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Inside Finance (Aug 12th, 2019)

1. After a rough week last week, stocks are starting out this week on a sour note. All major U.S. market indexes are down by more than 0.6 percent. At last check, the Dow was leading losses with a downturn of 1.06 percent. One exception to the slump is Fox News owner News Corp, continuing a winning streak that started on Friday after the company's latest quarterly report beat expectations. Similarly, Roku is up again today after enjoying gains last week in the wake of a strong earnings report. – CNN

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2. New analysis from Bank of America suggests that our chances of hitting a recession in the next year are greater than 30 percent. Bank of America's global economist Ethan Harris says the economic indicators are "flashing yellow." He's not the only one raising concerns with the near-term economic outlook. This morning, the CIO at UBS Global pegged our chances of a recession at 25 percent, but he said those chances increase with any additional tariffs (like the ones President Trump announced earlier this month). In a poll last week, economists on average thought there was a 45 percent chance of a recession hitting within the next two years. – CNBC

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3. Two of the biggest companies in television, CBS and Viacom, could announce a merger deal as soon as this afternoon. That's according to unnamed sources fueling reports in multiple outlets today. This merger would actually be a reunion. The two companies were split in 2006 in an attempt to increase each of their values. Merger talks have been in the works for years, but they reportedly intensified over the weekend. Sources say the latest negotiations indicated that each share of Viacom share would be worth just under 60 percent of a CBS share. – YAHOO! FINANCE

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4. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) has proposed redistributing the money collected from tariffs on Chinese goods. Speaking on CNBC this morning, Sen. Scott said, "Anything we raise in tariffs, we should give back to the rank and public in tax reductions." The comments come as the two countries brace for more tariffs, announced by President Trump via Twitter earlier this month. Though the details of his plan remain unclear, reporting last month suggested that a similar move has helped ease the trade war impact in China. Despite President Trump's repeated assertions that China pays the tariffs, that isn't how tariffs work. – CNBC

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5. Hundreds of flights to Hong Kong have been canceled today, as protests there continue to heat up. Thousands of protesters packed the airport for a fourth consecutive day of sit-ins. Most trade war reporting focuses on the political epicenter of Beijing, but Hong Kong is a major financial hub, and protests there have had an economic impact that's felt across continents. The protesters want to see less influence from mainland China in their formerly autonomous region. Chinese officials have begun suggesting that protesters are showing "sprouts of terrorism," which could hint at a more forceful crackdown in the future. – CNN

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6. Cannabis company CannTrust was dealt another blow this morning when regulators declared one of its facilities "non-compliant with certain regulations." This is the second time regulators closed a CannTrust facility. The recent scandals have dropped share values from roughly $13 to well below $3. However, CannTrust shares oddly spiked by 40 percent late Friday, after spending much of the day in the red. – CBC

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7. The world's largest asset manager is now the largest shareholder of Sports Illustrated, Juicy Couture, and dozens of other brands. BlackRock invested $875 million in Authentic Brands Group in a deal that closed Friday and became public over the weekend. – WSJ

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8. Saudi Aramco's CFO says the company is ready to go public with an IPO, but the timing will depend on the government of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia owns Saudi Aramco, and sources have suggested it'll push the oil company into the public markets in 2020. If it does, it'll be the biggest IPO in history. – CNBC

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9. Can't get enough of Olive Garden? You can buy a lifetime's worth of pasta for $500. The company is planning to unveil Lifetime Pasta Passes for $500, but (obviously) there's a catch. Only 50 will be offered, and they'll only be available for about a half-hour this Thursday. – ABC

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10. Mortgage rates are pretty low in the U.S., but in Denmark, they're negative. That nation's third-largest bank has begun offering a -0.5 percent mortgage rate to the public, which means that the bank will essentially pay you to take out money. Critics note there are economic downsides, and even supporters caution homebuyers to read the fine print for additional fees and costs. – BUSINESS INSIDER

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Schuyler Durham writes Inside Finance. He’s a lifelong Portlander who got his start covering the local music scene, but later became enamored with the complexities of financial and political reporting. After three years in broadcast news, he's now diving back into the digital realm. You can keep up with his writing on Twitter at @SchuylerWriter or watch him goof around on Instagram at @bitterbuddha.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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