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Ethiopian Airlines sees Boeing 737 MAX compensation deal by end-June

Ethiopian Airlines expects a settlement with planemaker Boeing by end of June over compensation related to the 737 MAX grounding in March 2019 following two fatal crashes, CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told Reuters on Friday......»»

Category: topSource: reutersMay 15th, 2020

When will the "flightmare" end? Airlines may not fully catch up until 2024

"Airlines are soiling their own bed," travel analyst Henry Harteveldt told Insider. "They are killing off demand by being so unreliable." "Airlines are soiling their own bed," travel analyst Henry Harteveldt told Insider. "They are killing off demand by being so unreliable."Darron Cummings/AP; Anna Moneymaker/GettyImages; Ole Berg Rusten/Getty Image; NurPhoto/GettyImages; Alyssa Powell/Insider Airlines are slashing flights from their fall schedules to stave off mass delays and cancellations. But the industry may not be able to fully recover until as late as 2024, one travel analyst said. Hiring and training new employees can take months, making the issues more difficult to fix. Traveling this summer has been nothing short of a nightmare — or a "flightmare," as several outlets have dubbed the wave of mass flight delays and cancellations. But it can only go up from here, right?Unfortunately, while delays appear to be subsiding at some airlines, the industry may not be able to fully recover until as late as 2024, according to travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, Henry Harteveldt. Summer is usually a tricky season for flying thanks to lots of demand and worse weather, Adam Gordon, a managing director at Boston Consulting Group, told Insider. Add in the lingering effects of a global pandemic and two years of delayed plans and you've got a sure recipe for disaster.This fall will reveal if the summer's chaos was a temporary setback as a sprawling industry clawed its way back from near decimation — or if there are more systemic issues at play. "It's easy to forget how dramatically airlines had to reduce capacity to weather the early part of the pandemic," Gordon said. "Ramping the operation back up is no small feat and the operational challenges we've seen recently are mostly a result of this complexity rather than planning or execution failures on the part of the airlines."It's no secret that hiring is one of the major challenges that have prevented airlines' full recovery, but it's not a problem solved by simply sending offer letters. New employees at airlines and airports must be trained — which can take up to 13 weeks depending on the position — and retained, which has proven a challenge as many new hires quit months into the job, Harteveldt said. Air France pilots inside an Airbus A350 flight simulator, which is used in many airline pilot training courses.ERIC PIERMONT/AFP via Getty Images"With every month that goes by, the airline industry graduates that many more pilots which helps reduce the pilot shortage and they are hiring that many more workers and getting them trained and on the job," he said.To help ensure there aren't more flights than airlines are realistically able to staff, major US carriers are slashing up to 31,000 flights from their November schedules to create more "buffer" room in the system, as United CEO Scott Kirby explained in July. "There is weather and people do call in sick, and sometimes, the jetbridge breaks and the power goes out for 20 minutes," he said. "The system just doesn't have any buffer to deal with that. And that's, at its core, why we pulled the schedule down — to create more buffer."As US carriers overhire and cut routes, Harteveldt said he expects "that 2023 will be a better year for the industry than 2022.""But what I've heard from a number of folks within airlines is that they believe that things may not return to normal until as late as 2024," he continued. Airline CEOs are slightly more optimistic. Delta's Ed Bastian said in July the company aims to be back to "100%" by Summer 2023 but warned that a goal post may move "depending on what we see in the economy."Ironically, an increased economic slowdown could be beneficial for the recovery of airline operations, Harteveldt told Insider. "If the US economy sees a material weakening, whether it's a slowdown in growth or even a recession, it's very possible we may see demand for air travel decline and that decline in demand may relieve some of the pressure on airlines to operate flights," he said, adding that it would give the industry an opportunity "to play catch up" on hiring. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 30th, 2022

Qantas offers customers $34 vouchers to compensate for flight cancellations and says staff sick leave was partly to blame for chaos

CEO Alan Joyce apologized to passengers who had experienced delayed or canceled flights over the summer. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce speaks during an aviation event.David Gray/Getty Images Qantas is offering frequent fliers $34 vouchers and other perks as compensation for travel chaos. CEO Alan Joyce apologized to customers for flight delays, cancellations, and lost baggage on Sunday. Joyce said Qantas had had to deal with a "50% jump in sick leave," per multiple outlets. Qantas is offering vouchers, premium membership extensions, and access to business lounges to many of the passengers who have endured a summer of travel chaos. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce recorded a video message to customers, which was posted Sunday and shared by Executive Traveller. "The return to flying hasn't all gone smoothly. Over the past few months, too many of you have had flights delayed, flights canceled, or bags misplaced," Joyce said.Frequent flier members later received an email offering them 50 Australian dollars, or $34, in vouchers, an extension to Qantas 'silver membership by 12 months, and access to business lounges, as an apology for the travel disruption, per Reuters.As with other airlines, Qantas has been beset by operational challenges during its attempt to rebound from the pandemic. Its passengers have complained of difficulties handling baggage, inaccurate bookings, and long delays on its customer service phone line.  The airline's performance among Australian carriers for flight cancellations has been the worst over the summer, although it has improved in recent months. In July, Qantas canceled 6.2% of flights, down from 7.5% in June, according to data from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research, which was cited by the Australian Financial Review.In the video message, Joyce added that the airline's performance was not good enough. He cited labor shortages as one reason for the problems.Qantas has hired 1,500 workers since April and adjusted schedules to have more crew and reserve available to deal with a "50% jump in sick leave," Joyce said in the video message. The airline was also rolling out new technology to make customers' journeys easier, he said.On August 8, the airline asked 100 senior office staff to step in as baggage handlers and assist customers at airports to help mitigate the shortfall. Around 200 volunteers have been working in airports since Easter, the airline told Insider. Qantas did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.Union bosses have criticized the compensation offer, pointing out that the group let thousands of workers go during the pandemic."Thousands of passengers who've spent hours in call center queues following canceled flights, delays, and lost luggage won't want to waste more of their time attempting to cash in a voucher to buy themselves more of the same chaos," Michael Kaine, general secretary of the Transport Workers Union Australia, said in a statement, posted Sunday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 22nd, 2022

Spirit and Frontier Airlines cancel merger deal. It could be good news for JetBlue"s competing bid — but bad news for cheap tickets.

The two airlines won't merge after all after, but JetBlue is still interested. Any deal could mean consolidation among the US' budget airlines. Spirit Airlines A319 aircraft.Marcus Mainka/Shutterstock Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines said they won't merge months after a potential deal was announced.  JetBlue is also looking to buy Spirit.  Any deal among low-cost carriers could mean higher airfares.  Spirit Airlines ended its merger agreement with Frontier Airlines on Wednesday.The two low-cost airlines announced plans to merge in February, pending a shareholder vote on Frontier's bid. Spirit had urged shareholders to approve the merger but postponed the vote several times before it was eventually canceled"While we are disappointed that we had to terminate our proposed merger with Frontier, we are proud of the dedicated work of our Team Members on the transaction over the past many months," Ted Christie, President and CEO of Spirit Airlines, said in a statement. "Moving forward, the Spirit Board of Directors will continue our ongoing discussions with JetBlue as we pursue the best path forward for Spirit and our stockholders."Frontier said it was disappointed that Spirit's shareholders "failed to recognize the value and consumer potential inherent in our proposed combination."JetBlue cast the Frontier-Spirit deal into doubt when it offered to buy Spirit this spring. JetBlue raised its offer in recent months to stave off Frontier's bid. In a statement to Insider, the airline said it was "pleased" that the deal didn't go through and that it remained committed to buying Spirit. One fewer discount airline could mean higher prices for consumers, some industry watchers have warned.Analysts at MKM Partners said that Spirit sees itself as a "check" on escalating airfares. If it's absorbed into JetBlue, the combined airline could charge higher fares, MKM said in a note to clients in May.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 27th, 2022

Boeing sees rising demand for aviation jobs, including more than 600,000 pilots

Boeing Co. on Monday released its 2022 Pilot and Technician Outlook, forecasting demand for 2.1 million new aviation professionals over the next 20 years "to safely support the recovery in commercial air travel and meet rising long-term growth." For commercial airlines, the long-term forecast says that 602,000 pilots, 610,000 maintenance technicians and 899,000 cabin crew members will be needed globally, as the worldwide commercial fleet is expected to nearly double to 47,080 airplanes by 2041, Boeing said. China, Europe and North America represent more than half of the total new personnel demand, with the fastest growing regions being Africa, Southeast Asia and South Asia, Boeing said. Summer travel has been disrupted this year as staffing levels, including lack of pilots, are partly to blame as airlines deal with a surge in air travel after pandemic-related travel restrictions and requirements were lifted. Shares of Boeing fell 0.8% in midday trading Monday, and are down 22% this year, compared with losses of 17% for the S&P 500 index. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchJul 25th, 2022

Flight delays and staffing shortages are creating difficulties for flight attendants. Here"s how much money flight attendants at 10 airlines say they make.

Some airlines have offered pay bumps or other incentives in recent months. Flight attendants on Delta, United, Spirit, and more share their salaries. Leonhard Foeger/Reuters It has not been easy for flight attendants amid staffing shortages, flight delays, and cancelations.  Some airlines have offered pay bumps or other incentives to alleviate the labor shortage. Flight attendant pay differs based on airline carrier and experience. It has not been an easy couple of years for flight attendants. Current staffing shortages, flight delays, and cancelations have left some flight attendants feeling overworked and underpaid."This has been the most trying time in our entire history of our careers," said Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union.Airlines have canceled thousands of flights this summer as carriers cut back schedules to minimize disruptions and avoid long wait times, sometimes due to staffing shortages."Flight attendant pay is very wonky," Nelson said. Most airlines pay flight attendants based on a formula for each hour they're in the air. Flight attendants have pay protections, so they don't miss out when a flight is canceled, but "what it might mean is that you're away for longer for the same amount of pay," according to Nelson. Recent chaos in air travel comes after a difficult two years for flight attendants, who have had to deal with an uptick in unruly passengers who resisted the federal mask mandates that were in place until April of this year. In some cases, airlines are providing bonuses or additional payments to recognize the added work flight attendants have had to contend with since the pandemic.On June 2, Delta officially started paying flight attendants during the boarding process, which one Delta flight attendant told Insider is the "worst part" of their job. Airlines like United and Spirit recently offered temporary pay bumps to flight attendants and pilots to alleviate labor shortages. While the median salary for flight attendants in the US is about $62,280, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pay can vary depending on the airline, and the flight attendant's level of experience, among other factors. Some flight attendants have reported their salaries on job-listing sites like Glassdoor and PayScale to help prospective applicants get a better sense of their compensation. These salaries are self-reported to the websites and are an average of all flight attendants who chose to write in.Here's how much flight attendants say they make working at 10 major carriers, according to data on Glassdoor and PayScale.Delta flight attendants say they earn between $33 and $51 an hour.Delta AirlinesShutterstock/Philip PilosianPayScale average hourly rate: $51.17Delta flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 25 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $33Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $70,182Delta flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 1,032American Airlines flight attendants say they make $41 per hour or about $64,000 per year.American AirlinesRobert Alexander/Getty ImagesPayScale average hourly rate: $41.49American flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 40 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: N/AGlassdoor average yearly base pay: $64,145American flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 1,342Flight attendants for United Airlines say they make between $34 and $38 per hour, on average.United AirlinesGetty ImagesPayScale average hourly rate: $38.97United flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 39 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $34 Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $70,927United flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 1,235Southwest Airlines flight attendants say they make between $29 and $35 per hour.Southwest AirlinesAssociated PressPayScale average hourly rate: $35.01Southwest flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 29 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $29Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $60,512Southwest flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 554JetBlue flight attendants say they make $21 to $26 an hour.A JetBlue flight attendant.Donald Traill/APPayScale average hourly rate: $21.34JetBlue flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 15 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $26Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $54,286JetBlue flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 337Allegiant Air flight attendants say they make about $25 an hour, on average.Allegiant AirAPPayScale average hourly rate: $24.88Allegiant flight attendants who reported to PayScale: N/A Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $24Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $51,296Allegiant flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 221Flight attendants for Spirit say they make around $22 an hour.Spirit AirlinesREUTERS/Rebecca CookPayScale average hourly rate: $21.94Spirit flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 7 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $22Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $45,986Spirit flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 584Flight attendants for Frontier Airlines say they make between $20 and $26 an hour.Frontier AirlinesFG/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor/Getty ImagesPayScale average hourly rate: $19.89Frontier flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 16 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $26Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $54,531Frontier flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 437Alaska Airlines flight attendants say they make between $27 and $39 an hour.Alaska AirlinesGetty ImagesPayScale average hourly rate: $39.47Alaska flight attendants who reported to PayScale: 6 Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $27Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $56,930Alaska flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 268Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants say they make $27 an hour or about $57,000 per year.Hawaiian AirlinesTed S. Warren/APPayScale average hourly rate: N/AHawaiian flight attendants who reported to PayScale: N/A Glassdoor average hourly base pay: $27Glassdoor average yearly base pay: $56,750Hawaiian flight attendants who reported to Glassdoor: 37Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJul 15th, 2022

A talent agency shares how to turn your dog or cat into an Instagram celebrity

The biggest story in tech right now is how to turn your dog or cat (or toad) into an Instagram celebrity — and potentially earn some cash. My word, it's already July. I'm Jordan Parker Erb, and I've got some light news to carry you into Friday. Today, I will be telling you how to make your cat or dog Instagram famous.BTW — There will be no newsletter on Monday, the Fourth of July. To everyone braving this weekend's air travel hellscape, good luck. We'll see you soon. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Tika The Iggy / Instagram1. Could your dog or cat be Instagram famous? Pet owners often think their pets are cute enough to be stars (heck, I even tried for my dog). While my dog's account never took off, a talent agency that represents pets gave us some insight into what makes a pet a good Internet celebrity.The Dog Agency is known as the first major management company for social-media-famous animals, and boasts a roster of high-profile pet accounts — which can rake in thousands of dollars per post.With around 175 clients, The Dog Agency manages several celebrity accounts, including one for Crusoe the dachshund, a pug named Noodle, and Toby, a well-loved toad. But the agency is highly selective: The accounts it takes on have to have a minimum of 50,000 followers, though they can make an exception for an animal that's gone "very viral."Here's what it'd take to make your pet a star.In other news:Facebook executives Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg walk together at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference.Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images2. The "summer camp for billionaires" returns next week. On July 5, media moguls and tech billionaires will descend upon Sun Valley, Idaho for the annual conference held by investment bank Allen & Co. See who's on this year's guest list.3. TikTok content moderators describe watching traumatizing content as the company looked the other way. Six current and former moderators said they had to constantly view graphic videos that included child abuse, suicides, and murders — and that the company doesn't care. Here's what they told us.4. In an internal memo, Meta warns staff of "fierce" headwinds and slower growth. Per Reuters, the memo says the company will have to "prioritize more ruthlessly" and "execute flawlessly" in the second half of the year. Here's the latest.5. Pave quadrupled its valuation to $1.6 billion — we have the pitch deck it used to do so. The compensation comparison startup used a 16-slide pitch deck to raise $100 million from Index Ventures and A16z. See Pave's pitch deck here, and check out our full pitch deck library.6. Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX is in talks to buy troubled crypto lender BlockFi. Citing a source, CNBC said FTX is expected to pay $25 million — a big discount from BlockFi's last private valuation of $4.8 billion. BlockFi's CEO, Zac Prince, however, took to Twitter to comment on the report. FTX was also reported to be interested in making a deal with Celsius, but walked away after examining its finances.7. Walmart packages could one day be delivered by both drones and robots. According to a patent application filed Thursday, Walmart sees a future in which drones can swoop in to rescue delivery orders from stalled robots. What we learned from the patent application.8. With Apple CarPlay, you could buy gas directly from your car's dashboard. According to Reuters, the new feature will let users tap an app to navigate to a gas station, then pay from inside the vehicle — and it could be available as early as this fall. Here's how it could work.Odds and ends:The Bentley Speed 6 Continuation.Bentley9. For $1.9 million, you could buy a brand-new version of Bentley's 1929 race car. A century after it debuted, Bentley is building 12 new models of the Speed Six, which it'll replicate with "complete and total authenticity." Check out the Speed Six.10. If you have WhatsApp, you should know about these hidden features. These tricks let you format your text to be bold or italicized, send photos that disappear after a single view, and change your chat's wallpaper. These are the 13 best "secret" WhatsApp hacks. The latest people moves in tech:Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann is stepping down as CEO. Google commerce chief Bill Ready is taking his place.Nick Fox, a long-time Google product VP, will be Bill Ready's interim replacement.Ukonwa Ojo left Amazon as its CMO of original programming.Disney extended CEO Bob Chapek's contract for three years.Digital studio Portal A hired early YouTube partner manager Aditi Rajvanshi as its director of strategy.Bed Bath & Beyond announced CEO Mark Tritton left the company.Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

United pilots are on track to get a big pay raise as the industry continues to combat the pilot shortage that"s leading to massive flight cancellations

The modified contract comes after American nearly doubled the salaries of pilots at its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines. United Airlines pilots walk through Newark Liberty International Airport.Niall Carson - PA Images/Getty Images United Airlines' pilot union approved a tentative agreement that would increase pilot pay, among other benefits. The deal also includes a new paid maternity leave policy and improved scheduling procedures. The move comes as the industry struggles to hire and retain pilots. Pilots at United Airlines are set to get a massive pay raise. On Friday, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), a union that represents more than 14,000 United pilots, voted to approve a "tentative agreement" that would increase crew member salary, among other benefits.After getting union approval, the deal was sent to members for a vote, which closes on July 15. If a majority of members vote in favor of the contract, then the deal "will generate an additional $1.3 billion of value for United pilots over the course of the two-year agreement," ALPA said in a press release."This agreement raises the bar for all airline pilots and leads the industry forward," chairman of ALPA's United pilot group Captain Michael Hamilton said. "Our ability to reach this agreement, and the current success of United Airlines, is driven by front-line United pilots who stayed unified and focused throughout negotiations despite the incredible challenges we faced during the largest disruption in the history of aviation."If ratified, the deal will provide a number of benefits to pilots, including a 14.5% pay raise over 18 months, a new eight-week paid maternity leave policy, and new schedule procedures to reduce pilot fatigue and improve flexibility.The agreement also increases pay for instructors, evaluators, and line check airmen. ALPA said the higher compensation is to "increase training capacity to meet United's unprecedented hiring and growth plans." This is in line with American Airlines' increase pay for line check airmen at its wholly-owned carriers Envoy Air and Piedmont Airlines, who will be paid $427.40 per hour under a new contract. Regular pilots also will see their salaries nearly doubled.For months, airlines have been struggling to hire, train, and retain pilots, with carriers like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Mesa Airlines admitting to having a shortage.Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein told CNBC in May that the company could 'use about 200 pilots," while Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci said in a YouTube video that the carrier was about 63 pilots short last month.Meanwhile, American grounded 100 regional jets in early June because it doesn't have enough pilots to fly them. United made a similar move in December.The shortages, compounded with weather and air traffic control (ATC) issues, have led to significant flight delays and cancellations, especially over key weekends. The Juneteenth holiday saw over 35,000 flights disrupted from Thursday to Monday.In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, Kirby blamed ATC staffing for the disruptions over recent weekends, particularly at Newark. In an effort to improve on-time performance at its hub airport, United is reducing domestic departures by 12%, which the airline says will make travel easier for all people flying through Newark.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 24th, 2022

American Airlines says it will hike pay for 14,000 pilots even higher than originally proposed, as the industry faces a crippling labor shortage

CEO Robert Isom's message comes shortly after pilots at two wholly American Airlines owned regional carriers received a groundbreaking pay rise. American Airlines planes.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press American airlines is revising the pay rise it has offered to 14,000 pilots, per CNBC CEO Robert Isom told pilots in a video message that the pandemic had changed the standard for compensation. Airlines are increasing pay to mitigate an ongoing shortage of pilots. American airlines is revising the pay rise it offered to 14,000 pilots, becoming the latest carrier to boost salaries.  "Our team will be paid well and be paid competitively. You are not going to fall behind network peers," CEO Robert Isom told pilots in a video message sent Monday, seen by CNBC, which first reported the news Wednesday.Isom described a pre-pandemic proposal made to unions — of an initial 4% increase, followed by a 3% increase annually — as "industry-leading at the time." However, "the standard for compensation has gone up" as a result of the pandemic, he said, per CNBC. Airlines have been grappling with a shortage of pilots as pent-up travel demand surges back as pandemic restrictions are lifted. The shortages pre-dated Covid-19, but with flights grounded, many pilots left the industry or were encouraged to retire.American is one of a number of airlines, including United to have grounded a number regional flights because it didn't have enough didn't have enough pilots to fly them. In response to the problem, airline execs have been rethinking flight schedules and considering loosening the training requirements for new hires. Improving pay and working conditions has been a factor highlighted by unions and pilot groups. Isom's message comes in the same week that pilots at two wholly American Airlines owned regional carriers received a groundbreaking pay rise, as Insider's Taylor Rains previously reported. Pilots for Piedmont Airlines, and Envoy Air will see their hourly pay increase by nearly 50% until at least August 2024, after unions reached a deal with airline execs. Unions representing United Airlines pilots, who are currently voting on as yet unpublished contract proposals, reached an agreement with executives in May, per CNBC. Isom said American will take other carriers' agreements into account and update pay proposals when more details are known, per CNBC.Responding to the proposals in a blog post earlier this week, Eric Ferguson, president of the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines pilots, accused US executives of being slow to address the pilot shortage. He said they were now "throwing money at the problem." He urged the airline to come up with an industry-leading contract rather than waiting to see how other airlines responded. "We want schedules that respect the quality of life of our pilot group, which in turn will improve the reliability of our airline," Ferguson said. American and the Allied Pilots Association did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment which was made outside of usual business hours. The median annual wage for commercial airline pilots is $99,640 in May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 16th, 2022

American airlines will revise the pay rise it is offering to 14,000 pilots as its CEO pledges to pay them "competitively," amid the labor shortage

CEO Robert Isom's message comes shortly after pilots at two wholly American Airlines owned regional carriers received a groundbreaking pay rise. American Airlines planes.Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press American airlines is revising the pay rise it has offered to 14,000 pilots, per CNBC CEO Robert Isom told pilots in a video message that the pandemic had changed the standard for compensation. Airlines are increasing pay to mitigate an ongoing shortage of pilots. American airlines is revising the pay rise it offered to 14,000 pilots, becoming the latest carrier to boost salaries.  "Our team will be paid well and be paid competitively. You are not going to fall behind network peers," CEO Robert Isom told pilots in a video message sent Monday, seen by CNBC, which first reported the news Wednesday.Isom described a pre-pandemic proposal made to unions — of an initial 4% increase, followed by a 3% increase annually — as "industry-leading at the time." However, "the standard for compensation has gone up" as a result of the pandemic, he said, per CNBC. Airlines have been grappling with a shortage of pilots as pent-up travel demand surges back as pandemic restrictions are lifted. The shortages pre-dated Covid-19, but with flights grounded, many pilots left the industry or were encouraged to retire.American is one of a number of airlines, including United to have grounded a number regional flights because it didn't have enough didn't have enough pilots to fly them. In response to the problem, airline execs have been rethinking flight schedules and considering loosening the training requirements for new hires. Improving pay and working conditions has been a factor highlighted by unions and pilot groups. Isom's message comes in the same week that pilots at two wholly American Airlines owned regional carriers received a groundbreaking pay rise, as Insider's Taylor Rains previously reported. Pilots for Piedmont Airlines, and Envoy Air will see their hourly pay increase by nearly 50% until at least August 2024, after unions reached a deal with airline execs. Unions representing United Airlines pilots, who are currently voting on as yet unpublished contract proposals, reached an agreement with executives in May, per CNBC. Isom said American will take other carriers' agreements into account and update pay proposals when more details are known, per CNBC.Responding to the proposals in a blog post earlier this week, Eric Ferguson, president of the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines pilots, accused US executives of being slow to address the pilot shortage. He said they were now "throwing money at the problem." He urged the airline to come up with an industry-leading contract rather than waiting to see how other airlines responded. "We want schedules that respect the quality of life of our pilot group, which in turn will improve the reliability of our airline," Ferguson said. American and the Allied Pilots Association did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment which was made outside of usual business hours. The median annual wage for commercial airline pilots is $99,640 in May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 16th, 2022

