Missing Billionaires and U.S. Retail Sales — 5 Things to Know Today
Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are sharply lower this morning, dragged down by a four-year low in the Chinese yuan and more misery in the oil markets, where crude futures hit a new six-year low of $36.13 a barrel on fears that the world is running out of places to store surplus oil. The dollar is just about holding below $1.10 to the euro as investors continue to unwind positions after being caught out by the European Central Bank last week.
Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Phil Wahba and it looks back at last year’s Men’s Wearhouse (MW) purchase of rival retailer Jos. A Bank—a $1.8 billion deal that has not worked out well for the clothier.
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. China’s ‘Warren Buffett’ Goes Missing
The man known as ‘China’s Warren Buffett’ has become the latest high-profile businessman to go missing. Guo Guangchang, chairman of one of China’s biggest conglomerates, Fosun, has been out of contact with the company for at least a day, Caixin said. Trading was halted Friday in two of conglomerate’s listed firms in Hong Kong. Postings yesterday on Chinese social media said Guo was seen being taken away by police at a Shanghai airport.
2. U.S. retail sales
The Commerce Department is expected to report a 0.3% uptick in U.S. retail sales in November, thanks in part to higher incomes and cheap gasoline prices that helped lift vehicle purchases. November included the beginning of the holiday shopping season, when fewer shoppers hit stores on Black Friday, but online sales soared on Cyber Monday. U.S. consumer sentiment is also expected to have jumped last month to a four-month high of 92.0, thanks to low gas prices.
3. Sea-Doo maker reports earnings
BRP (DOO), which makes Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo watercraft, is expected to report lower third-quarter profit after the Canadian company saw an increase in expenses during its most recent quarter. The company has also seen its sales hurt overseas by the strong U.S. dollar as well as by Western sanctions in Russia, which is one of its biggest markets.
4. Congress votes to extend spending bill deadline
Today is the deadline for Congress to pass a federal funding bill in order to prevent another government shutdown, but lawmakers are expected to only pass a stop-gap measure that would push back the deadline. Congress is working on hammering out a $1.15 trillion bill that would keep federal agencies funded through September, but leaders have yet to agree on a handful of attached issues such as Republicans’ plans to defund Planned Parenthood.
5. ‘The Big Short’ hits theaters
The movie based on Michael Lewis’ 2010 book about the housing bubble and credit default swaps opens in limited release (in Los Angeles and New York) before its nationwide release, on Christmas. The film, which follows the stories of several people who predicted that the bubble would burst and set up the credit default swap market, stars Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Christian Bale.
— Reuters contributed to this post.