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Today in History for Aug 19, 2020

Let's start with a little history, shall we?

First, Login to T2BF. Trade the winners     

On August 19, 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500. Built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana, the speedway was started by local businessmen as a testing facility for Indiana’s growing automobile industry. 

The idea was that occasional races at the track would pit cars from different manufacturers against each other. After seeing what these cars could do, spectators would presumably head down to the showroom of their choice to get a closer look. The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. 

In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators. The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway reopened in December 1909. In 1911, low attendance led the track’s owners to make a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500–a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

On August 19, 1934, Adolf Hitler, already chancellor, is also elected president of Germany in an unprecedented consolidation of power in the short history of the republic. In 1932, German President Paul von Hindenburg, old, tired, and a bit senile, had won re-election as president, but had lost a considerable portion of his right/conservative support to the Nazi Party. Those close to the president wanted a cozier relationship to Hitler and the Nazis. Hindenburg had contempt for the Nazis’ lawlessness, but ultimately agreed to oust his chancellor, Heinrich Bruning, for Franz von Papen, who was willing to appease the Nazis by lifting the ban on Hitler’s Brown Shirts and unilaterally canceling Germany’s reparation payments, imposed by the Treaty of Versailles at the close of World War I

In February 1933, Hitler blamed a devastating Reichstag fire on the communists (its true cause remains a mystery) and convinced President Hindenburg to sign a decree suspending individual and civil liberties, a decree Hitler used to silence his political enemies with false arrests. Upon the death of Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler proceeded to purge the Brown Shirts (his storm troopers), the head of which, Ernst Roem, had began voicing opposition to the Nazi Party’s terror tactics. Hitler had Roem executed without trial, which encouraged the army and other reactionary forces within the country to urge Hitler to further consolidate his power by merging the presidency and the chancellorship. This would make Hitler commander of the army as well. A plebiscite vote was held on August 19. Intimidation, and fear of the communists, brought Hitler a 90 percent majority. He was now, for all intents and purposes, dictator.

On this day in 1812, during the War of 1812, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerrière in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shot merely bounced off the Constitution‘s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. By the war’s end, “Old Ironsides” destroyed or captured seven more British ships. The success of the USS Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous boost in morale for the young American republic. After the war, Old Ironsides served as the flagship of the navy’s Mediterranean squadron and in 1828 was laid up in Boston. Two years later, the navy considered scrapping the Constitution, which had become unseaworthy, leading to an outcry of public support for preserving the famous warship. The navy refurbished the Constitution, and it went on to serve as the flagship of the Mediterranean, Pacific, and Home squadrons. In 1844, the frigate left New York City on a global journey that included visits to numerous international ports as a goodwill agent of the United States. In the early 1850s, it served as flagship of the African Squadron and patrolled the West African coast looking for slave traders. In 1855, the Constitution retired from active military service, but the famous vessel continued to serve the United States, first as a training ship and later as a touring national landmark.

Now for some stock and investing news-

Juul Labs ($MO) says the FDA will begin reviewing its applications for its e-cigarette device and certain nicotine cartridges in a step forward for the company. Juul filed the applications with the FDA late last month asking for permission to keep selling the products. Another wildcard was added to the mix earlier this week when Stanford researchers said they found teens and young adults who use electronic cigarettes were at a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

Jiong Shao is out of the chief financial officer's role at Sorrento Therapeutics ($SRNE), according to a company filing. Shao's employment with the company "terminated in its entirety, effectively immediately" yesterday, according to yesterday's filing. The news of Shao's termination comes closely on the heels of Sorrento's battle with short seller Hindenburg Research, which cast doubt on the market potential of Sorrento's COVID-19 saliva test.

In a bid to refocus its business and reduce debt following its $59B Shire acquisition, Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical ($TAK) is planning to sell its consumer healthcare unit (generating 3% of total sales) to US fund Blackstone ($BX) for $2.85B (¥300B), reports Reuters. The talks are in the final stage and the companies plan to close the deal by the end of this month. Neither company commented on the report.

Off to Google Finance and Market Watch!

Target on Wednesday blew past every forecast on Wall Street for its fiscal second quarter as it attracted millions of new customers online, setting a record for same-store sales that drove profits up by an eye-popping 80.3% to $1.7 billion. Shares jumped by nearly 9% in premarket trading. $TGT

Where is Jon Corzine and is MF Global buying shares of Target today?

Where is Marissa Mayer and is her online sports betting company looking to buy DraftKings?

Where is Elizabeth Holmes and will she ever stand trial for "massive" fraud?

Where is Elon Musk and with $TSLA down slightly to start the day, will he take to Twitter to boost the stock price once again?

Have a great day everyone. Stay safe out there.

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