S&P Futures Jump Above 4,000 As Fed Fears Fade

S&P Futures Jump Above 4,000 As Fed Fears Fade After yesterday's post-FOMC ramp which sent stocks higher after the Fed's Minutes were less hawkish than feared and also hinted at a timeline for the Fed's upcoming pause (and easing), US index futures initially swung between gains and losses on Thursday as investors weighed the "good news" from the Fed against downbeat remarks on the Chinese economy from premier Li who warned that China would struggle to post a positive GDP print this quarter coupled with Apple’s conservative outlook. Eventually, however, bullish sentiment prevailed and even with Tech stocks underperforming following yesterday's disappointing earnings from Nvidia, e-mini futures rose to session highs as of 715am, and traded up 0.6% above 4,000 for the first time since May 18, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.2% after earlier dropping as much as 0.8%. The tech-heavy index is down 27% this year. Treasury yields and the dollar slipped. Fed policy makers indicated their aggressive set of moves could leave them with flexibility to shift gears later if needed. Investors took some comfort from the Fed minutes that didn’t show an even more aggressive path being mapped to tackle elevated prices, though central banks remain steadfast in their resolve to douse inflation. Still, volatility has spiked as the risk of a US recession, the impact from China’s lockdowns and the war in Ukraine simmer. While the Fed minutes “provided investors with a temporary relief, today’s mixed price action on stocks mostly shows that major bearish leverages linger,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “The war in eastern Europe and concerns about the Chinese economy still add stress to market sentiment,” he wrote in a report. “Investors will want to see evidence of improvements regarding the pressure coming from rising prices.” “We expect key market drivers to continue to be centered around inflation and how central banks react; global growth concerns and how China gets to grip with its zero-Covid policy; and the geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” said Fraser Lundie, head of fixed income for public markets at Federated Hermes Limited. “Positive news flow on any of these market drivers could sharply improve risk sentiment; however, there is a broad range of scenarios that could play out in the meantime.” In premarket trading, shares in Apple dropped 1.4% after a report said that the tech giant is planning to keep iPhone production flat in 2022, disappointing expectations for a ~10% increase. The company also said it was raising salaries in the US by 10% or more as it faces a tight labor market and unionization efforts. In other premarket moves, Nvidia dropped 5.3% as the biggest US chipmaker by market value gave a disappointing sales forecast. Software company Snowflake slumped 14%, while meme stock GameStop Corp. fell 2.9%. Among gainers, Twitter Inc. jumped 5.2% after billionaire Elon Musk dropped plans to partially fund his purchase of the company with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the deal’s equity component to $33.5 billion. Other notable premarket movers include: Shares of Alibaba and Baidu rise following results, sending other US-listed Chinese stocks higher in US premarket trading. Alibaba shares shot up as much as 4.5% after reporting fourth- quarter revenue and earnings that beat analyst expectations. Lululemon’s (LULU US) stock gains 2.4% in premarket trading as Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation to overweight, suggesting that the business can be more resilient through headwinds than what the market is expecting. Macy’s (M US) shares gain 15% in premarket trading after Co. increases its adjusted earnings per share guidance for the full fiscal year Williams-Sonoma (WSM US) shares jumped as much as 9.6% in premarket trading after 1Q sales beat estimates. The retailer was helped by its exposure to more affluent customers, but analysts cautioned that it may be difficult to maintain the sales momentum amid macroeconomic challenges. Nutanix (NTNX US) shares shed about a third of their value in US premarket trading as analysts slashed their price targets on the cloud platform provider after its forecast disappointed. US airline stocks rise in premarket trading on Thursday, after Southwest and JetBlue provided upbeat outlooks for the second-quarter. LUV up 1.5% premarket, after raising its second-quarter operating revenue growth forecast. JBLU up 2% after saying it expects second-quarter revenue at or above high end of previous guidance. Cryptocurrency-tied stocks fall in premarket trading as Bitcoin snaps two days of gains. Coinbase -2.6%; Marathon Digital -2.3%; Riot Blockchain -1.2%. Bitcoin drops 1.9% at 6:11 am in New York, trading at $29,209.88. It’s time to buy the dip in stocks after a steep global selloff in equity markets, according to Citi strategists. Meanwhile, Fidelity International Chief Executive Officer Anne Richards said the risk of a recession has increased and markets are likely to remain volatile, the latest dire warning on the outlook at the World Economic Forum. “If inflation gets tame enough over summer, there may not be continued raising of rates,” Carol Pepper, Pepper International chief executive officer, said on Bloomberg TV, adding that investors should look to buy tech stocks after the selloff. “Stagflation, I just don’t think that’s going to happen anymore. I think we are going to be in a situation where inflation will start tapering down and then we will start going into a more normalized market.” In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3%, pare some of their earlier gains but remain in the green, led by gains for retail, consumer and energy stocks. IBEX outperforms, adding 0.6%, FTSE MIB is flat but underperforms peers. Retailers, energy and consumer products are the strongest-performing sectors, with energy shares outperforming for the second day as oil climbed amid data that showed a further decrease in US crude and gasoline stockpiles. Here are the most notable European movers: Auto Trader rises as much as 3.5% after its full-year results beat consensus expectations on both top- and bottom-lines. Galp climbs as much as 4.1% as RBC upgrades to outperform, saying the stock might catch up with the rest of the sector after “materially” underperforming peers in recent years. Rightmove rises as much as 1.5% after Shore upgrades to hold from sell, saying the stock has reached an “appropriate” level following a 27% decline this year. FirstGroup soars as much as 16% after the bus and train operator said it received a takeover approach from I Squared Capital Advisors and is currently evaluating the offer. United Utilities declines as much as 8.9% as company reports a fall in adjusted pretax profit. Jefferies says full-year guidance implies a materially-below consensus adjusted net income view. Johnson Matthey falls as much as 7.5% after the company reported results and said it expects operating performance in the current fiscal year to be in the lower half of the consensus range. BT drops as much as 5.7% after the telecom operator said the UK will review French telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi’s increased stake in the company under the National Security and Investment Act. JD Sports drops as much as 12% as the departure of Peter Cowgill as executive chairman is disappointing, according to Shore Capital. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were mixed as traders assessed China’s emergency meeting on the economy and Federal Reserve minutes that struck a less hawkish note than markets had expected.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after fluctuating between gains and losses of about 0.6% as technology stocks slid. South Korean stocks dipped after the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points as expected. Chinese shares eked out a small advance after a nationwide emergency meeting on Wednesday offered little in terms of additional stimulus. The benchmark CSI 300 Index headed for a weekly drop of more than 2%, despite authorities’ vows to support an economy hit by Covid-19 lockdowns. Investors took some comfort from Fed minutes in which policy makers indicated their aggressive set of moves could leave them with flexibility to shift gears later if needed. Still, Asia’s benchmark headed for a weekly loss amid concerns over China’s lockdowns and the possibility of a US recession. “The coming months are ripe for a re-pricing of assets across the board with a further shake-down in risk assets as term and credit premia start to feature prominently,” Vishnu Varathan, the head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a research note.  Japanese stocks closed mixed after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting reassured investors while Premier Li Keqiang made downbeat comments on China’s economy. The Topix rose 0.1% to close at 1,877.58, while the Nikkei declined 0.3% to 26,604.84. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix gain, increasing 1.9%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,171 rose and 898 fell, while 102 were unchanged. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7% to close at 7,105.90 as all sectors tumbled except for technology. Miners contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline. Whitehaven slumped after peer New Hope cut its coal output targets. Appen soared after confirming a takeover approach from Telus and said it’s in talks to improve the terms of the proposal. Appen shares were placed in a trading halt later in the session. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 11,102.84. India’s key stock indexes snapped three sessions of decline to post their first advance this week on recovery in banking and metals shares. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.9% to 54,252.53 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced by a similar measure. Both benchmarks posted their biggest single-day gain since May 20 as monthly derivative contracts expired today. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained.  HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank provided the biggest boosts to the two indexes, rising 3% and 2.2%, respectively. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 24 rose and 6 fell. As the quarterly earnings season winds up, among the 45 Nifty companies that have so far reported results, 18 have trailed estimates and 27 met or exceeded expectations. Aluminum firm Hindalco Industries is scheduled to post its numbers later today. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar fell 0.3%, edging back toward the lowest level since April 26 touched Tuesday. The yen jumped to an intraday high after the head of the Bank of Japan said policymakers could manage an exit from their decades-long monetary policy, and that U.S. rate rises would not necessarily keep the yen weak. Commodity currencies including the Australian dollar fell as China’s Premier Li Keqiang offered a bleak outlook on domestic growth. The Chinese economy is in some respects faring worse than in 2020 when the pandemic started, he said. Central banks were busy overnight: Russia’s central bank delivered its third interest-rate reduction in just over a month and said borrowing costs can fall further still, as it looks to stem a rally in the ruble and unwinds the financial defenses in place since the invasion of Ukraine. The Bank of Korea raised its key interest rate on Thursday as newly installed Governor Rhee Chang-yong demonstrated his intention to tackle inflation at his first policy meeting since taking the helm. New Zealand’s central bank has also shown its commitment this week to combat surging prices. In rates, Treasuries bull-steepen amid similar price action in bunds and many other European markets and gains for US equity index futures. Yields richer by ~3bp across front-end of the curve, steepening 2s10 by ~2bp, 5s30s by ~3bp; 10-year yields rose 2bps to 2.76%, keeps pace with bund while outperforming gilts. 2- and 5-year yields reached lowest levels in more than a month, remain below 50-DMAs. US auction cycle concludes with 7-year note sale, while economic data includes 1Q GDP revision. Bund, Treasury and gilt curves all bull-steepen. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund narrowing 5.1bps to 194.6bps. The US weekly auction calendar ends with a $42BN 7-year auction today which follows 2- and 5-year sales that produced mixed demand metrics, however both have richened from auction levels. WI 7-year yield at ~2.735% is ~17bp richer than April’s, which tailed by 1.7bp. IG dollar issuance slate includes Bank of Nova Scotia 3Y covered SOFR; issuance so far this week remains short of $20b forecast, is expected to remain subdued until after US Memorial Day. In commodities,  WTI trades within Wednesday’s range, adding 0.6% to around $111. Spot gold falls roughly $7 to trade around $1,846/oz. Cryptocurrencies decline, Bitcoin drops 2.5% to below $29,000.  Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the second estimate of Q1 GDP, the weekly initial jobless claims, pending home sales for April, and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for May. Meanwhile in Italy, there’s the consumer confidence index for May. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Brainard, the ECB’s Centeno and de Cos, and also get decisions from the Central Bank of Russia and the Central Bank of Turkey. Finally, earnings releases include Costco and Royal Bank of Canada. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,974.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 435.16 MXAP little changed at 163.17 MXAPJ down 0.3% to 529.83 Nikkei down 0.3% to 26,604.84 Topix little changed at 1,877.58 Hang Seng Index down 0.3% to 20,116.20 Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,123.11 Sensex up 0.4% to 53,975.57 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7% to 7,105.88 Kospi down 0.2% to 2,612.45 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.90% Euro little changed at $1.0679 Brent Futures up 0.5% to $114.55/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,847.94 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 102.11 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve officials agreed at their gathering this month that they need to raise interest rates in half-point steps at their next two meetings, continuing an aggressive set of moves that would leave them with flexibility to shift gears later if needed. Russia’s central bank delivered its third interest-rate reduction in just over a month and said borrowing costs can fall further still, halting a rally in the ruble as it unwinds the financial defenses in place since the invasion of Ukraine. China’s trade-weighted yuan fell below 100 for the first time in seven months as Premier Li Keqiang’s bearish comments added to concerns that the economy may miss its growth target by a wide margin this year. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve won’t necessarily cause the yen to weaken, saying various factors affect the currency market. A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were indecisive as risk appetite waned despite the positive handover from Wall St where the major indices extended on gains post-FOMC minutes after the risk event passed and contained no hawkish surprises. ASX 200 failed to hold on to opening gains as weakness in mining names, consumer stocks and defensives overshadowed the advances in tech and financials, while capex data was mixed with the headline private capital expenditure at a surprise contraction for Q1. Nikkei 225 faded early gains but downside was stemmed with Japan set to reopen to tourists on June 6th. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were mixed with early pressure after Premier Li warned the economy was worse in some aspects than in 2020 when the pandemic began, although he stated that China will unveil detailed implementation rules for a pro-growth policy package before the end of the month, while the PBoC issued a notice to promote credit lending to small firms and the MoF announced cash subsidies to Chinese airlines. Top Asian News PBoC issued a notice to promote credit lending to small firms and is to boost financial institutions' confidence to lend to small firms, according to Reuters. BoK raised its base rate by 25bps to 1.75%, as expected, via unanimous decision. BoK raised its 2022 inflation forecast to 4.5% from 3.1% and raised its 2023 forecast to 2.9% from 2.0%, while it sees GDP growth of 2.7% this year and 2.4% next year. BoK said consumer price inflation is to remain high in the 5% range for some time and sees it as warranted to conduct monetary policy with more focus on inflation, according to Reuters. Morgan Stanley has lowered China's 2022 GDP estimate to 3.2% from 4.2%. CSPC Drops After Earnings, Covid Impact to Weigh: Street Wrap China Builder Greenland’s Near-Term Bonds Set for Record Drops Debt Is Top Priority for Diokno as New Philippine Finance Chief European bourses are firmer across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.7%, but remain within initial ranges in what has been a relatively contained session with much of northern-Europe away. Stateside, US futures are relatively contained, ES +0.2%, with newsflow thin and on familiar themes following yesterday's minutes and before PCE on Friday.  Apple (AAPL) is reportedly planning on having a 220mln (exp. ~240mln) iPhone production target for 2022, via Bloomberg. -1.4% in  the pre-market. Baidu Inc (BIDU) Q1 2022 (CNY): non-GAAP EPS 11.22 (exp. 5.39), Revenue 28.4bln (exp. 27.82bln). +4.5% in the pre-market. UK CMA is assessing whether Google's (GOOG) practises in parts of advertisement technology may distort competition. Top European News UK Chancellor Sunak's package today is likely to top GBP 30bln, according to sources via The Times; Chancellor will confirm that the package will be funded in part by windfall tax on oil & gas firms likely to come into effect in the autumn. Subsequently, UK Gov't sources are downplaying the idea that the overall support package is worth GBP 30bln, via Times' Swinford; told it is a very big intervention. UK car production declined 11.3% Y/Y to 60,554 units in April, according to the SMMT. British Bus Firm FirstGroup Gets Takeover Bid from I Squared Citi Strategists Say Buy the Dip in Stocks on ‘Healthy’ Returns The Reasons to Worry Just Keep Piling Up for Davos Executives UK Unveils Plan to Boost Aviation Industry, Passenger Rights Pakistan Mulls Gas Import Deal With Countries Including Russia FX Dollar drifts post FOMC minutes that reaffirm guidance for 50bp hikes in June and July, but nothing more aggressive, DXY slips into lower range around 102.00 vs 102.450 midweek peak. Yen outperforms after BoJ Governor Kuroda outlines exit strategy via a combination of tightening and balance sheet reduction, when the time comes; USD/JPY closer to 126.50 than 127.50 where 1.13bln option expiries start and end at 127.60. Rest of G10, bar Swedish Crown rangebound ahead of US data, with Loonie looking for independent direction via Canadian retail sales, USD/CAD inside 1.2850-00; Cable surpassing 1.2600 following reports that the cost of living package from UK Chancellor Sunak could top GBP 30bln. Lira hits new YTD low before CBRT and Rouble weaker following top end of range 300bp cut from CBR. Yuan halts retreat from recovery peaks ahead of key technical level, 6.7800 for USD/CNH. Fixed Income Debt wanes after early rebound on Ascension Day lifted Bunds beyond technical resistance levels to 154.74 vs 153.57 low. Gilts fall from grace between 119.17-118.19 parameters amidst concerns that a large UK cost of living support package could leave funding shortfall. US Treasuries remain firm, but off peaks for the 10 year T-note at 120-31 ahead of GDP, IJC, Pending Home Sales and 7 year supply. Commodities Crude benchmarks inch higher in relatively quiet newsflow as familiar themes dominate; though reports that EU officials are considering splitting the oil embargo has drawn attention. Currently WTI and Brent lie in proximity to USD 111/bbl and USD 115/bbl respectively; within USD 1.50/bbl ranges. Russian Deputy PM Novak expects 2022 oil output 480-500mln/T (prev. 524mln/T YY), via Ria. Spot gold is similarly contained around the USD 1850/oz mark, though its parameters are modestly more pronounced at circa. USD 13/oz Central Banks CBR (May, Emergency Meeting): Key Rate 11.00% (exp. ~11.00/12.00%, prev. 14.00%); holds open the prospect of further reductions at upcoming meetings. BoJ's Kuroda says, when exiting easy policy, they will likely combine rate hike and balance sheet reduction through specific means, timing to be dependent on developments at that point; FOMC rate hike may not necessarily result in a weaker JPY or outflows of funds from Japan if it affects US stock prices, via Reuters. US Event Calendar 08:30: 1Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 5.2%, prior 5.2% 08:30: 1Q Personal Consumption, est. 2.8%, prior 2.7% 08:30: May Continuing Claims, est. 1.31m, prior 1.32m 08:30: 1Q GDP Price Index, est. 8.0%, prior 8.0% 08:30: May Initial Jobless Claims, est. 215,000, prior 218,000 08:30: 1Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. -1.3%, prior -1.4% 10:00: April Pending Home Sales YoY, est. -8.0%, prior -8.9% 10:00: April Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. -2.0%, prior -1.2% 11:00: May Kansas City Fed Manf. Activity, est. 18, prior 25 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that our latest monthly survey is now live, where we try to ask questions that aren’t easy to derive from market pricing. This time we ask if you think the Fed would be willing to push the economy into recession in order to get inflation back to target. We also ask whether you think there are still bubbles in markets and whether equities have bottomed out yet. And there’s another on which is the best asset class to hedge against inflation. The more people that fill it in the more useful so all help from readers is very welcome. The link is here. For markets it’s been a relatively quiet session over the last 24 hours compared to the recent bout of cross-asset volatility. The main event was the release of the May FOMC minutes, which had the potential to upend that calm given the amount of policy parameters currently being debated by the Fed. But in reality they came and went without much fanfare, and failed to inject much life into afternoon markets or the debate around the near-term path of policy. As far as what they did say, they confirmed the line from the meeting itself that the FOMC is ready to move the policy to a neutral position to fight the current inflationary scourge, with agreement that 50bp hikes were appropriate at the next couple of meetings. That rapid move to neutral would leave the Fed well-positioned to judge the outlook and appropriate next steps for policy by the end of the year, and markets were relieved by the lack of further hawkishness, with the S&P 500 extending its modest gains following the release to end the day up +0.95%. As the Chair said at the meeting, and has been echoed by other Fed officials since, the minutes noted that the hawkish shift in Fed communications have already had a noticeable effect on financial conditions, with Fed staff pointing out that “conditions had tightened by historically large amounts since the beginning of the year.” Meanwhile on QT, which the Fed outlined their plans for at the May meeting, the minutes expressed some trepidation about market liquidity and potential “unanticipated effects on financial market conditions” as a result, but did not offer potential remedies. With the minutes not living up to hawkish fears alongside growing concerns about a potential recession, investors continued to dial back the likelihood of more aggressive tightening, with Fed funds futures moving the rate priced in by the December meeting to 2.64%, which is the lowest in nearly a month and down from its peak of 2.88% on May 3. So we’ve taken out nearly a full 25bp hike by now, which is the biggest reversal in monetary policy expectations this year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. That decline came ahead of the minutes and also saw markets pare back the chances of two consecutive +50bp hikes, with the amount of hikes priced over the next two meetings falling under 100bps for only the second time since the May FOMC. Yields on 10yr Treasuries held fairly steady, only coming down -0.5bps to 2.745%. Ahead of the Fed minutes, markets had already been on track to record a steady performance, and the S&P 500 (+0.95%) extended its existing gains in the US afternoon. That now brings the index’s gains for the week as a whole to +1.98%, so leaving it on track to end a run of 7 consecutive weekly declines, assuming it can hold onto that over the next 48 hours, and futures this morning are only down -0.13%. That said, we’ve seen plenty of volatility in recent weeks, and after 3 days so far this is the first week in over two months where the S&P hasn’t seen a fall of more than -1% in a single session, so let’s see what today and tomorrow bring. In terms of the specific moves yesterday, it was a fairly broad advance, but consumer discretionary stocks (+2.78%) and other cyclical industries led the way, with defensives instead seeing a much more muted performance. Tech stocks outperformed, and the NASDAQ (+1.51%) came off its 18-month low, as did the FANG+ index (+1.99%). Over in Europe, equities also recorded a decent advance, with the STOXX 600 gaining +0.63%, whilst bonds continued to rally as well, with yields on 10yr bunds (-1.5bps) OATs (-1.5bps) and BTPs (-2.7bps) all moving lower. These gains for sovereign bonds have come as investors have grown increasingly relaxed about inflation in recent weeks, with the 10yr German breakeven falling a further -4.2bps to 2.23% yesterday, its lowest level since early March and down from a peak of 2.98% at the start of May. Bear in mind that the speed of the decline in the German 10yr breakeven over the last 3-4 weeks has been faster than that seen during the initial wave of the Covid pandemic, so a big shift in inflation expectations for the decade ahead in a short space of time that’s reversed the bulk of the move higher following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nor is that simply concentrated over the next few years, since the 5y5y forward inflation swaps for the Euro Area looking at inflation over the five years starting in five years’ time has come down from aa peak of 2.49% earlier this month to 2.07% by the close last night, so almost back to the ECB’s target. To be fair there’s been a similar move lower in US breakevens too, and this morning the 10yr US breakeven is down to a 3-month low of 2.56%. That decline in inflation expectations has come as investors have ratcheted up their expectations about future ECB tightening. Yesterday, the amount of tightening priced in by the July meeting ticked up a further +0.2bps to 32.7bps, its highest to date, and implying some chance that they’ll move by more than just 25bps. We heard from a number of additional speakers too over the last 24 hours, including Vice President de Guindos who said in a Bloomberg interview that the schedule for rate hikes outlined by President Lagarde was “very sensible”, and that the question of larger hikes would “depend on the outlook”. Overnight in Asia, equities are fluctuating this morning after China’s Premier Li Keqiang struck a downbeat note on the economy yesterday. Indeed, he said that the difficulties facing the Chinese economy “to a certain extent are greater than when the epidemic hit us severely in 2020”. As a reminder, our own economist’s forecasts for GDP growth this year are at +3.3%, which if realised would be the slowest in 46 years apart from 2020 when Covid first took off. Against that backdrop, there’s been a fairly muted performance, and whilst the Shanghai Composite (+0.65%) and the CSI 300 (+0.60%) have pared back initial losses to move higher on the day, the Hang Seng (-0.13%) has lost ground and the Nikkei (+0.07%) is only just in positive territory. We’ve also seen the Kospi (-0.08%) give up its initial gains overnight after the Bank of Korea moved to hike interest rates once again, with a 25bp rise in their policy rate to 1.75%, in line with expectations. That came as they raised their inflation forecasts, now expecting CPI this year at 4.5%, up from 3.1% previously. At the same time they also slashed their growth forecast to 2.7%, down from 3.0% previously. There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, though we did get the preliminary reading for US durable goods orders in April. They grew by +0.4% (vs. +0.6% expected), although the previous month was revised down to +0.6% (vs. +1.1% previously). Core capital goods orders were also up +0.3% (vs. +0.5% expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the second estimate of Q1 GDP, the weekly initial jobless claims, pending home sales for April, and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for May. Meanwhile in Italy, there’s the consumer confidence index for May. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Brainard, the ECB’s Centeno and de Cos, and also get decisions from the Central Bank of Russia and the Central Bank of Turkey. Finally, earnings releases include Costco and Royal Bank of Canada. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/26/2022 - 07:50.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 26th, 2022

