Musk goes public about going private

Calls for a negative open come in spite of a positive close on Wall St, the S&P 500 within 1% of fresh record highs, as strong earnings, gains for Energy and a Tesla-inspired Tech jump offset trade concerns.

Musk goes public about going private

FTSE 100 Index called to open -10pts at 7709, back near the floor of a 5-day rising channel towards end-July highs. Bulls need a break above overnight highs of 7735. Bears require a breach of rising support around 7700. Watch levels: Bullish 7735, Bearish 7700

Calls for a negative open come in spite of a positive close on Wall St, the S&P 500 within 1% of fresh record highs, as strong earnings, gains for Energy and a Tesla-inspired Tech jump offset trade concerns. The US decision to begin collecting 25% tariffs on Chinese goods on 23 August (and announced another $16bn) has kept Chinese stocks under pressure although the rest of Asia has largely shrugged it off.

China trade data showed stronger growth in both exports and imports, notably the latter, suggesting strong consumption both domestically and internationally. In combination with USD off its highs, this helped dual-listed FTSE Miners (BHP, RIO) higher by almost 1% in Australia overnight, while Brent Crude Oil prices (after API inventories) holding near August highs could be a boon for FTSE heavyweight Energy (oil majors strong in US).

In corporate news this morning Paddy Power Betfair H1 revs +5% (+7% ex-FX moves), Q2 +13% after flat Q1; Online +13%, underlying EBITDA -1% (+1% ex-FX), pre-tax +4%, div +3%; Trims FY underlying EBITDA guidance by 2-3% (pre-US sports betting) on recent trading momentum, extra Australia tax + Fanduel losses. Starts pre-announced £500m buyback with £200m initial tranche.

Glencore H1 adj. EBITDA of $8.27B and EBIT of $5.1B at the lower end of consensus; Marketing EBIT in-line, Industrial light; net debt at the upper end of consensus; cash generation +8%; 10c div flat; volatile but favorable trading and commodity price environment. Agric to improve in H2.

21st Century Fox posts 1400p/share offer document for Sky, acquisition conditional on 75% acceptance (excl. shares held by Fox); 22 Sept. deadline for any revised offer. Quilter (Old Mutual Asset Management) swings to 1H pre-tax profit.

Bellway FY revenues +16% YoY, operating margin -30bp, reservations +7%, forward order book +0.3%; expects “more moderate” growth in the year ahead; the benefit of house price gains offsetting costs beginning to abate. PageGroup H1 revenue +12% YoY, pre-tax profit +18%, interim dividend +5.1%.

Peer Insurers may react to Hastings H1 pre-tax profits +26% on net revenues +9% (policies +6%, gross premiums +5%, market share +50bp); div +10%; well positioned to meet 2019 targets despite competitive market and claims inflation.

Morgan Sindall sees 2018 results ahead of consensus after H1 pre-tax profits rise; div +19%. Spirax-Sarco Engineering H1 revenues +28% (+7% organic), adj. operating profits +24% (+15% organic), pre-tax +22%, dividend +14%. British Airways owner IAG may be sensitive to Cathay Pacific shares falling to an eight-month low after posting an H1 loss.

Note Prudential reports at 9.30am.

In focus today, bereft of market-moving data, will be US Crude Oil Inventories (3:30pm), expected to show a 2.8m drawdown, confirming last night’s API report (surprise 6m drawdown). With Iranian oil exports -7% in July, for a third consecutive month of declines, and after the US decision to impose further sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, this would yet further evidence of a tight global oil market which could move both barrel prices and FTSE Energy names.

The sole speaker of the day is Richmond Fed President Barkin (1:45pm, voter, centrist) scheduled to speak before local business and community leaders about “Unlocking your potential”, followed by an audience and media Q&A sessions.

We have a few more US companies reporting Earnings/Sales this afternoon, the most prominent being Costco (July sales), CVS Health and 21st Century Fox. Watch Sky shares for any read-across from owner Fox, given the current 3-way M&A situation with Comcast and Walt Disney the latter which reported last night, undershooting Q3 sales and profits forecasts.

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