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DJ Gold Could Get a Boost From a Weak Dollar -- Barrons.com
By Randall W. Forsyth

You wouldn't know it from the constant barrage of news on the political and international fronts, but there are positive developments in the background for the financial markets. To be sure, there has been good news with a "Phase 1" tentative trade deal with the U.S. and China, and maybe, just maybe, some Brexit agreement (although it ain't over until Parliament votes this weekend).

But there is a more positive monetary backdrop developing from lower short-term interest rates and a weaker dollar. And that would be bullish for most risk assets, including U.S. stocks, emerging market debt and equities, and commodities -- notably precious metals.

The federal-funds futures market is putting an 89.3% probability of the Federal Open Market Committee voting for a one-quarter percentage-point reduction in its key policy interest rate on Oct. 30, according to the CME Group's FedWatch. While a number of economists have pushed back on the notion of another rate cut this month, and most Fed officials remain noncommittal, if not opposed, to further easing, the central bank has a long history of not disappointing market expectations. While the betting line can change by game time, the odds now favor a rate reduction at the next policy confab.

The Fed also has begun buying $60 billion a month of Treasury bills, which it contends doesn't constitute a policy move like past quantitative-easing, or QE, purchases. (See this week's Economy column.) In actuality, the buying reverses the quantitative tightening, or QT, that occurred as the Fed reduced its assets, while on the other side of the balance sheet, liabilities, notably currency, increased, resulting in an even sharper shrinkage in bank reserves.

Quantitative tightening was supposed to be like "paint drying," as former Fed Chair Janet Yellen described it, but resulted in the equivalent of 7.5 percentage points of tightening, nearly three times as much as the actual rate hikes, Julian Brigden, chief economist at MI2 Partners, has estimated. QT has kept the dollar stronger than fundamentals would have predicted, he writes in a client note.

A weaker greenback would provide the missing "cornerstone of a reflationary move," along with lower rates and higher equity prices. Global investors have been piling into U.S. growth stocks, taking advantage of strong currency and equity returns. As the dollar turns, Brigden looks for a rotation from growth to value stocks, which showed signs of starting in early September.

A weaker dollar and negative interest rates also have boosted hedge funds' interest in gold, according to Société Générale. The so-called barbarous relic, and exchange-traded funds that track it, such as the SPDR Gold Shares (ticker: GLD), have moved mostly sideways around the $1,500-an-ounce level since late August.

But the bank's strategists recommend a maximum bullish allocation to gold (5% in its portfolios) because the metal "is increasingly seen as an alternative to cash." They're especially bullish on gold since they also expect further Fed rate cuts and a lower dollar. While the bank isn't advocating a return to a gold standard, it notes that central banks such as the People's Bank of China are diversifying into the metal.

President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire for a weaker dollar, which would be consistent with his barrage of tweets calling on the Fed to slash rates. An end to the tariff wars would further ease the upward pressure on the dollar. And that would benefit corporate earnings, as 40% of sales of S&P 500 companies originate abroad. So there's good reason to bet your bottom dollar that the greenback is close to a top.

Write to Randall W. Forsyth at randall.forsyth@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 21:18 ET (01:18 GMT)

DJ There's Untapped Value in Emerson Electric, Says Activist -- Barrons.com
By Al Root

Activist investor D.E. Shaw is pushing for change at Emerson Electric (EMR), claiming that tighter cost controls, better corporate governance, and splitting the company in two could push the stock 50% higher.

Regarding costs, the hedge fund pointed to the company's fleet of eight private jets (and a helicopter) in a letter it sent to the Emerson board on Tuesday. [For more, see The Activist Investor on page M11.]

Emerson responded to some of Shaw's claims in a news release, citing its above-market growth rates and 47% total shareholder return since 2016.

Gordon Haskett analyst John Inch spoke with Emerson management to get its side of the story. He was told that Shaw's cost-savings estimate is far too high. Shaw eyes more than $1 billion in cost cuts, while Emerson says a more reasonable number is $200 million to $300 million.

Emerson was already looking to reduce costs, having announced a strategic review Oct. 1, catalyzed partly by the slowdown in global manufacturing. Shaw had earlier engaged with Emerson management, people familiar with the situation tell Barron's.

For shareholders, the question remains: Is there value to be unlocked at Emerson?

The Street says yes -- sort of. Most analysts agree there is opportunity in the stock, but think Shaw's cost targets are too aggressive. "D.E. Shaw's critique is directionally fair, though magnitude of opportunity appears overblown and timing is a hurdle," Baird's Mike Halloran wrote this past week. His sentiment was repeated by most other analysts covering the company.

Halloran doesn't think that now is the time to break the company into two pieces -- one making climate controls and the other, automation equipment. The economy is too weak, he argues.

"I don't really care about the breakup," Tampa, Fla., police and fire pension manager Jay Bowen tells Barron's. "There might be some value in better focus, but the woes of the energy market are a big reason Emerson shares have underperformed." Bowen, who owns the stock, calls Emerson a "high quality" company. He expects cyclical stocks, including Emerson, to perform better in 2020, after monetary and fiscal stimulus takes effect in the U.S. and China.

Credit Suisse's John Walsh, who says that software-like recurring sales will drive the stock higher, rates it a Buy with a $73 price target. (It closed Friday at $68.68.) Digital sales are becoming more important for industrial companies. Emerson says that its digital offerings already bring in $650 million in annual sales, about 3% of its total sales, and management has announced initiatives to boost digital growth.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Deane Dray also rates Emerson stock a Buy. He upgraded the shares after reports of the Shaw stake surfaced. The average industrial asset in the S&P 500 trades at about 12 times estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or Ebitda. Dray argues that Emerson deserves a premium, especially with an activist present. His price target: $77.

The best outcome for both Shaw and other shareholders might be a negotiated settlement, rather than a company split. Aside from the macroeconomic backdrop, shares of some industrial conglomerates -- notably DuPont de Nemours (DD) -- have gotten stuck in " deal limbo" when massive transformations were announced. That is when shares underperform peers as investors wait for big changes to wrap up.

The important dates to watch in this activist battle are Nov. 5, when fiscal fourth-quarter earnings are reported, and one day later -- the deadline for nominating directors. Shaw might nominate its own board candidates if it can't agree on a plan of action with management.

The company referred Barron's to its earlier statements about D.E. Shaw, but also sent the following message: "Emerson is a global organization with a hands-on management team that frequently visits employees, customers, local government, and other global stakeholders for work purposes."

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 21:13 ET (01:13 GMT)

DJ Health-Care Stocks Are Getting Back on Their Feet -- Barrons.com
By Ben Levisohn

For an industry dedicated to keeping people healthy, health care has been rather sick of late. That changed this past week, and the recovery of the sectors's stocks might just be starting.

If health care hasn't been left for dead, it has at least been left behind in 2019. The S&P 500 Health Care Sector index has returned just 8% this year, while the S&P 500 has gained 22%. That makes the sector the second-worst performer this year, besting only the beaten-down energy stocks.

Yet health-care stocks gained 2% this past week, making them the best-performing group in the S&P 500. In fact, all five of the top S&P issues were in the group: McKesson (MCK), AmerisourceBergen (ABC), Cardinal Health (CAH), Cigna (CI), and UnitedHealth.

The sector benefited from a confluence of factors. UnitedHealth, for one, reported stronger-than-expected earnings, helping to lift managed-care stocks. Reports of a possible opioid settlement helped boost pharma companies, such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA). Even better, the Democratic debate on Tuesday night provided the first glimmers of hope that Medicare for All might not be the preferred path among the candidates and that large managed-health companies might survive, even if a Democrat wins the presidential election in 2020.

Either way, the political risks to health-care stocks may be fully reflected in the sector's valuations. Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, cut health care to a Neutral weighting in March, citing crowding by fund managers and political risks. Fast-forward seven months, and the S&P 500 Health Care index trades at a substantial discount to the S&P 500.

Calvasina says: "Last week, we highlighted it as one of the three sectors most at risk under [an Elizabeth] Warren presidency from a policy perspective. Our valuation work suggests that much of the political risk has already gotten priced into the sector -- keeping us firmly in the neutral camp and out of the bearish camp."

Health care isn't just cheap -- it is the second-cheapest S&P sector. At 15.1 times 12-month profit forecasts, it trades at a lower multiple than any other group, except financials. Is the discount big enough to encourage investors to start bargain hunting?

UBS strategist Francois Trahan contends that it is -- and not just because health care is cheap. Trahan, like many, is concerned about slowing U.S. economic growth. The deteriorating economy partially explains why 155 companies in the S&P 500 are now expected to have an earnings growth decline, up from 68 at the end of 2018.

The health-care sector, however, has been relatively immune to this pressure. Just seven of its stocks are expected to see an earnings growth decline, up from six at the end of last year. "This trend makes health care a relatively reliable area for investors seeking to avoid companies with slowing growth prospects," Trahan writes.

Trahan screened out the health-care shares in the S&P 500 that he considers overbought, are too volatile, and have above-average valuations. That left him with 19 stocks, including pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE), medical-equipment company Medtronic (MDT), managed-care titan Cigna, and health-services company Cerner (CERN). "When investors are worried about the economy, they seek out the stocks that have been reliably defensive," Trahan writes.

And if the economy holds up? The health-care sector has enough risky stocks, particularly in biotech, to participate if the market moves higher. In an uncertain world, we'd say that's a healthy mix for any portfolio.

Write to Ben Levisohn at Ben.Levisohn@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 20:52 ET (00:52 GMT)

DJ Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 20:50 EST / 0050 GMT
 
                           Latest       Previous   %Chg    Daily    Daily   %Chg 
Dollar Rates                               Close            High      Low  12/31 
 
USD/JPY Japan           108.40-41      108.40-41   0.00   108.72   108.33  -1.08 
EUR/USD Euro            1.1168-71      1.1168-71   0.00   1.1173   1.1115  -2.62 
GBP/USD U.K.            1.2973-75      1.2973-75   0.00   1.2987   1.2839  +1.69 
USD/CHF Switzerland     0.9841-45      0.9841-45   0.00   0.9892   0.9823  +0.28 
USD/CAD Canada          1.3123-28      1.3123-28   0.00   1.3150   1.3120  -3.78 
AUD/USD Australia       0.6852-56      0.6852-56   0.00   0.6858   0.6820  -2.81 
NZD/USD New Zealand     0.6384-90      0.6384-90   0.00   0.6391   0.6342  -4.96 
 
Euro Rates 
 
EUR/JPY Japan           121.06-11      121.06-11   0.00   121.12   120.66  -3.67 
EUR/GBP U.K.            0.8605-08      0.8605-08   0.00   0.8664   0.8599  -4.27 
EUR/CHF Switzerland     1.0992-95      1.0992-95   0.00   1.1010   1.0975  -2.34 
EUR/CAD Canada          1.4657-67      1.4657-67   0.00   1.4664   1.4604  -6.25 
EUR/AUD Australia       1.6287-97      1.6287-97   0.00   1.6310   1.6261  +0.17 
EUR/DKK Denmark         7.4705-12      7.4705-12   0.00   7.4757   7.4694  +0.06 
EUR/NOK Norway        10.2289-339    10.2289-339   0.00  10.2444  10.2014  +3.26 
EUR/SEK Sweden        10.7680-780    10.7680-780   0.00  10.8071  10.7606  +6.11 
EUR/CZK Czech Rep.      25.617-47      25.617-47   0.00   25.731   25.617  -0.31 
EUR/HUF Hungary         330.46-86      330.46-86   0.00   331.36   330.23  +3.00 
EUR/PLN Poland          4.2818-36      4.2818-36   0.00   4.2884   4.2795  -0.16 
 
Yen Rates 
 
AUD/JPY Australia        74.31-35       74.31-35   0.00    74.36    74.06  -3.83 
GBP/JPY U.K.            140.66-72      140.66-72   0.00   140.76   139.34  +0.57 
CAD/JPY Canada           82.57-61       82.57-61   0.00    82.78    82.40  +2.78 
NZD/JPY New Zealand      69.20-28       69.20-28   0.00    69.30    67.55  -5.98 
 
Other Dollar Rates 
 
USD/CZK Czech Rep.      22.921-71      22.921-71   0.00   23.142   22.944  +2.35 
USD/HUF Hungary       295.89-6.29    295.89-6.29   0.00   298.01   295.76  +5.75 
USD/DKK Denmark         6.6880-90      6.6880-90   0.00   6.7215   6.6874  +2.72 
USD/NOK Norway         9.1586-646     9.1586-646   0.00   9.1974   9.1573  +6.02 
USD/PLN Poland          3.8331-36      3.8331-36   0.00   3.8546   3.8328  +2.48 
USD/RUB Russia         63.765-835     63.765-835   0.00   64.166   63.760  -7.86 
USD/SEK Sweden         9.6390-480     9.6390-480   0.00   9.7172   9.6415  +8.93 
USD/ZAR S. Africa     14.7468-768    14.7468-768   0.00  14.7618  14.7618  +2.79 
 
USD/CNY China           7.0807-27      7.0807-27   0.00   7.0817   7.0817  +2.95 
USD/HKD Hong Kong       7.8433-38      7.8433-38   0.00   7.8446   7.8419  +0.15 
USD/MYR Malaysia        4.1840-90      4.1840-90   0.00   4.1865   4.1865  +1.31 
USD/INR India           71.030-50      71.030-50   0.00   71.040   71.040  +2.11 
USD/IDR Indonesia        14138-52       14138-52   0.00    14145    14145  -1.63 
USD/PHP Philippines     51.250-70      51.250-70   0.00   51.260   51.260  -2.36 
USD/SGD Singapore       1.3636-46      1.3636-46   0.00   1.3661   1.3632  +0.09 
USD/KRW S. Korea     1177.91-9.91   1177.91-9.91   0.00  1182.45  1178.26  +5.80 
USD/TWD Taiwan          30.537-67      30.537-67   0.00   30.552   30.552  -0.09 
USD/THB Thailand       30.280-300     30.280-300   0.00   30.340   30.250  -6.28 
USD/VND Vietnam         23169-239      23169-239   0.00    23208    23202  +0.04 
 
USD/BRL Brazil          4.1112-42      4.1112-42   0.00   4.1652   4.1110  +5.96 
USD/MXN Mexico       19.0954-1254   19.0954-1254   0.00  19.2165  19.1072  -2.74 
USD/ARS Argentina     58.2574-986    58.2574-986   0.00  58.4638  58.2068 +54.80 
 
Source: Tullett Prebon 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 20:50 ET (00:50 GMT)

DJ National Vision Stock Is a Buy, Says Wall Street. Some Shorts Say Look Again. -- Barrons.com
By Bill Alpert

National Vision Holdings has been the fastest-growing U.S. optical chain for a decade, with 70 quarters of unbroken same-store sales growth. Just about every broker calls the stock a Buy. One might call it the vision of a winner.

In the past year, however, National Vision shares (ticker: EYE) have fallen by half, and they could drop further as a critical contract comes up for renewal and bears take aim.

Recent critiques by short-oriented analysts have weighed on the stock. One such critic, investment researcher Katherine Spurlock of Norne, says that National Vision's discount offers, widely advertised to low-income consumers, aren't appropriate for most customers because the material used to make the glasses is too heavy for strong prescriptions and too prone to shattering.

National Vision CEO Reade Fahs, in an interview with Barron's, says he's proud of finding a way to make eye care and eyewear accessible to budget-conscious Americans. "Eyeglasses are expensive in America," he says, "especially since we're talking generally about seven pieces of plastic held together by two screws." He blamed his stock's decline on errors in short reports, such as the importance of a lucrative Walmart contract to profitability.

But National Vision's biggest sellers haven't been the shorts. In August, Goldman Sachs underwrote an offering in which KKR (KKR) unloaded $280 million of National Vision stock -- the private-equity firm's last shares remaining from its initial offering of the optical chain two years ago.

Since the IPO, National Vision's sales growth and profit margins have cooled a bit. And looming next August is the expiration of a contract under which the company manages vision centers in 226 Walmart stores.

Even after falling, National Vision's stock isn't cheap. At a recent $24 and a $2 billion market capitalization, it trades at 36 times this year's estimated earnings. KKR got out at $31. Spurlock thinks that slowing growth could drop the stock to the midteens. A 20 times multiple, a small premium to the broader market, would drop the stock by more than a third.

The Duluth, Ga.--based optical company was started in 1990 to manage vision centers for Walmart (WMT). Fahs joined the company in 2002, after working at LensCrafters during the decade of its most rapid growth. In 2005, National Vision merged with a 112-store chain called America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses and began its own growth spurt, expanding at a rate of some 75 stores a year.

In 2018, revenue reached $1.5 billion, with earnings of $52 million, or 66 cents a share. Two-thirds of National Vision's revenue comes from the America's Best discount chain, with the rest from a chain of superstores called Eyeglass World, the Walmart contract, and a bunch of websites.

After KKR bought the business in 2014, National Vision widened the cash-flow margin it reports as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, from 8.8% in 2014 to 11.3% in 2018. But those Ebitda numbers are "adjusted" and exclude more than a dozen kinds of expenses that National Vision says aren't representative of its operating performance. Margins narrow when they're added back, however, to 3.8% in 2014 and 7.6% in 2018.

Fahs says he wasn't fazed by KKR's exit. When the private-equity firm bought his business, he says he was told that its holding period averaged five years. The five years were up. KKR declined to comment.

For his part, Fahs plans to keep doing what he has done for 17 years. Drawing in traffic at America's Best is its offer of a free eye exam with the purchase of two pairs of eyeglasses, for $69.95.

Of concern now among some analysts is whether Walmart will renew National Vision's management deal in August 2020. Walmart has run thousands of its own vision centers for years, so it's hard to see why it should renew the deal. Comparable-store sales are roughly flat at the vision centers managed by National Vision -- contrasting with the mid-to-upper-single digit comps at the optical company's own retail chains. Walmart declined to comment.

One thing is clear: Losing Walmart would hurt. While National Vision gets only about 10% of its total revenue from the Walmart business, it brings in a larger share of profits. Exactly how much is in dispute. Analyzing the company's segment reporting, Spurlock infers that the operating cash flow from the Walmart deal accounts for all of National Vison's free cash flow. That's an overstatement, says National Vision finance chief Patrick Moore, although he won't disclose the Walmart business's profitability.

Fahs thinks Walmart still needs his company. "This is a way for them to watch and learn," he says. "I bring them ideas and perspective."

Wall Street bulls are counting on revenue to rise as the optical company increases its own store count. Fahs says the strongest part of optical retailing these days is the discount category. The company's retail economists calculate that the U.S. has room for about 1,000 of his America's Best discount units and some 800 of his Eyeglass Worlds. So far, the company has about 700 of the former and 120 of the latter.

The company's projections should be tempered by recent evidence from its stores, however. At both America's Best and Eyeglass World, comp-store sales growth has been easing and the sales contribution of new stores has been shrinking.

This evidence suggests that the limit of National Vision's store growth may be closer than the company's economists estimated, a potentially worrisome sign for an investor like, say, a KKR.

Private-equity investors may get a bad rap for management of their portfolio companies, but they're rarely accused of being dumb.

Write to Bill Alpert at william.alpert@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:59 ET (23:59 GMT)

DJ Evaluating Datadog,Toll Brothers, Bank of America, Cathay General Bancorp, Recro Pharma, IBM -- Barrons.com
Edited by

These reports, excerpted and edited by Barron's, were issued recently by investment and research firms. The reports are a sampling of analysts' thinking; they should not be considered the views or recommendations of Barron's. Some of the reports' issuers have provided, or hope to provide, investment-banking or other services to the companies being analyzed.

Datadog DDOG-Nasdaq

OverweightPrice $35.67 on Oct. 11 by J.P. Morgan

Over the past 10 years, we have seen an increasing amount of enterprise computing workloads shifting to the public cloud. Now, we are seeing enterprises putting more mission-critical applications in the cloud. That requires technology to monitor for problems, and Datadog has developed the market-leading solution for this. We see Datadog as the best-positioned to capture not only the biggest share of infrastructure monitoring, but also the opportunity from companies [seeking] a single monitoring vendor. This year, we expect Datadog to generate $328.7 million in revenue, representing a growth rate of 65.9%. That alone puts Datadog in rarefied company...with peers like Zoom and Crowdstrike, underpinning our Overweight rating. Our December 2020 price target of $45 is based on our 10-year discounted cash-flow analysis.

Toll BrothersTOL-NYSE

NeutralPrice $39.47 on Oct. 14 by Susquehanna Financial Group

Toll Brothers has outperformed the SPX by 300 basis points, year to date, and at 10 times 2020 earnings per share, the shares are at their historical average forward price/earnings. We are lowering estimates for both 2019 and 2020, as we taper our outlook for sales-pace improvement and operating leverage through next year. Based on our current earnings outlook, we'd look to become constructive again in the mid- to lower $30s.

Bank of AmericaBAC-NYSE

Buy Price $29.73 on Oct. 16 by The Buckingham Research Group

We reiterate our Buy rating and $35 target following third-quarter 2019 EPS of 56 cents, versus our 51 cents estimate and the consensus 54 cents. Excluding the previously announced $2.1 billion charge for exiting a joint venture with First Data, EPS was 75 cents, up 14%, year over year. Looking ahead, we see signs of improving growth, which can help offset the pressure from lower interest rates. Average loans in the business segments accelerated to +6% Y/Y versus 4% in second-quarter 2019, while average deposit growth of 4% was solid. Consumer and investment-banking fees also showed upside. At 9.6 times our 2020 estimated EPS, with a sizable capital return (8.5% drop in the diluted share count), and a top-tier consumer franchise, we see Bank of America as undervalued.

Cathay General Bancorp CATY-Nasdaq

Hold Price $34.85 on Oct. 17 by Sandler O'Neil Partners

Cathay reported third-quarter earnings of 91 cents a share, but backing out a $2.2 million adjustment to a tax provision, we put core EPS at 94 cents. Balance-sheet growth was roughly as expected, with both loans and deposits rising at a mid-single digit pace. The reported margin held fairly steady, due to a nice interest-rate recovery, though the core margin posted another sharp decline. Capital levels remained strong, despite a larger balance sheet and modest share repurchases. Lastly, profitability was strong, with return on assets at 1.65% and return on equity at 13%.

Following the conference call, we made several minor adjustments to our outlook, notably a thinner net interest margin. Our 2019 EPS estimate is unchanged at $3.49, but our 2020 estimate is 15 cents lower, at $3.35. Our 12-month price target is $37.

Recro Pharma REPH-Nasdaq

Overweight (Volatile) Price $11.52 on Oct. 16 by Stephens

Initiation of coverage: With a profitable contract development and manufacturing organization, or CDMO, buried in a specialty pharmaceutical company, Recro presents a unique opportunity. We believe that its CDMO assets are underappreciated by the market, despite world-class customers, end-to-end capabilities, industry-leading margins, and strong revenue growth.

Recro is beginning to focus on its contract development and manufacturing organization. Recro has also been evaluating splitting the businesses into two companies. We think this would unlock the value of the CDMO business. Our $14 price target ascribes zero value to Recro's therapeutics business, assuming a multiple of 10.5 times enterprise value/Ebitda for the CDMO business alone.

IBM IBM-NYSE

Outperform Price $135 on Oct. 17 by Evercore ISI

IBM reported a modest EPS beat on slightly softer revenues in its September quarter ($18 billion/$2.68 versus Street at $18.2 billion/$2.66), though much of the EPS upside was driven by a lower-than- expected tax rate at 0%....We understand the bull and bear perspectives on the stock. Our Outperform rating is predicated on an attractive risk/reward, especially if the integration of Red Hat is going well. We see upside potential toward $200, versus downside risk to $110. With about a 5% dividend yield, this is a name worth owning into 2020.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:59 ET (23:59 GMT)

DJ SmileDirectClub Is Battling With Dentists. Investors Are Caught in the Middle. -- Barrons.com
By Evie Liu

Just last month, teeth-fixer SmileDirectClub priced its initial public offering at $23 per share. Shares closed the past week at $9.46, down nearly 60%. That's not the kind of realignment that SmileDirect had in mind when it decided to go public.

The company was built on a disruptive brand of orthodontia that's closer to shopping for sunglasses than visiting a dentist. Customers go to a SmileDirect store or take an at-home mold of their teeth. From there, the company creates a plastic aligner that customers can wear to bed. The treatment usually takes six months, with a one-time payment of $1,900. (A 24-month payment option comes to $2,290.)

Not surprisingly, dentists and orthodontists aren't thrilled. The American Dental Association has asked the Federal Trade Commission to "investigate false and misleading claims" from SmileDirect, arguing that a prescription should be necessary for moving teeth.

Investors are caught in the middle. SmileDirectClub shares fell 15% this past week after the California legislature passed a bill requiring an orthodontics provider to review recent patient X-rays. In a statement following the bill's passage, SmileDirect said, "Simply put, this bill represents the dental lobby's thinly veiled attempt to protect traditional dentistry at the expense of Californians."

SmileDirect will probably have more to say when the company reports earnings next month. For now, Wall Street isn't worried about the fight with dentists. All seven analysts tracked by Bloomberg rate SmileDirect stock at Buy or its equivalent.

Next Week

Monday 10/21

Cadence Design Systems, Halliburton , TD Ameritrade Holding , and Zions Bancorp report quarterly results.

Tuesday 10/22

Biogen, Chipotle Mexican Grill , Hasbro , Lockheed Martin , McDonald's , Novartis , Procter & Gamble , Texas Instruments , United Parcel Service , and United Technologies report earnings.

The National Association of Realtors reports existing-home sales for September. Economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.5 million, even with August's data.

Wednesday 10/23

Ameriprise Financial, Anthem , Boeing , Caterpillar , eBay , Eli Lilly , Ford Motor , Microsoft , Norfolk Southern , PayPal Holdings , Tesla , and Thermo Fisher Scientific report quarterly results.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee. The hearing is titled, "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors."

Hewlett Packard webcasts its 2019 securities analyst meeting. CEO Antonio Neri and Chief Financial Officer Tarek Robbiati will discuss the firm's strategic and financial outlook.

Thursday 10/24

3M, Amazon.com, American Airlines Group , Comcast , Danaher , Gilead Sciences , Hershey , Intel , Northrop Grumman , Twitter , and Visa report earnings.

The European Central Bank announces its monetary-policy decision. The central bank is expected to leave it key short-term interest rate unchanged at negative 0.5%. This will be the last interest-rate meeting headed by ECB President Mario Draghi. His eight-year term expires at the end of October. He will be succeeded by Christine Lagarde, former head of the International Monetary Fund.

The Census Bureau releases its Durable Goods report for September. New orders for manufactured durable goods are expected to fall 0.5% after a 0.2% gain in August.

IHS Markit releases its Manufacturing PMI for October. Consensus estimates are for a 50.3 reading, down from September's 51.1.

The Census Bureau reports new-home sales for September. Economists forecast a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000, down 3% from August's 713,000 figure.

Friday 10/25

Anheuser-Busch InBev, Cabot Oil & Gas , Charter Communications , Franklin Resources , Phillips 66 , and Verizon Communications hold conference calls to discuss quarterly results.

Write to Evie Liu at evie.liu@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:59 ET (23:59 GMT)

DJ Philip Morris and 9 More Stock Picks Using Bernstein's Quant-Aided Analysis -- Barrons.com
By Bill Alpert

Bernstein Research has beaten the market in recent years by combining two disciplines: fundamental research and quantitative analysis. Quant investing can be more objective, consistent, and testable than fundamental analysis, says Bernstein's Ann Larson. But analysts are better at predicting business change. Since 2004, U.S. stocks that Bernstein rated as Outperform have beaten the S&P 500 index by almost 2% annually. A back-test of stocks favored by its quant model would have beaten the S&P by 4%. And stocks making both lists would have outperformed by almost 6% a year, she says.

Bernstein began publishing its 10-stock Quant+Fundamental portfolio in 2016, updating every six months. This past Wednesday, it released its new list.

Philip Morris International has struggled lately, but Bernstein likes its yield, cash flows, and heated-tobacco product, IQOS. And CVS Health has high-quality earnings and a strong outlook for recently acquired Aetna. Bernstein also likes health insurers Cigna and Centene.

Southwest Airlines was hurt by the grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX jets, but Bernstein foresees a tailwind when the planes return, and likes its stock buybacks and low leverage. The grounding also hurt Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, which should earn high margins when MAX is back. Hilton Worldwide Holdings will grow by adding new units, Aramark has a new CEO, and Ross Stores' off-price apparel can withstand online rivals. And for desert? Chipotle Mexican Grill, with improving sales and margins, a new management, and new digital-ordering technologies

Last Week

Nice Flight, Hard Landing

Markets took a wait-and-see attitude toward the China trade deal, while new U.S. tariffs on the European Union threatened to open a second front. Stocks rose on decent earnings, then hit a Friday downdraft on more Boeing 737 MAX bad news. For the week, the Dow industrials slipped 0.2%, to 26,770.20; the S&P 500 gained 0.5%, to 2986.20; and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4%, to 8089.54.

Syria's Shifting Sands

With the Turkish military moving across northern Syria, the Kurds struck a deal with the Russian-backed Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. President Trump then ordered a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and fears mounted that the Kurds would release detained Islamic State fighters. Trump authorized sanctions on Turkey and sent the vice president and secretary of state to seek a cease fire. Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who had declared, "We will finish what we started," agreed to trade a five-day pause for sanctions relief. Fighting continued.

A Wall Breached

Resistance to the impeachment inquiry crumbled. Former National Security Council Russian expert Fiona Hill testified that her then-boss John Bolton told her to report what she knew of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's activities in Ukraine to the NSC's top lawyer. She was followed by other State Department officials, including the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who said he was following Trump's orders. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating Giuliani.

GM Strike Winds Down

After a monthlong strike, the United Auto Workers said that it had a deal with General Motors , contingent on worker approval, that covers 46,000 workers and includes $7.7 billion in GM investment in the U.S.

Brexit on the Brink

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiated a plan to retain an open border between Northern Ireland, a part of the U.K., and Ireland, an EU member. In Brussels, 27 EU leaders approved the plan, but Parliament faces a vote on Saturday, with a Northern Irish party, a key Johnson ally, opposed.

WeWork Fixer-Upper

WeWork has assigned board members to decide between two financing options: major investor SoftBank pumping in several billion dollars in exchange for a larger stake, or JPMorgan Chase selling billions in debt. Without a deal, parent We Co. could run out of cash in November.

More Opioid Talks

The Wall Street Journal reported that three drug distributors -- McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen -- may pay some $18 billion to settle state and local opioid claims. Johnson & Johnson has reportedly offered a $4 billion settlement.

Write to Bill Alpert at william.alpert@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:59 ET (23:59 GMT)

DJ 13D Filings: Argo Group, Gamestop, and Verso -- Barrons.com

13Ds are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 10 days of an entity's attaining a greater than 5% position in any class of a company's securities. Subsequent changes in holdings or intentions must be reported in amended filings. This material has been extracted from filings released by the SEC from Oct. 3, 2019, to Oct. 9, 2019. Source: InsiderScore.com

Activist Holdings

Argo Group International ( ARGO) Voce Capital Management disclosed on Oct. 15 that it held 1,863,557 shares of the property and casualty insurer, equal to 5.4% of Argo's outstanding stock. On Oct. 14, Voce Capital issued a press release stating that the recent SEC investigation into Argo's executive compensation and benefits "illustrates the need for immediate and sweeping changes at Argo."