Saga Partners 1Q22 Commentary: Carvana And Redfin

Saga Partners commentary for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. During the first quarter of 2022, the Saga Portfolio (“the Portfolio”) declined 42.4% net of fees. This compares to the overall decrease for the S&P 500 Index, including dividends, of 4.6%. The cumulative return since inception on January 1, 2017, for the Saga Portfolio […] Saga Partners commentary for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022. During the first quarter of 2022, the Saga Portfolio (“the Portfolio”) declined 42.4% net of fees. This compares to the overall decrease for the S&P 500 Index, including dividends, of 4.6%. The cumulative return since inception on January 1, 2017, for the Saga Portfolio is 112.0% net of fees compared to the S&P 500 Index of 122.7%. The annualized return since inception for the Saga Portfolio is 15.4% net of fees compared to the S&P 500’s 16.5%. Please check your individual statement as specific account returns may vary depending on timing of any contributions throughout the period. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Interpretation of Results I was not originally planning to write a quarterly update since switching to semi-annual updates a few years ago but given the current drawdown in the Saga Portfolio I thought our investors would appreciate an update on my thoughts surrounding the Portfolio and the current market environment in general. The Portfolio’s drawdown over the last several months has been hard not to notice even for those who follow best practices of only infrequently checking their account balance. Outperformance vs. the S&P 500 since inception has flipped to underperformance on a mark-to-market basis and the stock prices of our companies have continued to decline into the second quarter. In past letters I have spent a lot of time discussing the Saga Portfolio’s psychological approach to investing to help prepare for the inevitable chaos that will occur while investing in the public markets from time-to-time. It’s impossible to know why the market does what it does at any point in time. I would argue that the last two years could be considered pretty chaotic, both on the upside speculation and now what appears to be on the downside fear and panic. I will attempt to give my perspective on how events played out within the Saga Portfolio with an analogy. Let’s say that in 2019 we owned a fantastic home that was valued at $500,000. We loved it. It was in a great neighborhood with good schools for our kids. We liked and trusted our neighbors; in fact, we gave them a spare key in case of emergencies. It was the perfect home for us to live in for many years to come. Based on the neighborhood becoming increasingly attractive over time, it was likely that our home may be valued around $2 million in ~10 years from now. This is strong appreciation (15% IRR) compared to the average home, but this specific home and neighborhood had particularly strong long-term fundamental tailwinds that made this a reasonable expectation. Then in 2020 a global pandemic hit causing a huge disorientation in the housing market. For whatever reasons, the appraised value of our home almost immediately doubled to $1 million. Nothing materially changed about what we thought our home would be worth in 10 years, but now from the higher market value, the home would only appreciate at a lower 7% IRR assuming it would still be worth $2 million in 10 years. What were our options under these new circumstances? We could move and try to buy a new home that provided a higher expected return. However, the homes in the other neighborhoods that we really knew and liked also doubled in price, so they did not really provide any greater value. Also, the risk and hassle of moving for what may potentially only be modestly better home appreciation did not make sense. We could buy a home in a less desirable neighborhood where prices looked relatively cheaper, but we would not want to live long-term. Even if we decided to live there for many years, the long-term fundamental dynamics of the crummy neighborhood were weak to declining and it was uncertain if the property would appreciate at all despite its lower valuation. We could sell our home for $1 million and rent a place to live for the interim period while holding cash and waiting for the market to potentially correct. However, we did not know if, when, or to what extent the market would correct and the thought of renting a place temporarily for our family was unappealing. For the Saga family, we decided to stay invested in the home that we knew, loved, and still believed had similar, if not stronger prospects following the COVID-induced surge in demand in our neighborhood. Now, for whatever reason, the market views our neighborhood very poorly and the appraised value of our home declined to $250,000, below any previous appraisals. It seems odd because it is the exact same home and the fundamentals of the neighborhood are much stronger than several years ago, suggesting that the expected $2 million value in the future is even more probable than before. It is a very peculiar situation, but the market can do anything at any moment. Fortunately, the lower appraisal value does not impact how much we still love our home, neighborhood, schools, or what the expected future value will be. In fact, we prefer a lower value because our property taxes will be lower! One thing is for certain, we would never sell our home for $250,000 simply because the appraised value has declined from prior appraisals. We would also never dream of selling in fear that the downward price momentum continues and then hopefully attempt to buy it back one day for $200,000. We can simply sit tight for as long as we want while the neighborhood around us continues to improve fundamentally over time, fully expecting the value of our home to eventually go up with it. It just so happens humans are highly complex beings and do not always react in what an economist may consider a rational way. Our emotions are highly contagious. When someone smiles at you, the natural reaction is to smile back. When someone else is sad, you feel empathy. These are generally great innate characteristics for helping to build the strong relationships with friends and family that are so important throughout life. But it also means that when other people are scared, it also makes you feel scared. And when more and more people get scared, that fear can cascade exponentially and turn into panic, which can cause people to do some crazy things, especially when it comes to making long-term decisions. As fear spreads, all attention shifts from thinking about what can happen over the next 5-10+ years to the immediate future of what will happen over the next day or even hour. Of course, during times of panic, “this time is always different.” It may very well be the case, but the world can only end once. Historically speaking, things have tended to work out pretty well over time on average. I am by no means immune to these contagious feelings. My way of coping with how I am innately wired is by accepting this fact and then trying to know what I can and cannot control. A core part of my investing philosophy is that I do not know what the market will do next, and I never will. Inevitably the market or a specific stock will crash, as it does from time-to-time. This “not timing the market” philosophy or treating our public investments from the perspective of a private owner may feel like a liability during a drawdown, but it is this same philosophy of staying invested in companies we believe to have very promising futures which positions us perfectly for the inevitable recovery. Eventually, emotions and the business environment will normalize, and the storm will pass. It could be next quarter, year, or even in several years, but we will be perfectly positioned for the recovery, at which point the stock price lows will likely be long gone. The whole investing process improves if one can really take the long-term view. However, it is not natural for people to think long-term particularly when it comes to owning pieces of publicly traded companies. It is far more natural to want to act by jumping in and out of stocks in an attempt to outsmart others who are trying to outsmart you. When the market price of your ownership in a business is available and fluctuating wildly every single day, it is hard to ignore and not be influenced by it. While one can get lucky through speculation, the big money is made by investing, by owning great businesses and letting them compound owner’s capital over many years. As the market has evolved over the last few decades, there appears to be an ever-increasing percent of “investors” who are effectively short-term renters, turning over the companies in their portfolios so quickly that they never really know the business that lies below the surface of the stock. While more of Wall Street is increasingly focused on the next quarter, a potentially looming recession, the Fed’s next interest rate move, or trying to time the market’s rotation from one industry into another, we are trying to think about what our companies’ results will be in the year 2027, or better yet 2032 and beyond. The most significant advantage of investing in the public market is the ability to take advantage of it when an opportunity presents itself or to ignore the market when there is nothing to do. The key to success is never giving up this advantage. You must be able to play out your hand and not be forced to sell your assets at fire sale prices. Significant portfolio declines are a good reminder of the importance of only investing money that you will not need for many years. This prevents one from being in a position where it is necessary to liquidate when adverse psychology has created unusually low valuations. However, we do not want to simply turn a blind eye to stock price declines of 50% or more and dig our heals into the ground believing the market is just being irrational. When the world is screaming at you that it believes your part ownership in these companies is worth significantly less than the market believed not too long ago, we attempt to understand if we are missing something by continually evaluating the long-term outlooks of our companies using all the relevant information that we have today from a first principles basis. Portfolio Update Instead of frequently checking a stock’s price to determine whether the company is making progress, I prefer looking to the longer-term trends of the business results. There will be stronger and weaker quarters and years since business success rarely moves up and to the right in a perfectly straight line. As a company faces headwinds or tailwinds from time-to-time, the stock price may fluctuate wildly in any given year, however the underlying competitive dynamics and business models that drive value will typically change little. Regarding our companies as a whole, first quarter results reflected a general softness in certain end markets, including the used car, real estate, and advertising markets. However, the Saga Portfolio’s companies, on average, provide a superior customer value proposition difficult for competitors to match. Most of them have a cost advantage compared to competitors; therefore, the worse it gets for the economy, the better it gets for our companies’ respective competitive positions over the long-term. For example, first quarter industry-wide used car volumes declined 15% year-over-year while Carvana’s retail units increased 14%. Existing home sales decreased 5% during the quarter while Redfin’s real estate transactions increased 1%. Digital advertising is expected to grow 8-14% in 2022 while the Trade Desk grew Q1’22 revenues 43% and is expected to grow them more than 30% for the full year 2022. While industry-wide TV volumes remain below 2019 pre-COVID levels, Roku gained smart TV market share sequentially during the quarter, continuing to be the number one TV operating system in the U.S. and number one TV platform by hours streamed in North America. Weaker industry conditions will inevitably impact our companies’ results; however, our companies should continue to take market share and come out on the other side of any potential economic downturn stronger than when they went in. For the portfolio update, I wanted to provide a more in-depth update on Carvana and Redfin which have both experienced particularly large share price declines and have recent developments that are worth reviewing. Carvana I first wrote about Carvana Co (NYSE:CVNA) in this 2019 write-up. I initially explained Carvana’s business, superior value proposition compared to the traditional dealership model, attractive unit economics, and how they were uniquely positioned to win the large market opportunity. Since then, Carvana has by far exceeded even my most optimistic initial expectations. While the company did benefit following COVID in the sense that customers’ willingness to buy and sell cars through an online car dealer accelerated, the operating environment over the last two years has been very challenging. Carvana executed exceedingly well considering the shifting customer demand in what is a logistically intensive operation and what has been a tight inventory environment due to supply chain issues restricting new vehicle production. Sales, gross profits, and retail units sold have grown at a remarkable 104%, 151%, and 87% CAGR over the last five years, respectively. Source: Company filings Shares have come under pressure following their first quarter results, which reflected larger than expected losses. The quarter was negatively impacted by a combination of COVID-related logistical issues in their network that started towards the end of the fourth quarter as Omicron cases spread. Employee call off rates related to Omicron reached an unprecedented 30% that led to higher costs and supply chain bottlenecks. As less inventory was available due to these problems, it led to less selection and longer delivery times, lowering customer conversion rates. Additionally, interest rates increased at a historically fast rate during the first quarter which negatively impacted financing gross profits. Carvana originates loans for customers and then sells them to investors at a later date. If interest rates move materially between loan origination and ultimately selling those loans, it can impact the margin Carvana earns on underwriting those loans. Industry-wide used car volumes were also down 15% year-over-year during the first quarter. While Carvana continues to grow and take market share, its retail unit volume growth was slower than initially anticipated, up only 14% year-over-year. Carvana has been in hyper growth mode since inception and based on the operational and logistical requirements of the business, typically plans, builds, and hires for expected capacity 6-12 months into the future. This has historically served Carvana well given its exceptionally strong growth, but when the company plans and hires for higher capacity than what occurs, it can lead to lower retail gross profits and operating costs per unit sold. When combined with lower financing gross profits in the quarter from rising interest rates, losses were greater than expected. In February, Carvana announced a $2.2 billion acquisition of ADESA (including an additional $1 billion plan to build out the reconditioning sites) which had been in the works for some time. ADESA is a strategic acquisition to help accelerate Carvana’s footprint expansion across the country, growing its capacity from 1.0 million units at the end of Q1’22 to 3.2 million units once complete over the next several years. It is unfortunate the acquisition timing followed a difficult quarter that had greater than expected losses, combined with a generally tighter capital market environment. Carvana ended up raising $3.25 billion in debt ($2.2 billion for the acquisition and $1 billion for the buildout) at a higher than initially expected 10.25% interest rate. Given these higher financing costs and first quarter losses, they issued an additional $1.25 billion in new equity at $80 per share, increasing diluted shares outstanding by ~9%. Despite the short-term speedbumps surrounding logistical issues, softer industry-wide demand, and a higher cost of capital to acquire ADESA, Carvana’s long-term outlook not only remains intact but looks even more promising than before. To better understand why this is the case and where Carvana is in its lifecycle, it helps to provide a little background on the history of retail. While e-commerce is a more recent phenomena that developed from the rise of the internet in the 1990s, the retail industry has undergone several transformations throughout history. In retailing, profitability is determined by two factors: the margins earned on inventory and the frequency with which they can turn inventory. Each successive retail transformation had a similar economic pattern. The newer model had greater operating leverage (higher fixed costs, lower variable costs). This resulted in greater economies of scale (lower cost per unit) and therefore greater efficiency (higher asset turnover) with size that enabled them to charge lower prices (lower gross margins) than the preceding model and still provide an attractive return on capital. The average successful department store earned gross margins of ~40% and turned inventory about 3x per year, providing ~120% annual return on the capital invested in inventory. The average successful big box retailer earned ~20% gross margins and turned its inventory 5x per year. Amazon retail earns ~10% gross margins (including fulfillment costs in COGS) and turns inventory at a present rate of 12x times annually. The debate that surrounds any subscale retailer, particularly in e-commerce, is whether they have enough capital/runway to build out the required infrastructure and then scale business volume to spread fixed costs over enough units. Before reaching scale, analysts may point to an online business’ lower price points (“how can they charge such low prices?!”), higher operating costs per unit (“they lose so much money per item!”), and ongoing losses and capital investments (“they spend billions of dollars and still have not made any money!”) as evidence that the model does not make economic sense. Who can blame them since the history books are filled with companies that never reached scale? However, if the retailer does build the infrastructure and there is sufficient demand to spread fixed costs over enough volume, the significant capital investment and high operating leverage creates high barriers to entry. If we look to Amazon as the dominant e-commerce company today, once the infrastructure is built and reaches scale, there is little marginal cost to serve any prospective customer with an internet connection located within its delivery footprint. For this reason, I have always been hesitant to invest in any e-commerce company that Amazon may be able to compete with directly, which is any mid-sized product that fits in an easily shippable box. As it relates to used car retailing, the infrastructure required to ship and recondition cars is unique, and once built, the economies of scale make it nearly impossible for potential competitors to replicate. Carvana is in the very early stages of building out its infrastructure. There is clearly demand for its attractive customer value proposition. It has demonstrated an ability to scale fixed costs in earlier cohorts as utilization of capacity increases, providing attractive unit economics at scale. Newer market cohorts are tracking at a similar, if not faster market penetration rate as earlier cohorts. Carvana is still investing heavily in building out a nationwide hub-and-spoke transportation network and reconditioning facilities. In 2021 alone, Carvana grew its balance sheet by $4 billion as it invested in its infrastructure while also reaching EBITDA breakeven for the first time. The Amazon story is a prime example (pun intended) of a new and better business model (more attractive unit economics) that delivered a superior value proposition and propelled the company ahead of its competition, similar to the underlying dynamics occurring in the used car industry today. Amazon invested heavily in both tangible and intangible growth assets that depressed earnings and cash flow in its earlier years (and still today) while growing its earning power and the long-term value of the business. The question is, does Carvana have enough capital/liquidity to build out its infrastructure and scale business volume to then generate attractive profits and cash flow? Following Carvana’s track record of scaling operating costs and reaching EBITDA breakeven in 2021, the market was no longer concerned about its liquidity position or the sustainability of its business model. However, the recent quarterly loss combined with taking on $3 billion in debt to buildout the 56 ADESA locations across the country raises the question of whether Carvana has enough liquidity to reach scale. Carvana’s current stock price clearly reflects the market discounting the probability that Carvana will face liquidity issues and therefore have to raise further capital at unfavorable terms. However, I think if you look a little deeper, Carvana has clearly demonstrated highly attractive unit economics. It has several levers to pull to protect it from any liquidity concerns if needed. The $2.6 billion in cash (as well as $2 billion in additional available liquidity in unpledged real estate and other assets) it has following the ADESA acquisition, is more than enough to sustain a potentially prolonged decline in used car demand. The most probable scenario over the next several quarters is that Carvana will address its supply chain and logistical issues that were largely due to Omicron. As the logistical network normalizes, more of Carvana’s inventory will be available to purchase on their website with shorter delivery times, which will increase customer conversion rates. This will lead to selling more retail units, providing higher inventory turnover and lower shipping costs, and therefore gross profit per unit will recover from the first quarter lows. Other gross profit per unit (which primarily includes financing) will also normalize in a less volatile interest rate environment. Combined total gross profit per unit should then approach normalized levels by the end of the year/beginning of 2023 (~$4,000+ per unit). Like all forms of leverage, operating leverage works both ways. For companies with higher operating leverage, when sales increase, profits will increase at a faster rate. However, if sales decrease, profits will decrease at a faster rate. While Carvana has high operating leverage in the short-term, they do have the ability adjust costs in the intermediate term to better match demand. When demand suddenly shifts from plan, it will have a substantial impact on current profits. First quarter losses were abnormally high because demand was lower than expected. Although, one should not extrapolate those losses far into the future because Carvana has the ability to better adjust and match its costs structure to a lower demand environment if needed. As management better matches costs with expected demand, operating costs as a whole will remain relatively flat if not decline throughout the year as management has already taken steps to lower expenses. As volumes continue to grow at the more moderate pace reflected in the first quarter and SG&A remains flat to slightly declining, costs per unit will decline with Carvana reaching positive EBITDA per unit by the second half of 2023 in this scenario. Source: Company filing, Saga Partners Source: Company filing, Saga Partners With the additional $3.2 billion in debt, Carvana will have a total interest expense of ~$600 million per year, assuming no paydown of existing revolving facilities or net interest income on cash balances. Management plans on spending $1 billion in capex to build out the ADESA locations. They are budgeting for ~$40 million in priority and elective capex per quarter going forward suggesting the build out will take ~6 years. Total capex including maintenance is expected to be $50 million a quarter. Carvana would reach positive free cash flow (measured as EBITDA less interest expense less total Capex) by 2025. Note this assumes the used car market remains depressed throughout 2022 and then Carvana’s retail unit growth increases to 25% a year for the remainder of the forecast and no benefit in lower SG&A or increased gross profit per unit from the additional ADESA locations was assumed. Stock based compensation was included in the SG&A below so actual free cash flow would be higher than the chart indicates. Source: Company filings, Saga Partners Note: Free cash flow is calculated as EBITDA less interest expense less capex After the close of the ADESA acquisition, Carvana has $2.6 billion in cash (plus $2 billion in additional liquidity from unpledged assets if needed). Assuming the above scenario, Carvana has plenty of cash to endure EBITDA losses over the next year and a half, interest payments, and capex needs. Source: Company filings, Saga Partners The above scenario does not consider the increasing capacity that Carvana will have as it continues to build out the ADESA locations. After building out all the locations, Carvana will be within one hundred miles of 80% of the U.S. population. This unlocks same-day and next-day delivery to more customers, leading to higher customer conversion rates, higher inventory turn, lower risk of delivery delays, and lower shipping costs, which all contribute to stronger unit economics. Customer proximity is key. Due to lower transport costs, faster turnaround times on acquired vehicles, and higher conversion from faster delivery speeds, a car picked up or delivered within two hundred miles of a recondition center generates $750 more profit than an average sale. It is possible that industry-wide used car demand remains depressed or even worsens for an extended period. If this were the case, management has the ability to further optimize for efficiency by lowering operating costs to better match demand. This is what management did following the COVID demand shock in March 2020. The company effectively halted corporate hiring and tied operational employee hours to current demand as opposed to future demand. During the months of May and June 2020, SG&A (ex. advertising expense and D&A) per unit was $2,600, far lower than the $3,440 reported in 2020 or $3,654 in 2021. Carvana has also historically operated between 50-60% capacity utilization, indicating further room to scale volumes across its existing infrastructure without the need for materially greater SG&A expenses. Advertising expense in older cohorts reached ~$500 per unit, compared to the $1,126 reported for all of 2021, while older cohorts still grew at 30%+ rates. If needed, Carvana could improve upon the $2,600 SG&A plus $500 advertising expense ($3,100 in total) per unit at its current scale and be far below gross profit per unit even if used car demand remains depressed for an extended period of time. When management optimizes for efficiency as opposed to growth, it has the ability to significantly lower costs per unit. Carvana has highly attractive unit economics and I fully expect management will take the needed measures to right size operating costs with demand. They recently made the difficult decision to layoff ~2,500 employees, primarily in operations, to better balance capacity with the demand environment. If we assume it takes six years to fully build out the additional ADESA reconditioning locations, Carvana will have a total capacity of 3.2 million units in 2028. If Carvana is running at 90% utilization it could sell 2.9 million retail units (or ~7% of the total used car market). If average used car prices decline from current levels and then follow its more normal longer-term price appreciation trends, the average 2028 Carvana used car price would be ~$23,000 and would have a contribution profit of ~$2,000 per unit at scale. This would provide nearly $5.6 billion in EBITDA. After considering expected interest expense, maintenance capex, and taxes, it would provide over $4 billion in net income. If Carvana realizes this outcome in six years, the company looks highly attractive (perhaps unreasonably attractive) compared to its current $7 billion market cap or $10 billion enterprise value (excluding asset-based debt). Redfin I recently wrote about Redfin Corp (NASDAQ:RDFN) in this December 2021 write-up. I explained how Redfin has increased the productivity of real estate agents by integrating its website with its full-time salaried agents and then funneling the demand aggregated on its website to agents. Redfin agents do not have to spend time prospecting for business but can rather spend all their time servicing clients throughout the process of buying and selling a home. Since Redfin agents are three times more productive than a traditional agent, Redfin is a low-cost provider, i.e., it costs Redfin less to close a transaction than a traditional brokerage at scale. It is a similar concept as the higher operating leverage of e-commerce relative to brick & mortar retailers. Redfin has higher operating leverage compared to the traditional real estate brokerage. Real estate agents are typically contractors for a brokerage. They are largely left alone to run their own business. Agents have to prospect for clients, market/advertise listings, do showings, and service clients throughout each step of the real estate transaction. Everything an agent does is largely a variable cost because few of their tasks are automated. Redfin, on the other hand, turned prospecting for demand, marketing/advertising listings, and investments in technology to help agents and customers throughout the transaction into more of a fixed cost. These costs are scalable and become a smaller cost per transaction as total transaction volumes grow across the company. Because Redfin is a low-cost provider, it has a relative advantage over traditional brokerages. No other real estate brokerage has lowered or attempted to lower the costs of transacting real estate in a similar way. This cost advantage provides Redfin with options about how to share these savings on each transaction. Redfin has primarily shared the cost savings with customers by charging lower commission rates than traditional brokerages. By offering a similar, if not superior, service to customers compared to other brokerages yet charging lower fees, it naturally attracts further demand which then provides Redfin with the ability to scale fixed costs per transaction even more, further widening their cost advantage to other brokerages. So far, the majority of those cost savings are shared with home sellers as opposed to homebuyers. Sellers are more price sensitive than homebuyers because the buyer’s commission is already baked into the seller’s contract and therefore buyers have not directly paid commissions to agents historically. Also, growing share of home listings is an important component of controlling the real estate transaction. The seller’s listing agent is the one who controls the property, decides who sees the house, and manages the offers and negotiations. Therefore, managing more listings enables Redfin to have more control over the transaction and further streamline/reduce inefficiencies for the benefit of both potential buyers and sellers. Redfin also spends some of their cost savings by reinvesting them back into the company by hiring software engineers to build better technology to continue to lower the cost of the transaction. This may include building tools for agents to service clients better, improving the web portal and user interfaces, on-demand tours for buyers to see homes first, automation to give homeowners an immediate RedfinNow offer, etc. Redfin also invests in building other business segments like mortgage, title forward, and iBuying which provide a more comprehensive real estate offering for customers which attracts further demand. So far, the lower costs per transaction have not been shared with shareholders in the form of dividends or share repurchases, and for good reason. In theory, Redfin could charge industry standard prices and increase revenue immediately by 30-40% which would drop straight to the bottom-line assuming demand would remain stable. However, giving customers most of the savings through lower commissions has obviously been one of the drivers for attracting demand and growing transaction volume, particularly for home sellers. The greater the number of transactions, the lower the fixed costs per transaction, which further increases Redfin’s cost advantage compared to traditional brokerages, which provides Redfin with even more money per transaction to share with either customers, employees, and eventually shareholders. With just over 1% market share, Redfin should be reinvesting in growing share which will increase the value of the business and inevitably benefit long-term owners of the company. Redfin’s stock price has experienced an especially large decline this year. I typically prefer to not attempt to place an explanation or narrative on short-term stock price movements, but I will do it anyways given the substantial drop. There are primarily two factors contributing to the market’s negative view of the company: first, the market currently dislikes anything connected to the real estate industry and second, the market currently has little patience for any company that reports net losses regardless of the underlying economics of the business. Real estate is currently a hated part of the market, and potentially for good reason. It is a cyclical industry, and the economy is potentially either entering or already in a recession. Interest rates are expected to continue to rise, negatively impacting home affordability, while an imbalance in the housing supply persists with historically low inventory available helping fuel an unsustainable rise in housing prices. From a macro industry-wide perspective, the real estate market will ebb and flow with the economy over time, but demand to buy, sell, and finance homes will always exist. I do not have the ability to determine how aggregate demand for buying or selling a home will change from year-to-year, but I do know that people have to live somewhere and if Redfin is able to help them find, buy or rent, and finance where they live better than alternative service providers, then the company will gain share and grow in value overtime. Redfin has also reported abnormally high losses of $91 million in the first quarter for which the current market has little appetite. It feeds the argument that Redfin does not have a sustainable business model. While losses can be a sign of unsustainable economics, that is not the case for Redfin. There are several factors that are all negatively hitting the income statement at the same time, and all should improve materially over the next year or two. Higher first quarter losses largely reflect: Agent Productivity: First quarter brokerage sales increased 7% year-over-year, but lead agent count increased 20%, which meant agents were less productive, leading to real estate gross profits declining $17 million from the prior year. Lower productivity was a result of a steeper ramp in agent hiring towards the end of the year against lower seasonal transaction volumes. It typically takes about six months for new agents to get trained and start closing transactions and then contributing to gross profits. Any accelerated hiring, particularly during a softer macro environment, will be a headwind while Redfin is paying upfront costs before any revenue is being generated. Further, closing transactions has been difficult particularly for buyers, which is where most new agents start. The housing market has been unbalanced where there is not enough inventory. A home for sale will typically receive many competing offers which makes it difficult for a buyer to win the deal. Since Redfin agents are mostly paid on commission (~20% salary plus the remainder being commission), it has been more difficult for new agents to earn a sufficient income in the current real estate environment. In response, Redfin started paying $1,500 retention bonuses for new agents who could guide customers to the point of bidding on a home, regardless of whether those bids win. While the bonus may impact gross profits in the near-term before a customer closes a transaction, it will not impact gross margins in the long-term when a transaction eventually takes place. Going forward, agent hiring will return to more normal rates and the larger number of new hires from recent quarters will ramp up which will improve productivity and gross profits. RentPath: Redfin bought RentPath out of bankruptcy for $608 million in April 2021, primarily to incorporate its rentals on its website which helps Redfin.com show up higher on Internet real estate searches. Prior to the acquisition, RentPath had no leadership direction for several years and declining sales and operating losses. RentPath had new management start in August 2021 and was integrated into Redfin.com in March. It finally started to see operational improvement with sales increasing in February and March year-over-year for the first time since 2019 despite a significant decrease in marketing expenses. While RentPath had $17 million in losses during the first quarter and is expected to have $22 million in losses in the second quarter, operations will improve going forward. Management made it clear that RentPath will be a contributor to net profits in its own right and not just a driver of site traffic and demand to Redfin’s brokerage business. Mortgage: A recent major development was the acquisition of Bay Equity for $135 million in April. Redfin was historically building out its mortgage business from scratch but after struggling to scale the operation decided to buy Bay Equity. Redfin was spending $13 million per a year on investing in its legacy mortgage business but going forward, mortgage will now be a net contributor to profits with Bay expected to provide $4 million in profit in the second quarter. The greater implication of having a scaled mortgage underwriter that is integrated with the real estate broker is that they can work together to streamline and expedite the transaction closing which has become an increasingly important value proposition for customers. Looking just a little further into the future, having a scaled and integrated mortgage underwriter can provide Redfin with the capability of providing buyers with the equivalent of an all-cash offer to sellers. Prospective homebuyers who offer all-cash offers to sellers are four times as likely to win the bid and sellers will often accept a lower price from an all-cash buyer vs. one requiring a mortgage. A common problem that many homeowners face is that when they are looking to move, it is difficult to get approved for a second mortgage while holding the current one. Much of their equity is locked in their current home. Frequently, a homebuyer wins an offer on a new home and then is in mad dash to sell their existing home in order to get the financing to work. It is not ideal to attempt to sell your home as fast as possible because it decreases the chance of getting the best price possible. A solution that Redfin could offer as a customer’s agent and underwriter is provide bridge financing between when a customer buys their new home and is then trying to sell their existing home and is therefore paying on two mortgages. Redfin would be able to make a reasonable appraisal for what a customer’s existing home will sell for (essentially what Redfin already does with iBuying) and underwriting the incremental credit exposure they are willing to provide the buyer. The buyer would then have “Redfin Cash” which would work like a cash offer. If this service helps buyers win a bid four times more often, it would even further differentiate Redfin’s value proposition and attract further demand. At least in the near-term, the mortgage segment will go from being a loss center to a contributor to net profits as well as further improving Redfin’s customer value proposition. Restructuring and transaction costs: Redfin had $6 million in restructuring expenses related to severance with RentPath and the mortgage business as well as closing the Bay Equity acquisition. $4 million in restructuring expenses are expected in the second quarter but these expenses will go away in future quarters. The combination of the above factors provided the headline $91 million net loss for the first quarter. Larger than normal losses between $60-$72 million are still expected in the second quarter. However, going forward losses are expected to continue to improve materially. While Redfin is not done investing in improving its service offerings, it should benefit from the significant investments it has already made over the last 16 years. Redfin has been building and supporting a nationwide business that only operated in parts of the country and had to incur large upfront costs. Going forward, it will benefit from the operating leverage baked into its cost structure with gross profits expected to grow twice as fast as overhead operating expenses. Redfin is expected to be cash flow breakeven in 2022 and provide net profits starting in 2024. Redfin has built a great direct to consumer acquisition tool that is unmatched by any real estate broker. It has spent the costs to acquire the customer and has now built out the different services to provide customers any of the real estate services that they may need, whether that is one or a combination of brokerage services, mortgage underwriting, title forward, iBuying, or rental search. Being able to monetize each customer that it has already acquired by offering them any of these services provides Redfin with a better return on customer acquisition costs that no other competitor is able to do to the same extent. Additionally, these real estate services work better when they are integrated under the same company. One does not have to dig very deep to see how attractive Redfin’s shares are currently priced. Shares are now selling around all-time historic lows since its IPO in August 2017. The prior all-time lows were reached during the COVID crash which was a time the world was facing an unknown pandemic that would shut down the economy and potentially put us through a great depression. At its current $1.2 billion market cap, Redfin is selling for 3x expected 2022 real estate gross profits, or 4x its current $1.7 billion enterprise value (excluding asset-based debt). Both are far below the historic average of 15x (which excludes peak multiples reached towards the end of 2020 and early 2021), or the previous all-time low of 6x reached in the depths of March 2020. If we assume Redfin can raise brokerage commissions by 30%, in line with traditional brokerage commission rates, and it does not lose business, Redfin would be able to provide ~20% operating margins. If we take a more conservative view and say Redfin can earn 10% net margins on its 2022 expected real estate revenues of $990 million, it would provide $99 million in net profits, providing a current 12x price-to-earnings ratio. This is for a company that has a long track record of being able to grow 20%+ a year on average, consistently gains market share each quarter, and has barely monetized its significant upfront investments and fixed costs with a long runway to continue to scale. This also does not place any value on its mortgage or iBuying segments which are now contributors to gross profits. There may be macro risks as well as other concerns today, however Redfin’s business and relative competitive advantage have never been stronger. The net losses reported are not representative of Redfin’s true underlying earning power. Redfin has untapped pricing power, an increasingly attractive customer value proposition, and a growing competitive advantage compared to alternative brokerages, which will help Redfin to continue to grow and take market share in what is a very large market. Conclusion Of course, the future can look scary, as it often does when headlines jump from one risk to the other. Despite what may be happening in the macro environment, our companies on average are stronger than they have ever been and are now selling for what we believe are the most attractive prices we have seen relative to their intrinsic value. I have no idea what shares will do in the near-term and I never will. Stock prices can swing wildly for many reasons, and sometimes seemingly for no reason at all. They can diverge, sometimes significantly from their true underlying value. I have no idea when sentiment will shift from optimism to pessimism and then back to optimism. This is what keeps us invested in both good times and in bad. The current selloff can continue further, but assuming our companies continue to execute over the coming years by winning market share and earning attractive returns on their investment spending, the market’s sentiment surrounding our portfolio companies will eventually reflect their underlying fundamentals. I will continue to look towards the longer-term operating results of our companies and not to the movements in their stock price as feedback to whether our initial investment thesis is playing out as expected. While the market can ignore or misjudge business success for a certain period, it eventually has to realize it. During times of greater volatility and periods of large drawdowns, I am reminded of how truly important the quality of our investor base is. It is completely natural to react in certain ways to rising or declining stock prices. It takes a very special investor base to look past near-term volatility and to trust us to make very important decision on their behalf as we continually try to increase the value of the Saga Portfolio over the long-term. As always, I am available to catch up or discuss any questions you may have. Sincerely, Joe Frankenfield Saga Partners Updated on May 16, 2022, 4:44 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 17th, 2022

