October 11, 2018 / 12:32 PM / 8 days ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

Hurricane Michael heads northeast, stocks sell-off slams back into Europe and Reuters investigates a child poisoned in National Guard housing. Catch up on the latest headlines.

A downed tree and power lines block a road during Hurricane Michael in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

 Highlights

The third-most powerful storm ever to strike the U.S. mainland headed northeast to soak Georgia and the Carolinas, leaving the Florida Panhandle to assess the devastation left by Hurricane Michael.

Special Report: One-year-old Emily Price had lethargy and hearing problems. She refused to eat. After she tested positive for lead poisoning, state inspectors found her living in a Louisiana National Guard-operated home with toxic dust and soil. Reuters investigates how the Guard left the Prices in the dark as Emily’s lead levels surged.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh is unlikely to heed calls by critics to step aside from certain politically charged U.S. Supreme Court cases in which his fairness and independence might be questioned after a divisive confirmation fight, according to legal experts.

Markets

European stocks slumped to a more than an 18-month low after Wall Street’s worst losses in eight months triggered a surge of global selling that knocked over Asia too.

For stock investors, the recent spike in bond yields may be prompting some uncomfortable deja vu. Back in late January and early February, there was a 10 percent correction in the S&P 500, with stock investors spooked as Treasury yield increases intensified with a monthly payrolls report showing the biggest wage gains for workers since 2009. This time around, strong economic data worried bond investors, who sent the benchmark yield on Tuesday to 3.261 percent, the highest since early May 2011.

World

Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair attends an event at Thomson Reuters in London, Britain, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Former British leader Tony Blair said there was a 50-50 chance of another Brexit referendum as Prime Minister Theresa May will be unlikely to secure a parliamentary majority for any divorce deal.

For the fourth year running, Stanford University tops Reuters’ ranking of the World’s Most Innovative Universities, a list that identifies and ranks the educational institutions doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies and power new markets and industries.

Three senior journalists at Myanmar’s largest private newspaper were remanded in custody after handing themselves in to police, facing accusations of causing “fear or alarm” following a complaint from the Yangon regional government.

Commentary

The disappearance and possible murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has cast a long shadow over Saudi Arabia’s global image, writes Maysam Behravesh, a multimedia journalist at the TV channel Iran International. If the Saudi government did in fact kill or kidnap him, the crime would have significant implications for Middle East politics. It would also provoke renewed criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who since assuming office in June 2017 has overseen a crackdown on dissent, including frequent arrests of religious leaders, intellectuals, activists as well as royals critical of his rule.

Business

Rising costs for companies are worrying investors already concerned about a step down in U.S. corporate profit growth next year as Wall Street’s focus turns away from 2018’s tax-fueled earnings boost.

Germany’s BMW will pay 3.6 billion euros ($4.2 billion) to take control of its main joint venture in China, the first such move by a global carmaker as Beijing starts to relax ownership rules for the world’s biggest auto market.

The U.S. Air Force said that it had awarded a total $2.3 billion in contracts to develop rocket launch systems for national security missions.

Reuters TV

As a U.S.-China trade war continues, China, the world’s largest consumer of soybeans, has scaled back purchases of U.S. grain and is turning instead to Brazil.

Trump trade war delivers farm boom in Brazil
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