Here are five things you must know for Friday, September 10:
1. -- Stock Futures Higher As Biden/Xi Call Boosts Sentiment
Wall Street futures traded higher Friday, following on from solid gains in Asia and Europe, as news of a 90-minute call between President Joe Biden and China's Xi Jinping provided a late-week boost to market sentiment.
The call, the first between the two world leaders in seven months, was described by the White House as a 'broad, strategic' discussion aimed at bridging difference on climate, trade and regional security between the world's two biggest economies.
Asia shares got a boost from news of the talks, with the positive sentiment flowing through into a European session that was still navigating yesterday's tapering decision from the ECB and news showing that the ongoing spread of Delta variant coronavirus infections lead to the slowest monthly economic growth in the UK since the January lockdowns.
On Wall Street, stock futures suggest solid opening bell gains on the final trading day of the week, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicating a 185 point boost and those linked to the S&P 500 priced for a 20 point advance.
Nasdaq Composite futures are set for a more modest 55 point gain, but pre-market advances for big tech names such as Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report and Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report suggest stronger moves as the session advances.
Oil prices were also active in overnight trading, with WTI futures for October delivery rising $1.16 to $69.30 per barrel, thanks in part to both a bullish read from the Biden/Xi phone call and the ongoing impact of Hurricane on production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.
2. -- Biden and Xi Hold First Phone Call in Seven Months
U.S. President Joe Biden and China President Xi Jinping held a surprise 90-minute phone call late Thursday that White House officials hoped would "underscore the United States' enduring interest in peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific."
The first call between the two leaders in seven months, however, only underscores the frosty relations that have developed between the world's two biggest economies, each of which has accused the other of breaking unwritten agreements on trade, climate change and regional security.
"The two leaders discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict," the White House added in a statement following the call, while state-backed media in China said the pair should "show strategic courage and insight, and political boldness, and push Sino-U.S. relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible."
3. -- Toyota Cuts Production Forecasts As Chip Shortage, COVID Bites
Toyota Motor Co. (TM) - Get Toyota Motor Corp. Sponsored ADR Report, the world's biggest carmaker, cut its 2022 production forecasts Friday amid what it called the twin headwinds of rising coronavirus infections in Asia and the ongoing shortage in global semiconductors.
Toyota said it would produce around 9 million cars this year, down from its prior forecast of 9.3 million, as COVID-related shutdowns in assembly hubs based in Vietnam and Malaysia added to prior concerns linked to a lack of car-specific chips.
The decision follows a series of shutdowns and supply-chain warnings from automakers in the U.S. and Europe, while data from China -- the world's biggest car market -- showed that August sales slumped 17.8% from last year as the chip shortage left fewer vehicles available for delivery.
4. -- Harvard Exits Fossil Fuel Investments
Harvard University said late Thursday that its $42 billion endowment fund will no longer invest in fossil fuels.
In a letter posted on the university website, Harvard Management Co. President Larry Bacow said the fund "has no direct investments in companies that explore for or develop further reserves of fossil fuels" and "does not intend to make such investments in the future."
"Given the need to decarbonize the economy and our responsibility as fiduciaries to make long-term investment decisions that support our teaching and research mission, we do not believe such investments are prudent," the statement added.
Harvard joins a expanding list of major investment groups -- including the powerful Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund -- that have pledged to avoid direct investments in the fossil fuel industry.
5. -- Uber Eats, Grubhub DoorDash
Grubhub, DoorDash (DASH) - Get DoorDash Report and Uber Eats (UBER) - Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report joined forces late Thursday to file a lawsuit against the city of New York over its move to cap the fees food delivery companies can charge restaurants to use their tech platforms.
The New York Council approved the legislation in August, which permanently caps fees at 15% for food orders and 5% for advertising and non-delivery services, following outcry from a restaurant industry hammered by the coronavirus pandemic in America's biggest city.
"Permanent price controls will harm not only Plaintiffs, but also the revitalization of the very local restaurants that the City claims to serve," the companies said, arguing the caps interfere with "freely negotiated contracts between platforms and restaurants by changing and dictating the economic terms on which a dynamic industry operates".