Movers & Shakers: July 16, 2019

Wall Street holds steady after two-days of record closes as JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson earnings roll in.  The top three equity benchmarks are little changed in futures trading on Tuesday following JPMorgan Chase’s second-quarter earnings beat and positive comments from CEO Jamie Dimon who said, “We continue to see positive momentum with the U.S. consumer – healthy confidence levels, solid job creation and rising wages…” Investors will also be watching this morning for reports from other top U.S. firms, including Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson, on financial results through June. United Airlines reports after the closing bell today.

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A top Facebook executive to testify in front of Congress on Libra as the new digital currency faces crowing scrutiny. David Marcus, who heads the social media giant’s digital wallet, will appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m. EST. His testimony comes as key government officials and lawmakers increasingly express concern over Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency. The most recent criticism came from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who told reporters he was “not comfortable” with the launch of the offering mirroring recent comments from Fed Chair Powell and President Trump.

The Google-Peter Thiel battle continues. Billionaire Peter Thiel upped his criticism of the tech giant during an interview on Fox News on Monday, telling host Tucker Carlson that CEO Sundar Pichai should answer questions on Google’s decision to work with the Chinese military and whether any foreign intelligence agencies have penetrated the company’s internal networks. Google maintains that Thiel’s accusations are false, but declined to elaborate beyond the denial.

Jeffrey Epstein fallout continues as Victoria’s Secret CEO distances himself from the embattled millionaire. Les Wexner, who heads parent of Victoria’s Secret, L Brands, told employees he was unaware of Epstein’s alleged child sex trafficking activity after reports that aspiring Victoria’s Secret models routinely visited his Manhattan home. Wexner managed Epstein’s financial assets, which total $559 million, according to court documents released on Monday.

Former Idaho governor presses Trump administration to probe whether China is backing a new mining company. In a letter sent earlier this month, former Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter asked Mnuchin to investigate Australia-based Jervois Mining’s acquisition of ECobalt Solutions, specifically the outside investment from China. The Treasury Department declined to comment, citing the confidential nature of reviews by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Otter now sits on the board of Canadian mining firm Cobalt Corp.

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