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Where Home Point Capital Stands With Analysts

Home Point Capital (NASDAQ:HMPT) has observed the following analyst ratings within the last quarter: Latest Ratings for HMPT DateFirmActionFromTo Feb 2022Credit SuisseMaintainsOutperform Feb 2022Morgan StanleyMaintainsEqual-Weight Feb 2022Wells FargoDowngradesOverweightEqual-Weight View More Analyst Ratings for HMPT View the Latest Analyst Ratings read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaMay 13th, 2022

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease S&P futures and European stocks rebounded from Friday’s selloff while Asian shares fell, as investors took comfort in reports from South Africa which said initial data doesn’t show a surge of hospitalizations as a result of the omicron variant, a view repeated by Anthony Fauci on Sunday. Meanwhile, fears about a tighter Fed were put on the backburner. Also overnight, China’s central bank announced it will cut the RRR by 50bps releasing 1.2tn CNY in liquidity, a move that had been widely expected. The cut comes as insolvent Chinese property developer Evergrande was said to be planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring plan. US equity futures rose 0.3%, fading earlier gains, and were last trading at 4,550. Nasdaq futures pared losses early in the U.S. morning, trading down 0.4%. Oil rose after Saudi Arabia boosted the prices of its crude, signaling confidence in the demand outlook, which helped lift European energy shares. The 10-year Treasury yield advanced to 1.40%, while the dollar was little changed and the yen weakened. “A wind of relief may blow the current risk-off trading stance away this week,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at U.K. brokerage ActivTrades. “Concerns related to the omicron variant may ease after South African experts didn’t register any surge in deaths or hospitalization.” As Bloromberg notes, the mood across markets was calmer on Monday after last week’s big swings in technology companies and a crash in Bitcoin over the weekend. Investors pointed to good news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Initial data from South Africa are “a bit encouraging regarding the severity,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday. At the same time, he cautioned that it’s too early to be definitive. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Alibaba’s (BABA US) U.S.-listed shares rise 1.9% in premarket after a 8.2% drop Friday prompted by the delisting plans of Didi Global. Alibaba said earlier it is replacing its CFO and reshuffling the heads of its commerce businesses Rivian (RIVN US) has the capabilities to compete with Tesla and take a considerable share of the electric vehicle market, Wall Street analysts said as they started coverage with overwhelmingly positive ratings. Shares rose 2.2% initially in U.S. premarket trading, but later wiped out gains to drop 0.9% Stocks tied to former President Donald Trump jump in U.S. premarket trading after his media company agreed to a $1 billion investment from a SPAC Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumble amid volatile trading in Bitcoin, another indication of the risk aversion sweeping across financial markets Laureate Education (LAUR US) approved the payment of a special cash distribution of $0.58 per share. Shares rose 2.8% in postmarket Friday AbCellera Biologics (ABCL US) gained 6.2% postmarket Friday after the company confirmed that its Lilly-partnered monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, together with etesevimab, received an expanded emergency use authorization from the FDA as the first antibody therapy in Covid-19 patients under 12 European equities drifted lower after a firm open. Euro Stoxx 50 faded initial gains of as much as 0.9% to trade up 0.3%. Other cash indexes follow suit, but nonetheless remain in the green. FTSE MIB sees the largest drop from session highs. Oil & gas is the strongest sector, underpinned after Saudi Arabia raised the prices of its crude. Tech, autos and financial services lag. Companies that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns are underperforming in Europe on Monday as investors assess whether the omicron Covid variant will force governments into further social restrictions. Firms in focus include meal-kit firm HelloFresh (-2.3%) and online food delivery platforms Delivery Hero (-5.4%), Just Eat Takeaway (-5.6%) and Deliveroo (-8.5%). Remote access software firm TeamViewer (-3.7%) and Swedish mobile messaging company Sinch (-3.0%), gaming firm Evolution (-4.2%). Online pharmacies Zur Rose (-5.1%), Shop Apotheke (-3.5%). Online grocer Ocado (-2.2%), online apparel retailer Zalando (-1.5%). In Asia, the losses were more severe as investors remained wary over the outlook for U.S. monetary policy and the spread of the omicron variant.  The Hang Seng Tech Index closed at the lowest level since its inception. SoftBank Group Corp. fell as much as 9% in Tokyo trading as the value of its portfolio came under more pressure. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.9%, hovering above its lowest finish in about a year. Consumer discretionary firms and software technology names contributed the most to the decline, while the financial sector outperformed.  Hong Kong’s equity benchmark was among the region’s worst performers amid the selloff in tech shares. The market also slumped after the omicron variant spread among two fully vaccinated travelers across the hallway of a quarantine hotel in the city, unnerving health authorities. “People are waiting for new information on the omicron variant,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo. “We’re at a point where it’s difficult to buy stocks.” Separately, China’s central bank announced after the country’s stock markets closed that it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost to economic growth.  Futures on the Nasdaq 100 gained further in Asia late trading. The underlying gauge slumped 1.7% on Friday, after data showed U.S. job growth had its smallest gain this year and the unemployment rate fell more than forecast. Investors seem to be focusing more on the improved jobless rate, as it could back the case for an acceleration in tapering, Ichikawa said.  Asian equities have been trending lower since mid-November amid a selloff in Chinese technology giants, concern over U.S. monetary policy and the spread of omicron. The risk-off sentiment pushed shares to a one-year low last week.  Overnight, the PBoC cut the RRR by 50bps (as expected) effective 15th Dec; will release CNY 1.2tln in liquidity; RRR cut to guide banks for SMEs and will use part of funds from RRR cut to repay MLF. Will not resort to flood-like stimulus; will reduce capital costs for financial institutions by around CNY 15bln per annum. The news follows earlier reports via China Securities Daily which noted that China could reduce RRR as soon as this month, citing a brokerage firm. However, a separate Chinese press report noted that recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean that there will be a policy change and an Economics Daily commentary piece suggested that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic and could lead to misunderstandings after speculation was stoked for a RRR cut from last week's comments by Premier Li. Elsewhere, Indian stocks plunged in line with peers across Asia as investors remained uncertain about the emerging risks from the omicron variant in a busy week of monetary policy meetings.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 1.7% to 56,747.14, in Mumbai, dropping to its lowest level in over three months, with all 30 shares ending lower. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also declined by a similar magnitude. Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both indexes and declined 2.3%.  All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a measure of software exporters.  “If not for the new omicron variant, economic recovery was on a very strong footing,” Mohit Nigam, head of portfolio management services at Hem Securities Ltd. said in a note. “But if this virus quickly spreads in India, then we might experience some volatility for the coming few weeks unless development is seen on the vaccine side.” Major countries worldwide have detected omicron cases, even as the severity of the variant still remains unclear. Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its rate decision on Tuesday, while the Indian central bank will release it on Dec. 8. the hawkish comments by U.S. Fed chair Jerome Powell on tackling rising inflation also weighed on the market Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower, as investors considered prospects for inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt and the omicron virus strain. Telecommunications and services providers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and Daiichi Sankyo were the largest contributors to a 0.4% loss in the Nikkei 225. The Mothers index slid 3.8% amid the broader decline in growth stocks. A sharp selloff in large technology names dragged U.S. stocks lower Friday. U.S. job growth registered its smallest gain this year in November while the unemployment rate fell by more than forecast to 4.2%. There were some good aspects in the U.S. jobs data, said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “We’re in this contradictory situation where there’s concern over an early rate hike given the economic recovery, while at the same time there’s worry over how the omicron variant may slow the current recovery.” Australian stocks ended flat as staples jumped. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed little changed at 7,245.10, swinging between gains and losses during the session as consumer staples rose and tech stocks fell. Metcash was the top performer after saying its 1H underlying profit grew 13% y/y. Nearmap was among the worst performers after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the stock will be removed from the benchmark as a result of its quarterly review. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,597.81. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up a modest advance as the European session got underway; the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies among the leaders and havens among the laggards. JPY and CHF are the weakest in G-10, SEK outperforms after hawkish comments in the Riksbank’s minutes. USD/CNH drifts back to flat after a fairly well telegraphed RRR cut materialized early in the London session.  The euro fell to a day low of $1.1275 before paring. The pound strengthened against the euro and dollar, following stocks higher. Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent due to speak. Market participants will be watching for his take on the impact of the omicron variant following the cautious tone of Michael Saunders’ speech on Friday. Treasury yields gapped higher at the start of the day and futures remain near lows into early U.S. session, leaving yields cheaper by 4bp to 5bp across the curve. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.395%, cheaper by 5bp vs. Friday’s close while the 2s10s curve steepens almost 2bps with front-end slightly outperforming; bunds trade 4bp richer vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. November's mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. Italian bonds outperformed euro-area peers after Fitch upgraded the sovereign by one notch to BBB, maintaining a stable outlook. In commodities, crude futures drift around best levels during London hours. WTI rises over 1.5%, trading either side of $68; Brent stalls near $72. Spot gold trends lower in quiet trade, near $1,780/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME copper outperforms, holding in the green with lead; nickel and aluminum drop more than 1%. There is nothing on today's economic calendar. Focus this week includes U.S. auctions and CPI data, while Fed speakers enter blackout ahead of next week’s FOMC. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,567.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 466.39 MXAP down 0.9% to 189.95 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 617.01 Nikkei down 0.4% to 27,927.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,947.54 Hang Seng Index down 1.8% to 23,349.38 Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,589.31 Sensex down 1.5% to 56,835.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,245.07 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,973.25 Brent Futures up 2.9% to $71.89/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,780.09 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 96.26 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1290 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Speculators were caught offside in both bonds and stocks last week, increasing their bets against U.S. Treasuries and buying more equity exposure right before a bout of volatility caused the exact opposite moves Inflation pressure in Europe is still likely to be temporary, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said Monday, even if it is taking longer than expected for it to slow China Evergrande Group’s stock tumbled close to a record low amid signs a long-awaited debt restructuring may be at hand, while Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. faces a potential default this week in major tests of China’s ability to limit fallout from the embattled property sector China Evergrande Group is planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring that may rank among the nation’s biggest ever, people familiar with the matter said China tech shares tumbled on Monday, with a key gauge closing at its lowest level since launch last year as concerns mount over how much more pain Beijing is willing to inflict on the sector The U.S. is poised to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, CNN reported, a move that would create a new point of contention between the world’s two largest economies SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbruegg to retire at the end of July 2022, according to statement Bitcoin has markedly underperformed rivals like Ether with its weekend drop, which may underscore its increased connection with macro developments Austrians who reject mandatory coronavirus vaccinations face 600-euro ($677) fines, according to a draft law seen by the Kurier newspaper Some Riksbank board members expressed different nuances regarding the asset holdings and considered that it might become appropriate for the purchases to be tapered further next year,  the Swedish central bank says in minutes from its Nov. 24 meeting A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities began the week cautiously following last Friday's negative performance stateside whereby the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq closed lower by around 2% apiece, whilst the S&P 500 and Dow Jones saw shallower losses. The Asia-Pac region was also kept tentative amid China developer default concerns and conflicting views regarding speculation of a looming RRR cut by China's PBoC. The ASX 200 (+0.1%) was initially dragged lower by a resumption of the underperformance in the tech sector, and with several stocks pressured by the announcement of their removal from the local benchmark, although losses for the index were later reversed amid optimism after Queensland brought forward the easing of state border restrictions, alongside the resilience in the defensive sectors. The Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) suffered from the currency inflows late last week but finished off worse levels. The Hang Seng (-1.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) were mixed with Hong Kong weighed by heavy tech selling and as default concerns added to the headwinds after Sunshine 100 Holdings defaulted on a USD 170mln bond payment, whilst Evergrande shares slumped in early trade after it received a demand for payments but noted there was no guarantee it will have the sufficient funds and with the grace period for two offshore bond payments set to expire today. Conversely, mainland China was kept afloat by hopes of a looming RRR cut after comments from Chinese Premier Li that China will cut RRR in a timely manner and a brokerage suggested this could occur before year-end. However, other reports noted the recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean a policy change and that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic which could lead to misunderstandings. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady after having marginally extended above 152.00 and with prices helped by the lacklustre mood in Japanese stocks, while price action was tame amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today and attention was also on the Chinese 10yr yield which declined by more than 5bps amid speculation of a potentially looming RRR cut. Top Asian News SoftBank Slumps 9% Monday After Week of Bad Portfolio News Alibaba Shares Rise Premarket After Rout, Leadership Changes China PBOC Repeats Prudent Policy Stance With RRR Cut China Cuts Reserve Requirement Ratio as Economy Slows Bourses in Europe kicked off the new trading week higher across the board but have since drifted lower (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a somewhat mixed lead from APAC. Sentiment across markets saw a fleeting boost after the Asia close as China’s central bank opted to cut the RRR by 50bps, as touted overnight and in turn releasing some CNY 1.2tln in liquidity. This saw US equity futures ticking to marginal fresh session highs, whilst the breakdown sees the RTY (+0.6%) outpacing vs the ES (Unch), YM (+0.3%) and NQ (-0.6%), with the US benchmarks eyeing this week’s US CPI as Fed speakers observe the blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC policy decision – where policymakers are expected to discuss a quickening of the pace of QE taper. From a technical standpoint, the ESz1 and NQz1 see their 50 DMAs around 4,540 and 16,626 respectively. Back to trade, Euro-indices are off best levels with a broad-based performance. UK’s FTSE 100 (+0.8%) received a boost from base metals gaining impetus on the PBoC RRR cut, with the UK index now the outperformer, whilst gains in Oil & Gas and Banks provide further tailwinds. Sectors initially started with a clear cyclical bias but have since seen a reconfiguration whereby the defensives have made their way up the ranks. The aforementioned Oil & Gas, Banks and Basic Resources are currently the winners amid upward action in crude, yields and base metals respectively. Food & Beverages and Telecoms kicked off the session at the bottom of the bunch but now reside closer to the middle of the table. The downside meanwhile sees Travel & Tech – two sectors which were at the top of the leaderboard at the cash open – with the latter seeing more noise surrounding valuations and the former initially unreactive to UK tightening measures for those travelling into the UK. In terms of individual movers, AstraZeneca (+0.7%) is reportedly studying the listing of its new vaccine division. BT (+1.2%) holds onto gains as Discovery is reportedly in discussions regarding a partnership with BT Sport and is offering to create a JV, according to sources. Taylor Wimpey (Unch) gave up opening gains seen in wake of speculation regarding Elliott Management purchasing a small stake. Top European News Johnson Says U.K. Awaiting Advice on Omicron Risks Before Review Scholz Names Harvard Medical Expert to Oversee Pandemic Policy EU Inflation Still Seen as Temporary, Eurogroup’s Donohoe Says Saudi Crown Prince Starts Gulf Tour as Rivalries Melt Away In FX, the Buck has settled down somewhat after Friday’s relatively frenetic session when price action and market moves were hectic on the back of a rather mixed BLS report and stream of Omicron headlines, with the index holding a tight line above 96.000 ahead of a blank US agenda. The Greenback is gleaning some traction from the firmer tone in yields, especially at the front end of the curve, while also outperforming safer havens and funding currencies amidst a broad upturn in risk sentiment due to perceivably less worrying pandemic assessments of late and underpinned by the PBoC cutting 50 bp off its RRR, as widely touted and flagged by Chinese Premier Li, with effect from December 15 - see 9.00GMT post on the Headline Feed for details, analysis and the initial reaction. Back to the Dollar and index, high betas and cyclicals within the basket are doing better as the latter meanders between 96.137-379 and well inside its wide 95.944-96.451 pre-weekend extremes. AUD/GBP/CAD/NZD - A technical correction and better news on the home front regarding COVID-19 after Queensland announced an earlier date to ease border restrictions, combined to give the Aussie a lift, but Aud/Usd is tightening its grip on the 0.7000 handle with the aid of the PBoC’s timely and targeted easing in the run up to the RBA policy meeting tomorrow. Similarly, the Pound appears to have gleaned encouragement from retaining 1.3200+ status and fending off offers into 0.8550 vs the Euro rather than deriving impetus via a rise in the UK construction PMI, while the Loonie is retesting resistance around 1.2800 against the backdrop of recovering crude prices and eyeing the BoC on Wednesday to see if guidance turns more hawkish following a stellar Canadian LFS. Back down under, the Kiwi is straddling 0.6750 and 1.0400 against its Antipodean peer in wake of a pick up in ANZ’s commodity price index. CHF/JPY/EUR - Still no sign of SNB action, but the Franc has fallen anyway back below 0.9200 vs the Buck and under 1.0400 against the Euro, while the Yen is under 113.00 again and approaching 128.00 respectively, as the single currency continues to show resilience either side of 1.1300 vs its US counterpart and a Fib retracement level at 1.1290 irrespective of more poor data from Germany and a deterioration in the Eurozone Sentix index, but increases in the construction PMIs. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned revival in risk appetite, albeit fading, rather than Riksbank minutes highlighting diverse opinion, is boosting the Sek, and the Nok is also drawing some comfort from Brent arresting its decline ahead of Usd 70/brl, but the Cnh and Cny have been capped just over 6.3700 by the PBoC’s RRR reduction and ongoing default risk in China’s property sector. Elsewhere, the Try remains under pressure irrespective of Turkey’s Foreign Minister noting that domestic exports are rising and the economy is growing significantly, via Al Jazeera or claiming that the Lira is exposed to high inflation to a degree, but this is a temporary problem, while the Rub is treading cautiously before Russian President Putin and US President Biden make a video call on Tuesday at 15.00GMT. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are firmer on the day with the complex underpinned by Saudi Aramco upping its official selling prices (OSPs) to Asian and US customers, coupled with the lack of progress on the Iranian nuclear front. To elaborate on the former; Saudi Arabia set January Arab light crude oil OSP to Asia at Oman/Dubai average +USD 3.30/bbl which is an increase from this month’s premium of USD 2.70/bbl, while it set light crude OSP to North-West Europe at ICE Brent USD -1.30/bbl vs. this month’s discount of USD 0.30/bbl and set light crude OSP to the US at ASCI +USD 2.15/bbl vs this month’s premium of USD 1.75/bbl. Iranian nuclear talks meanwhile are reportedly set to resume over the coming weekend following deliberations, although the likelihood of a swift deal at this point in time seems minuscule. A modest and fleeting boost was offered to the complex by the PBoC cutting RRR in a bid to spur the economy. WTI Jan resides on either side of USD 68/bbl (vs low USD 66.72/bbl) whilst Brent Feb trades around USD 71.50/bbl (vs low 70.24/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways with the cluster of DMAs capping gains – the 50, 200 and 100 DMAs for spot reside at USD 1,792/oz, USD 1,791.50/oz and USD 1,790/oz respectively. Base metals also saw a mild boost from the PBoC announcement – LME copper tested USD 9,500/t to the upside before waning off best levels. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’re really at a fascinating crossroads in markets at the moment. The market sentiment on the virus and the policymakers at the Fed are moving in opposite directions. The greatest impact of this last week was a dramatic 21.1bps flattening of the US 2s10s curve, split almost evenly between 2yr yields rising and 10yrs yields falling. As it stands, the Fed are increasingly likely to accelerate their taper next week with a market that is worried that it’s a policy error. I don’t think it is as I think the Fed is way behind the curve. However I appreciate that until we have more certainly on Omicron then it’s going to be tough to disprove the policy error thesis. The data so far on Omicron can be fitted to either a pessimistic or optimistic view. On the former, it seems to be capable of spreading fast and reinfecting numerous people who have already had covid. Younger people are also seeing a higher proportion of admissions which could be worrying around the world given lower vaccinations levels in this cohort. On the other hand, there is some evidence in South Africa that ICU usage is lower relative to previous waves at the same stage and that those in hospital are largely unvaccinated and again with some evidence that they are requiring less oxygen than in previous waves. It really does feel like Omicron could still go both ways. It seems that it could be both more transmittable but also less severe. How that impacts the world depends on the degree of both. It could be bad news but it could also actually accelerate the end of the pandemic which would be very good news. Lots of people more qualified than me to opine on this aren’t sure yet so we will have to wait for more news and data. I lean on the optimistic side here but that’s an armchair epidemiologist’s view. Anthony Fauci (chief medical advisor to Mr Biden) said to CNN last night that, “We really gotta be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn’t clause any severe illness comparable to Delta, but this far the signals are a bit encouraging….. It does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.” Anyway, the new variant has taken a hold of the back end of the curve these past 10 days. Meanwhile the front end is taking its guidance from inflation and the Fed. On cue, could this Friday see the first 7% US CPI print since 1982? With DB’s forecasts at 6.9% for the headline (+5.1% for core) we could get close to breaking such a landmark level. With the Fed on their media blackout period now, this is and Omicron are the last hurdles to cross before the FOMC conclusion on the 15th December where DB expect them to accelerate the taper and head for a March end. While higher energy prices are going to be a big issue this month, the recent falls in the price of oil may provide some hope on the inflation side for later in 2022. However primary rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER), which is 40% of core CPI, is starting to turn and our models have long suggested a move above 4.5% in H1 2022. In fact if we shift-F9 the model for the most recent points we’re looking like heading towards a contribution of 5.5% now given the signals from the lead indicators. So even as YoY energy prices ease and maybe covid supply issues slowly fade, we still think inflation will stay elevated for some time. As such it was a long overdue move to retire the word transitory last week from the Fed’s lexicon. Another of our favourite measures to show that the Fed is way behind the curve at the moment is the quits rate that will be contained within Wednesday’s October JOLTS report. We think the labour market is very strong in the US at the moment with the monthly employment report lagging that strength. Having said that the latest report on Friday was reasonably strong behind the headline payroll disappointment. We’ll review that later. The rest of the week ahead is published in the day by day calendar at the end but the other key events are the RBA (Tuesday) and BoC (Wednesday) after the big market disruptions post their previous meetings, Chinese CPI and PPI (Thursday), final German CPI (Friday) and the US UoM consumer confidence (Friday). Also look out for Congressional newsflow on how the year-end debt ceiling issue will get resolved and also on any progress in the Senate on the “build back better” bill which they want to get through before year-end. Mr Manchin remains the main powerbroker. In terms of Asia as we start the week, stocks are trading mixed with the CSI (+0.62%), Shanghai Composite (+0.37%) and KOSPI (+0.11%) trading higher while the Nikkei (-0.50%) and Hang Seng (-0.91%) are lower. Chinese stock indices are climbing after optimism over a RRR rate cut after Premier Li Kequiang's comments last week that it could be cut in a timely manner to support the economy. In Japan SoftBank shares fell -9% and for a sixth straight day amid the Didi delisting and after the US FTC moved to block a key sale of a company in its portfolio. Elsewhere futures are pointing a positive opening in US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.46%) and DAX (+1.00%) futures both trading well in the green. 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.+4.2bps with 2yrs +2.6bps. Oil is also up c.2.2% Over the weekend Bitcoin fell around 20% from Friday night into Saturday. It’s rallied back a reasonable amount since (from $42,296 at the lows) and now stands at $48,981, all after being nearly $68,000 a month ago. Turning back to last week now, and the virus and hawkish Fed communications were the major themes. Despite so many unknowns (or perhaps because of it) markets were very responsive to each incremental Omicron headline last week, which drove equity volatility to around the highest levels of the year. The VIX closed the week at 30.7, shy of the year-to-date high of 37.21 reached in January and closed above 25 for 5 of the last 6 days. The S&P 500 declined -1.22% over the week (-0.84% Friday). The Stoxx 600 fell a more modest -0.28% last week, -0.57% on Friday. To be honest both felt like they fell more but we had some powerful rallies in between. The Nasdaq had a poorer week though, falling -c.2.6%, after a -1.9% decline on Friday. The other main theme was the pivot in Fed communications toward tighter policy. Testifying to Congress, Fed Chair Powell made a forceful case for accelerating the central bank’s asset purchase taper program, citing persistent elevated inflation and an improving labour market, amid otherwise strong demand in the economy, clearing the way for rate hikes thereafter. Investors priced in higher probability of earlier rate hikes, but still have the first full Fed hike in July 2022. 2yr treasury yields were sharply higher (+9.1bps on week, -2.3bps Friday) while 10yr yields declined (-12.0bps on week, -9.1bps Friday) on the prospect of a hard landing incurred from quick Fed tightening as well as the gloomy Covid outlook. The yield curve flattened -21.1bps (-6.8bps Friday) to 75.6bps, the flattest it has been since December 2020, or three stimulus bills ago if you like (four if you think build back better is priced in). German and UK debt replicated the flattening, with 2yr yields increasing +1.3bps (-0.7bps Friday) in Germany, and +0.3bps (-6.7bps) in UK this week, with respective 10yr yields declining -5.3bps (-1.9bps Friday) and -7.8bps (-6.4bps Friday). On the bright side, Congress passed a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through February, buying lawmakers time to agree to appropriations for the full fiscal year, avoiding a disruptive shutdown. Positive momentum out of DC prompted investors to increase the odds the debt ceiling will be resolved without issue, as well, with yields on Treasury bills maturing in December declining a few basis points following the news. US data Friday was strong. Despite the headline payroll increase missing the mark (+210k v expectations of +550k), the underlying data painted a healthy labour market picture, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 4.2%, and participation increasing to 61.8%. Meanwhile, the ISM services index set another record high. Oil prices initially fell after OPEC unexpectedly announced they would proceed with planned production increases at their January meeting. They rose agin though before succumbing to the Omicron risk off. Futures prices ended the week down again, with Brent futures -3.67% lower (+0.55% Friday) and WTI futures -2.57% on the week (-0.15% Friday). Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 07:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump For the third day in a row, US equity futures have been weighed down by rising (real) rates even as traders moderated their expectations for monetary-policy tightening after New Zealand’s measured approach to rate hikes where the central banks hiked rates but not as much as some had expected. Traders also braced for an epic data dump in the US, which includes is an epic data dump which includes an update to Q3 GDP, advance trade balance, initial jobless claims, wholesale and retail inventories, durable goods, personal income and spending, UMich consumer sentiment, new home sales, and the FOMC Minutes The two-year U.S. yield shed two basis points. The dollar extended its rising streak against a basket of peers to a fourth day. At 730am, S&P 500 e-mini futures dropped 0.3%, just off session lows, while Nasdaq futures dropping 0.34%. In premarket trading, Nordstrom sank 27% after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. The company reported higher labor and fulfillment costs in the third quarter while sales remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels and profit missed analyst estimates. Telecom Italia SpA surged in Europe on enhanced takeover interest. Oil prices fluctuated as producers and major consuming nations headed for a confrontation. Other notable premarket movers: Gap (GPS US) sank 20% premarket after the clothing retailer reported quarterly results that missed estimates and cut its net sales forecast for the full year. Analysts lowered their price targets. Nordstrom (JWN US) tumbles 27% in premarket after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. Jefferies, meanwhile, downgrades the stock to hold from buy as transformation costs are rising. Guess (GES US) posted quarterly results which analysts say included impressive sales and margins, and showed the company navigating supply-chain issues successfully. The shares closed 9.2% higher in U.S. postmarket trading. HP (HPQ US) shares are up 8.4% in premarket after quarterly results. Analysts note strong demand and pricing in the personal computer market. Meme stocks were mixed in premarket after tumbling the most since June on Tuesday as investors bailed out of riskier assets. Anaplan (PLAN US) slides 18% in premarket as a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss wasn’t enough to stem a downward trend. Analysts slashed price targets. Autodesk (ADSK US) shares slump 14% in premarket after the building software maker narrowed its full-year outlook. Analysts are concerned that issues with supply chains and the pandemic could impact its targets for 2023. GoHealth (GOCO US) gained 8.4% in postmarket trading after the insurer’s CEO and chief strategy officer added to their holdings. As Bloomberg notes, investors are on the edge as they face a wall of worry from a resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe to signs of persistent consumer-price growth. Damping inflation is now center-stage for policy makers, with ultra-loose, pandemic-era stimulus set to be wound down. The slew of U.S. data as well as Federal Reserve minutes due today may provide the next catalysts for market moves. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index erased earlier gains of up to 0.4% to trade down -0.1%, with tech and travel and leisure leading declines. Miners gained 0.8%, tracking higher copper prices on easing concerns over Chinese demand, while travel stocks slid over 1% on prospects of harsher travel curbs: Italy and France are debating new measures to cope with Covid’s resurgence while Germany isn’t ruling out fresh curbs. Oil stocks rose 1.2%, set for their biggest jump in over a month, with crude prices inching higher as investors remained sceptical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led release of oil from strategic reserves. Here are some of the most notable European equity movers: Mulberry shares surge as much as 24%, the most since March 12, after the U.K. luxury company swung to a 1H profit from a year earlier and reported an increase in sales. Telecom Italia shares rise as much as 10% following a Bloomberg report that KKR is considering to raise its offer for the company after top investor Vivendi said the bid was too low. However, the stock is still trading below the initial non-binding offer from KKR. Golden Ocean gains as much as 9.6%, most since Feb., after earnings. DNB says “Golden Ocean delivered solid Q3 results” and adds “Furthermore, guidance for Q4 should lift consensus estimates and solidify further dividend potential in our view.” Intertek shares gain as much as 6.7%, the most since May 2020, after the company issued a trading update. UBS says the company’s accelerating momentum and reiterated targets are “reassuring.” Aegon shares rise as much as 5.5% after Credit Suisse upgraded its recommendation to outperform from neutral and raised the PT to EU5.30 from EU4.00. IQE shares slump as much as 21% for the biggest intraday drop since March 2020, falling to their lowest level since June 2020 after the semiconductor company said it sees softening demand in 4Q. Genus shares fall as much 15% after the animal genetics firm lowered its FY22 earnings guidance, leading Peel Hunt and Liberum to cut estimates. European stocks are on course for weekly losses, as the return of COVID-19 curbs, rate hike and inflation concerns sparked fears of a weaker economic growth outlook. "There's a two-way pull between macro concerns and what's happening bottoms-up in terms of corporate profits," said Nick Nelson, head of European equity strategy at UBS, adding that while the third quarter has been one of the decade's best reporting seasons for Europe, macro concerns such as a rise in U.S. bond yields and COVID-19 cases have been holding stocks back. Earlier in the session, Asian equities declined, on track for a third-straight session of losses, as higher U.S. Treasury yields continued to weigh on technology stocks in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6%, with Japan stocks leading losses as traders returned from a holiday to access the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary policy to curb inflation. TSMC and Tencent were among the biggest drags on the regional gauge. READ: Samsung Plans $17 Billion Texas Chip Plant, Creating 2,000 Jobs The renomination of Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair earlier this week has sent U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to about levels near 1.65%, implying higher borrowing costs. That’s adding to concerns about weak earnings growth in Asia as well as ongoing supply-chain constraints. Investors will now turn their attention to U.S. gross domestic product data and FOMC minutes due out after Asian markets close Wednesday.  “A cautious tone may still seem to prevail for now,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia, said in a note. “Markets continue to shift their expectations towards a tighter Fed monetary policy.” New Zealand’s stock gauge added 0.6% after the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points, less than the 50 points that some economists had predicted. Singapore authorities, meanwhile, expect gross domestic product to expand 3% to 5% next year, a slower pace than this year as the country rebounds from the pandemic. Indian stocks fell ahead of the November monthly expiry on Thursday, led by technology companies. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.6% to 58,340.99 in Mumbai to close at its lowest level in two months. The gauge gained 0.3% on Tuesday, snapping four sessions of selloff.   The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.5% on Wednesday, reversing intraday gains of as much as 0.6%. Software exporter Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both gauges and slipped more than 2%. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 21 dropped and nine rose.  Investors roll over positions ahead of the expiry of derivatives contracts on the last Thursday of every month. Fourteen of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a measure of IT companies. “The scheduled monthly expiry would keep the traders busy on Thursday,” Ajit Mishra, vice president research at Religare Broking Ltd. wrote in a note. “We suggest continuing with negative bias on the index while keeping a check on leveraged positions.” In Fx, the most notable movers was the drop in the kiwi: New Zealand’s currency ironically slid to the weakest in nearly two months and the nation’s bond rallied as the central bank’s 25 basis-point rate hike disappointed traders betting on a bigger increase. The central bank projected 2% benchmark borrowing costs by the end of 2022. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced a fourth consecutive day as the greenback gained versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, which reversed its losses after falling to the lowest since March 2017. The euro underperformed, nearing the $1.12 handle amid broad dollar strength even before data showing German business confidence took another hit in November and amid renewed fears that Germany may be considering a full lockdown and mandatory vaccines. RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr said policy makers considered a 50bps move before deciding on 25bps, and he sees the OCR climbing to around 2.5% by end-2023.  Elsewhere, Turkey’s lira stabilized after Tuesday’s plunge. MSCI’s gauge of emerging-market stocks edged lower for a sixth session.   In rates, Treasuries were richer by 1bp to 2bp across the curve, paced by European bonds ahead of a raft of U.S. data preceding Thursday’s market close. 10-year Treasury yields were richer by ~1bp on the day at around 1.655%, slightly trailing bunds; most curve spreads are within a basis point of Tuesday’s close with comparable shifts across tenors. During Asia session, Treasuries were supported by wider gains across Kiwi bonds after RBNZ hiked policy rates, but still erred on the dovish side. Bunds remain supported during European morning as haven demand stems from prospect of a nationwide German lockdown. Italian bonds snapped a two-day decline. In commodities, oil futures in New York swung between gains and losses following an announcement by the U.S. and other nations of a coordinated release of strategic reserves. Focus now turns to OPEC+ on how the group will respond to the moves. The alliance has already said that such releases were unjustified by market conditions and it may reconsider plans to add more supply at a meeting next week. Base metals are well bid with LME nickel adding over 2% to outperform peers. LME copper rises over 1% to best levels for the week. Crude futures fade a modest push higher fading after a brief push through Tuesday’s best levels. WTI trades flat, having briefly printed above $79; Brent prints highs of $83 before fading. Spot gold holds a narrow range close to $1,790/oz To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,683.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 480.66 MXAP down 0.5% to 196.76 MXAPJ down 0.1% to 643.18 Nikkei down 1.6% to 29,302.66 Topix down 1.2% to 2,019.12 Hang Seng Index up 0.1% to 24,685.50 Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,592.70 Sensex down 0.3% to 58,499.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,399.44 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,994.29 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $82.63/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,791.37 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.57 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.22% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1231 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Olaf Scholz is set to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor after forging an unprecedented alliance that aims to revamp Europe’s largest economy by tackling climate change and promoting digital technologies The European Commission is set to announce the recommendations for the entire EU as soon as Thursday, Politico’s Playbook newsletter reported, citing three unidentified officials and diplomats Italy’s government is debating tough new measures to stem an increase in coronavirus cases, which could include restrictions on unvaccinated people and be approved as soon as Wednesday The ECB’s pandemic purchasing program may enter a “waiting room” rather than be abolished completely once net purchases are set to end in March, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said at briefing in Vienna The U.K.’s biggest business lobby group has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to back down in its dispute with the European Union over Northern Ireland and not follow through with threats to suspend parts of the Brexit divorce deal Polish central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said further weakening of the zloty wouldn’t be consistent with the country’s economic fundamentals, helping lift the embattled currency from 12-year lows The supply crunch that’s helped drive inflation to multi- decade highs shows some signs of easing in the U.S. -- but it’s still getting worse in Europe. That’s the takeaway from the latest readings on Bloomberg Economics’ new set of supply indicators The unraveling of the Turkish lira threatens to erode Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grasp on the economy and is already emboldening his political opponents. Small protests erupted in Istanbul and Ankara overnight, calling for an end to economic mismanagement that’s unleashed rapid inflation and triggered the currency’s longest losing streak in two decades A more detailed breakdown of global news courtesy of newsquawk Asia-Pac equity indices were mixed following the choppy performance of their US counterparts where energy rallied despite the SPR announcement and tech lagged as yields continued to gain, with the latest RBNZ rate hike, as well as looming FOMC Minutes and US data releases adding to the tentative mood. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was rangebound with the index subdued by losses in tech and gold miners which suffered from the rising yield environment, but with downside cushioned by strength in the largest weighted financials sector and with outperformance in energy after oil prices rallied in the aftermath of the widely anticipated SPR announcement. The strength in oil was attributed to several reasons including a “sell the rumour/buy the news” play and expectations of a response from OPEC+, while an administration official kept the prospect of an oil export ban on the table which is seen as bullish as it would remove US supply from the global market. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was the laggard on return from holiday amid flows into the local currency and with reports also suggesting the BoJ is considering tweaking its pandemic relief program. