Thursday's Market Prepper
- Bad Beef
- Five Things For Today
- Big Oil Replaces Rigs
- China Bets
- Going Rogue
- Nike Suffering
- Sears’ Future In Doubt
- $5 Billion Diamond Stash
- Bebe Plans to Shut Its Stores
- Explain This
- Market Outlook
- Morning Perspective
- Jobless claims move higher
- Futures inch up with healthcare in focus
- BAML cautious on Google amid ad boycott
- Longest rally for yen in six years
- Profit beat for ConAgra Brands
- High stakes for Obamacare repeal vote
- Verizon, AT&T suspend Google ads
- Teva Pharm may fire 6,000 workers
- Wells Fargo introduces cardless ATMs
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 23, 2017
— Tom Hearden (@followtheh) March 23, 2017
The odds of getting an Obamacare replacement bill passed by the House improved late Wednesday as the White House reportedly offered to get rid of the set of minimum benefits health insurers are now required to provide customers. That could win over some members of the Freedom Caucus ahead of today's crucial healthcare vote, which investors see as a litmus test for President Trump's broader plans and trade on Wall Street.
The Metropolitan police have revised the toll in yesterday's terror attack in London, confirming 4 dead and 29 injured, while revealing that seven suspects have been arrested in overnight raids. Authorities have asked the media not to identify the assailant while they are "at a sensitive stage in the investigation," but police believe the attack was inspired by "Islamist-related terrorism."
"If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets," President Erdogan declared in his latest salvo in a row over campaigning by Turkish politicians in Europe. On Tuesday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn told Bild that "with regard to the strict accession criteria, Turkey has been moving further and further away from the EU for some time."
The ECB is about to give lenders a last offer of free long-term cash. The final round of Targeted Longer-Term Refinancing Operations - four-year loans at an interest rate that starts at zero and could go lower - will be allotted to banks this morning. Economist estimates for the size of the uptake by banks vary tremendously, from €30B to as high as €750B.
Germany's large current account surplus is the result of competitiveness and the government has no influence over it, the finance ministry said in a report, adding that the surplus will shrink in the near future. It has led Europe's largest economy to be under fire for years, but the Trump administration recently stepped up criticism, accusing it of unfairly benefiting from weak currencies at America's expense.
The Swiss National Bank carried out foreign exchange interventions totaling 67.1B Swiss francs in 2016 in order to counter "an undesired tightening of monetary conditions." That was down from 86.1B francs in 2015, when the SNB intervened heavily at the start of the year following its decision to remove a cap on the franc's value against the euro.
Canada unveiled modest new spending in its 2017 budget plan on the belief its multibillion-dollar stimulus program introduced last year is boosting consumption and economic growth. The lack of major spending also suggests Ottawa is willing to wait until U.S. policy becomes clearer, as proposed changes to trade could have major ramifications for the Canadian economy.
Continuing the week of Fedspeak... Janet Yellen is set to give opening remarks this morning at the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference in Washington, D.C. At the same event, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will speak on "U.S. education outcomes and achievement gaps." Later today, Dallas's Robert Kaplan participates in a moderated Q&A session on the economic outlook and monetary policy.
Teva Pharmaceutical plans to cut as many as 6,000 jobs, or about 11% of its global workforce, Israel's Calcalist reports. It has had a rough year, with a series of costly acquisitions, along with delayed drug launches and heavy competition. Erez Vigodman resigned as CEO last month and Teva's (NYSE:TEVA) U.S.-traded shares are near a ten-year low at $32.61. TEVA +1.1% premarket.
U.S. wireless carriers have suspended digital advertising on Google's (GOOG, GOOGL) YouTube and other advertising platforms not related to search over concerns that their ads may have run next to extremist videos. The move by Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T) adds more significant advertisers to the backlash, which also includes consumer brands McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Honda (NYSE:HMC), Toyota (NYSE:TM) and L'Oreal (OTCPK:LRLCY).
