Opening Bell: 9.19.18

China does the rope-a-dope; Theresa May still trying to make a Brexit deal; Danske boss takes a powder; Man rubs produce on his butt; and more!
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‘Safety’ Stocks Drive Autumn Market Rally [WSJ]
This month, the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 include firms focusing on telecommunications services, consumer staples and utilities—so-called safe sectors whose steady dividend payouts have long made them investor favorites when markets are volatile or declining. These shares typically lag behind major indexes during rallies, in part because they are perceived to offer limited potential gains. But in September, telecom shares are up 3.1%, consumer staples are up 1.5% and utilities are up 1.5%, versus a 0.1% increase in the S&P 500.

PeachEmoji

China's second-in-command: We're facing 'greater difficulties' in keeping economy stable [CNBC]
"China is confronted with a host of difficulties and challenges in economic development," Li acknowledged during an address speaking at a World Economic Forum conference in Tianjin, China.
"Deeply integrated into the world economy, the Chinese economy is inevitably affected by notable changes in the global economic and trade context," he said. "Indeed, we're facing greater difficulties in keeping stable performance of the Chinese economy."

Theresa May to reject ‘improved’ EU offer on Irish border [The Times]
The EU’s chief negotiator said yesterday that the EU was preparing to table a new “backstop” proposal that he hoped the government would be able to support.
He said the new plan would not involve customs checks in the Irish Sea and would respect the “territorial integrity of the UK”.
But a senior government source said that Mr Barnier had still not dropped his insistence that Northern Ireland be treated as a separate customs jurisdiction from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Danske Bank boss resigns after $234 billion money laundering inquiry [Reuters]
“It is clear that Danske Bank has failed to live up to its responsibility in the case of possible money laundering in Estonia. I deeply regret this,” Borgen said in a statement which detailed failings in compliance, communication and controls.
Regulators and the financial community will scrutinize the Danske Bank report, which follows calls by Brussels for a new European Union watchdog to crack down on financial crime following a series of major money laundering scandals.
Danske Bank said its investigation had concluded that Borgen, Chairman Ole Andersen and the board of directors “did not breach their legal obligations toward Danske Bank”, adding that it had taken action against some staff.

Tesla Criminal Probe Into Musk Tweet Seen Opening Pandora’s Box [Bloomberg]
The investigation is in its very early stages and where it leads is anyone’s guess. Many securities fraud probes over the years have started with a bang like the one that knocked as much as 6.6 percent off Tesla’s shares with Bloomberg’s report of the probe on Tuesday.
Some of those are flash news reports that trickle off without charges. At the other extreme are companies like Theranos Inc., which pumped up its valuation with what the government said were false promises, leading to charges against founder Elizabeth Holmes and another senior executive.

Police: Man Rubbed Produce On Bare Behind-Then Put It Back [CBS Philly]
News outlets report 27-year-old Michael Dwayne Johnson, of Manassas, is charged with indecent exposure and destruction of property. A Manassas police release says an employee on Saturday noticed Johnson grabbing produce, pulling down his pants and rubbing the produce on his behind before putting it back.
It says the store had to destroy several pallets of produce because of Johnson’s actions. A police spokeswoman says the report lists fruit as the ruined produce. Authorities have not released a motive.

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