Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, June 13:
1. -- AT&T Gets OK to Buy Time Warner
A federal judge's clearance of the $85.4 billion merger of AT&T Inc. (T) and Time Warner Inc. (TWX) with no conditions is expected to encourage more vertical combinations among media and entertainment companies.
The green light given to AT&T on Tuesday, June 12, could spur Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) to pursue its planned hostile takeover of the assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) that Walt Disney Co. (DIS) has agreed to purchase.
In fact, CNBC reported that Comcast plans to kick off a bidding war on Wednesday with Disney to buy certain Fox assets, which include cable networks, 39% of U.K. satellite TV provider Sky PLC and Indian media conglomerate Star. CNBC's report cited people familiar with the matter.
The ruling for the AT&T and Time Warner merger by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon was a significant defeat for the Department of Justice, which stunned the legal establishment with its challenge of the transaction -- the first lawsuit against a vertical deal in more than 40 years.
In a statement, AT&T said it looks forward to closing the deal on or before June 20.
AT&T shares fell 2.9% in premarket trading, while Time Warner rose 4.7%. Comcast fell 3.5% and Fox was up 8.2%.
2. -- Stocks Inch Higher as Investors Prep for Fed Decision
U.S. stock futures rose modestly on Wednesday, June 13, as investors turned their attention to the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates and away from geopolitical concerns and trade risks.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average
The U.S. economic calendar on Wednesday includes the Fed announcement at 2 p.m. ET, followed by a press conference from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m. Most economists expect the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates for the second time this year and seventh time since December 2015.
Markets remain divided, however, as to whether the Fed was prepared to follow through with four rate hikes in 2018, with the CME Group's FedWatch tool suggesting a 41.4% chance of no hike in December, against a 40.2% chance the Fed funds rate will rise to 2.25%.
The calendar also includes the Producer Price Index for May at 8:30 a.m. ET, and Oil Inventories for the week ended June 8, at 10:30 a.m.
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3. -- Seattle Repeals Tax Law After Backlash From Amazon
The Seattle City Council on Tuesday repealed a tax on large companies such as Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) after a backlash from businesses, a stark reversal from a month ago when the council unanimously approved the effort to combat a growing homelessness crisis.
The council voted 7-2 after supporters and opponents packed a meeting with signs saying, "Tax Amazon, housing for all" and "No tax on jobs," with some shouting for more time to discuss the issue, the Associated Press reported.
Amazon had sharply criticized the tax as misguided, and the online retailing giant even temporarily halted construction planning on a new high-rise building near its Seattle headquarters in protest.
4. -- ZTE Plunges After Trading Resumes
ZTE Corp. (ZTCOY) , the Chinese telecommunications giant, saw its shares tumble about 40% on Wednesday after it resumed trading following an agreement to pay the U.S. government up to $1.4 billion in penalties.
The company also agreed to replace its entire board of directors, as well as the board of import-export subsidiary ZTE Kangxun, and create a compliance committee.
The agreement comes after ZTE ceased major operations after it was hit in April with a seven-year ban for breaking a 2017 pact reached after it was caught illegally shipping goods to Iran and North Korea.
5. -- Guess Executive Chairman Paul Marciano Resigns
Guess? Inc. (GES) said co-founder Paul Marciano resigned as executive chairman and will leave the company next year after the completion of a company-commissioned investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
"The investigation found that on certain occasions (Paul) Marciano exercised poor judgment in his communications with models and photographers and in placing himself in situations in which plausible allegations of improper conduct could, and did, arise," said a regulatory filing from the company.
The fashion company said Marciano's brother, Maurice Marciano, another company co-founder, would take over.
Guess rose 0.5% in premarket trading.
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