After working for almost a year without a contract, 17,000 AT&T (T) workers have gone on strike against the company in California and Nevada. The employees are picketing call centers and offices, citing "unilateral changes in job requirements." "A walkout is not in anybody's best interest," AT&T spokesperson Marty Richter said, but the company is "very prepared to continue serving customers" despite it.
Becoming the first to update its entire network, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) plans to upgrade all 13,000 of its ATMs next week to allow customers to access their funds using cellphones instead of bank cards. Clients would get a unique eight-digit code from the Wells Fargo smartphone app and enter it into the ATM along with their PIN number.
The European Commission is set to formally block a tie-up between Deutsche Boerse (OTCPK:DBOEY) and the London Stock Exchange (OTCPK:LNSTY) before the end of this month, according to Reuters. The deal has been on the verge of collapse since February, when the LSE said it wouldn't be able to meet Brussels's request for it to sell its fixed-income trading platform MTS.
Facing a backlash for promising to hire refugees, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) plans to step up its military hiring. The coffee retailer will hire 25,000 veterans and their spouses by 2025, on top of more than 10,000 brought on board since a pledge made four years ago. In support of military communities, the chain also said it's opening 100 more locations near major U.S. bases in the next five years.
Attempting to quell bankruptcy fears, Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) CFO Jason Hollar reiterated efforts the company has made to cut costs and shore up its liquidity, and said the inclusion of new language in Sears' 10-K was meant to adhere to regulatory standards. "Sears remains focused on executing our transformation plan and will continue to meet our financial obligations."
France's economy minister is not ruling out cutting the government's stake in Renault (OTCPK:RNLSY), but added that any sale would have to take place at the best possible market conditions. "I don't want to make French people lose money," Michel Sapin told BFM radio. France currently holds just under 20% of Renault, whose shares are down by around 6% so far in 2017.
Statoil has "reset" its exploration campaign in the Gulf of Mexico by placing top bids for 13 offshore deepwater leases there in the latest auction. It follows years of declining offshore interest that dates back before the downturn in oil and gas prices. Statoil (NYSE:STO) made total bids of $44.5M, second only to Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) and ahead of Hess (NYSE:HES), Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon (NYSE:XOM).
Following two reports of the life-saving allergy shot failing to work in emergencies, Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) has recalled about 81,000 EpiPen devices in countries outside the U.S. In both situations, patients were able to obtain treatment through the use of an alternate EpiPen. The recall affects devices distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Europe.
The U.S. utilities that are clients of Toshiba's (OTCPK:TOSYY) Westinghouse nuclear unit have hired advisers to prepare for its potential bankruptcy, sources told Reuters. Scana (NYSE:SCG) and Southern Co. (NYSE:SO), among Westinghouse's largest creditors, hope to recover the cost overruns on projects, which tally in the billions of dollars.
Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp. has pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate American sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran. The guilty plea was part of an agreement ZTE (OTCPK:ZTCOY) reached earlier this month with U.S. authorities that also called for up to $1.2B in fines and other penalties.
Microsoft has finished development of a Windows 10 version customized for Chinese government use, which could boost its China prospects after sales were hit by Beijing's cybersecurity crackdown. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) declined to say how the software was modified, but in general China's government is concerned about technology products that could contain hidden "back doors" to enable foreign surveillance.
European countries won't be following the U.S. and U.K. by adopting a cabin ban on large electronic devices. Officials in France, Germany and the Netherlands say they haven't received enough information to introduce the restrictions on certain Middle Eastern flights. Carrier worries? Businessmen may live with the disruption for the sake of convenience but other passengers may start to shop around. Related tickers: OTCQX:DLAKY, OTCPK:AFLYY
In Asia, Japan +0.2%. Hong Kong flat. China +0.1%. India +0.6%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.1%. Paris flat. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow flat. S&P +0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude +0.6% to $48.32. Gold -0.1% to $1248.30.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2 bps to 2.41%
Today's Economic Calendar
8:00 PM Janet Yellen speech
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
10:00 New Home Sales
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
12:00 PM Fed's Kashkari speech
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
7:00 PM Fed's Kaplan: Economic Outlook and Monetary Policy