Voce had proposed a reconstituted board in the past and reiterated the need for such now. Its recommendations include the removal of the five longest-serving directors, the election of independent directors to at least partially fill the vacated seats, and the creation of a special committee that "will respond to the SEC subpoena" and conduct a "comprehensive investigation, with the assistance of an outside law firm, into any misappropriation of corporate assets," along with any other misconduct. Voce concluded that it remains open to engaging with Argo, but if the board refrains from discussions, it would "seek to hold [Argo's board] accountable through whatever process we deem to be in the best interest of all Argo shareholders." Barnes & Noble Education ( BNED) Outerbridge Capital Management cited a position in the college and university bookstore-services provider of 6,499,621 shares, or a 13.7% stake in the tradable stock. That amount includes Outerbridge's purchase of 3,499,749 shares from Aug. 12 to Oct. 9 at a per share price of $2.94 to $4.01. Outerbridge has switched to an active stance and cited that it wishes to engage Barnes & Noble Education to "discuss enhancing shareholder value and to potentially seek board representation." Outerbridge noted that it also wishes "to have discussions with other stockholders to understand their perspectives and priorities." USA Technologies ( USAT) Hudson Executive Capital disclosed on Oct. 16 that it holds 10,385,172 shares of the payments-processing firm, equal to 16.3% of the outstanding stock. Included in that figure are 2,189,200 shares that were purchased from Sept. 23 to Oct. 14 at $4.14 to $7.30 apiece. Hudson Executive addressed an open letter to USA Technologies shareholders, dated Oct. 14, that it intended "to nominate a slate of independent" directors to USA Technologies' board. Hudson Executive feels strongly that change is necessary, as the incumbent directors have "repeatedly rejected" Hudson's assistance for issues that it believes have eroded shareholder value.

Specifically, USA Technologies had declined help with a timely audit so that it could submit restated financial statements, and has refinanced debt that increased "ongoing financial costs." Lastly, the board has not held management accountable for decisions that have "failed to attract and retain senior staff," enabled poor shareholder communications, and cost business opportunities as well as reputation. Hudson Executive said it's seeking to reconstitute the board and that future communications will be forthcoming.

Increases in Holdings

TerraForm Power ( TERP) Brookfield Asset Management, through a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary, bought 2,981,514 shares of the clean-energy operator through a private placement. On Oct. 8, Brookfield entered into a purchase agreement with TerraForm to buy the noted shares at $16.77 apiece, further cementing Brookfield as the energy company's largest shareholder with a 61.5% interest in the outstanding A stock, equal to 139,631,666 shares.

DBV Technologies ( DBVT) Baker Brothers Advisors lifted its stake in the French biopharmaceutical firm to 11,164,669 shares. On Oct. 9, wholly owned subsidiaries of Baker Brothers purchased 9,104,704 American depositary receipts through a public offering at $6.59 per share. Following the offering that closed on Oct. 11, Baker Brothers now owns 23.7% of the biopharmaceutical's outstanding stock, including 21,500 ordinary shares underlying a similar number of exercisable warrants. Baker Brothers also cited that a representative serves on DBV's board.

GameStop ( GME) Hestia Capital Management and Permit Capital revealed on Oct. 15 that they jointly own 4,601,961 shares of the videogame retailer, about 5.1% of the tradable stock that includes shares personally owned by founding managers. The shared stake includes 1,769,975 shares bought from Aug. 16 to Oct. 10 at prices of $3.25 to $5.55 apiece. Toward the end of March, Hestia and Permit entered a cooperation agreement with GameStop that would allow the election of one director to the board within 30 days before GameStop's 2019 annual shareholders meeting, selected from a group of candidates provided by Hestia and Permit.

Further, the agreement allowed for the selection of one additional designee during the annual meeting. As those seats have been filled, Hestia and Permit have agreed to standstill provisions that will prohibit the investors from owning more than 9.9% of GameStop's stock as well as prevent either Hestia or Permit from seeking or soliciting proxies that would influence or control management or seek "extraordinary transactions." WideOpenWest ( WOW) Crestview Partners purchased 694,705 shares of the regional cable operator from Sept. 10 to Oct. 10. Crestview Partners bought shares at prices ranging from $5.60 to $6 each and now holds 31,132,977 shares, equal to 36.9% of the outstanding stock.

Decreases in Holding

Verso ( VRS) Lapetus Capital lowered its holding of the coated-paper producer to 2,491,707 shares. The reduced stake resulted from Lapetus' purchase of 291,766 shares from Oct. 1 to Oct. 9 at $12.24 to $12.47 each and the sale of 395,905 shares on Oct. 7 at $12.50 apiece. Lapetus now holds a 7.2% interest in Verso's outstanding stock.

The Activist Spotlight

Emerson Electric (EMR)

Business: technology and engineering

Stock Market Value: $41.7 billion ($67.84/share)

What's Happening: DE Shaw has submitted a detailed plan to the company outlining its ideas for shareholder value improvement.

Key Numbers:

50%: DE Shaw's estimate of the appreciation of Emerson stock if its plan is followed

$150 million: compensation of CEO David Farr over past 10 years. 50% more than his S&P peers

8: number of Emerson private jets

Nov. 6: deadline to nominate directors

Behind the Scenes: DE Shaw uses activism situationally as a tool when it makes sense. Emerson has top tier automation assets and a premium climate franchise with leading market share but has consistently underperformed its peers and the market. DE Shaw attributes this to a long track record of bad capital allocation, excessive costs, a poorly integrated conglomerate structure, insufficient corporate governance, and poorly aligned executive compensation.

DE Shaw estimates that $1 billion of costs could be cut, and recommends that Emerson split into separate industrial-automation and climate-technology companies, de-stagger its board, and tie executive compensation to operational or financial returns rather than growth. DE Shaw is aware of the director nomination deadline and will probably push to add directors with experience analyzing and executing the separation of disparate businesses.

Emerson has responded that it welcomes input from all shareholders, will evaluate DE Shaw's proposals, and has started a comprehensive review of operational, capital-allocation, and portfolio initiatives to enhance shareholder value.

--Kenneth Squire

The 13D Activist Fund, a mutual fund run by an affiliate of the author and not connected to Barron's, has no position in the securities mentioned here. In addition, the author publishes and sells 13D research reports, whose buyers may include representatives of participants in, and targets of, shareholder activism.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:59 ET (23:59 GMT)

DJ Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 19:50 EST / 2350 GMT
 
                           Latest       Previous   %Chg    Daily    Daily   %Chg 
Dollar Rates                               Close            High      Low  12/31 
 
USD/JPY Japan           108.40-41      108.40-41   0.00   108.72   108.33  -1.08 
EUR/USD Euro            1.1168-71      1.1168-71   0.00   1.1173   1.1115  -2.62 
GBP/USD U.K.            1.2973-75      1.2973-75   0.00   1.2987   1.2839  +1.69 
USD/CHF Switzerland     0.9841-45      0.9841-45   0.00   0.9892   0.9823  +0.28 
USD/CAD Canada          1.3123-28      1.3123-28   0.00   1.3150   1.3120  -3.78 
AUD/USD Australia       0.6852-56      0.6852-56   0.00   0.6858   0.6820  -2.81 
NZD/USD New Zealand     0.6384-90      0.6384-90   0.00   0.6391   0.6342  -4.96 
 
Euro Rates 
 
EUR/JPY Japan           121.06-11      121.06-11   0.00   121.12   120.66  -3.67 
EUR/GBP U.K.            0.8605-08      0.8605-08   0.00   0.8664   0.8599  -4.27 
EUR/CHF Switzerland     1.0992-95      1.0992-95   0.00   1.1010   1.0975  -2.34 
EUR/CAD Canada          1.4657-67      1.4657-67   0.00   1.4664   1.4604  -6.25 
EUR/AUD Australia       1.6287-97      1.6287-97   0.00   1.6310   1.6261  +0.17 
EUR/DKK Denmark         7.4705-12      7.4705-12   0.00   7.4757   7.4694  +0.06 
EUR/NOK Norway        10.2289-339    10.2289-339   0.00  10.2444  10.2014  +3.26 
EUR/SEK Sweden        10.7680-780    10.7680-780   0.00  10.8071  10.7606  +6.11 
EUR/CZK Czech Rep.      25.617-47      25.617-47   0.00   25.731   25.617  -0.31 
EUR/HUF Hungary         330.46-86      330.46-86   0.00   331.36   330.23  +3.00 
EUR/PLN Poland          4.2818-36      4.2818-36   0.00   4.2884   4.2795  -0.16 
 
Yen Rates 
 
AUD/JPY Australia        74.31-35       74.31-35   0.00    74.36    74.06  -3.83 
GBP/JPY U.K.            140.66-72      140.66-72   0.00   140.76   139.34  +0.57 
CAD/JPY Canada           82.57-61       82.57-61   0.00    82.78    82.40  +2.78 
NZD/JPY New Zealand      69.20-28       69.20-28   0.00    69.30    67.55  -5.98 
 
Other Dollar Rates 
 
USD/CZK Czech Rep.      22.921-71      22.921-71   0.00   23.142   22.944  +2.35 
USD/HUF Hungary       295.89-6.29    295.89-6.29   0.00   298.01   295.76  +5.75 
USD/DKK Denmark         6.6880-90      6.6880-90   0.00   6.7215   6.6874  +2.72 
USD/NOK Norway         9.1586-646     9.1586-646   0.00   9.1974   9.1573  +6.02 
USD/PLN Poland          3.8331-36      3.8331-36   0.00   3.8546   3.8328  +2.48 
USD/RUB Russia         63.765-835     63.765-835   0.00   64.166   63.760  -7.86 
USD/SEK Sweden         9.6390-480     9.6390-480   0.00   9.7172   9.6415  +8.93 
USD/ZAR S. Africa     14.7468-768    14.7468-768   0.00  14.7618  14.7618  +2.79 
 
USD/CNY China           7.0807-27      7.0807-27   0.00   7.0817   7.0817  +2.95 
USD/HKD Hong Kong       7.8433-38      7.8433-38   0.00   7.8446   7.8419  +0.15 
USD/MYR Malaysia        4.1840-90      4.1840-90   0.00   4.1865   4.1865  +1.31 
USD/INR India           71.030-50      71.030-50   0.00   71.040   71.040  +2.11 
USD/IDR Indonesia        14138-52       14138-52   0.00    14145    14145  -1.63 
USD/PHP Philippines     51.250-70      51.250-70   0.00   51.260   51.260  -2.36 
USD/SGD Singapore       1.3636-46      1.3636-46   0.00   1.3661   1.3632  +0.09 
USD/KRW S. Korea     1177.91-9.91   1177.91-9.91   0.00  1182.45  1178.26  +5.80 
USD/TWD Taiwan          30.537-67      30.537-67   0.00   30.552   30.552  -0.09 
USD/THB Thailand       30.280-300     30.280-300   0.00   30.340   30.250  -6.28 
USD/VND Vietnam         23169-239      23169-239   0.00    23208    23202  +0.04 
 
USD/BRL Brazil          4.1112-42      4.1112-42   0.00   4.1652   4.1110  +5.96 
USD/MXN Mexico       19.0954-1254   19.0954-1254   0.00  19.2165  19.1072  -2.74 
USD/ARS Argentina     58.2574-986    58.2574-986   0.00  58.4638  58.2068 +54.80 
 
Source: Tullett Prebon 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:50 ET (23:50 GMT)

DJ Here Are the Boeing Documents That Caused the Stock to Tank -- Barrons.com
By Al Root

News that Boeing, the commercial aerospace giant, delayed providing internal communications about the 737 MAX jet to the Federal Aviation Administration sent the stock for a loop on Friday.

The company said it had disclosed the 2016 correspondence to the appropriate investigating authority earlier in 2019, but the FAA said it was concerned that it hadn't been informed. The first MAX jets were delivered in 2017.

"Boeing has also been voluntarily cooperating with the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's investigation into the 737 MAX," the company said Friday. "As part of that cooperation, today we brought that document to the Committee's attention as well. We will continue to cooperate with the Committee, and all other authorities, as they move forward with their investigations."

The House committee provided a copy, which contained some redactions, to Barron's. Excerpts follow, first from a series of instant messages, and then from emails.

The messages:

Mark Forkner: MCAS is now active down to M .2, It's running rampant in the sim on me at least that's what Vince thinks is happening

Gustavsson, Patrik: Oh great, that means we have to update the speed trim description in vol 2

Mark Forkner: so I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly)

Gustavsson, Patrik: it wasnt a lie, no one told us that was the case

Mark Forkner: I'm levelling off at like 4000 ft, 230 knots and the plane is trimming itself like craxy. I'm like, WHAT?

Gustavsson, Patrik: that's what i saw on sim one, but on approach. I think thats wrong

Mark Forkner: granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious

(The MAX jet has been grounded since March, after two deadly crashes in a matter of months. Flight-control software known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System was implicated in both accidents.)

Email from Forkner to an unidentified person at an FAA email address:

We're starting to work on the reverse differences DT, and I noticed a few things that should be changed in the DT for the NG to MAX, that are in the draft FSB:

Flight Controls:

Delete MCAS, recall we decided we weren't going to cover it in the FCOM or the CBT, since it's way outside the normal operating envelope

(The decision to not detail MCAS operations in the flight manual, or FCOM, has been questioned by pilots who have flown the jet, including those represented by a union at Southwest Airlines.)

Second email from Forkner to an unidentified person at an FAA email address:

Things are calming down a bit for my airplane cert, at least for now. I'm doing a bunch of travelling though the next few months; simulator validations, jedi-mind tricking regulators into accepting the training that I got accepted by FAA, etc.

(The language appears light, even joking, but might concern some observers.)

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:34 ET (23:34 GMT)

DJ Boeing Pilot Raised Concerns About 737 MAX Years Before Deadly Crashes
By Andrew Tangel and Andy Pasztor

A senior Boeing Co. pilot raised concerns about a 737 MAX flight-control system three years ago, but the company didn't alert federal regulators until 2019, months after two deadly crashes involving the same system, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a 2016 instant-message exchange, Mark Forkner, then Boeing's chief technical pilot for the MAX, and a colleague named Patrik Gustavsson appeared to discuss the plane maker's modifications of the system, known as MCAS. The pilots compared notes on problems they had encountered in 737 MAX flight simulators, according to a transcript of the messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, and Mr. Forkner described some of the MAX's simulated behavior as "egregious."

Apparently referring to changes to the system, Mr. Forkner wrote: "So I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly)." At the time, FAA regulators were in the process of certifying the 737 MAX as safe to carry passengers.

Mr. Gustavsson replied: "it wasnt a lie, no one told us that was the case."

According to a letter FAA head Steve Dickson sent to Boeing on Friday, the plane maker discovered the messages in February of this year, several months after a Lion Air 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia and around a month before another of the jets operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed, killing all on board. But Mr. Dickson's letter said Boeing didn't reveal their existence to the agency until this week and demanded the plane maker provide an immediate explanation for the delay.

The messages suggest Boeing's pilots may have encountered some of the problems that eventually led to the two crashes, which together claimed 346 lives. MCAS has been implicated in both crashes.

David Gerger, an attorney for Mr. Forkner, said: "If you read the whole chat, it is obvious that there was no 'lie' and the simulator program was not operating properly. Based on what he was told, Mark thought the plane was safe, and the simulator would be fixed."

The messages, coupled with questions about why they weren't shared earlier with the FAA or congressional investigators, intensify scrutiny on Boeing's management and safety culture.

They also raise the stakes for Boeing at an Oct. 30 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the Democratic chairman of the committee, has signaled that Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg will be grilled about whether the company misled regulators about MCAS and then withheld relevant documents from investigators.

Mr. DeFazio said the messages "show deliberate concealment" of a problematic system that was on the plane but not included in the training manual. "That's just outrageous." After months assessing the relative responsibility of federal regulators and the plane maker in creating the MAX crisis, Mr. DeFazio said now his probe's focus "is shifting way over to the Boeing side."

"You can't pin this on just this guy," he said, adding that "this was a cultural problem."

The messages between Messrs. Forkner and Gustavsson highlight issues relating to Boeing's efforts to get the MAX approved smoothly -- as well as what pilots were told about MCAS -- both topics that congressional investigators and federal prosecutors are focused on, according to people familiar with the probes.

The pilots appeared to discuss Mr. Forkner's role in Boeing's crafting pilot MAX manuals, which excluded references to MCAS. After describing the feature "running rampant" in the flight simulator, Mr. Forkner wrote: "Oh great, that means we have to update the speed trim description" in those documents. Speed trim is another flight-control system related to MCAS.

Investigators have been looking into whether such an update could have alerted FAA officials about the power of MCAS, or possibly prompted the agency to mandate additional simulator training for pilots on the new model. Boeing and airlines that bought the MAX, especially Southwest Airlines Co., were determined to persuade the FAA that additional simulator training wasn't required because MCAS was simply an offshoot of the long-standing speed-trim system previously approved by regulators.

At the end of the exchange, when the aviators complain that Boeing test pilots failed to alert them about the issues, Mr. Forkner responded: "They're all so damn busy, and getting pressure from the program."

Boeing is also the subject of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, which is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Transportation Department's inspector general's office to delve into how the 737 MAX aircraft was developed and certified. Last week, the company stripped Mr. Muilenburg of his dual role as chairman. On Friday, Boeing shed $14 billion in market value, with its shares closing down 6.8% at $344.

Boeing said Mr. Muilenburg called the FAA chief on Friday to respond to the concerns raised in his letter, and the company reiterated it will continue to cooperate with the House panel.

A Boeing spokesman said the company didn't believe it was appropriate to share the document with the FAA sooner because of the ongoing criminal investigation. The spokesman said Boeing shared it with the FAA's parent agency on Thursday because it planned to turn the letter over to congressional investigators on Friday.

Separately, the FAA provided Mr. DeFazio's committee with a batch of emails -- covering the period from 2015 to 2018 -- between Mr. Forkner and unidentified FAA officials dealing with MAX issues.

In one dated Jan. 17, 2017, with the name of the agency recipient blacked out, Mr. Forkner wrote about deleting any mention of MCAS from certain manuals or computer-based training for pilots. "We decided we weren't going to cover it," the email said, "since it's way outside the normal operating envelope" and therefore pilots wouldn't be expected to experience it.

Ten months earlier, according to another email, Mr. Forkner raised the same issue, telling another unidentified FAA official the system was "completely transparent to the flight crew."

Boeing provided the instant messages to the Justice Department in February after discovering them, and then to the Department of Transportation's general counsel Thursday night, before giving the same information to congressional committees investigating the MAX, according to a person familiar with the matter. The FAA is part of the Transportation Department. The Justice Department was informed Boeing would hand over the information to other agencies, this person added.

"We will continue to follow the direction of the FAA and other global regulators, as we work to safely return the 737 MAX to service," Boeing said, adding that the company shared the documents with the appropriate authorities in a timely manner. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment about why the agency didn't notify aviation regulators about the exchange.

Mr. Forkner served as an important liaison among Boeing, FAA officials vetting the new model and managers at Southwest, the MAX's lead customer, which was establishing training programs to serve as templates for the rest of the industry.

Mr. Forkner left Boeing in 2018 and now works at Southwest. An attorney for Mr. Gustavsson, who succeeded Mr. Forkner in his old role and is still at Boeing, couldn't be reached.

A Senate panel is also likely to hold a hearing discussing MAX later this month. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), said he wanted to question Mr. Muilenburg and Boeing's board of directors about the instant messages, which he said portrayed a "decrepit culture of corruption in safety."

Write to Andrew Tangel at Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com and Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:30 ET (23:30 GMT)

DJ More Money Demanded in Opioid Settlement Talks
By Sara Randazzo

CLEVELAND -- Plaintiffs lawyers for cities and counties are demanding more money from major drug distributors, holding up a wide-ranging settlement of opioid litigation after hours of negotiations failed to result in a deal.

Top health-care executives and legions of lawyers descended on the federal courthouse here Friday for settlement talks under the guidance of U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who called all sides to his courtroom in a last-chance attempt to strike a settlement ahead of a Monday trial.

Three drug distributors, AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp., have offered to pay $18 billion over 18 years to resolve lawsuits filed by state and local governments seeking to blame them for helping fuel the opioid crisis, The Wall Street Journal has reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

That amount isn't enough for cities and counties that have cases in front of Judge Polster, Paul Hanly, a lead lawyer for the municipalities, said outside of the judge's courtroom Friday. Mr. Hanly said his group is pushing for more money to be paid out over a shorter time frame, but state attorneys general are generally in agreement about the deal.

Mr. Hanly said they are prepared to go to trial Monday. "We expect the jury and the world to see the extent of wrongdoing by these defendants," he said. "And we will try the case for as long as is necessary."

Paul Farrell, a West Virginia attorney who is also leading the local government cases, said he was concerned that distributors have proposed West Virginia communities be cut out of the deal, because the state's attorney general has collectively reached $73 million in settlements with the companies.

The governments allege drugmakers aggressively marketed -- and played down the addictive risks of -- their prescription painkillers, and that drug distributors didn't do enough to stop suspicious orders that flooded into communities. The companies have denied the allegations.

The settlement talks are an attempt to resolve over 2,000 lawsuits against the companies.

The chief executives of AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal and McKesson came to Cleveland on Friday for the talks, as well as corporate representatives from drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and a smaller distributor, Henry Schein Inc.

Those six companies are set to be defendants in a landmark trial starting Monday in front of Judge Polster. They'll face off against two Ohio counties whose cases have been selected to serve as a bellwether that will help guide how to resolve the rest of the litigation.

Teva, a generic drugmaker based in Israel, has proposed donating billions of dollars of drugs and a few hundred million in cash, according to a person involved in the negotiations. Mr. Hanly said that talks with Teva continue, and that they didn't have any discussions Friday with Walgreens.

Representatives for Teva, Walgreens and Cardinal declined to comment Friday evening. McKesson and AmerisourceBergen didn't respond to requests for comment.

After gathering everyone into his courtroom Friday morning, Judge Polster separated the parties into their own rooms and shuttled between them for at least seven hours. Lawyers slipped in and out, retrieving coffee and diet soda and checking in with other camps.

In one corner were Mr. Hanly and other private plaintiffs' lawyers representing cities and counties, who are driving the case going to trial Monday.

In another camp were the attorneys general from North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Pennsylvania, a bipartisan group leading talks on behalf of the states.

Attorneys are discussing the creation of a three-tiered system to guide how any settlement money is spent, according to a person involved in the negotiations. The largest tier would go toward programs aimed at abating the opioid crisis, with a smaller amount going directly to states and a third bloc of money to cities and counties.

Some attorneys remained in the courthouse into the evening hours.

Pharmaceutical and consumer-products company Johnson & Johnson is also engaged in talks to broadly settle the opioid litigation but wasn't present in Cleveland on Friday. The company already reached a $20.4 million settlement with the two Ohio counties to avoid the trial.

Write to Sara Randazzo at sara.randazzo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:27 ET (23:27 GMT)

DJ Boeing's Recovery Just Got a Lot More Complicated -- Barrons.com
By Al Root

Boeing shares fell nearly 7% on Friday, to $344, on news that a company technical pilot had raised concerns in 2016 instant messages to a colleague about certain systems on Boeing's 737 MAX jet, which were later implicated in two fatal crashes. Boeing turned the information over on Thursday to the Federal Aviation Administration, which said the company had discovered the messages "some months ago."

The revelations are the latest black eye for the commercial aerospace giant, which was forced to ground the MAX in March due to safety concerns. They also mean more uncertainty for Boeing shareholders, who are keenly focused on when the MAX might return to service. Boeing's stock (ticker: BA) has fallen 9% since the flying ban, although it is up year to date.

Anything that demonstrates progress on clearing the plane for flight would probably cause a rally in Boeing shares. Richard Safran, an analyst at Buckingham Research Group, thinks the stock will trade back up to a pregrounding $420 or so when the plane is allowed to fly again, implying a gain of 22% from Friday's close.

"When" is the operative word, of course, but Boeing faces three tests in coming weeks that might yield important clues.

Boeing will report third-quarter earnings on Oct. 23. The actual numbers won't matter, but investors are hoping for some sort of update about the MAX's status. (For those keeping score, Boeing is expected to earn $2.21 a share for the quarter, down 37% year over year.)

Next, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg is scheduled to testify on Oct. 30 before a House transportation committee on the plane's design and certification, and may appear before a Senate committee, as well. The instant-message revelations are almost certain to be on the agenda.

Finally, Boeing will submit proposed fixes for the MAX to global aviation authorities later this fall.

Boeing's most recent guidance is for the 737 MAX to fly commercially again by the end of 2019. That looks optimistic. Southwest Airlines (LUV), which flies an all-737 fleet, has removed the newest model 737 from schedules through February 2020. United Airlines Holdings (UAL) recently removed the MAX from its schedules until January.

Investors also want an update about production. Boeing cut back production of the plane in April. Since then, about 275 new jets have rolled off assembly lines and been parked. The company might cut production again to manage inventory levels and cash flow.

More delays and production cuts sound bad, but if delays stretch out just a few more months, the updates could be good news for the shares.

Barron's recommended Boeing shares in November 2018, shortly after the first 737 MAX crash. We didn't foresee the subsequent problems, although despite them, the stock has returned 1% since, versus a total return of 10% for the S&P 500 index. The structure of the commercial aerospace industry has helped: There are only two major suppliers of commercial aircraft, and jet backlogs stretch out for years.

Longer term, Boeing's stock's trajectory will depend on consumer acceptance of the updated MAX jet. UBS analyst Myles Walton recently surveyed 1,000 fliers, and most indicated they would feel comfortable on a MAX jet after about six months of safe operation. When that happens, the stock will be higher.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:20 ET (23:20 GMT)

DJ Brazilian Authorities Signal Intent to Focus on Vale Executives in Probe of Dam Collapse
By Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- Brazilian police believe top executives and managers at Vale SA deliberately shielded themselves from incriminating information about the state of the company's dam that collapsed in January to avoid liability, according to a copy of a police inquiry reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Studies conducted by Vale's own consultants in the 12 months preceding the disaster, which killed 270 people, showed the structure was fragile and would eventually collapse, Brazil's federal police said in a 215-page report. The collapse of the dam, which held waste from mining, was the world's deadliest in more than half a century.

The report served as the basis of the first criminal charges related to the catastrophe, which were unveiled last month against employees of Vale and its German auditor, TÜV SÜD. While the bulk of the report -- which hasn't been publicly released -- details the evidence behind those charges, one of its conclusions addresses what police say is culpability on the part of Vale's management.

"The top bosses of Vale continued to...boast about the falsely impressive quality of their structures," police wrote in the report. "They closed their eyes to studies commissioned by the company itself, preferring to remain ignorant so that, in a moment like this, they could allege ignorance as their defense."

The report doesn't offer evidence to back up the accusation. No official charges against any top Vale executives have been filed.

Brazilian law-enforcement authorities have been investigating Fabio Schvartsman, who stepped down as Vale's chief executive in March, and other top executives in connection with the dam collapse. Prosecutors are examining the possibility of filing criminal charges on the basis of a legal doctrine known as "willful blindness" in the U.S. -- the idea that a person intentionally stays unaware of facts in order to avoid liability -- people familiar with the probe told the Journal.

Vale said the company's top executives never had any knowledge or received any indication about a critical or imminent risk to the stability of the dam. All of Vale's geotechnical engineers and external inspectors considered the dam safe, a spokesman for the miner said.

Through an attorney, Mr. Schvartsman on Friday denied that he had any knowledge of the dam's structural problems. Mr. Schvartsman said that he proactively sought information on dam safety and that he would have acted on any concerns. Mr. Schvartsman also said Vale increased spending on dam safety under his watch.

On Jan. 25, the 280-foot-high dam, which was no longer in use, gave way near the town of Brumadinho in southeast Brazil. Since then, Mr. Schvartsman and Vale's other top executives have said they had little detailed knowledge of dams. But mining experts have questioned why executives didn't try to find out more about the company's higher-risk dams, such as the one near Brumadinho, especially after a similar dam partly owned by Vale collapsed three years earlier, killing 19.

While Brazilian prosecutors have increasingly looked to borrow legal doctrines such as "willful blindness" from abroad, they are often difficult to apply under Brazil's criminal law, which doesn't recognize such concepts, said São Paulo-based lawyer Pierre Moreau.

TÜV SÜD certified the dam as safe in both June and September of last year. The Journal reported in February that employees at Vale and TÜV SÜD knew for months of dangerous conditions at the dam but that TÜV SÜD employees certified it as safe anyway, worried about losing business with Vale.

In last month's charges, police formally accused seven lower-level individuals from Vale and six employees from TÜV SÜD for covering up structural dangers at the dam during last year's safety audits.

A spokeswoman for TÜV SÜD declined to comment on the police inquiry, saying the company was cooperating with the authorities.

Police continue to investigate. State and federal prosecutors are also preparing their own charges, which could include murder or manslaughter charges, authorities told the Journal.

In the report reviewed by the Journal, police concluded that consultants hired by Vale and Vale's own workers were aware of serious problems at the dam in the months and days leading up to its collapse.

The report cites an incident on June 11, 2018, when muddy water started gushing out of the dam's base after workers installed a drainage pipe in an attempt to improve the structure's safety. Vale said water readings at the location had returned to normal by that evening and that a subsequent study showed no risk to the dam's stability. But a geologist at Vale later told police that he was very concerned about the incident and that it was necessary to pile up about 60 sandbags against the face of the dam to help plug the hole. The Journal reported in May that several of the mine's workers had warned their bosses last year the dam was about to collapse and shored up parts of the giant dam with sandbags on more than one occasion. Vale said it never received any complaints about the dam from workers.

Police in the report also cited the dam's so-called safety factor -- a standard metric used to assess the structure's stability. While police found Vale considered 1.3 as the minimum safety factor for dams, TÜV SÜD rated the fateful structure near Brumadinho as having a safety factor of 1.09 but then came up with a methodology to justify why that still meant the dam was stable.

Makoto Namba, a senior engineering inspector at TÜV SÜD who has told investigators he signed off on the dam's September audit at Vale's behest, told police he couldn't think of any other mine-waste dam of that type with a safety factor below 1.3, according to the report.

A Vale spokesman said the dam complied with Brazilian legislation.

Police cited a lack of follow-up on problems with water-monitoring equipment and on abnormalities in radar readings in the weeks before the dam collapsed. Vale said the equipment had only "configuration problems."

Consultants and Vale staff also told police they were concerned over the lack of structural information about the dam's initial construction in the late 1970s, 25 years before Vale bought the mining complex.

