World Markets Live - August 17 - CNBC Live Events
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World Markets Live - August 17

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

  • Chinese internet firm Tencent has posted its best every quarterly results. Second quarter profit jumped 70 percent, while revenue rose nearly 60 percent, well north of analyst expectations. 

    The increasing popularity of Tencent's 'Honour of Kings' game, now the top grossing mobile game in the world, helped drive the results, lifting Tencent shares to a record high. The shares are currently trading up more than 3 percent to HK$334.60
     
    A child plays Tencent's online game 'Honor of Kings'
     
    Meanwhile, most investors are also bullish about Alibaba, as the e-commerce giant prepares to report quarterly results before the bell. 

    Alibaba shares are up nearly 82 percent this year, with the company's market value soaring in June after the e-commerce firm forecast revenue to rise 45 to 49 percent for the year ending in March. 
     
    Alibaba's CEO Jack Ma
  • These are the top headlines this morning:
    • Business boycott! President Trump's two business councils disband, as CEOs of Blackstone, JPMorgan, Pepsi and GM, protest his failure to denounce white supremacists.
    • A divided Fed. July minutes show some policymakers pushing for caution on rate hikes due to low inflation, while the hawks believe it's risky to divert from the path of normalisation.
    • Investors look ahead to Alibaba earnings, after rival Chinese tech giant Tencent blows past expectations, thanks to strong demand for its mobile games, sending shares more than five percent higher.
    • Shares in Telstra plunge, after Australia's biggest telecom company slashes its dividend by 30 percent, which they haven't done in 20 years.
  • President Trump's controversial CEO councils are over. The bosses of some of the top US corporates decided together to disband,  prompting Trump to bow to pressure and pull the plug.
     
    Several business leaders had already left over Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville. The White House press conference where Trump stuck to his "both sides" rhetoric was the last straw for the bulk of the members.
     

    Inside the dramatic decision by corporate giants to rebuke Trump

    A powerful business council, formed by President Trump, had to disband because of the impact of his incendiary comments.
  • Mark Zuckerberg is breaking his silence on white nationalist violence in Virginia, though not criticising President Trump by name. In a Facebook post, he wrote: "It's a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong - as if this is somehow not obvious."
     
     
  • A mixed session in Asia markets, with the Nikkei, ASX and Hang Seng flat. That's despite the Hong Kong-listed shares of game developer Tencent hitting a record high on its Q2 results.
     
     
    In the U.S., stock markets finished the session positive with modest gains. The Sow Jones is back above the 22,000 level.
     
     
  • NN Group reports a Q2 net result of 240 million euros, down from 335 million a year ago. Gross premium income rose to 2.95 billion euros versus 2.02 billion a year ago and the net operating ROE for the second quarter rose to 10.7 percent versus 8.6 percent a year ago.
  • U.S. General Joseph Dunford says he is encouraged by commitments to enforce sanctions against North Korea, but adds that no one thinks economic pressure alone can result in denuclearisation, according to Reuters
     
    His advice to U.S. leader is to not dial back on military exercises, and that the peaceful option is the preferred solution to the North Korea situation.
     
    Speaking in Beijing, he says President Trump has told the military to develop viable military option on North Korea. Dunford says a military option would be "horrific." He added that any military action would be taken in consultation with U.S. allies.
     
    Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in February
  • Austria's Wienberger says H1 revenue grew 4 percent to 1.528 billion euros, up from 1.468 billion euros the year before.
     
    First half EBITDA is up 7 percent to 190.1 million euros. The company maintains its targets for 2017.
  • The French unemployment rate drops to 9.5 percent in Q2 from 9.6 percent in Q1, according to INSEE.
  • Germany's Sixt has upgraded its expectations for the fiscal year 2017. This as the company reports half year earnings before taxes up 25.3 percent to 102.6 million euros. 
     
    Revenue in H1 was up 5.7 percent to 1.21 billion euros.
     
     
  • President Trump's top trade adviser has said the U.S. is not seeking a "mere tweaking" of the North America Free Trade Agreement as talks for renegotiations kicked off. 

    On a contentious first day of talks, U.S. Trade representative Robert Lighthizer echoed the President. He argued that the agreement, which has led to the quadrupling of trade between the three countries, has in fact failed many Americans. 
  • Most investors are also feeling bullish about Alibaba, as the e-commerce giant prepares to report quarterly results before the bell in New York.
     
    Alibaba shares are up around 80 percent this year. The company's market value soared in June after the e-commerce firm forecast revenue to rise up to 49 percent in the 2018 fiscal year.
     
    CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal says analysts are expecting a jump in revenue of around 50 percent this quarter for Alibaba.
     
