Morning Reads

Morning Reads

Todays Open Interest Change



It was only a year ago that Beijing and Moscow touted a new world order, but things appear to be unraveling fast for their economies. Exportsmanufacturing activity and property prices are sliding in China, which has decided to stop reporting the country's rising youth unemployment rate, while a worsening debt crisis and deflationary spiral are threatening growth. A collapse in commodity-based export revenues and extensive military spending have also weighed on sanctioned Russia, which just saw the ruble fall past the psychologically important level of 100 to the dollar after tumbling 37% YTD.

Central bank divergence: While the news has been grim, the countries are responding to their economic problems in different ways. On Tuesday, China slashed a range of key interest rates to shore up its economy, aiming to reignite growth and investment. It followed missed payments by Country Garden Holdings (OTCPK:CTRYF) - one of China's largest developers of real estate - in a sector that accounts for a quarter of overall economic activity. On the other hand, Russia's central bank hiked rates by 3.5 percentage points at an emergency gathering, bringing its key rate to a total of 12%, fearing inflationary pressures that could ripple through its economy.

As many Western companies have already pulled out of Russia, or are attempting to do so, investors are keeping a closer eye on the impacts of multinationals operating in China. Recent earnings calls from industrial players have flagged increasing headwinds, such as warnings from Caterpillar (CAT), Danaher (DHR), Dow Inc. (DOW), DuPont (DD), LyondellBasell (LYB) and Parker Hannifin (PH). Click through the transcripts and search for "China."

"While there is always a chance of a positive breakthrough in U.S.-Chinese relations that will lift Chinese stocks, markets reflect the current economic and geopolitical landscapes," noted SA Investing Group Leader Andrew Hecht.

What to watch: The gloomier outlook means China might miss its annual GDP growth target of 5% this year as it looks to sort out its economic problems. The first thing that needs to be addressed is the concern of growing financial contagion, and debt problems that span from local authorities to the central government. Declining domestic demand means shortfalls in tax revenue, while weakness in finances could harm Beijing's fiscal policy toolkit to help support the economy. (4 comments)

In contrast

Over in the U.S., July retail sales powered past estimates to rise 0.7% M/M, as consumers continued to show resilience and bolster the economy. A strong performance from the automotive sector and health & personal care categories stood out, while Amazon's (AMZN) Prime Day provided a further boost. The retail sales data indicates a 3% GDP growth rate is possible for Q3, according to ING Economic and Financial Analysis, though there could be some challenges down the line. Economists will also look to the release of FOMC minutes today for clues about the central bank's future path on monetary policy. (20 comments)

Retail radar

On the earnings front, American big-box retailer Home Depot (HD) ticked up 0.7% to $332/share on Tuesday after earnings topped estimates. CEO Ted Decker also noted that while there was a sequential improvement in comparable sales, a lot of that was a seasonal recovery for Q2. Home Depot additionally maintained its FY outlook, while costs improved as suppliers demanded fewer price hikes. Two other retail giants will report before the market open today, including TJX (TJX) and Target (TGT) - see the preview here. (13 comments)

Credit watch

There still may be some worries on the horizon. Fitch analyst Chris Wolf has warned that dozens of U.S. banks' credit ratings - including at some of the nation's biggest lenders - are at risk, though it's not a foregone conclusion. The cautious comment, which pushed financial stocks lower, comes a week after Moody's downgraded multiple small and mid-sized banks, and placed six larger lenders on watch. Earlier this month, Fitch downgraded the U.S.' long-term credit rating, partly blaming erosion of governance. (11 comments)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan -1.4%. Hong Kong -1.4%. China -0.8%. India +0.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.4%. Paris flat. Frankfurt +0.1%.
Futures at 7:00, Dow +0.02%. S&P +0.01%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude flat at $80.98. Gold +0.1% to $1,937.10. Bitcoin -0.7% to $29,157.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -3 bps to 4.19%.

Today's Economic Calendar

7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:30 Housing Starts and Permits
9:15 Industrial Production
10:00 Atlanta Fed's Business Inflation Expectations
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
2:00 PM FOMC Minutes

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

Kashkari: Fed made 'good progress' on inflation, but it's still too high.

CAVA (CAVA) rallies after first earnings report highlights growth story.

Tesla (TSLA) introduces cheaper versions of Model S and Model X.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) buys Carbon Engineering for $1.1B.

More optimism: Nvidia (NVDA) likely to see AI supercycle - Baird.

Sea Limited (SE) plunges as Q2 sales miss estimates.

Auto stocks on watch as major strike looks more likely.

No China nod: Intel (INTC) walks from Tower Semi (TSEMdeal.

Hawaiian Electric (HE) extends decline as S&P downgrades to junk.

What to know about J&J (JNJ) and Kenvue's (KVUEexchange offer.

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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