Futures Rebound From Two-Day Plunge As Yield And Oil Rise

Futures Rebound From Two-Day Plunge As Yield And Oil Rise U.S. index futures edged higher, along with European shares, after the sharpest two-day drop in almost a month, as investors digested Federal Reserve’s hawkish path and were jerked higher by a fleeting moment of Ukraine ceasefire hope when Emini futures initially spiked to session highs on the following Reuters headline: RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS UKRAINE PRESENTED A NEW DRAFT AGREEMENT TO RUSSIA ON WEDNESDAY - IFX ... only to reverse the entire move two minutes later when the following headline hit: LAVROV: UKRAINE PROPOSALS ON CRIMEA, DONBAS UNACCEPTABLE: IFX Mini hiccup aside, S&P futures were about 0.1% higher at 4,481 while Nasdaq futures gained 0.5% to 14,574, signaling an end to a selloff in the underlying index that erased $850 billion in market value over two days.  Ten-year Treasury yields were flat around 2.61%, the dollar extended its rally to a sixth day, the longest streak in almost 10 months, and oil rebounded from yestereday's IEA reserve release-driven plunge. Markets are showing signs of recovery after a selloff brought on by hawkish Fed minutes in which the central bank laid out a long-awaited plan to shrink their balance sheet by about $95BN per month or more than $1 trillion a year while raising interest rates “expeditiously” to counter the hottest inflation in four decades. “The FOMC minutes gave the clarity that every investors was looking for,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “The US 2-10 year spread is back in the positive after having slipped below zero, but the recession threat is real, keeping the investor mood sour as the Fed pulls back support.” “The Fed delivered what most market watchers were looking for, with details around the pace and composition of the balance sheet runoff,” said Janus Henderson global bond PM Jason England. Along with recent hawkish comments from Fed officials, the minutes showed “the Fed has pivoted from a gradual approach to tightening monetary policy to now moving more rapidly toward a neutral stance,” he said. In premarket trading, HP shares were up 13% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought an 11% stake worth $4.2 billion in the laptop maker valued at more than $4.2 billion. SoFi shares declined 5.1% in premarket after the fintech firm gave new guidance as the U.S. government extended the pause on student-loan payments. Other notable premarket overs include: Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI US) gains 5.5% in premarket trading after it said revenue during the most recent quarter increased 22% to $1.6 billion. Wells Fargo said comments about a strong first quarter and good momentum in March should help dispel investor concerns, at least in the near term. Wayfair (W US) falls 4.4% in premarket trading after Wells Fargo downgrades to underweight from equal weight in sector note turning more cautious on housing-impacted retailers. SoFi (SOFI US) drops 5.1% in premarket trading as Morgan Stanley cuts its 2022 Ebitda estimate by $42m to $100m after the fintech firm gave new guidance as the U.S. government extended the pause on student-loan payments. Sprinklr’s fourth- quarter results were a positive, though the most impressive point was the software company’s guidance, Barclays analysts led by Raimo Lenschow write in a note. The shares rose 4.7% in postmarket trading on Wednesday. Vapotherm (VAPO US) falls 23% in premarket trading after the respiratory-device company reported preliminary quarterly revenue that fell short of analysts’ estimates and withdrew its annual guidance. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 added 0.7%, boosted by a rally in shares of Atlantia SpA, the billionaire Benettons’ highway and airport group. Atlantia added 10% in Italian trading after a non-binding bid from Global Infrastructure Partners and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. European healthcare and chemical stocks outperformed, while energy and miners declined. IBEX outperformed, adding 1.5%, FTSE 100 lags, dropping 0.1%. Health care, chemicals and travel are the strongest performing sectors. The energy sector was in the red, dragging the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE 100 down, as Shell’s $4-$5BN hit from its withdrawal from Russia weighed on oil producers. The statement from the London-based giant shows that, despite a surge in oil and gas prices, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended the supermajors’ plans and left them scrambling to adapt to historic shifts in energy markets. Here are the most notable European premarket movers: Atlantia shares rise as much as 12%, extending yesterday’s gains, after a Bloomberg report that the motorway and airport company could become the target of a bidding war. Electrolux advances as much as 5.8% after announcing a positive non- recurring item of $70.5m in 1Q. Euronav shares gain as much as 12% on news of a potential stock-for-stock combination with Frontline to create a tanker company with a market capitalization of more than $4.2b. Daetwyler shares jump as much as 6% after it announced the acquisition of U.S. electrical connector seals company QSR, with Baader saying the deal may benefit earnings from day one. 888 shares surge as much as 31% after the gambling company announced a share placement to pay for its now-cheaper acquisition of William Hill’s international assets, with analysts reacting positively. Verbio shares surge to a record high after Hauck & Aufhauser lifts its PT on the biodiesel manufacturer by almost 33% ahead of what the broker expects to be “another outstanding quarter.” European basic resources and energy shares decline, lagging all other sectors, as commodity prices start to pull back, with Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore all posting declines. PageGroup and other staffing companies fall after Jefferies lowers EPS estimates across the sector and takes a “more risk-off approach” in note, downgrading PageGroup in the process. Countryside shares sank as the home developer forecast a decline in profit after conducting a review of its business following a dispute with an activist investor. TI Fluid Systems falls as much as 12% after Jefferies downgraded the automotive parts maker to hold from buy, saying conditions faced by the company are among the most difficult in its coverage. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks slid to a three-week low as traders feared a rapid rise in U.S. interest rates and aggressive scale-back of the Federal Reserve’s bond holdings could stymie growth and hurt earnings. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost as much as 1.4% on Thursday, with tech shares leading the losses in many countries, after minutes of the Fed’s March meeting showed plans to shrink its balance sheet by more than $1 trillion a year. The fall came after the Asian benchmark slumped 1.5% on Wednesday following similarly hawkish comments from Fed Governor Lael Brainard. Worries that hawkish policy tightening by the Fed may cool the world’s largest economy or even tip it into a recession are hitting equities broadly across Asia. Stocks in China also buckled, even as the state council renewed its pledge to use monetary policy tools at an “appropriate time” and consider other measures to boost consumption, according to the readout from a meeting of the State Council chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday. “The Fed is telling us that the party is over. It is saying it will take away the punch bowl,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo. “This will have a serious impact on all risk assets.” Fujito saw tech shares with rich valuations as the most vulnerable, adding that investors will be trying to seek shelter in utilities and defensive stocks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Information Technology Index fell about 2%.  Benchmarks in Japan and South Korea underperformed other Asian peers, while gauges in Australia and India posted smaller declines on Thursday.   For April, the MSCI Asia is now down more than 2% on top of a slump of almost 7% last quarter -- the most since the first three months of 2020 -- amid concern about the war in Ukraine, higher rates and inflation.  Japanese equities fell by the most in almost four weeks, deepening declines in tandem with U.S. peers amid concerns over the Federal Reserve’s plans to tighten monetary policy. Electronics makers and service providers were the biggest drags the Topix, which dropped 1.6%, in its third day of decline. Tokyo Electron and Fast Retailing were the largest contributors to a 1.7% loss in the Nikkei 225.  Minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed the U.S. central bank is prepared to raise rates sharply and reduce its balance sheet to cool the economy. Indian stocks dropped with peers across Asia as the weekly expiry of derivative contracts weighed on the market.  The S&P BSE Sensex slipped for a third session, dropping 1% to 59,034.95, its biggest fall since March 21. The NSE Nifty 50 Index slipped 0.9%. HDFC Bank retreated 2.2%, while Reliance Industries declined 1.8%. Seventeen of 30 shares on the Sensex traded lower.  Fifteen of 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a gauge of oil & gas stocks. The Fed’s plan to prune its near $9 trillion balance sheet, which was swollen by pandemic-era bond purchases, points to more volatility in global markets. Locally, the nation’s central bank will likely raise its inflation outlook to reflect costlier oil while leaving borrowing costs steady in its policy decision on Friday. “U.S. Fed’s hawkish stance has raised concerns of steeper interest rate hikes going ahead,” Kotak Securities analyst Shrikant Chouhan said. He sees volatility in global crude oil prices leading to profit taking in Reliance Industries and other energy stocks. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,442.80, retreating alongside global peers after the Federal Reserve outlined plans to trim its balance sheet by more than $1 trillion a year while raising interest rates. Life360 was the biggest laggard as tech stocks dropped. Magellan Financial was the top performer after its funds under management update showed a slowdown in net outflows. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 12,075.91 In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index is near flat, handing back earlier gains that saw it at a three-week high. RUB leads gains in EMFX. In rates, the treasuries curve extends steepening counter-trend as front-end and belly yields retreat further from Wednesday’s YTD highs while long-end cheapens slightly. Yields richer by up to 3bp across front-end of the curve, steepening 2s10s by ~3bp with 10-year little changed near 2.60%; bunds and gilts keep pace. Bund, Treasury and gilt curves all bull steepen. Meanwhile commodity markets continue to be whipsawed by disruptions sparked by Russia’s war in Ukraine and efforts to curb raw-material costs. WTI crude climbed toward $98 a barrel, paring a slump that was triggered by the International Energy Agency’s decision to deploy 60 million barrels from emergency stockpiles. WTI added 1.4% to trade near $98. Brent rises 1.5% to over $102. Most base metals trade in the red; LME nickel falls 2.3%, underperforming peers. Spot gold is little changed at $1,926/oz. Raw materials could surge by as much 40% -- taking them far into record territory -- should investors boost their allocation to commodities at a time of rising inflation, according to JPMorgan. In crypto, bitcoin is pressured and towards the low-end of a range that continues to drift from the USD 45k mark. Meta (FB) is exploring a virtual currency for the metaverse, according to the FT. U.S. economic data slate includes initial jobless claims (8:30am) and February consumer credit (3pm). Fed speakers scheduled include Bullard (9am) and Bostic (2pm). U.S. session highlights include speech and Q&A by St. Louis Fed’s Bullard --who dissented from March FOMC decision in favor of a bigger rate increase -- at 9am ET.  Other central bank speakers include Bostic and Evans, as well as the BoE’s Pill. We’ll also get the minutes from the ECB’s March meeting, along with remarks from the Fed’s Bullard, Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,476.75 MXAP down 1.4% to 176.33 MXAPJ down 1.4% to 584.33 Nikkei down 1.7% to 26,888.57 Topix down 1.6% to 1,892.90 Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 21,808.98 Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,236.70 Sensex down 0.7% to 59,191.33 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,442.83 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,695.86 Brent Futures little changed at $101.14/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,928.10 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 99.69     Top Overnight News from Bloomberg ECB President Christine Lagarde said she tested positive for Covid-19, adding that her symptoms are “reasonably mild” and that there won’t be any impact on the operations of her institution Surging U.S. real yields suggest bond traders believe the Federal Reserve can get a grip on inflation, but are likely to put further pressure on stocks and precious metals German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said the nation has already cut its reliance on Russian coal by at least half in the past month and won’t stand in the way of a European Union ban on imports of the fuel from the country In the days after the Ukraine war began, the ruble’s collapse was a potent symbol of Russia’s newfound financial isolation. Now, the ruble has surged all the way back to where it was before Putin invaded Ukraine Hungary kept its effective key interest rate unchanged at the highest level in the European Union after the forint plunged on the bloc’s announcement that it is triggering a process that may block the country’s aid funds China signaled it will step up monetary stimulus for the economy, acknowledging that domestic and global risks are now bigger than previously expected Bank of Japan board member Asahi Noguchi says it’s vital to continue with monetary easing as it will take some time before the possibility of shrinking stimulus comes into sight. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded lower throughout most of the session as the downbeat mood reverberated from Wall Street. ASX 200 was dragged lower by its tech sector following a similar sectoral performance in the West. Nikkei 225 was hit by losses across its energy, mining and manufacturing names. KOSPI conformed to the global losses whilst Samsung Electronics (-0.3%) failed to benefit from better-thanexpected prelim earnings. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were choppy and initially swung between gains and losses before stabilising in the red. Samsung Electronics (005930 KS) - Prelim Q1 (KRW) Revenue 77tln (exp. 75.7tln), Operating Profit 14.1tln (exp. 13.3tln), via Reuters Top Asian News Suspected Chinese Hackers Collect Intel From India’s Grid SoftBank Tripled Share Buybacks to $1 Billion in March Thailand Mulls Easing Covid Test Rules for Overseas Visitors Japan to Release 15m Barrels From Oil Reserves: Kyodo European bourses are firmer across the board and back in proximity to post-cash open levels after initial strength waned in choppy price action, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.7%. US futures have been relatively in-fitting with European peers, though the NQ, +0.5%, is the modest outperformer as yields take a breather from their recent surge. China's Shanghai City is to cap the load factor of international flights by foreign airlines at 40% (prev. 75%), according to Reuters sources; effective from April 11th until month-end. Top European News Turkey Transfers Khashoggi Case to Saudi Arabia to Improve Ties Shunned Oil Piling Up Off China as Virus Outbreak Worsens EU Full Ban on Russia Coal to Be Delayed Until Mid-August: Rtrs Yellen Says U.S. Would Use Sanctions If China Invaded Taiwan FX: Greenback sets marginal new YTD best after hawkish FOMC minutes reveal tight call between 25 bp and 50 bp lift-off plus large cap balance sheet reduction, DXY up to 99.823, thus far. Albeit, the DXY has waned from best levels and turns flat ahead of the arrival of US participants as yields continue to pare Euro eyeing option expiries for support ahead of ECB minutes following loss of 1.0900 handle vs Dollar; EUR/USD down below Fib at 1.0895. Aussie unwinds more RBA inspired upside as trade surplus narrows on zero export balance; AUD/USD around 0.7475 vs circa 0.7661 only yesterday. Yen benefits from retreat in yields rather than BoJ rhetoric reaffirming ultra easy policy and merits of a weaker currency, USD/JPY capped below 124.00. Commodities: Crude benchmarks consolidate near WTD lows after reserve release pressure; specifically, near lows of USD 95.43/bbl and USD 100.13/bbl for WTI and Brent. Updates elsewhere have been slim, and focused on China's Shanghai City from a demand-side perspective amidst ongoing Ukraine-Russia developments; albeit, nothing fundamentally new in terms of negotiations. China is to strictly control new production capacity in the oil refining industry, according to the industry ministry Gas flows via Yamal-Europe pipeline resume westward, according to Gascade data. Spot gold/silver are contained and the yellow metal is once again capped by USD 1930/oz and LME Copper has failed to benefit from the equity pickup. US Event Calendar 08:30: April Initial Jobless Claims, est. 200,000, prior 202,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.3m, prior 1.31m 15:00: Feb. Consumer Credit, est. $18.1b, prior $6.84b Central Bank Speakers 09:00: Fed’s Bullard Discusses the Economy and Monetary Policy 14:00: Fed’s Bostic and Evans Discuss Inclusive Employment 16:05: cancelled: Fed’s Williams Makes Closing Remarks DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap We might be less than a week into Q2, but based on how markets are performing it’s shaping up to be very similar to Q1 thus far, with yesterday seeing another bond selloff and significant declines for global equities as markets gear up for the fastest monetary tightening we’ve seen in decades. Indeed, it seems to be progressively dawning on investors that this cycle of hikes is going to be very different to the one we saw from 2015, when even at its fastest in 2018, the Fed still only hiked rates by 100bps in a single year. As Jim has written, if we could erase the post-GFC cycle from people’s memory banks, there’s a case that markets would be pricing 300-400bps this year given where inflation is right now, not least given we saw hikes on that scale in the late-80s and from 1994 with inflation at much lower levels than it is at the minute. Given the rapid expected tightening (as well as the negative shock of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine), it’s worth noting that DB Research’s new World Outlook came out on Tuesday, (link here), where we downgraded our global growth forecasts and are now forecasting a US recession by the end of next year as our baseline. We also got a look into the Fed’s outlook yesterday with the release of the March FOMC minutes, where it looks like they would have hiked by 50bps in March were it not for the Russian invasion, and they are ready to entertain 50bps hikes going forward. The markets got the message, and upgraded the probability of a 50bp hike at the next meeting in early May to 85%. The other big takeaway from the minutes were details around QT, which they signalled would start in May, in line with recent Fed speakers. The FOMC noted the balance sheet would rundown at a pace of $60bn Treasuries and $35bn MBS a month once QT hits terminal velocity, which should be by July if the minutes are to be believed. Markets digested the news, with Treasury yields more or less in line with their pre-minute levels into the close after declining modestly in the New York afternoon. With the pace of the runoff now set, the focus will turn to who buys the securities with the Fed stepping away and when the Fed has to stop QT. Alongside the minutes, remarks from a number of officials yesterday helped to reiterate the point that policy will become tighter this year. Philadelphia Fed President Harker said that he expected “a series of deliberate, methodical hikes as the year continues”, whilst on the question of whether to move by 50bps, Richmond Fed President Barkin said that the FOMC “could certainly do that again if it is necessary to prevent inflation expectations from unanchoring”. With all said and done, sovereign bond yields moved up to fresh highs on both sides of the Atlantic, with those on 10yr Treasuries up +5.1bps to 2.598%, which was its highest closing level since 2019, albeit some way beneath its intraday high of 2.656% shortly before noon in London, and this morning they have fallen a further -1.5bps to 2.583%. That increase yesterday was entirely driven by a rise in real yields, which rose +7.3bps to -0.24%, their highest level since March 2020, whilst a rally at the short end of the curve meant the 2s10s slope steepened for a 3rd day running, heading up to 12.2bps by the close. Those declines in shorter-dated yields came as futures actually took out a bit of Fed tightening from 2022, modestly reducing the expected number of additional hikes this year from 220bps in the previous session to 217bps by the close. Over in Europe there were similar moves, with sovereign bond yields reaching fresh highs before paring back some of that increase towards the close. Yields on 10yr bunds (+3.3bps), OATs (+3.1bps) and BTPs (+3.8ps) all closed at multi-year records, although a key difference with US Treasuries were that the rise in European yields yesterday were driven by higher inflation expectations rather than real rates. In fact the 10yr German breakeven hit 2.81%, its highest in the data series that starts back in 2009, whilst the Italian 10yr breakeven hit 2.63%, its highest since 2008. As on Tuesday, the selloff in bonds went hand in hand with further declines in equities, and by the close the S&P 500 (-0.97%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (-1.53%) had both lost ground as well, with cyclical sectors leading the declines. Tech stocks in particular were an underperformer once again, and the NASDAQ (-2.22%) and the FANG+ index (-3.46%) both struggled again, bringing their declines over the last 2 sessions to -4.43% and -6.63% respectively. Amidst the equity declines, the VIX index of volatility rose +1.1pts yesterday to 22.1pts, taking it up to its highest level in 2 weeks. Overnight in Asia, equities have very much followed that retreat on Wall Street as monetary tightening remained in focus. Among the main indices, the Nikkei (-2.00%) is leading the moves lower, whilst the Kospi (-1.42%), Hang Seng (-1.04%), Shanghai Composite (-0.99%), and the CSI (-0.78%) are also trading in negative territory. Separately, we heard from China’s State Council yesterday that they would use monetary policy at an “appropriate time”, as they acknowledged downward pressures on the economy. Looking forward, stock futures in the US are pointing to further declines today, with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.37%) and Nasdaq 100 (-0.33%) both lower following those Fed minutes. In terms of the latest on Ukraine, the EU continued to edge towards a fresh sanctions package, although that wasn’t finalised yesterday as had initially been suggested, with Reuters reporting that technical issues needed to be addressed like whether the ban on Russian coal would affect existing contracts. The report said that diplomats were optimistic about achieving a compromise today, so we could potentially see some news on that later, whilst in his speech to the European Parliament yesterday, European Council President Charles Michel also said that “I believe that measures on oil and even on gas will also be needed sooner or later.” Otherwise on sanctions, the US imposed further measures, including full blocking sanctions on Sberbank and Alfa Bank, along with a prohibition on new investment in Russia. The various decisions came amidst a further decline in oil prices yesterday, with Brent crude down -5.22% to $101.07/bbl, its lowest closing level in 3 weeks. That was supported by confirmation that the International Energy Agency would release 60m barrels of crude, on top of the Biden Administration’s release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Brent has recovered somewhat this morning however, up +1.85% to $102.94/bbl. Turning to the French presidential election, we’re now just 3 days away from the first round on Sunday, and the polls have continued to tighten between President Macron and his main challenger Marine Le Pen. Yesterday’s polls for the second round runoff put Macron ahead of Le Pen by 54%-46% (Ipsos), 53-47% (Opinionway), and 52.5%-47.5% (Ifop), which are all much tighter than the 66%-34% margin in the 2017 election. French assets have continued to underperform against this backdrop, with the CAC 40 equity index (-2.21%) seeing a weaker performance than the broader STOXX 600 (-1.53%) for a 6th consecutive session. On yesterday’s data, the Euro Area PPI reading for February came in at a year-on-year rate of +31.4% (vs. 31.6% expected), which is the fastest pace since the formation of the single currency. Separately, German factory orders contracted by a larger than expected -2.2% in February (vs. -0.3% expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include German industrial production and Euro Area retail sales for February, along with the weekly initial jobless claims from the US. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll get the minutes from the ECB’s March meeting, along with remarks from the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic and Evans, as well as the BoE’s Pill. Tyler Durden Thu, 04/07/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 7th, 2022

March Payrolls Preview: Can Wage Growth Slow Enough To Dent The Fed"s 50bps Rate Hike

March Payrolls Preview: Can Wage Growth Slow Enough To Dent The Fed's 50bps Rate Hike With the Fed's rates "lift off" already a done deal, traders will frame Friday's March jobs data (which comes just hours after the month of March is in the actual history books) in the context of monetary policy, where money markets are assigning a 76% probability that the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates by a 50bps increment in May. Accordingly, as Newsquawk writes in its NFP preview, there will be much attention on the average hourly wages measures in the jobs report for signs about how the recent surge in inflation is affecting Americans’ real incomes, and for any evidence of the so-called second-round effects of inflation. The consensus looks for wages to rise in the month, lifting the annual measure, but some desks argue that the pressure is easing in the labor market, which should see wage growth ease in the months ahead. Meanwhile, proxies in the month continue to suggest a healthy labor market (initial jobless claims fell in the payrolls survey week, while business surveys suggest firms are ramping up hiring). While the data will likely cause the typical stock price volatility over the release, analysts have said that it would take a significant miss, accompanied by weakness in other economic data, for the Fed to waiver from its seeming intent to raise rates by 50bps in May. Wall Street Expectations: Consensus is for 490k nonfarm payrolls to be added to the US economy in March, with the rate of job creation easing to below recent trend rates (12-month average 556k, 6-month average 583k, 3-month average 582k). Jobless rate is expected to fall by 0.1ppts to 3.7% (the Fed sees the jobless rate ending this year at 3.5%). Wage metrics will attract a lot of attention amid the recent surge in inflation and inflation expectations; policymakers have been attentive to the possibility of both a wage-price spiral and second round effects; average earnings are expected to rise 0.4% M/M (vs unchanged in February), pushing the annual measure up to 5.5% Y/Y (from 5.2% in February). POLICY DEBATE: Fed Chair Powell recently said that the central bank would move to a more restrictive policy if that was needed to restore price stability (translation: the Fed can and will create a recession to contain inflation, something markets refuse to believe) . UBS said that Powell was referring to a deliberate policy of pushing growth below trend; “it is important to note that this policy option was presented in a conditional way–if that is what is required– deliberately pushing policy to generate growth below trend would only be required if there were evidence of a wage-cost spiral developing, and there is not really evidence of that at the moment.” Other analysts point out that average hourly earnings have outperformed other indicators, and accordingly, some relative underperformance could be seen ahead. Either way, the consensus remains that the Fed will raise interest rates by a 50bps increment in May (money markets assign a probability of around 76% of that happening), and it would therefore take a dreadful labor market report combined with other weak data metrics for the Fed to back away from that course. WAGES: Anecdotally, the compensation software provider Payscale, citing its data, said US firms were planning to give the highest pay increases in years, but these would still not match inflation. But Capital Economics says that the easing in job postings on Indeed.com suggests that there has been a softening in labor demand. While it notes that the relationship isn’t perfect, it would be consistent with employment growth easing too, and would match the slowdown in GDP. “The apparent drop-back in job openings also implies that there is now less excess demand for workers, consistent with broader evidence that labour shortages are starting to ease,” and it argues that the “unemployment rate, which is still above its pre-pandemic low, hasn’t proved a useful gauge of labour market slack over the past year”; while it expects this rate will fall in March other indicators suggest that conditions are no longer tightening. “After rising to their highest levels on record last year, the share of small firms struggling to fill job vacancies and the net share of consumers saying jobs are easy to find have both edged lower in recent months,” and “that suggests that the upward pressure on wages will also ease.” The consultancy sees the rate easing back to 5.0% Y/Y in the months ahead. JOB ADDITIONS: Weekly initial jobless claims and continuing claims that coincide with the BLS’ employment report survey period both declined (initial claims eased to 215k from 249k into the February jobs report, while continuing claims eased to 1.35mln from 1.47mln). The ADP’s gauge of private payrolls was more-or-less in line with market expectations (455k vs expected 450k), while the February data was revised up a little (to 486k from 475k). The ISM business surveys have not been released ahead of the March jobs data– these usually offer us some insight about hiring activity. The comparable Markit PMI data, however, noted that companies were stepping up hiring, with the rate of overall jobs creation the highest since April 2021; “manufacturers and service providers alike recorded steeper upturns in employment,” the report said, “numerous firms noted that investment in recruitment campaigns was starting to show gains.” Goldman estimates that payrolls rose by an above-consensus 575k in March as "dining activity rebounded further in March, and most Big Data indicators are consistent with strong job gains." Additionally, the bank believes that "fierce competition for workers incentivized firms to pull forward recruiting activities earlier in the spring hiring season." CONSUMER CONFIDENCE: Within the Conference Board’s gauge of consumer confidence, the number of consumers saying that jobs were “plentiful” rose to 57.2% from 53.5%, a new record high; the number of consumers who said jobs were “hard to get” fell to 9.8% from 12%, taking the differential to 47.4 from 41.5, boding well for those expecting the unemployment rate to decline. However, the survey also revealed that consumers were mixed in their views about the short-term outlook for the labour market, where the number expecting more jobs in the months ahead falling, even though those who anticipate fewer jobs also fell. Consumers were also mixed about their short-term financial prospects. “Confidence continues to be supported by strong employment growth and thus has been holding up remarkably well despite geopolitical uncertainties and expectations for inflation over the next 12 months reaching 7.9%—an all-time high,” the Conference Board said, adding that “these headwinds are expected to persist in the short term and may potentially dampen confidence as well as cool spending further in the months ahead.” ARGUING FOR A STRONGER-THAN-EXPECTED REPORT: Public health. After reaching new highs in December and early January, covid infections fell sharply in February and March, returning to last summer’s relatively low levels. Dining activity also rebounded sharply over the last two months. Coupled with the rise in ADP’s estimate of leisure and hospitality jobs, Goldman expects a significant contribution from leisure-sector payrolls in tomorrow’s report (our estimates embed a rise of 150k, mom sa). Big Data. High-frequency data on the labor market also generally indicate strong growth in March employment. While Homebase is an outlier to the downside, that signal was overly pessimistic in five of the last six reports. Seasonality. Some firms frontloaded spring hiring because of what Goldman believes was fierce competition for workers. In past tight labor markets, job growth tends to be stronger in the first quarter than in the second quarter. That being said, the March pace often slows relative to February’s.  Employer surveys. The employment components of business surveys generally increased in March. Goldman's services survey  employment tracker increased 1.8pt to 55.7 and our manufacturing survey employment tracker increased 0.5pt to 57.9. This resilience in domestic business surveys also argues against a meaningful employment drag from the Russia-Ukraine war. Job availability. The Conference Board labor differential—the difference between the percent of respondents saying jobs are plentiful and those saying jobs are hard to get—increased by 5.4pt to an all-time high of +47.4. JOLTS job openings edged down by 17k in February to 11.3mn but remained above the pre-pandemic peak. Jobless claims. Initial jobless claims decreased during the March payroll month, averaging 209k per week vs. 231k in February. Continuing claims in regular state programs decreased 132k from survey week to survey week. ARGUING FOR A WEAKER-THAN-EXPECTED REPORT Job cuts. Announced layoffs reported by Challenger, Gray & Christmas increased by 4% month-over-month in March, after decreasing by 8% in February (SA by GS). NEUTRAL/MIXED FACTORS ADP. Private sector employment in the ADP report increased by 455k in March, in line with expectations but somewhat below tomorrow’s consensus for private payrolls (+496k mom sa). Tyler Durden Thu, 03/31/2022 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 31st, 2022

Biden"s Massive SPR Release "Does Not Resolve" Upside Risks, Goldman Warns As It Hikes 2023 Oil Price Target To $115

