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Inside Finance (Sep 4th, 2019)

1. Stocks are bouncing back from yesterday's downturn. At last check, the Nasdaq was up 1.18 percent, the S&P 500 was up about 0.9 percent, and the Dow was up just over 0.8 percent. Some big names making moves today include Starbucks, which is down after revealing disappointing expectations for its 2020 earnings. Jack in the Box is also up after it was named in a report on the best ways to invest in companies that will benefit from cannabis legalization. – CNN

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2. Alan Greenspan, who led the Federal Reserve from 1986 through 2006, predicts that the U.S. will eventually adopt negative interest rates. In an interview with CNBC this morning, Greenspan said, "You’re seeing [negative interest rates] pretty much throughout the world. It’s only a matter of time before it’s more in the United States." As a reminder, negative interest rates mean bondholders wouldn't get their full amount returned. They'd essentially pay a fee to store their money in bonds. Greenspan gave a similar warning last month, but he doesn't see negative interest rates as a serious issue. Other topics in his interview this morning touched on the possibility of a recession. Greenspan says the stock market will be the best indicator for whether or not a recession has hit. – CNBC

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3. By the Numbers: Manufacturing Sector Contracts

49.1 percent – That's where the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) landed for the month of August. The number is relative to the month before. When the number is at 50, it represents month-to-month manufacturing stagnation. Numbers above 50 show growth, and numbers below show contraction.

35 months – The contraction ends 35 straight months of manufacturing expansion.

56.5 percent – During that period of expansion, the average PMI measured by ISM was 56.5 percent.

300 – ISM surveys roughly 300 manufacturing firms to determine its PMI.

50.3 – Another PMI, this one calculated by IHS Markit, didn't conclude that the manufacturing sector was contracting, though their survey does show slowed growth.

2009 – The last time IHS Markit measured a PMI as low as 50.3 was in September 2009. – CNBC and CNN

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4. Turning back to the Fed, New York Fed President John Williams said in a speech today that "low inflation is indeed the problem of this era." Inflation is currently around 1.6 percent, but the Fed aims to sustain two percent inflation. While he stopped short of revealing his exact intentions for the Fed's monthly meeting in a few weeks, Williams did say he will "act as appropriate." Many are taking that as a sign that he will support further rate cuts, since dovish Fed policy helps prevent deflation. If the Fed doesn't cut rates, we could see stocks fall, since some surveys suggest that the market has already priced in a 93 percent chance of a September rate cut. – THE STREET

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5. Walmart is giving up a huge chunk of its ammunition market share in the wake recent mass shootings, including one that took place at a Walmart store. The retailer announced that it will stop selling short barrel and handgun ammunition after its current supply runs out. Before the move, 20 percent of all ammunition sales took place at a Walmart store. After the new rule takes effect, Walmart expects its market share to shrink to as low as six percent. The chain is also ending hand gun sales in Alaska (the last state that carried hand guns) and it's asking shoppers not to openly carry guns into its stores. Kroger has followed suit on that last point. – MARKETWATCH

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6. The British Sterling bounced back from 34-year lows this morning after Parliament voted to effectively block Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan for a no-deal Brexit. On Tuesday, before the vote, a pound was worth just $1.19. That's the lowest level it has reached since 1985, excluding the brief crash that immediately followed the Brexit vote in 2016, when a pound was momentarily worth just over $1.17. – YAHOO! FINANCE

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7. Before U.S. markets opened this morning, stocks in Hong Kong were already soaring. Many analysts tied the rally to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's decision to withdraw the extradition bill that touched off months of widespread protest. The protests had grown increasingly contentious, including instances of violence, which in turn made investors nervous. The Hang Seng index ended nearly four percent up. – CNN

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8. Court filings have given us a closer look into the USC admissions scandal, including some exact figures. Notes attached to applications included phrases like "25,000 check and more later" and "1 mill pledge." Filings also allege that admissions officials pulled applications after the school didn't receive donations it was expecting. – LA TIMES

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9. If Greenspan's talk of negative interest rates has you looking for bond alternatives to the Treasury, you may soon have another chance to buy up Apple bonds. The company filed paperwork that revealed its intention to offer debt with maturity timelines of between three and 30 years. Apple plans to use the cash injection for stock buybacks, dividend payments, acquisitions, and other corporate purposes. – MARKETWATCH

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10. Nintendo shares hit a 52-week high of $48.80 this morning. Tomorrow, the gaming company will release its latest earnings report. The company has managed to enjoy gains despite a volatile gaming industry as a whole. However, parts of the Switch console are made in China, so it isn't immune to trade war impacts. – SEEKING ALPHA

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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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