Wednesday Morning Reads

Wednesday Morning Reads




Open Interest Changes:



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.

Trade and tariffs

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.

Beijing tightens lockdown

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.

Wearables to fight COVID-19

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.

Coronavirus effects on banking industry

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.

Optimism for the crude market

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.

Move to de-escalate tensions

"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.

Political ads

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...

HSBC (NYSE:HSBCresumes cutting around 35,000 jobs.

Shale producer Devon Energy (NYSE:DVNhalts 10,000 barrels per day.

H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) sees sufficient liquidity until tax season 2021.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model Y complaints start to stack up.

Bill introduced to reform aircraft certification.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) stores to remain closed until further notice.

Tuesday's Key Earnings
Oracle (NYSE:ORCL-3.2% AH as revenue felt a pandemic pinch.

Today's Markets
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”

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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