Wall Street Breakfast: Florida Prepares For Dorian Disaster

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Hurricane Dorian is strengthening and is forecast to hit Florida as a Category 4 storm during the busy Labor Day weekend, becoming the first major hurricane to hit the area in 15 years. American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and Southwest (NYSE:LUV) are allowing travelers to change their Florida flights without fees ahead of the storm, potentially weighing on the carriers which have weathered a difficult summer. Some of the nation’s largest investor-owned hospitals are also gathering supplies in preparation, including Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC), HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA) and Universal Health Services (NYSE:UHS). There’s additional concern for insurers and orange juice farmers, while the oil industry watches if the storm will pass into the Gulf of Mexico.

Futures add to gains

Stocks across the globe mostly gained at the end of a week marked by renewed sentiment surrounding U.S.-China trade relations despite impending new tariffs. U.S. stock index futures are riding the optimism, ahead by 0.6%, following yesterday’s strong session that saw the Dow close up 326 points. Weak German retail sales for July also reinforced expectations for a strong stimulus package from the ECB, while President Trump said that some trade discussions had taken place on Thursday, with more scheduled over the coming weeks.

S&P calls ‘default’ in Argentina

Argentina’s decision to “unilaterally” extend maturities on its short-term debt constitutes a “default,” according to Standard & Poor’s, which slashed the country’s long-term foreign and local currency issue ratings to CCC – “vulnerable to nonpayment.” The downgrade came after Argentine bond prices fell and country risk soared to levels not seen since 2005 on Thursday amid fears of a full-blown financial crisis.
Go deeper: ETF Global comments on deteriorating situation of Argentinian ETFs.

Brexit talks intensify

Boris Johnson’s Brexit team will meet with EU officials at least twice a week in September to break the current impasse, although both sides appeared to play down the chance of an imminent breakthrough. Ahead of the showdown, Scottish Judge Raymond Doherty refused to block Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament, dealing a blow to lawmakers who argued that there isn’t enough time to thwart a no-deal Brexit.

World’s largest IPO

Saudi Aramco (ARMCO) is considering Tokyo – instead of previous favorites London and Hong Kong – as the international destination to list its shares, sources told WSJ. The IPO will take place over two stages: A flotation on the Saudi stock exchange later this year, followed by an international listing in 2020 or 2021. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has pushed for an IPO in New York as a way to deepen Saudi ties with President Trump, but Aramco Chairman Khalid al-Falih has opposed the U.S. option due to concerns that Saudi assets could be targeted by terrorism-related lawsuits.
Go deeper: Will the Aramco IPO depend on $70 oil?

Ethanol relief

Ethanol producers traded mostly higher on Thursday after President Trump said he was planning a “giant package” that would please U.S. farmers angry that many more oil refiners have been granted waivers from using E-15 fuel. That triggered a response from several major refiners, urging the president not to move forward with proposed fixes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. They argue it’s “simply untrue” that ethanol demand has been undermined by EPA waivers exempting some small refineries from biofuel-blending requirements.
Go deeper: See related tickers PEIX, REGI, GPRE and ADM.

Ready for the iPhone 11

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has sent out invitations for its next big product launch, set to take place on Sept. 10 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Tough sell? Apple isn’t expected to change the basic design of the iPhone 11, making it the first time the device had the same look for three years in a row. Media reports suggest the company will announce three new iPhones, including a successor to the cheaper iPhone XR as well as two “pro” upgrades to the XS and XS Max.
Go deeper: Latest analysis on Apple.

Huawei criminal charges?

Apple (AAPL) isn’t the only one launching a phone in the coming weeks. Huawei is pushing ahead with its flagship Mate 30, with or without Google (GOOG, GOOGL) services (due to a possible blacklist), which will be able to connect to 5G mobile networks. The device will be showcased in Munich on Sept. 19. U.S. prosecutors are also reportedly looking into additional instances of alleged technology theft by Huawei, potentially expanding beyond existing criminal cases against the Chinese tech giant.

Contractor fight

Fighting a California bill that could force them to reclassify their drivers as employees, Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) and DoorDash (DOORD) have pledged $90M to a California ballot initiative for the 2020 election. The measure would see California drivers receive more protections and benefits, while maintaining their status as independent contractors. They include a minimum earnings of $21 per booked hour, injured worker protection, and paid sick leave and paid family leave for those who drive a minimum of 20 hours per week.
Go deeper: Compare Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT) side by side.

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