Write to Samantha Pearson at samantha.pearson@wsj.com and Luciana Magalhaes at Luciana.Magalhaes@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:05 ET (23:05 GMT)

DJ News Highlights: Top Company News of the Day
Facebook Reaches Deal With Wall Street Journal Publisher, Others for News Section

Harley-Davidson Resumes Production, Deliveries of Its Electric Motorcycle

Pilot Told Colleague He Unintentionally Misled Regulators on Boeing 737 MAX

J&J Recalls Baby Powder on Asbestos Concern

Schlumberger's Overseas Segments Drive Revenue Growth

Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd Dies

UAW Deal Turns Headlights on GM's Planning

Soda Comeback Drives Sales Gains at Coca-Cola

American Express's Earnings, Top Line Rise

State Street Profit Beats Estimates, Lifts Stock

News Corp has reached a deal to let Facebook Inc. feature headlines from The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones media properties, as well the New York Post, in the social-media giant's upcoming news section, the companies said.

Harley-Davidson is resuming production and deliveries of its first electric motorcycle about a week after it told dealers it was halting production due to a problem related to charging.

A senior Boeing pilot told a colleague he unintentionally misled federal regulators about a key system on the plane maker's 737 MAX, according to a transcript of instant messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Johnson & Johnson launched a voluntary recall of about 33,000 bottles of its baby powder after a test showed sub-trace-level asbestos contamination.

Oil-field-services company Schlumberger Ltd. reported a surprising increase in revenue for the latest quarter, driven by growth in markets outside North America.

Oracle says Co-CEO Mark Hurd, who had taken a medical leave of absence in September, has died. The death leaves Safra Catz as Oracle's sole CEO.

General Motors, the top U.S. automaker, will need to reassure investors in its financial results that cost-savings targets and downturn preparation are on track.

Coca-Cola's carbonated soft drinks are making a comeback, as the company's third-quarter sales rose in large part thanks to variations on its namesake cola.

American Express's profit and revenue climbed in the third quarter, along with its provision for losses.

State Street posted quarterly results that beat Wall Street estimates and offered investors some signs of a turnaround. The custody bank's shares jumped.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

DJ News Highlights: Top Global Markets News of the Day
Fed's Clarida Says Central Bank Will 'Act as Appropriate' to Sustain Growth

Stocks Slip on China Data

Oil-Patch Deals Fuel Energy Bond Gains

Markets Are Rising Despite a Trade War, Brexit and Impeachment Threats

U.S. Companies Can't Buck a Strong Dollar

Fed Eyes Another Rate Cut, Weighs When to Stop

Cooling Economy Drives China to Prioritize Growth

Fed Intervenes in Markets Friday With Temporary and Permanent Liquidity

Boris Johnson Turns On the Charm to Gather Support for Brexit Deal

Top Economic Advisers Warned Trump on Tariffs Before China Truce

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said the central bank's rate cuts in July and September provided a 'somewhat more accommodative policy' in response to rising risks to growth, and that the Fed would approach future policy decision on a meeting-by-meeting basis.

U.S. stocks fell on global growth worries, but the S&P 500 still had a modest gain for the week after a strong kickoff to corporate earnings season.

Falling oil and gas prices cause problems for energy companies, but are delivering a surprise windfall for some U.S. bondholders.

The world seems more tumultuous than it has in years. Congress is weighing impeachment, the U.K. is on the verge of a momentous vote regarding its role in Europe, and the U.S. and China are still mired in a trade war. Yet the S&P 500 is still near its all-time high.

A strong dollar continues to eat into the profit margins of American companies, contributing to what is expected to be 2019's weakest quarter for corporate earnings.

Federal Reserve officials are heading into their meeting in two weeks likely to cut interest rates while debating whether they've done enough for now to vaccinate the economy against growing risks of a sharper slowdown.

A further slide in China's economic momentum in the third quarter appears to be galvanizing government priorities around growth again, after years of trying to contain rising debt.

The New York Fed added $56.65 billion in liquidity to financial markets on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson began a frantic spell of political salesmanship to try to persuade lawmakers to back his Brexit deal ahead of a decisive vote Saturday.

President Trump's top economic advisers last week arranged an Oval Office briefing with outside experts who warned the president that escalation of trade tensions with China could hurt the economy-and his re-election.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT)

DJ Brazilian Authorities Signal Intent to Focus on Vale Executives in Probe of Dam Collapse
By Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- Brazilian police believe top executives and managers at Vale SA deliberately shielded themselves from incriminating information about the state of the company's dam that collapsed in January to avoid liability, according to a copy of a police inquiry reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Studies conducted by Vale's own consultants in the 12 months preceding the disaster, which killed 270 people, showed the structure was fragile and would eventually collapse, Brazil's federal police said in a 215-page report. The collapse of the dam, which held waste from mining, was the world's deadliest in more than half a century.

The report served as the basis of the first criminal charges related to the catastrophe, which were unveiled last month against employees of Vale and its German auditor, TÜV SÜD. While the bulk of the report -- which hasn't been publicly released -- details the evidence behind those charges, one of its conclusions addresses what police say is culpability on the part of Vale's management.

"The top bosses of Vale continued to...boast about the falsely impressive quality of their structures," police wrote in the report. "They closed their eyes to studies commissioned by the company itself, preferring to remain ignorant so that, in a moment like this, they could allege ignorance as their defense."

The report doesn't offer evidence to back up the accusation. No official charges against any top Vale executives have been filed.

Brazilian law-enforcement authorities have been investigating Fabio Schvartsman, who stepped down as Vale's chief executive in March, and other top executives in connection with the dam collapse. Prosecutors are examining the possibility of filing criminal charges on the basis of a legal doctrine known as "willful blindness" in the U.S. -- the idea that a person intentionally stays unaware of facts in order to avoid liability -- people familiar with the probe told the Journal.

Vale said the company's top executives never had any knowledge or received any indication about a critical or imminent risk to the stability of the dam. All of Vale's geotechnical engineers and external inspectors considered the dam safe, a spokesman for the miner said.

Through an attorney, Mr. Schvartsman on Friday denied that he had any knowledge of the dam's structural problems. Mr. Schvartsman said that he proactively sought information on dam safety and that he would have acted on any concerns. Mr. Schvartsman also said Vale increased spending on dam safety under his watch.

On Jan. 25, the 280-foot-high dam, which was no longer in use, gave way near the town of Brumadinho in southeast Brazil. Since then, Mr. Schvartsman and Vale's other top executives have said they had little detailed knowledge of dams. But mining experts have questioned why executives didn't try to find out more about the company's higher-risk dams, such as the one near Brumadinho, especially after a similar dam partly owned by Vale collapsed three years earlier, killing 19.

While Brazilian prosecutors have increasingly looked to borrow legal doctrines such as "willful blindness" from abroad, they are often difficult to apply under Brazil's criminal law, which doesn't recognize such concepts, said São Paulo-based lawyer Pierre Moreau.

TÜV SÜD certified the dam as safe in both June and September of last year. The Journal reported in February that employees at Vale and TÜV SÜD knew for months of dangerous conditions at the dam but that TÜV SÜD employees certified it as safe anyway, worried about losing business with Vale.

In last month's charges, police formally accused seven lower-level individuals from Vale and six employees from TÜV SÜD for covering up structural dangers at the dam during last year's safety audits.

A spokeswoman for TÜV SÜD declined to comment on the police inquiry, saying the company was cooperating with the authorities.

Police continue to investigate. State and federal prosecutors are also preparing their own charges, which could include murder or manslaughter charges, authorities told the Journal.

In the report reviewed by the Journal, police concluded that consultants hired by Vale and Vale's own workers were aware of serious problems at the dam in the months and days leading up to its collapse.

The report cites an incident on June 11, 2018, when muddy water started gushing out of the dam's base after workers installed a drainage pipe in an attempt to improve the structure's safety. Vale said water readings at the location had returned to normal by that evening and that a subsequent study showed no risk to the dam's stability. But a geologist at Vale later told police that he was very concerned about the incident and that it was necessary to pile up about 60 sandbags against the face of the dam to help plug the hole. The Journal reported in May that several of the mine's workers had warned their bosses last year the dam was about to collapse and shored up parts of the giant dam with sandbags on more than one occasion. Vale said it never received any complaints about the dam from workers.

Police in the report also cited the dam's so-called safety factor -- a standard metric used to assess the structure's stability. While police found Vale considered 1.3 as the minimum safety factor for dams, TÜV SÜD rated the fateful structure near Brumadinho as having a safety factor of 1.09 but then came up with a methodology to justify why that still meant the dam was stable.

Makoto Namba, a senior engineering inspector at TÜV SÜD who has told investigators he signed off on the dam's September audit at Vale's behest, told police he couldn't think of any other mine-waste dam of that type with a safety factor below 1.3, according to the report.

A Vale spokesman said the dam complied with Brazilian legislation.

Police cited a lack of follow-up on problems with water-monitoring equipment and on abnormalities in radar readings in the weeks before the dam collapsed. Vale said the equipment had only "configuration problems."

Consultants and Vale staff also told police they were concerned over the lack of structural information about the dam's initial construction in the late 1970s, 25 years before Vale bought the mining complex.

Write to Samantha Pearson at samantha.pearson@wsj.com and Luciana Magalhaes at Luciana.Magalhaes@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 18:59 ET (22:59 GMT)

DJ PG&E Says It Could Impose Blackouts in California for a Decade -- Update
By Katherine Blunt

PG&E Corp.'s chief executive said Friday that it could take as long as 10 years for the company to improve its electric system enough to significantly diminish the need to pull the plug on customers to reduce the risk of sparking fires.

Bill Johnson, who joined the company in May, made the disclosure at a California Public Utilities Commission hearing where the panel's president, Marybel Batjer, sharply criticized the company's "inadequate execution" of a shut-off in which it turned off power to large portions of Northern California for more than two days last week.

The commission convened an emergency meeting to examine PG&E's handling of the massive blackout, which left roughly two million people in the dark and created widespread havoc from the Bay Area to the northern reaches of the state. Several of the company's top executives were summoned to detail the problems and take questions from regulators.

"I can tell you that you guys failed on so many levels on fairly simple stuff," Ms. Batjer said.

The agency earlier this week ordered PG&E to address numerous problems with its strategy for such blackouts, known as public safety power shut-offs. It condemned the company's failure to provide maps and other critical information to residents and local officials ahead of the shut-off. PG&E's website crashed for two days during the blackout, and its call centers were overwhelmed.

Mr. Johnson on Friday apologized for the hardships caused by the shut-off but defended the company's decision to implement it, noting that none of its power lines sparked fires, even though strong winds in certain areas caused damage to its system.

"Making the right decision on safety is not the same as executing that decision well," he said. "PG&E has to be better prepared than it was this time."

PG&E, which provides gas and electricity to 16 million people, shut off the power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses in anticipation of strong winds that could have increased the chances of its power lines sparking fires. The company's equipment has sparked 19 major fires during windy periods in 2017 and 2018, mostly because vegetation blew into live wires.

PG&E isn't the only California utility to deploy shut-offs to mitigate wildfire risks. Edison International's Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy's San Diego Gas & Electric also cut power recently in response to windy conditions. But PG&E is the only U.S. utility to have initiated a weather-related blackout on such a large scale.

The decision drew the ire of legislators and local officials who have called on PG&E to act more prudently in enacting future shut-offs. A group of Northern California governments, including Napa and Sonoma counties, on Thursday filed a scathing brief with the utilities commission that berated PG&E for its lack of preparedness.

"The experience of working with PG&E to effect real changes to its de-energization program has been like battling the Hydra," it read. "This has got to stop."

For now, the shut-offs will continue as PG&E scrambles to trim trees near power lines and upgrade equipment across its 70,000-square-mile service territory, after a protracted drought this decade turned millions of acres of forest into a tinderbox.

Another major fire tied to PG&E's equipment would likely drive the company to insolvency. It sought bankruptcy protection in January, citing more than $30 billion in liability costs stemming from the 2017 and 2018 fires, which collectively killed more than 100 people.

At the meeting Friday, commissioners questioned the company's commitment to its customers and how long it anticipates deploying its shut-off strategy on such a large scale.

Mr. Johnson said the utility is working to limit the scope of future shut-offs by trimming more trees and installing technology to enable the shutdown of smaller, more targeted portions of the grid. But he estimated it will take as long as a decade before its shut-offs will have "ratcheted down significantly."

"We will get better every year," he said.

Already, PG&E is behind on several of its most important safety efforts, records show, including this year's tree-trimming campaign, which is less than 50% complete. It also trails its peers in technology to track winds and isolate the areas where equipment is at highest risk of sparking fires.

Though the company warned of continued shut-offs, it is working to limit their duration.

Michael Lewis, PG&E's senior vice president of electric operations, said the company, which previously advised customers to prepare for shutoffs lasting as long as five days, will work to restore power within 48 hours after initiating a shut-off.

"We now recognize that five days as a benchmark is unacceptable," he said.

Write to Katherine Blunt at Katherine.Blunt@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 18:59 ET (22:59 GMT)

DJ Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 18:50 EST / 2250 GMT
 
                           Latest       Previous   %Chg    Daily    Daily   %Chg 
Dollar Rates                               Close            High      Low  12/31 
 
USD/JPY Japan           108.40-41      108.40-41   0.00   108.72   108.33  -1.08 
EUR/USD Euro            1.1168-71      1.1168-71   0.00   1.1173   1.1115  -2.62 
GBP/USD U.K.            1.2973-75      1.2973-75   0.00   1.2987   1.2839  +1.69 
USD/CHF Switzerland     0.9841-45      0.9841-45   0.00   0.9892   0.9823  +0.28 
USD/CAD Canada          1.3123-28      1.3123-28   0.00   1.3150   1.3120  -3.78 
AUD/USD Australia       0.6852-56      0.6852-56   0.00   0.6858   0.6820  -2.81 
NZD/USD New Zealand     0.6384-90      0.6384-90   0.00   0.6391   0.6342  -4.96 
 
Euro Rates 
 
EUR/JPY Japan           121.06-11      121.06-11   0.00   121.12   120.66  -3.67 
EUR/GBP U.K.            0.8605-08      0.8605-08   0.00   0.8664   0.8599  -4.27 
EUR/CHF Switzerland     1.0992-95      1.0992-95   0.00   1.1010   1.0975  -2.34 
EUR/CAD Canada          1.4657-67      1.4657-67   0.00   1.4664   1.4604  -6.25 
EUR/AUD Australia       1.6287-97      1.6287-97   0.00   1.6310   1.6261  +0.17 
EUR/DKK Denmark         7.4705-12      7.4705-12   0.00   7.4757   7.4694  +0.06 
EUR/NOK Norway        10.2289-339    10.2289-339   0.00  10.2444  10.2014  +3.26 
EUR/SEK Sweden        10.7680-780    10.7680-780   0.00  10.8071  10.7606  +6.11 
EUR/CZK Czech Rep.      25.617-47      25.617-47   0.00   25.731   25.617  -0.31 
EUR/HUF Hungary         330.46-86      330.46-86   0.00   331.36   330.23  +3.00 
EUR/PLN Poland          4.2818-36      4.2818-36   0.00   4.2884   4.2795  -0.16 
 
Yen Rates 
 
AUD/JPY Australia        74.31-35       74.31-35   0.00    74.36    74.06  -3.83 
GBP/JPY U.K.            140.66-72      140.66-72   0.00   140.76   139.34  +0.57 
CAD/JPY Canada           82.57-61       82.57-61   0.00    82.78    82.40  +2.78 
NZD/JPY New Zealand      69.20-28       69.20-28   0.00    69.30    67.55  -5.98 
 
Other Dollar Rates 
 
USD/CZK Czech Rep.      22.921-71      22.921-71   0.00   23.142   22.944  +2.35 
USD/HUF Hungary       295.89-6.29    295.89-6.29   0.00   298.01   295.76  +5.75 
USD/DKK Denmark         6.6880-90      6.6880-90   0.00   6.7215   6.6874  +2.72 
USD/NOK Norway         9.1586-646     9.1586-646   0.00   9.1974   9.1573  +6.02 
USD/PLN Poland          3.8331-36      3.8331-36   0.00   3.8546   3.8328  +2.48 
USD/RUB Russia         63.765-835     63.765-835   0.00   64.166   63.760  -7.86 
USD/SEK Sweden         9.6390-480     9.6390-480   0.00   9.7172   9.6415  +8.93 
USD/ZAR S. Africa     14.7468-768    14.7468-768   0.00  14.7618  14.7618  +2.79 
 
USD/CNY China           7.0807-27      7.0807-27   0.00   7.0817   7.0817  +2.95 
USD/HKD Hong Kong       7.8433-38      7.8433-38   0.00   7.8446   7.8419  +0.15 
USD/MYR Malaysia        4.1840-90      4.1840-90   0.00   4.1865   4.1865  +1.31 
USD/INR India           71.030-50      71.030-50   0.00   71.040   71.040  +2.11 
USD/IDR Indonesia        14138-52       14138-52   0.00    14145    14145  -1.63 
USD/PHP Philippines     51.250-70      51.250-70   0.00   51.260   51.260  -2.36 
USD/SGD Singapore       1.3636-46      1.3636-46   0.00   1.3661   1.3632  +0.09 
USD/KRW S. Korea     1177.91-9.91   1177.91-9.91   0.00  1182.45  1178.26  +5.80 
USD/TWD Taiwan          30.537-67      30.537-67   0.00   30.552   30.552  -0.09 
USD/THB Thailand       30.280-300     30.280-300   0.00   30.340   30.250  -6.28 
USD/VND Vietnam         23169-239      23169-239   0.00    23208    23202  +0.04 
 
USD/BRL Brazil          4.1112-42      4.1112-42   0.00   4.1652   4.1110  +5.96 
USD/MXN Mexico       19.0954-1254   19.0954-1254   0.00  19.2165  19.1072  -2.74 
USD/ARS Argentina     58.2574-986    58.2574-986   0.00  58.4638  58.2068 +54.80 
 
Source: Tullett Prebon 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 18:50 ET (22:50 GMT)

DJ UAW Leaders Face Tough Task Selling New Labor Deal to GM Workers
By Mike Colias and Nora Naughton

United Auto Workers leaders, who earlier this week voted to extend a more than monthlong strike at General Motors Co., now face a critical task: selling a new labor deal to rank-and-file members with high expectations.

The proposed contract struck by UAW and GM negotiators on Wednesday includes some significant gains, including better wages, longer-term job security for temporary workers and a record $11,000 signing bonus if the deal is ratified.

But GM will proceed with closing three now-idled U.S. plants, including a major assembly operation in Lordstown, Ohio, and it made no commitment to relocate Mexico production to the U.S. -- a change the UAW had pressed for during talks.

During a meeting in Detroit on Thursday, nearly 200 union-hall leaders from across the country spent six hours studying the details of the 351-page agreement, according to people who attended the meeting.

Many of the local union officials were upset the UAW couldn't prevent the closure of Lordstown plant, and some were concerned the $7.7 billion in new investment GM committed to U.S. factories would fall short in securing future work, these people said. There also was much discussion about whether the agreement provided enough safeguards for temporary workers, they said.

The attention to detail in the six-hour meeting underscored the tough sell that lies ahead for factory-level union officials in pitching the agreement to the UAW's more than 46,000 GM workers. Voting on the new four-year labor pact begins Saturday at dozens of GM facilities and is expected to wrap up about a week later. A majority must approve the deal for it to go into effect.

With the nationwide strike now stretching into a second month, workers say they have high hopes their time on the picket lines will be rewarded.

"We've been out here for a long time. Was it worth it?" said Chad Fabbro, a financial secretary at the UAW's local in Flint, Mich. "There are a lot of pluses in this contract, but people did expect more. Half the membership is excited and half is not."

The rare decision to stay on strike even after reaching a tentative agreement will prolong the pain for both sides.

By the time final ballots are in on Oct. 25, GM's losses could grow by an additional $700 million roughly, surpassing $2.5 billion since the strike began, analysts estimate. The average full-time worker will have missed take-home pay of about $6,000.

The strike also has disrupted production at GM operations in Canada and Mexico. On Friday, GM said it suspended production of the Chevrolet Blazer SUV in Mexico because of strike-related parts shortages.

Still, Wall Street analysts said the terms of deal shouldn't significantly change GM's financial outlook. RBC Capital pegged the cost increase from the contract at around $100 million annually, along with a nearly $500 million outlay for the signing bonus.

"The financial implications of the deal don't look too onerous for GM," RBC Capital analyst Joseph Spak wrote in an investor note Friday. Moody's Investors Service said the contract should allow GM to shift more of its production to trucks and sport-utility vehicles, which carry healthy profit margins.

Ratification isn't assured, analysts said. In 2015, skilled trade workers at GM initially rejected the tentative deal, even though production workers approved it by a narrow margin. Negotiators had to go back to clarify some language before the deal was fully approved.

Heading into contract talks, the UAW leadership was already mired in a corruption scandal that was eroding confidence from some members.

Workers could also be upset the union was unable to persuade GM to relocate production to the U.S. from Mexico, said Arthur Wheaton, a professor of labor studies at Cornell University.

In the days before the tentative deal was reached, UAW leaders publicly slammed GM, claiming the company was resistant to shifting more production to the U.S. from foreign countries.

"It's not a slam dunk," Mr. Wheaton said of ratification.

Many workers are still on the fence, saying they will focus their attention on plant investments and job security when they cast their votes.

"This labor movement wasn't about bonuses, it was about job security in the U.S.," said Chrissy Defelice, who works at GM's casting plant in Bedford, Ind. "I'm not doing anything until I see what job security we have in the contract."

About $3 billion of the $7.7 billion slated for U.S. factories under the deal would go toward retooling a Detroit plant to make electric pickup trucks and vans, securing a future for a facility previously targeted for closure.

GM also said it would spend an additional $1.3 billion on projects that fall outside the contract terms, including a new facility near the Lordstown plant that will make battery cells for electric vehicles and be staffed by UAW-represented workers.

"We're hoping that these electric and battery investments will secure jobs," said Holli Murphy, president of a UAW chapter that represents workers at a GM pickup-truck factory in Fort Wayne, Ind. "But that's a hard pill for our membership to swallow, because it's betting on the unknown."

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 18:41 ET (22:41 GMT)

DJ Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd Dies -- 4th Update
By Robert Wall and Asa Fitch

Mark Hurd, who served as chief executive of three U.S. tech companies including software-giant Oracle Corp., died Friday.

Mr. Hurd, who was 62 years old, made his name as a strong-willed leader who helped revive the fortunes of two companies, including Hewlett Packard, where he was CEO last decade. But some of his other judgments courted controversy, and he was pushed out of H-P after a company investigation found misconduct.

A college tennis player at Baylor University, Mr. Hurd cut his management teeth in the sales and marketing ranks at NCR Corp., previously known as National Cash Register Co. He was named president in 2001 and CEO two years later.

At the time, NCR was struggling, coming off a year when it posted a loss of $220 million. He quickly moved to expand NCR's reach and cut costs -- including firing employees, some who had spent their entire career with the company.

Mr. Hurd said in an interview he had to act quickly. "Being a CEO is like being a product: If you get out of the gates poorly, it's hard to recover," he said. "I'm only as popular as my company's last quarterly results."

He left to lead much larger H-P in 2005 after the company fired celebrated CEO Carly Fiorina. Four months after he joined H-P, he reorganized the company and pledged to eliminate about 10% of its global workforce.

Under Mr. Hurd, H-P overtook Dell as the world's largest maker of PCs in 2006 by units. That year, H-P also passed International Business Machines Corp. to become, at the time, the world's largest technology company by revenue.

But Mr. Hurd was out the door as CEO in 2010 amid claims of misconduct. The computer maker's board investigated his relationship with a female contractor. Though the board found Mr. Hurd didn't violate company's policy regarding sexual-harassment, it found he violated company standards by submitting inaccurate expense reports to conceal the relationship.

Mr. Hurd said at the time that there were "instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity" that he had espoused. A spokesman for Mr. Hurd said later that there was nothing untoward or improper about Mr. Hurd's relationship.

He quickly re-emerged at database giant Oracle Corp., hired by the company's co-founder Larry Ellison as co-president in 2010. The two were tennis buddies, and Mr. Ellison had lashed out at H-P's board for pushing out the CEO.

Mr. Ellison, in a note announcing Mr. Hurd's death, called him a "close and irreplaceable friend."

"Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle," Mr. Ellison said.

When Mr. Ellison became executive chairman, Mr. Hurd became CEO in 2014 alongside Safra Catz. His death leaves Ms. Catz as Oracle's sole CEO.

Mr. Hurd oversaw Oracle's sales efforts at a time businesses were changing their spending habits and shifting more data storage to cloud-computing -- a booming field in which Oracle had fallen behind rivals. Mr. Hurd boosted the sales staff in an effort to catch up with Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which dominate market.

Mr. Hurd helped to push Oracle to more aggressively pursue cloud computing deals by adding data centers, focusing research spending on the new market and buying companies that could improve its offering.

Sweeping changes in the way businesses manage their data have meant Oracle and other legacy information-technology providers have struggled to maintain their dominant position. Although Oracle's cloud efforts have gained pace in recent years, the company remains far behind the two cloud giants. Its market capitalization has fallen 2.4% since the announcement that Mr. Hurd would become CEO alongside Ms. Catz. IBM's market cap is down around 38% and Microsoft's is up around 175% over the same time.

On Sept. 11, Oracle said Mr. Hurd was taking medical leave. Neither he nor the company disclosed the cause of the illness or likelihood of a recovery, raising questions about disclosures made to shareholders.

Changes in his appearance had prompted questions about his health from analysts and journalists as far back as last autumn. At the time, an Oracle spokesman said his health was fine and the company had nothing to disclose about it. Oracle didn't disclose Mr. Hurd's cause of death and didn't respond to a request for comment.

Companies such as Oracle that lavishly pay their executives for their leadership skills should disclose risks to investors, said Nell Minow of ValueEdge Advisors, a firm that promotes good governance and shareholder rights. "When you are the CEO (or co-CEO) of a public company, you relinquish the luxury of privacy about your medical status," she said in an email.

Mr. Hurd, who was born in New York City in 1957, and married his wife Paula, who also worked at NCR, in 1990. They have two daughters.

Write to Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com and Asa Fitch at asa.fitch@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 18:25 ET (22:25 GMT)

DJ JPMorgan Chase, Facebook, Coca-Cola: Stocks That Defined the Week
By Francesca Fontana

UnitedHealth Group Inc.

The ailing health care sector is licking some of its wounds. UnitedHealth Group and Johnson & Johnson reported earnings that topped analyst expectations and raised full-year profit guidance, sending shares higher. UnitedHealth surged 8.2% Tuesday, lifting health care-related stocks across the board. The health care sector has been lagging behind the S&P 500 this year due largely to legal troubles. Johnson & Johnson on Friday recalled about 33,000 bottles of its Johnson's Baby Powder after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found a small amount of asbestos in a single bottle.

Uber Technologies Inc.

Uber's problems aren't yet in its rearview mirror. The ride-hailing company said Monday it will cut about 350 jobs, or about 1% of its workforce in units including its food-delivery service Uber Eats and autonomous driving. The move marks a third round of layoffs for Uber as it faces pressure to cut losses and assure investors it can turn a profit. Earlier this year, the company cut more than 800 workers. TechCrunch earlier reported about the latest round of layoffs. Uber's shares closed Monday up 3.3%, but the stock remains below the May IPO price of $45.

Netflix Inc.

A drama is unfolding inside Netflix: Will it be able to fend off competition from Disney and Apple? Netflix missed its subscriber-growth target Wednesday in its last quarterly report before Walt Disney Co. and Apple Inc. enter the streaming-video field with offerings that cost less than Netflix's most-popular plan. The company's shares rose 2.5% Thursday as Netflix's U.S. subscriber base did grow in the third quarter. Netflix played down the looming threat from Disney, Apple and others -- but warned that there may be some immediate impact to its own ability to expand.

Facebook Inc.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg hit 'like' on free expression last Thursday as he pushed back on calls for tighter controls in a rare policy speech at Georgetown University. The chief executive said he worries that "increasingly today across the spectrum, it seems like there are more people who prioritize getting the political outcomes that they want over making sure that everyone can be heard." Facebook has spent much of the last two years trying to quell concerns about misinformation, hate speech and safety issues on its platform. Facebook shares gained 0.4% Thursday.

Yum Brands Inc.

Taco Bell Corp. said Tuesday it voluntarily recalled about 2.3 million pounds of seasoned beef from its restaurants and distribution sites Friday after a customer reportedly found a metal shaving in an order of food. The Yum Brands subsidiary said the products were removed from restaurants in 21 states across the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast. Taco Bell also got hit by a supplier issue this summer when it ran out of 10-inch tortillas, prompting backlash on social media from customers and hurting sales. Yum Brands shares fell 1.4% Tuesday.

Coca-Cola Co.

Coca-Cola is getting some of its fizz back. CEO James Quincey said the company's sales rose in the latest quarter large part thanks to variations on its namesake cola, including some that contain less sugar such as Coke Zero Sugar and its 7.5 oz "mini cans." The beverage giant over the past few years has expanded into coffee, tea, dairy and water as consumers shifted away from sugary sodas. It is rolling out a coffee-flavored variant called Coca-Cola Plus Coffee and a new energy drink called Coca-Cola Energy. Coca-Cola shares rose 1.8% Friday.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Big banks have yet to feel the sting of recent rate cuts and stock market turbulence. JPMorgan Chase shares touched a record Tuesday following a strong third-quarter earnings report, underscoring the continued solid performance of the largest U.S. lenders at a time of global tensions and economic worries. Similarly, Citigroup Inc. also exceeded analysts' expectations, pushing shares higher. Still, executives warned that falling interest rates would eventually take their toll on profit. JPMorgan Chase's shares rose 3% Tuesday.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 18:25 ET (22:25 GMT)

DJ Corporate Tech Buyers Are Cutting Back. Here Are the Stocks Most At Risk. -- Barrons.com
By Tae Kim

Enterprise tech has been a hot area for investors in recent years, but the theme works only as long as corporate buyers are paying up for the technology. That's no longer a sure thing.

A wave of new data indicates that spending growth could weaken in the coming year. Blame worries about the global economy and the continuing trade war.

Goldman Sachs' September survey of technology sellers showed that demand trends from large corporations have "deteriorated markedly" across all industry verticals, compared with its June survey.

"We are taking a more cautious view of enterprise spending and particularly large enterprise-exposed companies," wrote analyst Rod Hall in Goldman's report earlier this month. "Our analysis suggests that there could be further declines in spending."

Business confidence is an essential part of large tech purchases. Worsening sentiment could spark a negative feedback loop where perception becomes bleak reality.

The turning point may have come in August when Cisco Systems (ticker: CSCO), a leading maker of routers and switches and a noted bellwether of corporate spending trends, said it was seeing a negative impact from the trade war, with the company not able to close some of its deals. We wrote about those comments at the time, surprised by the dire nature of it all.

Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette tells Barron's that weaker commentary from large suppliers like Cisco may have forced companies to reassess their budget spending outlooks. "There is certainly some anxiety in the U.S. corporate sector," he says.