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) swung between gains and losses with early indecision due to the broad tech weakness tech which was not helped by reports that Chinese cyberspace regulators and police summoned Alibaba (9988 HK) and Baidu’s (9888 HK) cloud unit for telecoms network fraud, although the losses for Chinese bourses were eventually reversed amid gains in the energy heavyweights and after a mild PBoC liquidity injection. Finally, 10yr JGBs opened lower on spillover selling from global peers but gradually pared some of the losses after rebounding from support at 151.50 and with the BoJ in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Shinsei Drops Poison Pill Against SBI in Japan Takeover Saga Morgan Stanley to Repay Hong Kong Staff $5,100 for Quarantine KKR, Equinix Among Suitors for $11 Billion Global Switch Japan to Issue $192 Billion in Debt for Stimulus: Nikkei European equities attempted to claw back some of the week’s losses (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; Stoxx 600 -0.2%) at the open with Monday and Tuesday’s session dominated by ongoing COVID angst in the region. Lockdown measures were enough to see investors shrug off yesterday’s better-than-expected PMI metrics for the Eurozone with today’s slightly softer than hoped for German Ifo report having little sway on price action. Despite the upside seen at the open, optimism has faded throughout the session as speculation mounts over whether the announcement of the German coalition deal (set to be unveiled at 14:00GMT) could prompt further lockdown measures for the nation. Furthermore, reports note that the Italian government is debating potential restrictions on the unvaccinated; measures could be approved as soon as today. On a more positive footing French Finance Minister Le Maire says at the moment he does not see any need for further COVID-related restrictions in France. However, it remains to be seen how long this viewpoint can be sustained. Stateside, futures are a touch softer with losses across the majors of a relatively equal magnitude (ES -0.1%) in the final full session of the week ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Given the shortened week, today sees a deluge of data from the US with releases including key personal income, spending and PCE data for October, a second look at Q3 GDP, final Michigan consumer sentiment data, as well as weekly jobless claims and energy inventory data. All of which is followed by the FOMC minutes from the November meeting. In a recent note, BNP Paribas stated it is of the view that equities will go on to provide the highest returns across asset classes in 2022 with the French bank targeting 5100 (currently 4690) for the S&P 500 by the end of next year. From a European perspective, BNP expects the Euro Stoxx 50 to close 2022 out at 4500 (currently 4300) with the market “too pessimistic” on margins; albeit the Bank concedes that the resurgence of COVID presents a risk to its view. Sectors in Europe are mostly constructive with Oil & Gas and Basic Resources underpinned by gains in the underlying commodities with the former continuing to garner support post-yesterday’s SPR announcement. The Travel & Leisure sector lags peers with the Travel element of the group hampered by reports that the European Commission is preparing new COVID travel recommendations for the whole of the EU. For Leisure names, Entain (-5.0%) and Flutter Entertainment (-3.0%) have been hit by news that over 160 UK MPs and peers are said to be demanding that online gambling limits are lowered. Finally, Telecom Italia (+9.7%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 after source reports suggesting that KKR is considering a higher bid for the Co. in an attempt to win over support from Vivendi.   Top European News Scholz Seals Coalition Deal to Become Next German Chancellor Italy Readies Curbs on the Unvaccinated as Covid Cases Rise Booking Agrees to Buy CVC’s Etraveli for About EU1.63b Orange CEO Convicted in $453 Million Arbitration Fraud Case In FX, the Dollar index has gained traction and continued its gains above 96.500+ status in early European hours before eclipsing resistance at 96.700 to a fresh YTD peak at 96.758, with US players also preparing to wind down for the long weekend. Before that, the Buck will be facing a plethora of Tier 1 US data, including Prelim GDP (Q3), weekly Jobless Claims, and monthly PCE in the run-up to the FOMC Minutes – which will be eyed for clues on what could warrant an adjustment of the pace of tapering (Full preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). On the downside, immediate support will likely be at yesterday’s 96.308 low before this week’s current 96.035 trough. In terms of early month-end FX flows (on account of the holiday-shortened week), Morgan Stanley’s model points towards USD weakness against most G10 peers. EUR, GBP - The single currency dipped a 16-month low just before the release of the German Ifo survey, which unsurprisingly voiced cautiousness against the backdrop of COVID and supply chain issues – with Ifo forecasting a growth stagnation this current quarter, whilst ING believe that today’s Ifo signals that “The risk of stagnation or even recession in the German economy at the turn of the year has clearly increased.” The currency came under further pressure in what coincided with reports that Germany is mulling a full COVID lockdown and mandatory vaccinations, although the piece failed to cite any sources nor officials and seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent remarks from the German Health Minister. EUR/USD fell through pivotal support at 1.1210 to a current low at 1.1206 ahead of 1.1200. Traders should also be cognizant of several chunky OpEx clips including EUR 1.3bln between 1.1195-1.1200. Ahead, the SPD, Greens and FDP set to unveil their coalition deal at 14:00GMT. ECB speak today include from the likes Schnabel after Panetta and Holzmann failed to spur action across EU assets. Elsewhere, the GBP/USD is flat intraday and saw little reaction to BoE Governor Bailey yesterday, suggesting he does not think the MPC will go back to a hard form of guidance and stated that it is not off the table that they give no guidance at all on rates. Bailey also stated that decisions are made meeting by meeting and that they have a very tight labour market. From a political standpoint, European Commission VP Sefcovic said EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland trade rules will probably drag into 2022. Cable remains within a 1.3353-89 range whilst EUR/GBP trades on either side of 0.8400. Looking ahead, BoE’s Tenreyro speaking at the Oxford Economics Society – with early-Nov commentary from the MPC member suggesting that monetary policy will have to bite if there are signs of second-round inflation effects, but policy cannot fix energy price spikes. NZD, AUD - The Kiwi stands as the G10 laggard following a dovish 25bps hike by the RBNZ, with the board citing optionality. Desks suggest that FX was clearly gearing for a hawkish surprise from the central bank, with markets pricing some 35% of a 50bps hike heading into the meeting given the inflation survey earlier this month. Money markets were also disappointed, with participants flagging that the 2yr swap fell over 15bps despite the RBNZ upping its 2023 OCR forecast to 2.3% (prev. 1.7%). NZD/USD fell further beneath the 0.7000 mark to a current 0.6957 low. AUD meanwhile sees its losses cushioned from another day of firm gains in iron ore, whilst cross-currency flows help the AUD/NZD test 1.0450 to the upside. Nonetheless, the cautious market mood keeps AUD/USD around the flat mark after the pair found support at 0.7200. JPY - The traditional haven outperforms as risk aversion creeps into the market. USD/JPY pivots the 115.00 market after hitting an overnight high of 115.23. Some desks suggest that offers are seen from 115.30 on Wednesday, with more around the 115.50 area, according to IFR citing Tokyo sources. In terms of notable OpEx, USD/JPY sees USD 1.7bln between 115.00-10. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan futures consolidate following yesterday’s gains post-SPR announcement. The release disappointed the oil bears given the widely telegraphed nature of the announcement coupled with relatively small contributions from members. Desks have also highlighted that the reserves will need to be replenished at some time in the future, and thus, analysts have passed the effects from the SPR release as temporary; although, cautioning that if the desired impact is not achieved, then further action can be taken – with a temporary export ban still on the table. Meanwhile, on the demand side, futures dipped after CNBC reported that Germany could head into a full lockdown, but the piece did not make a mention of officials nor sources but seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent comments from the Germany Health Minister, with an announcement on this matter potentially to come today. Further, tomorrow could see revised travel guidance for the whole of the EU, according to Politico sources, although "The biggest overall change will be a move away from a country-based approach and to a person-based one, which takes into account a citizen’s individual COVID status." Despite this month’s European COVID developments, JPMorgan sees global oil demand growing by another 3.5mln BPD next year to reach 99.8mln BPD (280k BPD above 2019 level); 2023 demand is expected to average around 101.5mln BPD (1.9mln BPD above pre-COVID levels) and suggested that global oil demand is on track to exceed 2019 levels by March 2022 and strengthen further. As a reminder, next week also sees the OPEC+ meeting whereby the group is expected to continue with plans of monthly output increases of 400k BPD, with a risk of a more dovish decision and/or commentary. WTI Jan trades around USD 78.50/bbl (vs high 79.23/bbl) and Brent Jan around USD 82.25/bbl (vs high 83.00/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold is interestingly unfazed by the rampant Dollar as prices remain caged within a cluster of DMAs (100 around 1,793, 200 around 1,791 and 50 around 1,788). Copper prices are again on the grind higher with LME around USD 9,800/t at the time of writing – with participants citing underlying demand, particularly from China. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 3Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 2.2%, prior 2.0% 8:30am: 3Q GDP Price Index, est. 5.7%, prior 5.7% 8:30am: 3Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 4.5%, prior 4.5% 8:30am: 3Q Personal Consumption, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6% 8:30am: Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.2%, prior -0.3% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8%; - Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.3%, prior -0.2%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. - $95b, prior -$96.3b 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 260,000, prior 268,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.03m, prior 2.08m 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 50.7 10am: Oct. Personal Income, est. 0.2%, prior -1.0%; 10am: Oct. Personal Spending, est. 1.0%, prior 0.6% 10am: Oct. Real Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. New Home Sales, est. 800,000, prior 800,000 10am: Oct. New Home Sales MoM, est. 0%, prior 14.0% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.2% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 5.1%, prior 4.4% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.1%, prior 3.6% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 67.0, prior 66.8 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, prior 4.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, prior 73.2 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Expectations, prior 62.8 2pm: Nov. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’ve had a number of requests to bring back our Covid tables in the EMR. At the moment I’m resisting as they take a considerable amount of time. While we work out an efficient form of articulating the current wave on a daily basis, in today’s EMR we show graphs of the daily rolling 7-day cases and fatalities per million in the population for the G7. We’ve also included Austria, given how topical that is, and also The Netherlands, given mounting problems there. These act as a useful reference point for some of the more stressed countries. The cases chart should be in the text below and the fatalities one visible when you click “view report”. Germany is probably the main one to watch in the G7 at the moment and overnight reported 66,884 new cases (a record) compared with 45,362 the day before. A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. As we hit Thanksgiving Eve and a US data dump of a day given the holiday tomorrow, the big story over the last 2-3 business days has been real rates in the US. As recently as Friday, after the Austria lockdown news, 10yr real rates hit -1.2%. Yesterday they traded above -0.95% before closing at -0.97%, +4.0bps higher than the previous close. Our view in the 2022 credit strategy document is that credit is more tied to real rates than nominal rates and if the market attacks the Fed as we expect, then they should go up. However, note that I’ve also said I suspect they’ll stay negative for the rest of my career so while higher real yields are likely, I suspect that this is a trade rather than a structural long-term journey given likely long-term financial repression. Anyway, rising real yields, a fresh covid wave and belief over a less dovish Fed post the Powell reappointment saw a tough day for equities, especially in Europe, before the US managed to eke out a gain into the close. The S&P 500 (+0.17%) was up for the first time in 3 days, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 (-1.28%) posted its worst daily performance in nearly 2 months. On a sector level, it was the same story in the US, where energy (+3.04%) shares benefitted from climbing oil prices and financials (+1.55%) gained on steeper and higher yields. Larger tech firms retreated on the higher discount rates, with the Nasdaq declining -0.50%. Meanwhile the VIX index of volatility was back above the 20-mark for the first time in over a month, coinciding with a broader tightening of financial conditions. However, we dipped back below 20 into the stronger close. Honing in on bonds now and there was a major selloff yesterday that hit a number of European countries in particular. By the close of trade, yields on 10yr bunds were up +8.1bps, which is their single-biggest daily increase in over a year, actually since the day we found out that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had proven successful in trials and was set to be rolled out. The move came about entirely due to higher real rates, with Germany 10yr inflation breakevens actually down -2.0bps on the day. Similar moves were seen elsewhere on the continent, with yields on 10yr OATs (+8.6bps) and BTPs (+10.5bps) seeing sharp rises of their own, which occurred in part on the back of stronger than expected flash PMI data raising the prospect of a quicker drawdown in monetary stimulus, not least with inflation still running some way ahead of the ECB’s target. For US Treasuries, yields were a touch more subdued, and the yield curve twist steepened. 2yr yields declined -1.8bp whilst every other maturity increased, and all tenors out to 7 years are at post-pandemic highs. The 5yr nominal yield increased +2.2bps to 1.34%. The 10yr was up +4.1bps to 1.67% due, as we discussed above, to real yields. 10yr breakevens were flat (+0.2bp) at 2.63%. The 10 year is 7.5bps off of 2021 closing highs and in the 430 plus business days since the pandemic started there have only been 14 days with a higher close than last nights. Elsewhere yesterday, we had an important piece of news on the energy front, as the US announced that it would be releasing 50m barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the move occurring alongside similar decisions in China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK. 32m of those 50m will be an exchange, whereby oil is released over the next few months that is then returned over the coming years, while another 18m are coming from an acceleration of an oil sale that Congress had already authorised. Oil prices rose following the release however, with Brent crude (+3.27%) and WTI (+2.28%) both seeing decent advances, in part because the contribution from other nations was smaller than many had anticipated, but also because the potential release from the SPR had been widely reported in advance, thus sending prices lower from their peak around a month ago. Even with the news, there’s no sign that inflationary pressures will be going away just yet, since much of what happens next will depend on the reaction of the OPEC+ group. If they move to cancel plans to increase production, then that could put upward pressure on prices again and help counter the impact of the move from the various energy consumers. And as we’ve been discussing, inflationary pressures have been widening for some time now, stretching beyond specific categories like energy and used cars to an array of other areas. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly in the red with the CSI (-0.03%), Hang Seng (-0.06%), Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), KOSPI (-0.48%) and the Nikkei (-1.35%) all lower. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised interest rates for the second consecutive month and lifted the official cash rate 25bps to 0.75%. There was some who expected 50bps so bonds are rallying with 2yr and 10yrs -5.5bps and -7.5bps lower, respectively. The central bank were pretty hawkish in their comments though. US Treasuries are 2-4bps lower across the curve overnight as well. Staying on New Zealand, the country eased its travel restrictions by allowing fully vaccinated travellers (and other eligible travellers) from Australia without any isolation from Jan 17 and those from the rest of the world from February 14. Elsewhere, South Korea reported its highest ever daily new cases of 4,115 with 586 critical cases with the PM announcing the situation is "more serious than expected". Futures are indicating a slightly weaker start in the US and Europe with the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and DAX (-0.09%) lower. Over in Europe, there’s no sign of the pandemic letting up just yet, with French health minister Veran saying in parliament that “we are sadly well and truly in a fifth wave of the epidemic” as France announced 30,454 new cases yesterday. Austria has been the main country in the headlines recently as it moved into a nationwide lockdown, but the reality is that the trend lines have been moving higher across the continent, raising the prospect of fresh restrictions. In terms of yesterday’s developments, the Netherlands announced that social distancing would be reintroduced on a mandatory basis, and that people should stay 1.5m apart, and Poland saw the biggest daily increase in hospitalisations since April. Elsewhere, Slovakia’s PM said that he was considering following the steps adopted in Austria, and the outgoing Czech PM said that mandatory vaccines for the over-60s were being considered. In spite of the growing Covid wave across Europe, the flash PMIs released yesterday actually proved better than the consensus was expecting, and even saw something of an uptick from the October readings. The Euro Area composite PMI ended a run of 3 successive declines as it rose to 55.8 (vs. 53.0 expected), with both manufacturing (58.6) and services (56.6) rising relative to a month ago. And both the German (52.8) and the French (56.3) composite PMIs were also better than expected. On the other hand, the US had somewhat underwhelming readings, with the flash services PMI down to 57.0 (vs. 59.0 expected), as the composite PMI fell to 56.5. To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes US equity futures continued their selloff for the second day as Treasury yields spiked to 1.66%, up almost 4bps on the day, and as the selloff in tech shares spread as traders trimmed bets for a dovish-for-longer Federal Reserve after the renomination of Jerome Powell as its chair. At 8:00am ET, S&P futures were down 2.75 points or -0.05%, with Dow futures flat and Nasdaq futures extended their selloff but were off worst levels, down 41.25 points or 0.25%, after Monday’s last-hour furious rout in technology stocks. As repeatedly covered here in recent weeks, the Turkish currency crisis deepened with the lira weakening past 13 per USD, a drop of more than 10% in one day.  Oil rebounded - as expected - after a panicking Joe Biden, terrified about what soaring gas prices mean for Dems midterm changes, announced that the US, together with several other countries such as China, India and Japan, would tap up to 50 million barrels in strategic reserves, a move which was fully priced in and will now serve to bottom tick the price of oil. In premarket trading, Zoom lost 9% in premarket trading on slowing growth. For some unknown reason, investors have been reducing expectations for a deeper dovish stance by the Fed after Powell was selected for a second term (as if Powell - the man who started purchases of corporate bonds - is somehow hawkish). The chair himself sought to strike a balance in his policy approach saying the central bank would use tools at its disposal to support the economy as well as to prevent inflation from becoming entrenched. “While investors no longer have to wonder about who will be leading the Federal Reserve for the next few years, the next big dilemma the central bank faces is how to normalize monetary policy without upsetting markets,” wrote Robert Schein, chief investment officer at Blanke Schein Wealth Management. Following Powell’s renomination, “the market has unwound hedges against a more ‘dovish’ personnel shift,” Chris Weston, head of research with Pepperstone Financial Pty Ltd., wrote in a note. Not helping was Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic who said Monday that the Fed may need to speed up the removal of monetary stimulus and allow for an earlier-than-planned increase in interest rates European stocks dropped with market focusing on potential Covid lockdowns and policy tightening over solid PMI data. Euro Stoxx 50 shed as much as 1.7% with tech, financial services and industrial names the hardest hit. Better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. As Goldman notes, the Euro area composite flash PMI increased by 1.6pt to 55.8 in November — strongly ahead of consensus expectations — in a first gain since the post-July moderation. The area-wide gain was broad-based across countries, and sectors. Supply-side issues continued to be widely reported, with input and output price pressures climbing to all-time highs. In the UK, the November flash composite PMI came in broadly as expected, and while input costs rose to a new all-time high, pass-through into output prices appears lower than usual. Forward-looking expectations remain comfortably above historical averages across Europe, although today's data are unlikely to fully reflect the covid containment measures taken in a number of European countries over recent days. Key numbers (the responses were collected between 10 and 19 November (except in the UK, where the survey response window spanned 12-19 November). Euro Area Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 55.8, GS 53.6, consensus 53.0, last 54.2. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (Nov, Flash): 58.6, GS 57.7, consensus 57.4, last 58.3. Euro Area Services PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.6, GS 53.9, consensus 53.5, last 54.6. Germany Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 52.8, GS 52.1, consensus 51.0, last 52.0. France Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.3, GS 54.4, consensus 53.9, last 54.7. UK Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 57.7, GS 57.7, consensus 57.5, last 57.8. And visually: Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell toward a three-week low as Jerome Powell’s renomination to head the Federal Reserve boosted U.S. yields, putting downward pressure on the region’s technology shares. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.5%, as the reappointment sent Treasury yields higher and buoyed the dollar amid concerns monetary stimulus will be withdrawn faster. Consumer discretionary and communication shares were the biggest drags on Asia’s benchmark, with Tencent and Alibaba slipping on worries over tighter regulations in China. “Powell’s renomination was generally expected by the market,” said Chetan Seth, an Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Nomura. The market’s reaction may be short-lived as traders turn their attention to the Fed’s meeting in December and Covid’s resurgence in Europe, he added. Asia shares have struggled to break higher as the jump in yields weighed on sentiment already damped by a lackluster earnings season and the risk of accelerating inflation. The region’s stock benchmark is down about 1% this year compared with a 16% advance in the MSCI AC World Index. Hong Kong and Taiwan were among the biggest decliners, while Australian and Indian shares bucked the downtrend, helped by miners and energy stocks. India’s benchmark stock index rose, snapping four sessions of declines, boosted by gains in Reliance Industries Ltd.   The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.3% to close at 58,664.33 in Mumbai, recovering after falling as much as 1.3% earlier in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index gained 0.5%. Of the 30 shares on the Sensex, 21 rose and 9 fell. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of metal stocks.  Reliance Industries Ltd. gained 0.9%, after dropping the most in nearly 10 months on Monday following its decision to scrap a plan to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemicals unit to Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Shares of One 97 Communications Ltd., the parent company for digital payments firm Paytm, climbed 9.9% after two days of relentless selling since its trading debut. In rates, Treasuries dropped, with the two-year rate jumping five basis points, helping to flatten the yield curve. Bunds and Treasuries bear steepened with German 10y yields ~5bps cheaper. Gilts bear flatten, cheapening 1.5bps across the short end. 10Y TSY yields rose as high as 1.67% before reversing some of the move. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier advancing to the highest level since September 2020 as markets moved to price in a full quarter-point rate hike by the June Fed meeting, with a good chance of two more by year-end; Treasury yields inched up across the curve apart from the front end. The Japanese yen briefly fell past 115 per dollar for the first time since 2017. The euro advanced after better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. Sterling declined versus the dollar and the euro; traders are taking an increasingly negative view on the pound, betting that the decline that’s already left the currency near its lowest this year has further to run New Zealand’s dollar under-performed all G-10 peers as leveraged longs backing a 50 basis-point hike from the central bank were flushed out of the market; sales were mainly seen against the greenback and Aussie. The yuan approached its strongest level against trade partners’ currencies in a sign that traders see a low likelihood of aggressive official intervention. The Turkish lira (see above) crashed to a record low on Tuesday, soaring more than 10% and just shy of 14 vs the USD, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended his pursuit of lower interest rates to boost economic growth and job creation. In commodities, crude futures rebounded sharply after Biden announced a coordinated, global SPR release which would see the US exchange up to 32mm barrels, or a negligible amount. Brent spiked back over $80 on the news after trading in the mid-$78s. Spot gold drops ~$8, pushing back below $1,800/oz. Base metals are well supported with LME nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, the main data highlight will be the flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,667.75 Brent Futures down 0.9% to $78.95/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,796.86 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 96.39     Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The volatility term structures in the major currencies show that next month’s meetings by monetary policy authorities are what matters most. Data galore out of the U.S. by Wednesday’s New York cut off means demand for one-day structures remains intact, yet it’s not enough to bring about term structure inversion as one-week implieds stay below recent cycle highs Lael Brainard, picked to be vice chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to be a critical defender of its commitment to maximum employment across demographic groups at a time when other U.S. central bankers are more worried by inflation ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel said there’s an increasing threat of inflation taking hold, as she played down the danger that resurgent coronavirus infections might impede the euro zone’s recovery Regarding latest pandemic restrictions, “when it comes to the impact, I would say that while it will surely have a moderating impact on economic activity, the impact on inflation will actually be more ambiguous because it might also reinforce some of the concerns we have around supply bottlenecks,” ECB Governing Council member Klaas Knot says in Bloomberg Television interview with Francine Lacqua European Union countries are pushing for an agreement on how long Covid-19 vaccinations protect people and how to manage booster shots as they try to counter the pandemic’s fourth wave and safeguard free travel Germany’s top health official reiterated a warning that the government can’t exclude any measures, including another lockdown, as it tries to check the latest wave of Covid-19 infections The State Council, China’s cabinet, released three documents in the past several days, outlining measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises weather the downturn: from encouraging local governments to roll out discounts for power usage to organizing internet companies to provide cloud and digital services to SMEs A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following a similar performance in the US where participants digested President Biden’s decision to nominate Fed Chair Powell for a second term and Fed’s Brainard for the Vice Chair role. This resulted in bear flattening for the US curve and underpinned the greenback, while the major indices were choppy but with late selling heading into the close in which the S&P 500 slipped beneath the 4,700 level and the Nasdaq underperformed as tech suffered the brunt of the higher yields. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was positive with sentiment encouraged after stronger PMI data and M&A developments including BHP’s signing of a binding agreement to merge its oil and gas portfolio with Woodside Petroleum to create a global top 10 independent energy company and the largest listed energy company in Australia, which spurred outperformance for the mining and energy related sectors. KOSPI (-0.5%) was lacklustre and retreated below the 3k level amid broad weakness in tech which was not helped by concerns that South Korea could take another aim at large tech through a platform bill and with the government said to be mulling strengthening social distancing measures. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) continued to diverge amid a neutral liquidity effort by the PBoC and with the Hong Kong benchmark conforming to the tech woes, while the mainland was kept afloat after the State Council pledged to strengthen assistance to smaller firms and with Global Times noting that China will likely adopt another RRR cut before year-end to cope with an economic slowdown. Finally, Japanese participants were absent from the market as they observed Labor Thanksgiving Day, while yields in Australia were higher as they tracked global counterparts and following a Treasury Indexed bond offering in the long-end. Top Asian News Tiger Global Leads $210 Million Round by India Proptech Unicorn China’s Slowdown Tests Central Bank Amid Debate Over Easing Kuaishou Defies China Crackdown as Revenue Climbs 33% Evergrande Shares Jump in Afternoon Trading as Group Units Rally Major bourses in Europe are lower across the board, but off worst levels (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.1%; Stoxx 600 -1.3%) following on from the mixed APAC performance, but with pandemic restrictions casting a shower over the region. US equity futures are mostly lower but to a lesser extent than European peers, with the YM (+0.1%) the relative outperformer vs the ES (-0.1%), NQ (-0.3%) and RTY (-0.8%). Back to Europe, the morning saw the release of Flash PMIs which failed to spur much action across market given the somewhat stale nature against the backdrop of a worsening COVID situation in Europe. Losses in the UK’s FTSE 100 (-0.1%) are more cushioned vs European counterparts, with heavyweight miners doing the heavy lifting, and as the basic resources sector outpaces and resides as the only sector in the green at the time of writing amid a surge in iron ore prices overnight. Sticking with sectors, there is no clear or overarching theme/bias. Tech resides at the foot of the pile, unaided by the intraday rise in yields. Travel and Leisure also reside towards the bottom of the bunch, but more a function of the “leisure” sub-sector as opposed to the “travel” component, with Evolution Gaming (-3.7%) and Flutter (-3.5%) on the back foot. In terms of individual movers, Thyssenkrupp (-7.0%) tumbles after the Co. announced a secondary offer by Cevian of 43mln shares. Meanwhile, Telecom Italia (-3%) is softer following yesterday’s run, whilst Vivendi (-0.5%) said the current KKR (KKR) offer does not reflect Telecom Italia's value and it has no intention of offloading its 24% stake. Top European News U.K. PMIs Show Record Inflation and ‘Green Light’ for BOE Hike Kremlin Says New U.S. Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 Are ‘Illegal’ ECB’s Knot Says New Lockdowns Won’t Delay Wind-Down of Stimulus Telefonica Drops, Berenberg Cuts on Spain Margin Problems In FX, the Buck had already eased off best levels to relieve some pressure from its rivals, but the Euro also derived encouragement from the fact that a key long term Fib held (just) at 1.1225 before getting a rather unexpected fundamental fillip in the form of stronger than forecast flash Eurozone PMIs plus hawkish-sounding comments from ECB’s Schnabel. Eur/Usd duly rebounded to 1.1275 and the Dollar index retreated to 96.308 from a fresh y-t-d peak of 96.603, while the Yen and Franc also took advantage to varying degrees against the backdrop of deteriorating risk sentiment and in thinner trading volumes for the former due to Japan’s Labor Day Thanksgiving holiday. Usd/Jpy recoiled from 115.15 to 114.49 at one stage and Usd/Chf to 0.9301 from 0.9335 before both pairs bounced with the Greenback and a rebound in US Treasury yields ahead of Markit’s preliminary PMIs and Usd 59 bn 7 year note supply. TRY - Simply no respite for the Lira via another marked pull-back in oil prices on heightened prospects of SPR taps, the aforementioned Buck breather or even a decent correction as Usd/Try extended its meteoric rise beyond 11.5000 and 12.0000 towards 12.5000 irrespective of an ally of Turkish President Erdogan urging a debate on CBRT independence. Instead, the run and capital flight continues as talks with the IMF make no progress and an EU court condemns the country for detaining 400+ judges after the coup, while the President rules out a snap election after recent calls for an earlier vote than the scheduled one in 2023 by the main opposition party. NZD/CAD/GBP/AUD - It remains to be seen whether the RBNZ maintains a 25 bp pace of OCR normalisation overnight, but weak NZ retail activity in Q3 may be a telling factor and is applying more downside pressure on the Kiwi across the board, as Nzd/Usd hovers under 0.6950 and the Aud/Nzd cross tests 1.0425 on relative Aussie strength or resilience gleaned from another spike in iron ore that is helping to keep Aud/Usd above 0.7200. Conversely, the latest downturn in crude is undermining the Loonie and the Pound hardly derived any traction from better than anticipated UK PMIs even though they should provide the BoE more justification to hike rates next month. Usd/Cad has now breached 1.2700 and only stopped a few pips short of 1.2750 before fading ahead of comments from BoC’s Beaudry, while Cable topped out just over 1.3400 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey, whilst Haskel reaffirmed his stance in the transitory inflation camp, although suggested that if the labour market remains tight the Bank Rate will have to rise. SCANDI/EM - Hardly a shock that Brent’s reversal has hit the Nok alongside broader risk-aversion that is also keeping the Sek defensive in advance of the Riksbank, but the Zar is coping well considering Gold’s loss of Usd 1800+/oz status and test of chart support at the 100 DMA only a couple of Bucks off the 200. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny are still resisting general Usd strength and other negatives, with help from China’s State Council pledging to strengthen assistance to smaller firms perhaps. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan'22 futures remain under pressure with the former back under USD 76/bbl (vs USD 76.59/bbl high) and the latter around USD 79/bbl (vs USD 79.63/bbl high). The WTI contract is also narrowly lagging Brent by some USD 0.30/bbl at the time of writing. Participants are keeping their eyes peeled for reserve releases from the US, potentially in coordination with other nations including China, Japan, and India – with inflation concerns being the common denominator. The move also comes in reaction to OPEC+ flouting calls by large oil consumers, particularly the US, to further open the taps beyond the group’s planned 400k BPD/m hikes. A source cited by Politico caveated that a final decision is yet to be made, and US officials are hoping that the threat of an SPR release would persuade OPEC+ to double their quotas at the Dec 2nd meeting. As it stands, Energy Intel journalist Bakr noted that she has not heard anything from OPEC+ officials about changing production plans, but delegates yesterday suggested that plans may be tweaked. Click here for the full Newsquawk analysis piece. Aside from this, US President Biden is also poised to give a speech on the economy, whilst the weekly Private Inventories will also be released today. Elsewhere, spot gold and have been drifting lower in what is seemingly a function of technical, with the yellow metal dipping under USD 1,800/oz from a USD 1,812/oz current high, with a cluster of DMAs present to the downside including the 100 DMA (around USD 1,793/oz), 200 DMA (around USD 1,791/oz) and 50 DMA (around USD 1,789/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper holds a positive bias with prices on either side of USD 9,750/t, whilst Dalian iron ore surged overnight - with reports suggesting that steel de-stockpiling accelerated last week, and analysts suggesting that the market is betting on steelmakers in December. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 57.6 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 59.0, prior 58.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 58.4 10am: Nov. Richmond Fed Index, est. 11, prior 12 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detail IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. Today is the start of a new adventure as I’m doing my first overseas business trip in 20 months. It took me a stressful 2 hours last night to find and fill in various forms, download various apps and figure out how on earth I travel in this new world. Hopefully I’ve got it all correct or I’ll be turned back at the Eurostar gates! The interesting thing about not travelling is that I’ve filled the time doing other work stuff so productivity will suffer. So if I can do a CoTD today it’ll be done on an iPhone whilst racing through the French countryside. Actually finishing this off very early in a long taxi ride on the way to the train reminds me of how car sick I get working on my iPhone! The delights of travel are all coming flooding back. After much anticipation over recent weeks, we finally heard yesterday that President Biden would be nominating Fed Chair Powell for another four-year term at the helm of the central bank. In some ways the decision had been widely expected, and Powell was the favourite in prediction markets all along over recent months. But the Fed’s staff trading issues and reports that Governor Brainard was also being considered had led many to downgrade Powell’s chances, so there was an element of uncertainty going into the decision, even if any policy differences between the two were fairly marginal. In the end however, Biden opted for continuity at the top, with Brainard tapped to become Vice Chair instead. Powell’s nomination will require senate confirmation once again, but this isn’t expected to be an issue, not least with Powell having been confirmed in an 84-13 vote last time around. Further, Senate Banking Committee Chair Brown, viewed as a progressive himself, noted last week there should be no issue confirming Powell despite rumblings from progressive lawmakers. More important to watch out for will be who Biden selects for the remaining positions on the Fed Board of Governors, where there are still 3 vacant seats left to fill, including the position of Vice Chair for Supervision. In a statement released by the White House, it said that Biden intended to make those “beginning in early December”, so even with Powell staying on, there’s actually a reasonable amount of scope for Biden to re-shape the Fed’s leadership. A potential hint about who may be considered, President Biden noted his next appointments will “bring new diversity to the Fed.” President Biden, flanked by Powell and Brainard, held a press conference following the announcement. He noted maintaining the Fed’s independence and leadership stability informed his decision, and that Chair Powell assured the President he would focus on fighting inflation. He was apparently also assured that the Chair would work to combat climate change, perhaps an olive branch to those in his party that wanted a more progressive nominee. Powell and Brainard both followed up with remarks of their own, but didn’t stray from the recent Fed party line. In response to the decision, investors moved to bring forward their timing of the initial rate hike from the Fed, with one now just about priced by the time of their June 2022 meeting, whilst the dollar index (+0.54%) strengthened to a fresh one-year high. This reflects the perception among many investors that Brainard was someone who’d have taken the Fed on a more dovish trajectory. Inflation breakevens fell across the curve as well in response. Indeed the 4-year breakeven, which roughly coincides with the term of the next Fed chair, was down -3.8bps after yesterday’s session, with the bulk of that dive coming immediately after the confirmation of Powell’s nomination. Nevertheless, that decline in breakevens was more than outweighed by a shift higher in real rates that sent nominal yields noticeably higher. By the close, yields on 2yr (+7.8bps) and 5yr (+9.5bps) Treasuries were at their highest levels since the pandemic began, and those on 10yr Treasuries were also up +7.7bps, ending the session at 1.62%. 2yr yields were a full 14.1bps higher than the intra-day lows on Friday after the Austria lockdown news. We had similar bond moves in Europe too, with yields on 10yr bunds (+4.0bps) moving higher throughout the session thanks to a shift in real rates. Another noticeable feature in the US was the latest round of curve flattening, with the 5s30s (-4.4bps) reaching its flattest level (+64.1bps) since the initial market panic over Covid-19 back in March 2020. The S&P 500 took a sharp turn heading into the New York close after trading in positive territory for most of the day, ultimately closing down -0.32%. Sector performance was mixed, energy (+1.81%) and financials (+1.43%) were notable outperformers on climbing oil prices and yields, while big tech companies across different sectors were hit by higher discount rates. The NASDAQ (-1.26%) ended the day lower, having pared back its initial gains that earlier put it on track to reach a record of its own. The other main piece of news yesterday came on the energy front, where it’s been reported that we could have an announcement as soon as today about a release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, potentially as part of a joint announcement with other nations. Oil prices were fairly resilient to the news, with Brent crude (+1.03%) and WTI (+0.85%) still moving higher, although both are down from their recent peaks as speculation of such a move has mounted. This could help put some downward pressure on inflation, but as recent releases have shown, price gains have been broadening out over the last couple of months to a wider swathe of categories, so it remains to be seen how helpful this will prove, and will obviously depend on how much is released along with how the OPEC+ group react. For their part, OPEC+ members noted that the moves from the US and its allies would force them to reconsider their production plans at their meeting next week. Looking ahead now, one of the main highlights today will come from the release of the flash PMIs for November, which will give us an initial indication of how the global economy has fared into the month. As mentioned yesterday, the Euro Area PMIs have been decelerating since the summer, so keep an eye out for how they’re being affected by the latest Covid wave. It’ll also be worth noting what’s happening to price pressures, particularly with inflation running at more than double the ECB’s target right now. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mixed with Shanghai Composite (+0.43%), CSI (+0.20%), KOSPI (-0.44%) and Hang Seng (-1.01%) diverging, while the Nikkei is closed for Labor Thanksgiving. The flash manufacturing PMI release from Australia (58.5 vs 58.2 previous) came in close to last month while both the composite (55 vs 52.1 previous) and services (55 vs 51.8 previous) accelerated. In Japan the Yen slid past an important level of 115 against the Dollar for the first time in four years after Powell was confirmed. This marks an overall slide of 10% this year making it the worst performer amongst advanced economy currencies. S&P 500 (-0.01%) and DAX futures (-0.31%) are flat to down with Europe seemingly catching up with the weak U.S. close. Before this, in Europe yesterday, equities continued to be subdued, with the STOXX 600 down -0.13% after trading in a tight range, as the continent reacted to another surge in Covid-19 cases. The move by Austria back into lockdown has raised questions as to where might be next, and Bloomberg reported that Chancellor Merkel told CDU officials yesterday that the recent surge was worse than anything seen so far, and that additional restrictions would be required. So the direction of travel all appears to be one way for the time being in terms of European restrictions, and even a number of less-affected countries are still seeing cases move in an upward direction, including France, Italy and the UK. So a key one to watch that’ll have big implications for economies and markets too. Staying on Germany, there was some interesting news on a potential coalition yesterday, with Bloomberg obtaining a preliminary list of cabinet positions that said that FDP leader Christian Lindner would become finance minister, and Green co-leader Robert Habeck would become a “super minister” with responsibility for the economy, climate protection and the energy transition. The report also said that both would become Vice Chancellors, whilst the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock would become foreign minister. It’s worth noting that’s still a preliminary list, and the coalition agreement is yet to be finalised, but it has been widely suggested that the parties are looking to reach a conclusion to the talks this week, so we could hear some more info on this relatively soon. There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, though the European Commission’s advance November consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area fell back by more than expected to -6.8 (vs. -5.5 expected), which is the lowest it’s been since April. Over in the US, there was October data that was somewhat more positive however, with existing home sales rising to an annualised rate of 6.34m (vs. 6.20m expected), their highest level in 9 months. Furthermore, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index was up to 0.76 (vs. 0.10 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. d Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 08:31.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