Biden's Massive SPR Release "Does Not Resolve" Upside Risks, Goldman Warns As It Hikes 2023 Oil Price Target To $115 Update (16:00ET): The Biden administration confirmed a record large Strategic Petroleum Reserve release of 180 mb over the next six months to fight the "Putin price hike at the pump", with the potential for other countries to release 30 to 50 mb. As noted earlier,  while such a release will help trim prices in the short-term, increasing supply and commensurately reducing the amount of necessary price-induced demand destruction - the sole oil rebalancing mechanism currently available in a world devoid of inventory buffers and supply elasticity - it will lead to higher prices over the longer-term as the government's panicked, political intervention in the energy market which is obviously meant to avoid a Democrat wipeout in the midterms will discourage any rational investing in supply by US majors. Furthermore, a release of inventories is, only a temporary source of supply and in fact, as Goldman notes, lower prices in 2022 support oil demand while slowing the acceleration in shale production, leaving for now a deficit in 2023 with an eventual need to refill the SPR. As a result, in a note published late on Thursday, Goldman updates its oil supply, demand and price forecasts accordingly, in which the bank is increasing its already expected SPR release to match today’s announcement of 1.2 mb/d over six months, while delaying an expected ramp-up in Iran exports to 3Q22 given delays coming to an agreement and the lag in the required certification for exports to resume. Separately, Goldman's expectations of a 1 mb/d hit to Chinese demand due to lockdowns in 2Q remains unchanged, with OPEC+ expected to stick to its scheduled quota increases through 3Q22 consistent with today’s decision. Finally, the bank is also increasing the probability of a Moderate Russian export disruption scenario (to 50%), implying a slightly larger loss of supply in our weighted mean outcome. This leads Goldman to cut its 2H22 Brent price forecast from $135 to $125/bbl while also raising the 2023 Brent forecast from $110 to $115/bbl. In particular, the bank says it doesn't see "today’s decision as resolving oil’s structural deficit, now years in the making." This is consistent with the resilience in long-dated prices today, with Dec-23 Brent remaining the bank's preferred long-term bullish oil trade (with EU Gasoil cracks the preferred short-term oil trade). Worse, according to Goldman's commodity team, "upsides risks have not been resolved with today’s release" because: Potential logistical bottlenecks to such an unprecedentedly large and long US SPR discharge could reduce its flow rate, with potential congestion on the Gulf Coast in getting to refiners or export terminals. We see risks of a slower shale growth than the 1.1 mb/d we are expecting in 2023, due to the combined effects of rising cost inflation and binding service bottlenecks. The US policy use of an SPR release, a potential deal with Iran, extreme price volatility and the growing risk of a recession next year, are all exacerbating the uncertainty faced by producers, reducing their incentive to invest more. The bank concludes that since fundamental uncertainty is set to remain extremely high in coming weeks and months despite Biden's action, Goldman reiterates "our conviction for higher oil prices." (full note available to pro subs in the usual place) * * * Watch the President deliver remarks on "responding to Putin's Price Hike" at 1330ET: *  *  * Update (1100ET): The White House has released its fact sheet on how the Biden administration will respond to what they are calling "Putin's Price Hike" by releasing 1 million barrels/day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve... After consultation with allies and partners, the President will announce the largest release of oil reserves in history, putting one million additional barrels on the market per day on average – every day – for the next six months. The scale of this release is unprecedented: the world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time. This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up. Which just happens to be when the midterms are held. This move will reduce the SPR to its lowest absolute level; in 40 years and its lowest level all-time in terms of days-supply... The goal of Biden’s plan is to create a bridge for U.S. supply until the fall, when domestic production is anticipated to increase, the people said. But OPEC+’s refusal to increase its own production may dampen any effect of the U.S. release. “It is hard to overstate the scale of this intervention if it bears out,” Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, said in a research note. “It would be the largest draw-down volume announced in the 45-year history of the SPR by a factor of 3.6x.” But, as Goldman warned below, such a release would therefore not resolve the structural supply deficit, years in the making... and the need for restocking will be a big demand pressure on prices A large release from America “would reduce the amount of necessary price-induced demand destruction,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Damien Courvalin wrote in a note to clients. “This would remain, however, a release of oil inventories, not a persistent source of supply for coming years.” Additionally, Saad Rahim, Trafigura Group's Chief Economist told Bloomberg TV, that the potential SPR release will actually discourage future oil output and could drive forward prices higher, and added that the US is only capable of delivering 400,000 to 500,000 barrels a day of oil from the strategic reserve. And the modest drop in WTI prices tells you all you need to know about the market's expectations of the success of this intervention... “Energy traders see any proposal of tapping strategic reserves as a short-term fix,” said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.  Which will barely impact gas prices for the average American... The WTI crude curve has dropped at the short-end on the immediate supply (but as Goldman warns, longer-dated crude prices are actually rising)... And just to throw some more interventionary gas on the fire, Biden urges Congress to make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years and on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing.  Which will also fail to achieve anything substantive because if the wells were economic, they would be running them and so companies will uncap wells only to keep them flowing at a trickle to avoid fines. Never one to miss a greening opportunity - and desperate to keep the progressive left happy, Biden threw a bone to AOC and her climate crazed crowd as he ramps up fossil fuel supply by issuing a directive, authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to secure American production of critical materials to bolster our clean energy economy by reducing our reliance on China and other countries for the minerals and materials that will power our clean energy future. *  *  * Full statement below (link): FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Plan to Respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump Americans face rising prices at the pump because of Putin’s Price Hike.  Since Putin accelerated his military build-up around Ukraine, gas prices have increased by nearly a dollar per gallon.  Because of Putin’s war of choice, less oil is getting to market, and the reduction in supply is raising prices at the pump for Americans.  President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to help American families who are paying more out of pocket as a result.  That is why today, President Biden will announce a two-part plan to ease the pain that families are feeling by increasing the supply of oil starting immediately and achieving lasting American energy independence that reduces demand for oil and bolsters our clean energy economy.  Immediately Increasing Supply At the start of this year, gas was about $3.30 a gallon.  Today, it’s over $4.20, an increase of nearly $1.  And now, a significant amount of Russian oil is not making it to market.  The President banned the import of Russian oil – which Republicans and Democrats in Congress called for and supported.  It was the right thing to do.  But, as the President said, Russian oil coming off the global market would come with a cost, and Americans are seeing that at the pump. The first part of the President’s plan is to immediately increase supply by doing everything we can to encourage domestic production now and through a historic release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to serve as a bridge to greater supply in the months ahead. Increasing Domestic Production The fact is that there is nothing standing in the way of domestic oil production. The United States is already approaching record levels of oil and natural gas production. There are oil companies that are doing the right thing and committing to ramp up production now.  Right now, domestic production is expected to increase by 1 million barrels per day this year and nearly 700,000 barrels per day next year. Still, too many companies aren’t doing their part and are choosing to make extraordinary profits and without making additional investment to help with supply.  One CEO even acknowledged that, even if the price goes to $200 a barrel, they’re not going to step up production.  Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 12 million acres of non-producing Federal land with 9,000 unused but already-approved permits for production. Today, President Biden is calling on Congress to make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years and on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing. Companies that are producing from their leased acres and existing wells will not face higher fees. But companies that continue to sit on non-producing acres will have to choose whether to start producing or pay a fee for each idled well and unused acre. Historic Release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a Bridge Through the Crisis After consultation with allies and partners, the President will announce the largest release of oil reserves in history, putting one million additional barrels on the market per day on average – every day – for the next six months.  The scale of this release is unprecedented: the world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time. This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up.  The Department of Energy will use the revenue from the release to restock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in future years. This will provide a signal of future demand and help encourage domestic production today, and will ensure the continued readiness of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to respond to future emergencies.   President Biden is coordinating this action with allies and partners around the world, and other countries are expected to join in this action, bringing the total release to well over an average 1 million barrels per day. Achieving Real American Energy Independence The United States is the largest oil producer in the world and is a net energy exporter.  Despite that, the actions of a dictator half a world away can still impact American families’ pocketbooks. The President will announce his commitment to achieving real energy independence – which centers on reducing our dependence on oil altogether. The President will call on Congress to pass his plan to speed the transition to clean energy that is made in America.  His plan will help ensure that America creates millions of good-paying union jobs in clean, cutting-edge industries for generations to come. And it will save American families money in theimmediate future – including more than $950 a year in gas savings from taking advantage of electric vehicles, and an additional $500 a year from using clean electricity like solar and heat pumps to power their homes.    And, the President will issue a directive, authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to secure American production of critical materials to bolster our clean energy economy by reducing our reliance on China and other countries for the minerals and materials that will power our clean energy future.  Specifically, the DPA will be authorized to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries–such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese—and the Department of Defense will implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community, and tribal consultation standards. The sectors supported by these large capacity batteries—transportation and the power sector—account for more than half of our nation’s carbon emissions.  The President is also reviewing potential further uses of DPA – in addition to minerals and materials – to secure safer, cleaner, and more resilient energy for America. This week alone, President Biden announced historic efforts to increase energy efficiency and lower costs for consumers.  The Department of Energy opened applications for more than $3 billion in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding—ten times the historical funding levels of the Weatherization Assistance Program—for energy efficiency and electrification upgrades in thousands of homes that will save families hundreds of dollars on utility bills.  The Administration also advanced smart standards that will lower consumer costs, including a roadmap of 100 actions this year that will save families $100 annually through more efficient home appliances and equipment, as well as new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to save drivers money at the pump.  And the Administration is seeking additional opportunities to ramp up the deployment of heat pumps to displace fuel burned in buildings, as well as programs to drive efficiency, electrification, and use of clean fuels in the industrial sector. *  *  * Update (0800ET): Oil prices have stabilized, down around 5% after last night's leaked rumors of the Biden admin's latest plan to save the world - and his approval rating - from soaring gas prices by releasing a gargantuan amount of reserv7es from the SPR. However, as we noted overnight, this is not a solution that provides anything other than a short-term fillip, and as Goldman's Damien Courvalin confirms, this SPR release would remain, however, a release of oil inventories, not a persistent source of supply for coming years. Such a release would therefore not resolve the structural supply deficit, years in the making. Worse still, Courvalin warns that in fact, lower prices in 2022 would support oil demand while slowing the acceleration in shale production, leaving for now a deficit in 2023 as well as the likely requirement to refill the SPR. The net supply increase would be more modest, since we had already assumed a 0.3/0.6/0.9 mb/d SPR release under our Mild/Moderate/Severe Russian export scenarios. In fact, the bank sees three potential bullish (higher oil price) risks: (1) potential logistical bottlenecks to such an unprecedentedly large and long US SPR discharge, reducing its flow. In particular, congestion on the Gulf Coast could crowd out shale's expected production growth this year. (2) We assume that OPEC+ would still accelerate its planned quota increase if Russian and Kazakhstan exports fall by 2 mb/d, which may not occur in the face of an SPR release. (3) We now see increasingly symmetrical probabilities to our Mild and Moderate disruption scenarios (of 1 and 2 mb/d respectively), implying a larger loss of supply in our weighted mean outcome than previously. Adjusting for these probabilities would, for example, bring our 2H22 forecast back to $125/bbl. And looking forward to 2023, the bank says on balance would point to prices $5/bbl above our current $110/bbl forecast, reflecting higher demand and lower shale supply exiting 2022, as well as the likely requirement to restock the SPR (we assume this is done proportionally over 2023-2025, similar to last year's release). Goldman has refrained  from adjusting any of oits crude price forecasts until details of the SPR release are reportedly revealed this afternoon at 1330ET, but the bank notes that additional measures could be announced, with a potential increase to the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline, a measure that in turn would exacerbate the already very tight outlook for grain markets. There will also be an IEA organized emergency meeting on Friday at 8:00am ET, for a potential global coordination of such a large reserve release. Additionally, OPEC+ has agreed on a 432k b/d output hike in May - as expected. Official Communiqué: Following the conclusion of the 27th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, held via videoconference on March 31, it was noted that continuing oil market fundamentals and the consensus on the outlook pointed to a well-balanced market, and that current volatility is not caused by fundamentals, but by ongoing geopolitical developments. The OPEC and participating non-OPEC oil-producing countries decided to: Reaffirm the decision of the 10th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meeting on 12th April 2020 and further endorsed in subsequent meetings including the 19th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meeting on the 18th July 2021. Reconfirm the baseline adjustment, the production adjustment plan and the monthly production adjustment mechanism approved at the 19th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting and the decision to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.432 mb/d for the month of May 2022, as per the attached schedule. Reiterate the critical importance of adhering to full conformity and to the compensation mechanism taking advantage of the extension of the compensation period until the end of June 2022. Compensation plans should be submitted in accordance with the statement of the 15th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting. Hold the 28th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting on 5 May 2022. Delegates say the meeting wrapped up in 12 minutes, beating last month’s record for brevity. The opec plus meeting just ended it lasted 12 mins. No change in policy. #OOTT — Amena Bakr (@Amena__Bakr) March 31, 2022 That won't please Biden at all. *  *  * As we detailed last night, for those keeping score, we believe this is the third time in the last month that the Biden administration has tried to jawbone crude oil prices lower with an ever-increasing 'threat' of releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This time is different though as Bloomberg reports that, according to people familiar with the matter, the Biden administration is weighing a plan to release roughly one million barrels of oil a day for several months. The total release may be as much as 180 million barrels, the people said, which is quite a step up from the 30mm barrel release 'mulled' on March 25th (yes 5 days ago). The instant reaction from the algos was to sell, knocking WTI down around 4%... However... as much as we want lower gas prices, these actions by the administration are bordering on the insane. Of course, just like last year's SPR release, which actually sent oil prices higher as the strategy backfired spectacularly, another shot of supplies from the reserve would probably be futile. To further illustrate this point, the chart below shows that a release of 180M barrels from the reserve (which is supposed to be reserved for emergencies) would take the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to its lowest since 1984...and so far has done absolutely nothing to slow the surge in prices... In fact, this time around, it's possible - even likely - that the backlash could be even more punishing, since, when adjusted for the present level of implied demand, SPR levels are already at their lowest levels since 2002, with just 33 days of supply. But like the old saying goes: if at first you don't succeed, then try, try again. In all likelihood, President Biden and his team probably aren't all that concerned with the short-term market impact, since political decisions like these are all about optics anyway. Of course, Einstein seems to have been right: "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." And when this SPR release (should it ever actually happen) fails to do much of anything to drive prices lower, how much longer until the administration resorts to the next logical steps, being 1) gas stimmies (like our European allies) before 2) price controls? Bear in mind that OPEC+ is still shunning any demands from Biden to increase production 'for the sake of global democracy....or his approval ratings or some such...' and the cartel is widely expected to ratify a production increase of 432,000 barrels a day for May. Simply put, as old saying goes, the cure for high oil (gas) prices, is high oil (gas prices), and notably, there is some evidence of demand destruction starting to happen as gas prices soar to record highs. And as we noted earlier today, the decline in implied gasoline demand is fairly concrete proof that record high prices are dampening consumption across the country. On a four-week moving average basis, demand appeared to have stalled out around 8.8 million barrels a day as levels fell behind seasonal trends. Now, it appears to have fully turned around, falling 61,000 barrels a day week on week. However, of course there is government intervention to consider, consumer subsidies may actually worsen the situation by limiting demand destruction, with California, France, Brazil and Mexico being the latest to enact policies to cut prices at the pump. We give the last words to @RufusXavierSar2 who succinctly summed up the real farce of all this desperation... That's great until the SPR is empty and we have a real oil shock — RufusXavierSarsaparilla (@RufusXavierSar2) March 31, 2022 And don't expect any short-term help from this modest drop in oil... Sadly for Biden's approval rating (and drivers across the country), the recent resurgence in crude prices suggest pump prices will soon be on the rise again. Tyler Durden Thu, 03/31/2022 - 13:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 31st, 2022

Futures Recover Overnight Losses After Torrid Thursday Rally As Uneasy Calm Returns

