DAILY MARKET REPORTS
- U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 hitting a four-month high, boosted by higher oil prices and strong results from PepsiCo.
- China raised “anti-dumping tariff rates” for some U.S.-made optical fiber products, effective July 11.
- Tesla rose after the U.S. automaker signed agreements to open a plant in Shanghai with an annual capacity of 500,000 cars, local media reported.
- PepsiCo’s shares rose 4.3% after the company’s quarterly revenue and profit topped analysts’ estimates, helped by strong sales in its Frito-Lay unit.
- Overall, S&P 500 companies are expected to post second–quarter profit growth of around 21%, slightly higher than what was forecast in April, according to Thomson Reuters data.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
Frito-Lay unit sales power PepsiCo’s profit, revenue beat
- PepsiCo topped quarterly profit and revenue estimates as the company’s strategy to offer more healthier beverages and focus on its snacks business paid off.
- Net revenue rose 2.4% to $16.09 billion, edging past expectations and led by a 4.3% rise in sales at its Frito-Lay division that makes Cheetos and Doritos tortilla chips.
- Sales in its North America beverage unit fell about 1% to $5.19 billion in the quarter, but narrowly beat market expectations.
- Net income fell about 14% to $1.82 billion in the quarter, mainly due to higher costs for transportation and raw materials.
Twitter says removal of fake accounts does not hurt user metrics
- Twitter said it has removed fake accounts but that does not impact its reported user metrics as was indicated in a report.
- The Washington Post had said the social media company had suspended more than 70 million fake accounts in May and June, leading to a decline of monthly active users in the second quarter.
- “Most accounts we remove are not included in our reported metrics as they have not been active on the platform for 30 days or more, or we catch them at sign up and they are never counted,” CFO Ned Segal tweeted on Monday.
Comcast lining up buyers for Fox sports assets
- Comcast is identifying potential buyers for Twenty-First Century Fox’s regional sports networks in an attempt to ease antitrust concerns about a new bid to acquire most of Fox’s assets.
- Comcast hopes that preparing now for such divestitures will ease Fox’s concerns over potential antitrust risks and boost the chances of its bid disrupting Fox’s agreed $71 billion cash-and-stock deal to sell the assets to Walt Disney.
- Comcast believes finding such partners will not only allow it to argue that it can win antitrust approval for the Fox assets as easily as Disney but will also boost its finances as its prepares to make a second all–cash offer later this month.
Fox preparing to top Comcast offer for Sky
- Twenty-First Century Fox is preparing a new bid for Sky that values it at about 25 billion pounds ($33.14 billion) to top the offer it has received from Comcast, the Financial Times reported.
- Fox’s offer is expected to be at a premium to Comcast’s most recent bid of 12.50 pounds per share, the Financial Times reported.
- The company could make the new offer as soon as this week if its earlier bid for Sky is formally approved by the UK government.
U.S. mergers help bank fees spike to record highs
- A record $1.45 trillion of US syndicated lending to companies for acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, dividends and refinancing in the first half of the year has propelled bank fees from arranging the loans to all-time highs.
- The lending pace escalated in the second quarter and is seen staying heated through year-end, encouraged by lower US corporate tax rates and a federal judge’s June endorsement of the long-pursued mega-merger between AT&T and Time Warner.
- The $8.1 billion earned in the first half of this year slightly topped the prior record $8 billion taken in during the second half of last year, setting a new peak, according to Freeman Consulting Services.
House Republicans query Apple, Alphabet on privacy, data practices
- Four senior U.S. House Republicans sent letters to the chief executives of Apple and Google parent Alphabet asking questions about location data and mobile phone privacy practices and the handling of customer data.
- The letters both ask if Google Android or Apple iPhones collect audio recordings of users without their consent and said the committee “is reviewing business practices that may impact the privacy expectations of Americans.”
- The letters, made public by the committee on Monday, said the companies may be using consumer data, including location information and recordings of users “in ways that consumers do not expect.”
Oil rises to $79 a barrel on Norway strike, Libyan disruption
- Oil prices rose by over 1% toward $79 per barrel on Tuesday due to growing supply outages, with Norway shutting one oilfield as hundreds of workers began a strike and Libya saying its production more than halved in recent months.
