World Markets Live - August 16 - CNBC Live Events
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World Markets Live - August 16

We’ll be updating you throughout the day with essential breaking news, data alerts, earnings reports and all the major market movements.

  • The Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said that he hopes the United States will not violate its obligations under its 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
     
    Lavrov has added that he  hopes Iran won't quit the nuclear deal.
     
    Iran has threatened to scrap its nuclear agreement with six world powers, including the United States, if the U.S. continues to impose sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
     
    The U.S. government put new sanctions on Iran in February, May and July.
     
    Trump has also told the Wall Street Journal that he wouldn't expect to certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear deal in October.
     
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
     
  • These are the top headlines this morning:
     
    • U.S. President Trump doubles down on accusing "all sides" for violence in Charlottesville, in an erratic news conference that prompts two labour leaders to leave his council, as the CEO of Walmart is out with a strong rebuke.
    • Strong retail sales data boosts yields and the dollar, but stocks in the sector sell off aggressively, following a mixed bag of earnings from the likes of Dick's Sporting Goods and Home Depot.
    • The U.K. government proposes leaving the Irish border free of physical customs posts, as it looks to address one of the most controversial Brexit issues.
    • Digging for returns! Activist hedge fund Elliott Management raises its stake in BHP to five percent, as it pushes for the mining giant to get out of its shale business.
  • More business leaders are quitting President Trump's Manufacturing Council following the firestorm over his response to the clashes in Charlottesville. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and his deputy resigned, saying the President "tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism." Alliance for American Manufacturing president Scott Paul also left the Council.

    President Trump attacked them on Twitter, saying "for every CEO that drops out, I have many to take their place." 
     
    Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon is joining the critics of President Trump. In a memo to employees, he said the president "missed a critical opportunity to help bring our country together." But McMillon plans to stay on Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum, another presidential CEO council.
  • The controversy over his response to the Virginia violence is increasingly distracting from President Trump's economic policy agenda.
     
    President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his response to the violence during the white nationalist rally in Virginia at a chaotic news conference, again blaming both sides.
     
    Here's what he told reporters.
     
    You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.
     
    I think there's blame on both sides. You look at both sides — I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it, and you dont have any doubt about it either.
     

    Trump again blames all sides for Virginia violence in bizarre, chaotic news conference

    President Donald Trump adamantly defended his response to the deadly white nationalist rally in Virginia in a chaotic news conference.
  • A news conference with President Trump that was supposed to focus on rebuilding roads and bridges turned into a combative exchange about Charlottesville. NBC'S Blayne Alexander has more.

  • Carlsberg reports first half group beer volumes declined 3 percent, mainly due to a decline in Russia.
     
    Eastern Europe saw a 9 percent volume decline. Western European revenue grew 2 percent, while Asian revenue grew 6 percent.
     
    The Danish brewer posts H1 revenue of 31.765 billion Danish krona, under expectations of 32.25 billion. Operating profit came to 4.125 million krona, versus expectations of 3.918 million.
  • The first round of NAFTA talks is set to begin. The U.S. promises to be "ambitious" in its trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada.
     
    Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, U.S. geo-economics fellow at Chatham House, says the proposals from all sides cover a number of controversial issues. She says it is an ambitious round of negotiations.
     
    The timeline is for seven rounds of negotiations between now and the beginning of next year, but will try to avoid the electoral system and the campaigning that is going to kick off for the presidential elections in Mexico in July 2018. And don’t forget it’s also the United States midterm elections in November, so we have a narrow window of opportunity here.
     
    She says it is unlikely much progress will be made between now and February and so negotiations may drag on.
     
     
  • The U.K. government is lobbying for the Irish border to remain free of physical customs posts after Brexit. Britain will set out details of its plans in a paper due out later today.
     
    Both the U.K. and the EU are prioritising the issue of the Irish border, amid concerns over inflaming regional tensions.
     

    Britain is now seeking a Brexit without borders for Northern Ireland

    There should be no border posts between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland after Brexit, Britain said.
     
  • Activist hedge fund Elliott Management has raised its stake in miner BHP Billiton to five percent. The move is just the latest by the firm in its efforts to pressure BHP Chairman-elect Ken MacKenzie to take "constructive steps to enhance value for BHP and its owners."
     
    Elliott has previously called on BHP to exit the US shale business, and to quit all or part of its petroleum business. 
     
     
  • The battle to acquire Air Berlin's assets is underway, following the bankruptcy filing by Germany's second-largest airline. Lufthansa says it's in talks to buy parts of the airline. EasyJet is also reportedly in talks.
     
    RyanAir is hitting back at a potential Lufthansa deal, arguing to European authorities that a takeover would break competition rules.
     