Transcript: Edwin Conway

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS:… Read More The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, man, I have an extra special guest. Edwin Conway runs all of alternatives for BlackRocks. His title is Global Head of Alternative Investors and he covers everything from structured credit to real estate hedge funds to you name it. The group runs over $300 billion and he has been a driving force into making this a substantial portion of Blackrock’s $9 trillion in total assets. The opportunity set that exists for alternatives even for a firm like Blackrock that specializes in public markets is potentially huge and Blackrock wants a big piece of it. I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Blackrock’s Head of Alternatives, Edwin Conway. MALE VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Edwin Conway. He is the Global Head of Blackrock’s Alternative Investors which runs about $300 billion in assets. He is a team of over 1,100 professionals to help him manage those assets. Blackrock’s Global alternatives include businesses that cover real estate infrastructure, hedge funds private equity, and credit. He is a senior managing director for BlackRock. Edwin Conway, welcome to Bloomberg. EDWIN CONWAY, GLOBAL HEAD OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS, BLACKROCK: Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, you’ve been in the financial services industry for a long time. You were at Credit Suisse and Blackstone and now you’re at BlackRock. Tell us what the process was like breaking into the industry? CONWAY: It’s an interesting on, Barry. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of Ireland. And the breakthrough to the industry was one of more coincident as opposed to purpose. I enjoyed the game of rugby for many years and through an introduction while at the University, in University College Dublin in Ireland, had a chance to play rugby at a quite a – quite a decent level and get to know people that were across the industry. It was really through and internship and the suggestion, I’ve given my focus on business and financing things that the financial services sector may be a great place to traverse and get to know. And literally through rugby connections, been part of a good school, I had an opportunity to really understand what the service sector, in many respects, could provide to clients and became absolutely intrigued with it. And what – was it my primary ambition in life to be in the financial services sector? I can definitively say no, but through the circumstance of a game that I love to play and be part of, I was introduced to, through an internship, and actually fell in love with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And alternative investments at Blackrock almost seems like a contradiction in terms. Most of us tend to think of Blackrock as the giant $9 trillion public markets firm best known for ETFs and indices. Alternatives seems to be one of the fastest-growing groups within the firm. This was $50 billion just a few years ago, it’s now over 300 billion. How has this become such a fast-growing part of BlackRock? CONWAY: When you look at the various facets which you introduced at the start, Barry, we’ve actually been an alternatives – will be of 30 years now. Now, the scale, as you know, which you can operate on the beta side of business, far surpasses that on the alpha side. For us, throughout the years, this was very much about how can we deliver investment excellence to our clients and performance? Therefore, going an opportunity somewhere else to explore an alpha opportunity in alternatives. And I think being so connected to our clients understanding, that this pivots was absolutely taking place at only 30 years ago but in a very pronounced way today, you know, we continue to invest in this business to support those ambitions. They’re clearly seeing this as the world of going through a tremendous amount of transformation and with some of the challenges, quite frankly, in the traditional asset classes, being able to leverage at BlackRock, the Blackrock muscle to really explore these alpha opportunities across the various alternative asset classes that in our mind wasn’t imperative. And the imperative, really, is from the firm’s perspective and if you look at our purpose, it’s to serve the client. So the need was coming from them. The necessity to have alternatives and their whole portfolio was very – was very much growing in prominence. And it’s taken us 30 years to build this journey and I think, Barry, quite frankly, we’re far from being done. As you look at the industry, the demand is going to continue to grow. So, I think you could expect to see from us a continued investment in the space because we don’t believe you can live without alternatives in today’s world. RITHOLTZ: That’s really – that’s really interesting. So let’s dive a little deeper into the product strategy for alternatives which you are responsible for at BlackRock. Our audiences is filled with potential investors. Tell them a little bit about what that strategy is. CONWAY: So we’re – I think as you mentioned, we’re in excess of 300 billion today and when we started this business, it was less about building a moat around private equity or real estate. I think Larry Fink’s and Rob Kapito’s vision was how do we build a platform to allow us to be relevant to our clients across the various alternative asset classes but also within the – within the confines of what they are permitted to do on a year-by-year basis. So, to always be relevant irrespective of where they are in their journey from respect of liabilities, demand for liquidity, demand for returns, so we took a different approach. I think, Barry, to most, it was around how do we scale into the business across, like you said, real estate equity and debt, infrastructure equity and debt. I mean, we think of that as the real assets platform of our business. Then you take our private equity capabilities both in primary investing, secondary et cetera, and then you have private credits and a very significant hedge fund platforms. So we think all of these have a real role and depending on clients liquidities and risk appetite, our goal was, to over the years, really build in to this to allow ourselves for this challenging needs that our clients have. I think as an industry, right, and over the many years alternatives have been in existence, this is been about return enhancement initially. I think, fundamentally, the changes around the receptivity to the role of alternatives in a client’s portfolio has really changed. So, we’ve watched it, Barry, from this is we’re in the pursuit of a very total return or absolute return type of an objective to now resilience in our portfolio, yield an income. And so things that probably weren’t perceived as valuable in the past because the traditional asset classes were playing a more profound role, alternatives have stepped up in – in many respects in the need to provide more than just total return. So, we’re taking the approach of how do you have a more holistic approach to this? How do we really build a global multi-alternatives capability and try to partner and I think that’s the important work for us. Try to partner with our clients in a way that we can deliver that outperformance but delivered in a way that probably our clients haven’t been used to in this industry before. Because unfortunately, as we know, it has had its challenges with regard to secrecy, transparency, and so many other aspects. We need to help the industry mature. And really that was our ambition. Put our client’s needs first, build around that and really be relevant in all aspects of what we’re doing or trying to accomplish on behalf of the people that they support and represent. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ll talk a little bit about transparency and secrecy and those sorts of things later. But right now, I have to ask what I guess is kind of an obvious question. This growth that you’ve achieved within Blackrock for nonpublic asset allocation within a portfolio, what is this coming at expense of? Are these dollars that are being moved from public assets into private assets or you just competing with other private investors? CONWAY: It’s really both. What – what you are seeing from our clients – if I take a step back, today, the institutional client community and you think about the – the retirement conundrum we’re all facing around the world. It’s such an awful challenge when you think how ill-prepared people are for that eventual stepping back from the workplace and then you know longevity is your friend, but can also be a very, very difficult thing to obviously live with if you’re not prepared for retirement. The typical pension plan today are allocating about 25 percent to 28 percent in alternatives. Predominantly private market. What they’re telling us is that’s increasing quite substantially going forward. But you know, the funding for that alpha pursue for that diversification and that yield is coming from fixed-income assets. It’s coming from equity assets. So there’s a real rebalancing that’s been taking place over the past number of years. And quite frankly, the evolution, and I think the innovation that’s taken place particularly in the past 10 years, alternatives has been really profound. So the days where you just invest in any global funds still exist. But now you can concentrate your efforts on sector exposure, industry exposures, geographic exposures, and I think the – the menu of things our clients can now have access to has just been so greatly enhanced at and the benefit is that but I think in some – in some respects, Barry, the next question is with all of those choices, how do you build the right portfolio for our client’s needs knowing that each one of our client’s needs are different? So, I would say it absolutely coming from the public side. We’re very thankful. Those that had a multiyear journey with us in the public side are now allocating capital to is now the private side to because I do think the – the industry given that change, given that it evolution and given the complexity of these private assets, our clients are looking to, quite frankly, do more with fewer managers because of the complexion of the industry and complexity that comes with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): And attention RIA’s. 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I think what we’ve all realized is that at times when volatility introduces itself which is frequent even independent of what’s been done from a fiscal and monetary standpoint, that these Alpha speaking strategies on the traditional side still make a lot of sense. And so, as we think about what – what’s happening here, the transition of assets from both passive and active strategies to alternative, it – it’s really to create better balance. It’s not that there’s – there’s a lack of relevance anymore in the public side. It’s just quite frankly the growth of the private asset base has grown so substantially. I moved, Barry, to the U.S. in 1998. And it’s interesting, when you look back at 1998 to today, you start to recognize the equity markets and what was available to invest in. The number of investable opportunities has shrunk by 40 plus percent which that compression is extraordinarily high. But yet you’ve seen, obviously, the equity markets grow in stature and significance and prominence but you’re having more concentration risk with some of the big public entities. The converse is true, though on the – on the private side. There’s this explosion of enterprise and innovation, employment creation, and then I believe opportunities has been real. So, I look at the public side, the investable universe is measured in the thousands and the private side is measured in the millions. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And I think part of the – part of the part of the thing our clients are not struggling with but what we’re really recognizing with – with enterprises staying private for longer, if not forever, and with his growth of the opportunities that open debt and equity in the private market side, you really can’t forgo this opportunity. It has to be part of your going forward concerns and asset allocation. And I think this is why we’re seeing that transformation. And it’s not because equities on fixed income just aren’t relevant anymore. They’re very relevant but they’re relevant now in a total portfolio or a whole portfolio context beside alternatives. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s discuss this opportunity set of alternatives where you guys at Blackrock scene demand what sectors and from what sorts of clients? Is this demand increasing? CONWAY: We’re very fortunate, Barry. Today, there isn’t a single piece of our business within – within Blackrock alternatives that isn’t growing. And quite frankly too, it’s really up to us to deliver on the investment objectives that are set forth for those clients. I think in the back of strong absolute and relative performance, thankfully, our clients look to us to – to help them as – as they think about what they’re doing and as they’re exploring more in the alternatives areas. So, as you know, certainly, the private equity and real estate allocations are quite mature in many of our client’s portfolios but they’ve been around for many decades. I think that the areas where we’re seeing – that’s called an outside demand and opportunity set, just but virtue of the small allocations on a relative basis that exist today is really around infrastructure, Barry, and its around private credits. So, to caveat that, I think all of the areas are certainly growing, and thankfully, for us that’s true. We’re looking at clients who we believe are underinvested, we believe they’re underinvested in those asset classes infrastructure both debt and equity and in private credit. And as you think about why that is, the attributes that they bring to our client is really important and in a world where your correlation and understanding those correlations is important that these are definitely diversifying assets. In a world where you’re seeing trillions of dollars, quite frankly, you’re providing little to no or even there’s negative yield. Those short falls are real and people need yield than need income. These assets tend to provide that. So the diversification, it comes from these assets. The yield can come from these assets and because of the immaturity of the asset classes, independence of the capital is flowing in, we still consider them relatively white space. You’re not crowded out. There’s much room for development in the market and with our client’s portfolios. And to us, that’s exciting because it presents opportunities. So, at the highest level, they’re the areas where I believe are most underdeveloped in our clients. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about both of those areas. We’ll talk about structured credit in a few minutes. I think everybody kind of understands what – what that is. What – when you see infrastructure as a sector, how does that show up as an investment are – and obviously, I have infrastructure on the brink because we’re recording this not too long after the giant infrastructure bill has been passed, tell us a little bit about what alternative investments in infrastructure looks like? CONWAY: Yes. It’s really in its infancy and what the underlying investments look like. I think traditionally, you would consider it as – and part of the bill that has just been announced, roads, bridges, airports. Some of these hard assets, some of the core infrastructure investments that have been around for actually some time. The interesting thing is the industry has evolved so much and put the need for infrastructure. It’s so great across both developed and emerging economies. It’s become something that if done the right way, the attributes we just spoke of can really have a very strong effect on our client’s portfolios. So, beyond the core that we just mentioned, well, we’ve seen a tremendous demand as a result of this energy transition. You’re really seeing a spike in activity and the necessity transition industry to cleaner technologies, a movement, not away completely from fossil fuel but integrating new types of clean energy. And as a result, you’ve seen a lot of demand on a global basis for wind and solar. And quite frankly, that’s why even us at BlackRock, albeit, 10-12 years ago, we really established a capability there to help with that transition to think about how do we use these technologies, solar panels, wind farms, to generate clean forms of energy for utilities where in some cases they’re mandated to procure this type of this type of – this type of power. And when you think about pre-contracting with utilities for long duration, that to me spells, Barry, good risk mitigation and management and ability to get access to clean forms of energy that throw off yield that can be very complementary to your traditional asset classes but for very long periods of time. And so, the benefits for us of these – these assets is that they are long in duration, they are yield enhancing, they’re definitely diversifying. And so, for us, where – we’ve got about, let’s call this 280 assets around the world that we’re managing that literally generate this – this clean electricity. I think to give the relevance of how much, I believe today, it’s enough to power the country of Spain. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And that’s really that’s really changing. So you’re seeing governments – so from a policy standpoint, you’re seeing governments really embracing new forms of energy, transitioning out of bunker fuels, for example, you know, burning diesels which really spew omissions into the – into the into the environment. But it’s really around modernizing for the future. So, developed and emerging economies alike, want to retain capital. They want to attract new capital and by having the proper infrastructure to support industry, it’s a really, really important thing. Now, on the back of that too, one things we’ve learned from COVID is that the necessity to really bring e-commerce into how you conduct your business is so important and I think from the theme of digitalization within infrastructure to is a huge part. So, it’s not just the energy transition that you’re seeing, it’s not just roads and bridges, but by allowing businesses to connect to a global consumer, allowing children be educated from home, allowing experiences that expand geographies and boundaries in a digital form is so important not just for commerce but in so many other aspects. And so, you think about cable, fiber optics, if you think about all the other things even outside of power, that enable us to conduct commerce to educate, there are many examples where, Barry, you can build resilience into your portfolio because that need is not measured in years. Actually, the shortfall of capital is measured in the trillions so which means this is – this is a multi-decade opportunity set from our vantage point and one of which our clients should really avail of. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And I mentioned in passing, structured credit, tell us a little bit about what that opportunity looks like. I think of this as a space that is too big for local banks but too small for Wall Street to finance. Is that an oversimplification? What is going on in that space. CONWAY: I probably couldn’t have set it better, Barry. It’s – if we go back to just the even the investable universe, in the tens of thousands of companies, just if we take North America that are private, that have great leadership that really have strategic vision under – at the – in some cases, at the start of their growth lifecycles are even if they maintain, they have a very credible and viable business for the future they still need capital. And you’re absolutely right. With the retreat of the banks from the space to various regulations that have come after the global financial crisis, you’re seeing the asset managers in many respects working behalf of our clients both wealth and institutional becoming the new lenders of choice. And – and when we – when we think about that opportunity set, that is really understanding the client’s desire for risk or something maybe in a lower risk side from middle-market lending or midmarket enterprises where you can support that organization through its growth cycle all the way to some higher-yielding, obviously, with more risk assets on the opportunistic or even the special situations side. But it – it expands many things. And going back of the commentary around the evolution of the space, private credit today and what you can do has changed so profoundly, it expands the liquidity spectrum, it expands the risk spectrum. And the great news is, with the number of companies both here and abroad, the opportunities that is – it’s being enriched every single day. And were certainly seeing, particularly going back to the question are some of these assets coming from the traditional side, the public side. When we think of private credit, you are seeing private credit now been incorporated in fixed-income allocations. This is a – it’s a yelling asset. This is – these are debt instruments, these are structures that we’re creating. We’re trying to flexible and dynamic with these clients. But it really is an area where we think – it really is still at its – at its infancy relevant to where it can potentially be. RITHOLTZ: That’s really quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): It’s Rob Riggle. I’m hosting Season 2 of the iHeart radio podcast, Veterans You Should Know. You may know me as the comedic actor from my work in the Hangover, Stepbrothers or 21 Jump Street. But before Hollywood, I was a United States Marine Corps officer for 23 years. For this Veterans Day, I’ll be sitting down with those who proudly served in the Armed Forces to hear about the lessons they’ve learned, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the life-changing impact of their service. Through this four-part series, we’ll hear the inspiring journeys of these veterans and how they took those values during their time of service and apply them to transition out of the military and into civilian life. Listen to Veterans You Should Know on the iHeart radio app, Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcast. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stick with that concept of money rotating away from fixed income. I have to imagine clients are starved for yields. So what are the popular substitutes for this? Is it primarily structured credit? Is it real estate? How do you respond to an institution that says, hey, I’m not getting any sort of realistic coupon on my bonds, I need a substitute? CONWAY: Yes. It’s all of those in many respects. And I think to the role, even around now a time where people have questions around inflation, how do substitute this yield efficiency or certainly make up for that shortfall, how do you think about a world where increasingly seeing inflation, not of the transitory thing it feels certainly quasi-permanent. These are a lot of questions we’re getting. And certainly, real estate is an is important part of how they think about inflation protection, how client think about yield, but quite frankly too, we’ve – we’ve gone through something none of us really had thought about a global pandemic. And as I think about real estate, just how you allocate to the sector, what was very heavily influenced with retail assets, high street, our shopping behaviors and habits have changed. We all occupied offices for obviously many, many years pre the pandemic. The shape of how we operate and how we do that has changed. So, I think some of the underlying investment – investments have changed where you’ve seen heavily weighted towards office space to leisure, travel in the past. Actually, now using a rotation in some respects out of those, just given some of the uncertainties around what the future holds as we come – come through a really difficult time. But the great thing about this sector is between senior living, between student housing, between logistics and so many other parts, there are ways in real estate to capture where there’s – where there’s demand. So still a robust opportunity set and it – and we do think it can absolutely be yield enhancing. We mentioned infrastructure. Even if you think about – and we mention OECD and non-OECD, emerging and developed, when I think about Asia, in particular, just as a subset of the world in which we’re living in, that is a $2.6 trillion alternative market today growing at a 15 percent CAGR. And quite frankly, the old-growth is driven by the large economic growth in the region. So, even from a regional perspective, if we pivot, it houses 57 percent of the world’s population and yet delivers 47 percent of the world’s economic growth. So, think of that and then with regard to infrastructure and goes back to that, this is truly a global phenomenon. So if we just even take that sector, Barry, you’ll realize that the way to maintain that type of growth, to attract capital, to keep capital, it really requires an investment of significant amount of money to be able to sustain that. And when you have 42 million people in a APAC migrating to cities in the year going back to digitalization, that’s an important thing. So, when I say we’re so much at the infancy in infrastructure, I really mean it. It can be water, it can be sewer systems, it can be digital, it can be roads, there’s so much to this. And then even down to the regional perspective, it’s a – it’s a need that doesn’t just exist in the U.S. So, for these assets, this tend to be long in duration. There’s both equity and debt. And on the debt side, quite frankly, very few outside of our insurance clients and their general account are taking advantage of the debt opportunity. And – and as we both know, to finance these projects that are becoming more plentiful every single day, across the world, including like, I said, in APAC in scale, there’s an opportunity in both sides. And I think that’s where the acid mix change happen. It’s recognizing that the attributes of these assets can have a role, the attributes of these assets can potentially replace some of these traditional assets and I think you’re going to see it grow. So, infrastructure to us, it’s really equity and debt. And then on the credit side, like I mentioned, again, too, it’s a very, very big and growing market. And certainly, the biggest area today from our vantage point is middle-market lending from a scale opportunity standpoint. So, we think much more to come in all of those spaces. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And let’s just stay with the concept of public versus private. That line is kind of getting blurred and the secondary markets is liquidity coming to, for lack of a better phrase, pre-public equities, tells little bit about that space. Is that an area that is ripe for growth for BlackRock? CONWAY: Yes. We absolutely think it is and you’re absolutely correct. The secondary market is – has grown quite substantial. If you even look at just the private equity secondary market and what will transact this year, I think it will be potentially in excess of 100 billion. And that’s what were clear, not to mention what will be visible and what will be analyzed. And that speaks to me what’s really happening and the innovation that we mentioned earlier. It’s no longer about just primary exposure. It’s secondary exposure. When we see all sort of interest and co-investment opportunities as well, I think the available sources of alpha and the flexibility you can now have, albeit if directed and advised, I believe the right way, Barry, can be very helpful and in the portfolio. So, your pre-IPO, it is a big part of actually what we do and we think about growth equity. There is – it’s a significant amount of capital following that space. Now, from our vantage point, as one of the largest investors in the public equity market and now obviously one of the largest investors and they in the private side, the bridge between – between private to public – there’s a real need. IPOs are not going away. And I think smart, informed capital to help with this journey, this journey is really – is really a necessity and a need. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about this recent restructuring. You are first named Global Head of Blackrock Alternative Investors in April 2019, the entire alternatives business was restructured, tell us a little bit about how that restructuring is going? CONWAY: Continues to go really well, Barry. When you look at the flow of acid from our clients, I think, hopefully, that’s speaks to the performance we’ve been generating. I joined the firm, as you know, albeit, 11 years ago and being very close to the alternative franchise as a critical thing for me and running the institutional platform. To me, when you watched this migration of asset towards alternatives, it was obviously very evident for decades now that this is a critical leg of the stool as our clients are thinking about their portfolios. We’re continuing to innovate. We’re continuing to invest, and thankfully, we’re continuing to deliver strong performance. We’re growing at about high double digits on an annual basis but we’re trying to purposeful too around where that growth is coming from. I think the reality is when you look at the competitive universe, I think the last number I saw, it was about 38,000 alternative asset managers out there today, obviously, coming from hedge funds all the way to private credits and private equity. So, competition is real and I do think the outcomes for our clients are starting to really grow. Unfortunately, some – in some cases, obviously, very good, and in some cases, actually not great. So our focus, Barry, is really much on how can we deliver performance, how can we be a partner? And I think we been rewarded with a trust and the faith our clients have in us because they’re seeing something different, I think, from us. Now, the scale of the business that you mentioned earlier really gives us tentacles into the market that I believe allows us to access what I think is the new alpha which is in many respects, given the heft of competition sourcing and originating new investments is certainly harder but for us, sitting in or having alternative team, sitting in 50 offices around the world, really investing in the markets because that – the market they grew up with and have relationships within, I think this network value that we have is something that’s quite special. And I think in the world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, we’re going to continue to use and harness that network value to pursue opportunities. And thankfully, as a result of the partnership we’ve been pursuing with her clients, like, we’ve – we’re certainly looking for opportunities and investments in our funds. But because of the brand, I think because of the successes, opportunities seeks us as much as we seek opportunity and that has been something that we look at an ongoing basis and feel very privileged to actually have that inbound flow as well. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. There was a quote of yours I found while doing some prep for this conversation that I have to have you expand on. Quote, “The relationship between Blackrock’s alternative capabilities and wealth firms marked a large opportunity for growth in the coming years.” This was back in 2019. So, the first part of the question is, was your expectations correct? Did you – did you see the sort of growth you were hoping for? And more broadly, how large of an opportunity is alternatives, not just for BlackRock but for the entire investment industry? CONWAY: Yes. It’s been very much an institutional opportunity set up until now. And there’s so much to be done, still, to really democratize alternatives and we certainly joke around making alternatives less alternative. Actually, even the nomenclature we use and how we describe it doesn’t kind of make sense anymore. It’s such a core – an important allocation to our clients, Barry, that just calling it alternative seems wrong. Just about the institutional clients. It ranges, I think, as I mentioned on our – some of our more conservative clients which would be pension plans which really have liquidity needs on a monthly basis because of the liabilities they have to think about. At about 25 plus percent in private markets, to endowments, foundations, family offices, going to 50 percent plus. So, it’s a really important part and has been for now many years the institutional client ph communities outcomes. I think the thing that we, as an industry, have to change is alternatives has to be for the many, not for the few. And quite frankly, it’s been for the few. And as we talked about some of the attributes and the important attributes of these asset classes to think that those who have been less fortunate in their careers can’t access, things they can enrich their future retirement outcomes, to me, is a failing. And we have to address that. That comes from regulation changes, it comes from structuring of new products, it comes from education and it comes from this knowledge transmission where clients in the wealth segment can understand the role of alternatives and the context of what can do as they invest in equities and fixed income too. And we think that’s a big shortfall. So, the journey today, just to give you a sense, as we look at her clients in Europe on the wealth side, on average, as you look from what we would call the credited investors all the way through to more ultra-high-net worth individuals, their allocation to alternatives, we believe, stands at around two to three percent of their total portfolio. In the U.S., we believe it stands at three to five. So, most of those intermediaries, we speak to our partners who were more supporting and serving the wealth channel. They have certainly an ambition to help their clients grow that to 20 percent and potentially beyond that. So, when I look at that gap of let’s call it two to three to 20 percent in a market that just given the explosion in wealth around the world, I think the last numbers I saw, this is a $65 trillion market. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: That speaks to the shortfall relative to the ambition. And how’s it been going? We have a number of things and capabilities we’ve set up to allow for this market to experience, hopefully, private equity, hedge funds, credit, and an infrastructure in ways they haven’t in the past. We’ve done this in the U.S., we’re doing it now in Europe, but I will say, Barry, this is still very much at the start of the journey. Wealth is a really important part of our future given our business, quite, frankly is 90 plus percent institutional today, but we’re looking to change that by, hopefully, democratizing these asset classes and making it so much more accessible in that of the past. RITHOLTZ: So, we hinted at this before but I’m going to ask the question outright, how significant is interest rates to client’s risk appetites, how much of the current low rate environment are driving people to move chunks of their assets from fixed income to alternatives? CONWAY: It’s really significant, Barry. I think the transition of these portfolios is quite profound, So you – and I think the unfortunate thing in some respects as this transition happens that you’re introducing new variables and new risks. The reason I say it’s unfortunate and that I think as an industry, this goes back to the education around the assets you own, understanding the role, understanding the various outcomes. I think it’s so incredibly important and that this the time where complete transparency is needed. And quite frankly, we’re investing capital that’s not ours. As an industry, we’re investing our client’s assets and they need to know exactly the underlying investments. And in good and bad times, how would those assets behave? So certainly, interest rates are driving a flow of capital away from these traditional assets, fixed-income, and absolutely in towards real estate, infrastructure, private creditors, et cetera, in the pursuit of this – this yield. But I do – I do think one of the things that’s critically important for the institutional channel, not just the wealth which are newer entrants is this transmission of education, of data because that’s how I think you build a better balanced portfolio and that’s a – that’s a real conundrum, I think, that the industry is facing and certainly your clients too. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So let’s talk a little bit about the differences between investing in the private side versus the public markets, the most obvious one has to be the illiquidity. When you buy stocks or bonds, you get a print every microsecond, every tick, but most of these investments are only marked quarterly or annually, what does this illiquidity do when you’re interacting with clients? How do you – how do you discuss this with them in and how do perceive some of the challenges of illiquid investments? CONWAY: Over the – over the past number of decades, I think our clients have largely held too much liquidity in their portfolios. Like, so what we are finding is the ability to take on illiquidity risk. And obviously, in pursuit of that premium above, the traditional markets, I mean, I think the sentiment they are is it an absolute right one. That transition towards private market exposure, we think is an important one just given the return objectives, the majority of our clients’ need but then also again, most importantly now, with geo policy, with uncertainty, with interest rate uncertainty, inflation uncertainty, I mean, the – going back to the resilience point, the characteristics now by introducing these assets into the mix is important. And I think that’s – that point is maybe what I’ll expand on. As were talking to clients, using the Aladdin systems, and as you know, we bought eFront technologies, albeit a couple of years ago, by allowing, I think, great data and technology to help our clients understand these assets and the context of how they should own them relative to other liquidity needs, their risk tolerances, and the return expectations are really trying to use tech and data to provide a better understanding and comprehension of the outcomes. And as we continue to introduce these concepts and these approaches, by the way, that there is, as you know, so used to in the traditional side, it – it gives them more comfort around what they should and can expect. And that, to me, is a really important part of what we’re doing. So, we’ve released recently new technology to the wealth sector because, quite frankly, we mentioned it before, the 60-40 portfolio is a thing of the past. And that introduction of about 20 percent into alternatives, we applaud our partners who are – who are suggesting that to their clients. We think it’s something they have to do. What we’re doing to support that is really bringing thought leadership, education, but also portfolio construction techniques and data to bear in that conversation. And this goes back to – it’s no longer an alternative, right? This is a core allocation so the comprehension of what it is you own, the behavior of the asset in good and bad times is so necessary. And that’s become a very big thing with regard to our activities, Barry, because your clients are looking to understand better when you’re talking about assets that are very complex in their nature. RITHOLTZ: So, 60-40 is now 50-30-20, something along those lines? CONWAY: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. So, what are clients really looking for these days? We talked about yield. Are they also looking for downside protection on the equity side or inflation hedges you hinted at? How broad are the demands of clients in the alternative space? CONWAY: Yes. It ranges the gamut. And even – we didn’t speak to even hedge funds, we’ve had differing levels of interest in the hedge fund world for years and I, quite frankly, think some degree of disappointment too, Barry, with regard to the alpha, the returns that were produced relevant to the cost. RITHOLTZ: It’s a tough space to say the very least exactly. CONWAY: Exactly right. But when you start to see volatility introducing itself, you can really see where skill plays a critical factor. So, we are absolutely seeing, in the hedge fund, a resurgence of interest and demand by virtue of those who really have honed in on their scale, who have demonstrated an up-and-down markets and ability to protect and preserve capital, but importantly, in a low uncorrelated way build attractive risk-adjusted returns. We’re starting to see more activity there again too. I think with an alternatives, you’ve really seen a predominant demand coming from privates. These private markets, like a set of growths so extraordinarily fast and the opportunities that is rich, the reality too on the public side which is where our hedge funds operate, they continue to, in large part, do a really good job. The issue with our industry now with these 38,000 managers is how do you distill all the information? How do you think about your needs as a client and pick a manager who can deliver the outcomes? And just to give you a sense, the difference now between a top-performing private equity manager, a top quartile versus the bottom quartile, the difference can be measured in tens of percent. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: Whereas if you look at the public equity side, for example, a large cap manager, top quartile versus bottom quartile is measured in hundreds of basis points. So, there is definitely a world that has started where the outcomes our clients will experience can be great as they pursue yield, as they pursue diversification, inflation protection, et cetera. I think the caveat that I would say is outcomes can vary greatly. So manager underwriting and the importance of it now, I think, really is this something to pay attention to because if you do have that bottom performing at the bottom quartile manager, it will affect your outcomes, obviously. And that’s what we collectively have to face. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about real estate. There are a couple of different areas of investment on the private side. Rent to own was a very large one and we’ve seen some lesser by the flip algo-driven approaches. Tell us what Blackrock is doing in the real estate space and how many different approaches are you bringing to bear on this? CONWAY: Yes, we think it’s both equity and debt. Again, no different to the infrastructure side, these projects need to be financed. But on the – as you think about the sectors in which you can avail of the opportunity, you’ve no doubt heard a lot and I mentioned earlier this demand for logistics facilities. The explosion of shopping online and having, until we obviously have the supply chain disruption, an ability to have nearly immediate satisfaction because the delivery of the good to your home has become so readily available. It’s a very different consumer experience. So the explosion and the need for logistics facilities to support this type of behavior of the consumer is really an area that will continue to be of great interest too. And then you think about the transformation of business and you think about the aging world. Unfortunately, you can look at various economies where our populations are decreasing. And quite frankly, we’re getting older. And so, were you’re thinking of the context of that senior living facilities, it becomes a really important part, not just as part of the healthcare solution that come with it, but also from living as well. So, single-family, multifamily, opportunities continue to be something that the world looks at because there is really the shortfall of available properties for people to live in. And as the communities evolve to support the growing age of the population, tremendous opportunity there too. But we won’t give up on office space. It really isn’t going away. Now, if you even think about our younger generation here in BlackRock, they love being in New York, they love being in London, they love being in Hong Kong. So, the shape and the footprint may change slightly. But the necessity to be in the major financial centers, it still exists. But how we weighed the risks has definitely changed, certainly, for the – for the short-term and medium-term future. But real estate continues to be, Barry, a critical part of how we express our thought around the investment opportunity set. But clients largely do this themselves too. The direct investing from the clients is quite significant because they too see this as still as a rich investment ground, albeit, one that has changed quite a bit as a result of COVID. RITHOLTZ: Well, I’m fascinated by the real estate issue especially having seen some massive construction take place in cities pre-pandemic, look over in Manhattan at Hudson Yards and look at what’s taking place in London, not just the center of London but all – but all around it and I’m forced to admit the future is going to look somewhat different than the past with some hybrid combination of collaborative work in the office and remote work from home when it’s convenient, that sort of suggests that we now have an excess of capacity in office space. Do you see it that way or is this just something that we’re going to grow into and just the nature of working in offices is changing but offices are not going away? CONWAY: Yes. I do think there’s – it’s a very valid point and that in certain cities, you will see access, in others we just don’t, Barry. And quite frankly, as a firm, too, as you know, we have adopted flexibility with our teams that were very fortunate. The technologies in which we created at BlackRock has just become such an amazing enabler, not just to help us as we mention manage the portfolios, help us a better portfolio construction, understand risks, but also to communicate with our clients. I think we’ve all witnessed and experienced a way to have connectivity that allows them to believe that commerce can exist beyond the boundaries of one building. However, I do look at our property portfolios and even the things that we’re doing. Rent collections still being extraordinarily high, occupancy now getting back up to pre-pandemic levels, not in all cities, but in many of the major ones that have reopened. And certainly, the demand for people to just socialize, that the demand for human connectivity is really high. It’s palpable, right? We see it here too. The smiles on people’s faces, they’re back in the office, conversing together, innovating together. When people were feeling unsafe, unquestionably, I think the question marks around the role of office space was really brought to bear. But as were coming through this, as you’ve seen vaccine rates change, as you’ve seen the infection rates fall, as you’ve seen confidence grow, the return to work is really happening and return to work to office work is really happening, albeit, now with degrees of flexibility. So, going back to the – I do believe in certain areas. You’re seeing a surplus. But in many areas you’re absolutely seeing a deficit and the reason I say that, Barry, is we are seeing occupancy in certain building at such a high level. And frankly, the demand for more space being so high, it’s uneven and this goes back to then where do you invest our client’s capital, making sense of those trends, predicting where you will see resilience versus stress and building that into the portfolio of consequences as you – as you better risk manage and mitigate. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And so, we are seeing this transition across a lot of different segments of investing, are you seeing any products that were or – or investing styles that was once thought of as primarily institutional that are sort of working their way towards the retail side of things? Meaning going from institutional to accredited to mom-and-pop investors? CONWAY: Well, certainly, in the past, private equity was really an asset class for institutional investors. And I think that’s – that has changed in a very profound way. I mentioned earlier are the regulation has become a more adaptive, but we also have heard, in many respects, in providing this access. And I think the perception of owning and be part of this illiquid investment opportunity set was hard to stomach because many didn’t understand the attributes and what it could bring and I think we’ve been trying to solve for that and what you’re seeing now with – with regulators, understanding that the difference between if we take it quite simply as DD versus DC, the differences between the options you as a participant in a retirement plan are so vastly different that – and I think there’s a broad recognition now that there needs to be more equity with regard to what happens there. And private equity been a really established part of the alternatives marketplace was once, I think, really believed to be an institutional asset class, but albeit now has become much more accessible to wealth. We’ve seen it by structuring activities in Europe working with the regulators. Now, we’re able to provide private equity exposure to clients across the continent and really getting access to what was historically very much an institutional asset class. And I do think the receptivity is extraordinarily high just throughout people’s careers, they have seen wealth been created as a result of engineering a great outcome with great management teams integrate business. And I do believe the receptivity towards private equity is high as an example. In the U.S., too, working with the various intermediaries and being able to wrap now private equity in a ’40 Act fund, for example, is possible. And by being able to deliver that to the many as opposed to the few, we think has been a very good success story. And I think, obviously, appreciated by our clients as well. So, I would look at that were seeing across private equity as well as private credit and quite frankly infrastructure accuracy. You’re seeing now regulation that’s becoming more appreciative of these asset classes, you’re seeing a more – a greater level of openness and willingness to allow for these assets to be part of many people’s experiences across their investment portfolio. And now, with innovation around structures, as an industry, were able to wrap these investments in a way that our clients can really access them. So, think across the board, it probably speaks the innovation that’s happening but I do think that accessibility has changed in a very significant way. But you’ve really seen it happen in private equity first and now that’s expanding across these various other asset classes. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. I know I only have you for a relatively limited period of time, so let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. Starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days. Give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows. CONWAY: That is an interesting question, Barry. I don’t a hell of a lot of TV, I got to tell you. I am – I keep busy with three wonderful children and a beautiful wife and between the sports activities. When I do watch TV, I have to tell you I’m addicted to sports and having – I may have mentioned earlier, growing up playing rugby which is not the most common sport in the U.S., I stream nonstop the Six Nations that happens in Europe where Ireland is one of those six nations that compete against each other on an annual basis. Right now, they’re playing a lot of sites that are touring for the southern hemisphere. And to me, the free times I have is either enjoying golf or really enjoying rugby because I think it’s an extraordinary sport. Obviously, very physical, but very enjoyable to watch. And that, that truly is my passion outside of family. RITHOLTZ: Interesting stuff. Tell us a bit about your mentors, who helped to shape your early career? CONWAY: Well, it even goes back to some of the aspects of sports. Playing on a team and being on a field where you’re working together, there’s a strategy involved with that. Now, I used to really appreciate how we approach playing in the All-Ireland League. How we thought about our opponents, how we thought about the structure, how we thought about each individual with on the rugby field and the team having a role. They’re all different but your role. And actually, even starting from an early age, Barry, thinking about, I don’t know, it’s sports but how to build a great team with those various skills, perspective, that can be a really, really powerful combination when done well. And certainly, from an early age, that allowed me to appreciate that – actually, in the work environment, it’s not too different. You surround yourself with just really great people that have high integrity that are empathetic and have a degree of humility that when working together, good things can happen. And I will say, it really started at sports. But I think of today and even in BlackRock, how Larry Fink thinks about the world and I think Larry, truly, is a visionary. And then Rob Kapito who really helps lead the charge across our various businesses. Speaking and conversing with them on a daily basis, getting their perspectives, trying to get inside your head and thinking about the world from their vantage point. To me, it’s a huge thing about my ongoing personal career and development and I really enjoy those moments because I think what you recognize is independent of how much you think you know, there’s so much more to know. And this journey is an ever evolving one where you have to appreciate that you’ll never know everything and you need to be a student every single day. So, I’d probably cite those, Barry, as certainly the two most important mentors in my life today, professionally and personally quite frankly. RITHOLTZ: Really. Very interesting. Let’s talk about what you’re reading these days. Tell us about some of your favorite books and what you’re reading currently? CONWAY: Barry, what I love to read, I love to read history, believe it or not. From a very small country that seems to have exported many, many people, love to understand the history of Ireland. So, there’s so many books. And having three children that have been born in the U.S. and my wife is a New Yorker, trying to help them understand some of their history and what made them what they are. I love delving into Irish history and how the country had moments of greatness and moments of tremendous struggle. Outside of that, I really don’t enjoy science fiction or any of these books. I love reading, you name any paper and any magazine on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I wake at about 4:30, 5 o’clock every day. I spent my first two hours of the day just consuming as much information as possible. I enjoy it. But it’s all – it’s really investment-related magazines, not books. It’s every paper that you could possibly imagine, Barry, and I just – I have a great appreciation for certainly trying to be a student of the world because that’s what we’re operating in an I find it just a very interesting avenue to get an appreciation to for the, not just the opportunities, but the challenges we’re collectively facing as a society but also as a business. RITHOLTZ: I’m with you on that mass consumption of investing-related news. It sounds like you and I have the same a morning routine. Let’s talk about of what sort of advice you would give to a recent college graduate who was interested in a career of alternative investments? CONWAY: Well, the industry has – it’s just gone through such extraordinary growth and the difference, when I’ve started versus today, the career opportunity set has changed so much. And I think I try to remind anyone of our analysts who come into each one of our annual classes, right, as we bring in the new recruits. I think about how talented they are for us, Barry, and how privileged we all are to be in this industry and work for the clients that we do. It’s just such an honor to do that. But I kind of – I try to remind them of that. At the end of the day, whether you’re supporting an institution, that institution is the face of many people in the background and alternatives has really now become such an important part of their experience and we talked about earlier just this challenge of retirement, if we do a good job, these institutions that support the many, they can have, hopefully, a retirement that involves dignity and they can have an ability to do things they so wanted to do as they work so hard over their lives. Getting that that personal connection and allowing for those newbies to understand that that’s the effect that you can have, an alternatives whether it’s private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private credit, hedge funds, all of these now, with the scale at which they’re operating at can allow for a great career. But my advice to them is always don’t forget your career is supporting other people. And that comes directly to how we intersect with wealth channel, it comes indirectly as a result of the institutions. And it’s such a privilege to do that. I didn’t envision when I grew up, as I mentioned, my first job, milking cows and back in a small town in the middle of Ireland that I would be one day leading an alternatives business within BlackRock. I see that as a great privilege. So, for those who are joining afresh, hopefully, try to remind them that it is for all of us and show up with empathy, dignity, compassion, and do the best you can, and hopefully, these people be sure will serve them well. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what you know about the world of alternative investing today you wish you knew 25 years or so ago when you were first getting started? CONWAY: I think if we had invested much more heavily as an industry in technology, we would not be in the position we are today. And I say that, Barry, from a number of aspects. I mentioned in this shortfall of information our clients are dealing with today. They’re making choices to divest from one asset class to invest in another. To do that and do that effectively, they need great transparency, they needed real-time in many respects, it can’t be just a quarterly line basis. And if we had been better prepared as an industry to provide the technology and the data to help our clients really appreciate what it is they own, how we’re managing the assets on their behalf, I think they would be so much better served. I think we’re very fortunate at this firm to have built a business on the back of technology for albeit 30 plus years and were investing over $1 billion a year in technology as I’m sure you know. But we need to see more of that in the industry. So, the client experience is so important, stop, let’s demystify alternatives. It’s not that alternative. Let’s provide education and data and it’s become so large relative to other asset classes, the need to support, to educate, and transmit information, not data, information, so our client understand it, is at a paramount now. And I think it certainly as an industry, things have to change there. If I knew how big the growth would have been and how prominent these asset classes were becoming, I would oppose so much harder on that front 30 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Thank you, Edwin, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Edwin Conway. He is the head of Blackrock Investor Alternatives Group. If you enjoy this conversation, please check out all of our prior discussions. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast at. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@Bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at Bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter, @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Mohammed ph is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2021

