Wednesday Morning Reads
- Roaring Back in the Pandemic
- Where the U.S. Retail Blooms
- That Was Quick
- Hertz’s Crazy Idea Will Cost Speculators Millions
- The Rich Cut Their Spending
- Trillions in Stimulus Go Unchecked
- Apple’s Dominance Is Finally Under Threat
- Why So Many People Are Getting into the Stock Market
- How Will Private Equity Work in 401ks?
- The Panic Has Subsided For Now
- Futures point to more gains for the major averages
- Mortgage apps continue rise; purchase apps hit 11-year high
- FDIC shows effects of COVID-19 on banking industry
- Model Y complaints start to stack up
- Oil execs express optimism of market rebalancing and recovery
- Merck prices $4.5B debt offering at par
- Qualcomm launches new Snapdragon 690 processor
- Microsoft stores to remain close till further notice
- Companies turn to wearables to fight COVID-19
- What's up with Urban One? Shares up more than 30x in a few days
- Enphase Energy director sells common shares
- Affimed surges on successful completion of first dose cohort in AFM24 trial for solid tumors
The Fed's moves to backstop credit markets, combined with a rebound in U.S. retail sales and prospects for COVID-19 treatment dexamethasone appear to have put a floor under equities (for now) as futures rose modestly in overnight trading. It follows several days of turbulence fueled by a cascade of news about fresh coronavirus infections and its impact on the global economy. In his semi-annual monetary policy report, Fed Chair Jay Powell told lawmakers on Tuesday that the path to recovery remained uncertain and he'll testify for a second day today before the House Financial Services Committee.
The WTO has treated the U.S. "as the world's greatest trade abuser" and "created new obligations out of thin air," Robert Lighthizer will tell Congress today, as the administration pushes for a broader reset of the international trading system. "Many countries with large and developed economies maintain very high bound tariff rates. The U.S. must ensure that tariffs reflect current economic realities to protect our exporters and workers." The stance could weigh on the WTO, which is struggling for relevance at a time of growing protectionism, as well as a possible leadership void when Director-General Roberto Azevedo steps down in September.
China is accelerating containment measures in Beijing, lifting its emergency response to level two and requiring a negative coronavirus test before leaving the city. All schools have been ordered to close, restrictions were imposed on visits to all residential communities and more than 1,200 flights in and out of the city were canceled. 31 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections to 137, while cases linked to the Beijing cluster have already been reported in two provinces in China's northern region.
Starting with its facility in Kent, Washington, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will begin deploying devices today - shaped like clear plastic sleeves - that emit a loud beeping noise and flashing lights when workers are too close to one another. Covid-detecting "smart rings" are also being trialed by staff at Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS). The products, made by Finnish startup Oura, can reportedly predict the onset of coronavirus symptoms, such as subtle changes in temperature, sleep patterns and heart rate.
Lenders nearly quadrupled the amount set aside for anticipated losses in Q1, according to the FDIC's latest Quarterly Banking Profile, which showed U.S. banking industry profits tumbling nearly 70% to $18.5B amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Bank capital and liquidity levels remain strong, asset quality metrics are stable and the number of 'problem banks' remains near historic lows," added FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams, sounding a positive note. As many investors cashed out of the stock market, banks saw a $1.2T, or 8.5%, spike in deposits from the prior quarter.
On the heels of an IEA report that forecast a record rebound for oil demand next year, others in the industry are expressing similar enthusiasm despite concerns about a second wave of COVID-19. "We are seeing encouraging signs of a rebalancing oil market and the beginnings of economic recovery," Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Group, told an unprecedented meeting of sixteen of the world's leading energy executives. Optimism was also expressed by the CEOs of BP (NYSE:BP) and Total (NYSE:TOT) as the industry navigates one of its biggest crises in recent history.
"The overall situation is stable and controllable," China's foreign ministry declared, after 20 Indian troops were killed in a clash with Chinese soldiers along the countries' disputed border. Reports suggest that there were casualties on both sides, while India's Narendra Modi called for an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the incident. Just days ago, it appeared that diplomatic and military efforts to lower tensions in the area were working as the nuclear-armed neighbors compete for regional influence.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is now labeling political ads with who paid for them - when they're shared by users on their own feeds - a small change that closes a pretty big loophole in its ad-transparency approach. A bigger change will see the company give users the ability to turn off all political advertising. Facebook still intends to register 4M voters before the 2020 presidential election through the launch of a Voting Information Center tab on Facebook and Instagram later this summer.
What else is happening...
Bill introduced to reform aircraft certification.
In Asia, Japan -0.6%. Hong Kong +0.6%. China +0.2%. India -0.3%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.6%. Paris +0.9%. Frankfurt +0.5%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.4%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.5%. Crude -0.8% to $38.06. Gold -0.9% to $1720.90. Bitcoin -0.5% to $9488.
Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 0.76%
Today's Economic Calendar
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:30 Housing Starts
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
12:00 PM Powell Testify on Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report
1:00 PM Results of $17B, 20-Year Bond Auction
4:00 PM Fed's Mester: “The Fed's Response to COVID-19”