Morning Brief: Senate approves tax overhaul, sends it back to House

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What to watch today

Tax reform is getting there. Slowly.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the unified tax bill drafted by Republican lawmakers. And then around 5:00 p.m. ET, reports indicated that the House would have to re-vote on the measure after hitting a procedural snag, with the Senate changing what Bloomberg called “relatively minor” aspects of the bill that didn’t meet Senate budget standards. After making minor changes, the Senate once again passed the bill very early Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, investors will have a slower calendar of economic data and corporate earnings to contend with, as General Mills (GIS) earnings will be the headliner and existing home sales will be the most notable report on the economic calendar. Other earnings set for release Wednesday include results from Herman Miller (MLHR) and Winnebago Industries (WGO).

Markets, which have rallied in recent weeks as investors begin to price in some of the benefits corporations could enjoy with lower tax rates, were lower but little-changed on Tuesday. And while stock markets may have been muted on Tuesday, there was certainly some action in the bond markets as yields pushed higher for longer-dated U.S. Treasuries, with the 10-year settling near 2.47% and the 30-year moving to 2.82%.

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Top news

Coinbase adds buying and selling of bitcoin cash: The leading mainstream brokerage for buying bitcoin added bitcoin cash to its platform on Tuesday night. Coinbase, which has 13 million customers, also added bitcoin cash to GDAX, its separate exchange for institutional investors. It is a huge leap of faith in bitcoin cash (BCH), and it immediately sent the price of bitcoin cash higher. [Yahoo Finance]

Uber dealt blow by EU court: Ride-hailing app Uber provides a transport service and can be regulated like traditional taxis, the European Union’s top court said on Wednesday in a landmark ruling that will determine the rules Uber and its rivals have to respect in Europe. [Reuters]

FedEx quarterly profit rises on strong package volume, global economy: The package delivery company FedEx Corp (FDX) on Tuesday reported a better-than-expected quarterly net profit due to strong global demand and increased volumes during the peak holiday shipping season, but said its results were hit by lingering effects from a June cyber attack on its Dutch TNT Express (TNTEF) unit.

Asahi to sell its stake in China’s Tsingtao for $941M:  Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. agreed to place its stake in Tsingtao Brewery Co. back into Chinese hands, selling its holding to conglomerate Fosun Group and the local brewer for about $941 million. Asahi is selling its 20% holding in China’s third-largest brewer for HK$27.22 a share, the Japanese company said in a statement Wednesday. [Bloomberg]

An official with the Catholic Church said Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, that Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston, has died at 86. Law stepped down under pressure in 2002 over his handling of clergy sex abuse cases. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)
An official with the Catholic Church said Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, that Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former archbishop of Boston, has died at 86. Law stepped down under pressure in 2002 over his handling of clergy sex abuse cases. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)

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