Futures Flat As Bitcoin Nears All-Time High, Yen Tumbles To 4 Year Low

Futures Flat As Bitcoin Nears All-Time High, Yen Tumbles To 4 Year Low US index futures were little changed as investors weighed the start of the earnings season against growing stagflation, tightening, energy crisis, China property and supply risks. S&P 500 futures were flat after the cash index edged closer to a record on Tuesday, rising above 4,500. Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 were also unchanged after the main index rallied for the past five days. At 7:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 8 points, or 0.02%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 1 point, or 0.03%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.03%. Oil was down and the dollar steadied. Bitcoin traded just shy of its all time high overnight, and was last seen around $64,000. The S&P closed higher on Tuesday with the biggest boosts from the technology and healthcare sectors amid optimism about solid third-quarter earnings season. The index is just 0.4% below its early September record close, while the Dow Jones Industrials average is 0.5% below its all-time high reached in mid-August. "Earlier this month, stagflation was the buzzword on Wall Street. But now excessive pessimism is receding, especially after strong U.S. retail sales data on Friday," said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. "Tech shares and other high-growth shares that would have been sold on rising bond yields are rallying, which clearly shows that there is now strong optimism on upcoming earnings." The positive mood saw U.S. bond yields rising further, with the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield climbing to 1.67% , a high last seen in May. Shorter yields dipped, however, with the two-year yield slipping to 0.404% from Monday's peak of 0.448% as traders took profits for now from bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will turn hawkish at its upcoming policy meeting in early November. Investors expect the Fed to announce tapering of its bond buying and money markets futures are pricing in one rate hike later next year. "The Fed is likely to become more hawkish, probably tweaking its language on its assessment that inflation will be transient. While the Fed will maintain tapering is not linked to a future rate hike, the market will likely try to price in rate hikes and flatten the yield curve," said Naokazu Koshimizu, senior strategist at Nomura Securities. In premarket trading, Tesla edged 0.4% lower in the run up to its quarterly results after markets close, with investors awaiting details on its performance in China. Anthem rose 0.6% as the second largest health U.S. insurer raised its profit outlook for 2021 after beating third-quarter profit estimates. United Airlines Holdings gained 1.6% after the carrier reported a smaller quarterly loss than a year ago on travel rebound. Ford gained 1.9% after Credit Suisse upgraded the U.S. automaker’s stock to ‘outperform’ on EV transition. Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp slipped 0.7% and 0.6%, respectively, tracking crude prices. Meanwhile, Chinese technology ADRs climbed as jitters in the wake of President Xi Jinping’s regulatory crackdowns fade. Netflix’s global sensation “Squid Game” helped lure more customers than expected, the world’s largest streaming service said as it predicted a packed lineup would further boost signups through the end of the year. Its shares, however, fell 2.7% after hitting a record high earlier this month and gaining 18.2% year-to-date. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Chinese tech stocks listed in the U.S. rally in premarket with Hong Kong peers as jitters in the wake of President Xi Jinping’s regulatory crackdowns fade; Pinduoduo (PDD US) +1.7%; Didi (DIDI US) +1.3% Alibaba (BABA US) jumped 6.7% in Hong Kong after reports that founder Jack Ma has traveled abroad for the first time in a year United Airlines (UAL US) gains 2% in U.S. premarket trading after the airline posted a narrower loss than expected despite the impact of the coronavirus delta variant. Cowen notes that 3Q was better than expected and also ahead of management’s last guidance from early September Novavax (NVAX US) shares fall as much as 25% in U.S. premarket trading after Politico reported a potential delay in registering its Covid-19 vaccine candidate with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in connection with inadequate purity levels Vinco Ventures (BBIG US) shares slump 15% in premarket trading after the company reported the resignations of Chief Executive Officer Christopher Ferguson and Chief Financial Officer Brett Vroman Ford (F US) shares gain 1.7% premarket after Credit Suisse upgrades to outperform with joint Street-high target of $20 following a significant turnaround over the past year Stride (LRN US) gained 7.9% Tuesday postmarket after the education company forecast revenue for the full year that beat the highest analyst estimate WD-40 (WDFC US) sank 10% in postmarket trading after forecasting earnings per share for 2022 that missed the average analyst estimate Omnicom (OMC US) fell 3% in postmarket trading after third quarter revenue fell short of some analyst estimates Canadian National (CNI US) U.S.-listed shares rose 4.6% in postmarket trading after reporting adjusted earnings per share for the third quarter that beat the average analyst estimate Akero Therapeutics (AKRO US) shares rose as much as 12% in Tuesday extended trading after co. said the U.S Verizon Communication, Abbott Laboratories, Tesla Inc, Kinder Morgan and IBM are set to report their earnings later in the day.  Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to rise 32.4% from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv data, while also keeping a close eye on growth outlook from companies that are faced with rising costs, labor shortages and supply chain disruptions. “Investor response to the latest set of earnings reports has been a touch hit and miss with supply chain issues dogging both Procter and Gamble and Philip Morris,” wrote Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell in a client note. “After six quarters of beating earnings expectations, the focus may now shift to forward guidance for 2022 and away from the likely better than expected results for this quarter,” Clive Emery, a multi asset fund manager at Invesco said in a note. “If CEOs are more conservative, this could dent market pricing – especially after such strong moves in equity markets over the last 18 months.” In Europe, stocks were also little changed as gains in food and beverage stocks offset losses in miners which are some of the region’s steepest decliners as base metals slip after China launched a blitz of measures to tackle the energy crisis. The Stoxx Europe 600 basic resources index drops 2% as of 10:56am in London, worst performance among Stoxx 600 sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Falck Renewables shares rise as much as 15% after Infrastructure Investments Fund agreed to buy Falck SpA’s 60% stake in the company at EU8.81/share. IIF will launch a mandatory cash tender offer for Falck Renewables’ remaining share capital after the transaction. Husqvarna shares advance as much as 7.7%, the most intraday since May 2020, after reporting 3Q operating profit that Pareto Securities says is “substantially” stronger than expected. Getinge shares jump as much as 8.1% to a record high, leading the OMX Stockholm 30 index, after 3Q earnings which Handelsbanken (hold) says showed “impressive” order intake and operating leverage. Deliveroo shares jump as much as 4.9% to their highest level since Sept. 30, after the U.K. online food delivery firm hikes its growth forecast, which Jefferies says is an “aspiration” for players in the sector. Nestle shares advance as much as 3.9% after the world’s largest food company increased its sales outlook for the year. This along with the lack of a negative margin update “should be enough to reassure,” according to Citigroup. AutoStore Holdings shares jumped as much as 15% in its Oslo trading debut after pricing shares at the top end of the marketed range as an online shopping boom and labor shortages drive up demand for its automated warehouse robots. Kering SA shares tumbled as much as 5.8% after slowing growth at Gucci, its biggest brand, put more pressure on the label’s new collection to deliver a strong holiday season. Antofagasta shares slump as much as 6.3%, most intraday for two months, after the miner guides for lower copper production next year. Citi and Morgan Stanley analysts say 2022 outlook came in below expectations Kuehne + Nagel shares fall as much as 4.7% to their lowest level in five months after working- capital concerns outweighed a 3Q earnings beat for Swiss logistics operator. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced with Hong Kong-listed tech shares extending their rally to a fourth day, buoyed by encouraging U.S. earnings and growing optimism that the strictest of China’s new regulations on tech firms may already be announced.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.7%, powered by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which closed up 6.7%. The equity gauge also climbed after Johnson & Johnson raised its profit forecast and Netflix Inc. reported a jump in subscribers. Hong Kong and Australia were among the top-performing markets.  “Asian stocks appear to be taking their cue from the U.S. earnings season and are being bought on the back of the nascent technical confirmation,” said Justin Tang, the head of Asian research at United First Partners. The regional benchmark has gained 5% over the past two weeks as the earnings season progresses and inflation and supply chain worries ease. The measure is close to surpassing its 100-day moving average. Coal stocks listed in mainland China slumped after the nation’s top economic planner said it’s studying ways to intervene in the coal market as the government tries to rein in rising prices and curtail shortfalls. Meanwhile, expectations are falling that China’s central bank will ease monetary policy by cutting the amount of cash banks have to hold in reserve, according to a front-page story from the central bank’s own newspaper. Japanese equities eked out a second day of gains, driven by advances in telecommunications providers. Banks were also among the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose less than 0.1%. SoftBank Group and Fast Retailing were the largest contributors to a 0.1% gain in the Nikkei 225. U.S. equities extended a rally on Tuesday as solid corporate results helped counter concerns stemming from elevated inflation. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5% to 7,413.70, its highest close since Sept. 16. Banks boosted the index as a subgauge of financials hit a four-year peak. Kogan.com rallied after the company reported gross sales for the first quarter of A$330.5 million vs. A$273 million y/y. Whitehaven plunged after China’s top economic planner said it is studying ways to intervene in the coal market as the government tries to rein in rising prices and curtail shortfalls. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.4% to 13,114.24 In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index is little changed in London trade following yesterday’s slide and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers. The Treasury curve held on to yesterday’s steepening as the 2-year yield fell a second day, while the 10- year yield was steady after earlier rising to 1.67% for the first time since May. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer as it fell from the European open, after yesterday reaching a four-month high versus the dollar. The pound slipped, reversing modest gains, after the U.K.’s September inflation reading came in lower than expectations; still, it’s well beyond the Bank of England’s target and it’s the last before the rate decision in November. Australia’s led G-10 gains and the sovereign bond curve bear steepened, tracking yesterday’s Treasury moves. The yen fell to weakest level in almost four years as traders added to bets on Fed rate hikes and rising oil prices boosted concern about the Japanese trade deficit. China’s offshore yuan extends its overnight softness after a weaker than expected fixing, with USD/CNH 0.25% higher. In rates, treasuries were narrowly mixed and off lows reached during Asia session after being led higher during European morning by gilts, where short maturities outperform. The 10-year TSY yield touched 1.67%, the highest level since May. The treasury futures rally stalled after a block sale in 10-year contracts, apparently fading strength. Treasury curve pivots around a little-changed 10-year sector, with front-end yields slightly richer on the day, long-end slightly cheaper; 5s30s, steeper by 2bp, extends rebound from Monday’s multimonth low; U.K. 10-year yield is lower by nearly 4bp. U.S. session includes 20-year bond auction.   Bunds and gilts ground higher in quiet trade, with curves having a small steepening bias. Long end USTs cheapen 1bp, gilts richen ~2.5bps at the short end. Peripheral spreads are marginally tighter to Germany. Italy’s green BTP syndication is well received with final books over EU48b. European equities fade a small opening dip to trade little changed. Price action is quiet, V2X drops toward 16 In commodities, crude futures drift lower. WTI drops 0.9% near $82.20, Brent is 1% lower holding above $84. Spot gold slowly extends Asia’s gains, rising $9 to trade near $1,780/oz. Most base metals are under pressure with LME copper and aluminum underperforming peers. In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin stood at $64,068, near its all-time peak of $64,895 as the first U.S. bitcoin futures-based exchange-traded fund began trading on Tuesday Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases include the UK and Canadian CPI readings for September, alongside the German PPI reading for the same month. From central banks, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and we’ll hear from the Fed’s Bostic, Kashkari, Evans, Bullard and Quarles, as well as the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson, Holzmann and Visco. Finally, today’s earnings releases include Tesla, Verizon Communications, Abbott Laboratories, NextEra Energy and IBM. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,509.50 MXAP up 0.4% to 200.82 MXAPJ up 0.5% to 661.79 Nikkei up 0.1% to 29,255.55 Topix little changed at 2,027.67 Hang Seng Index up 1.4% to 26,136.02 Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,587.00 Sensex down 0.6% to 61,343.39 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,413.67 Kospi down 0.5% to 3,013.13 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 468.88 German 10Y yield rose 8.5 bps to -0.115% Euro little changed at $1.1628 Brent Futures down 0.9% to $84.32/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,777.33 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.80 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said there won’t be a fresh lockdown of the U.K. economy even as Covid-19 cases tick upwards and Prime Minister Boris Johnson warns of a difficult winter ahead The recovery in France and in Europe “remains very strong,” Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau says on Wednesday during a National Assembly finance committee hearing The yen’s tough year is only going to get tougher as a rising tide of oil prices and global yields threatens to send Japan’s currency past 115 per dollar for the first time since 2017 PBOC Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng says financial activities by China’s property sector and financial market prices are gradually becoming normal, China Business News reports, citing a speech at a forum in Beijing Sinic Holdings Group Co. became the latest Chinese real estate firm to default as investors wait to see whether China Evergrande Group Inc. will meet overdue interest payments on dollar bonds this week A more detailed look at global markets from Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as the region took its cue from the extended gains on Wall Street where sentiment was underpinned amid encouraging earnings results and with some hopes for a breakthrough on reconciliation as the White House and Democrats continued deliberations. ASX 200 (+0.5%) was led higher by outperformance in tech and with nearly all of its sectors in the green, while there were also gains seen in some of the blue-chip miners and across the big four banks. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was lifted by the weaker currency and following better than expected Exports and Imports data, although the index stalled just shy of the 29.5k level, while KOSPI (-0.5%) failed to hold on to opening gains with confirmation from North Korea that it fired a new submarine launched ballistic missile on Tuesday. Hang Seng (+1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) were varied whereby Hong Kong was boosted by tech and health care with Alibaba leading the advances after it recently unveiled China’s most advanced chip and with its founder Jack Ma travelling abroad for the first time in over a year who is currently on a study tour in Spain. Conversely, the mainland was subdued alongside weakness in domestic commodity prices and despite a firmer liquidity effort by the PBoC, while the central bank provided no surprises in maintaining its benchmark Loan Prime Rates unchanged for the 18th consecutive month and a PBoC-backed paper also noted that expectations for a RRR cut during Q4 have eased. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid spillover selling from global peers and recent curve steepening in US which desks attributed to positioning and upcoming supply, although the downside for JGBs was limited by the presence of the BoJ in the market for nearly JPY 1.4tln of JGBs heavily concentrated in 1yr-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Abu Dhabi’s Top Fund Backs Indonesia’s Largest Internet Firm Singapore Category E COE Price Rises to Highest Since Oct. 2013 China’s Liu He Says Property Market Risks Are Controllable: 21st Rio’s New CEO Starts Turnaround With $7.5 Billion Climate Pledge It’s been a choppy start to the session for European equities (Euro Stoxx 50 flat; Stoxx 600 flat) as opening losses were quickly trimmed after the cash open. Stocks in Europe were unable to benefit from the constructive APAC handover, which itself benefitted from a strong Wall St close as stocks in the US gained for a fifth consecutive session. As it stands, US equity index futures are relatively flat as indices succumb to the choppy price action with events on Capitol Hill not providing much guidance for price action as lawmakers strive to reach a deal on spending by the end of the week. Back to Europe and sectoral performance is somewhat mixed with clear outperformance in the Food & Beverage sector as earnings from Swiss heavyweight Nestle (+3.2%) provides support and prompts upside in the SMI (+0.7%). Nestle reported a beat on 9M revenues and raised FY guidance amid performance of coffee and pet food sales, whilst noting that it increased pricing in a “responsible manner” during Q3. Elsewhere in Switzerland, Roche (-1.0%) also beat on revenues and raised guidance but was unable to benefit from a lift in its share price. To the downside, Basic Resources lag amid softness in some base metals prices as well as a production update from Antofagasta (-4.2%) and a broker downgrade for Rio Tinto (-4.0%). Retail names are also trading on a softer footing after Q3 earnings from Kering (-4.0%) saw the Co. report a decline in consolidated revenues and note that performance for Gucci was hit by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Asia. H&M (-2.7%) is also weighing on the sector after a broker downgrade at Morgan Stanley. Elsewhere, Deliveroo (+3%) is seeing upside today after the Co. upgraded Gross Transaction Value (GTV) growth guidance. Additionally, in what has been a tough week for the Co., IAG (-3.6%) is seeing further losses after being downgraded at Peel Hunt. Finally, updates from the likes of materials name Akzo Nobel (supply chain woes) and semiconductor ASML (revenues fell short of expectations) have sent their shares lower by 1.5% and 1.7% respectively. Top European News Weidmann to to Step Down as Bundesbank Chief at End of Year Credit Suisse Dodges Bigger Fine With Debt-Forgiveness Vow Vinci Up After Reporting Higher 9m Sales; Guidance Confirmed Covid Tests Boost Roche Growth Once Again, Lifting Outlook In FX, the Index has recovered from yesterday's decline, which saw a base at 93.500 – matching the 32.8% Fib retracement of the September move, with the Index now eyeing the 21 DMA at 93.917 ahead of 94.000. The main stateside development has been on the fiscal front, where President Biden told Democrat lawmakers he believed they could secure an agreement for a tax and spending proposal valued at USD 1.75tln-1.90tln, whilst US progressive Democratic Rep. Jayapal said she feels even more optimistic after the White House meeting. As Republicans fully opposed Biden's plans, all Democrat votes are needed in the Senate, whilst only a few can be spared in the House. As a reminder, Congress set an Oct 31st deadline for the passage. Negotiations are expected to wrap up as soon as this week. Ahead, the stateside docket is quiet aside from several Fed regulars after the European close. NZD, AUD, CAD - The Kiwi stands as the current outperformer in a continuation of the strength seen as bets mount for a steeper RBNZ OCR hike at the upcoming meeting in light of the CPI metrics earlier this week. The NZD/USD pair also sees some technical tailwinds after failing to convincingly breach 0.7150 to the downside overnight. AUD/USD meanwhile eyes 0.7500 to the upside from a 0.7466 base with some potential support seen as China taps into Aussie coal amid surging demand. USD/CAD dips below 1.2350 but remains within yesterday's 1.2309-76 range ahead of Canadian CPI later – with headline Y/Y expected to tick higher to 4.3% from 4.1%. EUR, GBP - Both flat vs the Dollar and against each other. Sterling saw some mild weakness as UK CPI narrowly missed expectations at 3.1% vs exp. 3.2% for the headline Y/Y, in turn prompting market pricing to ease a touch as the dust settled – with the implied rate for the 4th Nov meeting modestly under 25bps vs 25.71bps heading into the release. That being said, the slight miss is likely not to provide enough ammunition for the BoE doves, whilst the hawks will likely continue to warn the dangers of persistently high inflation – ultimately not settling the debate on the MPC regarding how soon it should raise rates. GBP/USD fell back under its 100 DMA (1.3805) from a 1.3814 high. From a technical standpoint, aside from yesterday's 1.3833 peak, the pair sees the 200 DMA at 1.3846. EUR/USD meanwhile rebounded off its 21 DMA (1.1615) but remains under 1.1669 high, having seen little reaction to the unrevised Y/Y final EZ CPI metrics, although the M/M metrics were revised slightly higher as expected. Elsewhere, it is worth noting that ECB-hawk Weidmann has submitted his resignation to the Bundesbank and the ECB ahead of next week's Governing Council confab. JPY - The JPY is relatively flat intraday, but overnight price action was interesting as USD/JPY drifted to a high of 114.69, with participants recently flagging barriers just ahead of 115.00. Some have also cited Gatobi demand, where accounts In commodities, WTI and Brent Dec futures are marginally softer on the day in a continuation of the downward trajectory during US hours yesterday. WTI has dipped below USD 82/bbl (vs high USD 82.60/bbl) while its Brent counterpart hovers around USD 84.50/bbl (vs high USD 85.20/bbl). The subdued prices come amid a larger-than-expected build in Private inventories, although the internals were bullish, with the DoEs headline expected to print a build of some 1.8mln bbls. Elsewhere, the Iraqi energy minister has been vocal throughout the session, saying he expects oil prices to reach USD 100/bbl in Q1 and Q2 2022 – in contrast to comments he made last week which suggested that oil price is unlikely to increase further; whilst he also recently noted oil prices between USD 75-80/bbl is a fair price for producers and consumers. The Iraqi minister today said it is preferable for long-term oil prices between USD 75-85/bbl, and OPEC+ is now discussing ways to balance oil prices but no decision has yet been made to add more production above the agreed levels. Elsewhere, following India’s call on OPEC yesterday to lower prices, India’s HPCL executive says current oil prices are high for India; USD 60-70/bbl is comfortable and high oil prices may impact demand growth. Over to metals spot gold resides around its 50 DMA at USD 1,778/oz while spot silver eyes USD 24/bbl to the upside. Overnight, China’s coal intervention saw prices slump – with thermal coal futures hitting limit down and coke futures opening lower by 9%. LME copper prices are also softer, with the contract briefly dipping under USD 10k/t overnight. US Event Calendar 7am: Oct. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 0.2% Oct. 20-Oct. 22: Sept. Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$59b, prior -$124.6b 2pm: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Whilst inflation concerns are still very much bubbling under the surface of markets, risk appetite strengthened further yesterday thanks in no small part to decent earnings reports. There are no signs of widespread erosions of margins at the moment. Perhaps there is so much money sloshing about that for now prices are broadly being passed on. We’ll get a better picture of this as the earnings season develops. Indeed, the selloff from September feels like an increasingly distant memory now, with the S&P 500 (+0.74%) advancing for a 5th consecutive session to leave the index just 0.38% beneath all-time closing high from early September. Earlier Europe’s STOXX 600 (+0.33%) also moved higher. In the US, earnings supported sentiment yet again. 10 of the 11 companies reporting during New York trading beating estimates, whilst all 4 of the after-hours reporting beat as well. That brings the total number of reporters for the season thus far to 57, 50 of whom have beat earnings expectations. Most sectors were higher yesterday, with health care (+1.31%), utilities (+1.26%), and energy (+1.14%) leading the way; only consumer discretionary (-0.29%) lagged. We even saw the FANG+ index (+1.56%) of megacap tech stocks hit a new record ahead of Tesla’s earnings today, whilst the NASDAQ (+0.72%) was also up for a 5th consecutive session. Equities may be brushing off the inflation stories for now but they are hardly going away, as yesterday saw oil prices climb to fresh multi-year highs. Brent Crude was up +0.89% to close above $85/bbl for the first time since 2018, whilst WTI (+0.63%) similarly advanced to close just shy of $83/bbl, a mark not reached since 2014. And investor expectations of future inflation are still moving higher in many places, with the Euro Area 5y5y forward inflation swap up +4.0bps to 1.90%, also the highest level since 2014. Against this backdrop, sovereign bonds continued to selloff on both sides of the Atlantic, even though investors slightly pared back some of their Monday bets on near-term rate hikes by the Fed and the BoE. 10yr yields moved higher across the board, with those on Treasuries up +3.7bps to 1.64%, their highest closing level since early June, just as those on bunds (+4.3bps), OATs (+4.3bps) and BTPs (+4.8bps) similarly moved higher. It was a more divergent picture at the 2yr horizon however, with those on 2yr Treasuries down -3.0bps after five days of increases, whereas those on gilts were up +1.0bps. Watch out for UK inflation numbers shortly after this hits your inboxes although this may be the calm (due to base effects) before the inflationary storm in the coming months. From central banks, we had the latest global hike yesterday in Hungary, where the base rate was raised by 15bps to 1.80%, in line with consensus expectations, with Deputy Governor Virag saying afterwards that this monetary tightening was set to carry on into next year. However, we did get some pushback to recent market pricing from ECB chief economist Lane, who said that “If you look at market pricing of the forward interest rate curve, I think it’s challenging to reconcile some of the market views with our pretty clear rate forward guidance”. This didn’t really hit fixed income but it did see the euro pare back some of its gains against the US dollar yesterday, ending the session up just +0.08%, down from an intraday high of +0.51%. Asian equities have followed those moves higher overnight, with the Hang Seng (+1.71%), Nikkei (+0.27%), CSI (+0.08%) and Shanghai Composite (+0.03%) all trading higher, although the KOSPI (-0.11%) has lost ground. China’s property market continues to be in focus after home prices fell -0.08% in September, which is their first monthly decline since April 2015. Separately, Chinese coal futures (-8.00%) have snapped a run of 8 consecutive gains this morning after the country’s National Development and Reform Commission said that it wanted to ensure a rise in coal output to 12m tons per day, and that they would also be looking at other measures to intervene in the market. Outside of Asia, equity futures are pointing slightly lower, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.03%. The pandemic hasn’t been a major influence on markets in recent weeks but there may be some initial signs that the global decline in cases that we’ve seen since late August has stopped. Looking at data from John Hopkins University, the rolling weekly change in confirmed cases has ticked up on each of Saturday, Sunday and Monday. And although we shouldn’t over-interpret a few days’ numbers, we had already seen the rate of decline slow for 3 successive weeks now, which was probably to be expected given the time of year. We’re certainly coming up to a key period where a more indoor northern hemisphere life will combine with waning vaccine effectiveness to test the resolve of the authorities to maintain relatively restriction-free economies. Boosters may be key here. Once we get past this winter things may get easier particularly with new medicines in the pipeline like the viral pill from Merck that trials showed reduced hospitalisations and deaths by around half. On the data front, US housing starts fell to an annualised rate of 1.555m in September (vs. 1.615m expected), whilst building permits also fell to an annualised rate of 1.589m (vs. 1.680m expected). The previous month’s numbers were also revised down for both. Finally in the US, after an acrimonious weekend, Senators Sanders and Manchin expressed optimism they could agree on a framework for the next reconciliation bill by the end of the week in bilateral negotiations, which is set to contain a number of President Biden’s key legislative goals. To the day ahead now, and data releases include the UK and Canadian CPI readings for September, alongside the German PPI reading for the same month. From central banks, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and we’ll hear from the Fed’s Bostic, Kashkari, Evans, Bullard and Quarles, as well as the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson, Holzmann and Visco. Finally, today’s earnings releases include Tesla, Verizon Communications, Abbott Laboratories, NextEra Energy and IBM. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/20/2021 - 07:59.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report US equity-index drifted in a tight range overnight, in a tight range before key jobs data that could provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy. As noted in our preview, unless the jobs report is a disaster, it will virtually assure the Fed launches tapering in one month. Markets drifted higher on Thursday after the Senate averted the risk of an immediate default, pushing global stocks on course for their best week since early September, but a late day selloff wiped away most gains and closed spoos below the critical 4400 level. At 07:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.10%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.00 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.07%. Treasury Yields were 1 point higher after earlier tagging 1.60%, the highest since June. The dollar was flat while Brent topped $83 before paring gains. Bitcoin traded above $55,000. Uncertainty over the debt ceiling negotiations and a run-up in U.S. Treasury yields over elevated inflation were major concerns among investors earlier this week, injecting volatility in equity markets this week. High-growth FAAMG stocks slipped in premarket trading following sharp gains in previous session. Energy firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil gained about 0.8% tracking crude prices, while major U.S. lenders also edged up as the benchmark 10-year yield hit its highest level since June 4. Here are some of the biggest movers and stocks to watch today: Tesla (TSLA US) shares in focus after Elon Musk says a global shortage of chips and ships is the only thing standing in the way of the company maintaining sales growth in excess of 50% Sundial Growers (SNDL US) shares rise as much as 19% in U.S. premarket after the Canadian cannabis producer said it will buy liquor and pot retailer Alcanna for $276m in stock Allogene Therapeutics (ALLO US) plunges 36% in U.S. premarket trading after an early-stage study of its cell therapy was put on hold by U.S. regulators Prelude Therapeutics (PRLD US) fell in U.S. premarket trading, adding to Thursday’s 40% plunge on early- stage data for the company’s experimental cancer treatments that Barclays says came in below expectations Vaxart (VXRT US) rises 8% in U.S. premarket trading after its oral tablet vaccine candidate cut transmission of Covid-19 in animals, according to data from a study led by Duke University Faraday Future (FFIE US) slides 4% in U.S. premarket trading after J Capital says it is short on the stock. The short-seller says they don’t think the company “will ever sell a car” Codiak Biosciences (CDAK US) shares fell 6% in Thursday postmarket trading after disclosing that Sarepta Therapeutics is terminating a research license and option agreement Agile Therapeutics (AGRX US) tumbled Thursday postmarket after the women’s health-care company said that it intends to offer and sell shares of its common stock, as well as warrants to purchase shares of its common stock, in an underwritten public offering Looking to today's main event, economists expect September hiring to have surged by 500,000 jobs as the summer wave of COVID-19 infections began to subside, and as millions of Americans no longer receive jobless benefits, positioning the Fed to start scaling back its monthly bond buying.  “All roads lead to non-farm payrolls data which will decide, in the market’s minds, whether the start of the Fed taper is a done deal for December,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. “I do not believe that markets have priced in the Fed taper and its implications to any large degree yet. Even a weak number probably only delays the inevitable for another month.” Even “reasonably soft” payrolls and unemployment figures wouldn’t be enough to change the minds of its officials, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “Only a shockingly low figure could do that,” she said. “The persistent rise in oil prices can only continue boosting inflation fears and the central bank hawks, limiting the upside potential in case of a further recovery in stocks.” “As soon as you start thinking about tapering it’s really hard to not then think about what that means for the Fed funds rate and when that might start to increase,” Kim Mundy, currency strategist and international economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney, said on Bloomberg Television. “We do see scope that markets can start to price in a more aggressive Fed funds rate hike cycle.” In Europe, tech companies led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.2%, with energy stocks and carmakers being the only industry groups with meaningful gains. Chip stocks fell, especially Apple suppliers, following a profit warning from Asian peer and fellow supplier AAC Technologies. On the other end, European travel stocks rose after U.K. confirmed the travel “red list” will be cut to just seven countries; British Airways parent IAG and TUI led the advances. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Daimler shares gains as much as 3.2%, outperforming peers, after UBS upgrades stock to buy from neutral, calling it an earnings momentum story that stands to gain from strong demand, electrification trends and its future focus on passenger cars. Adler shares rise as much as 13% after shareholder Aggregate sells a call option to Vonovia for a 13.3% stake in the German real estate investment firm at a strike price of EU14 per share. Cewe Stiftung shares jump as much as 4.2%, their best day in over three months, after the photography services firm gets a new buy rating at Hauck & Aufhaeuser. Weir shares fall as much as 6.3%, to the lowest since Nov. 13, after the U.K. machinery maker announced that a ransomware attack will affect full-year profitability; Jefferies says it’s unlikely that guidance beyond that will be revised. Zur Rose slumps as much as 9.2% after Berenberg downgrades the Swiss online pharmacy to hold from buy, citing the expected negative impact from a delay in the implementation of mandatory e-prescriptions in Germany. Czech digital-payments provider Eurowag shares slide as much as 10% as it starts trading in London, after pricing its IPO below an initial range and making its debut a day later than planned. Asian stocks rose for a second day as China’s market reopened higher and the U.S. Senate approved a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 1% in a rally led by consumer discretionary shares. Alibaba and Tencent were among the biggest contributors to the gauge’s climb. Shares in mainland China surged more than 1% as investors returned from the Golden Week holiday. Chinese property shares fell after a report that more than 90% of China’s top 100 property developers’ sales declined in September by an average of 36% from the same period last year, while investor concerns about developers’ liquidity rose after Fantasia bonds were suspended from trading. In mainland: CSI 300 Real Estate Index drops as much as 2%, Seazen Holdings falls as much as 5%, Poly Developments -4%. Asia’s stock benchmark is slightly down for the week, as rising bond yields weighed on tech-heavy indexes in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The gauge is down more than 1% this month amid an energy shortage in China and India.  “Markets may not want to commit directionally” given that we have non-farm payrolls data on the docket, making a follow-through of today’s rally suspect, said Ilya Spivak, the head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. Traders are expecting today’s U.S. employment data to provide clues on the direction of the world’s largest economy. On Thursday, the U.S. averted what would have been its first default on a debt payment. Most major benchmarks in Asia climbed, led by Japan, Indonesia and Australia. India’s central bank kept its lending rates at a record low at a policy meeting today. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9% to close at 7,320.10. All industry groups edged higher. The benchmark rose 1.9% for the week, the biggest weekly gain since early August. Miners led the charge, having the best week since July, banks the best since the start of March. EML Payments tumbled after an update on its Ireland subsidiary from the country’s central bank. Chalice Mining continued its rebound, finishing the session the strongest performer in the mining subgauge.  There is a risk of excessive borrowing due to low interest rates and rising house prices, Reserve Bank of Australia said in its semiannual Financial Stability Review released Friday. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 13,086.60 In rates, Treasury futures remained under pressure after paring declines that pushed 10-year yield as high as 1.5995% during European morning, highest since June 4; the 1.60% zone is thought to have potential to spur next wave of convexity hedging. U.K. 10-year is higher by 4bp, German by 2.3bp - gilts underperformed, weighing on Treasuries as money markets continue to bring forward BOE rate-hike expectations. During U.S. session, September jobs report may seal case for Fed taper announcement in November.  In FX, the greenback traded in a narrow range versus G10 peers while 10-year Treasury yields approached 1.6%, outperforming Bunds.  Gilt yields rose 5-6bps across the curve; demand for downside protection in the pound eases this week as the U.K. currency moves off cycle lows amid money markets repricing. U.K. wage growth rose at its strongest pace on record in a survey of job recruiters, indicating strains from a shortage of workers are persisting. Turkish lira initially weakens above 8.96/USD before recouping half of its losses In commodities, oil extended a rebound, on track for a seventh weekly gain. Crude futures pushed to the best levels for the week. WTI rises 1.5% near $79.50, Brent pops back on to a $83-handle. Spot gold trades a $5 range near $1,757/oz. Base metals are mostly positive, with LME nickel gaining over 3.5%. Looking at the day ahead, the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,389.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 457.18 MXAP up 0.4% to 194.72 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 636.80 Nikkei up 1.3% to 28,048.94 Topix up 1.1% to 1,961.85 Hang Seng Index up 0.6% to 24,837.85 Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 3,592.17 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,070.61 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,320.09 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,956.30 Brent Futures up 1.4% to $83.09/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,756.25 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 German 10Y yield up +3.4 bps to -0.151% Euro little changed at $1.1549 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Global talks to reshape the corporate tax landscape are set to resume on Friday after Ireland’s decision to adhere to the world consensus on a minimum rate removed one hurdle to an agreement that still hangs in the balance Germany’s Social Democrats hailed a positive start in their effort to form a government after their first meeting with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats A U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine struck an object while submerged in international waters in the Indo- Pacific region last week, the Navy said, adding that no life- threatening injuries were reported China drained the most short- term liquidity from the banking system in a year on a net basis as it reduced support after a week-long holiday. Government bond futures slid by the most since August China’s central bank will continue to push for the reform of its benchmark loan rate and make deposit rates more market-based, according to a senior official India’s central bank surprised markets by suspending its version of quantitative easing, signaling the start of tapering pandemic-era stimulus measures as an economic recovery takes hold U.K. government bond yields have climbed to levels last seen before the Brexit referendum in 2016 relative to German peers, as traders brace for inflation in Britain over the next decade to far outpace the rate in Europe’s largest economy A detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly higher as the region conformed to the global upbeat mood after the agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling which the Senate approved, with the overnight bourses also invigorated by the return of China and strong Caixin PMI data. The ASX 200 (+0.9%) was led higher by strength in mining names with underlying commodity prices boosted as Chinese buyers flocked back to market which helped the ASX disregard a record increase in daily COVID-19 cases in Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+1.3%) was the biggest gainer and reclaimed the 28k level as exporters benefitted from a softer currency, while attention turns to PM Kishida who will outline his policy program today and is reportedly planning to present an additional budget after the election. Furthermore, there were recent comments from an ally of the new PM who suggested that capital gains tax could be raised to 25% from the current 20% without affecting stock prices, although this failed to dent the mood in Tokyo and weaker than expected Household Spending was also brushed aside. The gains for the KOSPI (-0.1%) were later reversed alongside the tentative price action in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics after its Q3 prelim. results showed oper. profit likely rose to its highest in three years but missed analysts’ forecasts. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.7%) were mixed with the latter jubilant on reopen from the Golden Week holiday after improved Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which both returned to expansionary territory. This helped mainland stocks overlook the recent developer default fears and largest daily liquidity drain by the PBoC since October last year, although Hong Kong initially lagged amid heavy Northbound Stock Connect trade. Finally, 10yr JGBs declined on spillover selling from T-notes and with havens shunned amid the gains across riskier assets, although downside in JGBs was limited given the BoJ’s presence in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Steadies Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Report as Yields Climb Investors Fear Tax Talk in Kishida’s ‘New Japanese Capitalism’ China Coal Prices Plunge as Producers Vow to Ease Shortages China Developer Stocks Fall After Report of Monthly Sales Drop An initially contained to marginally-firmer European cash open followed an upbeat APAC handover (ex-Hang Seng) was short-lived with bourses coming under moderate pressure; Euro Stoxx 600 -0.3%. As such, major indices are all in the red, except for of the UK FTSE 100 which is essentially unchanged and bolstered by strength in heavy-weight energy and mining names given broader price action the return of China. Sectors were initially mixed at the open, but in-fitting with the action in indices, has turned to a predominantly negative performance ex-energy. Crossing to the US, futures have directionally been following European peers, but the magnitude has been more contained, with the ES unchanged as we await the September labour market report for any read across to the Fed’s policy path; however, officials have already made it clear that it would have to be a very poor report to spark a deviation from its announced intentions, where it is expected to announce an asset purchase tapering in November. Returning to Europe, Daimler (+2.5%) stands out in the individual stocks space, firmer after a broker upgrade and notable price target lift at UBS; Marks & Spencer (+1.5%) is also supported on broker action. To the downside lies Weir Group (-3.0%) after reports of a ransomware attack. Top European News Adler’s Largest Shareholder Sells Option on Stake to Vonovia; A Controversial Tycoon Sits on Adler’s $9 Billion Pile of Debt Chip Stocks Drag Tech Gauge Lower as Asian Apple Supplier Warns European Gas Rises as Bumpy Ride Continues With Cold Air Coming Lira Weakens to Fresh Low as Rising U.S. Yields Add Pressure In FX, the Dollar is trying to regroup and firm up again after its latest downturn amidst a further rebound in US Treasury yields, more pronounced curve re-steepening, and perhaps some relief that the Senate finally passed the debt ceiling extension bill, albeit by a slender margin and only delaying the issue until early December. Looking at the DXY as a benchmark, a marginally higher low above 94.000 and lower high below 94.500 is keeping the index contained as the clock ticks down to September’s jobs report that is expected to show a recovery in hiring after the prior month’s shortfall, but anecdotal data has been rather mixed to offer little clear pointers for the bias around consensus - full preview of the latest BLS release is available via the Research Suite under the Ad-hoc Economic Analysis section. From a technical perspective, near term support for the DXY resides at 94.077 (vs the current 94.139 base) and resistance sits at 94.448 (compared to a 94.338 intraday high). TRY - A double whammy for the already beleaguered Lira as oil prices come back to the boil and ‘sources’ suggest that Turkish President Erdogan’s patience is wearing thin with the latest CBRT Governor as the Bank waited until September to cut rates. Recall, Erdogan has already ousted a CBRT chief for not loosening monetary policy in his belief that lowering the cost of borrowing will bring inflation down, and although the reports have been by a senior member of his administration there is a distinct feeling of no smoke without fire in the markets as Usd/Try remains bid having only held below 9.0000 by short distance between 8.9707-8.8670 parameters. CHF/JPY - No real surprise that the low yielders and funders are underperforming, even though broadly upbeat risk sentiment during APAC hours has not rolled over to the European session. The Franc has retreated to 0.9300 vs the Buck and Yen is trying to fend off pressure on the 112.00 handle after failing to sustain momentum through 111.50 before weaker than expected Japanese household spending data overnight. However, decent option expiry interest from 111.85-75 (1.4 bn) may weigh on Usd/Jpy pending the aforementioned US payrolls outcome. AUD - Some payback for the Aussie after Thursday’s outperformance, as Aud/Usd loses a bit more momentum following its rebound beyond 0.7300 and with hefty option expiries at 0.7335 (2.7 bn) capping the upside more than smaller size at the round number (1.1 bn) cushions the downside. In commodities, WTI and Brent remain on an upward trajectory after the mid-week pullback; as it stands, crude benchmarks are near fresh highs for the week, with WTI for November eyeing USD 80/bbl once again. Fresh news flow for the complex has been sparse, aside from substantial UK press focus on the domestic energy price cap potentially set to increase next year. More broadly, US officials have largely reiterated commentary from the Energy Department provided on Thursday around not currently intending act on energy costs with a reserve release. The session ahead has just the Baker Hughes rig count specifically for crude scheduled, though the complex may well get dragged into a broader risk move depending on the initial reaction to and analysis on NFP. For metals, spot gold and silver are contained around the unchanged mark and haven’t been affected by any significant amount by the firmer USD or elevated yield space thus far. Elsewhere, base metals are buoyed by China’s return and strong Caixin data from the region, although it is worth highlighting that the likes of LME copper are well off earlier highs. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 500,000, prior 235,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 450,000, prior 243,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 25,000, prior 37,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 5.1%, prior 5.2% Sept. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.8% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.8%, prior 61.7% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6% Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 4.6%, prior 4.3% 10am: Aug. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 0.9%, prior 2.0%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.2% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ve never quite understood why you’d go to the cinema if you’ve got a nice telly at home but such has been the nature of life over the last 19 months that I was giddy with excitement last night at booking tickets for James Bond at the local cinema next week. We’ve booked it on the same night as our first ever physical parents evening where I’ll maybe have the first disappointing clues that my three children aren’t going to be child prodigies and that maybe they’ll even have to settle for a career in finance! Markets have been stirred but not completely shaken this week and yesterday they continued to rebound thanks to the near-term resolution on the US debt ceiling alongside subsiding gas prices, which took the sting out of two of the most prominent risks for investors over the last couple of weeks. That provided a significant boost to risk appetite, and by the close of trade, the S&P 500 had recovered +0.83% in its 3rd consecutive move higher, which put it back to just -3.0% beneath its all-time high in early September, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 was also up +1.60% and closed before a later US sell-off. Attention will today focus squarely on the US jobs report at 13:30 London time, which is the last one before the Fed’s next decision in early November, where a potential tapering announcement is likely bar an extraordinarily poor number today, or an exogenous event in the next few weeks. Starting with the debt ceiling, yesterday saw Democratic and Republican Senators agree to pass legislation to raise the ceiling by enough to get to early December, meaning we won’t have to worry about it for another 8 whole weeks. The Senate voted 50-48 with no Republicans blocking the legislation to increase the debt limit by $480bn, with House Majority leader Hoyer saying that the House would convene on Tuesday to pass the measure as well. To raise it for a longer period, the chatter out of Washington made it clear that Democrats would need to need to raise the debt ceiling in a partisan manner as part of the reconciliation process. As we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, this extension means that a number of deadlines have now been punted into the year end, including the government funding and the debt ceiling (both now expiring the first Friday of December), just as the Democrats are also seeking to pass Biden’s economic agenda through a reconciliation bill containing much of their social proposals, alongside the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure package. And on top of that, we’ve also got the decision on whether Chair Powell will be re-nominated as Fed Chair, with the decision 4 years ago coming at the start of November. So a busy end to the year in DC. The other main story yesterday was the sizeable decline in European natural gas prices, with the benchmark future down -10.73% to post its biggest daily loss since August. Admittedly, they’re still up almost five-fold since the start of the year, but relative to their intraday peak on Wednesday they’ve now shed -37.5%. So nearly a double bear market all of a sudden! The moves follow Wednesday’s signal that Russia could supply more gas to Europe. However, even as energy prices were starting to fall back from their peak, the effects of inflation were being felt elsewhere, with the UN’s world food price index climbing to its highest level in a decade in September. Looking ahead, today’s main focus will be on the US jobs report for September later on. Last month the report significantly underwhelmed expectations, coming in at just +235k, which was well beneath the +733k consensus expectation and the slowest pace since January. That raised questions as to the state of the labour market recovery, and helped to complicate a potential decision on tapering, with nonfarm payrolls still standing over 5m beneath their pre-Covid peak. This month, our US economists are expecting a somewhat stronger +400k increase in nonfarm payrolls, which should see the unemployment rate tick down to a post-pandemic low of 5.1%. On the bright side at least, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for September on Wednesday came in at an above-forecast 568k (vs. 430k expected), while the weekly initial jobless claims out yesterday for the week through October 2 were beneath expectations at 326k (vs. 348k expected). Ahead of that, global equities posted a decent rebound across the board, with cyclicals leading the march higher on both sides of the Atlantic. As mentioned at the top, the S&P 500 advanced +0.83%, which was part of a broad-based advance that saw over 390 companies move higher on the day. That said the index was up as much as +1.5% in early US trading before slipping lower in the US afternoon. The pullback was partly due to new headlines that China’s central bank plans to continue addressing monopolistic actions in internet companies that operate in the payments sector. Nonetheless, Megacap tech stocks were among the big winners yesterday, with the FANG+ index up +2.08%, whilst the small-cap Russell 2000 index was also up +1.58%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+1.60%) posted its strongest daily gain since July, and the broader gains helped the STOXX Banks index (+1.61%) surpass its pre-pandemic high, taking it to levels not seen since April 2019, even as sovereign bond yields moved lower. Speaking of sovereign bonds, yesterday saw a divergent set of moves once again, with yields on 10yr Treasuries up +5.2bps to 1.573%, their highest level since June, whereas those across the European continent moved lower. The US increase came against the backdrop of that debt ceiling resolution, and there was a noticeable rise in yields for Treasury bills that mature in December, which is where the debt ceiling deadline has now been kicked to. Elsewhere in North America, the Bank of Canada’s Macklem joined the global central bank chorus and noted inflation pressures were likely to be temporary, even if they’ve been more persistent than previously expected. Meanwhile over in Europe, lower inflation expectations helped yields move lower, with those on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (-3.6bps) all moving back. Overnight in Asia, all markets are trading in the green with the Nikkei (+2.16%) leading the way, along with CSI (+1.34%), Shanghai Composite (+0.60%), KOSPI (+0.22%) and Hang Seng (+0.04%). Chinese markets reopened after a week-long holiday so the focus will again be back on property market debt, and today the PBOC injected just 10bn Yuan with its 7-day reverse repos, resulting in a net liquidity withdrawal of 330bn Yuan. That comes as the services and composite PMIs did see a pickup from August level, with the services PMI up to 53.4 (vs. 49.2 expected), moving back above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. In Japan however, household spending was down -3.0% year-on-year in August (vs. -1.2% expected) which came amidst a surge in the virus there. There’s also some news on the ESG front, with finance minister Shunichi Suzuki saying that the country would introduce ESG factors when considering the finance ministry’s foreign reserves. Looking forward, S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are pointing to a small move higher. In Germany, as talks got underway today on a potential traffic-light coalition, it was reported by DPA that CDU leader Armin Laschet had signalled his willingness to stand down, with the report citing unidentified participants from internal discussions. In televised remarks last night, Laschet said that his party needs fresh voices across the board and that new leadership will be in place soon. This moves comes as Germany’s Social Democratic Party held talks with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party to enact a new three-way ruling coalition, which would leave the CDU out of power entirely. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though German industrial production fell by -4.0% in August (vs. -0.5% expected), which follows the much weaker than expected data on factory orders the previous day. Elsewhere, the Manheim used car index increased +5.3% in September, its first positive reading in 4 months. Our US economics team points out that there tends to be around a two month lag between wholesale prices and CPI prints, so we aren’t likely to see this impact next week’s CPI print but it will likely prevent a bigger fall towards the end of the year. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report from the US. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Cashing In On a Cleaner Future