The recent results from Morgan Stanley's third-quarter survey of 100 chief information officers support the view. Technology budget expectations fell for the fourth straight quarter, according to Morgan Stanley, with spending seen growing 4.4% for this year, down from 4.9% forecast a year ago. The chief information officers expect another downtick in 2020 to 3.4% growth.

"The big takeaway is the market hoped -- after several rounds of cuts -- that IT spending growth would stabilize heading into 2020, and that doesn't appear to be the case," says Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. There's caution about signing long-term deals heading into 2020, she adds, "with slower growth than we've seen in several years."

This past Wednesday, IBM (IBM) told Barron's that its outsourcing business -- Global Technology Services -- missed internal expectations for the quarter due to lower client business volumes in the United Kingdom and Germany. Huberty sees the shortfall as a telling sign of a weakening global economy. Many of IBM's outsourcing contracts, she notes, are tied to real-time transactions. That means a shortfall reflects real-time shifts. The weakening sentiment is not just a theoretical concept showing up in CIO surveys; it's happening as we speak.

Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels also says the environment for tech spending is decelerating from a macro perspective. His firm has found that technology spending correlates closely with global economic growth. He estimates that tech purchases by governments and businesses will rise by 3.2% next year versus 4.5% this year. "We are expecting to see a slowdown in tech spending in 2020," he says. "Slowing economic growth around the world is in turn leading to slowing tech-market growth."

There's at least one bright spot left, though. Bartels points to strength in the cloud market. He says that software and cloud solutions continue to take market share from legacy on-premise hardware and consulting services, at least in terms of corporate budget priorities.

IBM Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh sees similar trends. He tells Barron's that corporate tech budgets are moving toward the cloud, data, artificial intelligence, and the security markets. "Client buying behaviors are shifting to quick payback, ROI, efficiency, and productivity," he says.

So what should investors be most wary of now?

With the iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector exchange-traded fund (IGV) down nearly 10% since its July highs, a large part of the negativity may already be discounted, given the group's still-strong fundamentals. Top holdings in the fund include Salesforce.com (CRM), Microsoft (MSFT), and Adobe (ADBE).

On the flip side, the big risk may be in chips. The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) is up 38% year to date and is down just 2% from its high. The chip industry is a key supplier to on-premise hardware equipment vendors that are facing secular challenges from the cloud.

Even in a lackluster economic environment, companies that offer a better differentiated offering can still do well. That seems to be case for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM). The company currently dominates the high-end of chip manufacturing for companies like Apple (AAPL), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Qualcomm (QCOM) that need the best performing, bleeding-edge chips for their products.

Earlier this month, Barron's suggested that TSM was a good way to play innovation trends such as artificial intelligence; fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless; and cloud computing -- all with less risk from the trade war compared with other technology companies. At the time, the company told me it was planning to raise its 2019 capital-spending plans to meet "strong demand" for its services.

This past Thursday, the company did exactly that. TSM beat earnings estimates, raised guidance for the December quarter, and increased its capital-expenditure guidance range for 2019 by some 35%, or roughly $4 billion. The company highlighted robust demand for its advanced manufacturing processes.

In recent months, TSM shares have rallied, giving the company a larger market value than onetime chip king Intel (INTC). TSM's outperformance will probably continue in the coming year.

Write to Tae Kim at tae.kim@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 18:13 ET (22:13 GMT)

DJ Oil-Patch Deals Fuel Energy Bond Gains
By Matt Wirz

Falling oil and gas prices are delivering a surprise windfall to bondholders of some U.S. energy companies.

Declining valuations are attracting bargain hunters to the oil patch. That has allowed companies including Jagged Peak Energy LLC and Indigo Natural Resources LLC to sell assets in recent days, raising cash that could be used to pay down their junk-rated debt.

The announcement of the transactions triggered gains in the debt of the companies divesting assets.

The deal-related upswings are rare bright spots for investors in energy bonds, which have plummeted in recent months as fossil-fuel prices dropped on rising demand for renewable energy from consumers and corporations. Bonds of Antero Resources Corp., for example, fell about 7% on Friday, according to data from MarketAxess, after the company reported third-quarter earnings.

"We're excited about the opportunity to reduce our leverage," said Indigo Chief Financial Officer George Francisco. "It sets up Indigo to be a more sustainable business in today's commodity price environment."

Houston, Tex.-based gas producer Indigo's $650 million bond due 2026 jumped 10% on Friday to about 96 cents on the dollar, according to data from MarketAxess, after DTE Energy Co. announced it would pay $2.25 billion for a natural-gas pipeline 50% owned by Indigo.

Indigo will use its share of the proceeds to pay off a separate $300 million privately held bond and the balance on its commercial bank lines, cutting in half its ratio of debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to about one times Ebitda, Mr. Francisco said.

Jagged Peak's $500 million bond due in 2026 rose to 101 cents on the dollar this week from about 98 cents, according to data from MarketAxess. The move followed the company's announcement Monday that it would be acquired by Parsley Energy Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at $2.27 billion. Parsley has a double-B minus credit rating, compared with Jagged Peak's single-B plus, and said in a statement that it believes the asset purchase will help it achieve an investment-grade rating.

U.S. government bond prices rose Friday as analysts increasingly expect the U.S. Federal reserve to cut interest rates at the end of October. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was a recent 1.747% compared with 1.757% Thursday. The yield has fallen in four of the past five weeks. Bond yields fall when their prices rise.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, dropped slightly to 90.48 Friday from 90.79 Thursday amid a decline in stocks globally.

Daniel Kruger contributed to this article.

Write to Matt Wirz at matthieu.wirz@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:56 ET (21:56 GMT)

DJ Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 17:50 EST / 2150 GMT
 
                           Latest       Previous   %Chg    Daily    Daily   %Chg 
Dollar Rates                               Close            High      Low  12/31 
 
USD/JPY Japan           108.40-41      108.40-41   0.00   108.72   108.33  -1.08 
EUR/USD Euro            1.1168-71      1.1168-71   0.00   1.1173   1.1115  -2.62 
GBP/USD U.K.            1.2973-75      1.2973-75   0.00   1.2987   1.2839  +1.69 
USD/CHF Switzerland     0.9841-45      0.9841-45   0.00   0.9892   0.9823  +0.28 
USD/CAD Canada          1.3123-28      1.3123-28   0.00   1.3150   1.3120  -3.78 
AUD/USD Australia       0.6852-56      0.6852-56   0.00   0.6858   0.6820  -2.81 
NZD/USD New Zealand     0.6384-90      0.6384-90   0.00   0.6391   0.6342  -4.96 
 
Euro Rates 
 
EUR/JPY Japan           121.06-11      121.06-11   0.00   121.12   120.66  -3.67 
EUR/GBP U.K.            0.8605-08      0.8605-08   0.00   0.8664   0.8599  -4.27 
EUR/CHF Switzerland     1.0992-95      1.0992-95   0.00   1.1010   1.0975  -2.34 
EUR/CAD Canada          1.4657-67      1.4657-67   0.00   1.4664   1.4604  -6.25 
EUR/AUD Australia       1.6287-97      1.6287-97   0.00   1.6310   1.6261  +0.17 
EUR/DKK Denmark         7.4705-12      7.4705-12   0.00   7.4757   7.4694  +0.06 
EUR/NOK Norway        10.2289-339    10.2289-339   0.00  10.2444  10.2014  +3.26 
EUR/SEK Sweden        10.7680-780    10.7680-780   0.00  10.8071  10.7606  +6.11 
EUR/CZK Czech Rep.      25.617-47      25.617-47   0.00   25.731   25.617  -0.31 
EUR/HUF Hungary         330.46-86      330.46-86   0.00   331.36   330.23  +3.00 
EUR/PLN Poland          4.2818-36      4.2818-36   0.00   4.2884   4.2795  -0.16 
 
Yen Rates 
 
AUD/JPY Australia        74.31-35       74.31-35   0.00    74.36    74.06  -3.83 
GBP/JPY U.K.            140.66-72      140.66-72   0.00   140.76   139.34  +0.57 
CAD/JPY Canada           82.57-61       82.57-61   0.00    82.78    82.40  +2.78 
NZD/JPY New Zealand      69.20-28       69.20-28   0.00    69.30    67.55  -5.98 
 
Other Dollar Rates 
 
USD/CZK Czech Rep.      22.921-71      22.921-71   0.00   23.142   22.944  +2.35 
USD/HUF Hungary       295.89-6.29    295.89-6.29   0.00   298.01   295.76  +5.75 
USD/DKK Denmark         6.6880-90      6.6880-90   0.00   6.7215   6.6874  +2.72 
USD/NOK Norway         9.1586-646     9.1586-646   0.00   9.1974   9.1573  +6.02 
USD/PLN Poland          3.8331-36      3.8331-36   0.00   3.8546   3.8328  +2.48 
USD/RUB Russia         63.765-835     63.765-835   0.00   64.166   63.760  -7.86 
USD/SEK Sweden         9.6390-480     9.6390-480   0.00   9.7172   9.6415  +8.93 
USD/ZAR S. Africa     14.7468-768    14.7468-768   0.00  14.8537  14.7391  +2.79 
 
USD/CNY China           7.0807-27      7.0807-27   0.00   7.0876   7.0677  +2.95 
USD/HKD Hong Kong       7.8433-38      7.8433-38   0.00   7.8446   7.8419  +0.15 
USD/MYR Malaysia        4.1840-90      4.1840-90   0.00   4.1880   4.1795  +1.31 
USD/INR India           71.030-50      71.030-50   0.00   71.295   71.040  +2.11 
USD/IDR Indonesia        14138-52       14138-52   0.00    14153    14130  -1.63 
USD/PHP Philippines     51.250-70      51.250-70   0.00   51.380   51.186  -2.36 
USD/SGD Singapore       1.3636-46      1.3636-46   0.00   1.3661   1.3632  +0.09 
USD/KRW S. Korea     1177.91-9.91   1177.91-9.91   0.00  1182.45  1178.26  +5.80 
USD/TWD Taiwan          30.537-67      30.537-67   0.00   30.643   30.534  -0.09 
USD/THB Thailand       30.280-300     30.280-300   0.00   30.340   30.250  -6.28 
USD/VND Vietnam         23169-239      23169-239   0.00    23208    23202  +0.04 
 
USD/BRL Brazil          4.1112-42      4.1112-42   0.00   4.1652   4.1110  +5.96 
USD/MXN Mexico       19.0954-1254   19.0954-1254   0.00  19.2165  19.1072  -2.74 
USD/ARS Argentina     58.2574-986    58.2574-986   0.00  58.4638  58.2068 +54.80 
 
Source: Tullett Prebon 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:50 ET (21:50 GMT)

DJ Teck Resources May Buy Up to 40M Class B Shares Through Oct. 2020>TECK.A.T

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires (212-416-2800)

October 18, 2019 17:42 ET (21:42 GMT)

DJ Teck Resources Gets Regulatory OK for Share Buybacks>TECK.A.T

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires (212-416-2800)

October 18, 2019 17:42 ET (21:42 GMT)

DJ New York Foreign Exchange Indications
Dow Jones International News Service via Dow Jones 
October 18, 2019 
                 Current    Previous 
China             7.0817      7.0774 
Philippines       51.260      51.335 
South Korea      1178.91     1179.06 
Taiwan            30.552      30.628 
Thailand          30.290      30.310 
 
 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:30 ET (21:30 GMT)

DJ NY Foreign Exchange Rates
October 18, 2019 
The New York foreign exchange mid-range rates 
as quoted at 5 p.m. Eastern time by Tullett Prebon 
Retail transactions provide fewer units of 
foreign currency per dollar. 
                                   U.S. $ Equiv.       Currency Per U.S. $ 
                                 Today   Prev. Day       Today   Prev. Day 
Argentina (Peso)                0.0172      0.0172     58.2780     58.2427 
Australia (Dollar)              0.6854      0.6823      1.4590      1.4656 
Bahrain (Dinar)                 2.6527      2.6525      0.3770      0.3770 
Brazil (Real)                   0.2431      0.2401      4.1127      4.1655 
Bulgaria (lev)                  0.5707      0.5685      1.7522      1.7589 
Britain (Pound)                 1.2974      1.2890      0.7708      0.7758 
Canada (Dollar)                 0.7619      0.7612      1.3126      1.3138 
Chile (Peso)                  0.001407    0.001404      710.70      712.00 
China (Renminbi)                0.1412      0.1413      7.0817      7.0774 
Colombia (Peso)                 0.0003      0.0003   3426.5000   3451.0000 
Croatia (kuna)                  0.1501      0.1495        6.66        6.69 
Czech. Rep. (Koruna)           0.04358     0.04327      22.946      23.109 
Denmark (Krone)                 0.1495      0.1489      6.6885      6.7153 
Ecuador (US Dollar)             1.0000      1.0000      1.0000      1.0000 
Egypt (Pound)                   0.0615      0.0616     16.2507     16.2330 
Hong Kong (Dollar)              0.1275      0.1275      7.8436      7.8443 
Hungary (Forint)              0.003377    0.003361      296.09      297.54 
Iceland (krona)               0.008028    0.008032      124.57      124.50 
India (Rupee)                  0.01408     0.01406      71.040      71.130 
Indonesia (Rupiah)           0.0000707   0.0000707       14145       14148 
Israel (Shekel)                 0.2822      0.2825      3.5438      3.5397 
Japan (Yen)                   0.009224    0.009204      108.41      108.64 
Kazakhstan (tenge)            0.002562    0.002565      390.28      389.88 
Kuwait (Dinar)                  3.2968      3.2959      0.3033      0.3034 
Macau (pataca)                  0.1238      0.1239      8.0783      8.0741 
Malaysia (Ringgit)              0.2389      0.2392      4.1865      4.1805 
Mexico (Peso) Float             0.0523      0.0521     19.1104     19.1979 
New Zealand (Dollar)            0.6387      0.6347      1.5657      1.5755 
Norway (Krone)                  0.1092      0.1089      9.1616      9.1850 
Oman (sul rial)                 2.5970      2.5972      0.3851      0.3850 
Pakistan (Rupee)                0.0064      0.0064    156.3750    156.0000 
Philippines (Peso)              0.0195      0.0195     51.2600     51.3350 
Poland (Zloty)                  0.2609      0.2597      3.8334      3.8505 
Qatar (rial)                    0.2749      0.2746      3.6378      3.6410 
Russia (Ruble)                  0.0157      0.0156     63.7999     64.1075 
Saudi Arabia (Riyal)            0.2666      0.2666      3.7510      3.7509 
Singapore (Dollar)              0.7331      0.7328      1.3641      1.3646 
South Africa (Rand)             0.0677      0.0674     14.7618     14.8335 
South Korea (Won)            0.0008482   0.0008481     1178.91     1179.06 
Sri Lanka (rupee)            0.0054939   0.0054972      182.02      181.91 
Sweden (Krona)                  0.1037      0.1030      9.6435      9.7130 
Switzerland (Franc)             1.0160      1.0122      0.9843      0.9879 
Taiwan (Dollar)                0.03273     0.03265      30.552      30.628 
Thailand (Baht)                0.03301     0.03299      30.290      30.310 
Turkey (Lira)                  0.17269      0.1715      5.7908      5.8299 
Ukraine (hryvnia)               0.0399      0.0404     25.0835     24.7622 
Uruguay (New Peso) Fin         0.02678     0.02681      37.340      37.300 
Euro                            1.1170      1.1124      0.8953      0.8990 
                                 Close    Previous 
WSJ Dollar Index                 90.48       90.79 
Sources: Tullett Prebon, Dow Jones Market Data. 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:30 ET (21:30 GMT)

DJ Chicago Currency Settlement Prices
 
                                                           YEAR           OPEN 
          OPEN     HIGH      LOW   SETTLE     CHG     HIGH      LOW        INT 
 
Japan Yen 
NOV 19   .9225    .9242    .9215    .9238  +.0018    .9622    .9194      1,849 
DEC 19   .9238    .9258    .9229    .9253  +.0019    .9645    .9077    154,903 
JAN 20   .9275    .9276    .9257    .9276  +.0018    .9501    .9239        660 
MAR 20   .9299    .9313    .9287    .9309  +.0017    .9698    .9133        786 
Est vol 80,035    open int 158,222 
 
Canadian Dollar 
NOV 19   .7619    .7623    .7610    .7623  +.0009    .7678    .7484      1,435 
DEC 19   .7617    .7626    .7610    .7624  +.0009    .7700    .7384    149,013 
JAN 20   .7520    .7624    .7618    .7627  +.0009    .7624    .7506        147 
MAR 20   .7620    .7629    .7614    .7627  +.0008    .7705    .7395      2,212 
JUN 20   .7615    .7629    .7615    .7625  +.0008    .7708    .7427        472 
SEP 20   .7620    .7620    .7619    .7621  +.0008    .7717    .7436        357 
Est vol 62,296    open int 153,681 
 
British Pound 
NOV 19  1.2861   1.3000   1.2854   1.2959  +.0068   1.3000   1.2002        652 
DEC 19  1.2916   1.3020   1.2862   1.2970  +.0069   1.3534   1.2008    241,082 
JAN 20  1.2902   1.3010   1.2887   1.2985  +.0069   1.3021   1.2065        318 
FEB 20  1.2903   1.3014   1.2903   1.2995  +.0068   1.3026   1.2723        266 
MAR 20  1.2961   1.3048   1.2900   1.3005  +.0068   1.3565   1.2057      1,148 
JUN 20  1.2957   1.3029   1.2941   1.3034  +.0068   1.3594   1.2120        190 
Est vol 135,976    open int 243,656 
 
Swiss Franc 
DEC 19  1.0170   1.0205   1.0153   1.0194  +.0028   1.0607    .9999     61,736 
Est vol 23,746    open int 61,827 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:29 ET (21:29 GMT)

DJ New Legal Peril for Generic Drug Companies -- Heard on the Street
By Charley Grant

Generic drug stocks are rallying as a possible comprehensive settlement in opioid-related litigation draws near. One forgotten and potentially very costly legal worry for generic drug stocks has quietly resurfaced, though.

Collusion allegations have plagued the sector for several years. An amended civil antitrust complaint filed in May by more than 40 state attorneys general alleged that 15 individuals and 20 corporate defendants conspired to fix prices of more than 100 generic drugs.

That matter has faded from the headlines, but there is fresh reason for investor concern: A subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurer, filed a civil lawsuit over the issue in federal court last week. Companies named in the new complaint include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Mylan, Lannett and Sandoz, the generics unit of Novartis. On Friday, rival insurer Humana filed a similar lawsuit. None of the companies has admitted to any wrongdoing and the allegations are several years old.

That might be of limited comfort. The UnitedHealth lawsuit asserts that the insurer is entitled to treble damages for any amount it was overcharged, which is currently unknown. It could be a significant figure: For instance, UnitedHealth alleged in the complaint that Teva colluded with competitors to raise the price of at least 86 drugs over a period of 19 months ending in 2015. The rate of those increases topped 1,000% in some cases, the complaint alleges. And UnitedHealth's reach is massive -- it has nearly 50 million members on its rolls.

It is also possible that other insurers could file similar claims. While the damages are subject to discovery, the sums across the industry could conceivably reach billions of dollars.

That could be a big problem for stockholders because the manufacturers aren't exactly in a position to open up their wallets. Teva's debt load is now more than six times trailing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, Mylan and Lannett each weigh in at about four times Ebitda.

Investors' celebratory mood may intensify if the opioid cases do indeed settle. That euphoria shouldn't be confused with a clear road ahead.

Write to Charley Grant at charles.grant@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:25 ET (21:25 GMT)

DJ The Week's Gainers and Losers on the S&P 500 -- Oct. 14-18

GAINERS Company Last Price % Chg McKesson Corp. 152.26 13.00% UnitedHealth Group Inc. 245.34 10.48% Cardinal Health Inc. 51.54 9.85% Cigna Corp. 166.88 9.50% AmerisourceBergen Corp. 89.64 9.37% LOSERS Company Last Price % Chg Cimarex Energy Co. 41.33 -8.80% Boeing Company 344.00 -8.25% Noble Energy Inc. 19.06 -7.39% Autodesk Inc. 139.67 -7.08% EOG Resources Inc. 64.44 -6.95% Source: FactSet

Three major drug distributors were among the top gainers this week. McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. all rose earlier this week following news reported by the Wall Street Journal that the three were in talks to pay $18 billion to settle sweeping litigation brought by state and local governments blaming them for fueling the opioid crisis. A trial is slated to start in U.S. District Court Monday.

Boeing Company landed among the biggest losers following news that a senior Boeing Co. pilot told a colleague he unintentionally misled federal regulators about a key system on the plane maker's 737 MAX, according to a transcript of instant messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The MCAS system has been implicated in the two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX in Indonesia and Ethiopia, which together claimed 346 lives.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:25 ET (21:25 GMT)

DJ Petrobras CEO Sees Auction of Pre-Salt Oil Blocks as Key to Growth
By Jeffrey T. Lewis

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The Brazilian government's auction next month of exploration blocks in the country's rich pre-salt offshore oil fields is fundamental to Petróleo Brasileiro SA's plans for growth, according to Chief Executive Officer Roberto Castello Branco.

Many of the world's biggest oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC and Petrobras are registered to participate in the sale, which is scheduled to take place here on Nov. 6.

Petrobras has been selling off less profitable and noncore production fields and other operations in an effort to focus on production. The company needs to invest in new fields to boost its reserves and increase output in coming years, Mr. Castello Branco said Friday.

"We need to add reserves to grow," the executive said, adding that the auctions are a unique opportunity to buy high-quality assets.

Interest in the fields among Petrobras's peers is higher than is typical for the sale of exploration rights, because the Brazilian company has been pumping oil from the deposits deep beneath the sea floor for a decade and shown them to be productive, analysts say.

"They're practically reserves, where the risks of exploration are very low. That makes this auction different," Mr. Castello Branco said.

Petrobras is currently in talks with potential consortium partners to bid together on the blocks, he said, declining to comment further the talks.

Petrobras signed a contract in 2010 with the Brazilian government to exploit the pre-salt fields -- so called because they lie under a two-kilometer-thick layer of salt deposits beneath the seabed -- that gave the company the right to pump 5 billion barrels of oil from the deposits.

The fields have since been estimated to hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and under the terms of the contract, the government has the right to sell the extra reserves.

The government is asking for a total of 106.6 billion reais ($25.9 billion) in signing bonuses from the winners of the auctions, with 34.6 billion reais of that amount going to Petrobras to compensate it for the decline in prices since the contract was signed.

Petrobras's long experience in the field makes the company the "natural owners" of the deposits, Mr. Castello Branco said in his office atop the company's 24-story headquarters with a view of Rio's Sugarloaf mountain.

"We discovered it, we developed it," he said. "We have the technology, we have the highly competent engineers" experienced in dealing with the difficulties of producing in the area.

Production from the fields is also more profitable than the company's output from other deposits and other businesses, such as refining, so it is better for Petrobras to dispose of them and boost output, Mr. Castello Branco said.

Petrobras is already in the process of selling off some of those operations, and has had strong interest from buyers in four refineries it recently put on sale, he said. Two of the refineries are in Brazil's south and two are in the northeast, and interest has come from major oil companies, smaller Brazilian companies and independent refiners.

Bidders on the four facilities will turn in nonbinding offers on Nov. 8, according to Mr. Castello Branco.

The company has already sold off all or part of other businesses, such as its gas-station operator Petrobras Distribuidora SA, and natural-gas pipeline operator Transportadora Associada de Gas SA, or TAG, as it concentrates on production.

Petrobras's previous investments in the pre-salt fields, which accounted for just over 60% of production in the third quarter, are already paying off. Total output jumped 9.3% in the period from the previous quarter, as new platforms came on line, and almost 15% from the third quarter of 2018.

But those rapid increases in production will slow in coming quarters and years, and will start to speed up again only when the fields the company buys at the auction next month come online three or four years from now, Mr. Castello Branco said.

Petrobras is working to reduce the time it takes for the company to start production in new fields, to three years from about five years currently, and to cut how long new platforms take to reach maximum output to nine months from about a year.

The company is also going after operating costs in its "relentless" drive to become more efficient, said Mr. Castello Branco. Petrobras's current goal is to cut $8 billion out of its operating costs over the five years from 2020 through 2024, but the CEO said he is raising that goal to $10 billion.

The oil producer has been offering employee buyouts, concentrating workers in fewer offices and even cutting the number of printers its workers use.

"Before, everyone in here used to have their own printer," he said, referring to Petrobras's headquarters. "Now we share them."

--Samantha Pearson contributed to this article.

Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)

DJ Petrobras CEO: Production Increases Will Be Slower in Coming Quarters

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)

DJ Petrobras CEO: There Is Strong Interest to Buy Refineries Company Is Selling

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)

DJ Petrobras to Raise 5-Year Cost Savings Target to $10 Billion From $8 Billion

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)

DJ Petrobras CEO Says Company Is Relentlessly Working to Cut Costs

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)

DJ Petrobras CEO: We Are "Natural Owners" of Blocks on Sale in Auction

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)

DJ Petrobras CEO: Nov. 6 Auction of Pre-Salt Oil Blocks Key to Future Growth

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)

DJ The Dow Fell 256 Points Because We Need Closure on China Trade and Brexit -- Barrons.com
By Evie Liu

-- wonder what's next for Brexit and U.S.-China trade deal; -- observe takeaways from China's slowest GDP growth in at least 27 years; -- and explain why trade tension does not affect the Chinese economy as much as many would think.

Losing Steam. The main U.S. stock indexes edged lower on Friday. Economic growth in China continues to slow down in the third quarter, while essential elements of the trade deal, and a vote for Brexit remain closely watched. AT&T stock (ticker: T) rose on news that the telecom giant might be nearing a deal with activist investor Elliot Management about its asset strategy. Coca-Cola stock (KO) jumped after the company released earnings. Investors are also focusing on drug stocks ahead of the start of a key opioid trial on Monday. In today's After the Bell, we...

On the Watch

All three major indexes closed in the red on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 255.68 points, or 0.95%, to close at 26,770.20. The S&P 500 dropped 11.75 points, or 0.39%, to finish at 2986.20, and the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 67.31 points, or 0.83%, to close at 8089.54.

Coca-Cola stock rose on Friday after the company raised its estimate for cash flow from operations in 2019 and lowered its capital-spending guidance. State Street (STT), American Express (AXP), and Synchrony Financial (SYF) also reported sales and earnings per share above Wall Street expectations.

After the first week of the third-quarter earnings season, about 15% of S&P 500 components have reported results for the three months ended in September. On average, earnings grew by 4.7% from the year-ago period, while revenue only gained 2.6%, according to FactSet. Nearly 130 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report next week.

Despite the solid earnings results so far, the market was down as investors continue to watch for progress on multiple geopolitical issues.

After the U.K. and EU agreed on a draft Brexit deal, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is working to secure the 318 votes in parliament needed to pass the deal this Saturday. Multiple media reports have tried to predict the odds, but the outcome still seems too close to call.

Investors are waiting for more details on "phase one" of the U.S.-China trade agreement, which was announced by President Donald Trump last Friday. Now there may be added uncertainty: Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to make his second policy speech on China next week. Last November, Pence gave a hawkish speech about the world's second-largest economy, in which he claimed that the U.S. "will not change course until China changes its ways." If Pence's speech this year remains uncompromising, the finalization of the partial trade deal could come into question again.

In the third quarter of 2019, China's gross domestic product grew 6.0% from the year-ago period, according to data released today by China's National Bureau of Statistics. The reading is down from the second quarter, and slightly lower than the consensus expectation, marking the Chinese economy's slowest growth in at least 27 years.

For the first nine months of 2019, the Chinese economy has grown 6.2% from the year-ago period, near the lower end of Beijing's target range of between 6.0% and 6.5%; the range was already anticipating less growth than last year's 6.6%. Despite some recovery in China's industrial production and retail sales, business activity continues to broadly deteriorate.

The trade dispute with the U.S. -- despite the continuous headlines -- has not been a major influence on China's economy, wrote Michael Shaoul of Marketfield Asset Management on Friday. "It does of course have undesirable effects, but it has not caused Xi's leadership to give up on its internal political goals or shift the emphasis of economic policy beyond adding more fiscal stimulus and somewhat looser monetary policy," Shaoul wrote.

China's shift in central policy is "an explicit political decision" taken even before the economic slowdown started roughly 18 months ago, wrote Shaoul, when China's President Xi Jinping was pronounced a leader for life. Beijing has since been promoting the "good growth" aided by significant state and local government investment, while downplaying the "bad growth" through restriction on shadow banking, which has hurt certain sectors and economic players more than others.

Write to Evie Liu at evie.liu@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:13 ET (21:13 GMT)

DJ LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Oct 18 All figures are on a per-head basis. Date Standard Margin Estimated margin Operating Index at vertically - integrated operations Oct 18 +$ 39.17 +$ 34.16 Oct 17 +$ 29.26 +$ 32.50 Oct 16 +$ 29.99 +$ 35.06 * Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production. A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of production of the animals. Beef-O-Meter This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices. Beef For Today Choice 105.4 (Percent of Year-Ago) Select 100.4 USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

TOP STORIES

China and Mexico Drive Big Pork Export Week -- Market Talk

08:56 ET - Net export sales of US pork rose to 292,200 metric tons in the week ending Oct. 10, driven primarily by purchases by Mexico and China, the USDA says. Mexico purchased 132,400 tons, while China bought 94,000 tons. Japan was also a big buyer, purchasing 46,400 tons. This data will likely be bullish for hog futures, as traders have been agitating for tangible results from the trade talks held in Washington last week. Both the US and China have promised increased agricultural export purchases by China following the talks. However, with the data ending Oct. 10, this week's report does not account for post-trade talk buying. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

Vietnam a Viable Destination for Increased Protein Exports -- Market Talk

1019 ET - Vietnam will grow in importance as a destination for agricultural goods, says USDA's Ted McKinney, speaking during a trade mission in the nation. Particularly, McKinney expects protein purchases from the US to grow quickly in Vietnam, as preparations for the Lunar New Year are taking place while there's no end in sight for African swine fever's devastation of the country's pig herds. "It's tough to say if African swine fever is contained, I haven't seen any credible reports," says McKinney, who says that while buyers in the area are not in a state of panic over the disease, they do expect to have to buy more US protein. The Undersecretary estimates that Vietnam has lost 20% of its pig herd due to the disease. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Danone Investors Shouldn't Overreact to 3Q Results: Bernstein -- Market Talk

0909 GMT - Danone investors shouldn't overreact to the company's 3Q print, Bernstein analysts say. The food company met reported sales expectations, but its like-for-like sales growth disappointed, leading to a cut to the company's full-year guidance, Bernstein says. However, the brokerage says weather impact on the French company's waters division accounted for a large part of the disappointment, and notes that the new guidance still assumes a nice further speed-up of sales growth in 4Q. Given Danone shares' strong year-to-date performance, Bernstein isn't surprised by the stock's weakness today. At 0907 GMT, Danone was down 7.4% at EUR72.80. (cristina.roca@dowjones.com)

FSIS: Houston Company Recalls Canned Meat Due to Lack of Import Re-Inspection

A Houston company is recalling about 100 pounds of canned meat products that weren't presented for import re-inspection, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Global Zakii Enterprises is recalling items including Unium Luncheon Meat and Bishaway Extra Corned Beef.

