Here are five things you must know for Monday, Aug. 13:
1. -- Stocks Fall as Turkey Crisis Escalates
U.S. stock futures fell on Monday, Aug. 13, and global stocks extended declines as Turkey's economic crisis escalated.
The plunge in Turkey's lira - which fell 18% to a record low on Friday - lurched lower again overnight following weekend comments from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who called the currency's decline a "plot" designed to weaken the government and the state. The lira traded as low as 7.24 against the U.S. dollar, a fresh all-time low, before paring that decline to around 6.98 after the central bank announced liquidity measures and rule changes it said would free up around $10 billion within the country's banking system.
The contagion spilled over into the euro, hammered emerging market currencies around the world and drove investors into safe-haven assets such as the yen and the U.S. dollar.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average I:DJI fell 102 points, futures for the S&P 500 I:GSPC were down 9.80 points, and Nasdaq I:IXIC futures were off 30.75 points. U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Friday, Aug. 10, amid concerns over the ongoing slide of the Turkish lira.
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2. -- Saudi Arabia Looks to Invest in Tesla
The Saudi Kingdom's Public Investment Fund recently built a stake of just under 5% in the electric carmaker and has been exploring how it can be involved in any potential deal, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the fund's plans.
Tesla's board will be meeting this week with bankers to evaluate Elon Musk's proposal to take Tesla private at $420 a share. In premarket trading on Monday, the stock was down slightly to $355 a share.
Musk last week tweeted he was considering taking Tesla private and that had had secured funding for the transaction.
3. -- Bayer Plunges After Monsanto Loses Cancer Trial
Bayer AG (BAYRY) shares fell the most in 15 years on Monday after a California jury said the company must pay $289 million in damages to a man who contracted cancer from a weedkiller manufactured by its Monsanto subsidiary.
Attorneys for Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who worked for the San Francisco school district, argued that Monsanto's "Roundup" and "Ranger Pro" weedkillers didn't carry sufficient warnings for the risks of cancer they carried. Jurors at San Francisco's Superior Court of California awarded Johnson $39 million compensatory damages and a further $250 million in punitive damages in a case that could spark thousands of similar suits and verdicts around the country.
Monsanto, which is now a subsidiary of Bayer following last year's $63 billion acquisition, said the verdict "does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews ... support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer" and vowed to appeal.
4. -- Elliott to Push Nielsen Holdings to Sell
Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. has taken a large stake in Nielsen Holdings PLC (NLSN) - Get Report and plans to push the TV-ratings company to sell itself, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Elliott, the New York hedge fund, owns more than 8% of Nielsen, worth at least $640 million. Elliott could unveil the new effort as soon as Monday, the Journal reported.
Multiple private-equity firms already have expressed interest in Nielsen, the people said.
Nielsen has been hurt by a rapidly changing retail environment. The company has a market value of almost $8 billion and is the S&P 500's third-worst performer in 2018, the Journal noted, with its shares down around 40% so far this year.
Nielsen shares rose 9% in premarket trading to $24.
5. -- Google Embarks on China Expansion
As part of a project dubbed "Dragonfly," Google has begun testing a mobile version of its search engine that would adhere to China's strict censors, people familiar with the matter said. To convince the Chinese government to allow such a move, Google can point to how it provides tools and support to a growing number of app developers, manufacturers and advertisers in the region as examples of how the company contributes to economic growth, according to the Journal.