Tremendous amounts of capital are moving into renewable energy projects, but investors can still get in near the "ground floor of green". Ben Rains will show you how to profit from the clean energy revolution. The clean energy movement has been slowly building for decades, and the U.S. appears to finally be on the cusp of a paradigm shift. A mixture of public and private investment is ramping up to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. Various bills floating around Washington plan to dedicate billions of dollars to the cause.Greener energy is, of course, far from black and white. Beltway partisanship could certainly slow or curb any serious government spending on clean energy initiatives.Luckily, decades of microscopic progress, coupled with a more recent global push to go greener, means clean energy doesn’t need a trillion-dollar package to thrive. In fact, the U.S. is already much further along the green road than many might assume.The Biden administration set an ambitious goal to “generate clean, American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.” Many analysts and experts understand the goal is somewhat symbolic and is likely an attempt to spur faster adoption of cleaner energy.But the fact that a U.S. president can even float this lofty clean energy goal highlights the major progress already made. It also gives us a peek into the vast amounts of money that could soon flow into the clean, green, and renewable economic ecosystem.And despite the progress, investors still have a chance to get in near the ground floor of green.Continued . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------5 Infrastructure Stocks with Breakout Profit PotentialWith massive amounts of federal spending potentially on the way soon, a select number of infrastructure stocks are poised for a historic surge. Some stocks have doubled... tripled... even 6X’d the S&P – and the money hasn’t even started flowing yet.Zacks has just updated How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure, an urgent report to help investors take full advantage of this rare opportunity.Infrastructure stocks have recently soared as much as +81%... +150%... even +248%.¹ The 5 stocks in this report could rival those returns. Don't delay: this Special Report is only available until Sunday, September 26.See 5 Top Infrastructure Stocks Now >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Rather Green Already Renewable energy is far from modern, with various forms of hydropower dating back thousands of years. The first U.S. alternating current hydropower plant began delivering power in Redlands, California in 1893.Wind then began to pop up in the early 1990s, though it remained largely insignificant until the mid-2000s. Solar is the latest bloomer in the current crop of clean energy sources and it did not really arrive until the mid-2010s.Overall, renewables accounted for 20% of the total U.S. electricity generation mix last year, to put it right on par with nuclear energy and just inching ahead of coal. This figure alone might be rather shocking to many. Meanwhile, natural gas led the charge at 40%.Renewables account for one-fifth of total U.S. electricity generation and the EIA projects renewable’s share of the electricity generation mix will double by 2050, from 20% last year to 42%. The report predicts renewables will surpass natural gas over this stretch.More broadly, the International Energy Agency expects renewables will provide 80% of the growth in global electricity demand through 2030. The IEA projected global coal demand won’t ever return to its 2014 peak, as wealthy nations turn to cleaner alternatives.The Solar StoryClean and green energy is poised to grow its share of power generation in the U.S. and beyond in both the near term and for decades to come. That said, many stocks within the broader green space already experienced rather hyperbolic runs. Many of these stocks and broad-industry tracking ETFs soared off the coronavirus lows and then skyrocketed after the November election, only to tumble somewhat quickly back to earth.The logic followed that the new Biden administration would quickly pass trillion-dollar green-focused legislation and kick clean energy into high gear. Clearly this didn’t happen, and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate passed in August faces, as of this writing, some substantial hurdles.More importantly, not all companies are good investments. Many of the vogue ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) funds’ top holdings are mega-cap tech stocks. There are, of course, some names who boast strong businesses within key aspects of the nascent market.The simple numbers point to growth potential in wind and solar, with solar remaining the least utilized green energy source. In 2020, solar accounted for only 2.3% of total U.S. electricity generation, while hydropower made up 7.3% and wind grabbed 8.4%. Solar’s runway offers the most potential, but the right technology is needed in order to harness and store the power, especially in places where it’s not always sunny.Solar energy’s total share of the electricity market was less than 1% above biomass in 2020 and Wall Street isn’t trying to discover ways to pour money into the oldest form of energy. Solar technology remains largely in its infancy, which is why it’s an attractive space.Last year, solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions in the U.S. jumped 25% overall, with utility-scale up nearly 29% and small-scale up 19%. About 90% of solar panel shipments were imported, mostly from countries in Asia.The EIA projects solar will pick up the slack and account for 80% of the increase in generation through 2050.Where’s the Money... Projections are rarely precise, especially when looking decades out, yet it seems rather safe to say the future of energy consumption will be a lot greener. Wall Street is currently honing in on the best ways to profit from the new era of energy.The most basic investment pockets for clean energy at the moment are solar, wind, and ancillary segments. Even though solar panels themselves are the catch-all phrase and growing in popularity with businesses, governments, and homeowners, they are highly competitive and rather low-margin.Instead, Wall Street has gravitated to a slightly higher-tech and higher-margin segment of solar that converts the DC power solar photovoltaic panels produced into the AC power used in our homes and businesses. Some of the inverter stocks have skyrocketed over the last five years and have held up in 2021 even as many other companies faded following the epic rise to start the year.Inverters are essential to the solar energy ecosystem and a few of the standout names hold numerous patents on their various technologies. These firms have ample runway as solar energy grows in popularity, with many envisioning a smart-home future where solar panels power homes, electric cars (EV), and even allow consumers to sell electricity back to the grid.Companies are also currently working to expand power storage, EV charging, batteries, grid services solutions, and more. Firms able to successfully master the energy storage capabilities and capacity needed to support a much greener future will be stars.A Possible Sleeping Giant  Next-generation nuclear power could be a hidden investment gem in the coming decades.The U.S. is currently the world’s largest producer of nuclear power and it surpassed coal in annual electricity generation in the U.S. for the first time ever last year. In fact, nuclear energy provided 52% of America’s carbon-free electricity in 2020, making it the largest domestic source of clean energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.Yet, nuclear’s share of U.S. electrical generation has remained remarkably stagnant during the last several decades, having supplied around 20% of the nation’s electricity every year since 1990.The U.S. could be ready to invest in next-generation reactors, as consistent forms of non-fossil fuel power are needed to go along with wind, solar, and hydro. The recent craziness with uranium prices might be an early comeback signal.Profiting from the Clean Energy Revolution The push to make our nation greener is set to pump tremendous amounts of capital into renewable energy projects.If the bipartisan infrastructure bill is approved, it will be a powerful tailwind pushing the space forward. As it currently stands, the deal includes the largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history.But this is just one industry preparing for a big shift. The country needs upgraded infrastructure virtually across the board. The infrastructure bill has highlighted the need, and private investment is beginning to ramp up in response.A handful of stocks could generate significant profits in the weeks and months ahead, and I've just updated a special report to help you capitalize on them.How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure provides my top 5 recommendations for targeting significant gains, including:• A fast-growing clean energy firm that’s made a string of acquisitions across several states and Canada...• A powerful transportation company whose stock price has climbed 2X faster than its industry...• An iconic brand with a new CEO, a new focus on technology, and earnings that are projected to skyrocket 300%...• Plus 2 more stocks that could hand you substantial gains as America upgrades its infrastructure from coast to coast. Infrastructure stocks have already climbed as high as +249% in the past year, and the stocks in this report could rival those gains over time.Don’t delay. This Special Report is only available until Sunday, September 26.Click here to claim your copy of How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure >>Good Investing,Ben RainsStock Strategist¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position.  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 To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

Amgen (AMGN) Up 6.3% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

Amgen (AMGN) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues. It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Amgen (AMGN). Shares have added about 6.3% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Amgen due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.Q1 Earnings & Sales TopAmgen reported first-quarter 2022 earnings of $4.25 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.22. Earnings rose 15% year over year, driven by higher revenues and lower share count.Total revenues of $6.24 billion beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.06 billion. Total revenues rose 6% year over year, driven by growth in product sales and higher Other Revenue.Total product revenues rose 2% from the year-ago quarter to $5.73 billion (U.S.: $4.04 billion; ex-U.S.: $1.69 billion). Higher volumes were offset by lower selling prices of several drugs and currency headwinds.Volume-driven growth of Repatha, Prolia, and Evenity drove the top line in the quarter. However, pricing pressure and increased competition continue to hurt sales of some drugs as well as biosimilar products.The pandemic hurt sales globally in the first two months of the quarter, However, demand patterns improved in the United States in March and April with the impact of the pandemic in the United States receding.Sales of products like Otezla and Enbrel are historically lower in the first quarter relative to subsequent quarters in a year due to the impact of benefit plan changes, insurance re-verification and increased co-pay expenses as U.S. patients work through deductibles.Volumes rose 9% in the quarter offset by a 7% lower net selling price. Foreign exchange movement hurt sales by 2% in the quarter. Favorable changes to estimated sales deductions benefited sales by 2^ in the first quarter.Other revenues of $507 million rose 64% year over year, aided by Amgen’s COVID-19 antibody manufacturing collaboration.Performance of Key DrugsProlia revenues came in at $852 million, up 12% from the year-ago quarter, driven by double-digit volume growth as new and repeat patient volumes improved.Evenity recorded sales of $170 million in the quarter, up 59% year over year driven by strong volume growth.Xgeva delivered revenues of $502 million, up 7% from the year-ago quarter due to favorable changes to estimated sales deductions and higher prices, which offset the impact of lower volumes.Kyprolis recorded sales of $287 million, up 14% year over year.Repatha generated revenues of $329 million, up 15% year over year, as higher volume was partially offset by lower prices. Increased rebates to support broad Medicare Part D and commercial patient access in the United States and the inclusion of Repatha in China's National Reimbursement Drug List led to lower prices in the quarter.Vectibix revenues came in at $201 million, up 5% year over year. Nplate sales rose 17% to $266 million. Blincyto sales increased 29% from the year-ago period to $138 million.Aimovig recorded sales of $101 million in the quarter, up 53% year over year due to favorable changes to estimated sales deductions and higher net selling price, which offset the impact of lower volumes.Sales of Otezla were $451 million in the quarter, down 5% due to lower net selling price and lower inventory levels, which offset the impact of higher volumes. Though sales were lower in the first quarter due to wholesalers and specialty pharmacies reducing inventory levels and price declines, Amgen expects continued strong volume growth and lower year-over-year price erosion in the remaining quarters of the year. A broader adoption of Otezla because of the drug’s broad label across severity of psoriasis is expected to drive volume growth.Amgen’s newly approved drug, Lumakras (sotorasib) recorded sales of $62 million in the quarter compared with $45 million in the previous quarter.More than 1,500 oncologists have prescribed Lumakras to approximately 2,500 patients in both academic and community settings. KRAS testing of metastatic NSCLC patients stands at approximately 80%. In ex-U.S. markets, Lumykras is currently approved in 40 countries.Newly approved asthma drug, Tezspire (tezepelumab) recorded sales of $7 million in the quarter. Tezspire was approved in the United States in December 2021.In biosimilars, sales of Kanjinti were $96 million, down 40% year over year due to lower volumes and pricing as a result of increased competition.Sales of Mvasi were $244 million in the quarter, down 17% year over year due to declines in net selling price on increased competition that was partially offset by higher volume growth.  Sales of Kanjinti and Mvasi are expected to continue to decline in the remaining quarters of 2022 due to price erosion and volume declines.Amjevita (biosimilar of Humira) sales were $108 million in the quarter, up 2% year over year driven by volume growth, which was partially offset by lower net selling price due to increased competitive pressure.In 2022, volume growth of biosimilars is expected to be offset by lower pricing due to increased competition and average sales price erosion. However, biosimilar revenues are expected to return to growth with the launch of Amjevita (Humira biosimilar) in 2023.Total sales of mature drugs like Enbrel, Parsabiv, Neupogen, Aranesp, Epogen and Neulasta declined 12% in the quarter due to an array of branded and generic competitors. Enbrel revenues of $862 million declined 7% year over year due to lower inventory and price. Volumes were flat in the quarter.Operating Margins RiseThe adjusted operating margin rose 360 basis points (bps) to 54.8%. Adjusted operating expenses rose 2% to $3.1 billion, driven by investments in the pipeline, product launches and digitalization costs. SG&A spending declined 1% to $1.2 billion. R&D expenses declined 1% year over year to $934 million.Adjusted tax rate was 14.1% for the quarter, a 0.5-point increase from the year-ago quarter.Amgen repurchased 24.6 million shares worth $6.3 billion in the quarter, including shares received and retired under the company’s Accelerated Stock Repurchase (ASR) agreement entered in February 2022 to repurchase an aggregate of up to $6 billion of the company’s common stock.2022 OutlookAmgen maintained its previously issued revenue and adjusted earnings guidance in the range of $25.4 billion to $26.5 billion and $17.00 per share to $18.00 per share, respectively.Amgen expects other revenues to be in the range of $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion in 2022. Adjusted cost of sales as a percent of product sales is expected to be 15.5% to 16.5% in 2022. Adjusted R&D costs are expected to decrease in the range of 4% to 6% year over year in 2022. SG&A spend is expected to be flat year over year as a percentage of product sales. Total operating expenses are expected to decline year over year at a low double-digit rate. Amgen expects operating margin as a percentage of product sales to be roughly 50% in 2022.Currency headwinds are expected to hurt adjusted earnings by approximately 2% or 35 cents in 2022.The adjusted tax rate is expected to be in the range of 13.5%-14.5% while capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $950 million. The company expects to buy back shares in the range of $6.0 billion to $7.0 billion in 2022.Tax Notice from IRSThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a deficiency notice to Amgen, proposing some adjustments for the 2010-15 period in April 2022, primarily related to the allocation of profits between U.S. entities and Puerto Rico. The notice aims to increase Amgen’s taxable income for the 2013-2015 period that will result in an additional federal tax of approximately $5.1 billion-plus interest. The IRS additionally proposed penalties of approximately $2 billion for the period 2013 to 2015. The IRS is also currently auditing the 2016 to 2018 period, which means additional deficiencies or penalties could be levied.Amgen believes the adjustments and penalties proposed by IRS are without merit and said that it will vigorously contest them. Amgen looks to file a petition in US Tax Court. How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?It turns out, estimates revision have trended downward during the past month.VGM ScoresAt this time, Amgen has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. However, the stock was allocated a grade of B on the value side, putting it in the second quintile for this investment strategy.Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.OutlookEstimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, Amgen has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months. Just Released: The Biggest Tech IPOs of 2022 For a limited time, Zacks is revealing the most anticipated tech IPOs expected to launch this year. Concerns about Federal interest rates and inflation caused many private companies to stay on the bench- leading to companies with better brand recognition and higher growth rates getting into the game. With the strength of our economy and record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs, you don’t want to miss this opportunity. See the complete list today.>>See Zacks Hottest IPOs NowWant 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 Amgen Inc. (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 27th, 2022

2 Stocks of Relative Strength In Slowing Semiconductor Industry

While secular growth prospects for the Semiconductor - General industry remain, analysts are expecting a softening in demand, which is not reflected in the prices. STM and TXN look relatively safer bets at this point. Companies in the Semiconductor – General industry are at the forefront of the ongoing technological revolution based on HPC, AI, automated driving, IoT and so forth. These semiconductors also enable the cloud to function and help analyze the data into actionable insights that can be used by companies to operate more efficiently.  The pandemic led companies to ramp up technology investments in order to stay operational when it was unsafe for us to go to work or meet people. But since this meant that a lot of infrastructure was built out in advance, analysts currently expect demand to slow down in the near future. Longer-term trends continue to favor digitization, cloud, AI, etc., which will drive strong demand for semiconductors. This is not a great place to invest in right now, but STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments look relatively attractive.About The IndustryThe companies grouped under the Semiconductor – General category produce a broad range of semiconductor devices, both integrated and discrete, like microprocessors, graphics processors, embedded processors, chipsets, motherboards, wireless and wired connectivity products, DLPs and analog, serving multiple end markets. The industry includes companies like NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, Intel and STMicroelectronics.According to the latest data from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), global semiconductor sales in the first quarter of 2022 grew 23.0% to $151.7 billion. 2021 sales were up 26.2% to the highest-ever annual total. All regions grew, with the Americas up 40.1%, Europe 25.7%, Japan 20.4%, China 17.3% and Asia Pacific/All Other 17.9%. The 2022 projection of 8.8% growth was not revised.MainThemesBeing on the building-block side of technology, the industry stands to benefit from the proliferation of the Internet and the growing digitization of our lives, irrespective of the direction we move in the future. And since the pandemic has accelerated this move toward digitization, we are seeing a profound impact on the semiconductor industry. Demand for smartphones (a primary application of semiconductors) declined for the third straight quarter according to IDC and the outlook isn’t great because of inflation and supply chain concerns. The China lockdowns and Ukraine war are other negatives. So IDC expects smartphone shipments to grow 1.6% in 2022 (previous 3.0%), with the ASP continuing to expand until next year, when 5G handsets become cheaper. The other major chip consumer is the PC market, where the consumer and education segments are temporarily slowing down following two years of very strong growth. But commercial will continue growing strongly, according to IDC. But other segments are gaining in importance. AI for instance should grow strongly (MarketsandMarkets expects a 39.7% CAGR between 2021 and 2026, from $58.3 billion to $309.6 billion). In IoT, which is still evolving, Mordor Intelligence expects a 10.53% CAGR between 2021 and 2026 from $761.4 billion to $1,386.1 billion. Automotive electronics is another area of evolving needs and strong growth potential (Grand View Research estimates a 7.9% CAGR in 2021-2028, driven mainly by various safety systems. Moreover, cost of electronic components in automobiles are expected to jump from 35% of total vehicle cost to 50% by 2030. Automation and robotics, with increasing adoption across industrial operations, are other areas of growth. The strong end markets will drive continued demand for semiconductor components for years to come.Because of the growth potential in emerging markets, regulatory (and/or political) issues in China and the U.S., can play an increasingly important role. The government’s strong stance against prime trading partner China has cast a shadow over the space. Semiconductor companies in particular stand to benefit from a truce between the U.S. and China as the Chinese government’s drive to build its own industry requires collaborations with leading semiconductor players. Moreover, commercial sales to China would help fund costly R&D in the U.S. The government is more concerned about IP protection and is trying to delay as far as possible, China’s own technological maturity. Be that as it may, the $52 billion infusion from the CHIPS Act (when adopted) will be a big boost to the domestic semiconductor market.Because end devices have to be priced lower to reach more people, the pressure on companies to bring down cost remains. But although companies still find it advantageous to move operations to places where labor may be cheaper or where the proximity to manufacturing facilities can lower transportation and other cost, governments across the world are waking up to the strategic value of producing chips onshore. Tensions with China have also made regulators eager to develop alternative supply chains. Industry consolidation should continue however, as larger players add expertise and capacity through acquisitions. There’s also likely to be close collaboration with device makers, facilitating quicker consumption and better inventory management.   Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Deteriorating ProspectsThe Zacks Semiconductor-General Industry is a stock group within the broader Zacks Computer and Technology Sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #197, which places it in the bottom 22% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates that near-term prospects aren’t too bright. Our research shows that the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries underperforms the top 50% by a factor of 1:2.An industry’s positioning in the top 50% of Zacks-ranked industries is normally because the earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate is encouraging. The opposite is true for stocks in the bottom 50% of industries. In this case, the aggregate earnings estimate for 2022 while displaying an improving trend in the last few months, is up a mere 2.3% from the year-ago level. The aggregate earnings estimate for 2023 is down 17.9% from last year.                                       Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Leads on Stock Market PerformanceTracking the performance of the Zacks Semiconductor – General Industry over the past year shows that the industry has traded higher than both the broader Zacks Computer and Technology Sector and the S&P 500 index.The industry lost 1% over the past year compared to the 21.3% loss of the broader sector and the 6.2% loss of the S&P 500 index.One-Year Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIndustry???s Current ValuationOn the basis of forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which is a commonly used multiple for valuing semiconductor companies, we see that the industry is currently trading at 22.3X, which is its lowest multiple over the past year. However, the S&P 500 trades at 17.4X while the sector trades at ’s 20.3X, so the industry appears overvalued in both these comparisons.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 34.34X, as low as 12.86X and at the median of 18.94X.Forward 12 Month Price-to-Earnings (P/E) RatioImage Source: Zacks Investment Research2 Stocks Worth Considering STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM): The company designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of semiconductor integrated circuits and discrete devices used in a wide variety of microelectronic applications, including telecommunications systems, computer systems, consumer products, automotive products and industrial automation and control systems.STMicroelectronics continues to see strong demand across all except the imaging product line and all markets except China (because of pandemic-induced shutdowns). Favorable mix and strong pricing remain positive for profitability. Given its exposure to the automotive market, the replenishment of inventories across the automotive supply chain and the ongoing electrification and digitalization are positives, despite the lower-than-expected number of cars produced.   Industrial, the other significant end market for STMicroelectronics is currently being driven by factory automation, power and energy applications, as well as building and home control. Industrial electrification and digitalization are the main trends accelerating the increase in semiconductor content.STM beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the fourth quarter by 11.3%. In the last 30 days, the current year EPS estimate of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock increased 13 cents (4.1%).The shares of the company are up just 0.2% over the past year, mainly because of the pressure they have been under since the beginning of this year and particularly, since March.Price & Consensus: STMImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchTexas Instruments, Inc TXN: Texas Instruments is an original equipment manufacturer of analog, mixed signal and digital signal processing (DSP) integrated circuits.Texas Instruments has significant exposure to the industrial and automotive markets, where the semiconductor shortage is driving strong demand and pricing strength. But like STM, the company also sees some impact from China’s pandemic-related shutdowns. TI is known for operating a flexible manufacturing model (including its 300mm facilities) that includes both internal capabilities and external sources, thus making it a bit of a defensive play in downcycles. But the secular growth prospects in its served markets coupled with the current chip shortage is driving the company to increase capacity. Those extra costs notwithstanding, Texas Instruments continues to generate solid cash flows. It also returns cash to investors through regular share repurchases and dividends. This is one of the steadiest performing companies and continues to deliver, quarter upon quarter.In the last quarter, Texas Instruments generated earnings that topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8.3% on revenues that beat by 4.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 is up 18 cents (2.0%) in the last 30 days.Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 company are down 7.9% over the past year, mainly due to the broad market weakness.Price & Consensus: TXNImage Source: Zacks Investment Research Just Released: The Biggest Tech IPOs of 2022 For a limited time, Zacks is revealing the most anticipated tech IPOs expected to launch this year. Concerns about Federal interest rates and inflation caused many private companies to stay on the bench- leading to companies with better brand recognition and higher growth rates getting into the game. With the strength of our economy and record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs, you don’t want to miss this opportunity. See the complete list today.>>See Zacks Hottest IPOs NowWant 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 Texas Instruments Incorporated (TXN): Free Stock Analysis Report STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 27th, 2022

Foreclosure-Wave Sweeping US Crests In Chicago

Foreclosure-Wave Sweeping US Crests In Chicago By Dave Byrnes of Courthouse News Service A report released in April by real estate data aggregator ATTOM has bestowed Chicago with a dubious honor. Amid a national surge in residential foreclosure rates, Chicagoans are currently losing their homes in greater numbers than in any other metro area in the country. “A total of 50,759 U.S. properties started the foreclosure process in Q1 2022, up 67% from the previous quarter and up 188% from a year ago,” the report stated, with Chicago alone seeing over 3,000 foreclosures in the first three months of the year. If you interpret the numbers as a per housing unit rate, Cleveland manages to pull ahead of Chicago with almost one in every 500 homes foreclosed since the start of 2022. But by the same metric, Illinois still leads the nation on a state level – close to one out of every 800 homes. California, as the country’s most populous state, wins out as the state with the highest raw numbers of foreclosed homes this year. More than 5,300 households in the Golden State had begun the foreclosure process as of April. As shocking as this spike in home loss is, experts said it was predictable – the inevitable result of the end of the pandemic eviction moratorium. Enacted by Congress in March 2020 under former President Donald Trump and struck down in August 2021 by a supreme court ruling under current President Joe Biden, it was a national exercise in decommodified housing that staved off homelessness for an estimated 1.5 million Americans. But now it’s over. “In great part, this is the fault of the lifting of the moratorium,” said Ken Johnson, the dean of graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business. “It’s not 100% to blame, there’s always a natural rate of foreclosure, but it is a major factor.” “It’s the moratorium lifting,” agreed professor Marie Reilly of Penn State University, who specializes in bankruptcy law. “During the moratorium people weren’t eligible for mortgage mitigation… now we’re seeing the market respond to that.” While agreeing on the general cause of the foreclosure wave, the pair offered differing explanations as to the granular mechanisms driving it. Reilly suggested that it may be the result of the Federal Reserve interest rate, the rate at which the Federal Open Market Committee suggests commercial banks borrow and lend money to each other. When the rate is low, consumers can get lower rates on credit cards, loans and adjustable-rate mortgages. But at the moment it’s rising, from around 0.25% in March 2020 to around 0.75% – 1% as of this May. The increasing figure reflects the 40-year high in inflation the U.S. is currently experiencing, and makes it hard for property owners without much capital to hold on to their unprofitable buildings. As the U.S. working class struggles to make ends meet, their economic hardship trickles up to the rest of society – including their landlords. “The other thing that could be affecting [the foreclosure rate] is the Federal Reserve interest rate,” Reilly said. “It could be making it harder for landlords to hold on to non-rent-paying properties.” As small landlords shed these properties, Reilly explained, larger development firms will often come in to buy them up on the cheap – sometimes with the blessings of municipalities looking to avoid the crime that comes with abandoned or vacant buildings. While large firms buying up property staves off that immediate concern, the result is usually an increase in rent or home ownership costs in the area, further driving out residents who cannot afford the rising prices. It’s the economic foundations of gentrification. “Vacant properties are not good for anyone,” Reilly said. “And it’s not always easy to tell if its a resident who’s going to be dispossessed, or if it’s a remote investor who’s just abandoning the property.” Johnson offered another view. He suggested that there simply weren’t enough homes, particularly affordable homes, in many areas of the country. The cancellation of the moratorium only exacerbated the problem. “There is a huge inventory shortage,” Johnson said. “That’s the total number of [housing] units.” Figures from the Pew Research Center corroborate this. There were an average of 1.5 million monthly active home listings in the U.S. in October 2016, while in January 2022 there only about 409,000. During the same time period the median cost of a home in the U.S. rose from a little over $300,000 to over $400,000. Renters fare little better, with the national average cost of rent rising by 18% since 2017, more so in metro areas. The rent market research site Apartment List estimated that the average apartment in Chicago alone was 11% more expensive in April 2022 compared to April 2021. “There’s just not enough roofs to live under,” Johnson said. This assertion is sometimes challenged by analysts on the left, who point out that as of 2020 there were some 16 million vacant homes in the U.S., compared to a homeless population that hovers around 550,000. But Johnson called this a red herring. If someone on the East Coast has their home foreclosed, he said, it wouldn’t much matter to them that there is a surplus of housing in a town on the West Coast. Additionally, the number of homes affordable to people making less than 50% of area’s median income accounts for only about 35% of the nation’s housing stock, and state-subsidized public housing accounts for less than 1%. Some large metro areas such as Los Angeles and Chicago even have a history of destroying their public and affordable housing stock, such as when the Chicago Housing Authority infamously began tearing down the Cabrini-Green public housing project in 2000 under the direction of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. All this means that even if many homes are technically available, they likely won’t be held at a price that a recent foreclosee can afford. The cold comfort both experts offered is that the current foreclosure crisis is not as intense as that experienced by the nation during the 2008 Great Recession. Reilly called the 2008 crisis a “seize-up” of the market, one she said we’re “nowhere close” to. Johnson said that while the current crisis stems from an under-supply of housing, the 2008 crisis was caused by the speculative bubble bursting on an over-supply of single-family housing. “There may be places that are hit hard based on population changes, but… it’s a matter of under-supply vs. over-supply,” he said. Neither expert had concrete ideas on how to solve the current crisis. Reilly urged anyone facing foreclosure to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, if they could, while Johnson suggested this wasn’t a problem that can be fully solved by market manipulation. A 2020 collection of analyses by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs vehemently agreed. It arrived at the conclusion that the only solution to the foreclosure and housing crisis was housing decommodification. It suggested a strategy that instead prioritized state and community-owned homes that were not subject to profit speculation. “To have a roof over our heads is essential in human development, but this is threatened when housing is a way to make profits in communities whose market values increase and attract the attention of corporate investors,” one of the analyses in the collection argued. Back in Chicago, the city government on Friday announced a much more capitalist-friendly initiative to combat its nation-leading foreclosure spike. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa – her frequent critic from the left – officially opened the Emmett Street Apartments in the city’s mixed-income Logan Square community. All of the 100 apartment units in the building will be made affordable to people making at or below 60% of the city’s area median income, while half will be reserved as public housing units. “I am excited that after years of community organizing and struggle, we are finally cutting the ribbon on a beautiful building that will house 100 working families in the heart of Logan Square,” Ramirez-Rosa said in a prepared statement.  However one thinks the housing crisis should be handled, there’s a catch to the whole situation. Despite the current foreclosure rate being the highest since the pandemic began, it is still lower than the average pre-pandemic foreclosure rate – only about half as many foreclosures were initiated in the first quarter of 2022 as were begun in the first quarter of 2020. ATTOM’s researchers predicted we would eventually see a return to “historically normal” foreclosure levels, perhaps as soon as the end of the year. “It’s likely that we’ll continue to see significant month-over-month and year-over-year growth through the second quarter of 2022, but still won’t reach historically normal levels of foreclosures until the end of the year at the earliest, unless the U.S. economy takes a significant turn for the worse,” the report states. In other news, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf told the Washington Post earlier this week there was “no question” that the U.S. economy is headed for a dive. Tyler Durden Thu, 05/26/2022 - 09:04.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 26th, 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

