Morning Brief: Top Brexit official quits, replacement appointed

Monday, July 9, 2018

What to watch today

Second quarter earnings season will begin to ramp up and economic data reflecting a broader picture of the economy in May and June will roll in. How trade did or did not effect the economy in the rearview will be tracked by the investors closely, but with Trump’s trade war appearing to be picking up steam rather than winding down, the months ahead will be full of uncertainty.

Turning to the calendar for the week ahead, on the economics side the biggest report of the week will be Thursday’s reading on consumer prices. This report should show that when stripping out the cost of food and energy, consumer prices were up 2.3% against last year in June, above the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

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Top news

REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

UK’s top Brexit official quits, replacement appointed: Britain’s prime minister on Monday appointed Dominic Raab, a staunchly pro-Brexit lawmaker, to replace David Davis as the most senior official in charge of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union. Davis quit late Sunday, saying he could not support May’s plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the EU, commonly known as a “soft Brexit,” after the departure takes place next year. [AP]

Stock buybacks are booming, but share prices aren’t: U.S. companies are buying back record amounts of stock this year, but their shares aren’t getting the boost they bargained for. S&P 500 companies are on track to repurchase as much as $800 billion in stock this year, a record that would eclipse 2007’s buyback bonanza. Among the biggest buyers are companies like Oracle Corp. (ORCL), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) [The Wall Street Journal]

China’s Tencent plans US listing for music armTencent, China’s most valuable tech company and the operator of the popular WeChat social media platform, says it plans to spin off its streaming music service on a U.S. stock exchange. [AP]

Xiaomi’s weak debut portends trouble for imminent Hong Kong tech listings: Xiaomi Corp.’s shares fell as much as 6% in their Hong Kong debut on concerns over the Chinese smartphone maker’s valuation, in an ominous sign for its technology sector peers who have lined up listings in the city. The share performance of Xiaomi is a key test of investor sentiment for what is expected to be a packed initial public offering (IPO) calendar in the coming months. [Reuters]

Kavanaugh has ‘slight’ edge, one scholar says: Judge Brett Kavanaugh has a “slight” advantage in the race to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to John Malcolm, a conservative legal scholar who helped shape President Trump’s list of possible justices. “He is highly regarded by judges across the country,” said Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation.  Other finalists are said to be appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman. Trump said he’ll announce his selection Monday at 9 p.m. ET. [Bloomberg]

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Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Thailand’s interior minister said the same divers who took part in Sunday’s rescue of four boys trapped in the flooded cave will also conduct the next operation as they know the cave conditions and what to do. (Royal Thai Navy via AP)

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