DAILY MARKET REPORTS
- U.S. stock indexes were higher on Monday, boosted by the consumer discretionary sector and as hopes for a new round of tax cuts overshadowed fears of an escalation in the Sino-U.S. trade war.
- Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to unveil a fresh round of tax cuts this week, hoping to draw a sharp contrast between themselves and Democrats ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections.
- Dubbed “Tax Reform 2.0”, the package is intended to augment Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul, which added $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit through permanent tax cuts for U.S. companies.
- On Friday, Trump said he was ready to levy additional taxes on practically all Chinese imports, threatening duties on $267 billion of goods over and above planned tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products.
- China said it will respond if Washington takes any new steps on trade.
- Alibaba dropped after the company said Jack Ma will step down as chairman in one year, passing on the reins to a trusted lieutenant, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.
US FINANCIAL MARKET
- CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Leslie Moonves is stepping down amid accusations that he sexually harassed and assaulted numerous women over his career, a stunning downfall for one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful figures.
- CBS also announced a settlement of outstanding legal disputes with its controlling shareholder, National Amusements, which will replace six members of CBS’s board.
- If Mr. Moonves is cleared of wrongdoing, he could walk away with more than $100 million, but if he is found to have engaged in serious misconduct, he would walk away with nothing.
- Mr. Moonves and CBS agreed to immediately donate $20 million to “organizations that support the #MeToo movement and equality for women in the workplace,” the company said in a statement.
Trump Presses Apple to Shift Production to U.S.
- President Trump called on Apple to shift production to the U.S. and out of China, reviving a longstanding criticism and pressuring the iPhone maker to help fulfill the administration’s economic goal of restoring American manufacturing.
- In a Saturday morning tweet, Mr. Trump said that if Apple wants to avoid tariffs on its products, it should make those devices in the U.S. rather than China.
- The tweet came a day after Apple said in a filing with the U.S. Trade Representative that proposed U.S. tariffs affect its watch, wireless headphones, and other products, the first time the company has detailed specific damage from the trade battle.
- Apple directly employs at least 80,000 people in the U.S. and claims responsibility for two million jobs around the country, including its own employees and those of suppliers, app developers, and entrepreneurs who offer products across its devices.
- It spent $50 billion last year with more than 9,000 U.S. suppliers maintaining manufacturing operations across 38 states.
United Rentals to Acquire BlueLine Rental for $2.1 billion
- United Rentals and BlueLine Rental today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which United Rentals will acquire BlueLine from Platinum Equity for approximately $2.1 billion in cash.
- BlueLine is one of the ten largest equipment rental companies in North America, serving over 50,000 customers in the construction and industrial sectors with a focus on mid-sized and local accounts.
- The company has 114 locations and over 1,700 employees based in 25 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
- The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to clearance and customary conditions.
SAIC to buy rival government services contractor Engility for $1.5 billion
- Science Applications International said on Monday it will acquire Engility for $1.5 billion in stock, a deal that will turn it into the second-largest independent U.S. government services contractor.
- The acquisition is an example of how increased defense spending under Donald Trump is driving contractors to pursue mergers so they have more scale to bid on bigger projects, spanning everything from outdated computer systems to space exploration.
- The acquisition will boost SAIC’s offerings to its space customers and expand its customer base in the intelligence community, SAIC Chief Executive Tony Moraco said in an interview.
Snap’s Strategy Chief Imran Khan to Leave Company
- Snap’s Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan will leave the social-media company as the parent of Snapchat struggles to keep users.
- Last month, Snap reported a 2% drop in daily users, its first such quarterly decline ever, and indicated that the near term could be bumpy as well.
- Snap said Mr. Khan is leaving “to pursue other opportunities” but will stay for an interim period to assist with the transition.
Oil up as U.S. drilling stalls, Iranian sanctions bite
- Oil prices rose on Monday as U.S. drilling stalled and investors anticipated lower supply once new U.S. sanctions against Iran’s crude exports kick in from November.
- U.S. drillers cut two oil rigs last week, bringing the total count to 860, Baker Hughes said on Friday.
- The number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States has stalled since May, reflecting increases in well productivity but also bottlenecks and infrastructure constraints.
- U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will meet counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Russia on Monday and Thursday respectively as the Trump administration encourages the world’s biggest exporter and producer to keep output up.
Fred’s shares soar after announcing $165 million deal to sell some pharmacy files to Walgreens
- Walgreens will purchase files and related pharmacy inventory of 185 Fred’s stores across 10 Southeast states.
- As part of the deal, Walgreens will pay $165 million plus an amount equal to the value of related pharmacy inventory.
- The companies expect to start transferring files in the fourth quarter and complete the process in the first quarter of next year.