Futures Recover Overnight Losses After Torrid Thursday Rally As Uneasy Calm Returns After yesterday's furious gamma-squeeze rally, U.S. stock futures were slightly lower on the day, although near the overnight session highs as the ongoing Ukraine conflict and impact of Western sanctions continue to drive risk; sentiment was boosted after the Kremlin said that Ukraine’s neutrality offer is a move “toward positive” and following reports that China's president Xi held a phone call with Putin who said Russia is willing to conduct high-level negotiations with Ukraine. S&P futures were down 10 points to 0.25% at 7:30am, after paring earlier declines of more than 1%, with Nasdaq futures down -0.15% and Dow futures down 0.4%. Europe's Stoxx Europe 600 was in the green, and oil was steady after Bloomberg reported that oil importers in China are briefly pausing new seaborne purchases as they assess the potential implications of handling the shipments following the Ukraine invasion. Gold was steady, while Brent crude reached $100 a barrel and Treasuries rose. In the latest developments, Ukraine’s president Zelensky said Moscow-led forces were continuing attacks on military and civilian targets on the second day of their invasion. Leaders from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will hold virtual talks on the alliance’s next steps starting at 3 p.m. in Brussels. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden imposed stiffer sanctions on Russia, promising to inflict a “severe cost on the Russian economy” that will hamper its ability to do business in foreign currencies after Moscow-led forces attacked military targets in Ukraine, triggering the worst security crisis in Europe since World War II. China urged Russia and Ukraine to negotiate to address problems, according to Chinese state TV.  Here is a full recap of the latest Ukraine developments: There were reports of heavy explosions rocking the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and US Senator Rubio tweeted it appeared that at least three dozen missiles were fired at the Kyiv are in 40 minutes, while Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba confirmed Russian rockets fired at Kyiv and President Zelensky also noted Russia resumed missile strikes at 04:00 local time/02:00GMT. Russia has not undertaken missile strikes on Kyiv, according to Russian press citing a source in the Defence Ministry. There is currently gunfire in Kyiv with Russians in the City, according to a reporter (08:45GMT/03:45EST) Gunfire has been heard near the government quarter of Kyiv, Ukraine, via LBC News (09:09GMT/04:09EST) Ukrainian military vehicles seized by Russian troops wearing Ukrainian uniforms, heading for Kyiv, defense official says - UNIAN, cited by BNO News. Russian paratroopers take control of Chernobyl nuclear power plant, according to the Ministry of Defence cited by Sputnik. Additionally, Ukraine nuclear agency says it is seeing higher radiation levels in Chernobyl; note, Sky News reports that the increase is insignificant and is due to military vehicles moving around the reactor. Ukraine President adviser says that Ukraine wants peace, if negotiations are still possible, they should be undertaken. Subsequently, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says that Ukraine President Zelenskiy is "lying" when he says he is prepared to discuss the neutral status of Ukraine; however, the Kremlin says it has taken note of Kyiv's willingness to discuss neutral status; will need to analyze this. Ukraine President Zelensky says the Russian assault is like a repeat of WW2, accuses Europe of an insufficient reaction, Europe can still stop the Russian aggression if they act quickly. Ukrainian President Zelensky has proposed Russian President Putin joins him at the negotiating table, according to Ria. In premarket trading, Block jumped after fourth-quarter sales beat consensus, while Coinbase dropped after warning that trading volume will decline in the first quarter. Zscaler slumped 13% after the security software company’s second-quarter results failed to live up to the most optimistic expectations, even though they beat estimates. Analysts slashed their price targets, including a new Street-low at Barclays. Here are some of the other notable U.S. premarket movers today: Block Inc. (SQ US) shares climb 15% in U.S. premarket trading after the firm posted fourth-quarter sales that beat Street consensus. Analysts say the results are a relief, supported by “impressive” Cash App figures. Coinbase Global Inc. (COIN US) shares were 1.6% lower in premarket trading after the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange cautioned that trading volume will decline in the first quarter. Etsy (ETSY US) shares are up about 18% in premarket trading, after the e- commerce company reported fourth-quarter results that featured better-than-expected revenue and gross merchandise sales. It also gave a forecast. Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares dropped 10% in premarket as analyst questioned its profitability outlook and pricing strategy after the maker of plant-based foods forecast sales that missed market expectations. KAR Auction Services (CVNA US) climbs 50% in U.S. premarket after agreeing to sell its Adesa U.S. physical auction business to Carvana for $2.2 billion in cash. Truist Securities sees positive implications for both stocks. Farfetch (FTCH US) shares rally 27% in premarket trading after co. posted a smaller-than-expected 4Q loss. A prolonged conflict could deliver a major blow to global markets and slow the normalization of central bank policy that’s expected this year. Wall Street strategists cut their forecasts on European equities on concern that the war in Ukraine will hurt economic growth, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. expecting virtually no full-year returns. A the same time, disruptions of raw materials and food could stoke already-high prices and heap pressure on central banks to act faster to curb inflation. Russia remains a commodity powerhouse and Ukraine is a major grain exporter. Markets still see around six quarter-point increases by the Federal Reserve, but bets on other central bank’s hiking cycles have been pared in recent days. “This conflict implies a further deterioration of the already tricky growth-inflation trade-offs central banks have been facing, making the upcoming decisions particularly hard,” Silvia Dall’Angelo, senior economist at the international business of Federated Hermes, wrote in a note to clients. “Downside growth risks from the geopolitical backdrop mean that they are likely to proceed gradually and cautiously.” Penalties by the U.S. and its allies spared Russia’s oil exports and avoided blocking access to the Swift global payment network. With flows of natural gas returning to Europe, prices reversed a record-breaking rally with the benchmark contract down as much as 28%. European stocks climbed as investors bought the dip after a volatile week led by developments on the Ukrainian front. Stocks trade at session highs after the Kremlin says that Ukraine’s neutrality offer is a move “toward positive” while oil slips to session low. U.S. futures decline. Euro Stoxx 50 rallies 1.2%. FTSE 100 outperforms, adding 1.8%, IBEX lags, adding 0.9%. CAC 40 up 1.3%. Utilities, real estate and food & beverages are the strongest sectors. Russia’s MOEX index rebounds, rising ~15%. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: European shares in sectors that were beaten down by Russia risk on Thursday rebound, with travel and basic resource stocks among the top gainers, as well as banks with exposure to eastern Europe. Bank Polska Kasa Opieki +14%, Dino Polska +7.3%, Polymetal International +7.5%, Wizz Air +5.8% The European utility sector leads gains among subindexes on the Stoxx 600, gaining about 5%, after European natural gas prices halted their rally rally, as Russian flows to the continent ramped up. Rightmove shares rise as much as 7.4% after the online property listings firm reported FY revenue growth of 48% from a year earlier. The results show encouraging momentum into 2022, Numis says. Pearson has its biggest gain in almost a year, rising 11% after results. Goldman Sachs notes the education publisher’s adjusted operating profit for FY22 was in line with market expectations. Freenet rises as much as 6.7% after results, the most since May, as analysts see positive profitability updates despite revenue weakness. Vallourec climbs as much as 20% after the French steel-pipe maker gave guidance that Oddo BHF calls “reassuring” in spite of incidents at a Brazil mine. Valeo falls as much as 12% in Paris after the French company set out targets for this year and 2025, with analysts noting 2022 guidance came in below expectations. BASF drops as much as 4.9% in Frankfurt after adjusted Ebit missed consensus and results show a squeeze on margins, Berenberg said. Swiss Re plunges as much as 8.4% after reporting results that missed analyst estimates. The insurer also proposed new targets that “don’t seem supportive enough,” Citi writes. Casino slumps as much as 17% to its lowest level in more than three decades after the French grocer reported FY results that Jefferies says showed “no progress” on deleveraging. An uneasy calm returned to Asia’s stock markets on Friday, as investors assessed the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the outlook for China’s tech sector. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 1.2%, rallying from its worst drop in a year on Thursday. Weaker-than-expected U.S. sanctions on Russia supported market sentiment, helping lift tech and industrial shares. China’s tech stocks advanced even after Alibaba announced the slowest revenue growth since it went public.  Benchmarks in Japan and India were among the top performers. India’s Sensex turned from the biggest loser in Asia to the biggest winner on Friday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped as the city deals with record Covid-19 cases.  Asian equities “showed signs of excessive drops, so today’s rise appears to be a technical rebound,” Seo Jung-hun, a strategist at Samsung Securities, said by phone. “Markets will continue to face volatility as Russia-sparked risks, the Fed’s policy tightening and inflation issues still persist.” Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said a half percentage-point increase in U.S. interest rates next month could be justified, although the Ukraine conflict has added to uncertainty. The Asian stock benchmark is set for its worst week this month, down almost 4%, and remains close to entering a bear market. Geopolitical risks, regulatory concerns for Chinese private enterprises and a relatively slower pace of earnings growth compared with the rest of the world are all weighing on sentiment Japanese equities climbed, sealing their first gain in six sessions, as blue chips led the charge following a late U.S. rally from the recent selloff in anticipation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose 1%. Tokyo Electron and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 2% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen retraced some of its 0.5% loss against the dollar overnight. “Expectations are spreading that the pace of rate hikes will be slowed down in the U.S. and Europe, considering the impact the Ukraine situation will have on the economy,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities In rates, treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, with yields higher by 1bp to 1.5bp from Thursday’s session close. U.S. 10-year yield around 1.975%, cheaper by 1bp on the day with bunds lagging a further 1bp following data including France CPI beat, while Estoxx rally 1.5%; gilts outperform by around 2bp vs. Treasuries. Treasuries pared an advance after Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said a half percentage-point rate increase may be justified if economic data remain hot. European benchmark bonds traded steady to slightly lower. Gilts gained, led by the belly of the curve; Bank of England’s Huw Pill speaks later, with the pace of tightening in focus. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; borrowers stepped away from debt sales Thursday leaving weekly total around $18b vs. $25b expected. German bunds bear-flatten on the back of a stronger-than-expected French CPI print, while money markets price as much as 42bps of ECB tightening in December, an increase of 5bps compared to Thursday. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers, though most currencies were confined to narrow ranges relative to yesterday’s moves. The Australian and New Zealand dollars led G-10 gains on short covering after Thursday’s plunge; The yen was also higher while the euro fell a third consecutive day to trade below $1.12 and the pound erased an early advance. Hedging costs in the major currencies turned south early Friday, but investors aren’t ready to shift bias into risk-on exposure. French consumer prices rose 4.1% in February from a year earlier versus 3.3% in January. That’s the strongest reading since the data series started in 1997. Economists had forecast a 3.7% advance. Currencies from the European Union’s east weakened against the euro and the dollar, but were far from levels reached Thursday. A gauge of one-week implied volatility in the dollar against the Taiwan dollar jumped to a six-month high on Friday while the Taiwan dollar slid to the weakest since October in the spot market. The conflict in Ukraine may raise the risk premium for China and Taiwan over the medium term, according to Morgan Stanley. In commodities, Brent trades around $99, while WTI slips below $93. Spot gold rises roughly $6 to trade near $1,910/oz.  European natural gas prices halt a record-breaking rally. Benchmark futures fell as much as 28%, after four consecutive days of gains. Most base metals trade in the red; LME aluminum falls 2.5%, underperforming peers. LME lead outperforms Looking at the day ahead, data highlights from the US include the personal income and personal spending data for January, preliminary durable goods orders and core capital goods orders for January, pending home sales for January, and the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for February. In Europe, we’ll also get the preliminary French CPI reading for February, and the Euro Area’s economic sentiment indicator for February. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.1% to 4,237.75 MXAP up 1.0% to 181.44 MXAPJ up 0.8% to 593.50 Nikkei up 1.9% to 26,476.50 Topix up 1.0% to 1,876.24 Hang Seng Index down 0.6% to 22,767.18 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,451.41 Sensex up 2.5% to 55,878.05 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.1% to 6,997.81 Kospi up 1.1% to 2,676.76 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 442.68 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.16% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1172 Brent Futures up 0.9% to $99.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,909.09 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 97.18 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve officials stuck to their resolve to raise interest rates next month despite uncertainty posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with at least one policy maker considering a half-point move Out of 18 potential red flags in Citi’s global Bear Market checklist, only seven are currently waving, far fewer than before bear markets of 2000 and 2007, strategists led by Beata Manthey wrote in a note. In Europe, the number of danger signs is only five, they said China’s Politburo vowed to strengthen macroeconomic policies to stabilize the economy this year, suggesting more support could be on the cards to boost growth ahead of a key leadership meeting later this year Russia still has about $300 billion of foreign currency held offshore - - enough to disrupt money markets if it’s frozen by sanctions or moved suddenly to avoid them China’s central bank ramped up its short-term liquidity injection in the banking system, providing support just as global markets are roiled by geopolitical tension A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks mostly gained after the firm rebound on Wall St. ASX 200 was capped amid a slew of earnings and with outperformance in tech offset by weakness in miners and financials. Nikkei 225 outperformed and reclaimed the 26k status with exporters underpinned by a more favourable currency. KOSPI gained with index heavyweight Samsung Electronics underpinned as it launched global sales of its flagship smartphone and latest tablet which have attracted record pre-orders. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were mixed with the mainland underpinned after the PBoC boosted its daily liquidity operation which resulted in the biggest weekly cash injection in more than two years. although Hong Kong was constrained by losses in the energy majors and with financials subdued amid pressure in HSBC shares and after China Communist Party inspections on financial institutions. Top Asian News China Pledges Stronger Economic Policies to Stabilize Growth China Leaves Russia’s War Off Front Pages as Xi Stays Silent Currency Traders Remain Vigilant Even as Hedging Costs Retreat Asian Stocks Gain as China Tech, India Rebound; Hong Kong Drops European bourses are firmer and back in proximity to initial best levels after losing traction shortly after the cash open, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%; FTSE 100 +1.9% outperforms amid Basic Resources strength. US futures are lower across the board, ES -0.9%, after yesterday's significant intra-day reversal to close positive; albeit, action has been rangebound within the European morning. US SEC's EDGAR feed is reportedly down; fillings cannot be made. In Europe, sectors are all in the green featuring noted outperformance in Utilities and  Basic Resources, Energy remains firmer in-spite of the crude benchmarks pullback Top European News Wall Street Cuts European Stock Targets as War Prompts Outflows U.K. Takes Aim at Russia’s Opaque Embrace of London Property UBS Triggers Margin Calls as Russia Bond Values Cut to Zero What to Watch in Commodities: Ukraine Impact Roiling Markets In FX, Aussie regroups alongside broad risk sentiment and rebound in Aud/Nzd cross amidst mixed NZ consumption and trade data - Aud/Usd near 0.7200 vs sub-0.7100 low yesterday. Buck bases after abrupt reversal from new 2022 highs in DXY terms and residual rebalancing may underpin alongside underlying safe haven bid - index above 97.000 again vs 96.770 low and 97.740 y-t-d best. Rouble supported by ongoing CBR intervention via higher repo auction cap - Usd/Rub around 84.000 compared to almost 90.000 record peak. Yen and Gold off best levels, but both retain elements of safety premium - Usd/Jpy circa 115.35 and Xau/ Usd hovering above Usd 1900/oz In commodities, WTI and Brent have continued to pull back after overnight consolidation, Brent April notably below USD 99.00/bbl vs USD 101.99/bbl highs. Focus remains firmly on geopolitics (see section above) while participants are also attentive to next week's OPEC+ meeting. Japan's Industry Minister said they will appropriately deal with an oil release from national reserves in cooperation with relevant countries and the IEA. Spot gold is rangebound after an initial move higher failed to gather steam and hit resistance at USD 1922/oz. Goldman Sachs recently commented that the rally for gold has a lot further to go on the situation in Ukraine and prices and that prices could reach as high at USD 2,350/oz if there is a build in demand for ETF. Geopolitical updates US Senior US administration official said the US still has room to further tighten sanctions if Russian aggression accelerates further and is keeping the option open to impose import-export controls on less advanced mainline chips such as those used in the Russian auto industry. European Commission President von der Leyen said steps agreed by EU leaders include financial sanctions and they are targeting 70% of the Russian banking market, as well as key state owned companies including defence. Furthermore, the export ban will impact Russia's oil sector by making it impossible to upgrade refineries and EU is limiting Russia's access to key technologies such as semiconductors. EU Council President Michel says they are urgently preparing additional sanctions against Russia, via AFP; subsequently, a German gov't spokesperson says a discussion of third sanctions package against Russia is in its early stages. French President Macron said EU sanctions will be followed by French national sanctions on certain people which are to be announced later, while they will offer EUR 300mln of aid to Ukraine and military equipment, as well as target Belarus for penalties. Russian Central Bank said it will provide any support needed for sanctions-hit banks and that banks have been well prepared in advance, while Ukraine's Central Bank banned operations with RUB and BYR, as well as banned banks from making payments to entities in Russia and Belarus. Russia may retaliate for UK ban on Aeroflot flights to Britain, according to Tass citing the aviation authority; subsequently, Russia banned London registered craft from its airspace. Russian Parliamentary Upper Chamber speaker says that Russia has prepared sanctions to hit the weak points of the West, according to Interfax. Australian PM Morrison announced the nation is to impose further sanctions on Russian individuals and said it is unacceptable that China is easing trade restrictions with Russia at this time. Taiwan will join democratic countries to put sanctions on Russia for invasion of Ukraine and Japanese PM Kishida said they will immediately impose sanctions in Russia in three areas including the financial sector and military equipment exports, while Russia's envoy to Japan later said there will be a serious Russian response to Japanese sanctions. UK Defence Minister Wallace says we would like to cut Russia off from SWIFT; French Finance Minister Le Maire says the option of cutting Russia off from SWIFT remains an option, but it a last resort. India is reportedly exploring setting up INR trade accounts with Russia to soften the blow on India from Russian sanctions, according to Reuters sources. Central Banks Fed's Waller (voter) said it is too soon to judge how Ukraine conflict will impact the world or US economy and concerted action to rein in inflation is needed. Waller said rates should be raised by 100bps by mid-year and there is a strong case for a 50bps hike in March if incoming data indicates economy is still exceedingly hot, but added it is possible a more modest tightening is appropriate in wake of Ukraine attack , while he also stated the Fed should start trimming the balance sheet no later than the July meeting, according to Reuters. ECB's Lane said there would be a significant increase to 2022 inflation forecast amid the Ukraine crisis but hinted at inflation below target at end of horizon according to Reuters sources; Lane presented several scenarios: Mild scenario: no impact to EZ GDP; seen as unlikely; Middle scenario: 0.3-0.4ppts shaved off EZ GDP; Severe scenario: EZ hit by almost 1ppt. Note, sources cited by Reuters suggested these were rough calculations. BoE's Mann says all of the MPC agree that UK inflation is way above the BoE's goal; Mann added that domestic demand is strong and UK labour market is tight. BoE agents survey has been fundamental in guiding Mann's view on policy. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Jan. Personal Income, est. -0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Jan. Personal Spending, est. 1.6%, prior -0.6% 8:30am: Jan. Real Personal Spending, est. 1.2%, prior -1.0% 8:30am: Jan. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Jan. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.3% 8:30am: Jan. -Less Transportation, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6% 8:30am: Jan. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.4%; PCE Deflator YoY, est. 6.0%, prior 5.8% 8:30am: Jan. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%; PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 5.2%, prior 4.9%; 8:30am: Jan. Durable Goods Orders, est. 1.0%, prior -0.7% 10am: Feb. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 61.7, prior 61.7; Current Conditions, est. 68.5, prior 68.5; Expectations, est. 57.3, prior 57.4 10am: Feb. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, prior 5.0% 10am: Feb. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.1% 10am: Jan. Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. 0.2%, prior -3.8%; YoY, est. -1.8%, prior -6.6% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It's been a pretty seismic 36 hours and at some points yesterday the outlook for markets and economies felt very bleak. However remarkably after an 8 dollar round trip that first sent Brent crude over $105/bbl, oil (+2.31% on the day) eventually closed last night at $99.08 (still the highest since 2014), and only around the levels seen just before Russia launched the invasion just over 24 hours ago. It's edged up again in the Asian session to $100.75 as I type but the fact that oil stopped going parabolically higher helped turn the whole market around yesterday. Indeed markets hit peak pessimism around lunchtime in Europe but Biden not yet putting sanctions on Energy or restricting Russian access to SWIFT seemed to cap off a more positive tone thereafter. Indeed the S&P and Nasdaq rose +4.23% and +7.04% respectively from the opening lows to close up +1.50% and +3.34% on the day. A remarkable turnaround. S&P 500 (-0.53%) and Nasdaq (-0.76%) futures are down again this morning but this is still clearly well off the lows. If this event is going to have a lasting macro and market impact it has to hit energy prices and for much of yesterday it looked like it was on course to aggressively do so, and to be fair still might. European natural gas will be one to watch today as it soared +63.89% at its peak yesterday, only to fade towards the close to be 'only' up +33.31%. On a bigger picture basis the events of this week have to be forcing governments to think of their energy security in much more detail than they have in the past. Will it also impact the green transition? Surely it makes it more urgent in the medium-term but tougher to stick with in the short-term. Much will depend on what happens next for energy prices. Clearly the West may still put sanctions on this Russian supply which will undoubtedly risk a renewed spike in energy. Diving into yesterday. The intraday turnaround in asset prices followed clarity on what the west’s next round of sanctions would look like. The sanctions were expanded to more connected individuals and entities, were designed to cut off high-tech exports crucial to Russian defense and tech industries, impinge Russia’s ability to raise capital on foreign markets by restricting access and freezing assets of some of their largest banks, and restrict Russia’s ability to deal in dollars, yen, and euros. The sanctions not applied, however, drove an intraday turn in risk assets and reversed measures of inflation compensation. Namely, President Biden noted the sanctions package was specifically designed to allow energy payments to continue, and that the US would release strategic oil reserves as needed to help ameliorate price pressures. Further, they did not cut off Russia’s access to the international payments system, SWIFT, though maintained the option of doing so. Before the rally back there was a complete rout in numerous markets yesterday, and when it came to Russian assets there was frankly a capitulation, with the MOEX equity index (-32.28%) shedding more than a third of its value in a single day (-45.06% at the session lows). Bloomberg wrote a piece saying that the worst single day equity loss in their database for any country’s index was Argentina’s -53.1% fall in January 1990. In total, there have been seven worst days in stock market history than -33.3%. For what it’s worth, those equity declines are the sort that would trigger circuit breakers if they happened elsewhere. For example we couldn’t see that for the S&P 500 in a single day, since trading rules stipulate that there’s a complete halt for the day once you get to a -20% loss. On top of that, the Russian Ruble -5.15% hit a record low against the US dollar, after suffering its worst daily performance since the height of the Covid crisis back in March 2020. And yields on 10yr Russian sovereign debt were up by +435.0bps to 15.23%. The STOXX 600 fell -3.28% as it reached its lowest level since last May, with major losses for the other European indices including the FTSE 100 (-3.88%), the CAC 40 (-3.83%) and the DAX (-3.96%). With investors pricing in a less aggressive reaction function from central banks, sovereign bonds saw a decent rally yesterday, having also been supported by the dash for haven assets. However the moves didn’t match the severity of the flight to quality shock, even at the worse point of the day, as the real return consequence of buying government bonds at a yields of 0-2% was all too apparent with inflation rife. There was some big ranges though. 10yr US real yields were -27.7bps lower and breakevens +14.4bps wider as news of the invasion, and commensurate stagflation fears hit. However, the intraday turn around led to much more modest closing levels, with 10yr real yields -4.2bps lower and breakevens +1.5bps higher. 10yr nominal Treasury yields settled -2.8bps lower on the day at 1.96%. At shorter tenors, 5yr breakevens also displayed a remarkable intraday roundtrip, finishing +1.4bps higher after having hit an intraday peak +24.8bps wider at +3.39%, which would have been the highest reading on record. In Europe the breakeven widening was more sustained, and the 10yr German breakeven actually managed to close above 2% for the first time in over a decade yesterday, having climbed +12.9bps to +2.10%. Meanwhile nominal yields on 10yr bunds (-5.8bps), OATs (-7.0bps) and gilts (-3.2bps) all moved lower. Energy prices are going to continue to keep central bankers awake at night, since they can’t do anything about the supply issues directly. More shocks will lead to both lower growth (absent fiscal suppprt) and higher inflation, with the risk being that you start to see second-round effects if higher inflation becomes entrenched. Notably, one of the ECB’s biggest hawks, Robert Holzmann of Austria, said in a Bloomberg interview that the conflict meant “It’s possible however that the speed may now be somewhat delayed.” That was music to the ears of peripheral sovereign debt in particular, which rallied strongly on the news, with the Italian spread over 10yr bunds moving from an intraday high of 178bps to close at 164.5bps. In Asia the Nikkei (+1.63%), Kospi (+1.15%), Shanghai Composite (+0.54%), and the CSI (+0.78%) all are higher in line with the second half rally yesterday. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng (-0.16%) is lower. In economic data, overall inflation for Tokyo rose +1.0% y/y in February, its fastest pace of growth since December 2019, on higher energy prices and after an upwardly revised +0.6% increase in January. Bloomberg estimates were for a +0.7% rise. Excluding fresh food, consumer prices in Japan advanced +0.5% in February y/y, accelerating from a +0.2% increase in January and outpacing a +0.4% gain expected by analysts. In central banks news, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) beefed up liquidity by injecting 300 billion yuan ($47.4 bn) into the financial system via 7-day reverse repos, amid concerns over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. For the week, the PBOC injected a net 760 billion yuan – the biggest weekly cash offering since January 2020. Data releases understandably took a back seat yesterday, but we did get the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through February 19, which fell to 232k (vs. 235k expected). We also saw the continuing claims for the week through February 12 fall to a half-century low of 1.476m, a level unseen since 1970. Otherwise, new home sales in January fell to an annualised rate of 801k (vs. 803k expected), and the second estimate of Q4’s GDP was revised up by a tenth from the initial estimate to an annualised +7.0%. To the day ahead now, and data highlights from the US include the personal income and personal spending data for January, preliminary durable goods orders and core capital goods orders for January, pending home sales for January, and the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for February. In Europe, we’ll also get the preliminary French CPI reading for February, and the Euro Area’s economic sentiment indicator for February. Tyler Durden Fri, 02/25/2022 - 07:57.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytFeb 25th, 2022

The merger of the 2 largest US low-cost airlines could mean more options for low fares for customers

The combined airline resulting from a merger of Frontier and Spirit will still likely offer low fares, as well as more destination options, experts say. Spirit and Frontier.Carlos Yudica/Marcus Mainka/Shutterstock Frontier Airlines just announced the groundbreaking merger with low-cost rival Spirit. An industry expert believes the combined entity will still offer low fares, as well as more destination options. The $6.6 billion merger of low-cost rivals Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines is expected to shake up the industry, but consumers can still expect low fares, as well as more destination options, experts say.On Monday, Denver-based Frontier announced the deal that would create the 5th-largest airline in the US. According to the carriers, the merger will be a win for consumers by combining both networks to offer over 1,000 daily flights to more than 145 destinations across 19 countries.Frontier executives explained in a conference call with press that this would allow the airlines to establish new markets for travelers to fly to, particularly to cities that, independently, the carriers could not make work."Spirit is very strong in the east, Frontier very strong in the west, that's going to drive more customers onto our existing flights, meaning more low fares for more people," Frontier said. "A lot of small and mid-size communities will benefit from that ability to grow more."Henry Harteveldt, analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, agreed with the airlines in terms of the network strategy."When you combine Frontier and Spirit, you will have a large coast to coast low-fare airline with extension international service into the Caribbean and Latin America," he told Insider. "You could have one low-fare airline that could take you to more places nonstop, or, in other cases, one stop in a hub.""The combined airline may have the market strength to enter routes where perhaps it felt it couldn't compete, like mainland to Hawaii where they could inject a new level of price competition that we have not seen in a long time," he continued.He also sees an opportunity for Frontier and Spirit to enter more routes focused on business travel. In regards to fares, Harteveldt believes the merger will still allow the airlines to keep prices low."Frontier and Spirit will still be a low-fare leader," he told Insider. "What we don't know is if they will be the absolute lowest price on a given route, versus, say, Allegiant. But I believe the combined airline will be less expensive at the base fare than competitors like Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest, or the three network airlines."Kerry Tan, an associate professor of economics at Loyola University, said the larger operation will provide more flight frequencies, causing fewer travelers to be left stranded when there are flight disruptions."I expect an increase in the number of destinations from these locations as well as improved on-time performance with a larger fleet for the combined airline," Tan told Insider. "The issue with Frontier, in particular, is that they commonly service routes a few times a week so if your flight gets canceled, then the next flight won't be for a couple of days."Harteveldt said he doesn't see a reason for the merger to be blocked by the Biden Administration, but the government should ask for certain conditions on approval."Neither Frontier nor Spirit has the greatest reputation for customer service," he told Insider. "One thing these airlines will have to address as part of the merger is to become more customer-focused. I think the Department of Justice would be right in saying if they let the merger go through, then they will have a close watch on the customer complaints."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 7th, 2022

‘I’d Love to Throw a Chair at Somebody.’ College Athlete TikTok Stars Are Signing on With WWE

The Cavinder twins, who have 3.8 million TikTok followers, headline a group of athletes who have partnered with pro wrestling. On July 1, the same day college athletes around the country were finally allowed to sign third-party sponsorship agreements and monetize their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights, a Times Square billboard touted Hanna and Haley Cavinder, twin sisters and the leading scorers for the Fresno State University basketball team. They’d just signed on as faces of Boost Mobile. During 2020, in COVID-19 lockdown, the Cavinder twins took to TikTok to expand their social media audience: one May 2020 video of the twins dancing and making three pointers on their driveway hoop, for example, drew more than 5 million views. They now have 3.8 million followers on their shared TikTok account, not to mention the nearly 350,000 followers they each have on Instagram and their 70,000 YouTube subscribers. (By comparison, the WNBA TikTok account has 873K followers). A June 2021 video featuring their father, Tom, shaking his shoulders and pointing to the cameras with two fingers has been viewed over 29 million times. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] @cavindertwins Reply to @dane1985 he raised a whole squad tho 🤷🏼‍♀️ #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – Myke_Livinlegend Given such eye-popping stats, it’s no wonder that the Cavinders, who are juniors, have emerged as early stars of the NIL era. They’ve also signed deals with brands like SoFi and Eastbay. The combined sponsorship income for Hanna, a two-time all-conference player and Haley, the 2021 Mountain West Player of the Year and the conference Freshman of the Year in 2020, is nearing $1 million. About a month ago, however, a more surprising offer came across their radar: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wanted to sign the Cavinder twins to an agreement to promote pro wrestling and potentially trade in basketballs for body slams once their playing days were through. The twins never saw Smackdown in their futures, but once they started looking into it, the partnership made sense. WWE programming broadcasts in more than 180 countries, and revenues are expected to top $1 billion for the first time this year. The twins, who stand to make six-figures on the deal, see this as a chance to expand their audience. WWE sees an opportunity to introduce its product to young hoops fans. “We definitely didn’t grow up wanting to become wrestlers,” says Haley Cavinder. “It just kind of happened. It’s right up our alley because it is entertainment. And that’s what Hanna and I do on the side.” On Dec. 8 the WWE revealed that the Cavinder twins and 13 other college athletes from schools such as Duke, Alabama and Portland State, and participating in sports ranging from basketball to wrestling to middle-distance running, have joined the WWE’s inaugural NIL program, dubbed “Next In Line.” (Wrestler Gable Stevenson, an Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo who is competing in his senior season at the University of Minnesota, inked an agreement with the WWE earlier this year). In exchange for compensation ranging from low five-figures up to six-figures, athletes will create social media posts plugging WWE and make appearances at WWE events: athletes will also have access to the WWE Performance Center in Florida, where they can learn the acrobatics and other skills needed to become wrestling stars. The deals don’t mean that athletes are committed to join the WWE once their college athletic careers end. But the NCAA’s long-awaited loosening of NIL restrictions allows the organization to bring the Cavinder twins, and others, into the fold. While several pro wresters were college athletes—Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, for example, played football at the University of Miami—WWE is now formally tapping into college athletics as a recruiting pool. “I’ve heard it so much over the years … ‘if there had been a pathway, man, I would have gone down that road,'” says Paul Levesque, the WWE’s Executive Vice President of Global Talent Strategy & Development, who might be more familiar to most as “Triple H,” the former WWE superstar. “We’re creating that path.” The Cavinders say they’re cooking up ways to promote the WWE on TikTok and elsewhere; other college athletes signees are already embracing their roles as dropkick ambassadors. Northwestern football player Joe Spivak, for example, posted a video of himself on Instagram swimming shirtless in 30-degree Lake Michigan, only to emerge on short to put on a WWE shirt and hat and declare that no one will outwork him. “Maybe in ten years, I’m going to be bigger than The Rock,” Spivak tells TIME. “Come on. That’s the goal.” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Joe Spivak (@spivs) School sign-off required NCAA amateurism rules previously prevented WWE from aggressively recruiting college athletes, according to Levesque. The WWE was concerned that tickets to a show, or a recruiting dinner, could have counted as an improper benefit and risk a player’s eligibility. Athletes had the same fears, and were reluctant to engage with the WWE before graduation. “They would say, ‘look, I’d love to talk to you about WWE, but let me talk to you about when I get out of school,'” says Levesque. Schools must still sign off on NIL deals, and a partnership with the WWE comes with clear risks for both the schools and the athletes. In past years, the WWE has faced a number of controversies, including those involving performance enhancing drugs, head injuries and allegations of sexual misconduct. Despite potential pitfalls, schools have been comfortable with the WWE arrangements so far. When Lexi Gordon, a Duke basketball player, was offered a WWE NIL deal, she had to get it approved by the university’s athletic department. According to Duke’s NIL policy, “a Duke student-athlete may not engage in any NIL activity that promotes products or services related to related to gambling or performance-enhancing supplements on the NCAA’s banned drug list,” which include cannabinoids. (No Duke student-athletes can endorse any alcohol products, either.) So WWE passed muster. Read More: Why The NCAA Should Be Terrified Of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s Concurrence Elon University’s athletic compliance office signed off on the WWE NIL deal for Jon Seaton, a 6’1″, 275-pound freshman football player whose TikTok account—which features Seaton discussing items like “things that give big guys nightmares” (the scale at the doctors office, roller coaster safety bar systems) and “big guy catchphrases” (“I could eat”)—has 1.6 million followers. Elon must make sure deals follow NCAA, state, conference, and school guidelines. “While Elon University’s policy reserves the right to prohibit a student-athlete from contracting into deals in certain categories that contradict the institution’s values, we support our student-athletes’ ability to choose branding opportunities and companies with whom they would like to partner for NIL activities, including those that may lead to potential career opportunities,” Jeffrey Scheible, Elon’s associate athletic director for compliance and administration, tells TIME. “In this particular instance, we do not believe that WWE violates any of the aforementioned policies, nor does it fall into a category that we would prohibit at the institutional level.” “I don’t think there’s any concern,” says Hanna Cavinder. “It’s just entertainment. We love connecting with our fans and bringing our audience to their audience and meshing them all together.” Former Harvard football player Chris Nowinski joined the WWE in the early 2000s, wrestling under the stage name “Chris Harvard.” He says he suffered a “handful” of concussions diagnosed retrospectively: in 2003, a kick to the chin in a match causing Post-Concussion Syndrome and ended his career. Nowinski went on to earn a PhD in behavioral neuroscience and is now co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, a non-profit supporting athletes and veterans affected by concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease linked to head trauma. He supports the NIL program and insists that policies, like outlawing chair strikes to the head, has made the WWE safer. (Nowinski has spoken to WWE wrestlers about recognizing the symptoms of head trauma and not “playing through” them; the WWE has provided financial support to the Concussion Legacy Foundation). To Nowinski, participating in college sports can carry more safety risk than the WWE. Since the WWE could be a long-term employer for these student-athletes, the organization may have even more incentive to prevent injuries. “At the college level, you are replaceable,” he says. “Your coach is worried about losing their job. They’re training you wrong, they’re asking you to do things that are too dangerous. You will actually walk into a much, much better environment with WWE.” “I’d love to throw a chair at somebody” The athletes who signed WWE deals have varying levels of familiarity with pro wresting. Ohio State discus and hammer thrower Carlos Aviles grew up watching WWE as a kid and loved John Cena. “A lot of the applications of being a throwing athlete apply to the WWE,” says Aviles. If you can toss a shot put, why not a 300-pound opponent? “A lot of the applications come from the shoulders, the legs, the hips,” he says. Aleeya Hutchins, a middle distance track runner at Wake Forest, doesn’t have any combat sports experience. But she’s willing to give it a try. “Sure, I’d love to throw a chair at somebody,” says Hutchins, “but not hurt them.” These athletes know that as WWE wrestlers, they have to play the heel. “All athletes have an ego, and I have a pretty big one every now and again,” says Aviles. “Honestly, I can be the a-hole all the time.” The Cavinder twins say they’d be more comfortable in a more benevolent WWE role. Given the size of their audience, they can likely call their own shots on casting. “In today’s world, somebody like the Cavinder twins who are already out there showing that they are pretty much larger than life and creating brands on their own, those are people that are interesting to us,” says Levesque. “They clearly have the personality and clearly are smart enough to figure out how to manipulate that charisma to make something of themselves. We can amplify that.” But this is the WWE, after all. On a recent Instagram live session, Cavinder fans were throwing out potential WWE names for Hanna and Hayley. One in particular caught their attention. Double Trouble.                .....»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 20th, 2021

