The S&P 500 ended the session yesterday down 32.80 points, or 1.1%, snapping a 36-session streak in which the closing index didn’t move more than 1% in either direction. The selloff was triggered by comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, which disappointed investors in his post-decision news conference when he didn’t more explicitly ratify expectations of additional stimulus in the months ahead. The “one and done” sentiment doesn’t appear to be sticking as U.S. stock index futures inch up 0.2% this morning ahead of earnings from General Motors (NYSE:GM), DuPont (NYSE:DD) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
Trump responds – “Powell let us down,” President Trump tweeted in response to the Fed’s 25-basis point rate cut with little indication of which way the next move will be. “What the Market wanted to hear from Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve was that this was the beginning of a lengthy and aggressive rate-cutting cycle which would keep pace with China, the European Union and other countries around the world.” U.S. crude also broke a five-day rally in the Fed aftermath, while the U.S. dollar climbed to levels not seen since May 2017.
Volatile session for GE – Originally up 4% after posting earnings on Wednesday morning, General Electric (NYSE:GE) swung wildly during the session and ended the day slightly in the red. Traders initially sought comfort in better-than-expected Q2 earnings, as well as a 2019 guidance raise, but then seemed to focus on $1.4B in potential costs from Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) grounded 737 MAX (GE makes Leap engines for the jetliner). Separately, CFO Jamie Miller said she will step down from her role but will remain with the company during the leadership transition.
BOE decision after Fed cuts – Increased risk of a no-deal Brexit has investors on edge with a plummeting pound and lower bond yields, but the Bank of England today is still expected to hold interest rates at 0.75%, though it will likely cut growth forecasts. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson appears to have gone some way to securing the working majority he’ll need to pass a Brexit deal through Parliament despite little progress in dealings with both the European Union and Ireland.
Another day, another survey – The private Caixin/Markit factory PMI came in 49.9 in July – slightly better than expected, but still in contractionary territory. On Wednesday, data from the Chinese statistics bureau showed that the official manufacturing PMI contracted for three straight months, recording a figure of 49.6 for the month of July. “Even though both the official and unofficial PMI surveys point to modest improvement for the Chinese manufacturing sector with downward pressure easing, headwinds still remain,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.
Prison break – Sell-side analysts have stopped covering U.S. private prison operators as Wall Street distances itself from publicly traded GEO Group (NYSE:GEO) and CoreCivic (NYSE:CXW). The retreat follows a parade of major banks announcing they would no longer offer financing to private detention center operators amid a public uproar over immigrant detention policies of the Trump administration. In response, GEO CFO Brian Evans said the company was working with a number of smaller equity analyst shops and is in the early stage of developing relationships to get some coverage.
Final briefs in Oklahoma opioid lawsuit – Oklahoma’s attorney general has made a final bid to force Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to pay $17B for its part in fueling the opioid epidemic, while J&J countered that its painkillers were a tiny fraction of all opioids prescribed in the state and said its marketing claims had scientific support. The briefs marked the final arguments both sides would make to Judge Thad Balkman, who is expected to rule next month. The Oklahoma case is being closely watched by plaintiffs in other opioid lawsuits, particularly in 1,900 cases pending before a federal judge in Ohio who has been pushing for a settlement ahead of an October trial.
Retail war for India market share – Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is again setting its M&A sights on India, where it is engaged in a pitched battle with Walmart’s (NYSE:WMT) Flipkart in what is viewed as one of their most important growth markets. According to the Economic Times, Amazon is in exploratory talks with Reliance Retail for buying up to 26% stake in India’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailer. Talks began after Reliance’s negotiations with Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) fell through due to differences over valuation.
Future dominated by data – London Stock Exchange (OTCPK:LNSTY) has agreed to snap up market insights and trading platform Refinitiv in $27B deal with Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI). LSE has seen double-digit growth in the last few years from its information services unit, driven by the FTSE Russell indexes business, and adding a data giant would help accelerate that push as markets become more reliant on data-hungry machines. It will also see an expansion into over-the-counter trading by taking on Refinitiv’s FXall and matching platforms, complementing its existing OTC clearing businesses.
Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) closes €19B asset sale to Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD).
PG&E (NYSE:PCG) denies report it deferred maintenance on equipment.
Electric vehicle and emissions costs hit profits at BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY).
Didi (DIDI), BP (NYSE:BP) partner on electric vehicle charging network.
Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) falls 4.4% premarket as offering prices at $160/share.
Record low… Brazil’s central bank cuts key rate to 6.0%.
DeepMind (GOOG, GOOGL) can spot acute kidney disease 48 hours before doctors.
Align Technology (NASDAQ:ALGN) braces for SmileDirectClub IPO.