- UAE, Saudi Arabia to block BlackBerry. The United Arab Emirates outlined plans to block key BlackBerry (RIMM) services, including email and web browsing, beginning in October. The Gulf nation said the devices pose a potential security threat because encrypted data sent via BlackBerry is moved abroad and can't be monitored for illegal activity. Saudi Arabia said yesterday it plans to block BlackBerry messaging services later this month, and India has recently suggested a BlackBerry ban may be coming. The decisions from the UAE and Saudi Arabia will impact hundreds of thousands of BlackBerry users; smartphones from Nokia (NOK) and Apple (AAPL) will continue operating normally. Premarket: RIMM -0.7%, NOK +0.6%, AAPL +1% (7:00 ET).
- AT&T, Verizon take on Visa, MasterCard. AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) are declaring battle with Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA), as sources say the two mobile carriers have plans for a venture to get consumers to use smartphones as a mobile payment system instead of relying on debit and credit cards. T-Mobile USA (DTEGY.PK) is also part of the venture, and the trio may work with Discover Financial Services (DFS) and Barclays (BCS) to test out a system in four U.S. cities that allows consumers to pay for purchases with the contactless wave of a smartphone. Premarket: VZ +1.5%, DFS +3.9%, BCS +3.9%, V -3.2% (7:00 ET).
- Signs of slowdown in China. Chinese manufacturing slowed in July, with the official purchasing managers’ index sinking to its lowest level since February 2009. Chinese growth is being restrained partly by government curbs on lending and property speculation but, taken together with disappointing growth in the U.S. and elsewhere, the slowdown in Chinese manufacturing will likely add to global recovery fears.
- BP asks Kuwaiti SWF to raise stake. BP (BP) has reportedly asked Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund to raise its stake in the company to 3% from 1.75%. According to the al-Anba newspaper, outgoing CEO Tony Hayward made the offer himself, saying it was part of an effort to fend off potential takeover bids by other oil companies. Shares of BP are inching up this morning as the company moves ahead with plans to start a static kill of the Gulf well later today. Premarket: BP +0.9% (7:00 ET).
- HSBC doubles profit. HSBC's (HBC) H1 net income doubled as the bank's North American unit returned to profitability for the first time in three years and loan loss provisions dropped 46%. Profit rose to $6.76B from $3.35B in the year-earlier period; pretax profit of $11.1B beat analysts' expectations of $8.8B, as the company's investment bank delivered its second-best results ever. HSBC, the first of the U.K. banks to report earnings for H1, is leading the rest of the sector up in premarket trading: HBC +5.3%, BCS +3.9%, RBS 1.5%, LYG +5.3% (7:00 ET).
- BNP Paribas boosts profits. BNP Paribas' (BNPQY.PK) Q2 profit rose 31% to €2.11B ($2.76B), beating estimates of a €1.61B gain. Loan loss provisions dropped to the lowest level since before Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy in 2008. Profit gains at its branch networks in France, Belgium and the U.S. more than offset the drop in trading revenue prompted by eurozone debt concerns that dragged down the bonds of Greece, Spain and Portugal. In Paris trading, BNP +4.9% (7:00 ET).
- Friday's failures. Five more banks were closed on Friday, bringing this year's failures to 108 so far. The closures in Georgia, Washington, Oregon and Florida (I & II) will cost the FDIC's deposit insurance fund an estimated $335M.
Earnings: Monday Before Open
- Humana (HUM): Q2 EPS of $2 beats by $0.33. Revenue of $8.65B (+9.5%) vs. $8.60B. (PR)
- Loews Corp (L): Q2 EPS of $0.87 beats by $0.12. (PR)
- NRG Energy (NRG): Q2 EPS of $0.81 beats by $0.39. Revenue of $2.13B (-4.6%) vs. $2.32B. (PR)
- In Asia, Japan +0.3% to 9570. Hong Kong +1.8% to 21413. China +1.3% to 2673. India +1.2% to 18081.
- In Europe, at midday, London +2.0%. Paris +2.0%. Frankfurt +1.6%.
- Futures: Dow +1%. S&P +1.1%. Nasdaq +1%. Crude +1.2% to $79.88. Gold -0.3% to $1180.20.
Monday's Economic Calendar
- 10:00 ISM Manufacturing Index
10:00 Construction Spending
10:15 Fed's Bernanke: 'Challenges for the Economy and State Governments'
- Notable earnings before Monday's open: AGN, HUM, L, NRG, NVE, OSK, SNH, VRX
- Notable earnings after Monday's close: BKD, DDR, DVA, FST, HOLX, NHP, PFG, SBAC, UDR, VMC, VRSN
Seeking Alpha's Market Currents team contributed to this post.
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