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface After three days of torrid gains, US futures and European markets fell as concerns about economic risks from restrictions to control the new variant outweighed optimism about the efficacy of vaccines after a study from Japan found that the omicron variant is 4.2 times more transmissible (as largely expected) in its early stage than delta. Both S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures dropped around -0.4% as traders awaited earnings from Broadcom, Oracle and Costco after the market close and tomorrow's key CPI print, while European equities drifted lower in quiet trade with little fresh news flow to drive price action. Uncertainty about monetary policy could keep stocks “significantly volatile,” according to Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “Investors are likely to remain cautious and keep on monitoring the macro outlook, especially today’s U.S. initial jobless claims, in order to gather more clues on what and when could be the Fed’s next move,” said Veyret. In Asia, China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. officially defaulted on their dollar debt, while the People’s Bank of China raised its foreign currency reserve requirement ratio for a second time this year after the yuan climbed to the highest since 2018. Among individual moves, CVS Health Corp. jumped in pre-market trading after saying it would buy back shares and raise dividends. Drugmakers including Pfizer rose, while travel companies and airlines declined. European stocks erased gains of as much as 0.3% with the Stoxx 600 trading -0.1% in the red as investors weigh new economic restrictions prompted by the omicron variant against earlier optimism. The real estate subgroup was best performer, up 0.7%; energy company shares lead declines with a drop of 1.2%. The Euro Stoxx 50 is down 0.25%, reversing a modest push into the green at the open. Other cash indexes trade either side of flat. Oil & gas and retail names are the weakest sectors. UniCredit SpA rose after saying it will return at least 16 billion euros ($18.1 billion) to shareholders by 2024. Meanwhile, Electricite de France SA fell with the government considering a cap on regulated power tariffs to help curb soaring electricity prices. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: LPP shares rose as much as 12% after its 3Q earnings beat expectations. The figures confirm a rebound of sales in traditional stores and stronger margins, according to analysts. UniCredit shares gain as much as 8.4%, the most since November 2020, after the Italian lender unveiled its new strategic plan that includes the distribution of at least EU16b to shareholders by 2024. Société Marseillaise du Tunnel Prado Carénage (SMTPC) shares rise as much as 5.5% after Vinci Concessions and Eiffage said they reached a pact to act in concert for a tender offer at EU27/share. Zur Rose drops as much as 7.3% in Zurich after an offering of 650,000 shares priced at CHF290 apiece, representing a 12% discount to the last close. Neste Oyj shares slid as much as 5.7% as investors digested the unexpected resignation of Chief Executive Officer Peter Vanacker from the helm of the world’s biggest maker of renewable diesel. FirstGroup shares fall as much as 5.9% after 1H results, with Chairman David Martin saying the U.K.’s work-from- home edict will “clearly have an impact” on commuter trips. There are potential downside risks to estimates in the short term, if Covid restrictions tighten, according to Liberum (buy). Dr. Martens released solid 1H results, but there’s “nothing material to flag” and unlikely to be upgrades to FY Ebitda estimates, Morgan Stanley says in a note. Shares drop as much as 5.2% after initially gaining 8.9%. Electricite de France shares fall as much as 5.1% after Le Figaro said the French government is considering taking additional steps to keep electricity prices from rising too much amid a spike in energy costs. The global equity rally will be tested as traders expect volatility until there’s more clarity on omicron’s threat to the economy, and ahead of U.S. consumer inflation numbers this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week that may provide clues on the pace of tapering and interest rate increases. “We are looking to potentially have a rise in volatility even if the market continues higher around those events next week,” said Frances Stacy, Optimal Capital portfolio strategist, on Bloomberg Television. “Many of the catalysts that gave us this boom out of Covid are slowing. And then you have the Fed potentially tapering into a decelerating economy.” Geopolitical tensions are also adding to investor concerns. Germany’s new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock doubled down on warnings from western politicians to Russia over Ukraine, saying that Moscow would pay a high price if it went ahead with an invasion of its neighbor. Separately, the U.S. said it will place SenseTime Group Inc. on an investment blacklist Friday, accusing the artificial intelligence startup of enabling human rights abuses. That’s after the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation designed to punish China for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang province. Asian stocks rose for a third day as investors reassessed concerns over the new virus strain and factored in the possibility that the Federal Reserve will accelerate the end of its quantitative easing.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added as much as 0.5%, extending its advance since Tuesday to almost 3%. Information technology and communication services were the sectors providing the biggest support to the climb, with benchmarks in China and Hong Kong among the region’s best performers. The CSI 300 Index gained 1.7% as consumer stocks rallied.   “The market had been initially wary of the Fed’s hawkish tilt in their stance, and a change in how they view inflation, but investors don’t seem too worried about it anymore,” said Tetsuo Seshimo, a fund manager at Saison Asset Management Co. “But this isn’t a theme that’s going away in the short term.”  Asia’s benchmark headed for its highest since Nov. 25, set to erase losses since the omicron variant was detected during the U.S. Thanksgiving holidays, but still in negative territory for 2021. The S&P 500 Index is up 25% this year, after gaining Wednesday on announcements by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that early lab studies showed a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralizes the omicron variant. “Funds are flowing into growth stocks with high estimated profit growth and ROE levels, a continuation of moves seen from yesterday,” said Takashi Ito, an equity market strategist at Nomura Securities in Tokyo. “But there could be some profit taking after the market rose for a few consecutive sessions.” Japanese stocks fell, cooling off after a two-day rally as investors weighed the potential impact of the omicron variant on the global economy. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.6%. Fanuc and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 0.5% loss in the Nikkei 225 Indian stocks ended higher, after swinging between gains and losses several times through the session, as traders shifted their focus to key economic data globally and at home in the days ahead.  The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.3% to close at 58,807.13 in Mumbai, after falling as much as 0.5% earlier in the day. The gauge has gained 3.6% in the last three sessions, its biggest three-day advance in over a seven-month period, on optimism the economic recovery will be resilient despite the spread of the new Covid variant, with the RBI continuing its policy support intact.  The NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by similar magnitude on Thursday. Reliance Industries Ltd. contributed the most to the Sensex gain, rising 1.6%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, equal number of stocks rose and fell. Fifteen of 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by a gauge of capital goods companies. The Reserve Bank of India kept borrowing costs at a record-low on Wednesday and voted 5-1 to retain its accommodative policy stance for as long as is necessary, reflecting its bias to support economic growth. The RBI expects the economy to expand 9.5% expansion in the year ending March, one of the fastest paces among the major growing world economies.  Markets’ focus will now shift to U.S. inflation data this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week, which may provide clues on the pace of tapering and policy tightening. India will release its factory output data on Friday and consumer-price inflation on Monday.  “All eyes will be on crucial macro data (CPI & IIP) outcome which may further provide some direction to the markets,” Ajit Mishra, vice-president research at Religare Broking Ltd., wrote in a note. “The focus will remain on the global cues and updates regarding the new variant. We reiterate our cautious yet positive stance on the markets and suggest traders to focus on managing risk.” Australian stocks edged lower as miners, consumer shares retreated. The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3% to close at 7,384.50, snapping a four-day winning streak. Miners and consumer discretionary shares contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline. Redbubble was the worst performer, dropping the most since Oct. 14. Sydney Airport was among the top performers after regulators cleared a proposed takeover of the company. The stock also joined a global rally in travel shares after Pfizer and BioNTech said initial lab studies show a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine may be effective at neutralizing the omicron variant. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 12,771.83 In rates, Treasury yields were mostly lower, led by the long end of the curve, while underperforming German bunds. 10Y TSY yields are lower by ~2bp at 1.4973%, trailing declines of 3bp-5bp for most European 10-year yields but remaining above 200-DMA, which it closed above Wednesday for first time since Nov. 29. Treasury futures trade near session highs, with cash yields lower by 3bp-4bp from the 5-year sector to the long end, inside Wednesday’s bear-steepening ranges. European bond markets lead the move, led by Ireland which cut 2022 issuance plans, as virus concerns weighed on most equity markets. U.S. auction cycle concludes with $22b 30-year reopening at 1pm ET, following two Fed purchase operations. Wednesday’s 10Y reopening auction drew 1.518%, tailing by about 0.4bp; Tuesday’s 3Y, which drew 1.000%, also trades at a profit, yielding 0.989% The WI 30Y yield 1.865% is below auction stops since January as sector has benefited from expectations that Fed rate increases beginning next year may strain the economy, as well as from strong equity-market performance driving increased allocation to bonds In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index resumed its ascent, climbing 0.2% as the dollar advanced versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen. TRY and ZAR are the weakest in EMFX.  The euro retreated, nearing the $1.13 handle and after touching a one-week high yesterday. One-week volatility for euro and sterling has risen to multi-month highs, with meetings by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England in focus. The British pound fell as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages.   The pound hovered near its lowest level in more than a year against the dollar as fresh coronavirus restrictions weighed on the U.K.’s economic outlook. Expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next Thursday continue to wane, with markets pricing less than six basis points of hikes. Goldman pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages. Norway’s krone led losses among G-10 currencies as it snapped a three-day rally that had taken it to an almost three-week high against the greenback. In commodities, Crude futures drift lower. WTI slips back near $72 having stalled near $73 during Asian trade. Brent dips 0.5%, finding support just above $75. Spot gold trades flat near $1,782/oz Looking at the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 4,691.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 478.52 MXAP up 0.4% to 195.63 MXAPJ up 0.7% to 638.47 Nikkei down 0.5% to 28,725.47 Topix down 0.6% to 1,990.79 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 24,254.86 Shanghai Composite up 1.0% to 3,673.04 Sensex up 0.3% to 58,839.03 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,384.46 Kospi up 0.9% to 3,029.57 Brent Futures down 0.3% to $75.58/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,783.15 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.20% to 96.09 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1318 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg European Central Bank governors are to discuss a temporary increase in the Asset Purchase Program with limits on the size and time of the commitment at a Dec. 16 meeting, Reuters reports, citing six people familiar with the matter Hungary raised interest rates for a fifth time in less than a month as policy makers try to rein in the fastest inflation in 14 years. The central bank hiked the one-week deposit rate by 20 basis points on Thursday to 3.3%, broadly matching the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey China’s central bank has signaled a limit to its tolerance for the yuan’s recent advance by setting its reference rate at a weaker-than-expected level China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings were downgraded to restricted default by Fitch Ratings, which cited missed dollar bond interest payments in Evergrande’s case and failure to repay a $400 million dollar bond in Kaisa’s. Evergrande Group’s inability to meet its obligations will be dealt with in a market-oriented way, the head of the nation’s central bank said PBOC is exploring interlinking the e-CNY, as the digital yuan is known, system into the Faster Payment System in Hong Kong, says Mu Changchun, head of the Chinese central bank’s Digital Currency Institute Money managers have shown some tentative signs that they may be willing to start buying more Chinese dollar bonds again, after demand for the securities plunged to a 27-month low in November Greece plans to early repay the total amount of IMF’s bailout loan to the country in the first quarter of 2022, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras says in a Parapolitika radio interview The omicron variant of Covid-19 is 4.2 times more transmissible in its early stage than delta, according to a study by a Japanese scientist who advises the country’s health ministry, a finding likely to confirm fears about the new strain’s contagiousness Pfizer will have data telling how well its vaccine prevents infections with the omicron variant before the end of the year A detailed look at global markets courtesy of newsquawk Asian equity markets eventually traded mixed as the early tailwinds from the US gradually waned despite the recent encouragement on the vaccine front. All major US indices were underpinned in which the S&P 500 reclaimed the 4,700 level and approached closer to its ATHs, while Apple extended on record levels and moved closer to USD 3tln valuation. The ASX 200 (-0.3%) was initially kept afloat by resilience in defensives, although upside was restricted amid weakness in tech alongside concerns of a further deterioration in ties with China after Australia’s decision to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) was rangebound with the Japanese benchmark stalled by resistance ahead of the 29k level, although the downside was cushioned by recent currency weakness and a modest improvement in the Business Survey Index. The Hang Seng (+1.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.0%) outperformed after China’s NDRC pledged support measures to boost consumption in rural areas and with some chatter regarding the possibility of another RRR cut in Q1 next year according SGH Macro citing a senior Chinese official. Furthermore, participants digested mixed inflation data from China including firmer than expected factory gate prices. CPI Y/Y was softer than forecast but it still registered the fastest pace of increase since August last year. Finally, 10yr JGBs briefly declined below the 152.00 level following the bear steepening stateside in which T-notes tested 130.00 to the downside and following a somewhat tepid US 10yr offering in which the b/c increased from prior but remained short of the six-auction average, while the results of the 5yr JGB auction were mixed and failed to spur prices with higher accepted prices offset by a weaker b/c. Top Asian News Evergrande Declared in Default as Massive Restructuring Looms China Dollar Junk Bonds Up After Fitch Move on Kaisa, Evergrande Gold Steady as Traders Assess Virus Risk Before Inflation Data China’s Credit Growth Rebounds After Slowing for Almost a Year Stocks in Europe trade have drifted lower in recent trade, giving up the modest gains seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%, Stoxx 600 -0.2%), and following the mixed lead from APAC and amidst a lack of fresh fundamental catalysts. US equity futures are also subdued, with a relatively broad-based performance seen across the ES (-0.3%), NQ (-0.4%), YM (-0.3%) alongside some mild underperformance in the RTY (-0.6%). Markets are awaiting tomorrow’s US CPI metrics, but more importantly, are gearing up for next week’s blockbuster FOMC confab. Desks have attributed this week’s rebound to several factors working in unison, including a milder Omicron variant (thus far), Chinese policy easing, FOMO, buybacks/upbeat corporate commentary alongside the widely telegraphed hawkish Fed pivot. On the last note, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the rotating voters next year on the FOMC will be more hawkish with the addition of George, Mester and Bullard as voters, albeit some empty spots remain – namely Brainard’s spot as she takes over the Vice-Chair position. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly in the green but portray a defensive bias – with Healthcare, Telecoms, Food & Beverages and Personal & Household Goods at the top of the bunch, whilst Oil & Gas, Retail and Travel & Leisure resides on the other end of the spectrum. In terms of individual moves, UniCredit (+7.8%) shot up to the top of the Stoxx 600 after unveiling its 2024 targets – with the Co. looking to return at least EUR 16bln via dividend and buybacks between 2021-24. Sticking with banks, Deutsche Bank (-2.1%) is pressured after the US DoJ reportedly told Deutsche Bank it may have violated a criminal settlement, due to failures in alerting authorities about internal complaints at its asset management unit, according to sources. Elsewhere, AstraZeneca (+1.0%) is supported as its long-acting antibody combination received emergency use authorisation in the US for COVID-19 prevention in some individuals. Finally, Rolls-Royce (-3.7%) slipped despite an overall positive trading update. Top European News Rolls-Royce Sinks as Omicron Clouds Outlook for 2022 Comeback Harbour Energy Plans Dividend But Pushes Back Tolmount Again Toxic U.K. Tory Press Is Flashing Warning Sign for Boris Johnson Credit Suisse Chairman Horta-Osorio Broke Quarantine Rules In FX, the Greenback remains rangy amidst undulating US Treasury yields and a fluid flow of Omicron related headlines that are filling the void until this week’s main macro release arrives tomorrow in the form of CPI data. However, the index is drifting down in almost ever decreasing circles having retreated a bit further from peaks to a marginally deeper sub-96.000 trough on Wednesday, at 95.848, and forming a fractionally firmer base currently to stay within contact of the psychological level within a narrow 96.154-95.941 band, thus far. Ahead, latest jobless claims updates and the last refunding leg comprising Usd 22 bn long bonds after a reasonable 10 year outing, overall. CHF/EUR/CAD - No obvious reaction to Swiss SECO forecasts even though supply bottlenecks and stricter COVID-19 measures are putting a strain on the economy internationally in winter 2021/22, according to the Government affiliated body. Similarly, ECB sources reporting that views on the GC are converging on a limited, temporary increase of the APP at December’s policy meeting, via an envelope or time specified increase with more frequent reviews, hardly impacted the Euro, as Eur/Usd remained towards the bottom of a 1.1346-16 range and Usd/Chf continued to straddle 0.9200, albeit mostly on the weaker side. Meanwhile, the Loonie has also slipped to the back of the major ranks following yesterday’s largely non BoC event against the backdrop of softer crude prices and an indifferent risk tone, with Usd/Cad hovering mainly above 1.2650 between 1.2645-80 parameters. JPY/GBP/NZD/AUD - All sticking to tight confines against their US peer, as the Yen rotates around 113.50 again and Pound pivots 1.3200 in limbo awaiting top tier UK data on Friday that might shed more light on what is gearing up to be another tight BoE rate call next week. Moreover, Usd/Jpy looks pretty well and heavily flanked by option expiry interest either side and in between its 113.81-35 extremes given large amounts running off at the NY cut - see 6.59GMT post on the Headline Feed for full details. Elsewhere, the pendulum has swung down under in favour of the hitherto underperforming Kiwi, as Nzd/Usd popped over 0.6800 and Aud/Nzd stalled ahead of 1.0550 alongside a pull back in Aud/Usd from 0.7185+ at best to test support into 0.7150 in wake of comments by RBA’s Harker and the RBNZ rebalancing its TWI. In short, the former said Australia’s economy can run hot while dodging the runaway inflation that’s plaguing much of the world, signaling monetary policy will stay ultra-loose for some time yet, while the latter culminated in a bigger Cny contribution at 27% from 23.5%. SCANDI/EM - Another day and more appreciation for the Cnh and Cny, at least in early hours, with validation via the PBoC setting a sub-6.3500 midpoint fix for the onshore Yuan vs Buck. However, the offshore then re-weakened past 6.3500 per Dollar after the Chinese central bank opted to raise the FX RRR by 2ppts - effective 15th Dec. Meanwhile, the Nok gives back after midweek gains as Brent slips with WTI to the detriment of the Rub and Mxn as well. Conversely, the Huf has a further 20 bp 1 week repo hike from the NBH to lean on and the Brl got a boost from 150 bp tightening on top of the BCB signalling the same again when COPOM delivers its next SELIC rate call. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have drifted lower from their best levels printed overnight, which saw WTI Jan briefly mount USD 73.00/bbl and Brent Feb eclipse 76.50/bbl. The complex was unfazed by WSJ source reports suggesting the Biden administration is said to be moving to tighten enforcement of sanctions against Iran, whilst US officials say if there is no progress in the nuclear talks. This comes ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks today, albeit the US delegation will only travel to Vienne over the weekend. With the likelihood of an imminent deal somewhat slim, participants will be eyeing any further deterioration in relations alongside additional demand/sanctions. Aside from that, price action will likely be dictated by the overall market tone in the absence of macro catalysts. Elsewhere, reports suggested the Marathon pipeline has been shut due to a crude oil leak estimated to be around 10 barrels from the 20-inch diameter Illinois pipeline, but again the headlines failed to spur the oil complex. Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways and remains under that cluster of DMAs which today sees the 100 at 1,790/oz, 200 and 1,792.50/oz and 50 and 1,795/oz. LME copper meanwhile has been drifting lower since the end of APAC trade, but the contract remains north of USD 9,500/t. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 220,000, prior 222,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.91m, prior 1.96m 9:45am: Dec. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 51.0 10am: Oct. Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 2.2%, prior 2.2%; Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.1% 12pm: 3Q US Household Change in Net Wor, prior $5.85t DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap On the theme of advertising, here’s a final reminder about our special monthly survey for 2022, which will be closing today at 1pm London time. We ask about rates, equities, and the path of Covid-19 in 2022, amongst other things, and also return to a festive question we asked in 2019, namely your favourite ever Christmas songs. The link is here and it’s your last chance to complete. All help filling in very much appreciated. Following the strongest 2-day equity performance so far this year, yesterday saw the rally begin to peter out amidst growing concern that another round of restrictions over the coming weeks could set back the economic recovery. Ultimately the issue from a health perspective is that even if Omicron does prove to be less severe, which the initial indications so far have pointed to, a rise in transmissibility could offset that, and ultimately mean that more people are in hospital as a much bigger number of people would actually get Covid-19, even if a lower proportion of them are severely affected. We’ll start with the good news, and one new piece of information yesterday was that Pfizer and BioNTech announced the results from an initial study showing that three doses of their vaccine neutralised the Omicron variant of Covid-19. President Biden tweeted that the new data was “encouraging” and said it reinforced the point that boosters offer the highest protection, whilst Pfizer’s chief executive said that the final verdict would be the real-world efficacy data, which they expect to see toward the end of this year. We also had an update from the EU’s ECDC, who said that of the 337 Omicron cases reported in the EU/EEA so far, all of them were either asymptomatic or mild where severity was available, and that no deaths had yet been reported. Obviously, these sample sizes aren’t big enough to come to concrete conclusions yet, but if things continue this way that’s clearly a promising sign. On the other hand, the spread of infections has continued in South Africa, and the country reported 19,482 cases, which is the highest number since Omicron was first reported. That comes as a study from a Japanese scientist advising the health ministry in Japan said that Omicron was 4.2 times more transmissible than delta in its early stage. That hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet but would certainly back up all the other indications that this is a much more transmissible variant than seen before. These growing warning signs have led governments to keep toughening up restrictions, and here in the UK, the government announced they’d be moving to “Plan B” in England, which will see the reintroduction of guidance to work from home from Monday, and an extension of face masks to most public indoor venues. They will also be making Covid-19 passes mandatory for nightclubs and venues with large crowds, though a negative test will also be sufficient. That comes as cases have continued to rise, with the 7-day average now above 48,000 and at its highest level since January. Separately in Denmark, the government said that schools would close early for the Christmas break, amongst other restrictions. Equities struggled against this backdrop, with Europe’s STOXX 600 down -0.59%, although the S&P 500 managed to pare back its earlier losses to eke out a +0.31% gain. Cyclicals underperformed, but we did see volatility continue to subside, with the VIX down to its lowest closing level since Omicron emerged, at 19.9pts. In addition, there was an outperformance from tech stocks, with the NASDAQ (+0.64%) and the FANG+ index (+0.62%) seeing solid gains. The increasing risk-off tone didn’t bother oil prices either, with Brent crude (+0.50%) and WTI (+0.43%) continuing their run of gains this week, including further gains overnight, whilst European natural gas futures (+5.86%) closed above €100 per megawatt-hour for the first time in nearly 2 months. Over in sovereign bond markets, yields moved higher on both sides of the Atlantic for the most part, with those on 10yr Treasuries up +4.8bps to 1.52%, though this morning they’re down by -1.2bps. That’s the first time they’ve closed back above 1.5% since the session just before Thanksgiving, ahead of the news emerging about the Omicron variant. In Europe, there was an even bigger sell-off, with yields on 10yr bunds (+6.3bps), OATs (+6.9bps) and BTPs (+10.4bps) all moving higher, alongside a further widening in peripheral spreads. This more mixed performance has continued overnight in Asia, with a number of indices trading higher including the CSI (+1.76%), the Shanghai Composite (+1.03%), Hang Seng (+0.89%), and the KOSPI (+0.37%). However, both the Nikkei (-0.27%) and Australia’s ASX 200 (-0.28%) lost ground. On the data front, China’s inflation numbers this morning showed that CPI rose to +2.3% year-on-year in November, slightly lower than forecast +2.5%, albeit still the highest since last August. The PPI readings remained much stronger, but did fall back from a 26-year high last month to +12.9% year-on-year (vs. +12.1% forecast). Looking ahead, futures are indicating a mixed start in the US & Europe with S&P 500 (-0.13%) and DAX (+0.12%) seeing modest moves in either direction. Overnight we also heard from President Biden on Russia, who said that he hoped to announce high-level talks by tomorrow where they would discuss Russian concerns about NATO, and that this would include at least four major NATO allies. President Biden said the meeting was an explicit attempt to “bring down the temperature along the eastern front” that’s ramped up over recent days and weeks. Nevertheless, President Biden reinforced that the US was ready to implement severe economic sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine, telling reporters that he said to Putin there would be “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen”. Back to yesterday, and the Bank of Canada kept policy on hold at their meeting, as was expected. The bank reinforced their expectation for the 2 percent inflation target to be sustainably achieved in the “middle quarters of 2022”. Like other DM central banks, they are focused on persistently elevated inflation, which they tied to supply constraints that will take some time to alleviate. We had some rate hikes elsewhere, however, yesterday with Brazil’s central bank taking rates up by 150bps to 9.25%, whilst Poland’s hiked rates by +50bps to 1.75%. The main data of note yesterday were the US job openings for October, which rose to 11.033m (vs. 10.469m expected) after 2 successive monthly declines. Notably the quits rate, which is a good indicator of labour market tightness, saw its first monthly decline since May as it came down to 2.8%, from an all-time record of 3.0%. To the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/09/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 9th, 2021

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory"

