Market Snapshot

Asia: Japan +1.1% to 18574. Hong Kong +3.6% to 21838. China +5.4% to 3084. India +2% to 26231.
Europe: London +2.3%. Paris +3%. Frankfurt +3%.
Futures: Dow +1.2%. S&P +1.1%. Nasdaq +1.4%. Crude +4.4% to $40.29. Gold +0.3% to $1127.80.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2 bps to 2.14%

Economic News

8:30 GDP Q2
8:30 Corporate Profits
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
10:00 Pending Home Sales
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
11:00 Kansas City Fed Mfg Survey
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet


Shares across the globe are skyrocketing after Wall Street cracked a six-day losing streak with its best rally in nearly four years. With momentum turning to the upside, investors seem to be covering their positions, while long-term bulls snap up perceived bargains. The rebound is also being attributed to falling expectations the Fed will soon raise interest rates. On Wednesday, NY Fed President William Dudley said a September hike seemed “less compelling” given recent global economic uncertainty.

It’s that time of year again. Monetary policymakers from around the world are gathering in Jackson Hole for the Federal Reserve’s annual powwow on economic policy. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will not be attending the conference, marking the second time in three years the Fed’s top official won’t be traveling to Wyoming. These departures from the norm greatly contrast with the dozens of times Jackson Hole served as a platform to announce new policy initiatives or explain existing ones.

Investors are getting ready for the second estimate of U.S. Q2 gross domestic product – scheduled to be published this morning at 8:30 a.m ET. Economists are forecasting a 3.2% seasonally adjusted annual rate of growth from April to June, up almost a full percentage point from the initially reported 2.3%. The announcement (which will confirm the end of Q1’s slowdown) is also garnering lots of attention as the Fed is still widely expected to raise rates sometime in 2015.

More turmoil is hitting Athens after 53 of 201 Syriza party members submitted their resignations, stating that as representatives of the Central Committee they cannot serve the country’s new austerity program. As a result, the group’s so-called Left Platform faction, led by ex-Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, has formed a new party called Popular Unity to run against Syriza in the upcoming election. Greeks will head to the ballot box on September 20 to vote for a new government for the second time in eight months.

Ukraine has agreed to a restructuring deal with creditors after five months of talks, giving President Petro Poroshenko some breathing room as he seeks to avert default and revive an economy decimated by war. The agreement will see creditors, including U.S. mutual fund Franklin Templeton, accept a 20% haircut on $18B of Ukrainian bonds and push back maturities on government debt by four years. In return they will receive a GDP-linked security that will pay holders a percentage of Ukraine’s economic growth from 2021.

Puerto Rico is planning to inject $1.5B into the island in capital expenditure over five years, as part of a turnaround plan which includes cuts to schools, its university and healthcare, El Nuevo Dia reports. The injection would come from a combination of debt restructuring, cutting $1B in operating expenses and increasing revenues by $1B. The commonwealth will likely sketch full details of the proposal soon, as it faces a Sept. 1 deadline to outline a plan for a restructuring.


CVS Health is jumping further into telehealth with a partnership that will expand patients’ remote access to doctors. Three leading telehealth companies – American Well, Teladoc and Doctor On Demand – will begin receiving referred CVS (CVS) customers, as well as referring their own customers to 150 CVS walk-in clinics, in six states by the fourth quarter. The new move also underscores CVS’s push to position itself as a broader healthcare services company, and not just medications.

Boeing has agreed to a preliminary deal to settle a long-running lawsuit accusing the company of mishandling its 401(k) plans it offered to its employees. The class-action accused Boeing (BA) of failing to uphold its fiduciary duties by allowing excessive fees to go unchecked, choosing higher-cost retail mutual funds over cheaper options, and improperly making 401(k) plan decisions to benefit vendors.

Following Netflix’s announcement that it’d come to Asia for the first time with a Japanese launch in September, Amazon (AMZN) has followed suit by saying Prime Video will be available in the country this fall. Amazon’s content lineup will also include thousands of U.S. and Japanese films, TV shows and cartoons. Japan pricing: Amazon Prime will remain at ¥3900 (about $32) a year vs. Netflix’s (NFLX) ¥650-¥1,450 (about $5.40-$12) per month.

Amazon is also curtailing work on consumer devices, following the high-profile flop of its first attempt at a smartphone, the Amazon (AMZN) Fire. The company has now dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on the phone at its Lab126 hardware center, marking the first layoffs in the unit’s 11-year history. The division’s chief technology officer for devices, Jon McCormack, left to work for Google (GOOG, GOOGL) earlier this month.

Facebook has unveiled its human-supported Siri/Google Now alternative called M, which will launch in test mode for a few hundred users in the Bay Area. Facebook’s (FB) David Marcus states M, which operates within Messenger, doesn’t merely pull up information, but also completes tasks such as purchasing items, booking restaurants, and creating appointments.

In a new effort to sidestep the declining PC market, Intel’s (INTC) venture capital arm is investing more than $60M in a Hong Kong company that sells consumer drones. Intel’s move is the latest sign that Brian Krzanich, who became CEO in May 2013, is determined to take the chipmaker beyond components for computers. “We’ve got drones on our road map that are going to truly change the world and revolutionize the drone industry,” Krzanich declared.

A bankruptcy judge has approved Corinthian Colleges’ (COCOQ) liquidation plan, which sets aside millions of dollars in debt relief for former students. Late last year, Corinthian sold off more than half its campuses following multiple probes into whether it misled investors and students about its finances and job placement rates. Corinthian abruptly closed its remaining 28 schools in April, becoming the largest failure in for-profit higher education.

Having ditched its $46B offer for Syngenta (SYT), Monsanto (MON) may look to downshift beefing up its crop protection portfolio through humbler acquisitions, partnerships and licensing agreements. “If we don’t acquire Syngenta, we’ll still be on Plan A,” Monsanto’s Michael Frank said last month. “It won’t be Syngenta. It will be somebody else, or somebodies else.” Monsanto’s $46B bid is the largest deal to be pulled since the withdrawal of Valeant’s (VRX) $54B offer for Allergan (AGN) last November.

French oil major Total has agreed to sell its gas pipeline assets in the North Sea to North Sea Midstream Partners as it battles the continuing collapse in oil prices. The deal will see the company offload its 362-kilometer Frigg U.K. Pipeline and St. Fergus Gas Terminal for £585M ($905M). Total (TOT) recently embarked on a restructuring plan – cutting investment, selling assets and boosting production – to bring its extraction costs below market prices.

A federal judge has thrown out investor lawsuits against Barclays (BCS) and a host of exchanges, dismissing claims that the bank rigged its dark pool trading venue in favor of high-frequency traders. The multi-district litigation was part of a litany of claims set off by Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Michael Lewis’s best-selling book published last year. In April, three other class-action suits against exchanges that were inspired by the book were thrown out by another judge in the Southern District of New York.

Fidelity Investments is shopping around for better terms for a very popular and highly rated cash-back credit card, as it considers dropping American Express (AXP) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) as its partners, sources told Bloomberg. Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) are reportedly being looked at as a replacement. A breakup would be the most recent blow to growth for AmEx, which is already splitting with Costco (COST) and JetBlue (JBLU) on their partner cards.

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