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Morning Brief: US stops short of declaring China a currency manipulator

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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What to watch today

The earnings calendar will remain busy with American Express (AXP), PayPal (PYPL), Philip Morris (PM), Travelers (TRV), BNY Mellon (BK), Textron (TXT), PPG (PPG), and Danaher (DHR) all reporting results.  And on the economic data side the weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as the Philly Fed’s business outlook for October will be the highlights.

Shares of Novartis (NVS) are expected to rise Thursday after the drugmaker announced plans to buy US-based drugmaker Endocyte (ECYT) for $2.1 billion in cash. The deal will help Novartis expand its development of cancer treatments.

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Top news

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

US spares China from yuan-manipulator labelThe Treasury Department stopped short of declaring China a currency manipulator in its semi-annual report on foreign-exchange rates, averting an escalation of a trade war while serving notice that the U.S. will closely watch the yuan after its recent slide. The department dialed up criticism of China’s state-driven economic model. [Bloomberg]

Why Constellation Brands’ new CEO bets on cannabisThe world’s largest alcohol maker has a new CEO who also happens to understand the budding business of cannabis. Constellation Brands (STZ) said Wednesday that chief operating officer Bill Newlands will take over for long-time CEO Rob Sands on March 1. [Yahoo Finance]

Alcoa jumps on profit surprise, first share buyback since split: Alcoa Corp. (AA) reported third-quarter earnings that were double estimates and announced its first share buyback in more than a decade in a sign that the top U.S. aluminum producer is weathering the trade war. Shares jumped 4.8% Wednesday. [Bloomberg]

Amazon slows down holiday hiring for the first time in 6 yearsAmazon (AMZN), the second-largest private-sector employer in the U.S., plans on hiring fewer workers for the holidays this year. The e-commerce giant announced its plan to hire 100,000 workers for the coming holiday season, a 16.7% drop from last year, when its hiring target was 120,000. This is the first year that it has lowered its hiring goals since 2012. [Yahoo Finance]

Pot stocks fall in first hours of Canada’s legal market: Canada’s Green Day started in the red for stocks looking to benefit from the country’s legalization of recreational marijuana. By the end of the day, a few advancers emerged from the downdraft. Pyxus International Inc. (PYX) and Green Organic Dutchman Holdings (TGODF) led the gains, both rising 4.2% to erase losses from earlier Wednesday. [Bloomberg]

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