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Finish Friday Lower -- Market Talk

15:23 ET - Livestock futures on the CME fall to finish the week, with live cattle down 0.7% to $1.13625 per pound and lean hogs dropping 0.3% to 67.95 cents per pound. For the week though, cattle futures finish 1% higher, while hogs are 3.7% lower. For hogs, there's speculation China may be rebuilding its hog herd with an aim for increased production in early 2020. "This seems optimistic as African swine fever is still spreading through parts of the country," says Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. "China is importing hogs to try and build a herd though, which may help with the quicker rebound in production." (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell 7 cents per hundred pounds, to $218.04, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 44 cents per hundred pounds, to $193.04. The total load count was 97. Wholesale pork prices rose 77 cents, to $76.29 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:10 ET (21:10 GMT)

DJ GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

TOP STORIES:

Wheat Rises for Third Straight Session on Weaker Dollar

Wheat for December delivery rose 1.3% to $5.32 1/4 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Friday as the U.S. dollar weakened - causing wheat to rise for the third day in a row on prospects of more foreign purchases of U.S. wheat. Soybeans for November delivery rose 0.3% to $9.34 a bushel. Corn for December delivery fell 1% to $3.91 a bushel.

Rising wheat prices in South America are allowing U.S. wheat prices to be more competitive in the market. Friday's close is the highest wheat has traded at since late June. Drought in Russia and Argentina are driving prices higher, said Charlie Sernatinger of ED&F Man Capital. "Chicago looks like it is overdone here, but that does not mean the market has to break," Sernatinger said.

Soybean Exports Stay Strong, Wheat and Corn Falter -- Market Talk

09:10 ET - Export sales of soybeans remained strong this week -- totaling 1.7 million metric tons, owed mostly to the 850,500 tons sold to China for the week ending Oct. 10, the USDA says. Meanwhile, wheat sales only totaled 395,100 tons and corn totaled only 368,600 tons. Both of these totals fell into the low end of predictions provided by analysts to the Wall Street Journal, and are likely bearish for futures trading on the CBOT. Also notable is the lack of new Chinese purchases, as China has recently come into focus as a potential big customer of US wheat in addition to US soybeans. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

Grain Prices Expected to Stay Volatile, Says Fitch -- Market Talk

09:22 ET - Grain prices are expected to remain volatile over the short-term, as weather continues to affect grain harvesting worldwide while political concerns stand to get in the way of the market's normal flow, says Fitch Solutions. "Weather conditions continue to deteriorate in different countries, supporting prices," the firm says--placing its 3-6 month outlook for grain commodities at neutral-bearish, while keeping a mixed view on prices in the next 12-24 months. In particular, the devastation from African swine fever on Asian hogs is expected to subdue soybean demand globally. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Danone Investors Shouldn't Overreact to 3Q Results: Bernstein -- Market Talk

0909 GMT - Danone investors shouldn't overreact to the company's 3Q print, Bernstein analysts say. The food company met reported sales expectations, but its like-for-like sales growth disappointed, leading to a cut to the company's full-year guidance, Bernstein says. However, the brokerage says weather impact on the French company's waters division accounted for a large part of the disappointment, and notes that the new guidance still assumes a nice further speed-up of sales growth in 4Q. Given Danone shares' strong year-to-date performance, Bernstein isn't surprised by the stock's weakness today. At 0907 GMT, Danone was down 7.4% at EUR72.80. (cristina.roca@dowjones.com)

THE MARKETS:

Livestock Futures Finish Friday Lower -- Market Talk

15:23 ET - Livestock futures on the CME fall to finish the week, with live cattle down 0.7% to $1.13625 per pound and lean hogs dropping 0.3% to 67.95 cents per pound. For the week though, cattle futures finish 1% higher, while hogs are 3.7% lower. For hogs, there's speculation China may be rebuilding its hog herd with an aim for increased production in early 2020. "This seems optimistic as African swine fever is still spreading through parts of the country," says Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. "China is importing hogs to try and build a herd though, which may help with the quicker rebound in production." (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:10 ET (21:10 GMT)

DJ News On Baker Hughes Co. (BHGE) Now Under BKR

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:08 ET (21:08 GMT)

DJ Mark Zuckerberg Speech Draws Ire as He Attempts to Burnish Facebook's Image
By Bowdeya Tweh and Dave Sebastian

Mark Zuckerberg this week reiterated his view that Facebook Inc.'s mission is to bring people together. But a Thursday speech, in which he positioned the social-media platform as a bastion of free speech, fueled more disagreement over how the tech giant handles content and influences public discourse.

The Facebook chief executive invoked Martin Luther King Jr. and abolitionist Frederick Douglass in a roughly 37-minute speech at Georgetown University, casting his company's efforts to foster free and inclusive expression as a digital-age extension of the ideals behind the First Amendment and the U.S. civil-rights movement.

That message resonated with some, particularly on the right, with some supporting citing free speech in support of Mr. Zuckerberg. But others, including some on the left, accused the company of allowing false and misleading information that distorts public discourse, and of having fluid rules around the types of speech that are permissible.

"I'd like to help Facebook better understand the challenges #MLK faced from disinformation campaigns launched by politicians," Bernice King, one of Dr. King's daughters and CEO of the King Center in Atlanta, said on Twitter. "These campaigns created an atmosphere for his assassination." Ms. King couldn't be immediately reached for additional comment Friday.

The speech, which was live streamed on Mr. Zuckerberg's Facebook page, was viewed more than 1.1 million times as of Friday, generating more than 62,000 comments. A transcript of the speech, published on Facebook, resulted in thousands more comments.

Some conservatives found the speech reassuring. "We shouldn't expect Facebook to be perfect," said Roslyn Layton, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "What we should watch is how well they respond when there is a problem or a challenge. I think he's stepping up."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R., Calif.), said the values Mr. Zuckerberg discussed Thursday are "uniquely and inherently American values" that Congress should fight to protect. "Yesterday was a heartening reminder that free expression still is the best business model in the world," he said in a Friday statement.

Mr. Zuckerberg's talk was delivered as Facebook is facing antitrust scrutiny on multiple fronts and fresh criticism over its handling of misinformation. The presidential campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat who has called for the breakup of Facebook and other big technology companies, paid for an advertisement containing a false claim about Mr. Zuckerberg, seeking to turn attention to the company's policies.

Democrats had previously called on Facebook to remove an ad from President Trump's re-election campaign that made an unsubstantiated claim against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media watchdog group, said Facebook should require political ads to disclose the source of its claims, and that it is possible for the company to do so without raising strong concerns about censorship. .

"It's a little less of a free speech thing and more of a question of 'Is it fair to use those airways to use that platform to directly distribute lies to people?'" Mr. Carusone said. "I don't expect Facebook to be fact-checkers. What I expect them to do is to do some very basic substantiation requirements."

Mr. Zuckerberg said Thursday the company doesn't fact-check political ads and isn't planning on banning them from the platform. But he said Facebook has sharpened its policies to make such ads more transparent.

"We're at a crossroads now," said Mr. Zuckerberg, referencing politically motivated efforts to restrict speech, in an interview with Fox News host Dana Perino that was aired Friday. "We always look back and regret it when we pull back on free expression."

At the same time, the 35-year-old executive pushed back on politicians' calls to break up the company in the Friday interview, faulting governments for not moving faster to set rules regarding harmful content and efforts to manipulate elections.

Mr. Zuckerberg said in his Thursday speech that many institutions are needed to police content online, pointing to efforts like the independent panel being established to oversee and adjudicate content-moderation decisions made at Facebook.

Determining an ad's veracity could prove challenging for companies, but a company as large as Facebook has responsibilities beyond the hands-off approach Mr. Zuckerberg discussed, said Michael Delli Carpini, a professor who studies political communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

"That is a slippery slope here," he said. "One person's inaccuracy is another person's speculation. What is and is not true is not easily determined a lot of times."

Concerns about false information in ads could erode users' trust in the Facebook platform overall, said Andrew Rojecki, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor who studies political communication.

Facebook's CEO held out China's heavily censored social-media outlets as a contrast to the free discussion on Facebook. "Is that the internet we want?" he said.

Facebook, which the Chinese government for years has barred its people from accessing, has long sought entry to that market. Mr. Zuckerberg said censorship is one reason Facebook's services aren't available in one of the world's most populous countries.

Sen. Josh Hawley, (R., Mo.), posted tweets Thursday critical of the speech, citing prior interest in complying with Chinese government requirements. "Interesting way to advocate free speech," he tweeted. His office couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday.

--Ryan Tracy and Jeff Horwitz contributed to this article.

Write to Bowdeya Tweh at Bowdeya.Tweh@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:07 ET (21:07 GMT)

DJ News Highlights: Top Global Markets News of the Day
Fed's Clarida Says Central Bank Will 'Act as Appropriate' to Sustain Growth

Stocks Slip on China Data

Oil-Patch Deals Fuel Energy Bond Gains

Markets Are Rising Despite a Trade War, Brexit and Impeachment Threats

U.S. Companies Can't Buck a Strong Dollar

Fed Eyes Another Rate Cut, Weighs When to Stop

Cooling Economy Drives China to Prioritize Growth

Fed Intervenes in Markets Friday With Temporary and Permanent Liquidity

Boris Johnson Turns On the Charm to Gather Support for Brexit Deal

Top Economic Advisers Warned Trump on Tariffs Before China Truce

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said the central bank's rate cuts in July and September provided a 'somewhat more accommodative policy' in response to rising risks to growth, and that the Fed would approach future policy decision on a meeting-by-meeting basis.

U.S. stocks fell on global growth worries, but the S&P 500 still had a modest gain for the week after a strong kickoff to corporate earnings season.

Falling oil and gas prices cause problems for energy companies, but are delivering a surprise windfall for some U.S. bondholders.

The world seems more tumultuous than it has in years. Congress is weighing impeachment, the U.K. is on the verge of a momentous vote regarding its role in Europe, and the U.S. and China are still mired in a trade war. Yet the S&P 500 is still near its all-time high.

A strong dollar continues to eat into the profit margins of American companies, contributing to what is expected to be 2019's weakest quarter for corporate earnings.

Federal Reserve officials are heading into their meeting in two weeks likely to cut interest rates while debating whether they've done enough for now to vaccinate the economy against growing risks of a sharper slowdown.

A further slide in China's economic momentum in the third quarter appears to be galvanizing government priorities around growth again, after years of trying to contain rising debt.

The New York Fed added $56.65 billion in liquidity to financial markets on Friday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson began a frantic spell of political salesmanship to try to persuade lawmakers to back his Brexit deal ahead of a decisive vote Saturday.

President Trump's top economic advisers last week arranged an Oval Office briefing with outside experts who warned the president that escalation of trade tensions with China could hurt the economy-and his re-election.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:00 ET (21:00 GMT)

DJ News Highlights: Top Company News of the Day
Facebook Reaches Deal With Wall Street Journal Publisher, Others for News Section

Harley-Davidson Resumes Production, Deliveries of Its Electric Motorcycle

Pilot Told Colleague He Unintentionally Misled Regulators on Boeing 737 MAX

J&J Recalls Baby Powder on Asbestos Concern

Schlumberger's Overseas Segments Drive Revenue Growth

Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd Dies

UAW Deal Turns Headlights on GM's Planning

Soda Comeback Drives Sales Gains at Coca-Cola

American Express's Earnings, Top Line Rise

State Street Profit Beats Estimates, Lifts Stock

News Corp has reached a deal to let Facebook Inc. feature headlines from The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones media properties, as well the New York Post, in the social-media giant's upcoming news section, the companies said.

Harley-Davidson is resuming production and deliveries of its first electric motorcycle about a week after it told dealers it was halting production due to a problem related to charging.

A senior Boeing pilot told a colleague he unintentionally misled federal regulators about a key system on the plane maker's 737 MAX, according to a transcript of instant messages reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Johnson & Johnson launched a voluntary recall of about 33,000 bottles of its baby powder after a test showed sub-trace-level asbestos contamination.

Oil-field-services company Schlumberger Ltd. reported a surprising increase in revenue for the latest quarter, driven by growth in markets outside North America.

Oracle says Co-CEO Mark Hurd, who had taken a medical leave of absence in September, has died. The death leaves Safra Catz as Oracle's sole CEO.

General Motors, the top U.S. automaker, will need to reassure investors in its financial results that cost-savings targets and downturn preparation are on track.

Coca-Cola's carbonated soft drinks are making a comeback, as the company's third-quarter sales rose in large part thanks to variations on its namesake cola.

American Express's profit and revenue climbed in the third quarter, along with its provision for losses.

State Street posted quarterly results that beat Wall Street estimates and offered investors some signs of a turnaround. The custody bank's shares jumped.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 17:00 ET (21:00 GMT)

DJ Stocks Drop on China Data
By Alexander Osipovich and Max Bernhard

U.S. stocks fell Friday on global growth worries, but the S&P 500 still closed the week with gains after a strong kickoff to corporate earnings season.

The declines came after fresh Chinese growth data sparked concerns about the world's No. 2 economy and a slew of negative headlines pummeled some of the biggest U.S. companies.

The broad stock market index fell 11.75 points, or 0.4%, to 2986.20. Its 0.5% increase for the week marked the second consecutive week of gains and was largely tied to upbeat quarterly earnings reports from banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 255.68 points, or 0.9%, to 26770.20, dragged down by sharp drops in Boeing and Johnson & Johnson. The Nasdaq Composite declined 67.31 points, or 0.8%, to 8089.54.

All three indexes are within 3% of July's all-time highs, showing the resilience of the U.S. stock market despite concerns about slowing growth at home and abroad.

Among Friday's movers, Boeing shares tumbled $25.06, or 6.8%, to $344 after the disclosure of instant messages from 2016 suggesting that the aircraft maker unintentionally misled regulators over the safety of a key system on its 737 Max.

Johnson & Johnson shares slumped $8.47, or 6.2%, to $127.70 after the company said it was recalling one lot of baby powder--about 33,000 bottles--after tests found small amounts of chrysotile asbestos.

Technology stocks were broadly lower, with Netflix down $18.05, or 6.2%, to $275.30 after several analysts cut their price targets for the streaming-video company.

Of the 73 companies in the S&P 500 that reported earnings through Friday, more than four-fifths topped analysts' expectations, according to Refinitiv. That's largely because expectations came down so much in recent months.

Besides the banks, Coca-Cola, United Airlines Holdings and UnitedHealth Group are among the stocks that rallied this week on better-than-expected results.

The parade of positive corporate news helped ease some of investors' jitters over the trade dispute with China. Following a preliminary agreement last week, President Trump has said he could sign a "phase one" deal with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in November.

"Some of the headwinds around concerns of a slowing U.S. economy and trade tensions have slowed a bit this week," said Philip Blancato, CEO and president of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management.

Overseas, Chinese stocks dropped sharply after data showed the Chinese the economy slowed further in the third quarter. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.3%, its biggest decline in a month.

Fresh data showed that China's economy grew 6% in the quarter as business activity continued to deteriorate. Each quarterly slowdown in Chinese growth has pulled the country's economic performance to new lows not seen since the current measure of output was adopted in 1992.

"The figures are painting markets in red today," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at London Capital Group. "Pulling below 6% would be really bad for investor sentiment, not only in China, but globally."

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3%. In the U.K., the FTSE 100 dropped 0.4% and the pound climbed 0.5% against the dollar.

Investors are watching developments closely before U.K. lawmakers vote Saturday on a draft Brexit agreement struck with the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trying to muster enough support for the deal in the U.K. Parliament.

The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasurys slipped to 1.747% from 1.757% on Thursday. Bond yields move in the opposite direction from prices.

In commodities, U.S. crude futures fell 0.3% to $53.78 a barrel. Gold futures slipped 0.3% to $1488.20 a troy ounce.

Write to Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com and Max Bernhard at Max.Bernhard@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:53 ET (20:53 GMT)

DJ J&J Recalls Baby Powder on Asbestos Concern -- 2nd Update
By Peter Loftus

Johnson & Johnson said it recalled one lot, about 33,000 bottles, of its Johnson's Baby Powder because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found a small amount of asbestos in a single bottle, a discovery likely to fuel existing concerns about the safety of the famous product.

The health-products company, which is well known among consumers for its namesake powder, said Friday it is recalling the bottles out of an abundance of caution despite the low levels of asbestos reported. J&J said it issued the withdrawal after receiving the FDA test report Thursday.

The recall comes at a vulnerable time for J&J, which has been fighting tens of thousands of lawsuits over its talcum powder, opioid drugs and other products. The stock fell 6.2% in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Admission of an asbestos taint could complicate J&J's defense against talcum-powder lawsuits in particular, since the company has been arguing that it hasn't detected asbestos in decades of testing.

The recall "is a negative for JNJ's reputation and potentially strengthens the plaintiffs' argument in the ongoing talc lawsuits," Wells Fargo analysts said in a research note Friday. The action probably increases the chances that J&J will settle its talcum-powder litigation, SVB Leerink analysts said.

J&J faces lawsuits from about 15,500 people in the U.S. claiming that use of J&J's baby powder and its other talc-containing products caused ovarian cancer and a rare cancer known as mesothelioma. Some of the lawsuits allege that asbestos in the talc products contributed to the cancer because asbestos is a known carcinogen.

While some of the lawsuits focus on the use of talcum powder manufactured many years ago, plaintiffs' lawyers say that their allegations aren't limited to the past and that the ongoing safety of J&J's talcum powder is an issue in the cases.

J&J says that numerous tests over the past 40 years showed no asbestos in its baby powder and that its talc products are safe and don't cause cancer. J&J has won some cases at trial but has lost some costly verdicts in other talc trials.

"Our talc comes from one of the cleanest mines in the world," which tests have shown to be asbestos-free, Susan Nicholson, vice president of women's health in J&J's medical safety division, said on a conference call Friday.

Plaintiffs' lawyers say that asbestos was present in J&J's talcum powder in greater concentrations many decades ago and that the concentrations dissipated as J&J changed sources for the mining of talc, a mineral. Yet the lawyers say more recent tests, including by experts they have hired, have shown trace amounts in products made since the 1970s. J&J has disputed the validity of those tests.

Ted Meadows, an attorney with Beasley Allen in Alabama who has represented plaintiffs in several talcum-powder trials, said the recall will strengthen his arguments at future trials.

"It's just confirmation of what we've been saying all along," he said. "It's contra to what J&J has been telling the public and telling juries across the country."

The recall will undermine J&J's argument in court that tests have shown its talcum powder to be free of asbestos, said Moshe Maimon, an attorney with Levy Konigsberg in New Jersey who has filed lawsuits alleging that inhalation of J&J's talcum powder caused mesothelioma.

"A federal regulatory body finding a baby powder product still on the market has asbestos in it is going to bode very badly for them," Mr. Maimon said.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company said it has a "rigorous testing standard in place to ensure its cosmetic talc is safe and years of testing, including the FDA's own testing on prior occasions -- and as recently as last month -- found no asbestos."

J&J said Friday the latest FDA test indicated the presence of chrysotile asbestos contamination in well under 1% of the sample from a single bottle. J&J said the bottle was purchased from an online retailer, but didn't identify the retailer. It said the lot was produced and shipped in the U.S. last year.

An FDA spokeswoman declined to comment immediately.

J&J said it is investigating the matter, and at this early stage it can't confirm whether the sample was taken from a bottle with an intact seal, or whether the product tested was authentic or counterfeit.

Colin Kellaher contributed to this article.

Write to Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:50 ET (20:50 GMT)

DJ Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 16:50 EST / 2050 GMT
 
                           Latest       Previous   %Chg    Daily    Daily   %Chg 
Dollar Rates                               Close            High      Low  12/31 
 
USD/JPY Japan           108.41-42      108.64-65  -0.21   108.72   108.38  -1.07 
EUR/USD Euro            1.1165-68      1.1122-25  +0.39   1.1169   1.1115  -2.64 
GBP/USD U.K.            1.2944-46      1.2889-91  +0.43   1.2964   1.2839  +1.46 
USD/CHF Switzerland     0.9842-46      0.9877-81  -0.35   0.9892   0.9840  +0.29 
USD/CAD Canada          1.3119-24      1.3135-40  -0.12   1.3150   1.3120  -3.80 
AUD/USD Australia       0.6853-57      0.6821-25  +0.47   0.6857   0.6820  -2.79 
NZD/USD New Zealand     0.6385-91      0.6344-50  +0.65   0.6391   0.6342  -4.94 
 
Euro Rates 
 
EUR/JPY Japan           121.05-09      120.83-87  +0.18   121.10   120.66  -3.68 
EUR/GBP U.K.            0.8623-26      0.8630-33  -0.08   0.8664   0.8607  -4.07 
EUR/CHF Switzerland     1.0990-93      1.0987-90  +0.03   1.1010   1.0975  -2.35 
EUR/CAD Canada          1.4648-58      1.4609-19  +0.27   1.4657   1.4604  -6.31 
EUR/AUD Australia       1.6283-93     1.6296-306  -0.08   1.6310   1.6261  +0.15 
EUR/DKK Denmark         7.4713-20      7.4708-15  +0.01   7.4728   7.4694  +0.07 
EUR/NOK Norway        10.2269-319    10.2156-206  +0.11  10.2444  10.2014  +3.24 
EUR/SEK Sweden        10.7643-743    10.8005-105  -0.34  10.8071  10.7606  +6.07 
EUR/CZK Czech Rep.      25.617-47     25.695-725  -0.30   25.731   25.617  -0.31 
EUR/HUF Hungary       330.60-1.00    330.91-1.31  -0.09   331.36   330.23  +3.04 
EUR/PLN Poland          4.2810-28      4.2821-39  -0.03   4.2884   4.2795  -0.18 
 
Yen Rates 
 
AUD/JPY Australia        74.30-34       74.13-17  +0.23    74.36    74.06  -3.84 
GBP/JPY U.K.            140.31-37      140.04-10  +0.19   140.64   139.34  +0.32 
CAD/JPY Canada           82.60-64       82.68-72  -0.09    82.78    82.40  +2.81 
NZD/JPY New Zealand      69.22-29       68.95-99  +0.41    69.30    68.89  -5.96 
 
Other Dollar Rates 
 
USD/CZK Czech Rep.      22.927-77     23.084-134  -0.68   23.142   22.944  +2.37 
USD/HUF Hungary         296.07-47      297.34-74  -0.43   298.01   295.76  +5.81 
USD/DKK Denmark        6.6896-906      6.7148-58  -0.38   6.7215   6.6901  +2.74 
USD/NOK Norway         9.1572-632      9.1820-80  -0.27   9.1974   9.1573  +6.00 
USD/PLN Poland          3.8344-49      3.8502-07  -0.41   3.8546   3.8343  +2.52 
USD/RUB Russia         63.734-804     64.073-143  -0.53   64.166   63.760  -7.90 
USD/SEK Sweden         9.6388-478     9.7085-175  -0.72   9.7172   9.6433  +8.93 
USD/ZAR S. Africa     14.7452-752    14.8185-485  -0.49  14.8537  14.7391  +2.78 
 
USD/CNY China           7.0807-27      7.0764-84  +0.06   7.0876   7.0677  +2.95 
USD/HKD Hong Kong       7.8428-33      7.8440-45  -0.02   7.8446   7.8419  +0.15 
USD/MYR Malaysia        4.1840-90     4.1780-830  +0.14   4.1880   4.1795  +1.31 
USD/INR India           71.030-50      71.120-40  -0.13   71.295   71.040  +2.11 
USD/IDR Indonesia        14138-52       14141-55  -0.02    14153    14130  -1.63 
USD/PHP Philippines     51.250-70      51.325-45  -0.15   51.380   51.186  -2.36 
USD/SGD Singapore       1.3633-43      1.3641-51  -0.06   1.3661   1.3632  +0.07 
USD/KRW S. Korea     1177.90-9.90  1178.06-80.06  -0.01  1182.45  1178.26  +5.80 
USD/TWD Taiwan          30.537-67      30.613-43  -0.25   30.643   30.534  -0.09 
USD/THB Thailand       30.280-300      30.300-20  -0.07   30.340   30.250  -6.28 
USD/VND Vietnam         23169-239      23172-242  -0.01    23208    23202  +0.04 
 
USD/BRL Brazil          4.1117-47      4.1640-70  -1.26   4.1652   4.1110  +5.97 
USD/MXN Mexico       19.0988-1288   19.1829-2129  -0.44  19.2165  19.1096  -2.72 
USD/ARS Argentina     58.2556-969    58.2220-634  +0.06  58.4638  58.2068 +54.80 
 
Source: Tullett Prebon 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:50 ET (20:50 GMT)

DJ Auto & Transport Roundup: Market Talk

The latest Market Talks covering the Auto and Transport sector. Published exclusively on Dow Jones Newswires at 4:20 ET, 12:20 ET and 16:50 ET.

1241 ET - Paul Hilal's Mantle Ridge, one of CSX's largest investors that pushed CSX to hire railroad turnaround specialist Hunter Harrison as part of a bid to revamp the company, is cutting its stake in more than half, according to a securities filing. CSX agreed to buy about 4.7M shares from Mantle Ridge under its $5B share repurchase authorization. In addition, Mantle Ridge has sold about 18.8M shares into the market, according to the filing. As of June 30, Mantle Ridge held about 38M CSX shares. Hilal serves as CSX board vice chairman. (maria.armental@wsj.com; @mjarmental)

1121 ET - Air Lease CEO John Plueger says US carriers facing tariffs starting today on Airbus deliveries may seek workarounds by having foreign alliance partners operate more flights. Leasing customers--rather than lessors--are on the hook for levies on rented jets. Such workarounds could stoke labor tensions. Pilots at Delta, a big Airbus buyer, is already unhappy with the level of 'outsourced' flying at the airline. (doug.caneron@wsj.com)

1100 ET - Covenant Transportation Group now expects a loss in 3Q, as the trucker downshifts from an earlier profit projection ahead of its earnings next week as transport companies wrestle with a tough freight market. Covenant cites higher wage expenses and insurance costs, and says it expects to report adjusted EPS in the range of a loss of $0.08 to $0.09, versus its earlier statement that adjusted EPS for the quarter should be "fairly consistent" with 2Q's $0.35. The company says truckload operating expenses increased 14.8 cents per total mile in 3Q from 2Q and says the freight market reflects "a negative environment in which available trucking capacity continues to exceed freight demand." Covenant up 0.5% to $16.31. (jennifer.smith@wsj.com; @JenSmithWSJ)

0955 ET - US sanctions and other factors have recently pushed up LNG freight rates in addition to oil tanker rates, but analysts at Goldman Sachs say ships currently used for LNG storage may offer a solution. "With such an increase in [LNG] freight rates, it is possible that for some market participants currently floating LNG simply discharge their cargo and lease their tanker out," the analysts say. "Although we have not seen this play out yet, this would potentially further weaken near-term global gas fundamentals in addition to helping offset some of the current tightness in the freight market." (dan.molinski@wsj.com)

0936 ET - The biggest challenges ahead for Tesla are whether it can turn a profit and achieve its full-year target for vehicle deliveries, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. The electric-car maker, which is expected to report its 3Q results Wednesday, is also juggling efforts to ramp up activity in China and increase Model 3 production in the US among other initiatives. Investors will be watching for commentary during Tesla's conference call on progress in developing the Shanghai factory and its path to profitability with the focus on the lower-margin Model 3. "With the stock showing momentum into earnings, Tesla needs to put up a strong [report] to keep the momentum going, otherwise Street skepticism around sustained profitability will cast a long shadow over Fremont for the coming months," Ives says. (bowdeya.tweh@wsj.com; @BowKnowsBiz)

0808 ET - The Stoxx Europe 600 is flat at 393.11 points as traders exercise caution ahead of Saturday's vote by British lawmakers on the Brexit deal agreed between the EU and the U.K. Renault is a top faller, down 12%, after the French carmaker cut its sales and profit guidance for 2019. The news is weighing on shares of other automakers including Daimler, Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen. Shares in Danone fall 7% after the French food group lowered its 2019 sales growth estimate following disappointing third-quarter trading. Getinge shares jump 17% after the Swedish medical technology firm beat third-quarter core profit forecasts. Assa Abloy gains 2.3% after the lockmaker reported higher earnings that met estimates. (renae.dyer@wsj.com)

0543 ET - Renault's guidance cut could trigger a sell down of the car maker's 43.4% stake in Nissan, Evercore ISI says. "However, exercising this long discussed option at a point of weakness would certainly not be very convincing," Evercore says. Evercore sees a significant risk for Renault's 2020 earnings, adding that costs related to emissions regulations are expected to increase next year. Shares in Renault trade 12% lower EUR48.17. (kim.richters@wsj.com)

0337 ET - Volvo is likely to see a 6%-7% downgrade to consensus FY20 EPS estimates after it reported weak 3Q orders and a slightly weaker margin in construction equipment, while 2020 guidance is broadly in-line, says Citi. 3Q truck orders missed consensus by 20% while deliveries were 3%-4% light, but sales were in-line and clean Ebit a 3% beat, Citi adds. The 11.3% margin is solid compared to consensus of 11% and Citi 11.4%, the bank says. 2019-20 guidance is broadly in line with Citi's assumptions, with Europe and India trucks slightly weaker. Citi says it still sees good value in the stock following a sharp de-rating for nearly two years and with likely margin resilience and sees orders near trough levels. Shares trade 3.9% lower at SEK134.70. (dominic.chopping@wsj.com)

0328 ET - Shares in Renault trade sharply lower after the company cut its revenue and operating-margin guidance for the year. "Renault guiding down for FY 2019 should not be a major surprise, although the magnitude is," Jefferies says. The French car maker said it now expects revenue to decline between 3% and 4%. This compares with previous expectations of revenue close to last year's. Shares in the company trade 14% lower at EUR46.98. (pietro.lombardi@dowjones.com; @pietrolombard10)

0215 ET - Renault's situation risks not improving next year, Deutsche Bank analysts say, downgrading the French car maker to hold from buy after it cuts its guidance. Renault's profit warning is equivalent to a 20% operating profit cut, and it is attributable to higher costs rather than lower revenues, the bank says. Since most of these additional costs should be recurrent, there is risk that the situation won't improve next year, Deutsche Bank says, seeing "too many uncertainties" surrounding the stock. Renault is indicated lower in pre-market trading according to Lang & Schwarz. (cristina.roca@dowjones.com)

2251 ET - Earnings for Samsung Heavy Industries may be pressured lower by Transocean's September cancellation of a contract for two drillships which are already under construction, KB Securities says; it expects the South Korean shipbuilder's 2019 operating loss to widen more than initially projected. The brokerage cuts its target price for the company by 9.1% to KRW10,000 while maintaining its buy call as the company is outperform its peers in terms of new contract wins. Shares are 0.5% lower at KRW7,880. (kwanwoo.jun@wsj.com)

2129 ET - Malaysia Airports shares drop as investors fret about the introduction of a new regulatory asset-base framework to determine airport charges, but RHB Research reckons the worries are overdone. The uncertainty stems from the Malaysian Aviation Commission having yet to publish the final paper in which it will set the passenger-service charge and which it was slated to release on Oct. 1. Yet RHB points out that a lower passenger-service charge is likely to be offset by a drop in user fees payable to the government, meaning that the share-price drop is overdone. RHB keeps the stock at buy and cuts its target 5.3% to MYR9.00 to reflect the retreat. Malaysia Airports drops 4.9% to MYR7.65. (yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com; @yantoultrangui)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:50 ET (20:50 GMT)

DJ The Streaming TV Revolution Will Have Winners and -2-

Many studios, meanwhile, are pulling content from Netflix. At the very least, they are driving up the cost of shows, and new competition could make price increases more difficult. Leave the stock alone for now, and wait for free cash estimates to begin moving in the right direction.

