Off-road, on the market

QUOTE OF THE DAY

It's more critical than ever that Snapchatters have access to the best journalism in the world."

Sean Mills of Snapchat. After NBC's impressive debut of its show "Stay Tuned," CNN will see how the filter fits with "The Update." The three-minute program will be available 6:00 pm EST daily.

Market Snapshot

  • The Dow and S&P ended their two-day slide. Not so with the Nasdaq.
  • Ethereum shot up 10% as investors got the Bitcoin spooks.
  • The dollar continued to sink as the U.S. and South Korea conducted military exercises.
  • Overall trading volume was down (Was it the eclipse? Or just a quiet day in late August?)


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Off-Road, On the Market

Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent have become major global players in industries like e-commerce and gaming.

But automobile manufacturing? Why not? Chinese automaker Great Wall announced it's "deeply interested" in buying Jeep from Fiat Chrysler.

Chinese cars? Those are a thing?

That's because for all of China's manufacturing dominance, you're not likely to see one of its cars whizzing by on I-95. And it comes down to trust. China produced 28 million units in 2016, but higher-income markets (like the U.S.) remain skeptical of car quality.

And Great Wall is showing similar cracks. Profits in China grew 31% last year, but exports of Great Wall's marquee SUV brand, Haval, still account for less than 5% of output. Similar to Chinese counterpart Geely (which acquired Volvo in 2010), Great Wall hopes a play for Jeep will be a game-changer for its global presence.

And what's not to like about Jeep right now

  • It's considered Fiat Chrysler's most valuable asset, priced at $23 billion.
  • Sales are up 4x since the Fiat-Chrysler deal in 2009.
  • Jeep is known for SUVs, a category of increasing popularity in China (sales of domestic SUV brands surged 58% last year).
  • Fiat Chrysler's CEO Sergio Marchionne is an advocate of auto industry consolidation.
Slowwww Down!

Jeep seems like a good fit for Great Wall, but this is far from a done deal. For starters, Great Wall reportedly hasn't picked up the phone to talk things over with Jeep, let alone texted.

And you can't escape politics. President Trump has relentlessly attacked China for unfair trade practices, so you can bet any agreement would draw extra scrutiny. But China may not be a fan either. It's been working tirelessly to stop the flow of capital into foreign real estate and professional sports teams.

There are plenty of chips left to fall, but the deal could present yet another shakeup in an industry that's also moving toward electronic and autonomous vehicles.

Never boring in the world of auto.

Who Dares to Block Buffett?

First Energy, the parent of utility company Oncor, has finally settled on a buyer. But not the one you might expect.

Berkshire Hathaway looked like it had sealed the $9 billion deal over a month ago. But Sempra, a Fortune 500 energy services firm, bested Buffett with a $9.45 billion offer. It'll gladly pad its existing portfolio of 32 million customers with another 10 million from Oncor.

But there's more to this deal than meets the eye. Billionaire Paul Singer's hedge fund Elliott Management is First Energy's biggest creditor, and it pulled out all the tricks in a finance-guru's playbook-like buying a particular piece of debt-to thwart Buffett's bid.

Meanwhile, First Energy has been waiting a long time for a savior to help restructure $50 billion of debt…whoever that may be.

Trading Nations

We know you've been tracking it on a 48-hour Twitter binge, but ICYMI, the first round of the NAFTA negotiations has concluded.

Representatives from the three North American countries-Canada, the U.S., and Mexico-each offered "detailed conceptual presentations."

But they aren't exactly starting on the same page.

The Mexican and Canadian reps are open to "modernizing" the 1994 free trade agreement, but not if that means restricting access to the largest economy in the world. Probably has something to do with regional trade jumping from $290 billion before the deal to $1.1 trillion in 2016.

The U.S., on the other hand, is pushing for tighter restrictions per President Trump's campaign promises.

But there's a long road ahead. Get those beers on ice for round two (of seven) in Mexico City in September.

The Name's Oreo. Android Oreo.

With the usual fanfare and casual robot statue unveiling, Google named its newest mobile operating system "Android Oreo" and made it available to the public on the Android Open Source Project.

Before you attempt to bite your new phone, chew on this: every new Android OS receives a dessert-themed nickname, from Android Froyo to Android Nougat.

So let's put this sugar high to good use: what are the new features of the world's most popular operating system? Nothing too crazy: updates like the ability to view two apps at once, redesigned emojis , better password autofill, and enhanced security and speed measures.

Google expects to roll out the dessert-themed update to hardware makers (like Samsung and HTC) by the end of the year, but is really hoping you'll want to buy its own smartphone, the Pixel, as the cherry on top.

What Else Is Happening…

  • French oil company Total is buying Maersk's oil and gas division in a deal worth $7.45 billion.
  • Herbalife disclosed that it held talks this month to go private.
  • HTC has cut the price on its VR headset to mimic Oculus Rift's discount.
  • Macy's is reorganizing several of its departments and cutting 100 jobs.
Economic Calendar

  • Monday     Earnings: No Events Today
  •                     Economic Events: No Events Today

  • Tuesday    Earnings: DSW, Intuit, Salesforce
  •                   Economic Events: Redbook, House Price Index

  • Wednesday    Earnings: Express, HP, Lowe's, Williams-Sonoma
  •                         Economic Events: MBA Mortgage Applications, New Home Sales

  • Thursday   Earnings: Burlington, Dollar Tree, GameStop, Perry Ellis, Staples, Michaels
  •                    Economic Events: Jobless Claims, PMI, Consumer Comfort Index, Fed Balance Sheet, Existing Home Sales

  • Friday       Earnings: No Events Today
  •                  Economic Events: Durable Goods Orders, Baker-Hughes Rig Count

Jeep Wrangler: By The Numbers

With Chinese automaker Great Wall announcing its intention to buy Jeep, us city-folk got to thinking about those summers we spent on country backroads in the iconic Wrangler. Or, at least daydreaming about it. Turns out this gritty SUV has quite the scorecard:

191,774-U.S. sales of the Jeep Wrangler in 2016. Only the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee posted better numbers for Jeep.

1996-The only model year for which Jeep did not make a Wrangler.

74%-Percentage of the Wrangler's parts sourced in the United States, including all of its engines.

#1-The Wrangler's ranking in Cars.com's American-Made Index.

2.4 million ft²-Size of the Toledo North Assembly Plant in Ohio, the production site of the 2018 Wrangler. It would take up half of Vatican City.

Question of the Day

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and chapter 11 bankruptcy?

(Give up?)

Who Am I?

I was one of the wealthiest businessmen in the late 1800's.
I bought 250,000 shares of stock in the New York Central Railroad from Will Vanderbilt.
I was the most powerful American banker of my time.
The bank I started remains the biggest bank in the United States.

(Any guesses?)

Stat of the Day

7%

Only 7% of roads in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city of 10 million, have sidewalks. That's…very low. So low, in fact, that Indonesia came in last out of 46 countries in a Stanford University survey of national walking habits. The average Indonesian takes 3,513 steps a day. By comparison, those fleet-footed residents of Hong Kong average almost double-6,880 steps.

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