US ECONOMY & POLITIC
- European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom met her U.S. counterpart for the first time on Monday since President Donald Trump dropped his threat to impose tariffs on EU cars, saying they had discussed how to achieve concrete results soon.
- Malmstrom, who is the European Trade Commissioner, described the meeting as a first opportunity to follow through on an agreement between Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker two months ago.
- Lighthizer’s office described the talks as constructive, adding that experts would meet in October to identify tariff and non-tariff barriers that could be cut, with the trade chiefs following that up in November to finalize certain results.
- Trump agreed with Juncker in July to refrain from imposing tariffs on EU cars while the two sides launched discussions to remove tariffs on non-auto industrial products.
Hurricane Florence Heads Toward Southeastern U.S.
- A tropical storm that has been churning in the Atlantic for a week regained hurricane strength Sunday and was headed toward the Southeastern U.S., the National Hurricane Center said.
- While it was too soon to project Hurricane Florence’s precise trajectory and timing, forecasters said areas from South Carolina up through Virginia should prepare for the storm, which could approach the coast on Thursday.
- With winds currently approaching nearly 85 miles an hour, Florence is expected to turn into a dangerous Category 4 hurricane.
Four States Could Swing House
- Of the 63 GOP-held House seats that the Cook Political Report rates as lean Republican, a tossup or likely or lean Democratic, 31 come from six states.
- Democrats could run the table in battlefield districts in just four states—Pennsylvania, California, Florida and New Jersey—and capture the net 23 seats they need to seize the House majority without taking a single district anywhere else.
- This year the battlefield is in the nation’s suburbs, districts that have sent Republicans to Congress for generations but are filled with educated women—a demographic that polling shows has fled the GOP more than any other in the Trump era.
Congressional Leaders Expected to Avoid Shutdown
- Congressional negotiators are expected to secure a deal Monday on a package of three spending bills for the upcoming fiscal year, setting in motion GOP leaders’ plans to avoid a partial government shutdown at month’s end.
- The efforts to keep the government funded come amid uncertainty over whether President Trump is willing to defer a fight with Democrats over border-wall funding until after the midterm elections.
- Lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee said they expected to vote this week on the trio of bills that would include funding for the departments of Energy and Veterans Affairs and the legislative branch of government.
- The Senate may also vote on the bill this week, though that would require an agreement among lawmakers to speed up the chamber’s time-consuming procedures.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Chinese e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma said he would step down as executive chairman of Alibaba in a year, handing over the reins to CEO Daniel Zhang.
- Mr. Ma made the announcement on his 54th birthday, saying he has “dreams to pursue” including working in education again.
- In a letter addressed to customers, shareholders and employees Mr. Ma said he would stay on the company’s board until the 2020 annual shareholders meeting.
- Mr. Zhang, 46, will assume leadership of China’s largest technology company, which spans e-commerce, cloud computing, and entertainment.
- The former accountant is credited for establishing Singles’ Day, the one-day internet shopping festival that has become an annual phenomenon in China.
Tencent Folds’Em, Shutting Another Videogame as Beijing Cracks Down
- Tencent is shutting down a poker-based online game as the government increases control on the video game industry in China.
- The tech giant said it had started to phase out “Everyday Texas Hold’Em,” a gambling game based on the poker card game, and would shut down the game server Sept. 25.
- The company in a statement said it was closing down the game because of “an adjustment in its business,” and a spokeswoman declined to elaborate.
- The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the General Administration of Press and Publication—which analysts say will likely be responsible for game approvals after a bureaucratic reshuffle—didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Aston Martin adds FTSE experience to its board ahead of IPO
- Aston Martin has lined up experienced FTSE executives to boost its board as the 105-year-old luxury carmaker presses ahead with plans to list on the London Stock Exchange.
- The company said last month it was pursuing an initial public offering (IPO), the first British carmaker to do so for decades.
- Aston, which has long said it could IPO, has undergone a turnaround plan since Palmer took over as CEO in 2014 as it boosts its volumes and builds a second factory.
- The automaker, which forecasts volumes will rise to between 6,200 and 6,400 vehicles this year, hopes to build nearly 10,000 in 2020 and follow Ferrari by using its exclusivity to appeal to investors.
Toyota says parts plant preparing to resume output after Hokkaido quake
- Toyota said on Monday its transmission factory in northern Japan was preparing to resume production sometime during the night shift after a powerful quake halted work last week.
- The shutdown of the transmissions factory in Tomakomai on the island of Hokkaido halted production at 16 of Toyota’s 18 domestic assembly plants on Monday.
- The 6.7-magnitude quake in Hokkaido last Thursday killed dozens of people and temporarily cut off power on the island.
TODAY in HISTORY
- Canada declared war on Germany, entering WWII. (1939)
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