President Petro Poroshenko has dissolved Ukraine's parliament, in an expected move which follows the collapse of the country's governing coalition last month. The change comes as Poroshenko heads to the Belarussian capital of Minsk to meet with Vladimir Putin and other EU officials over the crisis in Ukraine's east. The meeting marks the first encounter between the two leaders since June, but many expect that chances for a diplomatic solution remain slim.
District Judge Gray Miller has thrown out an order to seize the tanker still anchored in the Gulf of Mexico carrying $100M worth of Kurdish crude. The high-stakes dispute has heated up over the past month, bringing to the forefront Iraqi Kurdistan's right to produce and sell its natural resources. The current ruling opens up the possibilities of importing the controversial oil, with refiners such as LyondellBasell (NYSE:LYB) saying it would resume purchases once the dispute was settled.
The U.S. is preparing an expansion of its military air campaign beyond Iraq, following President Obama's authorization of surveillance flights to gather intelligence on Islamic State targets in Syria. "There is no decision yet to do strikes, but in order to help make that decision, you want to get as much situational awareness as possible," says a senior U.S. official. The drones would enter Syrian airspace without the country's approval or authorization.
Amazon has agreed to purchase popular game-broadcasting platform Twitch, whose platform allows users to live-stream gaming activity (along with running commentary). The startup has 50M+ users and a network of 4K+ content provider partners, and claims its average user watches 95 minutes/day of content. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will acquire Twitch for approximately $970M and expects to close the deal in the second half of 2014.
After conducting a number of recent investigations into Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Chinese operations, China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce has found that the company's software sales were not fully transparent, but acknowledged that Microsoft was cooperating with the ongoing investigation. Chinese regulators have recently clamped down on many foreign firms operating in China over anti-monopoly concerns.
In a surprise twist which lands Warren Buffett in the middle of the Burger King (BKW)-Tim Hortons (THI) deal, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) is now expected to provide about 25% of the financing for the merger. The move shoves Buffett into a heated debate over U.S. taxes, due to the deal being structured as a tax inversion. Sources say Buffett will invest in the deal in the form of preferred shares.
The DOJ says that new documents submitted over its $5B lawsuit with Standard & Poor's (MHFI) will show that its lawsuit was not filed in retaliation for S&P's downgrade of the country's debt. S&P requested the documents following the DOJ's lawsuit filed in February 2013, which accused the ratings agency of issuing inflated ratings and failing to downgrade MBSs before the 2008 financial crisis.
Time Warner’s Turner cable division (home of CNN, TNT, TBS and the Cartoon Network) will offer buyouts to more than 500 employees aimed at reducing the operating costs of the unit. The move follows the rejection of a $71B takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch and suggests that Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) can achieve growth and shareholder returns as an independent company. Turner accounts for more than half of Time Warner’s operating income.
HubSpot, a well-known player in the growing cloud marketing automation software space, has filed for a $100M IPO under the symbol HUBS. Like rivals, HubSpot tries to provide an integrated approach to handling a slew of digital marketing channels, including e-mail, search, and social media. The company focuses on mid-market businesses more than large enterprises, and had 11.6K customers and 1.9K marketing agency partners at the end of June.
A fifth McDonald's restaurant has been closed in Russia, following the ongoing inspections by Rospotrebnadzor - Russia's food safety regulator. Despite the increase in closures, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich previously highlighted that Russian authorities are not planning on closing the chain in the country, but are rather inspecting McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) for sanitary violations.
Telefonica’s board is discussing plans to raise its bid for Vivendi's (OTCPK:VIVHY) GVT to as much as €8B ($10.6B), Bloomberg reports. Previously, Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) offered €6.7B for the Brazilian broadband unit. The new bid could be announced before Aug. 28 and even before Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) puts forward its formal rival bid.
India’s antitrust regulator has fined major automakers over anti-trust violations, just days after authorities in China imposed similar penalties. The commission found that carmakers were able to charge high prices by providing spare parts only to authorized repair shops. A total fine of 25.4B rupees ($420M) was slapped on 14 automotive groups including Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM) and the local units of Honda (NYSE:HMC), Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAY), Fiat (FIATY), BMW (BAMXY), Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIY), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) and Toyota (NYSE:TM).
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In Asia, Japan -0.6% to 15521. Hong Kong -0.4% to 25075. China -1% to 2207. India flat at 26443.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.2%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt -0.3%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow flat. S&P flat. Nasdaq flat. Crude +0.3% to $93.58. Gold +0.7% to $1287.50.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -1 bps to 2.37%
Today's economic calendar:
7:45 ICSC Retail Store Sales
8:30 Durable Goods
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
9:00 FHFA House Price Index
9:00 S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
10:00 Consumer Confidence
10:00 State Street Investor Confidence Index
10:00 Richmond Fed Mfg.
1:00 PM Results of $29B, 2-Year Note Auction
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