North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had a half-brother, Kim Jong Nam. Two years ago, Kim Jong Nam was killed in Malaysia when two women approached him at an airport and infected him with a banned chemical nerve agent. The theories swirled about how Kim Jong Un had his half brother killed because he wanted to be sure Nam would not come back and challenge him for leadership of North Korea. The Wall Street Journal is reporting another reason: Kim Jong Nam was an informant for the CIA. Nam did not live in North Korea and had no affiliation with the government for a while. So, it's not clear what information he may have had. But, the CIA is saying, "No Comment" and that makes me think the story is true. Does that make it any "Better"? That he killed him for being a spy and not to ward off a threat to his "Supreme Leadership"? I'm not sure. Dead is Dead.. Speaking of dead.. a Helicopter pilot is dead after crashing into the top of a NY City building. There are not many answers, yet. He was a private helicopter pilot. Apparently, he took off from a helipad near the East River after "waiting out the weather". I guess he didn't wait long enough because it was still foggy and raining. It is unclear whether there was a mechanical failure and he tried to land on the building or whether he drifted inland and accidentally hit the building. He was the only casualty but there were many in the building freaked out and evacuated... Also in NY .. Education Head Carranzais under fire for giving "Cronies and old friends" high paying jobs in the Education Department of NYC. It was discovered that he did not "follow procedure". The jobs, paying over $200,000, are required to be posted so that "all can apply" from inside and outside the current department. The jobs were not "Posted" and in one case Carranza invented a NEW position and gave it to a friend without even publicly announcing it. Carranza's explanation? RACIST!! "You are all RACIST. You are calling me out because I am a man of color. I am not going to stand for it" AHAHHAHAHHA.. Nice try, dude. This is NY City!! These watchdog groups call EVERYONE out. NO ONE mentioned race except YOU. You didn't follow the hiring procedure and you got CAUGHT!! That has NOTHING to do with Race ... Down in the Swamp, House Judiciary Chairman has jumped the shark. He has ZERO credibility left, now. (Yes, I know Nadler is from NY.. and that NY is dominating the rant.. but.. that's where the interesting stories are today.. I can't Rant about LA's homeless problem EVERY day!!).. Nadler brought Watergate Era lawyer, John Dean, to "Testify" at the hearings about the Muller investigation. John Dean was disbarred in DC and Virginia because of felony convictions on his record. Even Liberal politicians and reporters were questioning Dean's appearance. They are now calling the hearings a "Full Blown Circus" (For the record, I saw many "Clowns" but no Elephants or Trapeze) .. and in ANOTHER NY Story .. the State Legislature advanced a bill to Legalize Sex Workers. The women pushing the Bill say that "Yes, part of the reason is the 'My Body, My Decision', but they believe if you legalize it and monitor it that you can help control the widespread Sex-trafficking of young runaways and Asian immigrants" .. Hmm.. here are my thoughts on this.. 1) It IS kinda hard to be in favor of Abortion because "the government should stay out of a woman's body" and then be against legal prostitution. Legally, if it's "Her body to do with as she wants" she would then be able to "sell it" or "Rent it" .. 2) The Politicians, of course, left out the REAL reason for the bill: TO TAX IT!!! RIght??? TAX REVENUE!!! That is ALWAYS the name of the game.. and the third thing is: Why is it "Traffic" but the gerund is "Trafficking" with a K ?? Why not just make it "Traffick" so that 4th grade teachers can stop torturing students on spelling tests?? .. SPORTS: NBA: Kevin Durant came off the Injured list ..scored 11 points.. and tore his achilles. Now, he is REALLY injured. He helped Golden State win 106-105. But, now he is gone for months. Toronto leads 3-2.. MLB: Arizona started off the game against the Phillies (See, NEITHER of those teams are in NY) with THREE Home Runs in a row. There were a total of 13 Home Runs in the game. Great Pitchers Dual, eh? Diamondbacks win 13-8. .. and .. I have Ranted about the odd sports of "Shin Kicking" and "Face Slapping" .. and of course.. took some heat from the lady readers because those were "Men's" competitions. Well, Russian woman have come to my rescue. I give you the Russian Competition known as "Booty Slapping" HERE The object of the competition is to get into a stable posture and withstand the slap without moving. It's kind like when a gymnast nails a landing and doesn't take that "Step" that causes deductions. If you get your butt slapped and take a step, YOU'RE OUT!!! CELEBRIDIOTS: Actor Cuba Gooding Jr., accidentally thought he was in Russia and involved in a Booty Slapping competition. He wasn't. He as in a NY Club and is accused of groping a woman. I am not sure the "I thought it was a competition" defense is gonna work .. The "David Ortiz Shooting" and another tourist death is going to CRUSH tourism in the Dominican Republic. The "Story" coming out of the D.R. is that a drug lord hired a hit man to shoot Ortiz because he thought Ortiz was dating his wife. Ortiz is stable enough to fly and the Red Sox sent their jet to take Ortiz to Boston General to make sure he is OK. ANOTHER tourist is dead after what appears to be poisoning. That make SIX. Dominican authorities are terrified of losing their tourism money and are calling the deaths, "Natural Causes" The World Health Organization and the US CDC are down there now investigating. You think it's just ONE looney who is putting poison in stuff? .. The ratings are out for the Tony Awardsand.. you guessed it.. DOWN AGAIN.. LOWEST EVER.. Some are saying it's "Liberal Trump Bashing" that is causing people to tune out.. I think it has more to do with the younger generation. You gotta get the shows available on Ipads and phones ..make them shorter.. and stop giving awards to all the old people. People under 30 do NOT want to sit in front of a TV for three hours unless they are playing Call of Duty or Fortnite .. Former NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr has been convicted in his rape trial. Geez. Raping a 58 year old homeless woman? I'd say he will probably rot in hell for that.. but Federal Prison might be worse than hell for him .. ..and.. I am a BIG fan of Ambition. SI Swimsuit Model, Anne DePaula, HERE says that just because she has become a successful model does not mean she is giving up on her dream of being a Doctor!! Yo GO GIRL !!!... GET THAT DEGREE!!! ...then.. Get OVER HERE ANNE!!! I want to show you where it hurts!!!