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory" Heading into yesterday's painful close to one of the ugliest months since March 2020, which saw a huge forced liquidation rebalance with more than $8 billion in Market on Close orders, we said that while we are seeing "forced selling dump into the close today" this would be followed by "forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close." Forced selling dump into the close today. Forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 30, 2021 And just as expected, despite yesterday's dramatic hawkish pivot by Powell, who said it was time to retire the word transitory in describing the inflation outlook (the same word the Fed used hundreds of times earlier in 2021 sparking relentless mockery from this website for being clueless as usual) while also saying the U.S. central bank would consider bringing forward plans for tapering its bond buying program at its next meeting in two weeks, the frontrunning of new monthly inflows is in full force with S&P futures rising over 1.2%, Nasdaq futures up 1.3%, and Dow futures up 0.9%, recovering almost all of Tuesday’s decline. The seemingly 'hawkish' comments served as a double whammy for markets, which were already nervous about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and its potential to hinder a global economic recovery. "At this point, COVID does not appear to be the biggest long-term Street fear, although it could have the largest impact if the new (or next) variant turns out to be worse than expected," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P and Dow Jones indices, said in a note. "That honor goes to inflation, which continues to be fed by supply shortages, labor costs, worker shortages, as well as consumers, who have not pulled back." However, new month fund flows proved too powerful to sustain yesterday's month-end dump and with futures rising - and panic receding - safe havens were sold and the 10-year Treasury yield jumped almost 6bps, approaching 1.50%. The gap between yields on 5-year and 30-year Treasuries was around the narrowest since March last year. Crude oil and commodity-linked currencies rebounded. Gold remained just under $1,800 and bitcoin traded just over $57,000. There was more good news on the covid front with a WHO official saying some of the early indications are that most Omicron cases are mild with no severe cases. Separately Merck gained 3.8% in premarket trade after a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration narrowly voted to recommend the agency authorize the drugmaker's antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. Travel and leisure stocks also rebounded, with cruiseliners Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean rising more than 2.5% each. Easing of covid fears also pushed airlines and travel stocks higher in premarket trading: Southwest +2.9%, Delta +2.5%, Spirit +2.3%, American +2.2%, United +1.9%, JetBlue +1.3%. Vaccine makers traded modestly lower in pre-market trading after soaring in recent days as Wall Street weighs the widening spread of the omicron variant. Merck & Co. bucked the trend after its Covid-19 pill narrowly gained a key recommendation from advisers to U.S. regulators. Moderna slips 2.1%, BioNTech dips 1.3% and Pfizer is down 0.2%. Elsewhere, Occidental Petroleum led gains among the energy stocks, up 3.2% as oil prices climbed over 4% ahead of OPEC's meeting. Shares of major Wall Street lenders also moved higher after steep falls on Tuesday. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Salesforce (CRM US) drops 5.9% in premarket trading after results and guidance missed estimates, with analysts highlighting currency-related headwinds and plateauing growth at the MuleSoft integration software business. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE US) falls 1.3% in premarket after the computer equipment maker’s quarterly results showed the impact of the global supply chain crunch. Analysts noted solid order trends. Merck (MRK US) shares rise 5.8% in premarket after the company’s Covid-19 pill narrowly wins backing from FDA advisers, which analysts say is a sign of progress despite lingering challenges. Chinese electric vehicle makers were higher in premarket, leading U.S. peers up, after Nio, Li and XPeng reported strong deliveries for November; Nio (NIO US) +4%, Li (LI US ) +6%, XPeng (XPEV US) +4.3%. Ardelyx (ARDX US) shares gain as much as 34% in premarket, extending the biotech’s bounce after announcing plans to launch its irritable bowel syndrome treatment Ibsrela in the second quarter. CTI BioPharma (CTIC US) shares sink 18% in premarket after the company said the FDA extended the review period for a new drug application for pacritinib. Allbirds (BIRD US) fell 7.5% postmarket after the low end of the shoe retailer’s 2021 revenue forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Zscaler (ZS US) posted “yet another impressive quarter,” according to BMO. Several analysts increased their price targets for the security software company. Shares rose 4.6% in postmarket. Ambarella (AMBA US) rose 14% in postmarket after forecasting revenue for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Emcore (EMKR US) fell 9% postmarket after the aerospace and communications supplier reported fiscal fourth-quarter Ebitda that missed the average analyst estimate. Box (BOX US) shares gained as much as 10% in postmarket trading after the cloud company raised its revenue forecast for the full year. Meanwhile, the omicron variant continues to spread around the globe, though symptoms so far appear to be relatively mild. The Biden administration plans to tighten rules on travel to the U.S., and Japan said it would bar foreign residents returning from 10 southern African nations. As Bloomberg notes, volatility is buffeting markets as investors scrutinize whether the pandemic recovery can weather diminishing monetary policy support and potential risks from the omicron virus variant. Global manufacturing activity stabilized last month, purchasing managers’ gauges showed Wednesday, and while central banks are scaling back ultra-loose settings, financial conditions remain favorable in key economies. “The reality is hotter inflation coupled with a strong economic backdrop could end the Fed’s bond buying program as early as the first quarter of next year,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management, said in emailed comments. “With potential changes in policy on the horizon, market participants should expect additional market volatility in this uncharted territory.” Looking ahead, Powell is back on the Hill for day 2, and is due to testify before a House Financial Services Committee hybrid hearing at 10 a.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. Investors are also awaiting the Fed's latest "Beige Book" due at 2:00 p.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. European equities soared more than 1.2%, with travel stocks and carmakers leading broad-based gain in the Stoxx Europe 600 index, all but wiping out Tuesday’s decline that capped only the third monthly loss for the benchmark this year.  Travel, miners and autos are the strongest sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Proximus shares rise as much as 6.5% after the company said it’s started preliminary talks regarding a potential deal involving TeleSign, with a SPAC merger among options under consideration. Dr. Martens gains as much as 4.6% to the highest since Sept. 8 after being upgraded to overweight from equal- weight at Barclays, which says the stock’s de-rating is overdone. Husqvarna advances as much as 5.3% after the company upgraded financial targets ahead of its capital markets day, including raising the profit margin target to 13% from 10%. Wizz Air, Lufthansa and other travel shares were among the biggest gainers as the sector rebounded after Tuesday’s losses; at a conference Wizz Air’s CEO reiterated expansion plans. Wizz Air gains as much as 7.5%, Lufthansa as much as 6.8% Elis, Accor and other stocks in the French travel and hospitality sector also rise after the country’s government pledged to support an industry that’s starting to get hit by the latest Covid-19 wave. Pendragon climbs as much as 6.5% after the car dealer boosted its outlook after the company said a supply crunch in the new vehicle market wasn’t as bad as it had anticipated. UniCredit rises as much as 3.6%, outperforming the Stoxx 600 Banks Index, after Deutsche Bank added the stock to its “top picks” list alongside UBS, and Bank of Ireland, Erste, Lloyds and Societe Generale. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also soared, snapping a three-day losing streak, led by energy and technology shares, as traders assessed the potential impact from the omicron coronavirus variant and U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish pivot. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.3% Wednesday. South Korea led regional gains after reporting strong export figures, which bolsters growth prospects despite record domestic Covid-19 cases. Hong Kong stocks also bounced back after falling Tuesday to their lowest level since September 2020. Asia’s stock benchmark rebounded from a one-year low, though sentiment remained clouded by lingering concerns on the omicron strain and Fed’s potentially faster tapering pace. Powell earlier hinted that the U.S. central bank will accelerate its asset purchases at its meeting later this month.  “A faster taper in the U.S. is still dependent on omicron not causing a big setback to the outlook in the next few weeks,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, adding that he expects the Fed’s policy rate “will still be low through next year, which should still enable good global growth which will benefit Asia.” Chinese equities edged up after the latest economic data showed manufacturing activity remained at relatively weak levels in November, missing economists’ expectations. Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said he’s fully confident in the nation’s economic growth in 2022 Japanese stocks rose, overcoming early volatility as traders parsed hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which closed 0.4% higher after swinging between a gain of 0.9% and loss of 0.7% in the morning session. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.4% rise in the Nikkei 225, which similarly fluctuated. The Topix had dropped 4.8% over the previous three sessions due to concerns over the omicron virus variant. The benchmark fell 3.6% in November, its worst month since July 2020. “The market’s tolerance to risk is quite low at the moment, with people responding in a big way to the smallest bit of negative news,” said Tomo Kinoshita, a global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management in Tokyo. “But the decline in Japanese equities was far worse than those of other developed markets, so today’s market may find a bit of calm.” U.S. shares tumbled Tuesday after Powell said officials should weigh removing pandemic support at a faster pace and retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation In rates, bonds trade heavy, as yield curves bear-flatten. Treasuries extended declines with belly of the curve cheapening vs wings as traders continue to price in additional rate-hike premium over the next two years. Treasury yields were cheaper by up to 5bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by ~5.5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 1.48%, cheaper by ~4bp, while gilts lag by additional 2bp in the sector. The short-end of the gilt curve markedly underperforms bunds and Treasuries with 2y yields rising ~11bps near 0.568%. Peripheral spreads widen with belly of the Italian curve lagging. The flattening Treasury yield curve “doesn’t suggest imminent doom for the equity market in and of itself,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. “Alarm bells go off in terms of recession” when the curve gets closer to inverting, she said. In FX, the Turkish lira had a wild session, offered in early London trade before fading. USD/TRY dropped sharply to lows of 12.4267 on reports of central bank FX intervention due to “unhealthy price formations” before, once again, fading TRY strength after comments from Erdogan. The rest of G-10 FX is choppy; commodity currencies retain Asia’s bid tone, havens are sold: the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower, as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers. The euro moved in a narrow range and Bund yields followed U.S. yields higher. The pound advanced as risk sentiment stabilized with focus still on news about the omicron variant. The U.K. 10-, 30-year curve flirted with inversion as gilts flattened, with money markets betting on 10bps of BOE tightening this month for the first time since Friday. The Australian and New Zealand dollars advanced as rising commodity prices fuel demand from exporters and leveraged funds. Better-than-expected growth data also aided the Aussie, with GDP expanding by 3.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, beating the 3% estimated by economists. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period.  The yen declined by the most among the Group-of-10 currencies as Powell’s comments renewed focus on yield differentials. 10-year yields rose ahead of Thursday’s debt auction In commodities, crude futures rally. WTI adds over 4% to trade on a $69-handle, Brent recovers near $72.40 after Goldman said overnight that oil had gotten extremely oversold. Spot gold fades a pop higher to trade near $1,785/oz. Base metals trade well with LME copper and nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.2% to 4,620.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.0% to 467.58 MXAP up 0.9% to 191.52 MXAPJ up 1.1% to 626.09 Nikkei up 0.4% to 27,935.62 Topix up 0.4% to 1,936.74 Hang Seng Index up 0.8% to 23,658.92 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,576.89 Sensex up 1.0% to 57,656.51 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,235.85 Kospi up 2.1% to 2,899.72 Brent Futures up 4.2% to $72.15/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,778.93 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.98 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1326 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday, the first direct contact between officials of the two countries in weeks as tensions grow amid western fears Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine Oil rebounded from a sharp drop on speculation that recent deep losses were excessive and OPEC+ may on Thursday decide to pause hikes in production, with the abrupt reversal fanning already- elevated volatility The EU is set to recommend that member states review essential travel restrictions on a daily basis in the wake of the omicron variant, according to a draft EU document seen by Bloomberg China is planning to ban companies from going public on foreign stock markets through variable interest entities, according to people familiar with the matter, closing a loophole long used by the country’s technology industry to raise capital from overseas investors Manufacturing activity in Asia outside China stabilized last month amid easing lockdown and border restrictions, setting the sector on course to face a possible new challenge from the omicron variant of the coronavirus Germany urgently needs stricter measures to check a surge in Covid-19 infections and protect hospitals from a “particularly dangerous situation,” according to the head of the country’s DIVI intensive-care medicine lobby. A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as regional bourses atoned for the prior day’s losses that were triggered by Omicron concerns, but with some of the momentum tempered by recent comments from Fed Chair Powell and mixed data releases including the miss on Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was led lower by underperformance in consumer stocks and with utilities also pressured as reports noted that Shell and Telstra’s entrance in the domestic electricity market is set to ignite fierce competition and force existing players to overhaul their operations, although the losses in the index were cushioned following the latest GDP data which showed a narrower than feared quarterly contraction in Australia’s economy. Nikkei 225 (+0.4%) was on the mend after yesterday’s sell-off with the index helped by favourable currency flows and following a jump in company profits for Q3, while the KOSPI (+2.1%) was also boosted by strong trade data. Hang Seng (+0.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) were somewhat varied as a tech resurgence in Hong Kong overcompensated for the continued weakness in casinos stocks amid ongoing SunCity woes which closed all VIP gaming rooms in Macau after its Chairman's recent arrest, while the mood in the mainland was more reserved after a PBoC liquidity drain and disappointing Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI data which fell short of estimates and slipped back into contraction territory. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid the gains in Japanese stocks and after the pullback in global fixed income peers in the aftermath of Fed Chair Powell’s hawkish comments, while a lack of BoJ purchases further contributed to the subdued demand for JGBs. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Bounce Back from One-Year Low Despite Looming Risks Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Shell Sees Hedge Funds Moving to LNG, Supporting Higher Prices Abe Warns China Invading Taiwan Would Be ‘Economic Suicide’ Bourses in Europe are firmer across the board (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.6%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) as the positive APAC sentiment reverberated into European markets. US equity futures are also on the front foot with the cyclical RTY (+2.0%) outpacing its peers: ES (+1.2%), NQ (+1.5%), YM (+0.8%). COVID remains a central theme for the time being as the Omicron variant is observed for any effects of concern – which thus far have not been reported. Analysts at UBS expect market focus to shift away from the variant and more towards growth and earnings. The analysts expect Omicron to fuse into the ongoing Delta outbreak that economies have already been tackling. Under this scenario, the desk expects some of the more cyclical markets and sectors to outperform. The desk also flags two tails risks, including an evasive variant and central bank tightening – particularly after Fed chair Powell’s commentary yesterday. Meanwhile, BofA looks for an over-10% fall in European stocks next year. Sticking with macro updates, the OECD, in their latest economic outlook, cut US, China, Eurozone growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022, with Omicron cited as a factor. Back to trade, broad-based gains are seen across European cash markets. Sectors hold a clear cyclical bias which consists of Travel & Leisure, Basic Resources, Autos, Retail and Oil & Gas as the top performers – with the former bolstered by the seemingly low appetite for coordination on restrictions and measures at an EU level – Deutsche Lufthansa (+6%) and IAG (+5.1%) now reside at the top of the Stoxx 600. The other side of the spectrum sees the defensive sectors – with Healthcare, Household Goods, Food & Beverages as the straddlers. In terms of induvial movers, German-listed Adler Group (+22%) following a divestment, whilst Blue Prism (+1.7%) is firmer after SS&C raised its offer for the Co. Top European News Wizz Says Travelers Are Booking at Shorter and Shorter Notice Turkey Central Bank Intervenes in FX Markets to Stabilize Lira Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Former ABG Sundal Collier Partner Starts Advisory Firm In FX, the Dollar remains mixed against majors, but well off highs prompted by Fed chair Powell ditching transitory from the list of adjectives used to describe inflation and flagging that a faster pace of tapering will be on the agenda at December’s FOMC. However, the index is keeping tabs on the 96.000 handle and has retrenched into a tighter 95.774-96.138 range, for the time being, as trade remains very choppy and volatility elevated awaiting clearer medical data and analysis on Omicron to gauge its impact compared to the Delta strain and earlier COVID-19 variants. In the interim, US macro fundamentals might have some bearing, but the bar is high before NFP on Friday unless ADP or ISM really deviate from consensus or outside the forecast range. Instead, Fed chair Powell part II may be more pivotal if he opts to manage hawkish market expectations, while the Beige Book prepared for next month’s policy meeting could also add some additional insight. NZD/AUD/CAD/GBP - Broad risk sentiment continues to swing from side to side, and currently back in favour of the high beta, commodity and cyclical types, so the Kiwi has bounced firmly from worst levels on Tuesday ahead of NZ terms of trade, the Aussie has pared a chunk of its declines with some assistance from a smaller than anticipated GDP contraction and the Loonie is licking wounds alongside WTI in advance of Canadian building permits and Markit’s manufacturing PMI. Similarly, Sterling has regained some poise irrespective of relatively dovish remarks from BoE’s Mann and a slender downward revision to the final UK manufacturing PMI. Nzd/Usd is firmly back above 0.6800, Aud/Usd close to 0.7150 again, Usd/Cad straddling 1.2750 and Cable hovering on the 1.3300 handle compared to circa 0.6772, 0.7063, 1.2837 and 1.3195 respectively at various fairly adjacent stages yesterday. JPY/EUR/CHF - All undermined by the aforementioned latest upturn in risk appetite or less angst about coronavirus contagion, albeit to varying degrees, as the Yen retreats to retest support sub-113.50, Euro treads water above 1.1300 and Franc straddles 0.9200 after firmer than forecast Swiss CPI data vs a dip in the manufacturing PMI. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are recovering following yesterday’s COVID and Powell-induced declines in the run-up to the OPEC meetings later today. The complex has also been underpinned by the reduced prospects of coordinated EU-wide restrictions, as per the abandonment of the COVID video conference between EU leaders. However, OPEC+ will take centre stage over the next couple of days, with a deluge of source reports likely as OPEC tests the waters. The case for OPEC+ to pause the planned monthly relaxation of output curbs by 400k BPD has been strengthening. There have been major supply and demand developments since the prior meeting. The recent emergence of the Omicron COVID variant and coordinated release of oil reserves have shifted the balance of expectations relative to earlier in the month (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite). In terms of the schedule, the OPEC meeting is slated for 13:00GMT/08:00EST followed by the JTC meeting at 15:00GMT/10:00EST, whilst tomorrow sees the JMMC meeting at 12:00GMT/07:00EST; OPEC+ meeting at 13:00GMT/08:00EST. WTI Jan has reclaimed a USD 69/bbl handle (vs USD 66.20/bbl low) while Brent Feb hovers around USD 72.50/bbl (vs low USD 69.38/bbl) at the time of writing. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver trade with modest gains and largely in tandem with the Buck. Spot gold failed to sustain gains above the cluster of DMAs under USD 1,800/oz (100 DMA at USD 1,792/oz, 200 DMA at USD 1,791/oz, and 50 DMA at USD 1,790/oz) – trader should be aware of the potential for a technical Golden Cross (50 DMA > 200 DMA). Turning to base metals, copper is supported by the overall risk appetite, with the LME contract back above USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Chinese coking coal and coke futures rose over 5% apiece, with traders citing disrupted supply from Mongolia amid the COVID outbreak in the region. US Event Calendar 7am: Nov. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 1.8% 8:15am: Nov. ADP Employment Change, est. 525,000, prior 571,000 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 59.1 10am: Oct. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.4%, prior -0.5% 10am: Nov. ISM Manufacturing, est. 61.2, prior 60.8 2pm: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book Nov. Wards Total Vehicle Sales, est. 13.4m, prior 13m Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before House Panel on CARES Act Relief DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If you’re under 10 and reading this there’s a spoiler alert today in this first para so please skip beyond and onto the second. Yes my heart broke a little last night as my little 6-year old Maisie said to me at bedtime that “Santa isn’t real is he Daddy?”. I lied (I think it’s a lie) and said yes he was. I made up an elaborate story about how when we renovated our 100 year old house we deliberately kept the chimney purely to let Santa come down it once a year. Otherwise why would we have kept it? She then asked what about her friend who lives in a flat? I tried to bluff my way through it but maybe my answer sounded a bit like my answers as to what will happen with Omicron. I’ll test both out on clients later to see which is more convincing. Before we get to the latest on the virus, given it’s the start of the month, we’ll shortly be publishing our November performance review looking at how different assets fared over the month just gone and YTD. It arrived late on but Omicron was obviously the dominant story and led to some of the biggest swings of the year so far. It meant that oil (which is still the top performer on a YTD basis) was the worst performer in our monthly sample, with WTI and Brent seeing their worst monthly performances since the initial wave of market turmoil over Covid back in March 2020. And at the other end, sovereign bonds outperformed in November as Omicron’s emergence saw investors push back the likelihood of imminent rate hikes from central banks. So what was shaping up to be a good month for risk and a bad one for bonds flipped around in injury time. Watch out for the report soon from Henry. Back to yesterday now, and frankly the main takeaway was that markets were desperate for any piece of news they could get their hands on about the Omicron variant, particularly given the lack of proper hard data at the moment. The morning started with a sharp selloff as we discussed at the top yesterday, as some of the more optimistic noises from Monday were outweighed by that FT interview, whereby Moderna’s chief executive had said that the existing vaccines wouldn’t be as effective against the new variant. Then we had some further negative news from Regeneron, who said that analysis and modelling of the Omicron mutations indicated that its antibody drug may not be as effective, but that they were doing further analysis to confirm this. However, we later got some comments from a University of Oxford spokesperson, who said that there wasn’t any evidence so far that vaccinations wouldn’t provide high levels of protection against severe disease, which coincided with a shift in sentiment early in the European afternoon as equities begun to pare back their losses. The CEO of BioNTech and the Israeli health minister expressed similar sentiments, noting that vaccines were still likely to protect against severe disease even among those infected by Omicron, joining other officials encouraging people to get vaccinated or get booster shots. Another reassuring sign came in an update from the EU’s ECDC yesterday, who said that all of the 44 confirmed cases where information was available on severity “were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.” After the close, the FDA endorsed Merck’s antiviral Covid pill. While it’s not clear how the pill interacts with Omicron, the proliferation of more Covid treatments is still good news as we head into another winter. The other big piece of news came from Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, where the main headline was his tapering comment that “It is appropriate to consider wrapping up a few months sooner.” So that would indicate an acceleration in the pace, which would be consistent with the view from our US economists that we’ll see a doubling in the pace of reductions at the December meeting that’s only two weeks from today. The Fed Chair made a forceful case for a faster taper despite lingering Omicron uncertainties, noting inflation is likely to stay elevated, the labour market has improved without a commensurate increase in labour supply (those sidelined because of Covid are likely to stay there), spending has remained strong, and that tapering was a removal of accommodation (which the economy doesn’t need more of given the first three points). Powell took pains to stress the risk of higher inflation, going so far as to ‘retire’ the use of the term ‘transitory’ when describing the current inflation outlook. So team transitory have seemingly had the pitch taken away from them mid match. The Chair left an exit clause that this outlook would be informed by incoming inflation, employment, and Omicron data before the December FOMC meeting. A faster taper ostensibly opens the door to earlier rate hikes and Powell’s comment led to a sharp move higher in shorter-dated Treasury yields, with the 2yr yield up +8.1bps on the day, having actually been more than -4bps lower when Powell began speaking. They were as low as 0.44% then and got as high as 0.57% before closing at 0.56%. 2yr yields have taken another leg higher overnight, increasing +2.5bps to 0.592%. Long-end yields moved lower though and failed to back up the early day moves even after Powell, leading to a major flattening in the yield curve on the back of those remarks, with the 2s10s down -13.7bps to 87.3bps, which is its flattest level since early January. Overnight 10yr yields are back up +3bps but the curve is only a touch steeper. My 2 cents on the yield curve are that the 2s10s continues to be my favourite US recession indicator. It’s worked over more cycles through history than any other. No recession since the early 1950s has occurred without the 2s10s inverting. But it takes on average 12-18 months from inversion to recession. The shortest was the covid recession at around 7 months which clearly doesn’t count but I think we were very late cycle in early 2020 and the probability of recession in the not too distant future was quite high but we will never know.The shortest outside of that was around 9 months. So with the curve still at c.+90bps we are moving in a more worrying direction but I would still say 2023-24 is the very earliest a recession is likely to occur (outside of a unexpected shock) and we’ll need a rapid flattening in 22 to encourage that. History also suggests markets tend to ignore the YC until it’s too late. So I wouldn’t base my market views in 22 on the yield curve and recession signal yet. However its something to look at as the Fed seemingly embarks on a tightening cycle in the months ahead. Onto markets and those remarks from Powell (along with the additional earlier pessimism about Omicron) proved incredibly unhelpful for equities yesterday, with the S&P 500 (-1.90%) giving up the previous day’s gains to close at its lowest level in over a month. It’s hard to overstate how broad-based this decline was, as just 7 companies in the entire S&P moved higher yesterday, which is the lowest number of the entire year so far and the lowest since June 11th, 2020, when 1 company ended in the green. Over in Europe it was much the same story, although they were relatively less affected by Powell’s remarks, and the STOXX 600 (-0.92%) moved lower on the day as well. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading higher though with the KOSPI (+2.02%), Hang Seng (+1.40%), the Nikkei (+0.37%), Shanghai Composite (+0.11%) and CSI (+0.09%) all in the green. Australia’s Q3 GDP contracted (-1.9% qoq) less than -2.7% consensus while India’s Q3 GDP grew at a firm +8.4% year-on-year beating the +8.3% consensus. In China the Caixin Manufacturing PMI for November came in at 49.9 against a 50.6 consensus. Futures markets are indicating a positive start to markets in US & Europe with the S&P 500 (+0.73%) and DAX (+0.44%) trading higher again. Back in Europe, there was a significant inflation story amidst the other headlines above, since Euro Area inflation rose to its highest level since the creation of the single currency, with the flash estimate for November up to +4.9% (vs. +4.5% expected). That exceeded every economist’s estimate on Bloomberg, and core inflation also surpassed expectations at +2.6% (vs. +2.3% expected), again surpassing the all-time high since the single currency began. That’s only going to add to the pressure on the ECB, and yesterday saw Germany’s incoming Chancellor Scholz say that “we have to do something” if inflation doesn’t ease. European sovereign bonds rallied in spite of the inflation reading, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.1bps), OATs (-3.5bps) and BTPs (-0.9bps) all moving lower. Peripheral spreads widened once again though, and the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields closed at its highest level in just over a year. Meanwhile governments continued to move towards further action as the Omicron variant spreads, and Greece said that vaccinations would be mandatory for everyone over 60 soon, with those refusing having to pay a monthly €100 fine. Separately in Germany, incoming Chancellor Scholz said that there would be a parliamentary vote on the question of compulsory vaccinations, saying to the Bild newspaper in an interview that “My recommendation is that we don’t do this as a government, because it’s an issue of conscience”. In terms of other data yesterday, German unemployment fell by -34k in November (vs. -25k expected). Separately, the November CPI readings from France at +3.4% (vs. +3.2% expected) and Italy at +4.0% (vs. +3.3% expected) surprised to the upside as well. In the US, however, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure in November fell to its lowest since February at 109.5 (vs. 110.9 expected), and the MNI Chicago PMI for November fell to 61.8 9vs. 67.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 07:47.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

Should You Buy the Dip on the Omicron Scare?

We can make the most of the current volatility in the market to load up on some shares. The stock markets went into a bit of a tizzy Friday, as fears of a new variant of the coronavirus hit the markets. Omicron, as it’s being called, appears to have originated in South Africa and has now been detected in a number of European countries, as well as Canada, Israel, Hong Kong and Australia. A number of countries have imposed travel restrictions from South African countries.Early reports do, however, indicate that the variant while being more contagious, is doing less damage than Delta. But who knows how things will finally play out?So yes, people are scared. They are not rushing outdoors and thinking that maybe there will be lockdowns or partial lockdowns all over again.In response to the uncertainties, investors piled into bonds on Friday, ditching stocks, especially the reopening plays like airlines, restaurants and retail. As may be expected, the vaccine makers were more in demand, especially Moderna, which was quick to say that it would have a vaccine for Omicron in early 2022.But investors returned to the market by Monday to take advantage of the dip. So major indexes are again in the green. What’s more, the volatility index (VIX) is down over 12% as of this writing, indicating that investors are back in action.  So there’s a narrow window of opportunity for those still hoping to buy the dip. And SNDR, ARCB, ARW, CC and CLS could help you do just that-Schneider National Inc. SNDRSchneider is a leading transportation and logistics services company offering premier truckload, intermodal, dry van, bulk transport and supply chain management. It has one of the largest for-hire truck fleets in North America.Reopening encourages people to use more services while the virus pushes people back indoors, making it more of a goods economy. So any virus scare is generally advantageous for companies that deal in goods. Plus truckers are currently in huge demand because of supply chain issues.Analysts are optimistic about Schneider’s growth prospects in 2022 and think that its revenue and earnings will be up 6.5% and 4.1%, on top of the very strong double-digit growth this year. The estimate revisions trend is also encouraging, with the 2022 estimate climbing 13.2% in the last 90 days.That’s why Schneider’s 1.4% dip over the past week does not make much sense and may be considered an opportunity to buy.Supporting that thesis is the valuaton. Schneider trades at 11.4X 2022 earnings (P/E), 0.85X sales (P/S) and 0.66X earnings growth (PEG).The shares carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).ArcBest Corporation ARCBArcbest offers freight transportation services and solutions for road, air and ocean transportation of goods, as well as customizable supply chain solutions and integrated warehousing services in the U.S. and internationally.So the factors helping Schneider at the moment also apply to Arcbest.Additionally, analysts are extremely optimistic about the company’s growth in 2022. Even coming off the strong double-digit growth this year, they expect the company to grow its earnings by 15.2% on revenue that’s expected to grow 18.7%. The estimate revisions trend is positive with the 2022 earnings estimates having jumped 41.3% over the past 90 days.Therefore, the 4.0% decline in its share prices over the past week doesn’t make much sense. But it does help the valuation, which is attractive to say the least. Arcbest shares currently trade at a P/E multiple of 12.0X, a P/S multiple of 0.75X and a PEG ratio of 0.30X.The shares carry a Zacks Rank #1.Arrow Electronics Inc. ARWArrow Electronics is one of the world’s largest distributors of electronic components and enterprise computing products. It also offers value-added-services.Being an enabler of the digital economy, Arrow stands to gain from the growing volumes of online sales, remote working and other digitally dependent activity. And as we all know, digitization has accelerated over the past year because of the pandemic.So Arrow has seen good growth over the past year and analysts expect more to follow this year. They currently see earnings growing 6.5% in 2022 on revenue growth of 1.5%. The estimate revisions trend (up 9.0% in the last 90 days) indicates that final growth numbers could be considerably stronger.So the 1.8% decline in Arrow’s share prices is an invitation to buy. Especially because its valuation based on P/E of 8.0X, P/S of 0.25X and PEG of 0.31 makes it really cheap at these levels.The shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).The Chemours Company CCChemours is a leading provider of performance chemicals that are key ingredients in end-products and processes across a host of industries including plastics and coatings, refrigeration and air conditioning, mining and general industrial manufacturing and electronics.Industrial production and manufacturing activity has picked up as far as possible given materials and labor constraints. And tightness in the supply chain is allowing Chemours to pass on raw material cost inflation to customers.The possibility of a slowdown in the economy, or of a slowdown in manufacturing and industrial operations, is therefore a bit of a concern for Chemours and explains the 2.8% decline in its share prices over the past week.But the estimate revisions trend remains positive as of now with the 2022 earnings estimate up 10.6% in the last 90 days. Moreover, analysts are looking for 8.2% earnings growth in 2022 on top of the 105.5% growth this year. The revenue growth estimate of 6.4% is also encouraging.Chemours’ valuation is also attractive with P/E, P/S and PEG at 7.03X, 0.83X and 0.22, respectively.The shares carry a Zacks Rank #1.Celestica Inc. CLSCelestica is one of the largest electronics manufacturing services companies in the world, serving the computer, and communications sectors. The company provides competitive manufacturing technology and service solutions for printed circuit assembly and system assembly, as well as post-manufacturing support to many of the world's leading original equipment manufacturers.Given the nature of its business, Celestica is a beneficiary of the increased digitization over the past year and a half. Coronavirus-related shutdowns/restrictions would increase our digital dependency, which would be positive for a company like Celestica. But there are many other reasons for increased digitization, which is the way the world is moving. One concern is related to infection rates, which if they hit the electronics supply chain can be a big impediment for the company. That’s probably why we’ve seen its shares retreat 3.9% over the past week.The lone analyst providing estimates on Celestica sees revenue and earnings growth of 12.4% and 19.8%, respectively in 2022. And he appears to have erred on the side of caution for the most part, in the past. The 2022 estimate is up 17.3% over the past 90 days.Celestica’s valuation is also attractive, as seen from its P/E multiple of 7.3X, P/S of 0.25X and PEG of 0.86.Celestica shares carry a Zacks Rank #2.3 Month Price MovementImage Source: Zacks Investment Research Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0% You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Arrow Electronics, Inc. (ARW): Free Stock Analysis Report Celestica, Inc. (CLS): Free Stock Analysis Report ArcBest Corporation (ARCB): Free Stock Analysis Report The Chemours Company (CC): Free Stock Analysis Report Schneider National, Inc. (SNDR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 29th, 2021