Thursday's Market Prepper - News, Charts, and More
- Futures up with big events on tap
- ECB pulls rate cut guidance
- U.K. voters head to the polls
- Sirius said to be in talks with Pandora
- Valeant divests iNova, shares +5%
- Morgan Stanley negative on Ford
- Focus on latest Draghi comments
- Solid earnings from J.M. Smucker
- Traders gear up for Comey testimony
- Alibaba forecasts monster growth
New ECB staff forecasts. Larger revision than expected to 2018 inflation, but 0.1% 'only' to 2019. pic.twitter.com/jsgW73ZYUO
— Frederik Ducrozet (@fwred) June 8, 2017
Any of three big events today, each with significant risk, could rattle complacent markets, where bonds and stocks have been making the unusual move of going higher together. The U.K. is voting in parliamentary elections, while the ECB will hold a rates meeting ahead of the market open. In the U.S., former FBI Director James Comey will testify in one of the most-anticipated congressional hearings in years (see details below).
Britain is heading to the polls to cast votes in a hotly contested election that will likely determine the country's strategy for exiting the EU, after a campaign colored by three terrorist attacks in as many months. Opinion polls suggest Prime Minister Theresa May will fend off the Labour party's Jeremy Corbyn, but surveys show the government’s advantage has shrunk over the course of the six-week campaign.
Mario Draghi is expected to keep the QE flowing despite the surprise upturn in the eurozone economy, but will the ECB president drop the reference to "downside risks" for the first time in his tenure? Investors will be watching the euro, as well as clues about when the central bank will begin winding down its €60B-a-month asset purchase program.
"I need loyalty" is President Trump's demand of James Comey, according to a pre-released statement from the Former FBI director ahead of his testimony to Congress at 10 a.m. ET. Comey said the President urged the FBI to make a public announcement saying it was not investigating him personally and pushed him to drop the investigation into former NSA chief Michael Flynn.
Data out of East Asia: China reported strong trade figures for May despite falling commodity prices, rising lending rates and a cooling property market. Exports rose 8.7% from a year earlier, while imports expanded 14.8%, resulting in a trade surplus of $40.81B. Meanwhile, Japan's economy grew less than the government initially reported in Q1, with GDP expanding 0.3% vs. a preliminary reading of a 0.5% growth.
A day after Seoul said it would postpone full deployment of U.S. anti-missile system THAAD, whose installation is controversial in the region, North Korea fired a salvo of cruise missiles off its east coast. The launch comes less than a week after the U.S. Security Council passed fresh sanctions against Pyongyang as punishment for its missile tests.
Iran's foreign minister has rejected President Trump's condolences for deadly attacks in Tehran, calling his words repugnant. "We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote," said the White House statement. More tensions? S&P has lowered Qatar's long-term rating on concern the nation's row with other Arab states will weaken its finances.
Oil prices have recovered after WTI posted its worst day in three months on a surprise inventory build, while geopolitical concerns kept oil traders jittery. Official data from the Energy Information Administration showed that U.S. stocks rose for the first time in 10 weeks, reawakening concerns over a glut and pushing crude down 5.1% to settle at $45.72/bbl.
Alibaba is forecasting massive revenue growth of 45%-49% this year, a target that implies sales of up to $34.3B, and elicited gasps of "wow" from investors at an event in Hangzhou. The guidance puts Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), which in May recorded its biggest quarterly rise in revenues since its IPO in 2014, on track for its biggest underlying rise so far, said CFO Maggie Wu. BABA +10.2% premarket.
Amazon has stepped up lending to third-party sellers on its site who are looking to grow their business. The company doled out more than $1B in small loans to sellers in the past 12 months, compared with more than $1.5B it lent from 2011 through 2015, said Peeyush Nahar, VP of Marketplace. Sellers have used the money to expand their inventory or discount items on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Yahoo shareholders will vote today on the sale of the company's internet businesses to Verizon (NYSE:VZ). The $4.5B transaction would leave stakeholders with shares in a new firm, called Oath, that would primarily hold $57B in stock of Alibaba (BABA) and Yahoo Japan (OTCPK:YAHOY). According to Recode, layoffs are expected to number up to 1,000 jobs, which is less than 20% of the combined company. YHOO +6.4% premarket.
