Here are five things you must know for Monday, Aug. 5:
1. -- Stock Futures Sink as China Hits Back at Trump's Tariffs
U.S. stock futures were sliding Monday, following sharp declines in Asia, as China hit back at Donald Trump's move to accelerate tariffs on China-made goods by allowing the yuan to slip to the lowest levels against the dollar in more than a decade.
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, let the so-called on-shore yuan fall past the psychologically important threshold of 7 in early Monday trading, citing in a statement "unilateralism and protectionism,' as well as the expectation of additional tariffs from the United States. The breach through 7, the first since May 2008, weakens the Chinese currency in international markets and theoretically makes exports more attractive by offsetting the impact of tariffs.
China's decision to allow the yuan to weaken to such a degree, while simultaneously instructing state-owned companies to suspend purchases of U.S. agricultural products, rattled markets as investors braced for a reaction from the White House that could trigger even more protectionist measures on trade between the world's two biggest economies.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 336 points, futures for the S&P 500 slid 39.65 points, and Nasdaq futures sank 131.50 points.
Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields fell to a three-year low of 1.765% as investors accelerated bets on deeper interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve in response to what is now seen as a dangerous escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.
Asian stocks suffered their biggest single-day decline in nine months, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 declining 1.74%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong down 2.85%, and China's Shanghai Composite off 1.62%.
The weakened Chinese currency to the U.S. dollar shows that China's leaders "have all but abandoned hopes for a trade deal with the U.S.," wrote Julian Evans-Pritchard, a senior China economist with Capital Economics.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Monday includes the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for July at 10 a.m. ET.
- Watch: Is the Weakening Yuan Actually Currency Manipulation?
- Watch: U.S.-China Trade Talks: Buy Financials, Not Tech, Strategist Says
2. -- Caesars, Tyson Foods and Marriott Report Earnings
Earnings reports are expected Monday from Caesars Entertainment (CZR) , Tyson Foods (TSN) , Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO) , Shake Shack (SHAK) , Marriott International (MAR) , Avis Budget Group (CAR) , Cars.com (CARS) , KLA Corp. (KLAC) , Tenet Healthcare (THC) , ON Semiconductor (ON) , Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO) and Kronos Worldwide (KO) .
3. -- Berkshire Hathaway Posts Second-Quarter Earnings of $14 Billion
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) posted second-quarter earnings of $14 billion, up from $12 billion a year earlier, while operating earnings, which exclude some investment results, fell to $6.1 billion from $6.9 billion.
Net earnings per average Class A share equivalent rose to $8,608 from $7,301 during the second quarter of 2018.
For Class B shares, the earnings were $5.74 $4.87.
Operating profit fell at the investment conglomerate largely because it took a hit on insurance-underwriting earnings and so-called "other" earnings.
Financial statements for Kraft Heinz (KHC) , of which Berkshire owns at 27% stake, weren't included in the report since they have yet to be provided to Berkshire.
Berkshire's cash pile rose to about $122 billion from the last-reported amount of around $114.2 billion.
Berkshire's Class B shares declined 1.51% in premarket trading on Monday to $199.60.
4. -- HSBC Dumps CEO John Flint
HSBC Holdings (HSBC) revealed late Sunday the surprise departure of CEO John Flint less than two years at the head of Europe's biggest bank.
"It has been a privilege to spend my entire career with HSBC, rising from international officer trainee to serve as group chief executive. I am grateful to my wonderful colleagues at the bank for their support during my career, and I am proud of what we achieved together," Flint said in a statement.
Mark Tucker, HSBC chairman, said in a statement that the bank was still in a strong position to "deliver on its strategy."
The Wall Street Journal reported that HSBC planned to slash thousands of jobs and slow investment spending after the surprise ouster of Flint.
Up to 2% of the bank's 237,685 employees could lose their jobs, a bank executive said Monday, the Journal reported.
Meanwhile, HSBC said pretax profit for the six months ended in June rose nearly 16% from the same period last year to $12.41 billion, thanks in part to a boost in retail banking revenue in Asia. HSBC cautioned, however, that lower global interest rates, rising U.S.-China trade tensions and the uncertainty surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union could weigh on sentiment - and its broader bottom line - over the second half of the year.
5. -- SoftBank's First-Quarter Operating Profit Rises 4%
SoftBank (SFTBY) , the Japanese telecommunications giant, said first-quarter operating profit rose 4%, as smartphone subscribers in the quarter ended in June rose 372,000.
Operating profit was 268.9 billion yen ($2.54 billion) in the first quarter, vs. estimates of 268 billion yen from four analysts surveyed by Refinitiv, Reuters reported.
SoftBank maintained its full-year operating profit forecast at 890 billion yen, up 9% from a year earlier, Reuters reported.
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