    There’s strong growth, but the exciting about Alibaba for investors here is not just about the commerce. They’ve really invested heavily in areas such as the cloud, and if you look at revenues in that they were up 103 percent last quarter.
     
    Shares in Alibaba are up around 80 percent so far this year.
     
     
  • Here are your top headlines for the hour:
     
    • Business boycott! President Trump's two business councils disband, as CEOs of Blackstone, JPMorgan, Pepsi and GM, protest his failure to denounce white supremacists.
    • A divided Fed. July minutes show some policymakers pushing for caution on rate hikes due to low inflation, while the hawks believe it's risky to divert from the path of normalisation.
    • Investors look ahead to Alibaba earnings, after rival Chinese tech giant Tencent blows past expectations, thanks to strong demand for its mobile games, sending shares more than five percent higher.
    • Shares in Telstra plunge, after Australia's biggest telecom company slashes its dividend by 30 percent, which they haven't done in 20 years. We speak to CEO Andrew Penn in a few minutes.
  • Kingfisher reports like for like sales of £3.1 billion, down 1.9 percent. The company says it remains on track to deliver its Year 2 strategic milestones, but warned of continued weaker sales in France.
  • Salman Ahmed, chief strategist at Lombard Odier IM, says the British retail market is clearly under pressure as the delayed effect of Brexit comes through.
     
    We should also remember that real incomes are coming under a squeeze in the U.K. and that is, I think, starting to assert itself.
     
    Ahmed also discussed the French economy, and said France’s manufacturing and industry is doing well. He added that the overall euro zone recovery is quite strong.
     
     
  • Telstra shares fall to the bottom of the Australian market, and were at one stage set for their biggest ever daily fall.
     
    This as the country's biggest telecoms firm said it would cut its dividend by 30 percent for this financial year.
     
    It's the first time Telstra has reduced the payout since it went public 20 years ago.
     
    Andrew Penn, CEO of Telstra, tells CNBC that the company acknowledges the importance of its dividend to shareholders.
     
    It’s for exactly this reason that we’ve taken a lot of care and thought and planning over deciding what’s the right dividend policy going forward.
     
    And as we announced today, we are moving away from a world where we previously paid 100 percent of our profits out via dividend to a payout ratio between 70 and 90 percent, which is much more in line with our global peers and local and large companies.
     
    Penn says the change will give them flexibility to invest in the future and compete effectively in the industry.
     
     
  • President Trump's controversial CEO councils are over. The bosses of some of the top US corporates decided together to disband,  prompting Trump to bow to pressure and pull the plug.
     
    Several business leaders had already left over Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville. The White House press conference where Trump stuck to his "both sides" rhetoric was the last straw for the bulk of the members.
  • NBC's Kristen Welker reports on how President Trump's business councils fell apart.

  • Minutes of the Fed's July meeting show policymakers divided over the timeline for future rate hikes. Some appeared wary about weak inflation, while others are eager to get on with normalisation.
     
    Minutes of the Fed's July meeting show policymakers divided over the timeline for future rate hikes. Some appeared wary about weak inflation, while others are eager to get on with normalisation.
     

    Fed minutes: Central bank split over path of rate hikes

    A fissure appears to be developing at the Federal Reserve over when to raise interest rates.
     
    This news from the Fed caused the dollar index to weaken.
     
     
  • European markets are all called to open lower today, according to future values.
     
     
  • Danish firm Vestas Wind Systems reports Q2 revenue of 2.206 billion euros, missing expectations of 2.398 billion.
     
    The firm launches a 600 million euro share buyback programme. Q2 EBIT was 279 million euros and net profit was 186 million euros.  Analysts foreceast net profit at 238 million euros.
     
    Vestas backs its full year guidance.
  • Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer has criticized plans to repeal post-crisis banking regulations, saying it would be a "terrible mistake."
     
    Speaking to the Financial Times, he said large institutions would return to the same habits that caused the meltdown. However, Fischer endorsed efforts to ease regulations for small banks.
     
    Tony Larkin, pan-financials strategist at Citi Research, says the banks have learned their lessons over the last 8 years.
     
    They’ve backed up those lessons, or mistakes, with far stronger capital bases and frankly shareholders won’t tolerate a return to the old days. They’re in a better position.
     
    Larkin says a return of M&A is happening and if that is successful, the market will see better returns from banks.
     
     
  • A possible hostage-taking situation is taking place in a building used by Dutch radio station 3FM.
     
    That's according to Reuters citing a report from Netherlands news service NOS.
  • Cisco's fourth quarter results show a seventh consecutive fall in revenue. Figures for its closely watched security business showed growth of 3 percent, down from 16 percent a year earlier.
     
    That has raised concerns over the company's efforts to transform into a software focused company. Shares fell more than two percent in after hours trading.
     
