Google gadgets; Microsoft bets on Grab; IMF downgrades

Posted at 2:54 AM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-09 04:54:42-04

1. Google’s big event: Google is holding its gadget event on Tuesday.

Hardware is a small part of Google’s business, but Android and Google Assistant are crucial to the future of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Google (GOOGL) is expected to debut a new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phone, more Google Home devices (perhaps a speaker with a screen) and showcase its plans for mobile and voice software.

The event threatens to be overshadowed by other Google news. On Monday, the company shuttered its long ailing social network Google+ for consumer use after it reportedly failed to disclose a security bug.

2. Microsoft bets on Grab: Microsoft is teaming up with the ride hailing and payment startup Grab.

As part of the deal, Grab will adopt Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform. In exchange, Microsoft (MSFT) will make a strategic investment in Grab. The two companies did not reveal the size of the investment.

Grab is a key player in southeast Asia, where it recently bought out Uber’s regional business. Grab was valued at around $11 billion in August, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

3. Trade war downgrade: The International Monetary Fund has cut its economic growth forecasts for the United States and China as the countries clash over trade.

Despite healthy momentum in the United States, IMF economists now expect growth there to slow to 2.5% next year from 2.9% this year. They cut the 2019 forecast by 0.2 percentage points because trade conflicts.

China’s growth is now expected to drop to 6.2%, from 6.6% this year. The new 2019 forecast is 0.2 percentage points lower than the fund’s previous forecast, reflecting the waves of new tariffs that have taken effect since then.

The more pessimistic forecast comes as the clash between Washington and Beijing threatens to keep escalating and cause damage in other countries.

4. Global market overview: US stock futures were lower.

European markets opened higher following a mixed trading session in Asia.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed 0.2% higher on Monday. The S&P 500 was flat, and the Nasdaq shed 0.7% as tech stocks continued to struggle.

5. Companies and economics: AZZ (AZZ) and Helen of Troy (HELE) will release earnings before the open.

Aviva (AVVIY) announced that Mark Wilson is stepping down as CEO. Wilson led the UK insurance company through a transformation that included the £5.6 billion ($7.3 billion) purchase of rival Friends Life.

Mexico’s inflation report will be released at 9 a.m. ET.

UK retail sales growth has slumped to the lowest in five months, according to the British Retail Consortium.

6. Coming this week:
Tuesday — Google hardware event
Thursday — Delta (DAL) earnings; Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA); Deadline for Sky shareholders to accept Comcast offer; Monthly OPEC report
Friday — Citigroup (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo earnings (WFC); US consumer sentiment for October