Opening Bell 7.26.18

Trump tariff talks; Facebook selloff; Free press questions and more!
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Carmakers Surge After Trump Agrees to Put Car Tariffs on Hold [Bloomberg]

European carmakers climbed after President Donald Trump backed off his threat to levy tariffs on cars imported to the U.S. during a meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, averting for the time being an escalating trade war.

Shares of BMW AG, Volkswagen AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Daimler AG jumped on Thursday following a pledge from the two leaders to “hold off on other tariffs” while they negotiate a deal to expand European imports of U.S. liquefied natural gas and soybeans and lower industrial levies. Germany’s VDA auto industry association called the meeting “a big step forward” and “good news for industry and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Facebook’s Record Selloff Drags Down Other Tech Stocks [Bloomberg]

Most of Wall Street expected Facebook to show little signs of the turmoil the company had faced from public scrutiny over privacy issues in the second quarter. Of the 48 analysts covering the company, only two recommended selling the stock ahead of the earnings report, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Facebook’s selloff in extended trading on Wednesday, which settled at 20 percent, would be the biggest drop ever on a closing basis if sustained Thursday. The Menlo Park, California-based company’s market capitalization is on track to drop by about $126 billion, more than three times the value of Ford Motor Co.

Qualcomm ends $44 billion NXP bid after failing to win China approval [Reuters]

The world’s biggest smartphone-chip maker and NXP confirmed in separate statements on Thursday the deal, which would have been the biggest semiconductor takeover globally, had been terminated.

The collapse of the deal is likely to aggravate tensions between Washington and Beijing, damage China’s image as an antitrust regulator and discourage deals that need Chinese approval to go through, sources have said.

Gold slips, remains near lowest levels in a year [MarketWatch]

Gold futures dipped into the red Thursday, continuing the choppy, mostly dollar-driven trading that has kept the precious metal pinned near 2018 lows.

The dollar’s direction, and thus, gold’s, was expected to be impacted in the very near term by European Central Bank commentary on monetary policy Thursday.

Gold for August delivery on Comex GCQ8, -0.29% fell $4.10, or 0.3%, at $1,227.70 an ounce. Prices had settled at $1,224 as recently as Thursday, the lowest for a most-active contract in about a year. September silver SIU8, -0.19%fell 2 cents, or 0.1%, to $15.565 an ounce.

The ECB isn’t expected to make waves after saying in June said it would wind down asset purchases by the end of this year and suggested then that rate hikes won’t take place until late in 2019, a stand that has held back the euro to the benefit of the dollar. The ECB’s statement is due at 7:45 a.m. Eastern U.S. time, followed by Mario Draghi’s press conference at 1:30 p.m. London time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

White House on banning CNN reporter from event: 'We support a free press' [The Hill]

The White House on Wednesday pushed back on reports that it banned CNN from a press event, saying it supports "a free press."

According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House banned a specific reporter because it expects "everyone to be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House.”

“At the conclusion of a press event in the Oval Office a reporter shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so,” Sanders said in a statement.

“Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event, but made clear that any other journalist from her network could attend,” Sanders continued.

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