German election; More NAFTA and Brexit talks; Tax reform

GOP senators unveil alternative health plan
GOP senators unveil alternative health plan

1. Germany's election: Angela Merkel won a fourth term as German Chancellor. She went against Martin Schulz of the Social Democratic Party in Sunday's election.

Merkel, 63, has led the European Union's largest economy for more than 11 years.

Germans voted for seats in the Bundestag, the country's parliament. Now Merkel will have to put a coalition government together, and her center-right CDU and its sister party, CSU, had their share of the vote slashed. For the first time since 1961, a far-right party won enough votes to enter the Bundestag.

Merkel's win could mean bad news for German automakers. She's become a tough critic of the industry, which is still reeling from the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

2. NAFTA talks, Round 3: The renegotiation of NAFTA, the trade deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that President Trump promised to blow up, is continuing.

Little if any visible progress has been made so far on key issues, such as car manufacturing. The third round of talks began on Saturday in Ottawa and run through Wednesday.

All sides are signaling that they plan to bring a heavier hand this time.

One highlight: American officials are expected to propose a controversial new "sunset clause" to NAFTA, which means the agreement would expire after five years unless all countries decide to sign on for another five years.

"It would force a systematic reexamination" of NAFTA, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at an event hosted by Politico on September 14. Critics say it would cause widespread uncertainty in the business community.

3. Brexit talks, Round 4: Britain and the European Union will take another stab at Brexit negotiations on Monday.

Both parties still need to sort out the rights of millions of migrants, trade terms and the size of the divorce bill Britain will pay the EU.

Earlier this month, British Parliament voted in favor of a bill that ensures European laws won't apply to the United Kingdom once Brexit is completed in 2019.

The vote was a victory for Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been under mounting pressure to unite her government.

4. The week ahead in Washington: It was supposed to be (another) pivotal moment in the Republicans' attempts to replace Obamacare. That was until Senator John McCain said he wouldn't support the latest bill, known as Graham-Cassidy.

Tax reform remains on the docket this week. Republicans may release a framework of their plan to cut taxes. How much detail is not clear.

5. Earnings: Nike is set to report quarterly financial results on Tuesday. Nike (NKE) faces stiff competition from Adidas, which last week became the second best seller of American footwear.

The owner of Olive Garden is also reporting earnings on Tuesday. Darden Restaurants (DRI) enjoyed a jump in sales when it reported earnings last quarter. This time around, investors are expecting to see sales of around $1.9 billion.

6. Coming this week:

Monday -- Fourth round of Brexit talks; Time and Fortune's CEO leadership conference

Tuesday -- Nike (NKE) and Darden (DRI) earnings

Thursday -- Report on U.S. gross domestic product for second quarter

Friday -- Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) meets with Senate Intelligence Committee; New data due on Brazil's struggling economy

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