It looks like there is another session of gains in store for Wall Street, with DJIA futures up by 120 points and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ahead by over 0.5%. The advance comes despite the latest trade war comments from President Trump, who said that if Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend the G-20 meeting later this month, there would be additional duties "immediately" levied on Chinese goods. "The China deal is going to work out. You know why? Because of tariffs," he told CNBC. "Right now, China is getting absolutely decimated by companies that are leaving China, going to other countries, including our own, because they don’t want to pay the tariffs."
Congress will begin its scrutiny of America's tech giants this afternoon amid growing discomfort in Washington over the power that the companies wield over the industry and public life. An inaugural hearing by the House Judiciary Committee will analyze anti-competitive practices among Silicon Valley’s biggest names, starting with a look at the impact of their platforms on news content, the media and the spread of misinformation online. The committee has already put Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) on alert, and members made clear that the tech titans will go under the microscope.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is gearing up for its annual shareholder meeting - set to kick off today at 5:30 p.m. ET - amid recent wild stock fluctuations driven by sudden sentiment changes on Wall Street. This year, shareholders will consider the re-election of two board members, new equity incentive and employee stock purchase plan, as well as recertification of the company's outside accounting firm, a public policy committee and a proposed simple majority rule to replace the current super majority. After swinging to a loss in Q1, Elon Musk insisted that the company will return to profitability in the second half of 2019, meaning investors will focus on any updates to those predictions.
Just a month ago, Amazon (AMZN) opened its first cashier-free convenience store in New York. This morning it will open another. 300 Park Avenue in Midtown will also be the second Amazon Go location to serve brewed coffee and espresso drinks, something the company has been testing back in Seattle in a deal with Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). Cameron James, VP of physical stores at Amazon, wouldn't comment on how many stores Amazon ultimately plans to bring to New York, but it's been reported the company could open as many as 3,000 locations across the country by 2021.
China equities outperformed overnight, with the Shanghai Composite jumping 2.6%, after Beijing encouraged local governments to use special bonds for infrastructure projects in a bid to shore up economic growth. That helped offset President Trump's threat to raise tariffs again if President Xi Jinping doesn’t meet with him at the G-20 summit at the end of June. The onshore yuan also bounced off its closing low of the year as the PBOC set its reference rate higher than forecast and announced plans to sell bills this month after the currency was hit in May.
Representatives of the EU's national governments are gathering today to decide whether to start disciplinary procedures over Italy's rule-breaking debt levels. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has chosen, for now, to play the stand-off softly, insisting that he didn't want to "pick up a fight with Europe" and that a compromise could be found. Easing concerns about a snap election, heads of the ruling parties are set to meet with finance minister Giovanni Tria to set out a shared budget package acceptable to the EU Commission.
Federal judge Richard Leon appears to be on track to derail CVS's (NYSE:CVS) $69B plans to buy health insurer Aetna, amid concerns the deal would give the nation's biggest drug store too much power and result in higher drug prices, sources told the New York Post. After sparring with lawyers and witnesses for two days last week, Judge Leon scheduled oral arguments for July 17 and is expected to rule soon after that. A rejection would likely set the stage for an appeal by DOJ, which has recommended that the deal be approved.
Shutterfly (NASDAQ:SFLY) has reached a deal to be acquired by private-equity firm Apollo Global (NYSE:APO) for $2.7B. The $51 per share cash consideration represents a premium of 31% when compared to Shutterfly’s unaffected closing stock price of $38.91 on April 23, 2019, the last trading day before a media report was published about the transaction. According to the WSJ, Apollo will also buy Snapfish, which it plans to combine with Shutterfly to create a bigger player in online-photo services.
Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) must "make our peace" with Renault (OTCPK:RNLSY), according to CEO Hiroto Saikawa, after a feud threatened to rip apart the 20-year alliance between the two companies. It's not merely a cross-shareholding or board member exchange structure, he added, but a "cradle" for cooperation and value creation. The future of the partnership was thrown into doubt after last year’s arrest of Carlos Ghosn, then chairman of Nissan and chief executive of Renault, and became more difficult after Renault and Fiat-Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) last week held abortive merger talks.
A European payment system, known as INSTEX, designed to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran will be ready soon, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced as he met Iranian officials in Tehran. The deal has the Trump administration weighing additional penalties against the Special Trade and Finance Institute, an Iranian financial body set up as a go-between for humanitarian trade with Europe. Punishing the STFI could doom INSTEX because it raises the possibility of sanctions risk to anyone who's a part of the European mechanism.
What else is happening...
Contributor Colorado Wealth Management Fund pens an article on how to retire at 62 with $1.25M.
Top refinery lobby group sues Trump EPA over E15 gasoline.
In Asia, Japan +0.3%. Hong Kong +0.8%. China +2.6%. India +0.5%. In Europe, at midday, London +0.5%. Paris +0.8%. Frankfurt +1.3%. Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.5%. S&P +0.5%. Nasdaq +0.7%. Crude +0.4% to $53.49. Gold -0.2% to $1326.20. Bitcoin +2.8% to $7936. Ten-year Treasury Yield +3 bps to 2.17%
Today's Economic Calendar
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