     
  • Amazon have sealed a $16 billion corporate bond offering, a move designed to fund its acquisition of Whole Foods. The high grade debt sale is the fourth largest of its kind this year. It will be broken into seven parts ranging from three year notes to 40 year notes. 
     
    Amazon's foray into bricks and mortar has hit the retail sector once again. A host of U.S. retailers posted earnings, some of which disappointed because they were not as 'Amazon-proof' as hoped. 
     
    The fall in the retail sector led the S&P 500 lower in the overnight session.
     
     
  • A stark warning for China. The IMF says debt-fueled growth in the country is unsustainable and could lead to a financial crisis.
     

    China has got to fix its debt problem, the IMF says

    The International Monetary Fund is raising its outlook for China, but the organization issued a strong warning over growing Chinese debt.
     
  • We are currently in between what could be described as productivity super cycles. However, transformative changes in technology could be part of the breakthrough for the next cycle. That's one of the reasons why we should be positive about the future, according to our next guest.
     
    Kallum Pickering, senior U.K. economist at Berenberg, says entrepreneurs and laboratories are trying to figure out how to make automation and AI cheap and easy to use.
     
    As soon as we figure that out, that’s when we get the dispersion effect and that’s when in everyday life we start to use these technologies and get the productivity gains. That could be 5, 10 or even 15 years away.
     
     
  • Swiss Life reports net profit increased 5 percent to 524 million Swiss francs in the first half of 2017, beating forecasts. The company says it is in a very good position to achieve its financial goals.
     
    The company's CEO says good progress on targets will positively impact its future dividend payout ratio.
  • James Gautrey, global sector specialist in technology and telecoms at Schroders, says automation and AI is going to be a big, important market and will change business, but picking out tangible stocks which will benefit is difficult.
     
    In the short term, I think there’s some real danger around some of these stocks. We’ve done some work at Schroders looking at long-term growth rates in semi-conductors, for example. Semis is one of the areas where people are very excited, Nvidia probably being the poster child for the AI revolution.
     
    What we found is that actually when you go back over the last 20 years the growth rate of semis has tended to be about 3.5 percent and it doesn’t tend to deviate very much.
     
    Considering the increasing demand for more powerful PCs, laptops and handheld devices during this period, the impact on semi-conductors has been limited due to the increased cost of producing more powerful semi-conductors.
     
     
  • German car hire firm Sixt reports it expects continue revenue and earnings growth in the fiscal year. The firm posts H1 operating revenue up 6 percent to 223.6 million euros. H1 EBT increased 3.2 percent to 16.8 million euros.
  • In this week's trader poll we're asking you: which jobs will be hardest hit by automation?
     
    • Asset Managers
    • Taxi and truck drivers
    • Factory workers
    • Journalists
     
    Vote in the poll to share your view by clicking on the link below.
     
     
  • A tweet from former U.S. President Barack Obama became the most liked tweet in the history of Twitter this morning, according to stats from the social media company.
  • AkzoNobel has reached an agreement with Elliott on the company's future. Elliott also agreed to suspend ongoing litigation for at least three months.
     
    The agreements includes alignment on AkzoNobel's strategy to fully separate its specialty chemicals division. 
     
    AkzoNobel has appointed two new members to the board and will nominate a third supervisory board member.
  • Balfour Beatty reports underlying first half profit of £4.2 billion, up 8 percent. The U.K. company says it is on track for full-year expectations and increased its interim dividend 33 percent to 1.2 pence per share.
  • More U.K. earnings released.
     
    Insurance firm Admiral reports earnings per share of 57.3 pence for the first half. Group net revenue was £550 million. The company says the number of vehicles insured grew by 7 percent to 3.77 million with volumes improving in Q2, but car insurance profits was broadly flat at £224.2 million for the first half.
  • Activist investors Elliott Advisors has been very active of late.
     
    It  was announced overnight that Elliott had increased its stake in U.K. miner BHP to 5 percent of outstanding shares.
     
    Now, AkzoNobel announces it has reached an agreement with Elliott. The agreement includes aligning on plan to separate the Specialty Chemicals division and support for the appointment of Thierry Vanlancker as member of the board. They've also agree to suspend all ongoing litigation for at least three months.
     
    Elliott says it looks forward to building upon its constructive dialogue with the company.
     
     
  • Maersk says it sees a $200 to $300 million negative impact caused by a recent cyber-attack. 
     
    The shipping company reports Q2 revenue of $9.604 billion, versus expectations of $9.659 billion.. EBITDA in the second quarter beat estimates at $2.06 billion. 
  • European markets are seen opening higher, according to the futures market.
     
    The pan-European Stoxx 600 index finished yesterday's session flat, up 0.09 percent.
     
