Wall Street Breakfast: Jobs Report Overshadowed By Tech Tensions


What’s the scope?

It’s still unknown how far President Trump’s executive action will go, but U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is set to identify transactions covered by the order. Tencent has many prominent investments, including in Snap (NYSE:SNAP), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) – via Tencent Music Entertainment (NYSE:TME). Tencent also bought a 5% stake in Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) back in 2017, and CEO Elon Musk has called the company an “investor and adviser.” In premarket trade, Tencent ADRs are unchanged (shares tumbled 5% in Hong Kong), while Tencent Music is down 4.1%.

Stimulus impasse

A three-hour meeting Thursday evening between White House officials and Democratic leaders yielded little progress on a virus relief package, bringing the talks to the brink of collapse. It’s unclear whether the two sides will resume negotiations today, meaning President Trump would likely rely on executive actions. “The one thing the President can do is extend the moratorium and that would be a good thing if there’s money to go with it and that’s what we keep telling them,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared, adding that he “can’t move that much money” without congressional approval.

Jobs report ahead

While the stock market is coming off of five consecutive days of gains, U.S. futures fell 0.5% overnight. Prior to the dip, this week’s gains in the S&P 500 pushed the benchmark just 1.3% below its Feb. 19 record, while the Nasdaq closed above 11,000 for the first time on Thursday. Jobs is another area of focus for investors this morning. Estimates for the non-farm payrolls report are all over the place, with consensus coming in at 1.6M jobs created in July, after a 4.8M increase in June. The U.S. unemployment rate is forecast at 10.5%, from 11.1% last month.

Tariffs

“Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual,” President Trump announced after imposing tariffs of 10% of Canadian aluminum. “Very unfair to our jobs and our great aluminum workers.” The new tariffs only apply to a certain category of aluminum non-alloyed unwrought aluminum, which refers to unfinished ingots and slabs of aluminum that are then heated and rolled into different products like sheet or shapes of aluminum. The friction comes a little over a month after the implementation of the new USMCA trade agreement and Ottawa said it would retaliate with proportional levies.

More executive orders

“We will bring our pharmaceutical and medical supply chains home – we’re going to bring them home where they belong – and we will end reliance on China,” President Trump said after unveiling an action on domestic drug production. “We’ll be making our product here – safely, beautifully and inexpensively. We’re reasserting American economic independence.” The executive order will help increase production of essential medicines, medical equipment and protective gear in the U.S., according to trade adviser Peter Navarro. “If we’ve learned anything from the China virus pandemic… we are dangerously overdependent on foreign nations.”

Virtual fans next?

67 NFL players have opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, with athletes only allowed to withdraw if “a close family member gets seriously sick with COVID or if they themselves are newly diagnosed with a high-risk condition.” Team hit the hardest? The New England Patriots. A grand total of eight players will not be playing in the fall, and that is after Tom Brady took his talent to Tampa. At the NCAA level, UConn became the first major college football team to abandon its 2020 season outright, and the prospect of more cancellations could ding U.S. broadcasters like ABC/ESPN (NYSE:DIS), CBS (NASDAQ:VIAC), NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA).

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