    Shares in the U.S. firm are down more than 2 percent in premarket trade on the news.
     
     
  •  
     
    European markets are now open for trade. The Stoxx 600 finished yesterday's session up 0.69 percent. Today, it is initially moving to the downside.
     
     
     
  • Basic resources and healthcare are the only sectors recording a gain at the start of Thursday's session. 
     
    Construction, banks and household goods are the sectors leading the market lower.
     
     
     
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 index is down more than 0.4 percent less than five minutes into today's session.
     
    Here's how the individual European bourses are performing. The largest faller appears to be the Swiss Market Index.
     
     
     
  • Some inflation data was released around the market open.
     
    Austria's EU harmonised inflation rate grew 2 percent year on year in July, compared to 2 percent the month before. Month on month, July inflation fell 0.6 percent, compared to a fall of 0.1 percent the previous month.
     
    Slovakia's July EU harmonised inflation was flat month on month, beating a forecast fall of 0.1 percent. Year on the year the figure was 1.5 percent, again beating the forecast of 1.3 percent.
  • Vestas has reported second quarter results below analysts' forecasts, though the Danish wind power firm has maintained its 2017 outlook. Vestas revenue for the period came in at 2.2 billion euros, while earnings before special items were also short of expectations. But Vestas kept its full-year outlook, amid a boost in the value of wind turbine orders and service agreements.
     
    Anders Runevad, CEO of Vestas says share market disappointment today is not due to inventory levels which are normal for this time of the year.
     
     
    Runevad says the linkage between oil and electricity prices is quite weak and therefore the price of crude is not a crucial concern to Vestas.
     
     
    Runevad says the share buyback is a sign of confidence that the firm is maintaining its strategy.
  • Like-for-like sales at home-improvement retailer Kingfisher fell nearly 2 percent in the second quarter. The owner of British brands B&Q and Screwfix in Britain, as well as Castorama in France, said a weaker French market and poor sales at B&Q dragged down results.
     
    Kingfisher said it remained cautious on its second half outlook. The shares are down almost 3 percent at the start of trade in reaction to the results.
     
     
  • Ericsson is suing Wiko over copyright infringement, the Swedish telecom has announced.
     
    Ericsson is suing the smartphone maker in regional courts in Germany for the infringement of patent essential for 2G, 3G and 4G celluar technology.
     
    The company says Wiko has been infringing on Ericsson's intellectual property rights for several years despite talks since 2013.
  • Apple boss Tim Cook has said he doesn't agree with Donald Trump over the idea that two sides were equally to blame in the recent violence in Charlottesville that saw clashes between far-right Nazi sympathizers and those protesting against them.
     
    In an email to employees Cook late Wednesday, Cook called the events in Charlottesville "repulsive" and said Apple would donate $2 million to help counter hate groups.
     
    What happened in Charlottesville has no place in our country. 
     
    We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry on our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality.
    - Apple CEO Tim Cook
     
    U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes members of his American Technology Council, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the State Dining Room of the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
     
    by david.reid edited by Spriha Srivastava 8/17/2017 7:16:39 AM
  • These are the stocks in the news this morning.
     
    • Novo Nordisk has announced that a new diabetes drug has succeeded in a key, late stage trial. Its success sets the stage for the drug to become the new standard therapy for type 2 diabetes. The once weekly drug was shown to be statistically significant in reducing glucose levels and lowering body weight.
    • Net profit at Swiss toilet maker Geberit fell 37 percent in the second quarter, missing analysts' forecasts. Sales also fell for the period, coming short of expectations.
     
     
    • Wienerberger, the world's largest brick maker, posted a 7 percent rise in first half pretax earnings. Revenue, meanwhile, rose 4 percent in the period. Wienerberger confirmed its guidance, saying it expected full-year operating profits to rise to 415 million euros.
    • Swisscom plans to offer an unchanged dividend for 2017. The telecoms company posted a10 percent rise in second quarter profit, beating estimates. The state controlled firm said its outlook for the year remains unchanged.
  • Dutch police have confirmed a hostage-taking incident has taken place at a radio station in the city of Hilversum. That's according to Reuters citing reports by NOS and ANP.
     
    Dutch police have cordoned off the building, but radio station 3FM's broadcasting is continuing, according to a Reuters report.
  • Marshalls says it is confident it will deliver on its 2017 expectations.
     
    That's after the British landscaping supplier reported a boost in its half- results. Pre-tax profit at the British landscaping supplier rose 16 percent compared to the prior year to 29 million pounds, while revenues also increased. 
     
    Martyn Coffey, CEO at Marshalls says the domestic business of patios and driveways, which accounts for about a third of revenue, is witnessing strong demand.
     
