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Inside Finance (Sep 9th, 2019)

1. Stocks are taking a dip after enjoying gains for most of the morning. The Dow is just barely in the red, while the S&P 500 is down 0.2 percent, and the Nasdaq is down nearly 0.5 percent. Despite all the recent recession talk, stocks may hit another all-time high this week. The S&P 500 is starting this week where it ended in July, and a 1.5 percent pop would push it into new highs. As I said back when the yield curve inverted, while they have historically predicted recessions, inverted yield curves usually appear months—sometimes years—before the recession truly hits. – CNN

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2. JPMorgan has unveiled the "Volfefe Index," a model that tracks the impact of President Trump's tweets on U.S. Treasury yields. I've covered plenty of President Trump's tweets in this newsletter, and that's because they often address (and sometimes appear to move) financial markets. But the president tweets a lot, and not all tweets are followed by market swings, go JPMorgan weighted its index to clue into tweets with keywords like "China," "billion," and "products." Analysts say, out of roughly 4,000 of the president's tweets (not including retweets) during market hours since 2018, 146 significantly moved the markets. – BLOOMBERG

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3. It's easy to get distracted by the effects of the trade war here in the U.S, but overseas, China has revealed that its trade figures are sharply down. While analysts expected to see China's exports grow by about two percent in August, they actually shrank by one percent. Imports fell as well. The contraction has cemented the idea in some analysts' minds that July's export growth of 3.3 percent was a fluke that won't be repeated anytime soon. The figures will add pressure to Chinese negotiators during next month's scheduled trade talks. – SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

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4. Shares of AT&T are up today after news broke of an activist investor aiming to make changes at the telecom giant. Elliott Management announced that it owns $3.2 billion worth of AT&T shares, and wants to use that influence to trim the company's assets. President Trump celebrated the move on Twitter, urging Elliott Management (whose founder has donated at least $1 million to pro-Trump super PACs) to "put a stop to all of the Fake News emanating from [CNN'S] non-credible 'anchors.'" CNN, which was recently acquired by AT&T as a part of its Time Warner deal, responded by claiming that 2019 has been the network's "most profitable year in history." Late this morning, news broke that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson may lose his job because of that deal. – REUTERS

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5. Earlier this summer, I mentioned a new California law that required presidential candidates to provide tax returns to appear on the primary ballot, but Republicans in the state now have a plan to sidestep the law. Over the weekend, Republicans approved a party rule change that allows a candidate to be chosen at a special convention after the state's primary. Meanwhile, legal challenges to California's tax return law are playing out in court. The president has fought efforts to reveal his personal finances. – AP

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6. Now's a good time to go to the U.K. to take advantage of the exchange rate—but not on British Airways. The airline canceled flights for today and tomorrow, as pilots strike seeking higher pay. The cancellations have affected roughly 200,000 travelers so far. – CNN

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7. In the retail wars, Target has unveiled a new loyalty program to entice customers. Target Circle will take effect nationwide on October 6, bringing perks including 1% rewards and early access to sales. Target stock is up more than 65 percent so far this year, buoyed recently by a solid earnings report. – MARKETWATCH

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8. The Federal Reserve of New York released its latest survey on consumer sentiment, and it isn't looking good. According to the survey, consumers in August felt less secure about their employment and planned to reduce spending. Keep in mind, consumer spending makes up 70 percent of our GDP. – THE STREET

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9. While AT&T's CEO fights for his job, the CEO over at Nissan is officially out today. Hiroto Saikawa resigned amid controversy concerning the amount and way in which Nissan executives were paid. Saikawa denies wrongdoing, and he has even offered to return some of the money, but it apparently wasn't enough to save his job. – CNN

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10. Apple will release details about the newest iPhone tomorrow, and investors will be closely watching. Analysts are hoping to see new features that will revive sales figures. They're also hoping to learn more about Apple's streaming service. – MARKETWATCH

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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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