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Morning Brief: Tesla faces criminal probe

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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What to watch today

Investors will continue to monitor developments in the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. According to new research from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Beijing may deploy monetary and economic stimulus in its effort to address any negative impact from the new import tariffs being rolled out by the Trump administration.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will post its August housing starts and building permits report. In July, the department announced that new construction for privately owned homes was at a modest increase of 0.9% for the month of July. JPMorgan economists estimate starts jumped 5.7% in August. “The trends in many housing indicators have weakened lately, but the starts and permits data can be choppy (especially for multifamily units) and the gains in single-family permits from the past couple of months signal that related starts are likely to increase soon,” they said.

After the closing bell, U.S. software company Red Hat Inc. (RHT) and furniture company Herman Miller Inc. (MLHR) will report earnings after the bell.

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Top news

REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo/File Photo

Tesla faces US criminal probe over Musk statementsTesla Inc. (TSLA) is under investigation by the Justice Department over public statements made by the company and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. The criminal probe is running alongside a previously reported civil inquiry by securities regulators. [Bloomberg]

China won’t weaken currency to boost exportsChina will not stoop to competitive devaluation of its currency, Premier Li Keqiang stressed, hours after China hit back, with a softer punch than the one landed by the United States, in an escalating tariff war between the world’s largest economies. [Reuters]

Benefit gains exceed wage growth, labor data show:  U.S. employers are boosting benefits — including bonuses and vacation time — at a faster pace than salaries, a move that gives them more flexibility to dial back that compensation if the economy turns sour. [The Wall Street Journal]

China’s Tencent Music halves U.S. IPO to $2B: Tencent Music Entertainment Group, China’s biggest music-streaming company, two weeks ago filed confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), three people with knowledge of the matter said, in what will be one of the biggest listings in New York by a Chinese company this year. Tencent Music had earlier been seeking to raise up to $4 billion. [Reuters]

US, Canada trade barbs before resuming NAFTA talksU.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will meet Wednesday in Washington, their first in-person session in eight days. The two countries remain at odds on core issues, including dairy and dispute panels, and have been pressuring each other on the eve of the meeting. [Bloomberg]

World’s biggest firms are shaping strategy from news, social mediaAccording to a Deloitte Global’s latest inclusive growth survey, over two-thirds of global executives said “external factors like public sentiment and media coverage are either encouraging them to re-evaluate current strategies and take new action or add momentum to existing efforts.” [Yahoo Finance UK]

Yahoo Finance Originals

Your Trump trade war scorecard, updated

The Trump consumer tax could be permanent for many products

Benioff, Bezos, Jobs: Tech billionaires are going ‘full Rosebud’

Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal is personally delivering Tesla Model 3s

Here’s what the DOJ would have to prove in a case over Elon Musk’s tweet

The Morning Brief provides a quick rundown on what to watch in the markets, top news stories, and the best of Yahoo Finance Originals.