Walt Disney

Stick with the stock, but don't expect rapid gains. It is up 20% this year, even though earnings per share are expected to decline by as much, because investors understand that the profit decline is temporary and because the stock was cheap to begin with. Disney+, which will tap the company's Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars franchises for a mix of library hits and exclusive new shows and films, requires substantial upfront spending before subscription dollars can cover the cost.

The company says the service will break even in about five years. Until then, it will look like a little Netflix inside Disney. Yet within two years, losses for Disney+ will be small enough that the overall company can return to growth on gains for theme parks, films, and other businesses.

Disney and Amazon recently clashed over ad revenue from Disney apps that appear on Amazon's Fire TV service. That illustrates how streaming networks and streaming bundlers will vie for power, just as TV networks and cable bundlers do.

"I think that has been overblown," says Kevin Mayer, who runs Disney's direct-to-customer business. "It's not war. We're just negotiating." Disney has been offering discounted streaming subscriptions to customers who prepay for up to three years. That could help with early growth, and churn. Mayer says the offers have been "well received." A bundle of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ comes in a few bucks lower than the top Netflix offering -- a compelling pitch.

"Everyone seems to be setting this up to be an us-versus-them battle with Netflix," Iger says. "We don't see it that way at all. We're well differentiated." If he's worried about customer turnover, it doesn't show. "Netflix has managed to control churn brilliantly," he says. "We think we will, too."

Iger says that Disney eventually will harmonize the two technology platforms that will be used for its streaming services at first.

Mayer points out that Disney will continue to make good money in cable. "We have a hedged position," he says.

AT&T

Buy the stock for income, but be ready for price volatility. Time Warner, bought last year, brought a streaming-friendly mix of sports, news, films, and DC Comics superheroes, plus HBO, which has an over-the-top offering. But legacy AT&T has one of the weakest hands in TV distribution. Its DirecTV and U-verse are losing customers. So is AT&T TV Now -- the new name for the DirecTV Now skinny bundle.

The fix for all of this, the company hopes, is a new OTT service with a slightly skinnier name. AT&T TV, which is currently available in a limited number of cities, comes with a streaming box running Android TV software and offers channel bundles that rival traditional cable. On Oct. 29, the company will host a WarnerMedia day in Burbank, Calif., where it will offer details on HBO Max, another streaming service coming in the spring, and will presumably explain how the services will work together.

That neither streaming service will carry the DirecTV name says something about the wisdom of the $49 billion acquisition of the satellite operator in 2015, but what's done is done. Elliott Management, an activist investor, is pressuring AT&T to review its TV portfolio, perhaps sell the satellite business, and put cash toward stock buybacks and debt repayment. Fortunately for AT&T, the U.S. wireless phone business has rarely been stronger. An agreement this month to sell operations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to Liberty Latin America bolsters cash.

Lower debt will add confidence in the outsize dividend yield, recently 5.4%. And AT&T shares go for a modest 10 times earnings. In September, the company appointed WarnerMedia's boss, John Stankey, to a newly created No. 2 position, setting him up to succeed CEO Randall Stephenson.

Ultimately, AT&T will need to explain why the telephone and TV businesses belong together in an over-the-top world -- or it will have to do something to change that. For now, however, it just needs to stem TV declines and keep the dividends coming.

Viacom and CBS

When Bob Bakish took over at Viacom three years ago, its young viewers were leaving for the internet, advertising revenues were shrinking, and its film studio, Paramount, was producing big losses. Now, ratings are better, ad revenue has returned to growth, and Paramount is profitable. That makes Bakish a good pick to oversee the stronger assets at CBS when the two companies recombine for the first time in 14 years.

CBS All Access is no Netflix killer. It will gain some appeal once Viacom folds in shows from Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central, and films from Paramount, to form a new service. CBS' Showtime, like HBO, already has an over-the-top offering. Ad-supported Pluto TV answers the question of how to keep making money from customers who churn out of paid services, while pitching them on upgrading again later. Together, these assets give Viacom/CBS a shot at becoming the third or fourth most popular streaming service, behind Netflix and Disney's bundle, and not counting Amazon Prime Video, a giveaway for Amazon Prime customers.

More important is that Bakish has an arms dealer's indifference to taking sides in the streaming wars. Disney is stripping Netflix of valuable children's programming. Bakish can send in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dora the Explorer, and PAW Patrol to fill the gap. And in traditional TV, as he likes to point out, the two companies have 22% of the audience, but only 11% of payments from distributors. For investors, the killer feature is the valuation. At five and six times earnings, Viacom and CBS are priced for disaster. Modest earnings growth seems more likely.

Roku

Shares of Roku made their trading debut at $14 apiece in September 2017. Now they go for $126. The company sells streaming boxes, but doesn't have nearly the name recognition of Apple and Amazon. And the Roku Channel? Its website recently gave top billing to The Terminator -- not the new sequel coming out Nov. 1, but the original from 1984. Roku's limited content is part of its appeal for media partners. They can put their apps on the service without worrying about enriching a direct competitor.

Roku enjoys rapid gains in revenues and viewership, and widespread deals with TV makers that allow it to build its service into new sets.

The company could swing to profitability in a couple of years. Its stock trades now at just over 40 times the early consensus for 2023 earnings -- although individual estimates are all over the place. There's no cash-generating side business to fall back on, so the stock is for daredevils only.

Apple, Amazon, Alphabet

Yes to all, but not for TV.

The $5-a-month Apple TV+ service looks less like a big Hollywood play than an effort to goose hardware sales and expand future bundling power. Disney is spending $120 million to make one season of a Star Wars spinoff called The Mandalorian, whereas Apple TV+ will have Oprah Winfrey talking about books once every two months.

doesn't Amazon use its huge free cash flow to squash Netflix in streaming? Because it is a retailer first, and needs only so many shows to offer a perk for its buying-club members. Alphabet's skinny bundle, YouTube TV, is mildly interesting for investors, but its original YouTube video-sharing service is an endless gold mine.

The surest bet over the coming year is that some streaming services will overspend in the grab for market share.

Couch potatoes are sitting pretty.

Write to Jack Hough at jack.hough@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:49 ET (20:49 GMT)

DJ The Streaming TV Revolution Will Have Winners and Losers. How to Play the Stocks. -- Barrons.com
By Jack Hough 

It's fitting that internet television services are called "over the top." That can mean excessive, too, and viewers will soon face a bewildering sprawl of choices.

The phrase was also once used for soldiers scrambling up trenches to attack. Now, Disney, WarnerMedia, NBC, and others are about to enter the battle for streaming subscribers.

If cord-cutting accelerates among traditional cable customers, these companies will need to win streamers quickly. If TV viewers stick with their cable bundles for longer than expected, companies could end up having overspent to go over-the-top.

Even media chiefs disagree over how the next few years will play out.

Bob Iger at Walt Disney (ticker: DIS) tells Barron's that he expects continued erosion for big cable bundles and is intensely focused on Disney+, which starts on Nov. 12. "We're creating a product that serves the consumer the way they want to be served, which is the best thing a company can do," he says.

Bob Bakish, who heads Viacom (VIAB), and will also run CBS (CBS) after a pending merger, says the industry is segmenting on price, but that the traditional cable bundle still holds great appeal. "There are certainly people that have moved over the top and gone back," he says. "What the steady-state penetration will be, time will tell."

Brian Roberts at Comcast (CMCSA), speaking from China, where he is building Universal Studios Beijing to rival Shanghai Disneyland, says that his company, as a broadband provider, is in a good position to reaggregate what is now being taken apart. "Video over the internet is more friend than foe," he says. "We want to get to a place of relative indifference where we can be rooting for the customer."

How can investors pick winners or losers?

Most companies are taking hedged approaches. Some have lucrative other businesses facing less disruption, such as theme parks and wireless phone service. Others have deeply discounted shares to reflect the uncertainty. There is good money to be made in media stocks in coming years, not just despite the turmoil, but because of it.

Accompanying this article is a guide, analyzing the opportunities and risks for the biggest companies in streaming.

Comcast stacks up better than investors might expect, in part because, for it, cord-cutting is a misnomer. In Comcast's markets, its broadband service is the top means of delivering Netflix and Amazon Prime to homes.

Disney has dominated Hollywood like no other company in recent years, making it a heavy favorite for the No. 2 spot in streaming subscribers, behind Netflix (NFLX). But the transition will slow Disney's earnings growth, and its shares trade at a premium to the group. Warner parent AT&T (T), along with CBS and Viacom, are challenged but cheap. Don't write them off.

Netflix has made fools of doubters for years, and no company spends more on content per customer dollar. That's an excellent reason to subscribe, but the company's aggressive cash burn, combined with rising competition, make the path from here risky for shareholders. Apple (AAPL), Amazon.com (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOGL) -- all can thrive with or without becoming larger TV players. As for Roku (ROKU), its shares are a long- shot bet on a specific outcome -- and they have been soaring.

The main thing to know about pay TV is that subscriptions peaked in 2012, at 101 million across cable, satellite, and telecom, and that they are down to about 90 million. That includes eight million or nine million skinny-bundle customers, who pay for streamlined channel assortments delivered over broadband to save money. The declines are accelerating: Investment bank UBS predicts 6.1 million lost subscribers in 2019, compared with 1.2 million last year.

For cable, the situation is much better than these numbers suggest. Satellite and telecom TV services are falling out of favor, and AT&T, which has both, could account for two-thirds of subscriber losses this year. Growth in skinny bundles has slowed, as providers have raised prices and customers have questioned the savings. And broadband is booming. Cable broadband added nearly three million subscribers last year, including more than a million each for Comcast and Charter Communications (CHTR).

Streaming can refer to different types of services, but keep one distinction in mind. Skinny bundles -- also called virtual multichannel video programming distributors, or vMVPDs -- seek to mimic the cable experience, with groups of live channels. Customers who choose these generally use only one.

Netflix, Disney+, and others are examples of subscription video on demand services, or SVODs, through which viewers watch what they want when they want. Consumers may want many of these services, but surveys suggest that they're willing to pay for only a handful. There are also AVODs, which offer generally less expensive content for free, supported by advertising.

Alexia Quadrani, a media analyst with J.P. Morgan, says that future TV viewers will buy bundles of core streaming services and niche ones, like today's cable bundles, and that there are already too many services. "Most of them won't survive," she predicts. "The economics aren't sustainable." She likes Disney. "You'll see pretty big numbers quickly after launch," she says.

John Maloney, chief executive of New York -- based M&R Capital Management, says that streaming's complexity could result in cable inertia. "The low-hanging fruit of young streamers has been harvested," he says. "There's such a profusion of services that older viewers could freeze and say, 'I'll figure that out later.' "

Maloney likes Discovery (DISCA), which owns the Food Network and HGTV and whose stock trades below eight times earnings.

Michael Lippert, co-manager of the Baron Opportunity fund, says that with streaming, some customers will sign up for the savings, and others for the more flexible viewing experience.

He likes Netflix and Trade Desk (TTD), which allows ad buyers to shop across a mosaic of digital TV s ervices. The company is fast-growing and trades at more than 50 times next year's estimated earnings. The stock price has multiplied more than seven times in three years.

Here are the main TV players, their strengths and vulnerabilities -- and what to do with their shares:

Comcast

Buy the stock. It is up 34% this year, because investors have come around to the view that broadband gains in coming years will more than offset video losses, making cable companies low-risk tech utilities. But Comcast has lagged behind its cable peers because its television production assets at NBC and Sky add uncertainty. Its shares trade for a reasonable 14 times forward earnings estimates.

In streaming, the company's Peacock service, which will begin next April with shows such as Parks and Recreation, Battlestar Galactica, and a rebooted Punky Brewster, isn't an obvious threat to Netflix or Disney. But Comcast has wisely chosen a "freemium" model for it. That will help with churn, a big risk to streamers, if customers hop from service to service and binge on their favorite shows.

Sky offers English Premier League soccer, news, and scripted content. More important is its position in over-the-top TV distribution in Europe with Now TV.

Comcast's cable business, however, brings in two-thirds of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or Ebitda. Its position there is unmatched, as the largest player with the most sophisticated hardware and software interface, Xfinity X1, which some other cable carriers pay to license. Comcast's recently launched Flex service gives a free streaming device to broadband-only customers, keeping those who step down from cable TV in the software ecosystem.

Matt Strauss, the new head of Peacock, says his vision for the future of television is a screen that is always on. "The TV is the biggest display in the home," he says. "In the past, it's where you watched video, but in the future, it will be for monitoring cameras, controlling the thermostat, and more."

Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar views rebundling as the future of streaming, and broadband providers as best-positioned to do it, because broadband and streaming are highly correlated services, whereas broadband and cable TV had little to do with each other. But in his view, only Comcast has made the technological investment to allow it to add high value as a bundler.

Matthew Harrigan at Benchmark, the biggest Comcast bull on the Street with a $64 price target, says that even assigning zero value to TV would leave the stock worth a price in the low $50s. The shares recently traded at $45 and change.

Other Cable Companies

They have raced ahead: Charter Communications is up 55% this year, and Altice USA (ATUS), 80%. Those two are 15% and 9% more expensive than Comcast, respectively, based on enterprise value against forward estimates of Ebitda. Investors should prefer Comcast, for its greater ability to compete against Apple and Amazon to become a major streaming bundler.

Netflix

Hold off. This past week, the company missed third-quarter estimates for subscriber wins, but by only a little, which was a good-enough showing ahead of the introduction of well-funded rival services. The bull case on the stock is that Netflix's huge and growing global customer base will allow it to hold the line on content costs and gradually raise prices, resulting in significant free cash flow. Barclay's Venkateshwar, who sees rebundling as the future of TV, views Netflix as likely to become the equivalent of an anchor network.

Investors have lately turned skeptical on cash-burning companies, however, and Netflix, which has gone through more than $5 billion in the past three years, is expected to consume another $7 billion over this year and the following two, before generating positive free-cash flow in 2022. Estimates have been slipping. The stock peaked above $400 last year, but recently traded below $300.

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:49 ET (20:49 GMT)

DJ ConocoPhillips Stock Looks Cheap After a Selloff -- Barrons.com
By Andrew Bary

At a time when Wall Street has soured on the energy industry, ConocoPhillips has done as good a job as any major company in trying to win over investors.

It was early in coming around to the now-popular view in the exploration-and-production, or E&P, sector that companies can't just focus on boosting output; they also need to rein in capital spending, generate free cash flow, and return it to shareholders in dividends and stock buybacks.

Investors welcomed the company's approach when it was adopted in late 2016, sending the stock to a high of $80 a year ago from about $45. But the shares have since fallen back under $55. Blame weaker commodity prices, a rout in E&P stocks, the rise of socially responsible investing, and fears about the industry's future.

With the selloff, the shares look appealing. ConocoPhillips (ticker: COP) has an attractive global resource base, including a leading position in the Eagle Ford region of Texas, a strong balance sheet, and low production costs.

"It's the best house in a bad neighborhood. The company has a well-diversified and free-cash-flow-generative portfolio, execution is strong, and the strategy is on track," says Phil Gresh, an energy analyst with J.P. Morgan. He has an Overweight rating and a $68 price target.

Shares of ConocoPhillips, while down 25% in the past year, are well ahead of the sector, as measured by the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production exchange-traded fund (XOP), which is off 50%.

This month, ConocoPhillips increased its quarterly dividend 38%, to 42 cents a share, resulting in a 3% yield, among the highest of major E&P companies. It also has a share-repurchase program targeted at $3.5 billion this year and $3 billion in 2020. All of this provides a "total yield," or dividends plus buybacks, of about 8%--among the best in the energy sector--based on the corporation's $60 billion market value.

The dividend boostreflects what CEO Ryan Lance has called a "hyperfocus" on shareholder returns. "The industry has destroyed value over the past 15 to 20 years. That's why investors have fled the business," Lance told an industry conference in May. "You've got to have the shareholder up front, and you have to build the company with the cash flow that's left over."

ConocoPhillips plans to spend $6.3 billion this year on energy exploration and aims to hold average annual capital spending to $7 billion or less throughout the next decade. It expanded organic production by 5% so far this year, even with its capital restraint.

The company lists five priorities: sustain output and pay the current dividend; increase the dividend; maintain an A credit rating; pay out more than 30% of annual cash flow from operations; and be disciplined in investments to increase cash flow.

ConocoPhillips officials weren't available for comment in the quiet period before the company's earnings release on Oct. 29.

The stock trades for 14 times projected 2019 earnings of $3.75 a share, a discount to Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM), and in line with other leading E&P companies.

ConocoPhillips was once a "mini major" along the lines of the integrated Exxon and Chevron, but it separated its refining, chemical, and marketing operations into Phillips 66 (PSX) in 2012.

Today, ConocoPhillips is more diversified than many E&P companies that are focused on the hot Permian basin of West Texas and New Mexico. It gets about half of its production domestically, from sites including the Eagle Ford, Bakken, and Permian basins, as well as Alaska. It also operates in Canada and has stakes in lucrative liquefied-natural-gas facilities in Qatar and Australia.

Thanks to its low operating costs, the company believes that it can sustain production and pay its dividend, even if crude drops to $40 a barrel. ConocoPhillips offers significant earnings upside if energy prices rally, given that it doesn't use hedging.

ConocoPhillips has one of the industry's better balance sheets, with net debt under $10 billion and a debt-to-annual-pretax-cash-flow ratio below one; the sector average is two. And this calculation doesn't include a $1.7 billion stake in Canada's Cenovus Energy (CVE), which it received for selling some assets to Cenovus in 2017.

Among the major investor concerns is whether ConocoPhillips can sustain its model over the next decade and whether it will be tempted to do a major deal. Lance, however, has played down interest in a large acquisition.

Analysts are looking to the company's investor day on Nov. 19 for more details on the 10-year outlook. Indeed, the meeting could be a catalyst for the stock if management impresses Wall Street with its plan.

While the bar is high for energy investments these days, ConocoPhillips clears it with a shareholder-friendly approach to a challenging business. For oil and gas investors, the shares could eventually be a gusher.

Write to Andrew Bary at andrew.bary@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:47 ET (20:47 GMT)

DJ Facebook Reaches Deal With Wall Street Journal Publisher, Others for News Section
By Lukas I. Alpert

News Corp has reached a deal to let Facebook Inc. feature headlines from The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones media properties, as well as the New York Post, in the social-media giant's coming news section, the companies said.

Other publications that have agreed to participate include the Washington Post, BuzzFeed News and Business Insider, people familiar with the matter said. The New York Times has been in talks with Facebook, but a spokeswoman for the paper declined to comment on whether it had reached a deal.

The deal, for which News Corp will be paid a licensing fee, presented some obstacles due to the Journal's firm digital subscription business model, people familiar with the matter said. Now that the issue has been settled, the way is cleared for the product to launch by as early as the end of the month. The financial terms of the arrangement weren't disclosed.

The licensing fees Facebook had been offering ranged as high as $3 million a year for larger, national news outlets to several hundred thousand dollars for smaller, regional publications, the Journal previously reported. The deals are for three years, people familiar with the matter have said.

"People want to see high quality news on Facebook," said Mark Zuckerberg, the company's founder and chief executive. "I'm excited we'll have the opportunity to include award-winning journalism from The Wall Street Journal [and other U.S. News Corp properties] in our news tab."

Facebook has sought to include news from about 200 different publications, although it only is offering to pay about a quarter of the news organizations that will be involved, people familiar with the matter have said.

The News Corp arrangement would allow headlines from properties in its Dow Jones unit, including the Journal, Barron's, MarketWatch, Financial News and Mansion Global, as well as the New York Post, to appear in the Facebook news section, linking to the publications' sites. For nonsubscribers, links to Journal stories that are behind the site's paywall would trigger a prompt for the reader to sign up.

Certain headlines appearing in Facebook's news section will be curated by a team of editors, while others will be selected by the company's algorithm, people familiar with the matter said. The "Top News" section will feature about 10 headlines selected by human editors. Subsections such as sports or entertainment and a "suggested for you" section will be selected by algorithm. The feed won't include any advertising, the people said.

Earlier this year, the Journal reached a deal with Apple Inc. to take part in its subscription news bundle, Apple News +. In that arrangement, Apple is taking 50% of the subscription revenue, with the Journal and other media companies that have participated -- primarily magazine publishers -- receiving a portion of the rest based on the amount of stories read, the Journal reported.

Other large publications, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, opted not to participate in the Apple deal.

The move to pay for news comes as the big tech platforms have come under growing legal and regulatory scrutiny. Alphabet Inc.'s Google has resisted paying publishers but recently announced changes to how it ranks stories on its news page to better promote original content, another long-running complaint from publishers.

News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch and BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti have both called on Facebook and Google to pay organizations that provide quality news.

"Facebook deserves credit for recognizing the principle of journalistic provenance," he said. "Mark Zuckerberg seems personally and professionally committed to ensuring that high quality journalism has a viable, valued future. It is absolutely appropriate that premium journalism is recognized and rewarded."

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:43 ET (20:43 GMT)

DJ McKesson Corp: With Martinez, Board Membership Increases to 11 >MCK

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires (212-416-2800)

October 18, 2019 16:43 ET (20:43 GMT)

DJ Global Equities Roundup: Market Talk

The latest Market Talks covering Equities. Published exclusively on Dow Jones Newswires throughout the day.

1639 ET - The IPC stock index closed down 0.7% at 43179 points, in line with declines in US equities. Conglomerate Alfa shares fell 1.9% following the company's 3Q earnings, which were down on the year, and cement maker Cemex shares closed off 1.2%. The peso resumed its recent rally and traded at 19.12 to the US dollar compared with 19.21 Thursday. Next week's local data focus will be on inflation for the first half of October and August's economic activity index -- both due for release Thursday. (anthony.harrup@wsj.com)

1606 ET - Losses by Boeing and Johnson & Johnson pull the DJIA sharply lower on the day and erase all of the blue chip average's weekly gains. The plane maker's 6.8% decline follows reports that instant messages show a senior pilot told a colleague he unintentionally misled federal regulators about a key system on the troubled 737 MAX. J&J falls 6.2% as it launches a voluntary recall of about 33,000 bottles of its baby powder after a test showed sub-trace-level asbestos contamination. Coke meanwhile gains 1.8% helped by a rebound in soda sales. DJIA falls 255 points to 26770, the S&P 500 loses 11 to 2986 and the Nasdaq falls 67 to 8089. (patrick.sullivan@wsj.com)

1518 ET - Boeing drops more than 6% in twice the usual trading volume after disclosure of messages in late 2016 between employees regarding certification of the 737 MAX. The sell-off comes even as some sell-side analysts such as Bernstein say they'll wait for more disclosure before any pricing action. The selling pressure arrives ahead of 3Q earnings on Oct. 23, with Cowen flagging "a material chance" of another MAX-related charge in Wednesday's report. (doug.cameron@wsj.com)

1438 ET - Analysts at Oxford Economics say the re-election of Canada's Liberal government could have a small boost on economic growth next year and in 2021. Forecasting firm said the Liberal policy platform -- which envisages budget deficits through mid-decade -- would raise Canadian GDP 0.1 percentage point in 2020, and about 0.3 percentage point on average from 2021 to 2024. The policy platform from the Conservative Party, which is in dead heat with Liberals, "would have a small impact" on the overall economy, Oxford said, with a GDP boost limited to less than 0.1 percentage points starting in 2022. Tories propose a return to balanced budget in 5 years. The Tory plan to postpone federal infrastructure spending "would be regrettable," firm added, given low interest rates and long-term economic benefits. (paul.vieira@wsj.com; @paulvieira)

1413 ET - Boeing shares hit their lowest level in almost eight weeks after disclosure of messages in late 2016 between employees regarding progress in certifying the 737 MAX. FAA demands explanation of the content and apparent delay in disclosure, and Boeing shares fall more than 5% at one point in heavy trade, just days before the company reports 3Q results on Oct 23. Continuing uncertainty over MAX certification could force suppliers still producing MAX components at a monthly rate of 52 -- notably Spirit AeroSystems and Allegheny Technologies -- to cut output, note analysts at Cowen. Spirit recently down 4%. (doug.cameron@wsj.com)

1316 ET - Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, or Bladex, cut 2019 and 2020 economic and trade growth expectations for Latin America. Bladex, originally established by Latin-American and Caribbean central banks, cites weak global economic growth and slower international trade. The bank says it now sees 0.2% economic growth for the region--down from 0.6% at the end of 2Q. Bladex sees trade growing 1%--down from 2.6% growth it saw at 2Q-end. Large countries like Mexico and Argentina are experiencing uncertainty that have some of its roots in lower foreign investment flows. Colombia and Brazil are experiencing a pick-up in consumer demand that is supporting their economies despite low commodity prices, Bladex says. (michael.dabaie@wsj.com)

1302 ET - A string of negative analyst notes is putting selling pressure on stocks. Retailers slumped after Credit Suisse lowered its ratings for Macy's, Gap and L Brands to underperform from neutral, warning of potentially weak performance during the upcoming holiday season. L Brands off 7.7%, while Gap drops 4% and Macy's sheds 3.5%. Tech stocks are also broadly lower, with Netflix down 6% after Bank of America, Bernstein and Piper Jaffray cut their price targets for the stock Thursday. The streaming-video giant earlier this week missed its subscriber-growth target for the second straight quarter. (akane.otani@wsj.com)

1241 ET - Paul Hilal's Mantle Ridge, one of CSX's largest investors that pushed CSX to hire railroad turnaround specialist Hunter Harrison as part of a bid to revamp the company, is cutting its stake in more than half, according to a securities filing. CSX agreed to buy about 4.7M shares from Mantle Ridge under its $5B share repurchase authorization. In addition, Mantle Ridge has sold about 18.8M shares into the market, according to the filing. As of June 30, Mantle Ridge held about 38M CSX shares. Hilal serves as CSX board vice chairman. (maria.armental@wsj.com; @mjarmental)

1234 ET - Regulators across the US are signing off on fewer drilling permits as shale companies scale back production plans in response to investor demands that they improve returns. Third-quarter permit approvals were down 26% from the same period a year earlier, according to analytics firm Enverus. The decline was particularly pronounced in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, where financial pressures have coincided with tighter oil and gas regulations in Colorado. But regulators also are signing off on fewer permits in top oil basins in North Dakota, Texas and New Mexico. Approvals as of the third quarter were down 13% year-over-year in the Williston Basin, 12% in the Midland Basin and 6% in the Delaware Basin, Enverus data show. (rebecca.elliott@wsj.com; @rfelliott)

1121 ET - Air Lease CEO John Plueger says US carriers facing tariffs starting today on Airbus deliveries may seek workarounds by having foreign alliance partners operate more flights. Leasing customers--rather than lessors--are on the hook for levies on rented jets. Such workarounds could stoke labor tensions. Pilots at Delta, a big Airbus buyer, is already unhappy with the level of 'outsourced' flying at the airline. (doug.caneron@wsj.com)

1108 ET - Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch says the company's strategic review of its US onshore business continues and that all options are on the table for its fracking unit. The oil field service giant took a $12.7B pretax charge including a $1.58B impairment for its North American pressure pumping segment, which works with shale companies. "[T]his quarter's results reflected a macro environment of slowing production growth rate in North America land as operators maintained capital discipline, reducing drilling and frack activity," he says. Schlumberger up 2.5%. (christopher.matthews@wsj.com; @cmatthews9)

1100 ET - Covenant Transportation Group now expects a loss in 3Q, as the trucker downshifts from an earlier profit projection ahead of its earnings next week as transport companies wrestle with a tough freight market. Covenant cites higher wage expenses and insurance costs, and says it expects to report adjusted EPS in the range of a loss of $0.08 to $0.09, versus its earlier statement that adjusted EPS for the quarter should be "fairly consistent" with 2Q's $0.35. The company says truckload operating expenses increased 14.8 cents per total mile in 3Q from 2Q and says the freight market reflects "a negative environment in which available trucking capacity continues to exceed freight demand." Covenant up 0.5% to $16.31. (jennifer.smith@wsj.com; @JenSmithWSJ)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:39 ET (20:39 GMT)

DJ Mexican Stocks Close Lower; Peso Gains Versus Dollar -- Market Talk

1639 ET - The IPC stock index closed down 0.7% at 43179 points, in line with declines in US equities. Conglomerate Alfa shares fell 1.9% following the company's 3Q earnings, which were down on the year, and cement maker Cemex shares closed off 1.2%. The peso resumed its recent rally and traded at 19.12 to the US dollar compared with 19.21 Thursday. Next week's local data focus will be on inflation for the first half of October and August's economic activity index -- both due for release Thursday. (anthony.harrup@wsj.com)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:39 ET (20:39 GMT)

DJ TSMC Topples Intel for the Chip Crown -- Barrons.com
By Tae Kim

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing is firing on all cylinders and that is bad news for the former chip leader Intel (INTC).

On Thursday, TSMC (ticker: TSM) reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and significantly raised its capital-expenditure plans for this year.

"Our third-quarter business benefited from new product launches both in premium smartphones and high-performance computing [HPC] applications using TSMC's industry-leading 7-nanometer technology," said Wendell Huang, chief financial officer of TSMC, in the news release. "We expect the strength of demand for our 7-nanometer technology will continue, driven by high-end smartphones, initial 5G deployment and HPC-related applications."

TSMC has consolidated its market share in recent years because its foundries were the first to offer 7-nanometer (nm) chip production at significant volume. Smaller nm chips offer greater performance and improved power efficiency. The entire chip industry is rapidly trying to get to smaller manufacturing processes, but most manufacturers have yet to make the transition to 7nm in volume.

The company raised its capital-spending plans for 2019 to a range of $14 billion-$15 billion. In July, TSMC said its capex spending would likely exceed the high end of its $10 billion-$11 billion guidance range.

On its conference call with investors, TSMC noted "very strong" demand for its 7nm process. Of the roughly $4 billion increase in capital-spending plans this year, $1.5 billion was for 7nm capacity and $2.5 billion was for 5nm capacity.

TSMC's results and capex increase bodes well for its technology leadership position for the next few years, according to Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon. He rates TSMC at Market Perform and Intel at Underperform.

"The move suggests that Intel's process disadvantage is getting worse," Rasgon wrote in a report published Friday. "While Intel will theoretically have 7nm parts out sometime in 2021...we believe it likely that CPU and other mainstream 7nm parts will not be on the road map until late that year, if not sometime in 2022."