- Hundreds of workers on Norwegian offshore oil and gas rigs went on strike on Tuesday after rejecting a proposed wage deal, leading to the shutdown of one Shell-operated oilfield.
- Libya’s national oil production fell to 527,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a high of 1.28 million bpd in February following recent oil port closures, National Oil Corp said on Monday.
- The disruptions add to supply worries around the world. Venezuela’s production has collapsed due to a lack of investment and Iranian exports have suffered due to U.S sanctions. OPEC has little capacity to fill the gap as demand for oil quickens.
Microsoft to Sell Low-Cost Surface to Compete With Apple’s iPad
- Microsoft is cutting prices on its Surface devices, introducing a $399 tablet to compete with Apple’s least-expensive iPads.
- The new 10-inch Surface Go, which ships Aug. 2 in the U.S. and two dozen other markets, is the least costly among the five Surface devices that Microsoft makes. The Surface Go is aimed at the same potential buyers as Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, which starts at $329.
Uber, Alphabet invest in bike sharing service Lime
- Bike sharing service Lime said it raised $335 million from a group of investors including ride-sharing firm Uber and Alphabet. The latest investment round values California-based Lime at $1.1 billion.
- Uber will work with Lime as a strategic partner in the electric scooter space with the companies working to co-brand Lime’s scooters and make the service available on the Uber app.
US ECONOMY & POLITIC
Inflation Expectations Maintain Steady Gains in June, N.Y. Fed Says
- In a report the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that the public expects inflation to rise by 3% both a year from now and three years from now. Those readings have been in the same place for three months, according to the bank’s June Survey of Consumer Expectations.
- The report arrives as inflation pressures appear to be mounting. After years of failing to achieve their 2% inflation target sustainably, inflation from a year ago hit that level in April, and rose to a 2.3% rise in May, from the same month a year ago.
- The quickening inflation pressures have driven Fed officials and many outside observers to speculate over whether the central bank will need to raise rates more quickly to keep the economy’s performance balanced.
Trump picks conservative judge Kavanaugh for Supreme Court
- President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court as he aimed to entrench its conservative control for years to come, but the federal appeals court judge faces a tough confirmation fight in the bitterly divided Senate.
- Judge Kavanaugh has taken aim at federal agencies with some regularity, voicing concern when he believes government actions go beyond the powers delegated by Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency has been a notable target of Kavanaugh opinions and dissents, including for how it has implemented air-pollution rules and for what he saw as a lack of attention to the costs of regulations.
- The new justice can be expected to cast crucial votes on other matters of national importance including gay rights, gun control, the death penalty and voting rights.
- While some Democrats promised a stern effort to block the 53-year-old Kavanaugh – who has served 12 years on the most influential U.S. appeals court – Trump’s fellow Republicans control the Senate by a narrow margin and can ensure confirmation if they avoid defections from their ranks.
Judge rejects Trump request for long-term detention of immigrant children
- A U.S. federal judge rejected the Trump administration’s request to allow long–term detention of illegal immigrant children, a legal setback for President Donald Trump’s push to detain immigrant families taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border.
- The Los Angeles U.S. District Court dismissed as “dubious” and “unconvincing” the U.S. Justice Department’s proposal to modify a 1997 settlement known as the Flores Agreement, which says that children cannot be held in detention for long periods.
- The government asserted in its Flores filing that the San Diego ruling would necessitate longer-term detention of children, since that would be the only way to both reunite them with their parents and keep the parents incarcerated during their immigration proceedings.
Trump says Pfizer, others ‘should be ashamed’ for raising drug prices
- Pharmaceutical companies increased the prices of 104 drugs last week.
- Pfizer raised the price of 41 drugs by as much as 9%, though it also lowered prices on five drugs by as much as 44%.
- The increases came despite Trump’s promise in May that companies would announce “massive, voluntary price cuts” in two weeks.
- Trump said the companies “are merely taking advantage of the poor (and) others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe (and) elsewhere.” He said “we will respond” but did not say how.
