Wall Street Breakfast: Germany Teeters On Brink Of Recession

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Factory activity in Germany is slowing to levels last seen during the global financial crisis as the country’s manufacturing PMI tumbled to 41.4 in September, from 43.5 the previous month. “The numbers are simply awful. All the uncertainty around trade wars, the outlook for the car industry and Brexit are paralyzing order books,” said IHS Markit’s principal economist Phil Smith. On its current trajectory, the German economy might not see any growth before the end of 2019, meaning a recession is around the corner. Benchmark 10-year German bund yields slipped 3 bps to -0.55% on the news, while the euro fell 0.4% to $1.0974.

Trade clarity needed

The Shanghai Composite started the week down 1%, while Wall Street futures didn’t register much movement, as Chinese trade officials cut short their trip to the U.S. on Friday, but described the discussions as “constructive.” Things are more gloomy in Europe, with Germany’s DAX off 1.4%, as manufacturing activity data deepened investors’ fears about a coming recession. Meanwhile, Mideast tensions saw WTI crude futures rise nearly 1% overnight to $58.66/bbl after the Pentagon deployed additional troops to the Gulf to strengthen Saudi air and missile defenses.

Repo madness extended to Oct. 10

The New York Federal Reserve will offer up to $75B a day in repurchase agreements over the next three weeks in an effort to prevent a spike in short-term interest rates. In addition, it will offer three 14-day “repo” operations of at least $30B each. Banks have struggled in recent days to find the cash needed to meet reserve requirements, though Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week downplayed concerns, saying it was not a sign of problems in the wider economy or a concern for monetary policy.
Go deeper: David Haggith breaks down the repo mayhem.

World’s oldest travel firm goes bust

Britain’s Thomas Cook (OTCPK:TCKGY) collapsed overnight, stranding hundreds of thousands of vacationers around the globe and sparking the largest peacetime repatriation effort in British history. What happened? Crippled by its £1.7B of debt, the company – which dates back to 1841 – has been hit by online competition, a changing travel market, higher fuel prices and uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The news also sent rival travel operator TUI (OTCPK:TUIFY) shares up nearly 8% in London, while low-cost carrier easyJet rose 5%.

HBO wins big at Emmys

Following a historic tie in 2018, HBO held off Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) in this year’s Emmy race, taking home 34 trophies including best drama series for the final season of Game of Thrones. Netflix in turn scored 27 awards, while Amazon Prime Video (NASDAQ:AMZN) finished the night with an overall tally of 15. HBO’s new bragging rights is welcome news for parent AT&T (NYSE:T), a telecom and media conglomerate that is under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to improve its business.

Helping bitcoin go mainstream

The owner of the NYSE, Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), launched its long-delayed market for bitcoin futures Sunday evening, challenging its longtime rival, CME Group (NASDAQ:CME), which introduced its own bitcoin futures in December 2017. Trading began just after 8 p.m. ET, with the first trade recorded at $10,115.00, in line with the price of bitcoin. The new futures are part of a venture called Bakkt, whose ultimate goal is to make cryptos sufficiently transparent and regulated for individuals to use in retail purchases.
Go deeper: Check out SA articles on crypto.

SoftBank turns against WeWork CEO

It’s morphing into one of corporate America’s most high-profile boardroom dramas. Several We Company (WE) directors are deliberating how to replace Adam Neumann as CEO after the business postponed its IPO last week, following pushback from prospective investors. That was a blow for major shareholder SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), which was hoping the WeWork IPO would bolster profits as it seeks to woo investors for its second $108B Vision Fund. Neumann could become We’s non-executive chairman, or interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.
Go deeper: Scott Galloway takes lessons away from the We story.

Defending Musk pay package

Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) board of directors must stand trial to defend CEO Elon Musk’s multibillion dollar pay package, according to a ruling from a Delaware judge, after a shareholder suit alleged corporate waste and unjust enrichment. Tesla valued the package at $2.6B on its 2018 proxy statement, but if its market value ballooned, as the plan predicted, those stock awards could be worth nearly $56B. The company – which has yet to post an annual profit – did not meet any of its performance milestones last year, so Musk received no compensation.

Disney walked away from Twitter

In his new memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime, Disney (NYSE:DIS) CEO Bob Iger reveals he had considered buying Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), calling it a “compelling” way to reach consumers. The deal never went through, however, and Disney instead purchased a majority stake in sports streaming site BAMTech. “The troubles were greater than I wanted to take on, greater than I thought it was responsible for us to take on,” he told the NYT. “There were Disney brand issues, the whole impact of technology on society. The nastiness is extraordinary.”
Go deeper: Compare Twitter with its peers.

U.N. climate summit

Almost 90 big companies in sectors ranging from food and cement to telecom and healthcare are pledging to slash their greenhouse gas emissions ahead of a United Nations summit taking place today. Some firms in the We Mean Business coalition have even agreed to slash their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, including Nestle (OTCPK:NSRGY), Saint-Gobain (OTCPK:CODYY) and L’Oreal (OTCPK:LRLCY). Others, like Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Danone (OTCQX:DANOY) and AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), have aligned their operations to the 2015 Paris Agreement, with a goal of limiting the increase in average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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