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Morning Brief: US births at lowest rate since 1987

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What to watch today

On Thursday, investors will get the week’s biggest earnings report in the morning as Walmart ( WMT ) is set to report results for its first quarter before the market open. Analysts are expecting the world’s largest retailer to report adjusted earnings per share of $1.12 on revenue of $120.4 billion, according to estimates from Bloomberg. Global same-store sales excluding gas are expected to rise 2.1%, while U.S. same-store sales should rise 2.3% during the quarter. Investors will also be looking for commentary on the company’s online efforts as Walmart has in recent years stepped up its competition with Amazon ( AMZN ). Last week, it was announced that Walmart had paid $16 billion for a 77% stake in Indian e-commerce company Flipkart .

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Top news

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

US births hit lowest number since 1987 : American women are having children at the lowest rate on record, with the number of babies born in the U.S. last year dropping to a 30-year low, federal figures released Thursday showed. Some 3.85 million babies were born last year, down 2% from 2016 and the lowest number since 1987, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. [The Wall Street Journal]

Zuckerberg to meet EU officials — dodging public grilling :  Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to speak with leaders of the European parliament next week about the data protection scandal that has engulfed his company — but might avoid a public testimony like the one he endured in the U.S. [AP]

Cisco sales, profit lifted by corporate spending on networks : Cisco Systems Inc. ( CSCO ) gave an upbeat forecast for fiscal fourth-quarter sales, a signal of healthy demand for equipment and software that runs the internet and corporate networks. Revenue in the current period will rise 4% to 6% from a year earlier, the San Jose, California-based company said Wednesday in a statement. That indicates sales of $12.6 billion to $12.9 billion, compared with an average analyst prediction of $12.7 billion. [Bloomberg]

Ford to resume production of popular F-Series pickup : Ford ( F ) is resuming production of its F-Series pickup trucks, ending assembly line shut downs at two of its most important plants that have lasted more than a week. Returning to full production is likely to take some time as the automaker has scrambled to re-establish manufacturing of critical components from a supplier. [CNBC]

Trump disclosure of Cohen payment raises new legal questions : President Donald Trump revealed in his financial disclosure Wednesday that he reimbursed personal attorney Michael Cohen as much as $250,000 for unspecified “expenses,” with no mention of a $130,000 payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual tryst she said they had. The head of the nation’s ethics office questioned why Trump didn’t include this in his previous year’s sworn disclosure and passed along his concerns to federal prosecutors. [AP]

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A Bugatti T 35 A passes through the city centre of Ferrara during the first day of the Mille Miglia on May 16, 2018 in Ferrara, Italy. The 2018 edition of Mille Miglia hosts 467 participants and will run from May 16-19. (Photo by Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images

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