Wednesday Morning Reads
- Spending those tax cuts
- Ebola Flashback
- Banks More Profitable Now
- Crude Output
- Trade and Growth Fears Spark Dash For Safe Havens
- Europe’s Corporations Trailing
- How Bad Can Things Get for Italian Markets?
- BOE Cuts Sterling Adrift
- Fragility Remains
- It Only Took 226 Years
- Oil Rally Turns Into An ‘Oil Shock’
- StanChart Says Focus Is on Strategy, Denting Merger Speculation
- Make Our Lives Better
- Borrow…If You Dare
Tweet of the morning:
The enduring link between demographics and inflation https://t.co/VU74FQUE3k pic.twitter.com/4G55SfPtvW
— Αarοn Chan (@macrodidact) May 22, 2018
Unusual Option Action:
Open Interest Changes:
Adding to the losses seen on Tuesday, U.S. stock index futures are sinking further into the red, after President Trump told reporters there was a "substantial chance" his summit with Kim Jong Un will not take place on June 12. The president also said he was "not satisfied" with trade talks with China. "We have a long way to go," he declared, adding he wants the talks to go "fairly quickly."
Divisions among Fed officials over the yield curve and inflation will be under the spotlight today when the U.S. central bank publishes minutes of its last policy meeting. "We've heard a lot of Fed officials say they were comfortable with an overshoot of inflation" above the 2% target, said Joseph Song, senior U.S. economist at BofA. "Some others are worried higher inflation could lead to a de-anchoring of inflation expectations."
More tax cuts appear to be in store. President Trump said Tuesday night that his administration would be "submitting additional tax cuts sometime prior to November." He didn't offer any details, but said he planned to meet with Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee - which writes tax legislation.
Turkey's lira slid as much as 2.8% against the dollar overnight to a fresh record low of 4.7989, after Fitch Ratings said it was concerned about the erosion of the central bank's independence to fight double-digit inflation. President Erdogan confirmed last week that he intends to take more responsibility for Turkey's monetary policy if he wins an election next month.
Hitting new 18-month lows, IHS Markit's Eurozone PMI fell from 55.1 in April to 54.1 in May, suggesting a stiffer policy challenge for the ECB ahead. While there were a series of public holidays in May, it is "becoming increasingly evident that underlying growth momentum has slowed compared to late last year, especially in relation to exports," said Chris Williamson, economist at IHS Markit.
President Trump is reportedly weighing measures to cut EU steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. by about 10%, in a sign that the bloc's concessions to secure tariff exemptions have not met White House demands. EU leaders put forth a four-point plan during their summit last week, which would promise market access for American exports, an alliance to tackle trade issues, overhauling the WTO and deepening energy links.
The Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee have approved bills aimed at tightening oversight of foreign investment to slow China’s acquisition of U.S. technology. The national security decision would expand the clout of the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), strengthen export controls and define passive investments.
OPEC may decide to increase crude production as soon as next month due to worries over Iranian and Venezuelan supply and after the U.S. raised concerns that the oil rally was going too far, Reuters reports. While OPEC and non-OPEC producers led by Russia have agreed to curb output by approximately 1.8M bbl/day until the end of 2018, the inventory overhang has now fallen close to OPEC's target.
SoftBank will sell its roughly 20% stake in Flipkart (FPKT) to Walmart (NYSE:WMT) after the latter agreed to pay $16B for roughly 77% of the Indian e-commerce player. The move may see SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) CEO Masayoshi Son direct his energies elsewhere in India. He recently told WSJthat he was considering a bigger investment in Paytm, a digital-payments startup that also runs an online marketplace competing against Flipkart.
A unit of Taiwan's Foxconn Technology (OTC:FXCOF) plans to raise 27.1B yuan, or $4.25B, through an initial public offering in Shanghai, potentially marking China's biggest IPO since 2015. Regulators have also fast-tracked Foxconn Industrial's approvals, enabling it to leap ahead of other companies. The firm assembles iPhones (NASDAQ:AAPL), as well as cloud computing and telecom equipment.
China's ZTE is estimating losses of at least 20B yuan ($3.1B) due to Washington's ban on U.S. firms selling components to the telecom supplier, Bloomberg reports, but it hopes to reach a deal soon that would allow it to "swing idled factories into action within hours." President Trump floated a plan yesterday to fine ZTE (OTC:ZTCOY) and shake up its management, but the proposal ran into immediate resistance in Congress.
Yelp has renewed a European antitrust complaint against Google (GOOG, GOOGL), seeking to gain traction on a longstanding accusation that the search giant unfairly promotes its own services in results. A similar complaint in 2014 has not led the EU to issue formal charges, nor has testimony to U.S. regulators, but YELP is now banking on an EU ruling that declared Google misused its dominance in product shopping search results.
Aiming to improve its financial performance, Barclays (NYSE:BCS) has spoken to rival bank Standard Chartered (OTCPK:SCBFF) about a potential merger, FT reports. It's part of wide-ranging contingency plans being weighed by senior board members following pressure from an activist investor. "Hypothetical combinations" with other lenders include Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) and DBS in Singapore.
Tariff cuts for imported vehicles are going a long way in China as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) slashed up to $14K off local sales of its Model X. The price cut of 6% will take the top-of-the range vehicle to 1.3M yuan ($203K), still well above the $140K cost of Tesla's Model X P100D in the U.S. Toyota (NYSE:TM) and BMW (OTCPK:BAMXF) said they were also looking into adjusting their retail prices in the country.
Next divestment? General Electric (NYSE:GE) is working with investment bankers to find ways to sell its troubled insurance business, Reuters reports. The move comes after GE said in January it would take a $6.2B after-tax charge and set aside another $15B in reserves to help cover liabilities in insurance operations held by GE Capital, particularly in long-term care policies.
Amazon has been thrust into the contentious issue of government surveillance after dozens of civil rights organizations called on the tech giant to stop selling its facial recognition technology, dubbed Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies. The outcry follows increasing concerns about the extensive reach of tech companies, the massive quantities of data they collect, and the potential for abuse of people's privacy. AMZN -0.6% premarket.
In Asia, Japan -1.2%. Hong Kong -1.8%. China -1.4%. India -1.9%.
In Europe, at midday, London -0.7%. Paris -1.1%. Frankfurt -1.5%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.7%. S&P -0.6%. Nasdaq -1%. Crude -0.6% to $71.76. Gold +0.3% to $1296.20. Bitcoin -1.7% to $7845.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -5 bps to 3.01%
Today's Economic Calendar
7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
9:45 PMI Composite Flash
10:00 New Home Sales
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
11:30 Results of $16B, 2-Year FRN Auction
1:00 PM Results of $36B, 5-Year Note Auction
2:00 PM FOMC minutes