Intel declined to comment on the report.

Rasgon wrote that by the time Intel gets 7nm production going, TSMC will likely be making 3nm chips for much of Intel's 7nm lifespan.

"Hence any hopes of Intel's ability to 'close the process gap' seem forlorn, unless TSMC drops the ball (which, as of this moment, they are showing no signs of)," he said.

It looks like investors are getting on the same page and crowning a new chip king. TSMC American depositary receipts are up 34% this year, reaching a market value of about $250 billion, while Intel stock is up roughly 10% year to date, leading to an approximate $230 billion value.

Write to Tae Kim at tae.kim@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:30 ET (20:30 GMT)

DJ ICE Futures U.S. Crossrate Currencies Close - Oct 18
Source: ICE 
 
Contract      Open       High        Low       Prev     Settle        Chg 
Australian Dollar/New Zealand Dollar 
Dec  '19    1.0749     1.0749     1.0749     1.0752     1.0749    -0.0003 
Mar  '20    1.0753     1.0753     1.0753     1.0757     1.0753    -0.0004 
Jun  '20    1.0757     1.0757     1.0757     1.0760     1.0757    -0.0003 
Sep  '20    1.0761     1.0761     1.0761     1.0764     1.0761    -0.0003 
 
Australian Dollar/Japanese Yen 
Dec  '19   74.0000    74.0000    74.0000    74.0300    74.1900     0.1600 
Mar  '20   73.9000    73.9000    73.9000    73.7300    73.9000     0.1700 
Jun  '20   73.6400    73.6400    73.6400    73.4900    73.6400     0.1500 
Sep  '20   73.3900    73.3900    73.3900    73.2300    73.3900     0.1600 
 
Australian Dollar/Canadian Dollar 
Dec  '19    0.9003     0.9003     0.9003     0.8976     0.9003     0.0027 
Mar  '20    0.9020     0.9020     0.9020     0.8993     0.9020     0.0027 
Jun  '20    0.9039     0.9039     0.9039     0.9013     0.9039     0.0026 
Sep  '20    0.9059     0.9059     0.9059     0.9033     0.9059     0.0026 
 
Canadian Dollar/Japanese Yen 
Dec  '19   82.4000    82.4000    82.4000    82.4700    82.4000    -0.0700 
Mar  '20   81.9300    81.9300    81.9300    81.9900    81.9300    -0.0600 
Jun  '20   81.4700    81.4700    81.4700    81.5300    81.4700    -0.0600 
Sep  '20   81.0100    81.0100    81.0100    81.0800    81.0100    -0.0700 
 
British Pound/Japanese Yen 
Dec  '19   139.720    139.760    139.720    139.710    140.180      0.470 
Mar  '20   139.710    139.710    139.710    139.230    139.710      0.480 
Jun  '20   139.270    139.270    139.270    138.800    139.270      0.470 
Sep  '20   138.830    138.830    138.830    138.350    138.830      0.480 
 
British Pound/Swiss Franc 
Dec  '19    1.2719     1.2719     1.2670     1.2690     1.2723     0.0033 
Mar  '20    1.2666     1.2666     1.2666     1.2633     1.2666     0.0033 
Jun  '20    1.2613     1.2613     1.2613     1.2580     1.2613     0.0033 
Sep  '20    1.2560     1.2560     1.2560     1.2527     1.2560     0.0033 
 
NOTE: It is possible for a settlement price to fall outside the daily high 
and low due to an exchange's specific rules on how a settlement price 
is determined. 
 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:30 ET (20:30 GMT)

DJ L Brands Ends Down 9.9%, Sees Largest Percent Decrease in Nearly a Year -- Data Talk

L Brands, Inc. (LB) closed at $16.31, down $1.79 or 9.89%

-- Lowest close since Sept. 4, 2019, when it closed at $16.12

-- Largest percent decrease since Nov. 20, 2018, when it fell 17.71%

-- Retailers slumped after Credit Suisse lowered its ratings for Macy's, Gap and L Brands to underperform from neutral, warning of potentially weak performance during the upcoming holiday season

-- Down three of the past five days

-- Down 16.74% month-to-date

-- Down 36.46% year-to-date

-- Down 83.73% from its all-time closing high of $100.22 on Nov. 4, 2015

-- Down 44.97% from 52 weeks ago (Oct. 19, 2018), when it closed at $29.64

-- Down 55.94% from its 52 week closing high of $37.02 on Nov. 12, 2018

-- Up 2.84% from its 52 week closing low of $15.86 on Sept. 3, 2019

-- Traded as low as $16.31; lowest intraday level since Sept. 5, 2019, when it hit $16.30

-- Down 9.89% at today's intraday low; largest intraday percent decrease since Aug. 22, 2019, when it fell as much as 13.38%

-- Today's preliminary volume is 15.9 million shares; highest since Aug. 22, 2019 when 21.3 million shares were traded

-- Worst performer in the S&P 500 today

Source: Dow Jones Market Data, FactSet

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:29 ET (20:29 GMT)

DJ Organizations Identify a Value Framework for Blockchain

-- auditability - organizations can cut their auditing costs and raise confidence levels based on blockchain's ability to provide a traceable shared ledger of transactions -- compliance - given that blockchain can't be tampered with, it provides increased confidence while streamlining processes and reducing costs -- data security - blockchain's use of cryptographic technologies reduces the risk of a data breach while limiting the damage should a breach occur -- process automation - business processes can be executed automatically via algorithmic-based smart contracts, improving efficiencies and worker productivity -- standards - organizations working together in a blockchain ecosystem must agree on a common set of protocols and rules by which they will work together

-- data sharing - blockchain enables trading partners to share real-time data, as well as the history of that data, including any modifications; this facilitates the resolution of disputes among partners -- resilience - blockchain's distributed ledger mitigates the risk of data loss or corruption due to natural or manmade disasters, hacking attacks, malicious or incompetent employees, or other such events -- trust - blockchain increases trust by cryptographically securing its information, thus mitigating business risks.

-- new and enhanced products and services - digital assets, such as digital rights management and land titles, "can exist beyond the umbrella of one organization," creating new potential business opportunities -- new and expanded partnerships - new partnerships can be formed more easily, given the increased confidence afforded by blockchain technologies, as well as more efficiently, given the ability to automate partnership interactions via technologies like smart contracts -- authentication - blockchain's cryptographic technologies can help authenticated individual users across multiple networks, resulting in increased overall confidence -- identity management - blockchain improves the management and use of digital identities by relying on the cooperation of multiple institutions, instead of relying on just one institution

By Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The World Economic Forum and Accenture this year released " Building Value With Blockchain Technology," a white paper aimed at helping organizations evaluate blockchain's benefits and build an effective business case.

The report -- based on a global survey of 550 participants in 13 sectors, interviews with CEOs and public-sector leaders, and a detailed analysis of 79 blockchain projects -- detected interest across industries for a more measured approach to the new technology.

Survey participants were asked for the top reasons that led their organizations to invest in blockchain solutions. Across industries, the top three priorities were traceability of information, the ability to ensure data hasn't been tampered with, and increased security. New products or services ranked last among the options for investing in blockchain, suggesting that at this early stage, improving existing products and services is a higher priority than considering new business opportunities.

As is often the case, fear that the train is leaving the station is another powerful motivator for investing in a new, fast-growing technology. World-wide spending on blockchain solutions is expected to reach almost $3 billion in 2019 and close to $12.5 billion in 2022. Fifty-one percent of respondents mentioned "missing out on developing new products/services" as their top concern if they don't invest in blockchain in the near future; 23% mentioned "missing out on efficiency gains"; and 15% were concerned with "missing out on cost savings."

By analyzing blockchain projects and conducting dozens of interviews with private- and public-sector leaders, the study's authors developed a "blockchain value framework." The framework is aimed at helping organizations identify the concrete value of blockchain technology in their use-case proposals and build a corresponding business case.

The framework has three distinct dimensions: improved productivity and quality; increased transparency among parties; and reinventing products and processes. Let me summarize the key capabilities in each of the three dimensions.

Improved productivity and quality

Increased transparency among parties

Reinventing products and processes

Finally, the white paper offers several recommendations:

Take time to understand the technology. It's important to understand the characteristics and value drivers of blockchain, the potential business opportunities as well as competitive threats, and the overall impact on a given industry.

Set realistic expectations. "Ensuring everyone is on the same page from the beginning, both within one's organization but also with external partners, will provide the greatest chance of overcoming impatience and unrealistic assumptions," the authors write.

Align to strategic priorities. The decision to implement a blockchain solution should be based on having identified a specific use-case, as well as a concrete problem or opportunity for the business.

Evaluate blockchain's value relative to other technologies. "For many use-cases, other technologies will be lower cost, lower risk, and implemented more quickly," according to the report.

Remain agile in your approach. Even if there is no clear use-case or value proposition now, continue to monitor potential opportunities as blockchain technologies evolve and improve.

Think beyond your organization. "The decentralized nature of blockchain makes a transformation from an isolated approach to end-to-end value-chain integration within fragmented and complex environments more attainable," the authors say.

Irving Wladawsky-Berger worked at IBM from 1970 to 2007, and has been a strategic adviser to Citigroup, HBO and Mastercard and a visiting professor at Imperial College. He's been affiliated with MIT since 2005, and is a regular contributor to CIO Journal.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:29 ET (20:29 GMT)

DJ ICE Futures U.S. Dollar Index Close - Oct 18
Source: ICE 
 
Contract   Open    High     Low    Prev  Settle      Chg 
Dec '19  97.355  97.395  96.970  97.335  97.008   -0.327 
Mar '20  96.940  96.945  96.565  96.915  96.603   -0.312 
Jun '20  96.525  96.525  96.525  96.555  96.243   -0.312 
Sep '20  95.918  95.918  95.918  96.230  95.918   -0.312 
 
NOTE: It is possible for a settlement price to fall outside the daily high 
and low due to an exchange's specific rules on how a settlement price 
is determined. 
 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:26 ET (20:26 GMT)

DJ Update: White House Picks Perry's Deputy To Replace Him As Energy Chief -- MarketWatch

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1185277957436248065?s=20) that he is nominating Energy Department Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to become the department's new secretary, replacing Ricky Perry. Perry "will be leaving at the end of the year to pursue other interests," Trump said (https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1185277956551254018?s=20). Brouillette was previously a lobbyist for Ford Motor Co. (F) and insurer USAA.

-Victor Reklaitis

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:24 ET (20:24 GMT)

 For more from MarketWatch: http://www.marketwatch.com/newsviewer 
DJ Statoil: Equinor ASA: Share buy-back

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:23 ET (20:23 GMT)

DJ Crescent Point Closes on Sale of Uinta Basin and Non-Core Saskatchewan Assets

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires (212-416-2800)

October 18, 2019 16:16 ET (20:16 GMT)

DJ IMF Listing Of SDR Values-Oct 18
    Values of national currencies in terms of Special Drawing Rights. 
Source: International Monetary Fund. 
 
One SDR Equals: 
                       Oct 18      Oct 17      Oct 16      Oct 15      Oct 11 
Chinese yuan          9.74678      9.7541     9.73435     9.70271     9.73075 
Euro                  1.23563       1.238     1.24374     1.24533     1.24111 
Japanese yen          149.638     149.653     149.025     148.492      148.02 
U.K. pound            1.06785     1.06858     1.07484     1.08384     1.09099 
U.S. dollar           1.37699     1.37612     1.37122     1.37073     1.37055 
Algerian dinar        164.662      164.87     164.537     164.492     164.644 
Australian dollar      2.0158     2.02818     2.03657     2.02382     2.02236 
Botswana pula         14.9836     15.0725     15.0519      14.948      15.061 
Brazilian real        5.69661     5.70428     5.71909     5.68608     5.62667 
Brunei dollar         1.87973     1.88349     1.88132     1.87667     1.88301 
Canadian dollar            NA     1.80864     1.81015     1.81088     1.80886 
Chilean peso          982.116     989.002     981.085     976.019          NA 
Colombian peso        4771.77     4760.75     4732.54     4703.62     4739.94 
Czech koruna          31.7066      31.798     32.0387     32.1547     32.0326 
Danish krone          9.23037     9.25095     9.29221      9.3025     9.26964 
Indian rupee          98.0402     98.2666     98.0498     97.7584     97.3463 
Israeli New Sheke      4.8649     4.87833     4.84865     4.81538     4.81065 
Korean won            1633.94     1633.45     1623.67     1622.54     1639.32 
Kuwaiti dinar        0.417985    0.417721    0.416441    0.416292     0.41651 
Malaysian ringgit         5.8         5.8         5.8         5.7     5.73644 
Mauritian rupee          50.1        50.2     50.0058      49.956     50.0483 
Mexican peso          26.3682     26.3667      26.346     26.3894     26.4814 
New Zealand dolla      2.1627     2.18605     2.18209     2.17473     2.16894 
Norwegian krone        12.628     12.6214     12.6197     12.5347     12.4576 
Omani rial           0.529453    0.529117    0.527237    0.527048    0.526979 
Peruvian sol               NA     4.61551     4.61416     4.61527     4.59958 
Philippine peso       70.8958     71.1152     70.7389      70.601     70.8426 
Polish zloty          5.30183     5.31706     5.33871     5.33928     5.36504 
Qatari riyal          5.01225     5.00907     4.99127     4.98947     4.98883 
Russian ruble         88.0646     88.0918     88.2324     88.0762      88.022 
Saudi Arabian riy     5.16372     5.16044      5.1421     5.14025     5.13956 
Singapore dollar      1.87973     1.88349     1.88132     1.87667     1.88301 
South African ran          NA      20.431     20.4901     20.3707     20.3553 
Swedish krona         13.3424     13.4958     13.4401     13.4588     13.4602 
Swiss franc           1.36067     1.36435     1.36855     1.36703     1.36706 
Thai baht             41.6926     41.7707     41.7099     41.6978     41.7005 
Trinidadian dolla       9.298     9.33611     9.30172     9.28428      9.2608 
U.A.E. dirham         5.05699      5.0538     5.03583     5.03403     5.03337 
Uruguayan peso             NA     51.3787     51.2014     51.1614     50.8888 
 
Write to Taryn Boss at csstat@dowjones.com 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:15 ET (20:15 GMT)

DJ Update: White House Picks Perry's Deputy To Replace Him As Energy Chief -- MarketWatch

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that he is nominating Energy Department Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to become the department's new secretary, replacing Ricky Perry. Perry "will be leaving at the end of the year to pursue other interests," Trump said. Brouillette was previously a lobbyist for Ford Motor Co. (F) and insurer USAA.

-Victor Reklaitis

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:14 ET (20:14 GMT)

 For more from MarketWatch: http://www.marketwatch.com/newsviewer 
DJ GM's New EV Trucks, SUV Could Include Electric Hummer -Reuters

--General Motors Co. plans a new line of premium electric pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles that could revive the Hummer brand, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the plans.

--The new EV vehicles would be built at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant, starting in late 2021, according to the report.

Full story: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-autos-labor-evs-exclusive/exclusive-electric-hummer-could-be-part-of-gms-move-into-ev-trucks-suv-sources-idUSKBN1WX2HZ

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:12 ET (20:12 GMT)

DJ Stocks Drop on China Data
By Alexander Osipovich and Max Bernhard

U.S. stocks fell Friday on global growth worries, but major indexes were still poised to close the week with gains after a strong kickoff to corporate earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 256 points, or 1%, as of 4 p.m. Eastern time, dragged down by Boeing and Johnson & Johnson. The S&P slipped 0.4%, while the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.8%.

Still, all three indexes were recently within 3% July's all-time highs, showing the resilience of the U.S. stock market despite concerns about slowing growth at home and abroad.

Friday's declines came after fresh Chinese growth data sparked concerns about the world's No. 2 economy and a slew of negative headlines pummeled some of the biggest U.S. companies.

Among Friday's movers, Johnson & Johnson had slumped 5.8% after the company said it was recalling one lot of baby powder--about 33,000 bottles--after tests found small amounts of chrysotile asbestos.

Boeing tumbled 5.9% after the disclosure of instant messages from 2016 suggesting that the aircraft maker misled regulators over the safety of a key system on its 737 Max.

Technology stocks were broadly lower, with Netflix down 5.4% after several analysts cut their price targets for the streaming-video company. Chipmaker Micron Technology tumbled 3.7%, while PayPal Holdings fell 1.9%.

But the S&P was still poised for a 0.8% increase for the week--its second consecutive week of gains--largely due to upbeat quarterly earnings reports, including from banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

Of the 73 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Friday morning, more than four-fifths have topped analysts' expectations, according to Refinitiv. That's largely because expectations came down so much in recent months.

Coca-Cola, United Airlines Holdings and health-insurance giant UnitedHealth Group are among the stocks that rallied this week on better-than-expected results.

The parade of positive corporate news helped ease some of investors' jitters over the trade dispute with China. Following an initial deal last week, President Trump has said he could sign a "phase one" deal with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in November.

"Some of the headwinds around concerns of a slowing U.S. economy and trade tensions have slowed a bit this week," said Philip Blancato, CEO and president of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management.

Overseas, Chinese stocks dropped sharply after data showed the Chinese the economy slowed further in the third quarter. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.3%, its biggest decline in a month.

Fresh data showed that China's economy grew 6% in the quarter as business activity continued to deteriorate. Each quarterly slowdown in Chinese growth has pulled the country's economic performance to new lows not seen since the current measure of output was adopted in 1992.

"The figures are painting markets in red today," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at London Capital Group. "Pulling below 6% would be really bad for investor sentiment, not only in China, but globally."

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3%. In the U.K., the FTSE 100 dropped 0.4% and the pound climbed 0.4% against the dollar.

Investors are watching developments closely before U.K. lawmakers vote Saturday on a draft Brexit agreement struck with the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trying to muster enough support for the deal in the U.K. Parliament.

The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasurys slipped to 1.747% from 1.757% on Thursday. Bond yields move in the opposite direction from prices.

In commodities, U.S. crude futures fell 0.3% to $53.78 a barrel. Gold futures slipped 0.3% to $1488.20 a troy ounce.

Write to Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com and Max Bernhard at Max.Bernhard@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:10 ET (20:10 GMT)

DJ Harley-Davidson Resumes Production, Deliveries of Its Electric Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson Inc. is resuming production and deliveries of its first electric motorcycle about a week after it told dealers it was halting production due to a problem related to charging.

The motorcycle maker said Friday that it determined that the unidentified problem it found on one motorcycle was a one-off situation.

Riders are now allowed to charge their LiveWire bikes using both home outlets and professional fast chargers. Earlier this week, the company said riders should only charge using the faster type of stations found at dealerships and charging stations.

The company said its bikes, with a suggested retail price of $30,000, have been safe to ride the entire time.

The electric motorcycle is at the center of Harley’s plans to attract a younger and more diverse set of riders as its traditional group of domestic customers ages. But the LiveWire is largely viewed as just a starting point for the company’s development of electric bikes and will account for a tiny fraction of the company’s total motorcycles shipped this year, according to analysts.

Shares were little changed Friday and are up 7.7% this year. The S&P 500 is up 19% this year.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:10 ET (20:10 GMT)

DJ CME Currencies Close -3-
 
 
Jun '23  0.013535  0.013535  0.013535  0.013535  0.013470  0.013535  0.000065 
Sep '23  0.013410  0.013410  0.013410  0.013410  0.013345  0.013410  0.000065 
Dec '23  0.013290  0.013290  0.013290  0.013290  0.013225  0.013290  0.000065 
Mar '24  0.013175  0.013175  0.013175  0.013175  0.013105  0.013175  0.000070 
Jun '24  0.013055  0.013055  0.013055  0.013055  0.012985  0.013055  0.000070 
Sep '24  0.012940  0.012940  0.012940  0.012940  0.012865  0.012940  0.000075 
 
Euro FX 
Nov '19  1.114550  1.118650  1.114550  1.118650  1.114650  1.118400  0.003750 
Dec '19  1.117100  1.120900  1.115700  1.120450  1.116700  1.120400  0.003700 
Jan '20  1.121000  1.123000  1.120900  1.123000  1.119250  1.123000  0.003750 
Feb '20  1.124400  1.125250  1.124400  1.125250  1.121500  1.125250  0.003750 
Mar '20  1.123650  1.127500  1.122750  1.127500  1.123600  1.127350  0.003750 
Jun '20  1.129700  1.133650  1.129700  1.133650  1.129950  1.133650  0.003700 
Sep '20  1.137750  1.139700  1.137750  1.139700  1.136150  1.139700  0.003550 
Dec '20  1.144000  1.145800  1.142600  1.145800  1.142200  1.145800  0.003600 
Mar '21  1.151700  1.151700  1.151700  1.151700  1.148150  1.151700  0.003550 
Jun '21  1.157650  1.157650  1.157650  1.157650  1.154100  1.157650  0.003550 
Sep '21  1.163600  1.163600  1.163600  1.163600  1.160100  1.163600  0.003500 
Dec '21  1.169350  1.169350  1.169350  1.169350  1.165950  1.169350  0.003400 
Mar '22  1.175050  1.175050  1.175050  1.175050  1.171750  1.175050  0.003300 
Jun '22  1.180750  1.180750  1.180750  1.180750  1.177550  1.180750  0.003200 
Sep '22  1.186850  1.186850  1.186850  1.186850  1.183850  1.186850  0.003000 
Dec '22  1.192500  1.192500  1.192500  1.192500  1.189650  1.192500  0.002850 
Mar '23  1.197750  1.197750  1.197750  1.197750  1.195000  1.197750  0.002750 
Jun '23  1.203850  1.203850  1.203850  1.203850  1.201250  1.203850  0.002600 
Sep '23  1.209550  1.209550  1.209550  1.209550  1.207050  1.209550  0.002500 
Dec '23  1.215200  1.215200  1.215200  1.215200  1.212850  1.215200  0.002350 
Mar '24  1.220900  1.220900  1.220900  1.220900  1.218650  1.220900  0.002250 
Jun '24  1.226600  1.226600  1.226600  1.226600  1.224450  1.226600  0.002150 
Sep '24  1.232250  1.232250  1.232250  1.232250  1.230250  1.232250  0.002000 
 
South African Rand 
Nov '19  0.067525  0.067525  0.067525  0.067525  0.067225  0.067525  0.000300 
Dec '19  0.066950  0.067325  0.066875  0.067250  0.066975  0.067275  0.000300 
Jan '20  0.067025  0.067025  0.067025  0.067025  0.066725  0.067025  0.000300 
Feb '20  0.066750  0.066750  0.066750  0.066750  0.066450  0.066750  0.000300 
Mar '20  0.066475  0.066475  0.066475  0.066475  0.066200  0.066475  0.000275 
Apr '20  0.066250  0.066250  0.066250  0.066250  0.065950  0.066250  0.000300 
May '20  0.065950  0.065950  0.065950  0.065950  0.065650  0.065950  0.000300 
Jun '20  0.065700  0.065700  0.065700  0.065700  0.065400  0.065700  0.000300 
Jul '20  0.065450  0.065450  0.065450  0.065450  0.065175  0.065450  0.000275 
Aug '20  0.065150  0.065150  0.065150  0.065150  0.064875  0.065150  0.000275 
Sep '20  0.064900  0.064900  0.064900  0.064900  0.064625  0.064900  0.000275 
Oct '20  0.064600  0.064600  0.064600  0.064600  0.064325  0.064600  0.000275 
Nov '20  0.064350  0.064350  0.064350  0.064350  0.064075  0.064350  0.000275 
Dec '20  0.064100  0.064100  0.064100  0.064100  0.063825  0.064100  0.000275 
Mar '21  0.063300  0.063300  0.063300  0.063300  0.063050  0.063300  0.000250 
Jun '21  0.062525  0.062525  0.062525  0.062525  0.062275  0.062525  0.000250 
Sep '21  0.061775  0.061775  0.061775  0.061775  0.061500  0.061775  0.000275 
 
NOTE: It is possible for a settlement price to fall outside the daily high 
and low due to an exchange's specific rules on how a settlement price 
is determined. 
 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:10 ET (20:10 GMT)

DJ CME Currencies Close -2-
 
 
Dec  '21   0.0097    0.0097    0.0097    0.0097    0.0096    0.0097    0.0000 
Mar  '22   0.0097    0.0097    0.0097    0.0097    0.0097    0.0097    0.0000 
Jun  '22   0.0098    0.0098    0.0098    0.0098    0.0097    0.0098    0.0000 
Sep  '22   0.0098    0.0098    0.0098    0.0098    0.0098    0.0098    0.0000 
Dec  '22   0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0000 
Mar  '23   0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0099    0.0000 
Jun  '23   0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0000 
Sep  '23   0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0100    0.0000 
Dec  '23   0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0000 
Mar  '24   0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0101    0.0000 
Jun  '24   0.0102    0.0102    0.0102    0.0102    0.0102    0.0102    0.0000 
Sep  '24   0.0103    0.0103    0.0103    0.0103    0.0102    0.0103    0.0000 
 
Australian Dollar 
Nov  '19   0.6835    0.6860    0.6835    0.6860    0.6831    0.6859    0.0028 
Dec  '19   0.6840    0.6867    0.6832    0.6864    0.6836    0.6864    0.0028 
Jan  '20   0.6873    0.6873    0.6869    0.6869    0.6841    0.6869    0.0028 
Feb  '20   0.6874    0.6874    0.6874    0.6874    0.6847    0.6874    0.0027 
Mar  '20   0.6860    0.6879    0.6860    0.6879    0.6851    0.6879    0.0028 
Jun  '20   0.6892    0.6892    0.6892    0.6892    0.6865    0.6892    0.0027 
Sep  '20   0.6885    0.6904    0.6847    0.6904    0.6877    0.6904    0.0027 
Dec  '20   0.6913    0.6913    0.6913    0.6913    0.6886    0.6913    0.0027 
Mar  '21   0.6921    0.6921    0.6921    0.6921    0.6894    0.6921    0.0027 
Jun  '21   0.6929    0.6929    0.6929    0.6929    0.6902    0.6929    0.0027 
Sep  '21   0.6938    0.6938    0.6938    0.6938    0.6910    0.6938    0.0028 
Dec  '21   0.6944    0.6944    0.6944    0.6944    0.6916    0.6944    0.0028 
Mar  '22   0.6948    0.6948    0.6948    0.6948    0.6921    0.6948    0.0027 
Jun  '22   0.6953    0.6953    0.6953    0.6953    0.6925    0.6953    0.0028 
Sep  '22   0.6958    0.6958    0.6958    0.6958    0.6930    0.6958    0.0028 
Dec  '22   0.6962    0.6962    0.6962    0.6962    0.6935    0.6962    0.0027 
Mar  '23   0.6967    0.6967    0.6967    0.6967    0.6939    0.6967    0.0028 
Jun  '23   0.6971    0.6971    0.6971    0.6971    0.6943    0.6971    0.0028 
Sep  '23   0.6976    0.6976    0.6976    0.6976    0.6948    0.6976    0.0028 
Dec  '23   0.6981    0.6981    0.6981    0.6981    0.6952    0.6981    0.0029 
Mar  '24   0.6985    0.6985    0.6985    0.6985    0.6957    0.6985    0.0028 
Jun  '24   0.6990    0.6990    0.6990    0.6990    0.6961    0.6990    0.0029 
Sep  '24   0.6994    0.6994    0.6994    0.6994    0.6966    0.6994    0.0028 
 
Mexican Peso 
Nov '19  0.052040  0.052040  0.052040  0.052040  0.051890  0.052040  0.000150 
Dec '19  0.051640  0.051880  0.051590  0.051800  0.051660  0.051810  0.000150 
Jan '20  0.051480  0.051600  0.051480  0.051600  0.051450  0.051600  0.000150 
Feb '20  0.051200  0.051350  0.051200  0.051350  0.051200  0.051350  0.000150 
Mar '20  0.051110  0.051110  0.051110  0.051110  0.050960  0.051110  0.000150 
Apr '20  0.050890  0.050890  0.050890  0.050890  0.050740  0.050890  0.000150 
May '20  0.050630  0.050630  0.050630  0.050630  0.050480  0.050630  0.000150 
Jun '20  0.050420  0.050420  0.050420  0.050420  0.050280  0.050420  0.000140 
Jul '20  0.050220  0.050220  0.050220  0.050220  0.050070  0.050220  0.000150 
Aug '20  0.049980  0.049980  0.049980  0.049980  0.049830  0.049980  0.000150 
Sep '20  0.049800  0.049800  0.049800  0.049800  0.049640  0.049800  0.000160 
Oct '20  0.049560  0.049560  0.049560  0.049560  0.049410  0.049560  0.000150 
Nov '20  0.049400  0.049400  0.049400  0.049400  0.049230  0.049400  0.000170 
Dec '20  0.049230  0.049230  0.049230  0.049230  0.049070  0.049230  0.000160 
Mar '21  0.048700  0.048700  0.048700  0.048700  0.048530  0.048700  0.000170 
 
New Zealand Dollar 
Dec '19  0.635500  0.639900  0.635400  0.639400  0.635800  0.638600    0.0028 
Mar '20  0.639100  0.639800  0.639000  0.639700  0.636900  0.639700    0.0028 
Jun '20  0.640700  0.640700  0.640700  0.640700  0.638000  0.640700    0.0027 
Sep '20  0.641600  0.641600  0.641600  0.641600  0.638900  0.641600    0.0027 
Dec '20  0.642200  0.642200  0.642200  0.642200  0.639600  0.642200    0.0026 
Mar '21  0.642700  0.642700  0.642700  0.642700  0.640300  0.642700    0.0024 
 
Russian Ruble 
Nov '19  0.015610  0.015610  0.015610  0.015610  0.015555  0.015610  0.000055 
Dec '19  0.015495  0.015565  0.015490  0.015555  0.015495  0.015545  0.000050 
Jan '20  0.015490  0.015490  0.015490  0.015490  0.015440  0.015490  0.000050 
Feb '20  0.015425  0.015425  0.015425  0.015425  0.015375  0.015425  0.000050 
Mar '20  0.015375  0.015375  0.015375  0.015375  0.015325  0.015375  0.000050 
Apr '20  0.015320  0.015320  0.015320  0.015320  0.015270  0.015320  0.000050 
May '20  0.015265  0.015265  0.015265  0.015265  0.015215  0.015265  0.000050 
Jun '20  0.015205  0.015205  0.015205  0.015205  0.015155  0.015205  0.000050 
Jul '20  0.015150  0.015150  0.015150  0.015150  0.015105  0.015150  0.000045 
Aug '20  0.015095  0.015095  0.015095  0.015095  0.015045  0.015095  0.000050 
Sep '20  0.015045  0.015045  0.015045  0.015045  0.014995  0.015045  0.000050 
Oct '20  0.014995  0.014995  0.014995  0.014995  0.014945  0.014995  0.000050 
Dec '20  0.014895  0.014895  0.014895  0.014895  0.014845  0.014895  0.000050 
Mar '21  0.014750  0.014750  0.014750  0.014750  0.014700  0.014750  0.000050 
Jun '21  0.014605  0.014605  0.014605  0.014605  0.014555  0.014605  0.000050 
Sep '21  0.014460  0.014460  0.014460  0.014460  0.014410  0.014460  0.000050 
Dec '21  0.014320  0.014320  0.014320  0.014320  0.014270  0.014320  0.000050 
Mar '22  0.014185  0.014185  0.014185  0.014185  0.014130  0.014185  0.000055 
Jun '22  0.014050  0.014050  0.014050  0.014050  0.013995  0.014050  0.000055 
Sep '22  0.013915  0.013915  0.013915  0.013915  0.013860  0.013915  0.000055 
Dec '22  0.013785  0.013785  0.013785  0.013785  0.013725  0.013785  0.000060 
Mar '23  0.013660  0.013660  0.013660  0.013660  0.013600  0.013660  0.000060 
 
 
 
 

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:09 ET (20:09 GMT)

DJ CME Currencies Close - Oct 18
Source: CME Group 
 
The change reflects the settle compared to previous settle. 
 