     
  • Coming up shortly, CNBC will be speaking to Maersk CEO Søren Skou in a First On chat about their latest results.
     
     
  • The IMF is out with a stark warning about China's debt levels. The fund said downside risks have increased, because of the continuing rise in public and private liabilities.
     
    The IMF forecasts non-financial debt in the country to hit around 300 percent of GDP in five years. But it has raised China's 2017 GDP forecast from 6.2 percent, to 6.7 percent.
     
    China has also reclaimed its spot as the largest holder of US Treasuries, taking over from Japan.
     
    Nigel Jenkins, Managing Principal at Payden & Rygel is on set to discuss fixed income.
     
    He says the market has been wrong to underestimate the pace of rate rises that the Federal Reserve needs to put in place.
     
    Jenkins: Some combination of a looser fiscal and tighter monetary policy set for U.S.
     
    In Europe, he says the ECB is set to raise rates at a very steady pace.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May says the U.K. government is determined to protect the unique arrangement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
     
    May says she wants the EU funding that has helped victims of the troubles and cross-community groups to continue at least until the current programme finishes. She adds she wants to explort a future programme for peace funding after Brexit.
     
    She says there is no question of imposing a new customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as this would be "totally unacceptable".
     
    May says there may be "specific and valuable EU programmes for which we want to agree the continuation of funding" after Brexit.
  • Maersk says a cyber attack will negatively impact third quarter results by up to $300 million. This as the Danish shipper reports second quarter EBITDA a bit ahead of forecasts.
     
    But Maersk posted a net loss, where analysts expected a net profit. Revenues came in close to expectations.
     
    Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller Maersk, says the cyber attack caused a loss of business for a couple of weeks in July.
     
    We never had any ships or any other installations that were not operating or safe for our employees or the cargo they were carrying.
     
    Skou says they see solid fundamentals for container shipping. He adds these are probably the best since 2010 and the global economy is doing well.
     
     
  • On second quarter earnings our guest host Beat Wittmann says he is not too disappointed and the cycle of optimism is still very much in play.
     
    I think we are still at the midway point in the equity cycle and equities remain the asset class of choice.
     
    An average of Europe's larger stocks is near 2015 peaks.
     
  • Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller Maersk, says demand has outgrown supply since Q3 of 2016, which is positive for freight weights.
     
    Looking ahead we do see relatively modest growth in new supply and new container ships coming from ship yards in the next couple of years, so if we assume the global economy continues on a good, positive path, then we have strong fundamentals.
  •  
    A mildly positive open.
     
     
  • Some European data is released at the change of the hour.
     
    Czech Q2 preliminary GDP rose 2.3 percent quarter over quarter, beating forecasts of 0.7 percent, and 4.5 percent year on year, beating forecasts of 2.9 percent.
     
    Slovakia's preliminary reading of Q2 GDP rose 0.8 percent quarter on quarter and 3.3 percent year on year, above forecasts of 3.1 percent.
  • On a sector basis, Autos are driving the momentum forward. No sectors are in negative territory.
     
     
     
  • Here is how the major European bourses break down in early trade. Some momentum picking up.
     
     
  • AkzoNobel has reached an agreement with Elliott Advisors, in a deal which sees the activist investor end legal proceedings against the Dutch paintmaker for 3 months. Elliott says it will support the nomination of new CEO Thierry Vanlancker and two other board members, while Akzo will give shareholders a say in appointing a third member. The two companies have endured a hostile relationship since Akzo rejected a 26 billion euro takeover bid by PPG earlier this year.
     
    Activist hedge fund Elliott Management has raised its stake in miner BHP Billiton to five percent. The move is just the latest by the firm in its efforts to pressure BHP Chairman-elect Ken MacKenzie to take "constructive steps to enhance value for BHP and its owners." Elliott has previously called on BHP to exit the US shale business, and to quit all or part of its petroleum business. 
     
     
    Carlsberg has reported better than expected profit growth in the first half. The Danish brewer saw operating profits before special items rise 20 percent. But revenues missed expectations. Carlsberg maintained its 2017 outlook as the firm benefited from growth in Asia and improving margins in Western Europe. 
     
    Maersk is trading down after the group said a cyber attack will negatively impact third quarter results by up to 300 million dollars. This as the Danish shipper reports second quarter EBITDA a bit ahead of forecasts. But Maersk posted a net loss, where analysts expected a net profit. Revenues came in close to expectations. 
  • Nick Nelson, head of global and European equity strategy at UBS, says Q1 was a blowout quarter and the best for Europe in seven years, so Q2 was always going to be a difficult follow-up.
     
    We are still seeing beats, a little bit better than the long run average, but they’re quite well down in terms of where we were in the first quarter and I think that comes hand in hand with some of the other indicators that rolled over, so PMIs rolled over in May or June and some of the macro data was a little bit weaker.
     