    He says the growth is not restricted to the south east of England.
     
    I think it is across the piste. Our registered installers are recording 12 weeks of order books and they have done for a couple of years now.  
     
    I believe that's about as long as you can go. People are not going to wait more than three months to get their new driveway.
     
     
    Coffey says his customers are doing this work from savings and a big contribution is the new pensions release scheme which frees up capital to allow people to carry out home improvements.
     
    Coffey adds that he has not seen any effect from Brexit, but notes that any property slowdown might only encourage people to upgrade their own homes.
  • Dutch police have arrested a man who took a woman hostage in the city of Hilversum, according to tweets by the police force and reports by ANP. The woman has been released and is with ambulance staff.
  • Turkey's EU minister says German Chancellor Angela Merkel's comments on the customs union are unfortunate. The minister says EU policy cannot be determined by a single state.
     
    The ministers adds that such statements harm the EU's credibility and EU institutions should act in accordance with its principles.
  • All week we're talking about the Rise of the Robots: the growing impact artificial intelligence (AI) will have on businesses, economies and our daily lives. Education is one sector set to transform.
     
    Education and publishing company Pearson recently partnered with IBM to create a virtual tutor.
     
    Albert Hitchcock, Chief Information & Technology Officer at Pearson says there is a clear employability gap in industry at the moment which is holding back growth  
     
    He says the idea is to question how teaching can be enhanced to produce more potential employees that are fully skilled.
     
    Hitchcock: AI in education will help both teachers and students
     
    Hitchcock says  AI will give much more real time information into how students behave and learn but disagrees that AI will render teachers obsolete:
     
    We see the linkage with the teaching profession as critical and at the end of the day teachers will be crucial to a student's development.
  • These are the top headlines following from the market open:
     
    • Business boycott! President Trump's two business councils disband, as CEOs of Blackstone, JPMorgan, Pepsi and GM, protest his failure to denounce white supremacists.
    • A divided Fed. July minutes show some policymakers pushing for caution on rate hikes due to low inflation, while the hawks believe it's risky to divert from the path of normalisation.
    • France puts the screws to Kingfisher as that market dents sales, with the home improvement retailer also reporting a slowdown in the UK, sending the shares lower.
    • Blown away! Vestas shares sink as the Danish wind turbine maker misses profit expectations.
  • 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 or Journalists?
     
    Click on the link below to take part in the poll, or use #TraderPoll to share your view on Twitter.
     

    Tell us what you think: Which jobs will be hit hardest by automation?

    In this week's Trader Poll, we want to know which jobs you think will be hit hardest by automation.
  • The U.S. is locked in an economic war with China. That's what White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon argued in an interview with the left-leaning news outlet The American Prospect.
     
    He said "To me the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that."
     

    Steve Bannon reportedly says the US is already in an 'economic war' with China

    White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said the U.S. is already in an "economic war with China," The American Prospect reported.
  • A second Chinese carmaker has come out to say it is not looking to buy Fiat Chrysler.
     
    Shares in Fiat have risen in recent days on the back of reports that major automotive players in China have explored offers for the Italo-American giant. However, two of the biggest names, Geely and Dongfeng, say they are not planning to make a bid.
     
    Reuters reports that others, such as Great Wall Motors and Guangzhou Automobile Group, could still be interested, but significant regulatory hurdles could block the road. 
     
    Shares in Fiat are a little lower today.
     
     
    Meanwhile, Chinese takeovers of U.S. companies have plunged this year. According to the latest Dealogic data, Chinese dealmaking has dropped 65 percent in 2017 as of early August.
     
    The drop comes as U.S. President Trump has initiated an investigation into Chinese trade practices, and generally tough rhetoric aimed at Beijing. It follows a bumber year for Chinese M&A activity in the US, most notably HNA's acquisition of Hilton worldwide.
     

    Chinese takeovers of US companies plummet this year amid tough Trump talk

    Chinese investments in the U.S. have more than halved this year, according to Dealogic.
     
  • The new U.S. ambassador to Japan says the U.S. ability to defend itself and its allies against North Korea is beyond question.
  • Sky news reported late last night that the next phrase of Brexit talks are likely to be delayed until December (from October).
     
    if true, this leaves less than a year for talks on the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU, and another two months of the two-year Article 50 timetable being used up.
     
    The reaction for Sterling has been fairly subdued however and if anything it’s a little stronger this morning. 
     
    The U.K. government's Brexit department has countered that it expects to make "sufficient progress" to be ably to move on to a new phase of talks by the original October date.
     
     
  • Here are the European markets after the initial morning flurry of trades have settled. 
     
    We are about a tenth of a percent lower across the biggest indices.
     
     
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