Contract     Open      High       Low      Last       Prev      Settle    Chg 
 
British Pound 
Nov  '19   1.2861    1.2981    1.2859    1.2957    1.2891    1.2959    0.0068 
Dec  '19   1.2916    1.2988    1.2862    1.2966    1.2901    1.2970    0.0069 
Jan  '20   1.2902    1.2985    1.2902    1.2985    1.2916    1.2985    0.0069 
Feb  '20   1.2995    1.2995    1.2995    1.2995    1.2927    1.2995    0.0068 
Mar  '20   1.2961    1.3008    1.2939    1.3005    1.2937    1.3005    0.0068 
Jun  '20   1.2957    1.3034    1.2957    1.3034    1.2966    1.3034    0.0068 
Sep  '20   1.3060    1.3060    1.3060    1.3060    1.2992    1.3060    0.0068 
Dec  '20   1.3084    1.3084    1.3084    1.3084    1.3017    1.3084    0.0067 
Mar  '21   1.3107    1.3107    1.3107    1.3107    1.3041    1.3107    0.0066 
Jun  '21   1.3130    1.3130    1.3130    1.3130    1.3064    1.3130    0.0066 
Sep  '21   1.3154    1.3154    1.3154    1.3154    1.3088    1.3154    0.0066 
Dec  '21   1.3176    1.3176    1.3176    1.3176    1.3111    1.3176    0.0065 
Mar  '22   1.3198    1.3198    1.3198    1.3198    1.3134    1.3198    0.0064 
Jun  '22   1.3220    1.3220    1.3220    1.3220    1.3157    1.3220    0.0063 
Sep  '22   1.3244    1.3244    1.3244    1.3244    1.3181    1.3244    0.0063 
Dec  '22   1.3266    1.3266    1.3266    1.3266    1.3204    1.3266    0.0062 
Mar  '23   1.3287    1.3287    1.3287    1.3287    1.3224    1.3287    0.0063 
Jun  '23   1.3310    1.3310    1.3310    1.3310    1.3249    1.3310    0.0061 
Sep  '23   1.3333    1.3333    1.3333    1.3333    1.3271    1.3333    0.0062 
Dec  '23   1.3355    1.3355    1.3355    1.3355    1.3294    1.3355    0.0061 
Mar  '24   1.3377    1.3377    1.3377    1.3377    1.3317    1.3377    0.0060 
Jun  '24   1.3399    1.3399    1.3399    1.3399    1.3339    1.3399    0.0060 
Sep  '24   1.3421    1.3421    1.3421    1.3421    1.3362    1.3421    0.0059 
 
Canadian Dollar 
Nov  '19   0.7619    0.7622    0.7619    0.7622    0.7614    0.7622    0.0008 
Dec  '19   0.7617    0.7625    0.7610    0.7624    0.7615    0.7624    0.0008 
Jan  '20   0.7627    0.7627    0.7627    0.7627    0.7619    0.7627    0.0008 
Feb  '20   0.7627    0.7627    0.7627    0.7627    0.7619    0.7627    0.0008 
Mar  '20   0.7620    0.7627    0.7617    0.7627    0.7619    0.7627    0.0008 
Jun  '20   0.7615    0.7627    0.7615    0.7624    0.7617    0.7624    0.0008 
Sep  '20   0.7620    0.7621    0.7620    0.7621    0.7613    0.7621    0.0008 
Dec  '20   0.7618    0.7618    0.7618    0.7618    0.7610    0.7618    0.0008 
Mar  '21   0.7611    0.7611    0.7611    0.7611    0.7604    0.7611    0.0007 
Jun  '21   0.7607    0.7607    0.7607    0.7607    0.7600    0.7607    0.0008 
Sep  '21   0.7602    0.7602    0.7602    0.7602    0.7594    0.7602    0.0008 
Dec  '21   0.7597    0.7597    0.7597    0.7597    0.7589    0.7597    0.0008 
Mar  '22   0.7591    0.7591    0.7591    0.7591    0.7583    0.7591    0.0008 
Jun  '22   0.7585    0.7585    0.7585    0.7585    0.7577    0.7585    0.0008 
Sep  '22   0.7579    0.7579    0.7579    0.7579    0.7570    0.7579    0.0008 
Dec  '22   0.7572    0.7572    0.7572    0.7572    0.7563    0.7572    0.0009 
Mar  '23   0.7567    0.7567    0.7567    0.7567    0.7558    0.7567    0.0009 
Jun  '23   0.7561    0.7561    0.7561    0.7561    0.7551    0.7561    0.0009 
Sep  '23   0.7555    0.7555    0.7555    0.7555    0.7546    0.7555    0.0009 
Dec  '23   0.7549    0.7549    0.7549    0.7549    0.7539    0.7549    0.0010 
Mar  '24   0.7543    0.7543    0.7543    0.7543    0.7533    0.7543    0.0010 
Jun  '24   0.7538    0.7538    0.7538    0.7538    0.7527    0.7538    0.0010 
Sep  '24   0.7531    0.7531    0.7531    0.7531    0.7521    0.7531    0.0010 
 
Swiss Franc 
Dec  '19   1.0170    1.0202    1.0153    1.0201    1.0166    1.0194    0.0028 
Mar  '20   1.0240    1.0268    1.0240    1.0268    1.0241    1.0268    0.0027 
Jun  '20   1.0334    1.0334    1.0334    1.0334    1.0307    1.0334    0.0027 
Sep  '20   1.0398    1.0398    1.0398    1.0398    1.0371    1.0398    0.0027 
Dec  '20   1.0460    1.0460    1.0460    1.0460    1.0433    1.0460    0.0027 
Mar  '21   1.0521    1.0521    1.0521    1.0521    1.0495    1.0521    0.0026 
Jun  '21   1.0583    1.0583    1.0583    1.0583    1.0558    1.0583    0.0025 
Sep  '21   1.0646    1.0646    1.0646    1.0646    1.0621    1.0646    0.0025 
Dec  '21   1.0705    1.0705    1.0705    1.0705    1.0679    1.0705    0.0026 
Mar  '22   1.0762    1.0762    1.0762    1.0762    1.0735    1.0762    0.0027 
Jun  '22   1.0820    1.0820    1.0820    1.0820    1.0791    1.0820    0.0029 
Sep  '22   1.0882    1.0882    1.0882    1.0882    1.0853    1.0882    0.0029 
Dec  '22   1.0941    1.0941    1.0941    1.0941    1.0910    1.0941    0.0031 
Mar  '23   1.0996    1.0996    1.0996    1.0996    1.0964    1.0996    0.0032 
Jun  '23   1.1060    1.1060    1.1060    1.1060    1.1027    1.1060    0.0033 
Sep  '23   1.1121    1.1121    1.1121    1.1121    1.1086    1.1121    0.0035 
Dec  '23   1.1182    1.1182    1.1182    1.1182    1.1146    1.1182    0.0036 
Mar  '24   1.1244    1.1244    1.1244    1.1244    1.1207    1.1244    0.0037 
Jun  '24   1.1307    1.1307    1.1307    1.1307    1.1268    1.1307    0.0039 
Sep  '24   1.1370    1.1370    1.1370    1.1370    1.1330    1.1370    0.0040 
 
Japanese Yen 
Nov  '19   0.0092    0.0092    0.0092    0.0092    0.0092    0.0092    0.0000 
Dec  '19   0.0092    0.0093    0.0092    0.0093    0.0092    0.0093    0.0000 
Jan  '20   0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0000 
Feb  '20   0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0000 
Mar  '20   0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0093    0.0000 
Jun  '20   0.0094    0.0094    0.0094    0.0094    0.0093    0.0094    0.0000 
Sep  '20   0.0094    0.0094    0.0094    0.0094    0.0094    0.0094    0.0000 
Dec  '20   0.0095    0.0095    0.0095    0.0095    0.0094    0.0095    0.0000 
Mar  '21   0.0095    0.0095    0.0095    0.0095    0.0095    0.0095    0.0000 
Jun  '21   0.0096    0.0096    0.0096    0.0096    0.0095    0.0096    0.0000 
Sep  '21   0.0096    0.0096    0.0096    0.0096    0.0096    0.0096    0.0000 
 
 
 
 

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:09 ET (20:09 GMT)

DJ Dow Industrials End 1% Lower As Boeing, J&J Shares Exact More Than 220-point Toll On The Blue-chip Index -- MarketWatch

U.S. stocks finished near their lows of the session on Friday, with declines in Johnson & Johnson and Boeing Co. delivering the lion's share of the pain for the Dow industrials. The Dow closed off 255 points, or 0.9%, at 26,770. Dow components Boeing cut about 170 points from the price-weighted average, while J&J and shares exacted a 57-point toll on the index. The S&P 500 index closed 0.4% lower at 2,986, while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended 0.8% lower at 8,090. Boeing's stock got slammed after the Federal Aviation Administration said the aviation and defense contractor withheld "concerning" messages from 2016 between employees about a flight-control system tied to two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX, while J&J's stock got pulverized, off more than 6%, after the consumer-product giant recalled some baby powder - after tests revealed traces of asbestos.

-Mark DeCambre

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:07 ET (20:07 GMT)

 For more from MarketWatch: http://www.marketwatch.com/newsviewer 
DJ News Highlights: Top Energy News of the Day
Oil Falls to End Week Lower

Aramco Bets Post-Attack Earnings Can Boost Delayed IPO's Valuation

Trump to Meet Deputy Energy Secretary to Discuss Secretary Job

U.S. Oil Rig Count Rises for Second Straight Week

Schlumberger's Overseas Segments Drive Revenue Growth

Energy & Utilities Roundup: Market Talk

Oil-Patch Deals Fuel Energy Bond Gains

Rick Perry to Step Down as Energy Secretary

Bondholders Take Aim at PG&E's $11 Billion Wildfire Insurance Deal

U.S. Oil Inventories Rise Much More Than Expected

Oil futures fell modestly on Friday to post a loss for the week, as data from China showing slower economic growth fed worries about weaker demand.

Saudi Aramco is awaiting third-quarter earnings figures to better sell its planned initial public offering to investors and boost the firm's valuation closer to Crown Prince Mohammed's goal of $2 trillion.

President Trump was scheduled to meet with Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette Friday to discuss having him succeed outgoing Secretary Rick Perry, according to a person familiar with the meeting.

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. rose by one in the past week to 713, the second week it increased after seven weeks of declines, according to oil-field services company Baker Hughes.

Oil-field-services company Schlumberger Ltd. reported a surprising increase in revenue for the latest quarter, driven by growth in markets outside North America.

The latest Market Talks covering Energy and Utilities. Published exclusively on Dow Jones Newswires throughout the day.

Falling oil and gas prices cause problems for energy companies, but are delivering a surprise windfall for some U.S. bondholders.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced his resignation amid growing scrutiny of his role in the president's interactions with Ukraine, including a subpoena from the House impeachment inquiry.

Creditors of PG&E Corp. attacked a proposed $11 billion settlement of insurance claims surrounding California wildfires, saying it would give the bankrupt utility too much control over the restructuring process.

Government data showed U.S. inventories of crude oil rose by 9.3 million barrels last week - and are now 2% above the five-year average for this time of year - as refinery activity continued to slow down.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 16:00 ET (20:00 GMT)

DJ Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd Dies -- 3rd Update
By Robert Wall and Asa Fitch

Oracle Corp. said Mark Hurd, one of its two chief executives officers, died Friday.

Last month Oracle said that Mr. Hurd, 62 years old, was taking a medical leave of absence, removing the technology company's top executive for sales and strategy at a time of intensifying competition in the business-software market. Oracle didn't disclose the cause of death and hadn't said what specific issues the CEO was facing when he took leave.

The death leaves Safra Catz as Oracle's sole CEO. Since September 2014 Oracle has had an unusual leadership structure in which Mr. Hurd and Ms. Catz shared the CEO title, while co-founder Larry Ellison is chairman and technology chief.

Mr. Ellison said, "Oracle has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle."

Sweeping changes in the way businesses manage their data in recent years have meant Oracle and other legacy information-technology providers have struggled to maintain their dominant position. Oracle's market capitalization has fallen 2.4% since the announcement that Mr. Hurd would became CEO alongside Ms. Catz. International Business Machines Corp.'s market cap is down around 38% and Microsoft's is up around 175% over the same time.

On Sept. 11, Oracle said Mr. Hurd was taking medical leave. Changes in his appearance had prompted questions about his health from analysts and journalists as far back as last autumn. At the time, an Oracle spokesman said his health was fine and the company had nothing to disclose about it.

Oracle Friday didn't respond to request for comment.

Mr. Hurd's death isn't like to lead to major changes at Oracle, Nomura analyst Chris Eberle said, given the large involvement Mr. Ellison has always had in setting the company's direction as executive chairman and chief technology officer.

"Larry believes a dual-CEO structure is needed for the company, so he wants to stay with that structure," Mr. Eberle said. "There will be someone elevated from within, I think."

Oracle didn't respond to request for comment on whether the company would add a second CEO alongside Ms. Catz.

Mr. Hurd, who was born in New York City, joined Oracle in 2010 after resigning his role as Hewlett Packard CEO on Aug. 6 that year. The computer maker's board had investigated Mr. Hurd over his relationship with a female contractor. Though the board found Mr. Hurd didn't violate company's policy regarding sexual-harassment, it found he violated company standards by submitting inaccurate expense reports to conceal the relationship.

In a statement at the time, Mr. Hurd said that "there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at H-P and which have guided me throughout my career." A spokesman for Mr. Hurd said later that there was nothing untoward or improper about Mr. Hurd's relationship with the contractor.

At H-P, he reorganized the company and pledged to eliminate about 10% of its global workforce. Those moves helped propel the company, at the time, ahead of rivals such as Dell and IBM.

After leaving H-P, he quickly re-emerged at Oracle, hired by Mr. Ellison for the role. The two were tennis buddies and Mr. Ellison had spoken out against H-P's board for pushing out the CEO.

When Mr. Ellison became Oracle's executive chairman, Mr. Hurd became CEO in 2014 alongside Ms. Catz. Mr. Hurd helped move Oracle to more aggressively pursue cloud-computing deals -- a booming field in which the company had fallen behind rivals.

Mr. Hurd closely oversaw Oracle's sales structure as the company battled to maintain its position as a large force in the software-as-a-service market, where it is the No. 3, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Mr. Hurd also had been closely involved in Oracle's bid to win customers in the booming field of cloud-computing to catch up with Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft, that dominate market. Although Oracle's cloud efforts have gained pace in recent years, the company remains far behind the two cloud giants.

Prior to joining H-P in 2005, where he replaced CEO Carly Fiorina after she was fired, Mr. Hurd spent 25 years working his way up the sales and marketing ranks at NCR, previously known as National Cash Register Co. He started out as a junior salesman, was named president in 2001 and CEO two years later.

When he took over NCR, it was struggling, coming off a year when it posted a loss of $220 million. He quickly moved to expand NCR's reach and cut costs. Under Mr. Hurd, NCR fired employees, some who had spent their entire career there.

Mr. Hurd graduated with a B.A. in management from Baylor University in 1979. He joined his alma mater's board of regents in 2014. He helped fund the university's tennis facilities, where he played as a student, which was later renamed after Mr. Hurd.

While still at NCR, he co-authored a book with then CEO Lars Nyberg on how people and companies can use data information to improve business. Mr Hurd made Barron's best CEO list in 2008 while at H-P.

Mr. Hurd married his wife Paula, who also worked at NCR, in 1990. They have two daughters.

Write to Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com and Asa Fitch at asa.fitch@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 15:57 ET (19:57 GMT)

DJ ICE Futures U.S. Dollar Index Settlements - Oct 18
Source: ICE 
 
Contract    Settle 
 
Dec '19     97.008 
Mar '20     96.603 
Jun '20     96.243 
Sep '20     95.918 
 
 
 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 15:55 ET (19:55 GMT)

DJ Fed Eyes Another Rate Cut, Weighs When to Stop -- Update
By Nick Timiraos

Federal Reserve officials are heading into their meeting in two weeks likely to cut interest rates while debating whether they have done enough for now to vaccinate the economy against growing risks of a sharper slowdown.

Officials began these discussions last month, when they cut their benchmark rate to a range between 1.75% and 2%.

Now they are deliberating whether to call timeout on the current sequence of rate cuts, how much time they need to assess the effect of those moves and how to communicate their plans.

In recent public statements and interviews, officials have held the door open to cutting interest rates for a third time in as many months, though they have argued less forcefully for another reduction than they did before their moves in July and September.

They framed those reductions as a policy recalibration to cushion the economy against a global manufacturing swoon amplified by the U.S.-China trade war rather than the start of an open-ended stimulus effort to combat a deepening downturn.

Investors in interest-rate futures markets have maintained strong expectations of a cut at the October meeting -- a 90% probability as of Friday, according to CME Group -- in part because Fed officials have done little to dispel those expectations.

"Our policy actions have been very helpful to keeping the economy on track and to manage some of the risks we were facing," New York Fed President John Williams told reporters after a speech Thursday. "Looking forward, I think we just have to take this same approach, this meeting-by-meeting approach."

Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida echoed those views in public remarks Friday, delivering the last word from the central bank's inner circle before the Fed's customary premeeting quiet period begins Saturday.

If officials conclude they should signal a possible timeout from rate cuts, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell could disappoint investors who have come to expect additional central-bank support.

"The risk is that even a balanced message that avoids sending a clear 'we are done' message results in a selloff" in short-term bonds, sending interest rates up and stock prices down, said Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, in a report last week.

The Fed usually cuts interest rates because bad things are happening in the economy, but sometimes it has cut rates because the risk of troubling developments has gone up -- similar to taking out an insurance policy.

The challenge is judging how much insurance is needed. "You don't know how long you have to buy it, how much more you have to buy," said Vincent Reinhart, a former senior Fed economist who is now chief economist at Mellon.

Mr. Powell has repeatedly highlighted episodes in 1995 and 1998 when the Fed cut interest rates three times and avoided a recession. "The Fed cut, and then cut again, and then cut a third time," he said last week. "The economy took that accommodation on board and gathered steam again, and the expansion continued. So that's the spirit in which we're doing this."

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said Friday he hoped the current sequence of rate cuts would be "modest, limited and restrained" and not the start of a "full-fledged rate-cutting cycle."

With another reduction in October, officials could then see whether this broad scenario unfolds, allowing them to stop cutting rates. Or if it doesn't, they could reduce rates further.

"This is a fluid situation," said Mr. Kaplan, who described himself as agnostic on a rate cut this month. "This is a fragile time where this could break either way."

One issue facing Fed officials is how to signal in their postmeeting statement that the threshold for additional reductions would require stronger evidence of deterioration.

One way Fed officials have in the past signaled a possible timeout from rate cuts was to highlight the accumulation of recent stimulus, though plans to take a breather from cutting rates don't always work out.

In October 2007, for example, Fed officials followed a half-point cut in September with another quarter-point cut. They discouraged expectations of future cuts in their postmeeting statement, but the economy slid into recession one month later, triggering a more aggressive round of rate reductions.

Since last month's Fed meeting, geopolitical risks have neither receded nor intensified. The U.S. and China are attempting to reach a trade truce ahead of a world leader summit in Chile next month. Britain and the European Union agreed Thursday to new terms for the U.K.'s exit from the bloc, which still requires approval from U.K.'s Parliament.

Meantime, surveys and other economic data have hinted that weakness in the hard-hit manufacturing sector isn't lifting and might be spreading to other parts of the U.S. economy. But the September employment report showed little obvious sign of a collapse in hiring.

While global manufacturing activity is slumping, Mr. Clarida said Friday that he didn't see any evidence of shocks or slowdowns "spilling into the consumer."

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said Wednesday he saw some risk that the economy will have difficulty navigating uncertainties or shocks. "There is an argument for more accommodation now to provide some further risk-management buffer against these potential events," said Mr. Evans.

One positive development for the Fed is that market-determined interest rates, which tumbled in July and August, have firmed up in recent weeks. As a result, long-term interest rates have risen back above short-term interest rates. In recent months, long-term rates have dipped below short-term rates, a phenomenon known as an inverted yield curve that has often preceded recessions by a year or two and that some officials had cited as a reason for additional rate cuts.

Increases in interest-sensitive spending, particularly in the housing sector, suggest the Fed's rate cuts are providing some boost to the economy, and officials have said it will take time to reap the full benefit of additional stimulus.

Lower mortgage rates, for example, are supporting home sales, which in turn could propel spending at home-improvement retailers.

Michael S. Derby contributed to this article.

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 15:51 ET (19:51 GMT)

DJ Interbank Foreign Exchange Rates At 15:50 EST / 1950 GMT
 
                           Latest       Previous   %Chg    Daily    Daily   %Chg 
Dollar Rates                               Close            High      Low  12/31 
 
USD/JPY Japan           108.43-44      108.64-65  -0.20   108.72   108.39  -1.06 
EUR/USD Euro            1.1163-66      1.1122-25  +0.37   1.1168   1.1115  -2.66 
GBP/USD U.K.            1.2946-48      1.2889-91  +0.44   1.2964   1.2839  +1.47 
USD/CHF Switzerland     0.9845-49      0.9877-81  -0.32   0.9892   0.9843  +0.32 
USD/CAD Canada          1.3121-26      1.3135-40  -0.11   1.3150   1.3120  -3.79 
AUD/USD Australia       0.6855-59      0.6821-25  +0.50   0.6857   0.6820  -2.77 
NZD/USD New Zealand     0.6385-91      0.6344-50  +0.65   0.6388   0.6342  -4.94 
 
Euro Rates 
 
EUR/JPY Japan           121.03-08      120.83-87  +0.17   121.10   120.66  -3.69 
EUR/GBP U.K.            0.8622-25      0.8630-33  -0.09   0.8664   0.8607  -4.08 
EUR/CHF Switzerland     1.0991-94      1.0987-90  +0.04   1.1010   1.0975  -2.35 
EUR/CAD Canada          1.4644-54      1.4609-19  +0.24   1.4657   1.4604  -6.34 
EUR/AUD Australia       1.6276-86     1.6296-306  -0.12   1.6310   1.6261  +0.10 
EUR/DKK Denmark         7.4712-19      7.4708-15  +0.01   7.4720   7.4694  +0.07 
EUR/NOK Norway         10.2247-97    10.2156-206  +0.09  10.2444  10.2014  +3.22 
EUR/SEK Sweden        10.7659-759    10.8005-105  -0.32  10.8071  10.7606  +6.09 
EUR/CZK Czech Rep.      25.607-37     25.695-725  -0.34   25.731   25.617  -0.34 
EUR/HUF Hungary         330.17-57      330.91-01  -0.22   331.36   330.23  +2.91 
EUR/PLN Poland          4.2804-22      4.2821-39  -0.04   4.2884   4.2795  -0.19 
 
Yen Rates 
 
AUD/JPY Australia        74.33-37       74.13-17  +0.27    74.36    74.06  -3.80 
GBP/JPY U.K.            140.35-41      140.04-10  +0.22   140.64   139.34  +0.35 
CAD/JPY Canada           82.60-64       82.68-72  -0.09    82.78    82.40  +2.82 
NZD/JPY New Zealand      69.23-30       68.95-99  +0.43    69.30    68.89  -5.94 
 
Other Dollar Rates 
 
USD/CZK Czech Rep.      22.928-78     23.084-134  -0.68   23.142   22.944  +2.38 
USD/HUF Hungary       295.76-6.16      297.34-74  -0.53   298.01   295.76  +5.70 
USD/DKK Denmark         6.6926-36      6.7148-58  -0.33   6.7215   6.6912  +2.79 
USD/NOK Norway         9.1591-651      9.1820-80  -0.25   9.1974   9.1573  +6.02 
USD/PLN Poland          3.8349-54      3.8502-07  -0.40   3.8546   3.8349  +2.53 
USD/RUB Russia         63.777-847     64.073-143  -0.46   64.166   63.773  -7.84 
USD/SEK Sweden         9.6445-535     9.7085-175  -0.66   9.7172   9.6480  +8.99 
USD/ZAR S. Africa     14.7374-674    14.8185-485  -0.55  14.8537  14.7391  +2.72 
 
USD/CNY China           7.0807-27      7.0764-84  +0.06   7.0876   7.0677  +2.95 
USD/HKD Hong Kong       7.8426-31      7.8440-45  -0.02   7.8446   7.8419  +0.14 
USD/MYR Malaysia        4.1840-90     4.1780-830  +0.14   4.1880   4.1795  +1.31 
USD/INR India           71.030-50      71.120-40  -0.13   71.295   71.040  +2.11 
USD/IDR Indonesia        14138-52       14141-55  -0.02    14153    14130  -1.63 
USD/PHP Philippines     51.250-70      51.325-45  -0.15   51.380   51.186  -2.36 
USD/SGD Singapore       1.3631-41      1.3641-51  -0.07   1.3661   1.3633  +0.05 
USD/KRW S. Korea    1178.33-80.33  1178.06-80.06  +0.02  1182.45  1178.26  +5.84 
USD/TWD Taiwan          30.538-68      30.613-43  -0.24   30.643   30.534  -0.09 
USD/THB Thailand       30.290-310      30.300-20  -0.03   30.340   30.250  -6.25 
USD/VND Vietnam         23169-239      23172-242  -0.01    23208    23202  +0.04 
 
USD/BRL Brazil          4.1155-85      4.1640-70  -1.16   4.1652   4.1110  +6.07 
USD/MXN Mexico        19.1184-484   19.1829-2129  -0.34  19.2165  19.1096  -2.62 
USD/ARS Argentina     58.2448-860    58.2220-634  +0.04  58.4638  58.2068 +54.77 
 
Source: Tullett Prebon 
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 15:50 ET (19:50 GMT)

BOND REPORT: Treasury Yields Edge Lower As Traders Await Weekend Vote On Brexit

By Sunny Oh

Fed's Clarida says economy still facing risks, inflation muted

U.S. Treasury yields were mostly lower on Friday as investors eyed developments on Brexit ahead of Parliament's vote on the weekend.

What are Treasurys doing?

The 10-year Treasury note yield fell a basis point to 1.747%, but was virtually unchanged for the week. The 2-year note rate fell 3.1 basis points to 1.573%, contributing to a 3.6 basis point drop this week. The 30-year bond yield was flat at 2.243%, but up 3.3% for the week.

What's driving Treasurys?

Market participants said they were awaiting the U.K.'s Parliament vote on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's proposal at Saturday. Optimism initially surrounded Johnson's deal after European Union officials backed the agreement, but a lack of support from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party has weighed on the likelihood of the bill's ratification.

See: What a Brexit deal would mean for U.S. stocks and global investors (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-a-brexit-deal-would-mean-for-us-stocks-and-global-investors-2019-10-17)

In economic news, China's National Bureau of Statistics said growth of the world's second-largest economy slowed to 6% growth (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinas-economic-growth-continues-to-cool-off-2019-10-17) in the third quarter from a 6.2% pace in the second quarter, and the slowest pace since the early 1990s, reflecting the impact of the U.S. - China trade dispute and slowing world growth also.

Traders also monitored several speeches by senior Federal Reserve officials. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-clarida-says-economy-facing-risks-while-inflation-remains-muted-2019-10-18)the economy was still facing risks, and that inflation was muted. But he did not comment on the outlook for interest rates at the upcoming Oct. 29-30 meeting.

In money markets, New York Fed President John Williams said late Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-williams-says-central-bank-would-adjust-plan-to-soothe-funding-markets-as-appropriate-2019-10-17)that the central bank was closely monitoring its measures to soothe pressures in funding markets, and could adjust its plans. Since funding markets seized up last month, the U.S. central bank has regularly intervened to provide liquidity, offering daily repurchasing agreements to lend out funds to market participants thirsty for cash and announcing $60 billion of bill purchases at least through the second half of 2020.

Federal Reserve officials are heading into their meeting in two weeks likely to cut interest rates while debating whether they have done enough for now to vaccinate the economy against growing risks of a sharper slowdown, the Wall Street Journal reported (https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-eyes-another-rate-cut-weighs-when-to-stop-11571391003?mod=hp_lead_pos7).

What did market participants' say?

"Even if we do not know what the ramifications will be should Brexit occur, the existence of a deal agreed upon by Europe and the UK removes some of the questions from the past 2.5 years. Investors will be watching Parliament for signs the current deal will pass," wrote Jody Lurie, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 15:47 ET (19:47 GMT)

DJ Tech Stocks Are Getting Shellacked as Investors Turn Cautious -- Barrons.com
By Eric J. Savitz

Call it risk-off Friday.

With huge uncertainty heading into the weekend about the state of U.S.-China trade talks, the U.K.'s tentative Brexit deal, unrest on the Turkish border with Syria, the Congressional impeachment proceedings, and various other matters, investors are dumping high risk, high-valuation tech shares. They are wreaking havoc on stock prices in the process.

Fast-growing enterprise software companies, which have been seeing their valuations contract since June, are getting shellacked. Slack Technologies (WORK) is down almost 9% to $21.89, and close to a post-listing low. Okta (OKTA) has fallen 7%, and 15% for the week, while CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD) declined by 7%, leaving it off 22% for the week.

Zscaler (ZS), meanwhile, dropped 5%, bringing its loss for the week to 11%. Coupa Software (COUP) has a 19% decline for a week, with a 7.5% daily loss by midafternoon on Friday. Datadog (DDOG) fell 6% Friday, and 11% for the week. And those aren't isolated examples.

Earlier in the week, Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss slashed price targets for a host of enterprise software names, including Slack. He warned that many companies in the group could have further to fall, even after a considerable correction.

But Friday's selloff isn't limited to enterprise software. Netflix (NFLX) reported better-than-expected profits on Wednesday, but was down 6% to $275.46 on Friday. Its rival in streaming video, Roku (ROKU) slid 6% to $131. Beyond Meat (BYND), which has been this year's best performing IPO by a wide margin, fell 6%, racking up a 16% loss for the week.

Next week, the third-quarter earnings-reporting season will intensify, with results from Amazon.com (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), Twitter (TWTR), and Snap (SNAP), among others. Investors will be on the lookout for any signs of softness.

If they spot them, there could be more pain ahead.

Write to Eric J. Savitz at eric.savitz@barrons.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2019 15:46 ET (19:46 GMT)