Market Morning: Trump Lawyer Turns, UK Prepares Hard Brexit, Corona Goes to Pot, Costco Hits $100B

Trump Lawyer Implicates President, Campaign Manager Convicted

All in a day’s work. President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen admitted in court yesterday that a candidate for office had ordered him to pay hush money to two women who allegedly had extramarital affairs with Trump. He didn’t name Trump, but everyone is assuming that Trump is the man being implicated. It would end up being pretty funny if it wasn’t. Speculation now is that an impeachment process looks more likely, though stock futures haven’t sold off that hard on the news. S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) futures are down a third of a percent, as are the Dow Jones and Nasdaq (NASDAQ:QQQ). Being impeached for buying silence about an affair is quite a stretch, since Trump could claim that he had Cohen use his own money, especially if he paid cash, which he probably did. At the same time, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud, though for nothing related to Trump directly.

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U.K. To Inundate World With 84 Position Papers On What To Do If No-Deal Hard Brexit

If you can’t close a customs deal, then just flood the world with a whole bunch of scholarly position papers with the idea that the more people read, the more convinced markets will be about how under control things are. On Thursday, the United Kingdom will release the first of 84 position papers on contingency plans in the event of a no-deal hard Brexit. One of the main issues holding up the deal is the management of the border with Northern Ireland, which will stay within the customs union. The issue is who collects and what the border looks like. A self-imposed deadline for ironing out a deal comes in October, and the actual deadline is in March when Brexit is officially triggered.

Corona Beer Owner Constellation Brands Heading Into Cannabis

Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC), the Canadian cannabis grower, continues its trek upward after Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), owner of Corona Beer and other alcoholic beverage brands, made a $4 billion investment in the company. Shares of Canopy are now almost 60% higher since the deal was made late last week. Constellation now owns 38% of the company, up from 10% before its recent purchase of 104.5 million shares. If beer and cannabis can get along, though not while driving or operating heavy machinery, maybe there is hope for the world.

Costco Hits All Time High, Crosses $100B Market Cap

One retailer that hasn’t been feeling the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) bit has been Costco (NASDAQ:COST), which just crossed the $100B market cap threshold yesterday hitting all time highs of $230 a share. Costco has managed to keep Amazon at bay by keeping its prices low and using membership fees to keep them that way. Costco has 93 million members, 90% of whom renew ever year. 75% of Costco’s profit is from its membership fees, which means that the actual products it sells are sold nearly at cost. Costco also offers fresh food and gas, which Amazon can’t do through its website, and Whole Foods is not nearly the same experience as shopping at Costco.

EU Toughening Legislation on Social Media Speech

In proposed legislation to hit the European Union institutions later this year, posts considered racist will be taken down by law on the excuse that they promote terrorism. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Twitter (NASDAQ:TWTR) will be affected, and mandated to take down content considered illegal within 24 hours. The question is what is considered illegal, and will the new rules prevent people from saying things that the EU doesn’t like, beyond the obvious incitement issues calling for the murder of innocent people.

 

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