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Morning Brief: Walgreens, Humana may take stakes in each other

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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What to watch today

With the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, earnings remain light today.

Retailers Foot Locker (FL) and Gap (GPS) both reported better-than-expected earnings after the bell on Tuesday. Despite beats on both the top and bottom lines, the after-hours action suggest that Foot Locker will jump at market open, while Gap sinks.

Deere (DE) is set to report Q3 financial results before the bell.

On the back of the housing starts and building permit data released on Tuesday, existing home sales and mortgage application data will be released. Economists polled by Bloomberg are expecting existing home sales to have grown 1% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.20 million units. The housing market has been in focus lately as rising rates and higher costs have been hammering demand. Confidence in U.S. homebuilders is at its lowest level in two years.

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Top news

REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed/File Photo

Walgreens, Humana in talks to take stakes in each otherDrugstore owner Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) and health insurer Humana Inc. (HUM) are in preliminary discussions to take equity stakes in each other, according to people familiar with the matter, as health-industry players scramble for tie-ups that will help them compete in a rapidly evolving environment. [The Wall Street Journal]

U.S. says China has failed to alter ‘unfair’ trade practices: The Trump administration said China has failed to alter its “unfair” practices at the heart of the US-China trade conflict, adding to tensions ahead of a high-stakes meeting later this month between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. [Reuters]

The FDIC finally fills its insurance fund: Ten years after the financial crisis, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has finally filled its reserve of cash set aside to address bank failures. The FDIC, which insures up to $250,000 for each depositor, said Tuesday that it now has enough cash on hand to cover 1.36% of all the FDIC-insured deposits in the U.S. banking system, above the 1.35% mandated by the post-crisis Dodd-Frank regulatory law. [Yahoo Finance]

Skype’s cofounder is trying to raise a $750M tech fund: A venture capital firm run by one of the cofounders of Skype is seeking to raise a major new European tech investment fund. Three sources said London-headquartered venture capital  firm Atomico has begun sounding out investors about a new fund, which will target tech companies across Europe and invest from startup to scale-up businesses. Atomico was co-founded by Niklas Zennstrom, the co-founder of Skype. [Yahoo Finance UK]

Crunch time for Tencent Music’s 2018 $2B IPOTencent Music Entertainment – China’s answer to Spotify (SPOT) – is facing crunch time on its hotly anticipated U.S. $2 billion mega IPO this year. The streaming music giant, which has more than 800 million monthly users, had initially pencilled in an October launch for a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) of up to $2 billion, but decided last month to delay until November in the hope that markets would settle. [Reuters]

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Morning Brief will be celebrating Thanksgiving. We will resume on Friday, November 23, 2018.  Enjoy the holiday!

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