Markets are getting some more relief as the PBOC set its official midpoint reference for the yuan at 6.9996 on Wednesday, weaker than the 6.9683 set Tuesday but still stronger than the key 7 per dollar level. Dow and S&P 500 futures are up 0.4% on the news, while the Nasdaq points to a rise of 0.7%, as President Trump further dismissed fears of a protracted trade war with China. A downbeat session was seen in Asia overnight, although European gains were led by Germany, where the DAX climbed 1.5% boosted by a $3.9B chemical deal from Bayer (OTCPK:BAYRY) and Lanxess (OTCPK:LNXSF).
China is expected to start avoiding U.S. crude oil imports as trade tensions ratchet up, according to traders and analysts, ensnaring a key commodity that has largely escaped the tit-for-tat trade war. The U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to take the top energy producer spot last year, while Beijing became the world’s largest oil buyer in 2017. Tariffs have already seen the U.S. collect $63B from China in the 12 months through June, according to new U.S. Treasury data, and that bounty is set to rise.
Go deeper: ‘Getting Past The Headlines For Gold And Energy’ by SA Marketplace.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) shares dropped as much as 5.8% after heavily missing expectations with fiscal Q3 earnings despite revenues that grew by a third (including Hulu and Fox). Shares then pared some losses during a conference call with CEO Bob Iger. He nodded to the heavy investment going into the Mouse House’s nascent direct-to-consumer business, but said that a three-service bundle of Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu would come at $12.99/month, notably undercutting Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) pricing.
Go deeper: Latest analysis on Disney.
New Zealand’s central bank is the latest to reduce interest rates as the country faces sluggish growth conditions due to simmering trade tensions and a global economic slowdown. A 50 basis point cut to 1.50% caught markets off guard, prompting the Kiwi to plunge as much as 2.1% against the U.S. dollar, its lowest level since January 2016. More easing? The Reserve Bank of India also cut interest rates overnight for a fourth straight meeting, reducing its repo rate by 35 basis points to 5.40%.
The Brexit political standoff is deepening less than three months before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union. Michael Gove, the minister in charge of planning for a no-deal departure, is blaming the bloc for “refusing to negotiate and failing to engage on a new agreement.” It comes after the EU said British demands to remove the Irish backstop from Theresa May’s deal were unacceptable.
Go deeper: Historical performance of Invesco’s Sterling ETF.
As part of a wide-ranging cost management program it undertook late last year, Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) plans to close 200 U.S. stores and record $1.9B-$2.4B in related pre-tax charges. It follows a disclosure by the drugstore chain in May that it would shutter 200 stores in the U.K. Walgreens expects minimal disruption to customers and patients due to the closings, but anticipates annual cost savings of at least $1.5B by 2022.
Go deeper: Picking Through Pharma Pressures, With Ed Silverman (Podcast).
Commercial Aircraft Corp of China now expects to obtain Chinese certification for its C919 jet in 2021. It originally aimed to obtain the approval by the end of 2020, but analysts had considered the target ambitious given the test planes have flown relatively few hours since the first C919 flew in 2017. China’s first national passenger jet aims to challenge the dominance of Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) 737 and Airbus’s (OTCPK:EADSY) A320, bringing the Asian nation a step closer to its goal of becoming a global civil aerospace player.
Go deeper: ‘Boeing Sinks As Trade War Escalates’ by Dhierin Bechai.
What else is happening…
Allergan (NYSE:AGN) -0.7% despite Q2 beat, guidance boost.
Bausch Health (NYSE:BHC) -3.2% missing EPS forecasts.
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) -10.9% on wider Q2 loss.
Disney (DIS) -3.3% AH as Q3 growth fell short.
Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) +0.3% AH raising production view.
Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) +2.3% on higher base rates.
Regeneron Pharma (NASDAQ:REGN) +0.2% beating Q2 consensus.