Futures Slide Before Fed Minutes, Dollar Jumps As China Lockdown Fears Return

Futures Slide Before Fed Minutes, Dollar Jumps As China Lockdown Fears Return Another day, another failure by markets to hold on to even the smallest overnight gains: US futures erased earlier profits and dipped as traders prepared for potential volatility surrounding the release of the Federal Reserve’s minutes which may provide insight into the central bank’s tightening path, while fears over Chinese lockdowns returned as Beijing recorded more Covid cases and the nearby port city of Tianjin locked down a city-center district. Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 were each down 0.5% at 7:30 a.m. in New York after gaining as much as 1% earlier, signaling an extension to Tuesday’s slide that followed a profit warning from Snap. In premarket trading, Nordstrom jumped 10% after raising its forecast for earnings and revenue for the coming year suggesting that the luxury consumer is doing quite fine even as most of the middle class has tapped out; analysts highlighted the department store’s exposure to higher-end customers.Meanwhile, Wendy’s surged 12% after shareholder Trian Fund Management, billionaire Nelson Peltz' investment vehicle, said it will explore a transaction that could give it control of the fast-food chain. Here are the most notable premarket movers in the US: Urban Outfitters (URBN US) shares rose as much as 5.7% in premarket trading after Nordstrom’s annual forecasts provided some relief for the beaten down retail sector. Shares rallied even as Urban Outfitters reported lower-than-expected profit and sales for the 1Q. Best Buy (BBY US) shares could be in focus as Citi cuts its price target on electronics retailer to a new Street-low of $65 from $80, saying that there continues to be “significant risk” to 2H estimates. Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS US) sinks as much as 20% premarket after the retailer cut its year adjusted earnings per share and comparable sales guidance for the full year. Peers including Big 5 Sporting Goods, Hibbett and Foot Locker also fell after the DKS earnings release 2U Inc. (TWOU US) shares drop as much as 4.3% in US premarket trading after Piper Sandler downgraded the online educational services provider to underweight from neutral, with broker flagging growing regulatory risk. Verrica Pharma (VRCA US) shares slump as much as 61% in US premarket trading after the drug developer received an FDA Complete Response Letter for its VP-102 molluscum treatment. Shopify’s (SHOP US) U.S.-listed shares fell 0.7% in premarket trading after a second prominent shareholder advisory firm ISS joined its peer Glass Lewis to oppose the Canadian company’s plan to give CEO Tobi Lutke a special “founder share” that will preserve his voting power. Cazoo (CZOO US) shares declined 3.3% in premarket trading as Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of the stock with a neutral recommendation, saying the company is well positioned to capture the significant growth in online used car sales. CME Group (CME US Equity) may be in focus as its stock was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Oppenheimer on attractive valuation and an “appealing” dividend policy. US stocks have slumped this year, with the S&P 500 flirting with a bear market on Friday, as investors fear that the Fed’s active monetary tightening will plunge the economy into a recession: as Bloomberg notes, amid surging inflation, lackluster earnings and bleak company guidance have added to market concerns. The tech sector has been particularly in focus amid higher rates, which mean a bigger discount for the present value of future profits. The Nasdaq 100 index has tumbled to the lowest since November 2020 and its 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 19.7 is the lowest since the start of the pandemic and below its 10-year average. “The consumer in the US is still showing really good signs of strength,” said Michael Metcalfe, global head of macro strategy at State Street Global Markets. “Even if there is a slowdown it’s going to be quite mild,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Meanwhile, Barclays Plc strategists including Emmanuel Cau see scope for stocks to fall further if outflows from mutual funds pick up, unless recession fears are alleviated. Retail investors have also not yet fully capitulated and “still look to be buying dips in old favorites in tech/growth,” the strategists said. "Our central scenario remains that a recession can be avoided and that geopolitical risks will moderate over the course of the year, allowing equities to move higher,” said Mark Haefele,  chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “But recent market falls have underlined the importance of being selective and considering strategies that mitigate volatility." The Fed raised interest rates by 50 basis points earlier this month -- to a target range of 0.75% to 1% -- and Chair Jerome Powell has signaled it was on track to make similar-sized moves at its meetings in June and July. Investors are now awaiting the release of the May 3-4 meeting minutes later on Wednesday to evaluate the future path of rate hikes. However, in recent days, traders have dialed back the expected pace of Fed interest-rate increases over worse-than-expected economic data and the selloff in equities. Sales of new US homes fell more in April than economists forecast, and the Richmond Fed’s measure of business activity dropped to a two-year low. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped for a second day to 2.73%. “Given the risks to growth and our view that positive real rates will be unmanageable for any significant length of time, we expect the Fed to deliver less tightening in 2022 overall than it and markets currently expect,” Salman Ahmed, global head of macro and strategic asset allocation at Fidelity International, wrote in a note. In Europe, stocks pared an earlier advance but hold in the green while the dollar rallies. The Stoxx 600 gave back most of the morning’s gains with autos, financial services and travel weighing while miners and utilities outperformed. The euro slid as comments by European Central Bank officials indicated policy normalization will be gradual. The ECB is in the midst of a debate over how aggressive it should act to rein in inflation. Here are some of the most notable European movers today: SSE shares rise as much as 6.3% after strong guidance and amid reports that electricity generators are likely to escape windfall taxes being considered by the U.K. government. Air France-KLM jumps as much as 13% in Paris after falling 21% on Tuesday as the airline kicked off a EU2.26 billion rights offering. Mining and energy stocks outperform the broader market in Europe as iron ore rebounded, while oil rose after a report that showed a decline in US gasoline stockpiles. Rio Tinto gains as much as 2.3%, Anglo American +2.6%, TotalEnergies +2.8%, Equinor +3.7% Elekta rises as much as 9.3% after releasing a 4Q earnings report that beat analysts’ expectations. Torm climbs as much as 12% after Pareto initiates coverage at buy and says the company may pay out dividends equal to 40% of its market value over the next 3 years. Mercell rises as much as 104% to NOK6.13/share after recommending a NOK6.3/share offer from Spring Cayman Bidco. Luxury stocks traded lower amid rekindled Covid-19 worries in China as Beijing continued to report new infections while nearby Tianjin locked down its city center. LVMH declines as much as 1.4%, Burberry -2.6% and Hermes -1.7% Sodexo falls as much as 5.7% after the French caterer decided not to open up the capital of its benefits & rewards unit to a partner following a review of the business. Ocado slumps as much as 8% after its grocery joint venture with Marks & Spencer slashed its forecast for FY22 sales growth to low single digits, rather than around 10% guided previously. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were steady as traders continued to gauge growth concerns and fears of a US recession. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.1%, paring an earlier increase of as much as 0.5%, as gains in the financial sector were offset by losses in consumer names. New Zealand equities dipped on Wednesday after the central bank delivered an expected half-point interest rate hike to combat inflation. Chinese shares stabilized after the central bank and banking regulator urged lenders to boost loans as the nation grapples with ongoing Covid outbreaks. The benchmark CSI 300 Index snapped a two-day losing streak to close 0.6% higher. Asian equities have been trading sideways as the prospect of slower growth amid tighter monetary conditions, as well as China’s strict Covid policy and supply-chain disruptions, remain key overhangs for the market. In China, the country’s strict Covid policy is outweighing broad measures to support growth and keeping investors wary. Its commitment to Covid Zero means it’s all but certain to miss its economic growth target by a large margin for the first time ever. The nation’s central bank and banking regulator urged lenders to boost loans in the latest effort to shore up the battered economy. “The valuation is still nowhere near attractive and you have a number of leading indicators, whether its credit, liquidity or growth, which are not yet indicating that we want to take more risks on the market,” Frank Benzimra, head of Asia equity strategy at Societe Generale, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. He added that the preferred strategy in equities will focus on defensive plays like resources and income. Investors will get further clues on the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate policies with the release in Washington of minutes from the latest meeting on Wednesday. Concerns that the Fed’s tightening will plunge the nation into recession had spurred a sharp selloff in US shares recently. Japanese stocks ended a bumpy day lower as investors awaited minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting and continued to gauge the impact of China’s rising Covid cases. The Topix fell 0.1% to close at 1,876.58, while the Nikkei declined 0.3% to 26,677.80. Nintendo Co. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 4.3%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 793 rose and 1,257 fell, while 121 were unchanged. Meanwhile, Australian stocks bounced with the S&P/ASX 200 index rising 0.4% to close at 7,155.20, with banks and miners contributing the most to its move. Costa Group was the top performer after reaffirming its operating capex guidance. Chalice Mining dropped after an equity raising. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7% to 11,173.37 after the RBNZ’s policy decision. The central bank raised interest rates by half a percentage point for a second straight meeting and forecast further aggressive hikes to come to tame inflation. India’s key equity indexes fell for the third consecutive session, dragged by losses in software makers as worries grow over companies’ spending on technology amid a clouded growth outlook. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.6% to 53,749.26 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.6%. The benchmark has retreated for all but four sessions this month, slipping 5.8%, dragged by Infosys, Tata Consultancy and Reliance Industries. All but two of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell on Wednesday, led by information technology stocks. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 12 rose and 18 fell. The S&P BSE IT Index has lost nearly 26% this year and is trading at its lowest level since June.  In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index resumed rising, up 0.3% with all G-10 FX in the red against the dollar. The euro slipped and Italian bonds extended gains after comments from ECB officials. Executive board member Fabio Panetta said the ECB shouldn’t seek to raise its interest rates too far as long as the euro-area economy displays continuing signs of fragility. Board Member Olli Rehn said the ECB should raise rates to zero in autumn. The pound was steady against the dollar and gained versus the euro, paring some of its losses from Tuesday. Focus is on the long-awaited report into lockdown parties at No. 10. The BOE needs to tighten policy further to fight rising inflation, but it’s also wary of acting too quickly and risking pushing the UK into recession, according to Chief Economist Huw Pill. Sweden’s krona slumped on the back of a stronger dollar and amid data showing that consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since the global financial crisis. Yen eased as Treasury yields steadied in Asia from an overnight plunge.  China’s offshore yuan weakened for the first time in five days as Beijing recorded more Covid cases and the nearby port city of Tianjin locked down a city-center district. New Zealand dollar and sovereign yields rose after the RBNZ hiked rates by 50 basis points for a second straight meeting and forecast more aggressive tightening, with the cash rate seen peaking at 3.95% in 2023. Most emerging-market currencies also weakened against a stronger dollar as investors await minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for clues on the pace of US rate hikes.  The ruble extended its recent rally in Moscow even as Russia’s central bank moved up the date of its next interest-rate meeting by more than two weeks to stem gains in the currency with more monetary easing. Russia has been pushed closer to a potential default. US banks and individuals are barred from accepting bond payments from Russia’s government since 12:01 a.m. New York time on Wednesday, when a license that had allowed the cash to flow ended. The lira lagged most of its peers, weakening for a fourth day amid expectations that Turkey’s central bank will keep rates unchanged on Thursday even after consumer prices rose an annual 70% in April. In rates, Treasuries were steady with yields slightly richer across long-end of the curve as S&P 500 futures edge lower, holding small losses. US 10-year yields around 2.745% are slightly richer vs Tuesday’s close; long-end outperformance tightens 5s30s spread by 1.4bp on the day with 30-year yields lower by ~1bp. Bunds outperform by 2bp in 10-year sector while gilts lag slightly with no major catalyst. Focal points of US session include durable goods orders data, 5-year note auction and minutes of May 3-4 FOMC meeting. The US auction cycle resumes at 1pm ET with $48b 5-year note sale, concludes Thursday with $42b 7-year notes; Tuesday’s 2-year auction stopped through despite strong rally into bidding deadline. The WI 5-year yield at ~2.740% is ~4.5bp richer than April auction, which tailed by 0.9bp. In commodities, WTI pushed higher, heading back toward best levels of the week near $111.60. Most base metals trade in the red; LME aluminum falls 2.3%, underperforming peers. Spot gold falls roughly $10 to trade around $1,856/oz. Spot silver loses 1.1% to around. Bitcoin trades on either side of USD 30k with no real direction. Looking to the day ahead now, and central bank publications include the FOMC minutes from their May meeting and the ECB’s Financial Stability Review. Separately, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Rehn, Panetta, Holzmann, de Cos and Lane, BoJ Governor Kuroda, Fed Vice Chair Brainard and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Otherwise, data releases from the US include preliminary April data on durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,942.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 433.41 MXAP little changed at 163.41 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 531.42 Nikkei down 0.3% to 26,677.80 Topix little changed at 1,876.58 Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 20,171.27 Shanghai Composite up 1.2% to 3,107.46 Sensex down 0.5% to 53,763.20 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 7,155.24 Kospi up 0.4% to 2,617.22 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.94% Euro down 0.5% to $1.0677 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $114.69/bbl Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,856.22 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.30% to 102.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg New Zealand dollar and sovereign yields rose after the RBNZ hiked rates by 50 basis points and forecast more aggressive tightening, with the cash rate seen peaking at 3.95% in 2023 The euro slipped and Italian bonds extended gains after comments from ECB officials. Executive board member Fabio Panetta said the ECB shouldn’t seek to raise its interest rates too far as long as the euro-area economy displays continuing signs of fragility. Board Member Olli Rehn said the ECB should raise rates to zero in autumn The pound was steady against the dollar and gained versus the euro, paring some of its losses from Tuesday. Focus is on the long-awaited report into lockdown parties at No. 10 The BOE needs to tighten policy further to fight rising inflation, but it’s also wary of acting too quickly and risking pushing the UK into recession, according to Chief Economist Huw Pill Sweden’s krona slumped on the back of a stronger dollar and amid data showing that consumer confidence fell to the lowest level since the global financial crisis Yen eased as Treasury yields steadied in Asia from an overnight plunge A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mostly positive but with gains capped and price action choppy after a lacklustre lead from global counterparts as poor data from the US and Europe stoked growth concerns, while the region also reflected on the latest provocations by North Korea and the RBNZ’s rate increase. ASX 200 was led higher by commodity-related stocks despite the surprise contraction in Construction Work. Nikkei 225 remained subdued after recent currency inflows and with sentiment clouded by geopolitical tensions. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were marginally higher following further support efforts by the PBoC and CBIRC which have explored increasing loans with major institutions and with the central bank to boost credit support, although the upside is contained amid the ongoing COVID concerns and with Beijing said to tighten restrictions among essential workers. Top Asian News US SEC official said significant issues remain in reaching a deal with China over audit inspections and even if US and China reach a deal on proceeding with inspections, they would still have a long way to go, according to Bloomberg. China will be seeing a Pacific Island Agreement when Senior Diplomat Wang Yi visits the region next week, according to documents cited by Reuters. North Korea Fires Suspected ICBM as Biden Wraps Up Asia Tour Luxury Stocks Slip Again as China Covid-19 Worries Persist Asia Firms Keep SPAC Dream Alive Despite Poor Returns: ECM Watch Powerlong 2022 Dollar Bonds Fall Further, Poised for Worst Week In Europe the early optimism across the equity complex faded in early trading. Major European indices post mild broad-based gains with no real standouts. Sectors initially opened with an anti-defensive bias but have since reconfigured to a more pro-defensive one. Stateside, US equity futures have trimmed earlier gains, with relatively broad-based gains seen across the contracts; ES (+0.1%). Top European News Aiming ECB Rate at Neutral Risks Hurting Economy, Panetta Says M&S Says Russia Exit, Inflation to Prevent Profit Growth Prudential Names Citi Veteran Wadhwani as Insurer’s Next CEO EU’s Gentiloni Eyes Deal on Russian Oil Embargo: Davos Update UK’s Poorest to See Inflation Hit Near Double Pace of the Rich FX Buck builds a base before Fed speak, FOMC minutes and US data - DXY tops 102.250 compared to low of 101.640 on Tuesday. Kiwi holds up well after RBNZ hike, higher OCR outlook and Governor Orr outlining the need to tighten well beyond neutral - Nzd/Usd hovers above 0.6450 and Aud/Nzd around 1.0950. Euro pulls back sharply as ECB’s Panetta counters aggressive rate guidance with gradualism to avoid a normalisation tantrum - Eur/Usd sub-1.0700 and Eur/Gbp under 0.8550. Aussie undermined by flagging risk sentiment and contraction in Q1 construction work completed - Aud/Usd retreats through 0.7100. Loonie and Nokkie glean some underlying traction from oil returning to boiling point - Usd/Cad capped into 1.2850, Eur/Nok pivots 10.2500. Franc, Yen and Sterling all make way for Greenback revival - Usd/Chf bounces through 0.9600, Usd/Jpy over 127.00 and Cable close to 1.2500. Fixed Income Choppy trade in bonds amidst fluid risk backdrop and ongoing flood of global Central Bank rhetoric, Bunds and Gilts fade just above 154.00 and 119.00. Eurozone periphery outperforming as ECB's Panetta urges gradualism to avoid a normalisation tantrum and Knot backs President Lagarde on ZIRP by end Q3 rather than going 50 bp in one hit. US Treasuries flat-line before US data, Fed's Brainard, FOMC minutes and 5-year supply - 10 year T-note midway between 120-21/09+ parameters. Commodities WTI and Brent July futures are firmer intraday with little newsflow throughout the European morning. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +0.6mln (exp. -0.7mln), Gasoline -4.2mln (exp. -0.6mln), Distillates -0.9mln (exp. +0.9mln), Cushing -0.7mln. Spot gold is pressured by the recovery in the Dollar but found some support at its 21 DMA. Base metals are pressured by the turn in the risk tone this morning. US Event Calendar 07:00: May MBA Mortgage Applications -1.2%, prior -11.0% 08:30: April Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.6%, prior 1.1% -Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4% 08:30: April Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.4% 08:30: April Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.3% Central Banks 12:15: Fed’s Brainard Delivers Commencement Address 14:00: May FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning we’ve launched our latest monthly survey. In it we try to ask questions that aren’t easy to derive from market pricing. For example we ask whether you think a recession is a price worth paying to tame inflation back to target. We also ask whether you think the Fed will think the same. We ask whether you think bubbles are still in markets and whether the bottom is in for equities. We also ask you the best hedge against inflation from a small list of mainstream assets. Hopefully it will be of use and the more people that fill it in the more useful it might be so all help welcome. The link is here. Talking of inflation I had a huge shock yesterday. The first quote of three came back from builders for what I hope will be our last ever renovation project as we upgrade a dilapidated old outbuilding. Given the job I do I'd like to think I'm fully aware of commodity price effects and labour shortages pushing up costs but nothing could have prepared me for a quote 250% higher than what I expected. We have two quotes to come but if they don't come in nearer to my expectations then we're either going to shelve/postpone the project after a couple of years of planning or my work output might reduce as I learn how to lay bricks, plumb, tile, make and install windows and plaster amongst other things. Maybe I could sell the rights of my journey from banker to builder to Netflix to make up for lost earnings. Rather like my building quote expectations, markets came back down to earth yesterday, only avoiding a fresh closing one-year low in the S&P 500 via a late-day rally that sent the market from intra-day lows of -2.48% earlier in the session to -0.81% at the close and giving back just under half the gains from the best Monday since January. Having said that S&P futures are up +0.6% this morning so we've had a big swing from the lows yesterday afternoon. The blame for the weak market yesterday was put on weak economic data alongside negative corporate news. US tech stocks saw the biggest losses as the NASDAQ (-2.35%) hit its lowest level in over 18 months following Snap’s move to cut its profit forecasts that we mentioned in yesterday’s edition. The stock itself fell -43.08%. Indeed, the NASDAQ just barely avoided closing more than -30% (-29.85%) from its all-time high reached back in November. The S&P 500's closing loss leaves it +1.03% week to date as it tries to avoid an 8th consecutive weekly decline for just the third time since our data starts in 1928. Typical defensive sectors Utilities (+2.01%), staples (+1.66%), and real estate (+1.21%) drove the intraday recovery, so even with the broad index off the day’s lows, the decomposition points to continued growth fears. Investors had already been braced for a more difficult day following the Monday night news from Snap, but further fuel was then added to the fire after US data releases significantly underwhelmed shortly after the open. First, the flash composite PMI for May fell to 53.8 (vs. 55.7 expected), marking a second consecutive decline in that measure. And then the new home sales data for April massively underperformed with the number falling to an annualised 591k (vs. 749k expected), whilst the March reading was also revised down to an annualised 709k (vs. 763k previously). That 591k reading left new home sales at their lowest since April 2020 during the Covid shutdowns, and comes against the backdrop of a sharp rise in mortgage rates as the Fed have tightened policy, with the 30-year fixed rate reported by Freddie Mac rising from 3.11% at the end of 2021 to 5.25% in the latest reading last week. The strong defensive rotation in the S&P 500 and continued fears of a recession saw investors pour into Treasuries, which have been supported by speculation that the Fed might not be able to get far above neutral if those growth risks do materialise. Yields on 10yr Treasuries ended the day down -10.1bps at 2.75%, and the latest decline in the 10yr inflation breakeven to 2.58% leaves it at its lowest closing level since late-February, just after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine that led to a spike in global commodity prices. And with investors growing more worried about growth and less worried about inflation, Fed funds futures took out -11.5bps of expected tightening by the December meeting, and saw terminal fed funds futures pricing next year close below 3.00% for the first time in two weeks. 10 year US yields are back up a basis point this morning. Over in Europe there was much the same pattern of equity losses and advances for sovereign bonds. However, the decline in yields was more muted after there was further chatter about a potential 50bp hike from the ECB. Austrian central bank governor Holzmann said that “A bigger step at the start of our rate-hike cycle would make sense”, and Latvian central bank governor Kazaks also said that a 50bp hike was “certainly one thing that we could discuss”. Along with Dutch central bank governor Knot, that’s now 3 members of the Governing Council who’ve openly discussed the potential they could move by 50bps as the Fed has done, and markets seem to be increasingly pricing in a chance of that, with the amount of hikes priced in by the July meeting closing at a fresh high of 32.5bps yesterday. In spite of the growing talk about a 50bp move at a single meeting, the broader risk-off tone yesterday led to a decline in sovereign bond yields across the continent, with those on 10yr bunds (-4.9bps), OATs (-4.3bps) and BTPs (-5.9bps) all falling back. Equities struggled alongside their US counterparts, and the STOXX 600 (-1.14%) ended the day lower, as did the DAX (-1.80%) and the CAC 40 (-1.66%). The flash PMIs were also somewhat underwhelming at the margins, with the Euro Area composite PMI falling a bit more than expected to 54.9 (vs. 55.1 expected). Over in the UK there were even larger moves after the country’s flash PMIs significantly underperformed expectations. The composite PMI fell to 51.8 (vs. 56.5 expected), which is the lowest reading since February 2021 when the country was still in lockdown. In turn, that saw sterling weaken against the other major currencies as investors dialled back the amount of expected tightening from the Bank of England, with a fall of -0.44% against the US dollar. That also led to a relative outperformance in gilts, with 10yr yields down -8.3bps. And on top of that, there were signs of further issues on the cost of living down the tracks, with the CEO of the UK’s energy regulator Ofgem saying that the energy price cap was set to increase to a record £2,800 in October, an increase of more than 40% from its current level. Asian equity markets are mostly trading higher this morning with the Hang Seng (+0.64%), Shanghai Composite (+0.58%), CSI (+0.17%) and Kospi (+0.80%) trading in positive territory with the Nikkei (-0.03%) trading fractionally lower. Earlier today, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), in a widely anticipated move, hiked the official cash rate (OCR) by 50bps to 2.0%, its fifth-rate hike in a row in a bid to get on top of inflation which is currently running at a 31-year high. The central bank has significantly increased its forecast of how high the OCR might rise in the coming years with the cash rate jumping to about 3.4% by the end of this year and peaking at 3.95% in the third quarter of 2023. Additionally, it forecasts the OCR to start falling towards the end of 2024. Following the release of the statement, the New Zealand dollar hit a three-week high of 0.65 against the US dollar. Elsewhere, as we mentioned last week, today marks the expiration of the US Treasury Department’s temporary waiver that allowed Russia to make sovereign debt payments to US creditors. US investors will no longer be able to receive such payments, pushing Russia closer to default on its outstanding sovereign debt. To the day ahead now, and central bank publications include the FOMC minutes from their May meeting and the ECB’s Financial Stability Review. Separately, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, the ECB’s Rehn, Panetta, Holzmann, de Cos and Lane, BoJ Governor Kuroda, Fed Vice Chair Brainard and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Otherwise, data releases from the US include preliminary April data on durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/25/2022 - 08:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 25th, 2022

Is The Snap Downward Guidance The Canary In The Coal Mine?

In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, Louis Navellier wrote: Is The Snap Downward Guidance The Canary In The Coal Mine? After the close yesterday, a very strong rebound day with all the major stock indexes up more than 1.5%, Snap (NYSE:SNAP) announced a downward guidance in its second-quarter estimates of revenue and adjusted earnings, and […] In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, Louis Navellier wrote: Is The Snap Downward Guidance The Canary In The Coal Mine? After the close yesterday, a very strong rebound day with all the major stock indexes up more than 1.5%, Snap (NYSE:SNAP) announced a downward guidance in its second-quarter estimates of revenue and adjusted earnings, and a slowdown in hiring, only a month after its first-quarter earnings call. The company cited that “the macro environment has deteriorated further and faster than we anticipated” and expects EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, & Amortization – a standard measure of cash flow) to fall below the lower end of its guidance, which was zero. The stock, already down over 50% year to date, plummeted 28% in extended trading and now stands over 10% lower than its 2017 IPO. 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 Concerns that other ad-supported online companies may be feeling the same challenges didn't take long to develop with Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB, AKA Facebook) falling 8% pre-market this morning, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) down 4%, and Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) down 17%. After the negative surprises of Target (NYSE:TGT) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) last week were criticized for not giving warning guidance, it appears that other companies have chosen to keep investors better apprised of changes in their outlook. This morning, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) reported a sales drop of 8%, better than the 9.1% estimates, but missed on earnings and guided down on its previous forecasts of full-year sales and earnings also citing a deteriorating macro environment. The stock opened essentially flat, having already fallen sharply last week in sympathy with Target & Walmart. Surprise Disappointments The market has been fearing downward earnings forecasts by Street analysts, compounding the P/E compression we've already seen, but it appears the companies themselves are going to beat them to the punch. These retail store disappointments come as a bit of surprise given the mantra of how strong the American consumer is. Energy prices continue to rise, keeping inflation fears hot, which also gives no relief of hopes that the Fed's strong rhetoric of monetary tightening might ease. Growing stagflation concerns are reflected in the drop in interest rates with the US 10-year yield dropping 9bps to 2.77%, a one-month low, far below inflation expectations. Volatility Persists The high levels of volatility look far from over and continue to present windows of opportunity to add quality earners on pullbacks.  The trend, however, remains negative so keep plenty of powder dry for the yet to occur capitulation trade. Coffee Beans The share of remote workers has been trending downwards with brief upticks coinciding with the third and fifth wave of Covid in winter 2020/21 and 2021/22. According to April 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey, 7.7 percent of employed persons 16 and older in the U.S. had been working at home or remotely at some point in the past 4 weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the lowest point by far since Covid-19 hit the country in the spring of 2020. Source: Statista. See the full story here. Updated on May 24, 2022, 2:37 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 24th, 2022

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump"s China Tariffs Under Consideration

Futures Jump After Biden Says Trump's China Tariffs Under Consideration US stock futures advanced for a second day after staging a furious rally late on Friday having slumped into a bear market just hours earlier, after President Joe Biden said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, although concerns about hawkish central banks and record Covid cases in Beijing continued to weigh on the sentiment.  Contracts on the S&P 500 were up 1% by 7:15 a.m. in New York, trimming earlier gains of as much as 1.4% following remarks from Christine Lagarde that the European Central Bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September which sent the euro sharply higher and hit the USD. Meanwhile, Beijing and Tianjin continue to ramp up Covid restrictions as cases climbed. Nasdaq futures also jumped, rising 1.1%. Europe rose 0.6% while Asian stocks closed mostly in the green, with Nikkei +1% and Hang Seng -1.2%. The dollar and Treasuries retreated, while bitcoin jumped to $30,500 as the crypto rout appears over. Traders interpreted Biden’s comments that he’ll discuss the US tariffs on Chinese imports with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when he returns from his Asia trip as a signal there could be a reversal of some Trump-imposed measures, sparking a risk-on rally.  “Today’s appetite for risk has been sparked by the US President’s announcement that trade tariffs imposed on China by the previous Trump administration will be discussed,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Investors see this as a possible de-escalation of the trade war between the two economic superpowers, and this has revived trading optimism towards riskier assets.” Among the notable movers in premarket trading, VMware surged 19% after Bloomberg News reported that Broadcom is in talks to acquire cloud-computing company; Broadcom fell 3.5% in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Software stocks, such as Oracle (ORCL US), Splunk (SPLK US), ServiceNow (NOW US), Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP US), are in focus after the report on Broadcom and VMware setting up for a blockbuster tech deal. Antiviral and vaccine stocks rise in US premarket trading amid spreading cases of the monkeypox virus. SIGA Technologies (SIGA US) jumps 39%; Emergent BioSolutions (EBS US) rises 15%, Chimerix (CMRX US) gains 15%, Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO US) +13% Dow (DOW US) shares fall as much as 1.3% premarket after Piper Sandler downgraded the chemicals maker to neutral from overweight, along with peer LyondellBasell (LYB US), amid industry concerns. TG Therapeutics (TGTX US) shares are down 3.3% premarket after falling 11% on Friday, when BofA started coverage on the biotech company with an underperform rating and $5 price target. Upwork (UPWK US) could be in focus as RBC Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson initiates coverage of the stock with a sector perform recommendation, saying some near-term negatives for the online recruitment services firm are well discounted. US stocks have been roiled in the past two months by concerns the Fed's tightening will push the economy into a recession. A late-session rebound lifted the market from the session’s lows on Friday, though the S&P 500 still capped a seventh straight week of losses - the longest since 2001 - and briefly dipped into bear market territory, while the Dow dropped for 8 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1923! “As we have seen time and time again recently, any attempted rallies appear to be short-lived with the backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty, and any bullish breakouts have failed to endure with overall market sentiment biased toward the bears,” said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor. The string of weekly losses has seen the S&P 500’s forward price-to-earnings ratio drop to 16.4, near the lowest since April 2020. This is below the average level of 17.04 times seen over the past decade, making the case for bargain hunters to step in. Separately, Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, comments that appeared to break from the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity” before they were walked back by White House officials. Meanwhile, his administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region. Minutes of the most recent Fed rate-setting meeting will give markets insight this week into the central bank’s tightening path. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the Fed should front-load an aggressive series of rate hikes to push rates to 3.5% at year’s end, which if successful would push down inflation and could lead to easing in 2023 or 2024 In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.3%. The FTSE 100 outperformed, adding 0.9%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 1.1%. Energy, miners and travel are the strongest performing sectors. European energy shares vie with the basic resources sector to be the best-performing group in the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark on Monday as oil stocks rise with crude prices, while Siemens Gamesa rallies after Siemens Energy made a takeover offer. Shell rises 1.7%, BP +2.4%, TotalEnergies +2.1%. Elsewgere, the Stoxx Europe Basic Resources sub-index rallies to the highest level since May 5 to lead gains in the wider regional benchmark on Monday as metals rise amid better demand outlook. Aluminum, copper and iron ore extended rebound after China cut borrowing rates last week, dollar weakened and as investors weighed outlook for lockdown relief in Shanghai. The euro rose to its highest level in four weeks and most of the region’s bonds fell after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the ECB is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. Here are the most notable European movers: Siemens Gamesa shares gain as much as 6.7% after Siemens Energy made an offer to acquire the shares in the wind-turbine maker it does not own. Kingfisher shares advance as much as 4.9% after the B&Q owner reported 1Q sales that beat estimates and announced plans for a further GBP300m share buyback. Deutsche EuroShop shares jump as much as 44% after Oaktree and CURA offered to acquire the German retail property company in a deal valuing it at around EU1.39b. Moonpig Group gains as much as 14% as Jefferies analysts say its plan to buy Smartbox Group UK is a good use of the online greeting card company’s strong cash generation. Kainos Group shares jump as much as 25%, as Canaccord Genuity raises the stock’s rating to buy from hold following FY results, saying cost-inflation headwinds are priced in. Intertek shares fall as much as 5.3%, with Stifel cutting its rating on the company to hold from buy, saying none of the key elements of its positive thesis are still intact. Leoni shares drop as much as 7.3% after the wiring systems manufacturer said it was in advanced talks on further financing. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were mixed as traders assessed Chinese authorities’ efforts to support the economy amid ongoing concerns over its Covid situation. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.4%, supported by healthcare and industrials, after paring an early gain of as much as 0.7%. Japanese stocks outperformed and US index futures advanced.  Chinese shares slid after Beijing reported a record number of coronavirus cases, reviving concerns about lockdowns. Covid concerns offset any positive impact from last Friday’s greater-than-expected reduction in a key interest rate for long-term loans in an effort to counter weak demand. Investors may be turning more upbeat on Asian stocks, with the regional benchmark beating global peers last week by the most in more the two years, snapping a streak of six weekly losses. Still, the region faces the same worries about inflation and rising US interest rates that have been rattling markets around the world this year. “The energy crisis in the EU and policy tightening in the US, combined with China’s economic soft patch” are potential headwinds for Asian equities and may lead to “weak external demand for more export-oriented economies like Taiwan and Korea,” Soo Hai Lim, head of Asia ex-China equities at Barings, wrote in a note. Japanese equities climbed as US President Joe Biden’s comments during his visit to the country lifted market sentiment. Biden said a recession in the US isn’t inevitable, and reaffirmed close ties between the two countries. He also said China tariffs imposed by the Trump administration were under consideration, helping to lift regional stocks.  The Topix Index rose 0.9% to 1,894.57 as of market close, while the Nikkei advanced 1% to 27,001.52. Tokio Marine Holdings contributed the most to the Topix Index, increasing 7.6%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,681 rose and 415 fell, while 75 were unchanged. Defense stocks also got a boost after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said President Biden supports Japan’s plan for an increase in its defense budget Stocks in India mostly declined after the central bank chief said the Reserve Bank is taking coordinated action with the country’s government to tackle inflation and a few interest rate hikes will be in store in coming months. His comments came soon after the government unveiled measures that will cost the exchequer $26 billion and will probably force the government to issue more debt to bridge the yawning budget deficit. The S&P BSE Sensex ended flat at 54,288.61 in Mumbai after giving up an advance of as much as 1.1%. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 0.3%, its third decline in four sessions. Gauges of mid-sized and small stocks also plunged 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Out of the 30 stocks in the Sensex index, 20 advanced while 10 ended lower, with Tata Steel being the biggest drag. Eleven of 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by metal stocks. Steel stocks plunged after the new rules imposed tariffs on export of some products. Auto and capital stocks were the best performers.  Investors remain wary of the policy decisions the central bank could take in the near-term to tackle in rising inflation, according to Arafat Saiyed, an analyst with Reliance Securities. “Changes in oil prices and amendments to import and export duties might play a role in assessing the market’s trajectory.” In rates, Treasuries dropped as investors debate the Federal Reserve’s tightening path amid mounting worries about an economic slowdown. US bonds were cheaper by 3bp-5bp across the curve with belly leading declines, underperforming vs front- and long-end, following weakness in bunds. 10-year yield around 2.83%, higher by ~5bp on day, and keeping pace with most European bond markets; belly-led losses cheapen 2s5s30s fly by ~1.5bp on the day. US IG credit issuance slate empty so far; $20b-$25b is expected this week, concentrated on Monday and Tuesday. European fixed income faded an initial push higher after Lagarde’s comments while money markets up rate-hike bets. Bund futures briefly trade above 154 before reversing, cash curve bear-flattens with the belly cheapening ~6bps. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany, 10y Bund/BTP spreads holds above 200bps. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback traded weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro jumped to a session high of $1.0635 and bunds reversed an advance after ECB President Christine Lagarde said the central bank is likely to start raising interest rates in July and exit sub-zero territory by the end of September. The EUR was also bolstered by Germany IFO business confidence index rising to 93.0 in May vs estimate 91.4. The Aussie and kiwi were among the pest G-10 performers as they benefitted from Biden’s comments about the tariffs on China. Aussie was also supported after the Labor Party won the weekend election and is increasingly hopeful of gaining enough seats to form a majority government.  The pound advanced against the dollar, touching the highest level since May 5, amid broad-based greenback weakness. While asking prices rose to a new record for the fourth-straight month, there are signs the housing market is slowing, according to Rightmove. Yen steadied after gains last week as traders sought clues on the global economy. Japanese government bonds were mostly higher. The purchasing power of the yen fell to a fresh half-century low last month. In commodities, WTI rose 1.1% to trade just below $112. Most base metals are in the green; LME aluminum rises 1.4%, outperforming peers. LME nickel lags, dropping 4.2%. Spot gold climbs roughly $18 to trade around $1,865/oz Looking at today's calendar, at 830am we get the April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index (est. 0.50, prior 0.44). CB speakers include the Fed's Bostic, ECB's Holzmann, Nagel and Villeroy and BoE's Bailey. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 3,922.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 433.69 MXAP up 0.4% to 165.23 MXAPJ little changed at 539.33 Nikkei up 1.0% to 27,001.52 Topix up 0.9% to 1,894.57 Hang Seng Index down 1.2% to 20,470.06 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,146.86 Sensex up 0.4% to 54,556.08 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,148.89 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,647.38 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.97% Euro up 0.5% to $1.0622 Brent Futures up 0.9% to $113.61/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,859.91 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.63% to 102.50 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg President Joe Biden said the US military would intervene to defend Taiwan in any attack from China, some of his strongest language yet seeking to deter Beijing from an invasion The Biden administration announced that a dozen Indo-Pacific countries will join the US in a sweeping economic initiative designed to counter China’s influence in the region, even as questions remain about its effectiveness The US Treasury Department is expected to tighten sanctions this week on Russia, threatening about $1 billion owed to bondholders for the rest of this year and putting the country once again on the edge of default The ECB is poised to get the power to oversee so-called transition plans by 2025, in which lenders map out their path to a carbon-neutral future. Yet several national officials who sit on the ECB’s supervisory board are skeptical that climate risks merit new rules to address them, and some are wary that the initiative exceeds the central bank’s mandate Russia is considering a plan to ease a key control on capital flows which has helped drive the ruble to the highest levels in four years as the rally is now threatening to hurt budget revenues and exporters Natural gas prices in Europe fell as much as 5.6% to the lowest level since the start of the war in Ukraine, as storage levels across the continent rise to near-normal levels As the biggest selloff in decades shook the world’s bond markets this year, some extraordinarily long-dated debt went into free fall, tumbling even more than Wall Street’s usual models predicted. To Jessica James, a managing director with Commerzbank AG in London, it wasn’t a surprise. In fact, it was validation A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were mixed as momentum waned due to China's COVID woes and record Beijing infections. ASX 200 was just about kept afloat before ebbing lower after initial strength in mining names and the smooth change of government in Australia. Nikkei 225 advanced at the open with Tokyo said to be planning to revive its travel subsidy plan for residents. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were pressured by ongoing COVID concerns after Beijing extended its halt of dining in services and in-person classes for the whole city, as well as reporting a fresh record of daily COVID infections, while Shanghai restored its cross-district public transport on Sunday but ordered supermarkets and shops in the central Jingan district to shut and for residents to stay home until at least Tuesday Top Asian News Beijing reported 83 new symptomatic cases and 16 new asymptomatic cases for May 22nd with the city's total new cases at a new record, according to Bloomberg. It was also reported that thousands of Beijing residents were relocated to quarantine hotels due to a handful of infections, according to the BBC. Beijing is mulling easing its hotel quarantine requirement to one week in a hotel and one week at home from a previous hotel requirement of ten days and one week at home for international travellers, according to SCMP. Shanghai reported 570 new asymptomatic cases, 52 asymptomatic cases, 3 new COVID-related deaths and zero cases outside of quarantine, according to Reuters. Shanghai’s central district of Jingan will require all supermarkets and shops to close, while residents will be required to stay at home and conduct mass testing from May 22nd-24th, according to Reuters. China NHC Official says the COVID situation, overall, is showing a steady declining trend. Japanese PM Kishida said it is very disappointing that China is unilaterally developing areas in the East China Sea when borders are not yet set which Japan cannot accept, while it has lodged a complaint against China through diplomatic channels, according to Reuters. Japanese PM Kishida told US President Biden that they must achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific together, while President Biden said the US is fully committed to Japan's defence and that the IPEF will increase cooperation with other nations and deliver benefits to people in the region, according to Reuters. US-South Korea joint statement noted they agreed to discuss widening the scope and scale of joint military exercises and the US reiterated its commitment to defending South Korea with nuclear, conventional and missile defence, as well as reaffirmed its commitment to deploy strategic military assets in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary. The sides also condemned North Korea’s missile tests as a grave threat and agreed to relaunch a high-level extended deterrence strategy and consultation group at the earliest date, while they noted the path to dialogue with North Korea remains open and called for a resumption of negotiations, according to Reuters. US President Biden said the US-South Korea alliance has never been stronger and more vibrant. President Biden added they are ready to strengthen the joint defence posture to counter North Korea and are ready to work toward the complete denuclearisation of North Korea, while he offered vaccines to North Korea and said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim if he is serious, according to Reuters. South Korean President Yoon said North Korea is advancing nuclear capabilities and that US President Biden shares grave concerns regarding North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, while Yoon said they discussed the timing of possible deployment of fighter jets and bombers, according to Reuters. European bourses are mixed/modestly-firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%, as the initial upside momentum waned amid fresh China COVID updates and hawkish ECB commentary. Note, the FTSE MIB is the noted underperformer this morning, -1.0%, amid multiple large-cap names trading ex-divided. Stateside, futures are firmer but similarly off best levels, ES +0.5%, with recent/familiar themes very much in focus ahead of a thin US-specific docket. XPeng (XPEV) Q1 2022 (USD): EPS -0.32 (exp. -0.30), Revenue 1.176bln (exp. 1.16bln); Vehicle Deliveries 34.56k, +159% YY. -2.8% in pre-market JPMorgan (JPM) has reaffirmed its adjusted expenses guidance; credit outlook remains positive; sees FY22 NII USD 56bln (prev. USD 53bln) Top European News EU’s infectious-disease agency is to recommend member states prepare strategies for possible vaccination programmes to counter increasing monkeypox cases, according to FT. It was also reported that Austria confirmed its first case of monkeypox and that Switzerland also confirmed its first case of monkeypox in the canton of Bern, according to Reuters. EU policymakers are reportedly renewing efforts to push for real-time databases of stock and bond trading information as they believe that a 'consolidated tape' will make EU exchanges more attractive for investors, according to FT. EU Commission has proposed maintaining EU borrowing limits suspension next year amid the war in Ukraine; expects to reinstate limits in 2024; Germany supports the suspension. Fixed Income Bunds and Eurozone peers underperform as ECB President Lagarde signals end of negative rates by September. 10 year German bond nearer 153.00 having topped 154.00, Gilts around 1/4 point below par after trading flat at best and T-note shy of 120-00 within 120-03+/119-21+ range. EU NG issuance covered 1.38 times and Austria announces leads for 2049 Green syndication. In FX Euro joins Kiwi at the top of G10 ranks as President Lagarde chimes with end of NIRP by Q3 guidance, EUR/USD sets fresh May peak near 1.0690. Bulk of NZIER shadow board believe RBNZ will deliver another 50bp hike on Wednesday, NZD/USD hovers comfortably above 0.6450 in the run up to NZ Q1 retail sales. DXY in danger of losing 102.000+ status as Euro revival boosts other index components. Aussie up with price of iron ore and extended Yuan recovery gains with change of PM and Government regime taken in stride; AUD/USD probes 0.7100, USD/CNH not far from Fib support sub-6.6500, USD/CNY a tad lower. Sterling eyes 1.2600 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey at a PM panel discussion, Loonie and Nokkie glean traction via firm WTI and Brent, USD/CAD under 1.2800, EUR/NOK beneath 10.3000. Lira languishing after CBRT survey showing higher end 2022 forecasts for Turkish CPI, current account deficit and USD/TRY circa 17.5690 vs just shy of 16.0000 at present. Commodities WTI and Brent are firmer and in-proximity to session highs amid USD action offsetting the earlier drift with risk sentiment/China's mixed COVID stance. Currently, the benchmarks are just off highs of USD 111.96/bbl and USD 114.34/bbl respectively, vs lows of 109.50 and 111.97 respectively. Saudi Arabia signalled it will stand by Russia as a member of OPEC+ amid mounting pressure from sanctions, according to FT. Iraq’s government aims to set up a new oil company in the Kurdistan region and expects to enter service contracts with local oil firms, according to Reuters. Iran’s Oil Minister agreed to revive the pipeline laying project to pump Iranian gas to Oman which was stalled for nearly two decades, according to IRNA. Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Iran’s leadership has matters under review regarding “the Iranian nuclear file” and said that pumping additional quantities of Iranian oil to the market will help stabilise crude prices and lower inflation, according to Al Jazeera TV. India cut its excise duty on petrol by INR 8/litre and diesel by INR 6/litre which will result in a revenue loss of about INR 1tln for the government, while Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman announced subsidies on cooking gas cylinders, as well as cuts to custom duties on raw materials and intermediaries for plastic products, according to Reuters. Indian oil minister says oil remaining at USD 110/bbl could lead to bigger threats than inflation, via CNBC TV18. Central Banks ECB's Lagarde says based on the current outlook, we are likely to be in a position to exit negative interest rates by the end of the third quarter; against the backdrop of the evidence I presented above, I expect net purchases under the APP to end very early in the third quarter. This would allow us a rate lift-off at our meeting in July, in line with our forward guidance. The next stage of normalisation would need to be guided by the evolution of the medium-term inflation outlook. If we see inflation stabilising at 2% over the medium term, a progressive further normalisation of interest rates towards the neutral rate will be appropriate. ECB President Lagarde indicated that July is likely for a rate increase as she noted that they will follow the path of stopping net asset purchases and then hike interest rates sometime after that which could be a few weeks, according to Bloomberg. Bundesbank Monthly Report: German GDP is likely to increase modestly in Q2 from current standpoint. Click here for more detail. RBI Governor Das says, broadly, they want to increase rates in the next few meetings, at least at the next one; cannot give a number on inflation at present, the next MPC may be the time to do so. CBRT Survey (May), end-2022 Forecasts: CPI 57.92% (prev. 46.44%), GDP Growth 3.3% (prev. 3.2%), USD/TRY 17.5682 (prev. 16.8481), Current Account Balance USD -34.34bln (prev. USD -27.5bln). US Event Calendar 08:30: April Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.50, prior 0.44 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses the Economic Outlook 19:30: Fed’s George Gives Speech at Agricultural Symposium DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After a stressful couple of hours in front of the football yesterday afternoon, there's not too much the market can throw at me this week to raise the heart rate any higher than it was for the brief moments that I thought Liverpool were going to win the Premier League from a very unlikely set of final day circumstances. However it is the hope that kills you and at least we have the Champions League final on Saturday to look forward to now. There will be a lot of market water to flow under the bridge before that. This all follows a fascinating end to last week with the S&P 500 in bear market territory as Europe went home for the weekend after the index had fallen -20.6% from its peak going into the last couple of hours of another brutal week. However a sharp late rally sent the index from c.-2.3% on the day to close +0.01%. There was no catalyst but traders clearly didn’t want to go home for the weekend as lightly positioned as they were. Regardless, this was the first time we’ve seen seven successive weekly declines in the index since the fallout from the dotcom bubble bursting in 2001. Watch out for my CoTD on this later. If you’re not on my daily CoTD and want to be, please send an email to jim-reid.thematicresearch@db.com to get added. For what it's worth the Dow saw the first successive 8 weekly decline since 1923 which really brings home the state of the current sell-off. After having a high conviction recession call all year for 2023, I can't say I have high conviction in the near-term. I don't expect that we will fall into recession imminently in the US or Europe and if that's the case then markets are likely to eventually stabilise and rally back. However if we do see a H2 2022 recession then this sell-off will likely end up at the more severe end of the historical recessionary sell-offs given the very high starting valuations (see Binky Chadha's excellent strategy piece here for more on this). However if I'm right that a 2023 recession is unavoidable then however much we rally back this year we'll be below current levels for equities in 12-18 months' time in my view. Given that my H2 2023 HY credit spread forecast is +850bp then that backs this point up. Longer-term if we do get a recession and inflation proves sticky over that period then equities are going to have a long period of mean reversion of valuations and it will be a difficult few years ahead. So the path of equities in my opinion depends on the recession timing and what inflation does when we hit that recession. Moving from pontificating about the next few years to now looking at what's coming up this week. The global preliminary PMIs for May tomorrow will be front and centre for investors following the growth concerns that have roiled markets of late. Central banks will also remain in focus as we will get the latest FOMC meeting minutes (Wednesday) and the US April PCE, the Fed's preferred inflation proxy, on Friday. An array of global industrial activity data will be another theme to watch. Consumer sentiment will be in focus too, with a number of confidence measures from Europe and personal income and spending data from the US (Friday). Corporates reporting results will include spending bellwethers Macy's and Costco. After last week’s retail earnings bloodbath (e.g. Walmart and Target) these will get added attention. On the Fed, the minutes may be a bit stale now but it’ll still be interesting to see the insight around the biases of 50bps vs 25/75bps hikes after the next couple of meetings. Thoughts on QT will also be devoured. Staying with the US, for the personal income and spending numbers on Friday, our US economists expect the two indicators to slow to +0.2% and +0.6% in April, respectively. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE, will be another important metric released the same day and DB’s economics team expects the April core reading to stay at +0.3%. Other US data will include April new home sales tomorrow and April durable goods orders on Wednesday. A number of manufacturing and business activity indicators are in store, too. Regional Fed indicators throughout the week will include an April gauge of national activity from the Chicago Fed (today) and May manufacturing indices from the Richmond Fed (tomorrow) and the Kansas City Fed (Thursday). In Europe, the May IFO business climate indicator for Germany will be out today, followed by a manufacturing confidence gauge for France (tomorrow) and Italy (Thursday). China's industrial profits are due on Friday. This week will also feature a number of important summits. Among them will be the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos that has now started and will run until next Thursday. It'll be the first in-person meeting since the pandemic began and geopolitics will likely be in focus. Meanwhile, President Biden will travel to Asia for the first time as US president and attend a Quad summit in Tokyo tomorrow. Details on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework are expected. Finally, NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 2022 Spring Session will be held in Vilnius from next Friday to May 30th. In corporate earnings, investors will be closely watching Macy's, Costco and Dollar General after this week's slump in Walmart and Target. Amid the carnage in tech, several companies that were propelled by the pandemic will be in focus too, with reporters including NVIDIA, Snowflake (Wednesday) and Zoom (today). Other notable corporates releasing earnings will be Lenovo, Alibaba, Baidu (Thursday) and XPeng (Monday). Overnight in Asia, equity markets are weak but US futures continue to bounce back. The Hang Seng (-1.75%) is the largest underperformer amid a fresh sell-off in Chinese listed tech stocks. Additionally, stocks in mainland China are also weak with the Shanghai Composite (-0.47%) and CSI (-0.99%) lower as Beijing reported record number of fresh Covid-19 cases, renewing concerns about a lockdown. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.50%) is up in early trade while the Kospi (+0.02%) is flat. S&P 500 (+0.80%), NASDAQ 100 (+1.03%) and DAX (+0.96%) futures are all edging higher though and 10yr USTs are around +3.5bps higher. A quick review of last week’s markets now. Growth fears gripped markets while global central bankers retrenched their expectations for a strong dose of monetary tightening this year to combat inflation. The headline was the S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight week for the first time since after the tech bubble burst in 2001, tumbling -3.05% (+0.01% Friday), after back-and-forth price action which included an ignominious -4% decline on Wednesday, the worst daily performance in nearly two years. The index is now -18.68% from its YTD highs, narrowly avoiding a -20% bear market after a late rally to end the week, after dipping into intraday on Friday. Without one discreet driver, an amalgamation of worse-than-expected domestic data, fears about global growth prospects, and poor earnings from domestic retail giants that called into question the vitality of the American consumer soured sentiment. Indeed, on the latter point, consumer staples (-8.63%) and discretionary (-7.44%) were by far the largest underperformers on the week. European stocks managed to fare better, with the STOXX 600 falling -0.55% (+0.73% Friday) and the DAX losing just -0.33% (+0.72% Friday). The growth fears drove longer-dated sovereign bond yields over the week, with 10yr Treasuries falling -13.7bps (-5.6bps Friday). Meanwhile, the front end of the curve was relatively anchored, with 2yr yields basically unchanged over the week (-2.7bps Friday), and the amount of Fed hikes priced in through 2022 edging +3bps higher over the week to 2.75%, bringing 2s10s back below 20bps for the first time since early May. Chair Powell reiterated his commitment to bring inflation back to target, suggesting that getting policy rates to neutral did not constitute a stopping point if the Fed did not have “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation was falling. In Europe the front end was also weaker than the back end as Dutch central bank Governor Knot became the first General Council member to countenance +50bp hikes. 10yr yields didn't rally as much as in the US, closing the week at -0.4bps (-0.5bps Friday). The spectre of faster ECB tightening and slowing global growth drove 10yr BTPs to underperform, widening +15.2bps (+10.2bps Friday) to 205bps against bund equivalents. Gilts underperformed other sovereign bonds, with 10yr benchmarks selling off +14.9bps (+2.8bps Friday) and 2yr yields increasing +25.8bps (+1.6bps Friday). This came as UK CPI hit a 40yr high of 9.0% in April even if it slightly missed forecasts for the first time in seven months. Oil proved resilient to the growth fears rumbling through markets, with both brent crude (+0.90%, +0.46% Friday) and WTI futures (+2.48%, +0.91% Friday) posting modest gains over the week. Tyler Durden Mon, 05/23/2022 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 23rd, 2022

