Happy Tuesday! Today is August 18th and the S&P 500 tries again to close at a record high. Diageo is acquiring Aviation Gin, which is backed by actor Ryan Reynolds and Biden outspends Trump on Facebook ads for the first time since June. Oracle is in talks to acquire TikTok, challenging Microsoft. UNC Chapel Hill will shift all undergraduate courses for the fall to remote instruction Wednesday, following a series of Covid-19 outbreaks.
U.S. stock futures were pointing to gains at Tuesday’s open after two Dow component retailers, Walmart and Home Depot, reported stronger earnings. The S&P 500 finished Monday’s session just over 4 points below its last closing record of 3,386.15 on Feb. 19. The S&P 500 has rebounded more than 50% since hitting its coronavirus-driven low of 2,191.86 on March 23.
Diageo Plc agreed to acquire Aviation American Gin and other liquors sold by Davos Brands LLC, which is co-owned by “Deadpool” actor Ryan Reynolds. The deal, for a total consideration of $610 million, is Diageo’s second acquisition in recent years of a Hollywood-backed spirit.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last week outspent President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Facebook advertisements for the first time since June 6, following the selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate. Biden’s Facebook page spent $6.1 million between Aug. 9 and Aug. 15. That surpassed the spend from Trump and Pence’s Facebook pages of $4.76 million during the same period.
Oracle is working with U.S. venture capital firms to acquire TikTok’s U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations. Oracle’s talks are ongoing and have progressed in recent days. Oracle’s interest challenges Microsoft, which has been in talks to acquire the same TikTok assets for more than a month.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will shift all undergraduate courses for the fall to remote instruction Wednesday, following a series of Covid-19 outbreaks on and around campus since starting classes last week. UNC reported 135 new cases in the past week, including 130 among students, with multiple separate clusters. Its positive-test rate was 13.6% between Aug. 10 and Aug. 16, according to a web dashboard that tracks cases, up from 2.8% the prior week.