Stocks slid on Thursday amid worries that the GOP tax plan might be delayed. They reversed some of their earlier losses over the course of the day, but all three major indices still closed in the red.
- Dow: 23,472.23, -91.13, (-0.39%)
- S&P 500: 2,585.50, -8.72, (-0.33%)
- Nasdaq: 6,751.15, -37.77, (-0.56%)
1. AT&T CEO: We’re under no pressure from Trump’s DOJ to sell CNN. AT&T chief executive officer Randall Stephenson said on Thursday that his company is under no pressure from the US Department of Justice to divest Turner Broadcasting, the group of channels that includes CNN, if it wants to acquire Time Warner.
2. There’s a big oil story flying under the radar: Venezuela is creeping closer towards a formal default. There’s speculation that Venezuela missed its full $US1.1 billion payment on a bond issued by its state-oil company, PDVSA. It was due last Friday, but the Financial Times reports that “while some bondholders said they expected the money to arrive soon, others pointed out that the payment deadline had clearly been missed regardless.”
3. House Republicans made some enormous last minute changes to their tax bill. Rep. Kevin Brady offered what’s known as a manager’s amendment on Thursday. The amendment contains a mound of edits added at the end of the committee’s debate, designed to limit changes following the amendment’s passage. The NFIB, a group that represents America’s small businesses, praised the new amendment after previously slamming the original bill.
4. Meanwhile, the Senate rolled out its own enormous tax bill — and it has some significant differences from the House. The bill will make large changes to both the personal and corporate sides of the tax code with a goal of generating increased investment and economic growth.
5. Rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the kingdom’s weekend crackdown, have rattled markets in the region. Lebanon’s benchmark equity index has fallen about 3% since the weekend. But, the stock moves in Saudi Arabia itself have been relatively modest (aside from the shares of companies owned by people who have been detained). Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul index is down by about 0.5% since the end of last week.