Central Bankers" Narratives Are Falling Apart

Central Bankers' Narratives Are Falling Apart Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Central bankers’ narratives are falling apart. And faced with unpopularity over rising prices, politicians are beginning to question central bank independence. Driven by the groupthink coordinated in the regular meetings at the Bank for International Settlements, they became collectively blind to the policy errors of their own making. On several occasions I have written about the fallacies behind interest rate policies. I have written about the lost link between the quantity of currency and credit in circulation and the general level of prices. I have written about the effect of changing preferences between money and goods and the effect on prices. This article gets to the heart of why central banks’ monetary policy was originally flawed. The fundamental error is to regard economic cycles as originating in the private sector when they are the consequence of fluctuations in credit, to which we can add the supposed benefits of continual price inflation. Introduction Many investors swear by cycles. Unfortunately, there is little to link these supposed cycles to economic theory, other than the link between the business cycle and the cycle of bank credit. The American economist Irving Fisher got close to it with his debt-deflation theory by attributing the collapse of bank credit to the 1930s’ depression. Fisher’s was a well-argued case by the father of modern monetarism. But any further research by mainstream economists was brushed aside by the Keynesian revolution which simply argued that recessions, depressions, or slumps were evidence of the failings of free markets requiring state intervention. Neither Fisher nor Keynes appeared to be aware of the work being done by economists of the Austrian school, principally that of von Mises and Hayek. Fisher was on the American scene probably too early to have benefited from their findings, and Keynes was, well, Keynes the statist who in common with other statists in general placed little premium on the importance of time and its effects on human behaviour. It makes sense, therefore, to build on the Austrian case, and to make the following points at the outset: It is incorrectly assumed that business cycles arise out of free markets. Instead, they are the consequence of the expansion and contraction of unsound money and credit created by the banks and the banking system. The inflation of bank credit transfers wealth from savers and those on fixed incomes to the banking sector’s favoured customers. It has become a major cause of increasing disparities between the wealthy and the poor. The credit cycle is a repetitive boom-and-bust phenomenon, which historically has been roughly ten years in duration. The bust phase is the market’s way of eliminating unsustainable debt, created through credit expansion. If the bust is not allowed to proceed, trouble accumulates for the next credit cycle. Today, economic distortions from previous credit cycles have accumulated to the point where only a small rise in interest rates will be enough to trigger the next crisis. Consequently, central banks have very little room for manoeuvre in dealing with current and future price inflation. International coordination of monetary policies has increased the potential scale of the next credit crisis, and not contained it as the central banks mistakenly believe. The unwinding of the massive credit expansion in the Eurozone following the creation of the euro is an additional risk to the global economy. Comparable excesses in the Japanese monetary system pose a similar threat. Central banks will always fail in using monetary policy as a management tool for the economy. They act for the state, and not for the productive, non-financial private sector. Modern monetary assumptions The original Keynesian policy behind monetary and fiscal stimulation was to help an economy recover from a recession by encouraging extra consumption through bank credit expansion and government deficits funded by inflationary means. Originally, Keynes did not recommend a policy of continual monetary expansion, because he presumed that a recession was the result of a temporary failure of markets which could be remedied by the application of deficit spending by the state. The error was to fail to understand that the cycle is of credit itself, the consequence being the imposition of boom and bust on what would otherwise be a non-cyclical economy, where the random action by businesses in a sound money environment allowed for an evolutionary process delivering economic progress. It was this environment which Schumpeter described as creative destruction. In a sound money regime, businesses deploy the various forms of capital at their disposal in the most productive, profitable way in a competitive environment. Competition and failure of malinvestment provide the best returns for consumers, delivering on their desires and demands. Any business not understanding that the customer is king deserves to fail. The belief in monetary and fiscal stimulation wrongly assumes, among other things, that there are no intertemporal effects. As long ago as 1730, Richard Cantillon described how the introduction of new money into an economy affected prices. He noted that when new money entered circulation, it raised the prices of the goods first purchased. Subsequent acquirers of the new money raised the prices of the goods they demanded, and so on. In this manner, the new money is gradually distributed, raising prices as it is spent, until it is fully absorbed in the economy. Consequently, maximum benefit of the purchasing power of the new money accrues to the first receivers of it, in his time being the gold and silver imported by Spain from the Americas. But today it is principally the banks that create unbacked credit out of thin air, and their preferred customers who benefit most from the expansion of bank credit. The losers are those last to receive it, typically the low-paid, the retired, the unbanked and the poor, who find that their earnings and savings buy less in consequence. There is, in effect, a wealth transfer from the poorest in society to the banks and their favoured customers. Modern central banks seem totally oblivious of this effect, and the Bank of England has even gone to some trouble to dissuade us of it, by quoting marginal changes in the Gini coefficient, which as an average tells us nothing about how individuals, or groups of individuals are affected by monetary debasement. At the very least, we should question central banking’s monetary policies on grounds of both efficacy and the morality, which by debauching the currency, transfers wealth from savers to profligate borrowers —including the government. By pursuing the same monetary policies, all the major central banks are tarred with this bush of ignorance, and they are all trapped in the firm clutch of groupthink gobbledegook. The workings of a credit cycle To understand the relationship between the cycle of credit and the consequences for economic activity, A description of a typical credit cycle is necessary, though it should be noted that individual cycles can vary significantly in the detail. We shall take the credit crisis as our starting point in this repeating cycle. Typically, a credit crisis occurs after the central bank has raised interest rates and tightened lending conditions to curb price inflation, always the predictable result of earlier monetary expansion. This is graphically illustrated in Figure 1. The severity of the crisis is set by the amount of excessive private sector debt financed by bank credit relative to the overall economy. Furthermore, the severity is increasingly exacerbated by the international integration of monetary policies. While the 2007-2008 crises in the UK, the Eurozone and Japan were to varying degrees home-grown, the excessive speculation in the American residential property market, facilitated additionally by off-balance sheet securitisation invested in by the global banking network led to the crisis in each of the other major jurisdictions being more severe than it might otherwise have been. By acting as lender of last resort to the commercial banks, the central bank tries post-crisis to stabilise the economy. By encouraging a revival in bank lending, it seeks to stimulate the economy into recovery by reducing interest rates. However, it inevitably takes some time before businesses, mindful of the crisis just past, have the confidence to invest in production. They will only respond to signals from consumers when they in turn become less cautious in their spending. Banks, who at this stage will be equally cautious over their lending, will prefer to invest in short-maturity government bonds to minimise balance sheet risk. A period then follows during which interest rates remain suppressed by the central bank below their natural rate. During this period, the central bank will monitor unemployment, surveys of business confidence, and measures of price inflation for signs of economic recovery. In the absence of bank credit expansion, the central bank is trying to stimulate the economy, principally by suppressing interest rates and more recently by quantitative easing. Eventually, suppressed interest rates begin to stimulate corporate activity, as entrepreneurs utilise a low cost of capital to acquire weaker rivals, and redeploy underutilised assets in target companies. They improve their earnings by buying in their own shares, often funded by cheapened bank credit, as well as by undertaking other financial engineering actions. Larger businesses, in which the banks have confidence, are favoured in these activities compared with SMEs, who find it generally difficult to obtain finance in the early stages of the recovery phase. To that extent, the manipulation of money and credit by central banks ends up discriminating against entrepreneurial smaller companies, delaying the recovery in employment. Consumption eventually picks up, fuelled by credit from banks and other lending institutions, which will be gradually regaining their appetite for risk. The interest cost on consumer loans for big-ticket items, such as cars and household goods, is often lowered under competitive pressures, stimulating credit-fuelled consumer demand. The first to benefit from this credit expansion tend to be the better-off creditworthy consumers, and large corporations, which are the early receivers of expanding bank credit. The central bank could be expected to raise interest rates to slow credit growth if it was effectively managing credit. However, the fall in unemployment always lags in the cycle and is likely to be above the desired target level. And price inflation will almost certainly be below target, encouraging the central bank to continue suppressing interest rates. Bear in mind the Cantillon effect: it takes time for expanding bank credit to raise prices throughout the country, time which contributes to the cyclical effect. Even if the central bank has raised interest rates by this stage, it is inevitably by too little. By now, commercial banks will begin competing for loan business from large credit-worthy corporations, cutting their margins to gain market share. So, even if the central bank has increased interest rates modestly, at first the higher cost of borrowing fails to be passed on by commercial banks. With non-financial business confidence spreading outwards from financial centres, bank lending increases further, and more and more businesses start to expand their production, based upon their return-on-equity calculations prevailing at artificially low interest rates and input prices, which are yet to reflect the increase in credit. There’s a gathering momentum to benefit from the new mood. But future price inflation for business inputs is usually underestimated. Business plans based on false information begin to be implemented, growing financial speculation is supported by freely available credit, and the conditions are in place for another crisis to develop. Since tax revenues lag in any economic recovery, government finances have yet to benefit suvstantially from an increase in tax revenues. Budget deficits not wholly financed by bond issues subscribed to by the domestic public and by non-bank corporations represents an additional monetary stimulus, fuelling the credit cycle even more at a time when credit expansion should be at least moderated. For the planners at the central banks, the economy has now stabilised, and closely followed statistics begin to show signs of recovery. At this stage of the credit cycle, the effects of earlier monetary inflation start to be reflected more widely in rising prices. This delay between credit expansion and the effect on prices is due to the Cantillon effect, and only now it is beginning to be reflected in the calculation of the broad-based consumer price indices. Therefore, prices begin to rise persistently at a higher rate than that targeted by monetary policy, and the central bank has no option but to raise interest rates and restrain demand for credit. But with prices still rising from credit expansion still in the pipeline, moderate interest rate increases have little or no effect. Consequently, they continue to be raised to the point where earlier borrowing, encouraged by cheap and easy money, begins to become uneconomic. A rise in unemployment, and potentially falling prices then becomes a growing threat. As financial intermediaries in a developing debt crisis, the banks are suddenly exposed to extensive losses of their own capital. Bankers’ greed turns to a fear of being over-leveraged for the developing business conditions. They are quick to reduce their risk-exposure by liquidating loans where they can, irrespective of their soundness, putting increasing quantities of loan collateral up for sale. Asset inflation quickly reverses, with all marketable securities falling sharply in value. The onset of the financial crisis is always swift and catches the central bank unawares. When the crisis occurs, banks with too little capital for the size of their balance sheets risk collapsing. Businesses with unproductive debt and reliant on further credit go to the wall. The crisis is cathartic and a necessary cleaning of the excesses entirely due to the human desire of bankers and their shareholders to maximise profits through balance sheet leverage. At least, that’s what should happen. Instead, a modern central bank moves to contain the crisis by committing to underwrite the banking system to stem a potential downward spiral of collateral sales, and to ensure an increase in unemployment is contained. Consequently, many earlier malinvestments will survive. Over several cycles, the debt associated with past uncleared malinvestments accumulates, making each successive crisis greater in magnitude. 2007-2008 was worse than the fall-out from the dot-com bubble in 2000, which in turn was worse than previous crises. And for this reason, the current credit crisis promises to be even greater than the last. Credit cycles are increasingly a global affair. Unfortunately, all central banks share the same misconception, that they are managing a business cycle that emanates from private sector business errors and not from their licenced banks and own policy failures. Central banks through the forum of the Bank for International Settlements or G7, G10, and G20 meetings are fully committed to coordinating monetary policies on a global basis. The consequence is credit crises are potentially greater as a result. Remember that G20 was set up after the Lehman crisis to reinforce coordination of monetary and financial policies, promoting destructive groupthink even more. Not only does the onset of a credit crisis in any one country become potentially exogenous to it, but the failure of any one of the major central banks to contain its crisis is certain to undermine everyone else. Systemic risk, the risk that banking systems will fail, is now truly global and has worsened. The introduction of the new euro distorted credit cycles for Eurozone members, and today has become a significant additional financial and systemic threat to the global banking system. After the euro was introduced, the cost of borrowing dropped substantially for many high-risk member states. Unsurprisingly, governments in these states seized the opportunity to increase their debt-financed spending. The most extreme examples were Greece, followed by Italy, Spain, and Portugal —collectively the PIGS. Consequently, the political pressures to suppress euro interest rates are overwhelming, lest these state actors’ finances collapse. Eurozone commercial banks became exceptionally highly geared with asset to equity leverage more than twenty times on average for the global systemically important banks. Credit cycles for these countries have been made considerably more dangerous by bank leverage, non-performing debt, and the TARGET2 settlement system which has become dangerously unbalanced. The task facing the ECB today to stop the banking system from descending into a credit contraction crisis is almost impossible as a result. The unwinding of malinvestments and associated debt has been successfully deferred so far, but the Eurozone remains a major and increasing source of systemic risk and a credible trigger for the next global crisis. The seeds were sown for the next credit crisis in the last When new money is fully absorbed in an economy, prices can be said to have adjusted to accommodate it. The apparent stimulation from the extra money will have reversed itself, wealth having been transferred from the late receivers to the initial beneficiaries, leaving a higher stock of currency and credit and increased prices. This always assumes there has been no change in the public’s general level of preference for holding money relative to holding goods. Changes in this preference level can have a profound effect on prices. At one extreme, a general dislike of holding any money at all will render it valueless, while a strong preference for it will drive down prices of goods and services in what economists lazily call deflation. This is what happened in 1980-81, when Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve Board raised the Fed’s fund rate to over 19% to put an end to a developing hyperinflation of prices. It is what happened more recently in 2007/08 when the great financial crisis broke, forcing the Fed to flood financial markets with unlimited credit to stop prices falling, and to rescue the financial system from collapse. The state-induced interest rate cycle, which lags the credit cycle for the reasons described above, always results in interest rates being raised high enough to undermine economic activity. The two examples quoted in the previous paragraph were extremes, but every credit cycle ends with rates being raised by the central bank by enough to trigger a crisis. The chart above of America’s Fed funds rate is repeated from earlier in this article for ease of reference. The interest rate peaks joined by the dotted line marked the turns of the US credit cycle in January 1989, mid-2000, early 2007, and mid-2019 respectively. These points also marked the beginning of the recession in the early nineties, the post-dotcom bubble collapse, the US housing market crisis, and the repo crisis in September 2019. The average period between these peaks was exactly ten years, echoing a similar periodicity observed in Britain’s nineteenth century. The threat to the US economy and its banking system has grown with every crisis. Successive interest peaks marked an increase in severity for succeeding credit crises, and it is notable that the level of interest rates required to trigger a crisis has continually declined. Extending this trend suggests that a Fed Funds Rate of no more than 2% today will be the trigger for a new momentum in the current financial crisis. The reason this must be so is the continuing accumulation of dollar-denominated private-sector debt. And this time, prices are fuelled by record increases in the quantity of outstanding currency and credit. Conclusions The driver behind the boom-and-bust cycle of business activity is credit itself. It therefore stands to reason that the greater the level of monetary intervention, the more uncontrollable the outcome becomes. This is confirmed by both reasoned theory and empirical evidence. It is equally clear that by seeking to manage the credit cycle, central banks themselves have become the primary cause of economic instability. They exhibit institutional groupthink in the implementation of their credit policies. Therefore, the underlying attempt to boost consumption by encouraging continual price inflation to alter the allocation of resources from deferred consumption to current consumption, is overly simplistic, and ignores the negative consequences. Any economist who argues in favour of an inflation target, such as that commonly set by central banks at 2%, fails to appreciate that monetary inflation transfers wealth from most people, who are truly the engine of production and spending. By impoverishing society inflationary policies are counterproductive. Neo-Keynesian economists also fail to understand that prices of goods and services in the main do not act like those of speculative investments. People will buy an asset if the price is rising because they see a bandwagon effect. They do not normally buy goods and services because they see a trend of rising prices. Instead, they seek out value, as any observer of the falling prices of electrical and electronic products can testify. We have seen that for policymakers the room for manoeuvre on interest rates has become increasingly limited over successive credit cycles. Furthermore, the continuing accumulation of private sector debt has reduced the height of interest rates that would trigger a financial and systemic crisis. In any event, a renewed global crisis could be triggered by the Fed if it raises the funds rate to as little as 2%. This can be expected with a high degree of confidence; unless, that is, a systemic crisis originates from elsewhere —the euro system and Japan are already seeing the euro and yen respectively in the early stages of a currency collapse. It is bound to lead to increased interest rates in the euro and yen, destabilising their respective banking systems. The likelihood of their failure appears to be increasing by the day, a situation that becomes obvious when one accepts that the problem is wholly financial, the result of irresponsible credit and currency expansion in the past. An economy that works best is one where sound money permits an increase in purchasing power of that money over time, reflecting the full benefits to consumers of improvements in production and technology. In such an economy, Schumpeter’s process of “creative destruction” takes place on a random basis. Instead, consumers and businesses are corralled into acing herd-like, financed by the cyclical ebb and flow of bank credit. The creation of the credit cycle forces us all into a form of destructive behaviour that otherwise would not occur. Tyler Durden Sun, 05/22/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 22nd, 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

3 Stocks to Capitalize on the Attractive Semiconductor Industry

The Analog/Mixed Signal Semiconductor industry is particularly attractive given strong growth prospects, secular growth drivers that are huge and deep, and reasonable valuations. MPWR, ON and MXL are looking good now. While supply constraints impacting some players are likely to continue through the year, the strong demand environment is leading to price increases and long-term supply agreements (for some). The pandemic benefited the industry, which provides the building blocks of technology that everyone was relying on for maintaining social distancing and remote operations. The transition to normalcy is likely to be gradual and accompanied by even more spending. Continued shortage in the automotive industry remains one of the strongest drivers right now.   Moreover, technological advancements in the way we do computing, as well as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, 5G, driverless cars and a host of other things that will greatly increase our reliance on the digital world are secular drivers for the industry. Therefore, there are huge prospects in this market and it’s a place we should all be in. Our current picks are Monolithic Power Systems, ON Semiconductor and MaxLinear.About the IndustryWe generally use our electronic gadgets without thinking, expecting them to accurately read our commands, and record, store, retrieve and process the information we throw at them. The complex process that makes this possible is enabled by semiconductor technology, whether analog (enabling the recording and measurement of real-world information), digital (processing information available in machine-readable language) or mixed signal (enabling conversion of analog signals to digital or digital to analog among other things). Most electronic gadgets use a combination of these components.The industry is cyclical and prices are elastic. Given the application of these semiconductors across automotive, communications, computing/cloud/data center, industrial, medical, IoT and other markets, these players usually serve multiple markets that offset their individual seasonalMajor DriversThe increasing use of electronics in vehicles, airplanes and defense equipment; increased factory automation; greater penetration of smartphones, tablets, notebooks, PCs and all manner of personal computing and other personal devices and smart household appliances; communications infrastructure moving to 5G; greater reliance on cloud infrastructure; the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), more advanced medical devices, EVs, self-driving cars etc are leading to unprecedented demand for semiconductor chips. Since we simply aren’t making as many chips as we need and supply chain bottlenecks aren’t helping the situation, prices are going up. Company chiefs are guessing that the great chip shortage will continue through the year despite considerable effort to redirect some production and also bring new capacity online. This should support continued strength in prices.     The post-pandemic hybrid model, where more people move out of their homes more often but not all the time, is leading to continued demand in the computing market as commercial demand replaces individual demand. The flexibility to work from home becoming is something that many employers and employees want, so the expansion of the overall electronic footprint appears permanent. Consumer devices incorporating newer technologies to enable more experiences, will add to this demand. The number of semiconductors per device and their complexities will also continue to increase. R&D budgets focused on responding to increased competition and the expanding scope of digitization will therefore also increase. The adoption of 5G communications technology, enabling 10X the data rate as 4G, is another boost to analog-mixed signal sales both in base stations and end devices. Because of the multiple input (MI) and multiple output (MO) streams the technology enables in base stations, demand for sensors and power management analog including envelope tracking chips (to manage excess power flow and thus reduce heating), as well as gallium nitride (GaN) materials will increase. Moreover, since 5G is only involved in short range signals, it will not totally replace 4G but will supplement it. So it will be additive in terms of component demand. With the economy continuing to open up and the virus looking like it’s on its way to becoming endemic, this segment should only get stronger. Industry consolidation continues as the cost and complications of making chips rises in an environment where the adoption of semiconductors in devices of varying value requires prices to decline. Acquisitions are also driven by the need to expand R&D capabilities and acquire of key talent. U.S. government officials worry that none of the most advanced chips are currently manufactured in the country. This is considered to be a national security concern given that semiconductors are playing an increasingly larger role in AI-driven electronic weaponry and surveillance mechanisms. So the government is trying to incentivize companies to build in the U.S. TSM, the main supplier to the U.S. is setting up in the country but the plan is to have this on a much larger scale. How exactly this situation will play out for the industry is unknown. Increasing capacity would depress prices. And U.S. production would increase cost. So much depends on what the government bears.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Attractive ProspectsThe Zacks Semiconductor – Analog and Mixedindustry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer and Technologysector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #17, which places it at the top 7% of more than 250 Zacks-classified industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates attractive near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions over the past year, it is clear that analysts are optimistic about this group’s earnings growth potential. So 2022 estimates have risen 40.4% over the past year, while 2022 estimates have risen 12.6%.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Stock Market Performance Is AttractiveThe Zacks Semiconductor – Analog and Mixed industry traded higher than the broader Zacks Computer and Technology Sector as well as the S&P 500 index though much of the past year.Overall, the industry added 5.2% to its value over the past year while the broader sector lost 18.2% and the S&P 500 5.9%.One-Year Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, the industry is trading at 16.45X, which is a discount to both the S&P 500’s 17.39X and the broader computer and technology sector’s 20.63X. At the current level, it is also well below its median level of 23.47X over the past year.The current level of 16.45X is in fact its lowest over the past year. Its highest point over the past year was 25.30X.Forward 12 Month Price-to-Earnings (P/E) RatioImage Source: Zacks Investment Research3 Promising Stocks Offering Exposure To The IndustryMonolithic Power Systems, Inc. MPWR: The company designs, develops, and markets integrated power semiconductor solutions and power delivery architectures for computing and storage, automotive, industrial, communication and consumer applications markets.Monolithic Power has not seen any negative impact from the pandemic at all. In fact, being a semiconductor company, it has been one of the enablers of the digital economy that supported the economy during this time. As a result, the company has seen particularly strong revenue growth from the June quarter of 2020. Its recent results reflect continued broad-based strength across end markets, particularly computing and storage (commercial notebooks), enterprise data (data center, workstation computing), communications (5G buildouts, satellite communications) and consumer (mainly IoT). Its strength is coming from the ramp up of new, higher-margin products long-term customer relationships, which are not only driving share gains, but also generating strong margins.Monolithic Power topped the Zacks Consensus earnings estimate by 8.4% in the last quarter. Its 2022 EPS estimate has increased $1.98 (20.6%) in the last 30 days. Additionally, its 2023 estimate increased $2.51 (22.6%).Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock are up 36.3% over the past year.Price and Consensus: MPWRImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchON Semiconductor Corporation ON: The company is an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of a broad range of discrete and embedded semiconductor components, including power management, logic, signal processing, memory and application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). It also offers foundry services. It serves players in the automotive, industrial, medical, aerospace/defense, communications, networking, wireless, consumer and computing markets.The company is a beneficiary of the current strength in the automotive and industrial (factory automation) markets, both of which are in the middle of a strong growth phase. Additionally, its highly differentiated power management solutions have enabled it to generate new design wins and market share gains. With auto customers entering into long-term supply agreements, the company stands to benefit from the improving visibility and better asset allocation. On Semi is also well positioned to capitalize on the ADAS and emerging EV opportunity, as well as the rapidly expanding alternative energy market (mainly solar farms).ON Semi beat March quarter estimates by 16.2% and in the last 30 days, 2022 estimates for this Zacks Rank #1 company increased 75 cents (18.0%). The 2023 estimate increased 54 cents (12.2%).The shares are up 50.0% over the past year.Price and Consensus: ONImage Source: Zacks Investment Research MaxLinear, Inc. MXL: Carlsbad, California-based MaxLinear provides radiofrequency (RF), high-performance analog, and mixed-signal communications systems-on-chip (SoCs) solutions for the connected home, wired and wireless infrastructure, and industrial and multi-market applications worldwide. Its products integrate various portions of a high-speed communication system. The product range includes broadband radio transceiver front ends, data converters, embedded systems and software architecture, and architecture and system design for highly integrated end-to-end communication platform solutions. The products are sold to electronics distributors, module makers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and original design manufacturers (ODMs) through a direct sales force, third-party sales representatives, and a distributor network.MaxLinear is seeing strong growth across its served markets on the strength of its comprehensive product portfolio and the accelerating pace of new product launches, particularly in connectivity, fiber-to-the home broadband, optical, and wireless infrastructure markets. It continues to take share in Wi-Fi and management expects this business to more than double this year and also grow very strongly in the next.MaxLinear recently inked a deal to buy Silicon Motion technology for $114.34 per ADS ($8 billion in total for the company) in cash and stock. The acquisition will be immediately accretive and will generate $100 billion of annualized savings within eighteen months of closing the deal. It brings important NAND flash controller technology, helping to round out the product portfolio and facilitate its expansion into enterprise, consumer and other adjacent growth markets.MaxLinear beat estimates by 9.9% in the last quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 has jumped 36 cents (9.7%) in the last 30 days. The 2023 estimate jumped 43 cents (10.9%) during the same period.#2 ranked MaxLinear’s shares are up 21.6% over the past year.Price and Consensus: MXLImage 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 Monolithic Power Systems, Inc. (MPWR): Free Stock Analysis Report MaxLinear, Inc (MXL): Free Stock Analysis Report ON Semiconductor Corporation (ON): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 16th, 2022

3 Retail-Miscellaneous Stocks Braving Industry-Wide Challenges

While challenges prevail in the Retail - Miscellaneous industry, players such as Tractor Supply (TSCO), MarineMax (HZO) and Build-A-Bear Workshop (BBW) look well poised, courtesy of their business operating model and prospects ahead. Product cost inflation, tight labor market and supply-chain bottlenecks are some of the headwinds that players in the Zacks Retail – Miscellaneous industry have been encountering lately. These along with geopolitical turbulence, thanks to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, have dampened consumers’ spirits.That said, industry participants have been focusing on superior product strategy, advancement of omni-channel capabilities and prudent capital investments to strike the right chord with consumers. Tractor Supply Company TSCO, MarineMax, Inc. HZO and Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. BBW look well poised, courtesy of their business operating model and opportunities ahead.About the IndustryThe Zacks Retail – Miscellaneous industry covers retailers of sporting goods, office supplies, and specialty products as well as sellers of a wide range of domestic merchandise. It also includes retailers of beauty products providing cosmetics, fragrances, skincare and haircare products, and salon styling tools. Some of the industry participants operate rural lifestyle retail stores, arts and crafts specialty outlets, and sell their products to farmers, ranchers, and others as well as tradesmen and small businesses. The industry also comprises recreational boat and yacht retailers as well as specialty value retailers offering a broad range of trend-right, high-quality merchandise targeted at the tween and teen customer. The players' profitability depends on a prudent pricing model, a well-organized supply chain, and an effective merchandising strategy.4 Key Industry TrendsPressure on Margins to Linger: Companies in the industry are vying for a bigger share on attributes such as price, products and speed to market. They have been accelerating investments to strengthen the digital ecosystem and boost shipping and delivery capabilities. While these endeavors drive sales, they entail high costs. Apart from these, any deleverage in SG&A rate, higher labor and occupancy costs, and increased marketing and other store-related expenses might build pressure on margins. Of late, the industry participants have been dealing with high labor costs amid the tight labor market, increased freight costs, container shortages, and supply delays. Nonetheless, companies have been focused on undertaking initiatives to mitigate cost-related challenges. These include streamlining operational structures, optimizing supply networks as well as adopting effective pricing policies.Consumer Confidence Eases on Soaring Inflation: Elevating prices and the war between Russia and Ukraine continue to pose a threat to consumer spending activity and confidence. Per Conference Board data, the Consumer Confidence Index nudged down to 107.3 in April from March’s upwardly revised reading of 107.6. Undoubtedly, the industry’s prospects are correlated with the purchasing power of consumers. But higher gasoline and food prices have been squeezing disposable income. The consumer price index rose 1.2% month on month in March, following an increase of 0.8% in February. On a year-over-year basis, the metric rose 8.5%, the fastest pace since December 1981.Focus on Boosting Portfolio & Market Reach: Most companies in the space are working on providing a wide assortment of products, enhancing the online experience and adopting a favorable pricing strategy to boost sales. Initiatives such as building omni-channel operations, coming up with reward programs, and developing innovative products and services are worth mentioning. There has been an increase in demand for office supplies, personal care items, domestic merchandise products and fitness-related products. Companies are looking to fuel sales via targeted marketing.Digitization Key to Growth: With the change in consumer shopping patterns and behavior, industry participants have been playing dual in-store and online roles. In this respect, the industry players have been directing resources toward digital platforms, accelerating fleet optimization and augmenting the supply chain. In fact, companies’ initiatives to expand delivery options — curbside pickup or ship-to-home orders — and contactless payment solutions have been a boon amid the pandemic. Additionally, retailers are investing in renovation, improved checkouts and mobile point-of-sale capabilities to keep stores relevant. Keeping in mind consumers’ product preferences and inclination toward online shopping, retailers are replenishing shelves with in-demand merchandise and ramping up investments in digitization.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bleak ProspectsThe Zacks Retail – Miscellaneous industry is housed within the broader Zacks Retail – Wholesale sector. The industry currently carries a Zacks Industry Rank #150, which places it in the bottom 41% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates drab near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of the negative earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are losing confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. Since the beginning of December 2021, the industry’s earnings estimate has declined 6.4%.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Vs. Broader MarketThe Zacks Retail – Miscellaneous industry has underperformed the broader Retail – Wholesale sector and the Zacks S&P 500 composite over the past year.The industry has fallen 31.1% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s decline of 1.6%. and the broader sector’s decline of 28.9% in the said time frame.One-Year Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E), which is commonly used for valuing retail stocks, the industry is currently trading at 13.04X compared with the S&P 500’s 17.87X and the sector’s 20.83X.Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 24.96X, as low as 11.28X and at the median of 16.33X, as the chart below shows.Price-to-Earnings Ratio (Past 5 Years)Pick These 3 Retail - Miscellaneous StocksMarineMax: Significant geographic reach, product diversification and stellar demand bode well for this world’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer. MarineMax has been benefiting as consumers embrace and enjoy the boating lifestyle. The company’s digitization endeavors have been helping it better engage with customers. The company’s investments in high-margin businesses such as finance, insurance, brokerage, marina and service operations bode well. Impressively, its strategic acquisitions have been playing a major role in driving the top line. Recently, MarineMax invested in Boatzon, the first 100% online boat and marine retailer providing secure direct marketplace services.This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 32.8%, on average. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-fiscal earnings per share (EPS) has risen 4.8% in the past 30 days. Shares of MarineMax have declined 34.4% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Price and Consensus: HZOTractor Supply Company: This largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States has been benefiting from its robust business strategies, "Life Out Here" and everyday low pricing, as well as favorable consumer demand for product categories. In addition, Tractor Supply's Neighbor's Club loyalty program remains sturdy. Its omni-channel initiatives, including curbside pickup and same-day delivery, have been aiding digital sales. We note that strength in everyday merchandise, including consumable, usable and edible products, has been fueling sales.Tractor Supply has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 12.4%, on average. The company has an estimated long-term earnings growth rate of 9.8%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-fiscal EPS has risen 1.8% in the past 30 days. Shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have risen 3.5% in the past year.Price and Consensus: TSCOBuild-A-Bear Workshop: Enhanced marketing programs and omnichannel capabilities coupled with pent-up demand have been contributing to Build-A-Bear Workshop’s performance. The company’s focus on digital transformation, better engagement with consumers and extension of the addressable market by reaching beyond the core kid base to acquire new teen and adult customers should fortify its position in the industry. This multi-channel retailer of plush animals and related products envisions first-quarter fiscal 2022 total revenues to exceed the prior-year period figure.Impressively, Build-A-Bear Workshop has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 214.3%, on average. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-fiscal EPS has risen 1.6% in the past 60 days. We also note that shares of this Zacks Rank #2 company have zoomed 148.2% in the past year.Price and Consensus: BBW 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>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 Tractor Supply Company (TSCO): Free Stock Analysis Report BuildABear Workshop, Inc. (BBW): Free Stock Analysis Report MarineMax, Inc. (HZO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 9th, 2022