Toshiba aims to name a winner for its prized semiconductor unit on June 15, even as the struggling conglomerate criticized the chip partner that is fighting to win its lucrative business. Toshiba's (OTCPK:TOSYY) race has narrowed to two main groups: Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) plus U.S. tech fund Silver Lake vs. a U.S.-Japan group of Western Digital (NYSE:WDC) and Japanese government-related investors.
Hong Kong's Court of Appeal found that Moody's (NYSE:MCO) broke the rules when it published a report on Chinese firms in 2011, rejecting the credit rating agency's attempt to appeal a tribunal ruling on the matter. The case has been closely watched by the financial industry as it's likely to redefine the limits on what can be written in research reports on public companies.
Credit Suisse has sold over 99% of the shares on sale in its rights offering to existing investors, raising $4.3B to fund its strategic overhaul. Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) said it would have a common equity Tier 1 ratio of 13.4% and a leverage ratio of 5.1% after the capital increase, based on numbers from Q1.
Italian banks are considering assisting in a rescue of troubled lenders Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca (OTC:VENBF) by pumping €1.2B of private capital into the two regional banks, Reuters reports. The Italian government plans to lead the rescue but EU competition authorities have requested a private capital injection as a condition to approve the bailout.
IKEA plans to test selling its products on third party websites as the world's biggest home furnishing retailer targets more online customers due to the "changing competitive landscape." Amazon (AMZN)? Alibaba (BABA)? "I leave unsaid on which (platforms), but we will test and pilot, to see what does this mean, what does digital shopping look like in future," said Inter Ikea Group CEO Torbjorn Loof.
Australian tennis star Thanasi Kokkinakis is facing a battle over the right to use his "Special K" nickname commercially, as Kellogg's (NYSE:K) takes the sportsman to court in his native Australia. "His association [with the brand] could help, but at the end of the day it's a trademark that we own and we want to continue to own," said a Kellogg spokeswoman.
Building on its future strategy, Honda (NYSE:HMC) is aiming to launch Level 4 autonomous driving technologies in its cars by 2025. That will mean they can drive themselves on highways and city roads under most situations - only one step away from a fully functioning self-driving vehicle. Honda has also been ramping up R&D spending, earmarking a record ¥750B ($6.84B) for the year to March.
A magistrate judge has ruled that UBER must hand over a key document that could shed light on what its executives knew about alleged theft of trade secrets from Alphabet's (GOOG, GOOGL) Waymo self-driving car unit. Another blow? He also shot down a motion by Uber to put the litigation on hold while the company appeals his decision that the case can't be moved into arbitration.
Boeing is streamlining its aircraft production systems at its largest factory, trying to cut costs to compete with rival Airbus (OTCPK:EADSY) and chip away at the near-$30B deficit created by its 787 Dreamliner. Dozens of complex robots are replacing humans for such mundane tasks as drilling and riveting, and Boeing (NYSE:BA) is reordering some of its assembly steps to speed up the process.
The U.S. government is considering banning laptops from the cabins of inbound flights from 71 airports overseas, a dramatic increase from the 10 airports where the security protocol currently applies. The ban is necessary because of "a very, very real threat - a very sophisticated threat," DHS Secretary John Kelly told a House Homeland Security Committee hearing.
In Asia, Japan -0.4%. Hong Kong +0.3%. China +0.3%. India -0.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris +0.4%. Frankfurt +0.5%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.1%. S&P flat. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.8% to $46.07. Gold -0.5% to $1287.40.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2 bps to 2.2%
Today's Economic Calendar
8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
10:00 Quarterly Services Report
10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
4:30 PM Money Supply
4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet