Market Snapshot

Asia:: Japan +0.4% to 18207. Hong Kong -0.4% to 22989. China +1.1% to 3425. India -0.2% to 27307.
Europe: London -0.4%. Paris -1%. Frankfurt -0.6%.
Futures: Dow -0.4%. S&P -0.4%. Nasdaq -0.3%. Crude -0.1% to $46.25. Gold +0.1% to $1174.30.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.04%

Economic News

8:30 Housing Starts
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:00 Fed’s Williams speech
11:00 Janet Yellen speech


Earnings reports will likely be a big driver for stocks today, after IBM’s (IBM) disappointing results reinforced concerns that the corporate profit outlook is getting murkier. “We’re getting deeper into earnings season and not watching any one company, but the cumulative effect,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery. “Everybody knows this quarter is going to be bad.” On the earnings radar this week are several more heavy tech giants. On Wednesday, eBay (EBAY) will announce results for the first time since it spun-off PayPal (PYPL), and Thursday will see Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN) and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) release Q3 reports.

Winning over 40% of the popular vote, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party sealed a victory in Canada’s general election on Monday, ousting Conservative PM Stephen Harper after almost a decade in power. Trudeau has pledged to run a C$10B annual budget deficit for three years to invest in infrastructure and help stimulate Canada’s anemic economic growth. He has also promised to repair the country’s cool relations with the Obama administration, refocus Canada’s military role against Islamic State, legalize marijuana, and tackle climate change.

The ECB’s governing council is scheduled to convene its regular monetary policy meeting in Malta later this week, but analysts are already discussing the chances of more economic stimulus. Grounds for extending QE would include inflation worries, slowing growth in China and stock market instability. On the flip slide, oil prices remain low, which is a boost for energy-importing eurozone countries, and confidence indicators remain surprisingly solid. The ECB’s current €1T bond-buying program is slated to end September 2016.

The recapitalization bill for Greece’s main banks should be lower than €20B ($22.7B), two senior bankers with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, stating that National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG), Piraeus Bank (BPIRY), Alpha Bank (ALBKY) and Eurobank (EGFEY) are currently undergoing stress tests by the ECB. PM Alexis Tsipras reiterated on Friday that the recapitalization would need to be completed by the end of the year, prior to new regulations that would require depositors to be bailed-in before eurozone rescue funds are used.
Continuing his recent world tour, China’s President Xi Jinping touched down in London last night, marking the leader’s first ever state visit to the U.K. Ministers expect more than £30B of trade and investment deals to be struck during Xi’s four-day stay, including a new nuclear pact between the two nations. The trip has been hailed by officials from both countries as the start of a “golden era” of relations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has softened its criticism of Beijing’s currency policy, citing a shift in global economic winds as well as China’s moves to allow market forces a greater role in setting the value of the yuan. In its semiannual report on currencies, the Treasury Department said the renminbi is “below its appropriate medium-term valuation,” but refrained from characterizing the yuan as “significantly undervalued,” as classified in its previous report in April.


Yum! Brands, the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, is preparing to separate its Chinese and U.S. businesses in a major restructuring of the $31B fast-food group, Bloomberg reports. The move follows calls from activist investor Keith Meister, who has suggested Yum (YUM) could boost its worth by $16/share by exiting China (an increase of about $7B in market value). Plans to break up the company are advanced and could be announced before the end of the month.

Procter & Gamble is planning to build a wind farm that will power North American plants of its fabric and home care business – a division that makes up nearly a quarter of the company’s net earnings. The initiative represents an opportunity for P&G (PG) to garner good will with the environmentally conscious consumer and establish its dedication to renewable energy. On Monday, the White House announced that 81 firms, including Procter & Gamble, had committed to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking at global technology conference WSJDLive, Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook finally gave some statistics surrounding the company’s streaming music service, stating it had 15M users, including 6.5M paying subscribers. “I’m really happy about it, and I think the runway here is really good,” Cook said, describing it as a successful debut. Other announcements: Apple plans to have 40 stores in China by the middle of 2016 and expects to start shipping the new Apple TV next week. Cook also spoke unusually frankly about the automobile industry, but declined to comment on the company’s auto ambitions.

Bloomberg has confirmed that SanDisk is in advanced sale talks with Western Digital (WDC), after reporting last week that the company was looking to sell itself to Western or Micron (MU). Negotiations are said to have “accelerated” over the weekend, and a deal could be reached as soon as this week. Western has been viewed by analysts as a smoother fit, given that it’s not currently a NAND flash manufacturer, and may need to become one to insure itself against hard drive cannibalization by SSDs.

Amazon is creating 100K seasonal jobs across its U.S. network of fulfillment and sortation centers to meet increased customer demand during the holiday season. “Following last year’s holiday season, tens of thousands of seasonal employees found regular, full-time roles with Amazon,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s (AMZN) vice president of North America operations. The company, which created 80K seasonal jobs last holiday season, has also hired over 25K full-time employees since August.

In a special stockholders meeting held yesterday, more than 99% of Humana (NYSE:HUM) shareholders voted in favor of a $37B merger with Aetna (AET), and both companies still expect the acquisition to close in the second half of 2016. The deal is part of an industry-wide consolidation following the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Big gainers yesterday: Weight Watchers (WTW) shares skyrocketed over 100% after the company got a serious taste of “The Oprah Effect.” Winfrey bought a 10% stake in the firm, or about 6.4M shares at Friday’s closing price of $6.79 a share, for a total of $43.4M. Meanwhile, Nike (NKE) shares soared to an all-time high during the session, after a report from Evercore ISI called the athletic wear company “the next mega-cap juggernaut”, and raised the company’s price target to $200 from $150.

Manhattan’s giant Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village apartment complex is likely to get nabbed by Blackstone (BX) for around $5.3B, WSJ reports. The deal would put the city’s biggest apartment complex in the hands of the world’s largest private equity firm, and end five years of squabbling and litigation that have held up a sale of the property. The properties house 30K people in 11.2K units over 80 acres of land.

U.S. regulators could expand their investigation into Takata (TKTDY) air bag inflators beyond 11 automakers, as questions arise whether vehicle design played a role in the defective devices. On Thursday, the NHTSA also expects to make a case that it should coordinate the Takata recall to ensure that an estimated 23.4M inflators installed in 19.2M U.S. vehicles are properly replaced.

The board at United Continental has settled its governance issue by naming Brett Hart its acting CEO, and announcing that CEO Oscar Munoz is on medical leave following his recent heart attack. “At this time, it is too soon to know the course of treatment and timing of recovery,” the company said in a statement. Hart, United’s (UAL) general counsel, takes the interim post immediately.

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