More than a third of small businesses can’t fill open jobs, matching a record
- The percentage of small companies not able to fill open positions hit 36% in June, according to the NFIB Research Center, matching the survey’s record high set in November 2000.
- The difficulty in finding qualified workers comes at a time when small business optimism is booming with the survey’s main index posting its sixth highest reading ever.
- For the month of June, the index came in at 107.2, down 0.6 from May. Since December 2016, the index has averaged an “unprecedented” 105.4, well above the 45-year average of 98 and rivaling the all-time high of 108 in July 1983.
- The organization found in their most recent report that 21% of small business owners cited trouble finding qualified workers as the single most important business problem.
EUROPE & WORLD
UK PM May seeks unity amid chaos over Brexit plans
- British Prime Minister Theresa May holds a meeting of her cabinet on Tuesday, a day after her government was thrown into turmoil when two senior ministers quit in protest at her plans for trade ties with the European Union after Brexit.
- Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit minister David Davis resigned within hours of each other, denouncing a plan that the cabinet had only agreed on Friday, and fueling speculation that May could face a leadership challenge.
- However, at a meeting with her Conservative Party lawmakers, she was cheered and applauded by many as she warned them that internal squabbling could pave the way for socialist opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to take power instead.
- After the meeting, senior lawmakers said they did not expect the prime minister to face a vote of no confidence, although some Conservatives were still saying that she should go.
Japan’s Takeda gains U.S. approval for $62 billion Shire buy
- Takeda Pharmaceutical said it has received U.S. approval for its $62 billion acquisition of London-listed Shire, taking the Japanese firm one step closer to its goal of becoming a global top 10 drugmaker.
- The Tokyo-listed firm is still awaiting approval from regulators in China, the European Union and elsewhere, as well from shareholders of both parties.
- Chief Executive Christophe Weber has been working to persuade investors about the deal’s cost-saving merits. However, concerns of the financial burden the combined company will carry has weighed heavily on Takeda’s stock price.
SoftBank tightens grip on Yahoo Japan via $2 billion deal with Altaba
- SoftBank is increasing its stake in Yahoo Japan through a $2 billion, three-way deal with U.S. firm Altaba to deepen ties with the internet heavyweight ahead of an IPO of its telecoms unit.
- The transaction, with just $9 million net investment by SoftBank, allows it to boost ownership of Yahoo Japan without pressuring its already strained balance sheet. It also leaves SoftBank’s domestic telecoms unit with a 12% stake in Yahoo Japan, highlighting for investors the two companies’ ties ahead of its planned listing.
Airbus renames Canadian jet as the A220, sees strong demand
- Airbus unveiled a new identity for the 110-130-seat CSeries passenger plane as it prepares to broaden its battle with Boeing to small passenger jets.
- Airbus expects to sell a “double-digit” number of the jets this year and sees demand for at least 3,000 of them over 20 years.
- The 110-seat and 130-seat models, previously known as CS100 and CS300, will be known as A220-100 and A220-300 respectively.
China raises tariff rates for some U.S. optical fiber products, from July 11
- China’s commerce ministry said on Tuesday it is raising “anti-dumping tariff rates” for some optical fiber products originating from the United States, effective on Wednesday, July 11.
- The new anti-dumping tariff rates for dispersion unshifted single-mode optical fiber imported from the U.S. range between 33.3% to 78.2%, compared with 4.7% to 18.6% as set in 2011.
- U.S. companies including Corning, OFS Fitel, and Draka Communications Americas are among firms affected by the tariff change, the ministry said on its website.
All 12 Boys and Their Soccer Coach Rescued from Thai Cave
- All 12 boys from a youth soccer team and their coach were freed from a cave in the north of the country where they had been trapped for more than two weeks, Thailand’s Navy SEALs said.
- A huge international effort involving more than 100 divers and rescue workers brought the boys out through winding and partly submerged passageways. Doctors said the boys are being carefully monitored and that the first eight rescued are in generally good health.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Wyoming became the 44th state in the United States. (1890)
- The Battle of Britain (1940)
- The Coca-Cola Company announced that it was bringing back the original Coke and calling it Coca-Cola Classic. (1985)
- Boris Yeltsin was sworn in as Russia’s first elected president. (1991)
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