    It’s good, but not as good as it was three months ago.
     
    He says the economy has lost some momentum.
  • The battle to acquire Air Berlin's assets is underway, following the bankruptcy filing by Germany's second-largest airline. Lufthansa says it's in talks to buy parts of the airline.
     
    EasyJet is also reportedly in talks. Ryanair is hitting back at a potential Lufthansa deal, arguing to European authorities that a takeover would break competition rules.
     
     
  • Balfour Beatty has reported a 70 percent rise in pretax profit in the first half of the year. It also raised its interim dividend by 33 percent. Despite first half order books falling by 8 percent, the British construction company says it remains on track to meet full-year expectations
     
    U.K. insurer Admiral posted a weaker than expected 1 percent rise in pre-tax profit, as rising costs from an increase in the personal injury rate weighed on first half earnings. Turnover proved stronger, however, jumping by 15 percent, while Admiral said it would pay an interim dividend of 56 pence. 
     
     
    Insurance company Swiss Life posted a stronger than expected increase in first-half net profit. This despite scaling back its core life insurance business. Chief Executive Patrick Frost says the company is now looking for deals in Europe for its real estate portfolio.
     
    U.S. regulators have asked Clariant and Huntsman for more details on their planned merger. It is the second request the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has made on the deal. Both companies are confident they can satisfy any concerns and expect the deal to close around the end of the year. 
  • While oil may be stuck in the range of $45 to $60 a barrel, Beat Wittmann, partner at Porta Advisors, says there is great value in some of the super major oil companies.
     
    They’ve cut costs and exploration programmes. They’ve digested and readjusted balance sheets and quite frankly that investment case does not so much depend on if the oil price is at $50 or $60. They just look through that.
     
    He says these oil companies offer superior dividend yields and adds that the sector is very attractive right now.
     
     
  • Russia's ex-economy minister Ulyukayev tells a court his bribery case is a "provocation" and that charges against him were "fabricated".
     
    He says this "provocations" was carried out by the CEO of Rosneft and Russia's FSB security service.
  • The post-Trump election reflation trade has come away, accordin to Nick Nelson, head of global and European equity strategy at UBS, as hoped for measures to boost the economy now seem less likely to happen.
     
    He says politics in the U.S. and the U.K. have gotten more confused and less supportive, in contrast to Europe.
     
    In Europe it's gotten better. Think back to January and February, we were terrified about the French elections, the Dutch elections, the anti-euro vote. That didn't come through. In fact the euro zone is looking more cohesive than it was six months ago.
     
     
  • After 30 minutes of trade our headlines are as follows:
     
    • Maersk warns the recent cyber attack will hit its earnings as the group posts a surprise net loss in the second quarter, despite a return to black in its main shipping line. 
     
    • Construction boom! Balfour Beatty shares rise to the top of the Stoxx 600 after the building firm posts a near 70 percent rise in first half pre-tax profit. 
     
    • AkzoNobel and Elliott management reach an agreement that includes separating its speciality chemicals business, as the activist investor ups pressure on BHP, by raising its stake to 5 percent, sending the shares higher.
     
    • US President Trump doubles down on accusing "all sides" for violence in Charlottesville, in an erratic news conference, prompting more criticism and departures by key business leaders. 
  • Dutch preliminary Q2 GDP grew 1.5 percent Q/Q and 3.3 percent y/y. That's compared to 0.6 percent and 3.2 percent respectively in Q1.
     
     
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 is up more than 0.5 percent so far this morning, with strong gains seen in the major individual markets of the U.K., France and Germany.
     
    Gains in the index are being led by the basic resources, construction and chemicals sectors. 
     
     
     
  • Theresa May says her government is determined to protect arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as Britain leaves the European Union.
     
    Writing in an Irish newspaper, the British Prime Minister also made clear that she wouldn't be willing to accept the imposition of a new customs border between Britain and Northern Ireland after Brexit. 
     
    A former legal advisor to the UK Prime Minister, Andrew Hood, is on set.
     
    On the Irish border Hood says it is one of the "thorniest of issues" that will affect both movement of goods and people. He argues that for Ireland, there is a will from both the EU and U.K. to provide a satisfactory solution.
     
    Hood: Expects goodwill to play a part in Irish solution.
     
    On the U.K. desire to remain part of some EU programs, Hood says the U.K. can't be seen in a much better or much stronger position for having left the European Union.
     
    He says to remain engaged in certain programs will cost the U.K.money but it is "fantasy" to pluck a final exit bill at this stage.
     
    On calls for a second vote, Hood says he can't see exactly when it could happen and it would therefore be unlikely to derail Brexit at this stage.
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