock market comes off three straight weeks of selling. The Nasdaq headed into the new week in correction territory, defined as more than 10% below its most recent closing high, which was a record on Sept. 2. A number of factors were pressuring stocks Monday morning.

  • European markets tanked as the U.K. considers another coronavirus lockdown.
  • U.S. tech stocks, once the leaders of the market's recovery from its March 23 coronavirus-bottom, continued lower
  • The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg threw uncertainty over the Supreme Court into the presidential race 43 days before Election Day
  • There's concern over how the fight over replacing the liberal justice might scuttle chances for additional coronavirus stimulus.

Bank stocks, including Dow component J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) sank in Monday's premarket as leaked U.S. government files showed that banks reported to regulators $2 trillion of suspicious activity over nearly two decades, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Germany's largest lender, Deutsche Bank (DB), appears to have facilitated the most transactions by far in dollar amounts, followed by J.P. Morgan. (CNBC)

Shares of electric truck company Nikola (NKLA), a favorite among traders on the popular online app Robinhood, lost about 30% in the premarket after founder Trevor Milton early Monday voluntarily stepped down as executive chairman and a member of the board. The announcement comes after short-selling firm Hindenburg Research accused Nikola of fraud. Milton vowed to defend himself. (CNBC)

Stephen Girsky, former vice chairman of General Motors and Nikola director, has been appointed chairman, effective immediately. GM recently took a 11% stake in Nikola and committed to produce Nikola's marquee hydrogen fuel cell electric pickup truck, Badger, by the end of 2022. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Beijing-based ByteDance said it would own a majority stake in the new TikTok Global in the U.S., appearing to contradict President Donald Trump's claims that the deal has "nothing to do with China." On Saturday, Trump gave his blessing to a deal that would see Oracle (ORCL) and Walmart (WMT) take a minority stake in a U.S.-headquartered company TikTok Global. TikTok had faced being shut down in the U.S. on Sunday. However, that decision has now been delayed for a week. (CNBC)

'Unfair' but not the worst-case scenario: Chinese state media reacts to 'reasonable' TikTok deal (CNBC)

Oracle (ORCL) will take a 12.5% stake in the newly created TikTok Global, with Walmart (WMT) taking a 7.5% stake. TikTok Global will be a U.S. entity that will control most of the popular app's global operations. (CNBC)

* ByteDance says it will not transfer algorithm and technology to Oracle as part of TikTok deal (CNBC)
* China details on its own blacklist, a after a ban on U.S. transactions using WeChat (CNBC)

Ginsburg's death Friday at age 87 from pancreatic cancer sparked a war of words in Washington over whether Trump should choose her replacement on the Supreme Court or whether the next president should. Republicans, who hold the slim majority in the Senate, vowed to fill the liberal titan's seat immediately. (CNBC)

GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine said they oppose taking action on a Ginsburg replacement before the election on Nov. 3. Back in 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to even hold a hearing on former President Barack Obama's nominee to fill the seat vacated by the late conservativce Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, citing the election calendar. (CNBC)

* Biden condemns Trump's push to nominate Ginsburg replacement as 'exercise in raw political power' (CNBC)
Pelosi on possible second Trump impeachment in lame duck session: ‘We have our options’ (CNBC)
Record-breaking donations pour in from the left after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death (USA Today)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden ended August with a larger pile of cash than Trump's reelection effort, giving the former vice president a significant financial advantage in the final stretch of the campaign. Biden and his party allies increased their cash holdings to $466 million at the end of August. (Reuters)

The U.K. could be headed for a second, "mini" lockdown for two weeks to counter a resurgence in coronavirus cases, as the government's top scientists predict how quickly the virus could spread if no action is taken. Plans to introduce stricter measures on the public come as daily new infections rise, with almost 4,000 new cases reported Sunday. (CNBC)

Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder and global health philanthropist Bill Gates criticized the current state of the United States' response to the coronavirus. Gates told "Fox News Sunday" that access to fast testing is still inadequate more than six months into the pandemic and that the U.S. was set up for a rough fall of virus cases.

Rough conditions were expected to begin this morning in parts of Texas and Louisiana as Tropical Storm Beta slowly worked its way into a part of the country that's already been drenched and battered during this year's exceptionally busy hurricane season. No longer seen as gaining hurricane strength, forecasters also decreased estimated rainfall totals from Beta. (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Shares of Royal Caribbean (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) dropped in the premarket after an industry panel submitted its proposals for heightened health protocols to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as cruise lines seek a full return to sailing. The proposals include testing of guests and crew members, the use of masks and enhanced sanitation procedures.

Illumina (ILMN), a maker of gene sequencing technology, will buy privately held Grail, a developer of a test for early detection of cancer,  for $8 billion in cash and stock. Illumina founded Grail in 2016 and already owns a large stake, and the $8 billion includes consideration it will essentially pay itself as a Grail stakeholder.

Walmart is starting a private label clothing line, hoping to take market share from bankrupt retailers like J.C. Penney and others whose sales have fallen, like Kohl's (KSS) and Macy's (M).

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) is seeking to cut oil and gas production costs by up to 40%, according to a Reuters report. The cost-cutting review is expected to be completed this year.

Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal has reached a deal with Roku (ROKU) that will add the company's Peacock streaming service and keep other NBC content on the Roku platform. NBCUniversal is the parent of CNBC.

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk told employees the company has a chance to deliver a record number of vehicles during the third quarter, according to Electrek.

WATERCOOLER

Emmy history was made on Sunday when Pop TV darling "Schitt's Creek" swept the comedy category's seven major awards during the 72nd Primetime Emmy Award Show, a first for the Hollywood event. In total, AT&T-owned HBO snagged 11 primetime Emmy awards, the most of any network for the night. (CNBC)