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EMEA Morning Briefing : Stocks to Struggle at -2-

07/27/2021 | 12:20am EDT

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which oversees China's telecommunication and industry policies, said Monday that its new six-month rectification program was aimed at correcting a range of industry issues, including disrupting market order, infringing on users' rights, mishandling user data and violating other regulations.

Investors Aren't Playing Defense, but the Military Splurge Isn't Over

Weapons makers are struggling in the current equity market, but their defensive perimeter may be more secure than it seems.

On Monday, Lockheed Martin reported a $1.8 billion second-quarter profit, narrowly missing Wall Street's expectations because of a $225 million loss on a classified program. The company's shares slipped, despite Chief Executive James Taiclet raising the earnings-per-share forecast for 2021.

Credit Card Spending Bill Will Come Due

Credit-card companies no longer have a spending problem. They've still got a borrowing problem.

In recent months, many U.S. consumers were spending at levels similar to, or better than, what they were doing in the same period in the year before the pandemic began. At Capital One Financial, purchase volume on its domestic cards was up 25% in the second quarter of 2021 from what it was the same period in 2019.

Aon, Willis Towers Scrap $30 Billion Merger Amid Antitrust Impasse

Aon PLC and Willis Towers Watson PLC abandoned a more than $30 billion tie-up to create the world's largest insurance broker, deciding it wasn't worth pursuing in the face of Justice Department opposition to the merger.

The DOJ filed a lawsuit against the deal last month, the first big test of the Biden administration's more muscular antitrust policy. The suit, filed in a federal court in Washington, said that the proposed merger would lead to higher prices and reduced innovation for U.S. businesses, employers and unions that rely on their services.

LVMH Books Higher 1H Revenue, Profit as Fashion Sales Surge

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE's earnings rose sharply in the first half as sales jumped by more than half on the year, driven by the core soft-luxury division.

The French luxury-goods giant said Monday that it made an operating profit of 7.63 billion euros ($8.98 billion) in the six months to end-June, nearly fives times as much as the previous-year period, and some 44% higher than in the same period of 2019. Sales increased to EUR28.67 billion from EUR18.39 billion previously.

Covid-19 Vaccine Pioneer BioNTech Plans to Make New Malaria and Tuberculosis Shots in Africa

BioNTech SE said it would invest some of the profits from the Covid-19 vaccine it markets with Pfizer Inc. into developing shots for malaria and tuberculosis in Africa, part of the German company's plan to establish a large production hub for innovative medicines on the continent.

The biotech firm plans to build a factory in Africa and develop a manufacturing network with local partners to transfer its technology based on messenger RNA, a genetic molecule, to a continent that has suffered from a lack of access to vaccines and other lifesaving treatment, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin said.

U.S. Combat Role in Iraq to End This Year, Biden Says

WASHINGTON-President Biden said the U.S. combat mission in Iraq would conclude by the end of 2021, but the U.S. military would continue to work with Iraqi forces in their fight against the Islamic State militant group.

"We are not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission," Mr. Biden said Monday at the start of a White House meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. The president said U.S. military forces would "be available to continue to train, to assist, to help and to deal with ISIS."

Lebanon Nominates Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati to Form Government

BEIRUT-Lebanon's political factions nominated billionaire businessman and former Prime Minister Najib Mikati to form the country's next government, in an attempt to break a monthslong deadlock after two previous attempts were abandoned.

President Michel Aoun on Monday tapped Mr. Mikati with forming a new government after a majority of lawmakers backed him. His designation comes after Saad Hariri, the last prime minister-designate, gave up his nine-month effort to form a government in mid-July.

Barclays Overtakes Credit Suisse in Investment Banking

Barclays PLC recently overtook Credit Suisse Group AG in investment banking revenue, a sign that the U.K. bank's long, frustrated push to be a major player is making progress thanks in part to the troubles of its Swiss rival.

The London-based bank vaulted past its Zurich-based counterpart to be the largest investment bank outside the U.S. in the second quarter of this year with $1.26 billion of investment banking revenue, representing a 4.1% market share, according to Dealogic. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was the top investment bank during the quarter with $3.15 billion of revenue, a 10.1% market share.

Intel Sets Plan to Again Become World's Premier Chip Company

The race is on at Intel Corp. as the semiconductor giant pledges to return to the top of its game, committing to produce the world's best chips within four years.

To get there, Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger laid out a plan Monday for the company to introduce at least a new central processing unit-the brains of the modern computer-every year between 2021 and 2025. Each is expected to be based on transistor technology more advanced than the last.

Ad-Tech Company AdTheorent Nears $1 Billion SPAC Deal to Go Public

Advertising-technology company AdTheorent Inc. is nearing a combination with a special-purpose acquisition company to go public in a deal that would value the firm at about $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

AdTheorent uses machine learning and data science to optimize advertising and marketing campaigns for its customers. It says it can efficiently target consumers without using sensitive personal data.

Judge Extends Deadline for FTC to Refile Facebook Antitrust Suit

WASHINGTON-The Federal Trade Commission has until Aug. 19 to file an amended version of its antitrust lawsuit against Facebook Inc. after a judge granted the agency an extension.

Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had previously set a July 29 deadline after saying the agency hadn't supported its claims that Facebook has monopoly power in personal social-networking services. His dismissal of the suit cited in part how the FTC calculated the company's market share.

Tesla's Quarterly Profit Soars to Record $1.1 Billion

Tesla Inc.'s generated a record quarterly profit as the car maker largely sidestepped the effects of a global chip shortage that has constricted production for many global auto makers.

The Silicon Valley electric-car maker, as it posted second-quarter earnings on Monday, said its ability to navigate ongoing supply-chain challenges would help dictate its pace of growth in the second half of the year as it races to satisfy growing demand for battery-powered vehicles.

Write to sarka.halas@wsj.com

Expected Major Events for Tuesday

05:00/FIN: Jun Labour force survey, incl unemployment

06:00/DEN: Jun Retail Sales Index

07:30/SWE: Jun Foreign trade

08:00/ITA: Jun Foreign Trade non-EU

08:00/EU: Jun Monetary developments in the euro area (M3)

08:30/UK: Jun Capital issuance

10:00/FRA: 2Q Claimant count and job advertisements collected by Pole emploi

10:00/UK: Jul CBI Distributive Trades Survey

12:00/HUN: Jul Hungarian interest rate decision

15:59/UKR: Jun Industrial Production

23:01/UK: Jul REC JobsOutlook survey

23:01/UK: Jul Shop Price Index

All times in GMT. Powered by Kantar Media and Dow Jones.

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

07-27-21 0019ET

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