Gordon Chang: What To Do About China

Gordon Chang: What To Do About China Authored by Gordon Chang via The Gatestone Institute, Since about 2018, Chinese officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as sovereign Chinese territory, part of the People's Republic of China. This means that China considers those heavenly bodies to be like the South China Sea. This also means that China will exclude other nations from going to the moon and Mars if they have the capability to do so. We do not have to speculate about that: Chinese officials say this is what they are going to do. [W]hen Biden says, "Oh, the Chinese just want to compete with us," he is wrong. They do not want to "compete" within the international system. They do not even want to change that system... They want to overthrow it altogether, period. Is Xi Jinping really that bold... to start another war? ... First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. Second the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. We Americans don't pay attention to propaganda... After all, these are just words. At this particular time, these words... [suggest] to me that China is laying the justification for a strike on the United States. We keep ignoring what Beijing is saying. We kept ignoring what Osama bin Laden was saying. We have to remember that the Chinese regime, unlike the Japanese, always warn its adversaries about what it is going to do The second reason war is coming is that America's deterrence of China is breaking down. Di's message was that with cash, China can do anything it wants, and that all Americans would take cash. He mentioned two words in this regard: Hunter Biden. In February, [Biden] had a two‑hour phone call with Xi Jinping. By Biden's own admission, he didn't raise the issue of the origins of COVID‑19 even once. If you are Xi Jinping, after you put down the receiver, your first thought is, "I just got away with killing hundreds of thousands of Americans." We have news that China is building something like 345 missile silos in three locations: in Gansu, Xinjiang, and in Inner Mongolia. These silos are clearly built to accommodate the DF‑41. The DF‑41 has a range of about 9,300 miles, which means that it can reach any part of the United States. The DF‑41 carries 10 warheads. This means that China could, in about two years..., have a bigger arsenal than ours. ...we have to assume the worst because Chinese leaders and Chinese generals, on occasion, unprovoked, have made threats to nuke American cities. In July, 2021 China tested a hypersonic glide warhead, which circled the world. This signals China intends to violate the Outer Space Treaty, to which China is a party. As of today, more than eight million people have died outside China. What happened? No one imposed costs on China. For at least a half‑decade, maybe a little bit longer, Chinese military researchers have been openly writing about a new type of biological warfare....They talk about a new type of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks." In other words, pathogens that will leave the Chinese immune but sicken and kill everybody else, which means that the next disease from China can be a civilization killer. A lot of military analysts talk about how the first seconds of a war with China are going to be fought in outer space. They are going to blind our satellites, take them down, do all sorts of stuff. Those statements are wrong. The first day of war against the United States occurs about six months earlier, when they release pathogens in the United States. Then we are going to have that day in space. The war starts here, with a pathogen ‑‑ a virus, a microbe, a bug of some kind. That is where it begins. The One‑China policy is something many people misunderstand. Probably because Beijing uses propaganda to try to fuzzy up the issue.... China has a One‑China principle: that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, full stop. We have a One‑China policy..., that the status of Taiwan is unresolved.... that the resolution of the status of Taiwan must be with the consent of people on both sides of the Strait. We need a policy of "strategic clarity," where we tell China that we will defend Taiwan. We also say we will extend a mutual defense treaty to Taiwan if it wants it, and we will put American troops on the island as a tripwire. We are Americans. We naturally assume that there are solutions, and good solutions, to every problem. After three decades of truly misguided China policy, there are no ... solutions that are "undangerous." ...The current trend of policy is unsustainable. There will be no American republic if we continue to do what we are currently doing and if we continue to allow China to do what it does. I do not think that enforcing a trade deal will start World War III. China has not met its obligations. As of a few months ago, China had met about 62% of its commitments..... We should be increasing the tariffs that President Trump imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Remember, those tariffs are meant to be a remedy for the theft of US intellectual property. China has continued to steal US IP. As matter of fact, it has gotten worse... I do not think that we should be trying to foster integration of Wall Street into China's markets.... Do not take it from me, just look at their failure to comply with very simple, easy‑to‑comply-with requirements. It was a mistake. The best response would be if we hit them with everything at once because China right now is weak. If we were going to pick the number one thing to do, I would think trade. China now has a debt crisis, so they are not going to invest their way out of this crisis, which means the only way they can save their economy is net exports. We should stop buying their stuff. China has bought the political establishment in the Solomon Islands, except for one brave man named David Suidani. Recently, somebody got the bright idea of publishing all of the specific payments that Beijing has made to Solomon Islands politicians.... We should be doing this with payments to American politicians, we should be doing this across the board. What bothers me is that, although their assumptions about China have demonstrably been proven wrong, American policymakers still continue with the same policies. There is, in some people's mind, an unbreakable view that we have to cooperate with China.... This is what people learn in international relations school when they go to Georgetown, and they become totally stupid. Clearly, Nike and Apple and other companies are now, at this very moment, trying to prevent Congress from enacting toughened rules on the importation of forced‑labor products into our country. Moreover, the Chinese regime is even more casualty‑averse than we are. Even if Beijing thinks it can take Taiwan by force, it is probably not going to invade because it knows an invasion would be unpopular with most people in China. It is not going to risk hundreds of thousands of casualties that would result from an invasion. Unfortunately..., we taught the Chinese that they can without cost engage in these dangerous maneuvers of intercepting our planes and our ships. That is the problem: because as we have taught the Chinese to be more aggressive, they have been. [W]e should have made it clear to the Chinese leadership that they cannot kill Americans without cost. Hundreds of thousands Americans have been killed by a disease that China deliberately spread. From October 2020 to October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died from fentanyl -- which China has purposefully, as a matter of state and Communist Party policy -- sold to Americans... we have to change course. I would close China's four remaining consulates. I would also strip the Chinese embassy down to the ambassador and his personal staff. The thousands who are in Washington, DC, they would be out. I would also raise tariffs to 3,600%, or whatever. This is a good time to do it. We have supply chain disruptions. We are not getting products from China anyway. We can actually start to do this sort of stuff. I would... just hammer those guys all the time verbally. People may think, "Those are just words." For communists, words are really important, because they are an insecure regime where propaganda is absolutely critical. I would be going after the Communists on human rights, I would be going after them on occupying the South China Sea, on Taiwan, unrelentingly -- because I would want to show the world that the United States is no longer afraid of China.... State Department people, they are frightened. We need to say to the Chinese regime, like Dulles, "I'm not afraid of you. I'm going after you, and I'm going to win." Is Xi Jinping really that bold... to start another war?... First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. Second the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. All the conditions for history's next great war are in place. Jim Holmes, the Wiley Professor at the Naval War College, actually talks about this period as being 1937. 1937 was the year in which if you were in Europe or America, you could sense the trouble. If you were in Asia in 1937, you would be even more worried, because that year saw Japan's second invasion of China that decade. No matter where you lived, however, you could not be sure that the worst would happen, that great armies and navies around the world would clash. There was still hope that the situation could be managed. As we now know, the worst did happen. In fact, what happened was worse than what anyone thought at the time. We are now, thanks to China, back to 1937. We will begin our discussion in Afghanistan. Beijing has had long‑standing relations with the Afghan Taliban, going back before 9/11, and continuing through that event. After the US drove the Taliban from power and while it was conducting an insurgency, China was selling the group arms, including anti‑aircraft missiles, that were used to kill American and NATO forces. China's support for killing Americans has continued to today. In December 2020, Indian Intelligence was instrumental, in Afghanistan, in breaking up a ring of Chinese spies and members of the Haqqani Network. The Trump administration believed that the Chinese portion of that ring was actually paying cash for killing Americans. What can happen next? We should not be surprised if China gives the Taliban an atomic weapon to be used against an American city. Would they be that vicious? We have to remember that China purposefully, over the course of decades, proliferated its nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan and then helped Pakistan sell that Chinese technology around the world to regimes such as Iran's and North Korea's. Today, China supports the Taliban. We know this because China has kept open its embassy in Kabul. China is also running interference for the Taliban in the United Nations Security Council. It is urging countries to support that insurgent group with aid. It looks as if the Taliban's main financial backers these days are the Chinese. Beijing is hoping to cash in on its relationship in Central Asia. Unfortunately, there is a man named Biden, who is helping them. In early August, Biden issued an executive order setting a goal that by 2030, half of all American vehicles should be electric‑powered. To be electric‑powered, we need rare earth minerals, we need lithium. As many people have said, Afghanistan is the Saudi Arabia of rare earths and lithium. If Beijing can mine this, it makes the United States even more dependent on China. It certainly helps the Taliban immeasurably. Unfortunately, Beijing has more than just Afghanistan in mind. The Chinese want to take away our sovereignty, and that of other nations, and rule the world. They actually even want to rule the near parts of the solar system. Yes, that does sound far‑fetched, but, no, I'm not exaggerating. Chinese President Xi Jinping would like to end the current international system. On July 1, in a landmark speech, in connection with the centennial of China's ruling organization, he said this: "The Communist Party of China and the Chinese people, with their bravery and tenacity, solemnly proclaim to the world that the Chinese people are not only good at taking down the old world, but also good in building a new one." By that, China's leader means ending the international system, the Westphalian international system. It means he wants to impose China's imperial‑era notions of governance, where Chinese emperors believed they not only had the Mandate of Heaven over tianxia, or all under Heaven, but that Heaven actually compelled the Chinese to rule the entire world. Xi Jinping has been using tianxia themes for decades, and so have his subordinates, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who in September 2017 wrote an article in Study Times, the Central Party School's influential newspaper. In that article, Wang Yi wrote that Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy ‑‑ a "thought" in Communist Party lingo is an important body of ideological work ‑‑ Wang Yi wrote that Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy made innovations on and transcended the traditional theories of Western international relations of the past 300 years. Take 2017, subtract 300 years, and you almost get to 1648, which means that Wang Yi, with his time reference, was pointing to the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648, which established the current system of sovereign states. When Wang Yi writes that Xi Jinping wants to transcend that system, he is really telling us that China's leader does not want sovereign states, or at least no more of them than China. This means that when Biden says, "Oh, the Chinese just want to compete with us," he is wrong. They do not want to "compete" within the international system. They do not even want to change that system so it is more to their liking. They want to overthrow it altogether, period. China is also revolutionary with regard to the solar system. Since about 2018, Chinese officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as sovereign Chinese territory. In other words, as part of the People's Republic of China. This means that China considers those heavenly bodies to be like the South China Sea: theirs and theirs alone. This also means that China will exclude other nations from going to the moon and Mars if they have the capability to do so. We do not have to speculate about that: Chinese officials say this is what they are going to do. Let us return to April 2021. Beijing announced the name of its Mars rover. "We are naming the Mars rover Zhurong," the Chinese said, "because Zhurong was the god of fire in Chinese mythology, " How nice. Yes, Zhurong is the god of fire. What Beijing did not tell us is that Zhurong is also the god of war—and the god of the South China Sea. Is Xi Jinping really that bold or that desperate to start another war? Two points. First, China considers the United States to be its enemy. The second point is that the United States is no longer deterring China. China feels it has a big green light to do whatever it wants. On the first point, about our enemy status, we have to go back to May 2019. People's Daily, the most authoritative publication in China, actually carried a piece that declared a "people's war" on the US. This was not just some isolated thought. On August 29th 2021, People's Daily came out with a landmark piece that accused the United States of committing "barbaric" acts against China. Again, this was during a month of hostile propaganda blasts from China. On the August 29th, Global Times, which is controlled by People's Daily, came right out and also said that the United States was an enemy or like an enemy. We Americans don't pay attention to propaganda. The question is, should we be concerned about what China is saying? After all, these are just words. At this particular time, these words are significant. The strident anti‑Americanism suggests to me that China is laying the justification for a strike on the United States. We keep ignoring what Beijing is saying. We kept ignoring what Osama bin Laden was saying. We have to remember that the Chinese regime, unlike the Japanese, always warn its adversaries about what it is going to do. Jim Lilley, our great ambassador to Beijing during the Tiananmen Massacre, actually said that China always telegraphs its punches. At this moment, China is telegraphing a punch. That hostility, unfortunately, is not something we can do very much about. The Chinese Communist regime inherently idealizes struggle, and it demands that others show subservience to it. The second reason war is coming is that America's deterrence of China is breaking down. That is evident from what the Chinese are saying. In March of 2021, China sent its top two diplomats, Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi, to Anchorage to meet our top officials, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Yang, in chilling words, said the US could no longer talk to China "from a position of strength." We saw the same theme during the fall of Kabul. China then was saying, "Look, those Americans, they can't deal with the insurgent Taliban. How can they hope to counter us magnificent Chinese?" Global Times actually came out with a piece referring to Americans: "They can't win wars anymore." We also saw propaganda at that same time directed at Taiwan. Global Times was saying, again, in an editorial, an important signal of official Chinese thinking, "When we decide to invade, Taiwan will fall within hours and the US will not come to help." It is probably no coincidence that this propaganda came at the time of incursions into Taiwan's air-defense identification zone. We need to be concerned with more than just the intensity and with the frequency of these flights, however. We have to be concerned that China was sending H‑6K bombers; they are nuclear‑capable. Something is wrong. Global Times recently came out with an editorial with the title, "Time to warn Taiwan secessionists and their fomenters: war is real." Beijing is at this moment saying things heard before history's great conflicts. The Chinese regime right now seems to be feeling incredibly arrogant. We heard this on November 28th in 2020, when Di Dongsheng, an academic in Beijing, gave a lecture live-streamed to China. Di showed the arrogance of the Chinese elite. More importantly, he was showing that the Chinese elite no longer wanted to hide how they felt. Di, for instance, openly stated that China could determine outcomes at the highest levels of the American political system. Di's message was that with cash, China can do anything it wants, and that all Americans would take cash. He mentioned two words in this regard: Hunter Biden. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden is reinforcing this notion. China, for instance, has so far killed nearly one million Americans with a disease that it deliberately spread beyond its borders. Yet, what happened? Nothing. We know that China was able to spread this disease with its close relationship with the World Health Organization. President Trump, in July of 2020, took us out of the WHO. What did Biden do? In his first hours in office, on January 20th, 2021, he put us back into the WHO. In February, he had a two‑hour phone call with Xi Jinping. By Biden's own admission, he didn't raise the issue of the origins of COVID‑19 even once. If you are Xi Jinping, after you put down the receiver, your first thought is, "I just got away with killing hundreds of thousands of Americans." Then there's somebody named John Kerry. Our republic is not safe when John Kerry carries a diplomatic passport, as he now does. He is willing to make almost any deal to get China to sign an enhanced climate arrangement. Kerry gave a revealing interview to David Westin of Bloomberg on September 22, 2021. Westin asked him, "What is the process by which one trades off climate against human rights?" Climate against human rights? Kerry came back and said, "Well, life is always full of tough choices in the relationship between nations." Tough choices? We Americans need to ask, "What is Kerry willing to give up to get his climate deal?" Democracies tend to deal with each other in the way that Kerry says. If we are nice to a democracy, that will lead to warm relations; warm relations will lead to deals, long‑standing ties. Kerry thinks that the Chinese communists think that way. Unfortunately, they do not. We know this because Kerry's successor as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in February 2009, said in public, "I'm not going to press the Chinese on human rights because I've got bigger fish to fry." She then went to Beijing a day after saying that and got no cooperation from the Chinese. Even worse, just weeks after that, China felt so bold that it attacked an unarmed US Navy reconnaissance vessel in the South China Sea. The attack was so serious that it constituted an act of war. The Chinese simply do not think the way that Kerry believes they do. All of this, when you put it together, means that the risk of war is much higher than we tend to think. Conflict with today's aggressor is going to be more destructive than it was in the 1930s. We have news that China is building something like 345 missile silos in three locations: in Gansu, Xinjiang, and in Inner Mongolia. These silos are clearly built to accommodate the DF‑41. The DF‑41 has a range of about 9,300 miles, which means that it can reach any part of the United States. The DF‑41 carries 10 warheads. This means that China could, in about two years, as some experts think, have a bigger arsenal than ours. China has built decoy silos before. We are not sure they are going to put all 345 missiles into these facilities, but we have to assume the worst because Chinese leaders and Chinese generals, on occasion, unprovoked, have made threats to nuke American cities. This, of course, calls into question their official no‑first‑use policy, and also a lot of other things. China will not talk to us about arms control. We have to be concerned that China and Russia, which already are coordinating their military activities, would gang up against us with their arsenals. In July, 2021 China tested a hypersonic glide warhead, which circled the world. This signals China intends to violate the Outer Space Treaty, to which China is a party. It also shows that in hypersonic technology, which was developed by Americans, China is now at least a decade ahead of us in fielding a weapon. Why is China doing all this now? The country is coming apart at the seams. There is, for instance, a debt crisis. Evergrande and other property developers have started to default. It is more than just a crisis of companies. China is basically now having its 2008. Even more important than that, they have an economy that is stumbling and a food crisis that is worsening year to year. They know their environment is exhausted. Of course, they also are suffering from a continuing COVID‑19 epidemic. To make matters worse, all of this is occurring while China is on the edge of the steepest demographic decline in history in the absence of war or disease. Two Chinese demographers recently stated that China's population will probably halve in 45 years. If you run out those projections, it means that by the end of the century, China will be about a third of its current size, basically about the same number of people as the United States. These developments are roiling the political system. Xi Jinping is being blamed for these debacles. We know he has a low threshold of risk. Xi now has all the incentive in the world to deflect popular and regime discontent by lashing out. In 1966, Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic, was sidelined in Beijing. What did he do? He started the Cultural Revolution. He tried to use the Chinese people against his political enemies. That created a decade of chaos. Xi Jinping is trying to do the same thing with his "common prosperity" program. The difference is that Mao did not have the means to plunge the world into war. Xi, with his shiny new military, clearly does have that ability. So here is a 1930s scenario to consider. The next time China starts a conflict, whether accidentally or on purpose, we could see that China's friends -- Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan -- either in coordination with China or just taking advantage of the situation, move against their enemies. That would be Ukraine in the case of Russia, South Korea in the case of North Korea, Israel in the case of Iran, India in the case of Pakistan, and Morocco in the case of Algeria. We could see crises at both ends of the European landmass and in Africa at the same time. This is how world wars start. *  *  * Question: Why do you believe China attacked the world with coronavirus? Chang: I believe that SARS‑CoV‑2, the pathogen that causes COVID‑19, is not natural. There are, for example, unnatural arrangements of amino acids, like the double‑CGG sequence, that do not occur in nature. We do not have a hundred percent assurance on where this pathogen came from. We do, however, have a hundred percent assurance on something else: that for about five weeks, maybe even five months, Chinese leaders knew that this disease was highly transmissible, from one human to the next, but they told the world that it was not. At the same time as they were locking down their own country ‑‑ Xi Jinping by locking down was indicating that he thought this was an effective way of stopping the disease -- he was pressuring other countries not to impose travel restrictions and quarantines on arrivals from China. It was those arrivals from China that turned what should have been an epidemic confined to the central part of China, into a global pandemic. As of today, more than eight million people have died outside China. What happened? No one imposed costs on China. For at least a half‑decade, maybe a little bit longer, Chinese military researchers have been openly writing about a new type of biological warfare. This was, for instance, in the 2017 edition of "The Science of Military Strategy," the authoritative publication of China's National Defense University. They talk about a new type of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks." In other words, pathogens that will leave the Chinese immune but sicken and kill everybody else, which means that the next disease from China can be a civilization killer. Remember, Xi Jinping must be thinking, "I just got away with killing eight million people. Why wouldn't I unleash a biological attack on the United States? Look what the virus has done not only to kill Americans but also to divide American society." A lot of military analysts talk about how the first seconds of a war with China are going to be fought in outer space. They are going to blind our satellites, take them down, do all sorts of stuff. Those statements are wrong. The first day of war against the United States occurs about six months earlier, when they release pathogens in the United States. Then we are going to have that day in space. The war starts here, with a pathogen ‑‑ a virus, a microbe, a bug of some kind. That is where it begins. Question: You mentioned 1939. Taiwan is the Poland of today. We get mixed signals: Biden invites the Taiwanese foreign minister to his inauguration, but then we hear Ned Price, his State Department spokesman, say that America will always respect the One‑China policy. Meaning, we're sidelining defending Taiwan? Chang: The One‑China policy is something many people misunderstand. Probably because Beijing uses propaganda to try to fuzzy up the issue. China has a One‑China principle: that Taiwan is part of the People's Republic of China, full stop. We have a One‑China policy, which is different. We recognize Beijing as the legitimate government of China. We also say that the status of Taiwan is unresolved. Then, the third part of our One‑China policy is that the resolution of the status of Taiwan must be with the consent of people on both sides of the Strait. In other words, that is code for peace, a peaceful resolution. Our policies are defined by the One‑China policy, the Three Communiques, Reagan's Six Assurances, and the Taiwan Relations Act. Our policy is difficult for someone named Joe Biden to articulate, because he came back from a campaign trip to Michigan, and he was asked by a reporter about Taiwan, and Biden said, "Don't worry about this. We got it covered. I had a phone call with Xi Jinping and he agreed to abide by the Taiwan agreement." In official US discourse, there is no such thing as a "Taiwan agreement." Some reporter then asked Ned Price what did Biden mean by the Taiwan agreement. Ned Price said, "The Taiwan agreement means the Three Communiques the Six Assurances, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the One‑China policy." Ned Price could not have been telling the truth because Xi Jinping did not agree to America's position on Taiwan. That is clear. There is complete fuzziness or outright lying in the Biden administration about this. Biden's policies on Taiwan are not horrible, but they are also not appropriate for this time. decades, we have had this policy of "strategic ambiguity," where we do not tell either side what we would do in the face of imminent conflict. That worked in a benign period. We are no longer in a benign period. We are in one of the most dangerous periods in history. We need a policy of "strategic clarity," where we tell China that we will defend Taiwan. We also say we will extend a mutual defense treaty to Taiwan if it wants it, and we will put American troops on the island as a tripwire. Question: You think he is not saying that because he has no intention of actually doing it, so in a way, he is telling the truth? Chang: The mind of Biden is difficult to understand. We do not know what the administration would do. We have never known, after Allen Dulles, what any administration would do, with regard to Taiwan. We knew what Dulles would have done. We have got to be really concerned because there are voices in the administration that would give Taiwan, and give other parts of the world, to China. It would probably start with John Kerry; that is only a guess. Question: You mentioned earlier the growing Chinese economic problems. Would you use taking action on the enormous trade deficits we run with China to contribute to that problem? Chang: Yes, we should absolutely do that. Go back to a day which, in my mind, lives in infamy, which is January 15th, 2020, when President Trump signed the Phase One trade deal, which I think was a mistake. In that Phase One trade deal, it was very easy for China to comply, because there were specific targets that China had to meet in buying US goods and services. This was "managed trade." China has not met its obligations. As of a few months ago, China had met about 62% of its commitments. That means, they have dishonored this deal in a material and significant way. If nothing else, China has failed to meet its Phase One trade deal commitments. We should be increasing the tariffs that President Trump imposed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Remember, those tariffs are meant to be a remedy for the theft of US intellectual property. China has continued to steal US IP. As matter of fact, it has gotten worse: for instance, these Chinese anti‑lawsuit injunctions, which they have started to institute. We need to do something: China steals somewhere between $300 to $600 billion worth of US intellectual property each year. That is a grievous wound on the US economy, it is a grievous wound on our society in general. We need to do something about it. Question: As a follow‑up on that, Japan commenced World War II because of the tariffs Roosevelt was strapping on oil imports into Japan, do you think that might well have the same effect on China, where we do begin to impose stiffer tariffs on American imports? Chang: That is a really important question, to which nobody has an answer. I do not think that China would start a war over tariffs. Let me answer this question in a different way. We are Americans. We naturally assume that there are solutions, and good solutions, to every problem. After three decades of truly misguided China policy, there are no good solutions. There are no solutions that are "undangerous." Every solution, going forward, carries great risk. The current trend of policy is unsustainable. There will be no American republic if we continue to do what we are currently doing and if we continue to allow China to do what it does. I do not think that enforcing a trade deal will start World War III. The point is, we have no choice right now. First, I don't think the Chinese were ever going to honor the Phase One agreement . This was not a deal where there were some fuzzy requirements. This deal was very clear: China buys these amounts of agricultural products by such and such date, China buys so many manufactured products by such and such date. This was not rocket science. China purposefully decided not to honor it. There are also other issues regarding the trade deal do not think that we should be trying to foster integration of Wall Street into China's markets, which is what the Phase One deal also contemplated. Goldman Sachs ran away like a bandit on that. There are lot of objections to it. I do not think we should be trading with China, for a lot of reasons. The Phase One trade deal, in my mind, was a great mistake. Do not take it from me, just look at their failure to comply with very simple, easy‑to‑comply-with requirements. It was a mistake. Question: Concerning cybersecurity, as we saw in the recent departure of a Pentagon official, ringing the alarm on how we are completely vulnerable to China's cyberattacks. From your perspective, what would an attack look like on China that would hurt them? What particular institutions would be the most vulnerable? Is it exposing their secrets? Is it something on their financial system? Is it something on their medical system or critical infrastructure? What does the best way look like to damage them? Also, regarding what you mentioned about Afghanistan, we know that China has been making inroads into Pakistan as a check on American hegemony in relationships with India and Afghanistan. Now that the Afghanistan domino is down, what do you see in the future for Pakistan's nuclear capability, in conjunction with Chinese backing, to move ever further westward towards Afghanistan, and endangering Middle East security? Chang: Right now, India has been disheartened by what happened, because India was one of the main backers of the Afghan government. What we did in New Delhi was delegitimize our friends, so that now the pro‑Russian, the pro‑Chinese elements in the Indian national security establishment are basically setting the tone. This is terrible. What has happened, though, in Pakistan itself, is not an unmitigated disaster for us, because China has suffered blowback there. There is an Afghan Taliban, and there is a Pakistani Taliban. They have diametrically‑opposed policies on China. The Afghan Taliban is an ally of China; the Pakistani Taliban kill Chinese. They do that because they want to destabilize Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. Beijing supports Islamabad. The calculation on part of the Pakistani Taliban is, "We kill Chinese, we destabilize Islamabad, we then get to set up the caliphate in Pakistan." What has happened is, with this incredible success of the Afghan Taliban, that the Pakistani Taliban has been re‑energized -- not good news for China. China has something called the China‑Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of their Belt and Road Initiative. Ultimately that is going to be something like $62 billion of investment into Pakistani roads, airports, electric power plants, utilities, all the rest of it. I am very happy that China is in Pakistan, because they are now dealing with a situation that they have no solutions to. It's like Winston Churchill on Italy, "It's now your turn." We should never have had good relations with Pakistan. That was always a short‑term compromise that, even in the short term, undermined American interests. The point is that China is now having troubles in Pakistan because of their success in Afghanistan. Pakistan is important to China for a number of reasons. One of them is, they want it as an outlet to the Indian Ocean that bypasses the Malacca Strait -- a choke point that the US Navy ‑‑ in their view ‑‑ could easily close off, which is correct. They want to bypass that, but their port in Gwadar is a failure in many respects. Gwadar is in Pakistan's Baluchistan. The Baluchs are one of the most oppressed minorities on earth. They have now taken to violence against the Chinese, and they have been effective. Pakistan is a failure for China. The best response would be if we hit them with everything at once because China right now is weak. If we were going to pick the number one thing to do, I would think trade. Trade is really what they need right now. Their economy is stalling. There are three parts to the Chinese economy, as there are to all economies: consumption, investment, and net exports. Their consumption right now is extremely weak from indicators that we have. The question is can they invest? China now has a debt crisis, so they are not going to invest their way out of this crisis, which means the only way they can save their economy is net exports. We should stop buying their stuff. We have extraordinary supply chain disruptions right now. It should be pretty easy for us to make the case that we must become self‑sufficient on a number of items. Hit them on trade. Hit them on investment, publicize the bank account details of Chinese leaders. All these things that we do, we do it all at the same time. We can maybe get rid of these guys. Question: In the Solomon Islands, they published China's under-the-table payments to political figures. Should we do the same thing with China's leaders? Chang: Yes. There is now a contest for the Solomon Islands, which includes Guadalcanal. China has bought the political establishment in the Solomon Islands, except for one brave man named David Suidani. Recently, somebody got the bright idea of publishing all of the specific payments that Beijing has made to Solomon Islands politicians. This was really good news. We should be doing this with payments to American politicians, we should be doing this across the board. Why don't we publish their payments to politicians around the world? Let's expose these guys, let's go after them. Let's root out Chinese influence, because they are subverting our political system. Similarly, we should also be publishing the bank account details of all these Chinese leaders, because they are corrupt as hell. Question: Could you comment, please, on what you think is the nature of the personal relationships between Hunter Biden, his father, and Chinese financial institutions. How has it, if at all, affected American foreign policy towards China, and how will it affect that policy? Chang: There are two things here. There are the financial ties. Hunter Biden has connections with Chinese institutions, which you cannot explain in the absence of corruption. For instance, he has a relationship with Bohai Harvest Partners, BHR. China puts a lot of money into the care of foreign investment managers. The two billion, or whatever the number is, is not that large, but they only put money with people who have a track record in managing investments. Hunter Biden only has a track record of being the son of Joe Biden. There are three investigations of Hunter Biden right now. There is the Wilmington US Attorney's Office, the FBI -- I don't place very much hope in either of these – but the third one might actually bear some fruit: the IRS investigation of Hunter Biden. Let us say, for the moment, that Biden is able to corrupt all three of these investigations. Yet money always leaves a trail. We are going to find out one way or another. Peter Schweizer, for instance, is working on a book on the Biden cash. Eventually, we are going to know about that. What worries me is not so much the money trail -- and of course, there's the art sales, a subject in itself, because we will find out. What worries me is that Hunter Biden, by his own admission, is a troubled individual. He has been to China a number of times. He has probably committed some embarrassing act there, which means that the Ministry of State Security has audio and video recordings of this. Those are the things that can be used for blackmail. We Americans would never know about it, because blackmail does not necessarily leave a trail. This is what we should be most concerned about. Biden has now had two long phone calls with Xi Jinping. The February call, plus also one a few months ago. We do not know what was said. I would be very worried that when Xi Jinping wants to say something, there will be a phone call to Biden, and it would be Xi doing the talking without note takers. Question: Please tell us about the China desk over the 30 years, the influence of the bureaucracy on politics; what can they affect? Chang: I do not agree with our China policy establishment in Washington, in general, and specifically the State Department and NSC. This a complicated issue. First, there is this notion after the end of the Cold War, that the nature of governments did not matter. You could trade with them, you could strengthen them, and it would not have national security implications. That was wrong for a number of reasons, as we are now seeing. What bothers me is that, although their assumptions about China have demonstrably been proven wrong, American policymakers still continue with the same policies. There is, in some people's mind, an unbreakable view that we have to cooperate with China. You hear this from Blinken all the time: "We've got to cooperate where we can." It is this formulation which is tired, and which has not produced the types of policies that are necessary to defend our republic. That is the unfortunate thing. This is what people learn in international relations school when they go to Georgetown, and they become totally stupid. We Americans should be upset because we have a political class that is not defending us. They are not defending us because they have these notions of China. George Kennan understood the nature of the Soviet Union. I do not understand why we cannot understand the true nature of the Chinese regime. Part of it is because we have Wall Street, we have Walmart, and they carry China's water. There are more of us than there are of them in this country. We have to exercise our vote to make sure that we implement China policies that actually protect us. Policies that protect us are going to be drastic and they will be extreme, but absolutely, we have now dug ourselves into such a hole after three decades of truly misguided views on China, that I don't know what else to say. This is not some partisan complaint. Liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, all have truly misguided China policies. I do not know what it takes to break this view, except maybe for the deaths of American servicemen and women. Question: Is the big obstacle American businesses which, in donations to Biden, are the ones stopping decoupling of commerce, and saying, "Do not have war; we would rather earn money"? Chang: It is. You have, for instance, Nike. There are a number of different companies, but Nike comes to mind right now, because they love to lecture us about racism. For years they were operating a factory in Qingdao, in the northeastern part of China, that resembled a concentration camp. The laborers were Uighur and Kazakh women, brought there on cattle cars and forced to work. This factory, technically, was operated by a South Korean sub‑contractor, but that contractor had a three‑decade relationship with Nike. Nike had to know what was going on. This was forced labor, perhaps even slave labor. Clearly, Nike and Apple and other companies are now, at this very moment, trying to prevent Congress from enacting toughened rules on the importation of forced‑labor products into our country. One of the good things Trump did was, towards the end of his four years, he started to vigorously enforce the statutes that are already on the books, about products that are made with forced and slave labor. Biden, to his credit, has continued tougher enforcement. Right now, the big struggle is not the enforcement, but enhancing those rules. Apple and all of these companies are now very much trying to prevent amendment of those laws. It's business, but it's also immoral. Question: It is not just big Wall Street firms. There are companies that print the Bible. Most Bibles are now printed in China. When President Trump imposed the tariffs, a lot of the Bible printers who depended on China actually went to Trump and said, "You cannot put those tariffs in because then the cost of Bibles will go up." Chang: Most everyone lobbies for China. We have to take away their incentive to do so. Question: What are the chances that China's going to invade Taiwan? Chang: There is no clear answer. There are a number of factors that promote stability. One of them is that, for China to invade Taiwan, Xi Jinping has to give some general or admiral basically total control over the Chinese military. That makes this flag officer the most powerful person in China. Xi is not about to do that. Moreover, the Chinese regime is even more casualty‑adverse than we are. Even if Beijing thinks it can take Taiwan by force, it is probably not going to invade because it knows an invasion would be unpopular with most people in China. It is not going to risk hundreds of thousands of casualties that would result from an invasion. The reason we have to be concerned is because it is not just a question of Xi Jinping waking up one morning and saying, "I want to invade Taiwan." The danger is the risk of accidental contact, in the skies or on the seas, around Taiwan. We know that China has been engaging in hostile conduct, and this is not just the incursions into Taiwan's air-defense identification zone. There are also dangerous intercepts of the US Navy and the US Air Force in the global commons. One of those accidents could spiral out of control. We saw this on April 1st, 2001, with the EP‑3, where a Chinese jet clipped the wing of that slow‑moving propeller plane of the US Navy. The only reason we got through it was that George W. Bush, to his eternal shame, paid China a sum that was essentially a ransom. He allowed our crew to be held for 11 days. He allowed the Chinese to strip that plane. This was wrong. This was the worst incident in US diplomatic history, but Bush's craven response did get us through it. Unfortunately, by getting through it we taught the Chinese that they can without cost engage in these dangerous maneuvers of intercepting our planes and our ships. That is the problem: because as we have taught the Chinese to be more aggressive, they have been. One of these incidents will go wrong. The law of averages says that. Then we have to really worry. Question: You don't think Xi thinks, "Oh well, we can sacrifice a few million Chinese"? Chang: On the night of June 15th, 2020, there was a clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers in Ladakh, in the Galwan Valley. That was a Chinese sneak attack on Indian-controlled territory. That night, 20 Indian soldiers were killed. China did not admit to any casualties. The Indians were saying that they killed about 45 Chinese soldiers that night. Remember, this was June 15th of 2020. It took until February of 2021 for China to admit that four Chinese soldiers died. TASS, the Russian news agency, recently issued a story reporting that 45 Chinese soldiers actually died that night. This incident shows you how risk‑averse and casualty‑averse the Chinese Communist Party is. They are willing to intimidate, they are willing to do all sorts of things. They are, however, loath to fight sustained engagements. Remember, that the number one goal of Chinese foreign policy is not to take over Taiwan. The number one goal of Chinese foreign policy is to preserve Communist Party rule. If the Communist Party feels that the Chinese people are not on board with an invasion of Taiwan, they will not do it even if they think they will be successful. Right now, the Chinese people are not in any mood for a full‑scale invasion of Taiwan. On the other hand, Xi Jinping has a very low threshold of risk. He took a consensual political system where no Chinese leader got too much blame or too much credit, because everybody shared in decisions, and Xi took power from everybody, which means, he ended up with full accountability, which means -- he is now fully responsible. In 2017, when everything was going China's way, this was great for Xi Jinping because he got all the credit. Now in 2021, where things are not going China's way, he is getting all the blame. The other thing, is that Xi has raised the cost of losing a political struggle in China. In the Deng Xiaoping era, Deng reduced the cost of losing a struggle. In the Maoist era, if you lost a struggle, you potentially lost your life. In Deng's era, if you lost a struggle, you got a nice house, a comfortable life. Xi Jinping has reversed that. Now the cost of losing a political struggle in China is very high. So there is now a combination of these two developments. Xi has full accountability. He knows that if he is thrown out of power, he loses not just power. He loses his freedom, his assets, potentially his life. If he has nothing to lose, however, it means that he can start a war, either "accidentally" or on purpose. He could be thinking, "I'm dying anyway, so why don't I just roll the dice and see if I can get out of this?" That is the reason why this moment is so exceedingly risky. When you look at the internal dynamics inside China right now, we are dealing with a system in crisis. Question: China has a conference coming up in a year or so. What does Chairman Xi want to do to make sure he gets through that conference with triumph? Chang: The Communist Party has recently been holding its National Congresses once every five years. If the pattern follows -- and that is an if -- the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party will be held either October or November of next year. This is an important Congress, more so than most of them because Xi Jinping is looking for an unprecedented third term as general secretary of the Communist Party. If you go back six months ago, maybe a year, everyone was saying, "Oh, Xi Jinping. No problem. He's president for life. He's going to get his third term. He will get his fourth term. He will get his fifth term, as long as he lives. This guy is there forever." Right now, that assumption is no longer valid. We do not know what's going to happen because he is being blamed for everything. Remember, as we get close to the 20th National Congress, Xi Jinping knows he has to show "success." Showing "success" could very well mean killing some more Indians or killing Americans or killing Japanese or something. We just don't know what is going to happen. Prior to the National Congress, there is the sixth plenum of the 19th Congress. Who knows what is going to happen there. The Communist Party calendar, as you point out, does dictate the way Xi Jinping interacts with the world. Question: Going back to the wing-clip incident, what should Bush have done? Chang: What Bush should have done is immediately demand the return of that plane. What he should have done was to impose trade sanctions, investment sanctions, whatever, to get our plane back. We were fortunate, in the sense that our aviators were returned, but they were returned in a way that has made relations with China worse, because we taught the Chinese regime to be more aggressive and more belligerent. We created the problems of today and of tomorrow. I would have imposed sanction after sanction after sanction, and just demand that they return the plane and the pilots. Remember, that at some point, it was in China's interests to return our aviators. The costs would have been too high for the Chinese to keep them. We did not use that leverage on them. While we are on this topic, we should have made it clear to the Chinese leadership that they cannot kill Americans without cost. Hundreds of thousands Americans have been killed by a disease that China deliberately spread. In one year, from 2020 to 2021, nearly 80,000 Americans died from fentanyl, which China has purposefully, as a matter of state and Communist Party policy -- sold to Americans. China is killing us. We have to do something different. I'm not saying that we have good solutions; we don't. But we have to change course. Question: Biden is continuing this hostage thing with Huawei, returning the CFO of Huawei in exchange for two Canadians. Have we taught the Chinese that they can grab more hostages? Chang: President Trump was right to seek the extradition of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies. Biden, in a deal, released her. She did not even have to plead guilty to any Federal crime. She signed a statement, which I hope we'll be able to use against Huawei. As soon as Meng was released, China released the "two Michaels," the two Canadians who were grabbed within days of our seeking extradition of Meng Wanzhou. In other words, the two Michaels were hostages. We have taught China that any time that we try to enforce our own laws, they can just grab Americans. They have grabbed Americans as hostages before, but this case is high profile. They grabbed Americans, and then they grabbed Canadians, and they got away with it. They are going to do it again. We are creating the incentives for Beijing to act even more dangerously and lawlessly and criminally in the future. This has to stop. Question: On the off-chance that the current leader does not maintain his position, what are your thoughts on the leaders that we should keep an eye on? Chang: There is no one who stands out among the members of the Politburo Standing Committee. That is purposeful. Xi Jinping has made sure that there is nobody who can be considered a successor; that is the last thing he wants. If there is a change in leadership, the new leader probably will come from Jiang Zemin's Shanghai Gang faction. Jiang was China's leader before Hu Jintao, and Hu came before Xi Jinping. There is now a lot of factional infighting. Most of the reporting shows that Jiang has been trying to unseat Xi Jinping because Xi has been putting Jiang's allies in jail. Remember, the Communist Party is not a monolith. It has a lot of factions. Jiang's faction is not the only one. There is something called the Communist Youth League of Hu Jintao. It could, therefore, be anybody. Question: Double question: You did not talk about Hong Kong. Is Hong Kong lost forever to the Chinese Communist Party? Second question, if you could, what are the three policies that you would change right away? Chang: Hong Kong is not lost forever. In Hong Kong, there is an insurgency. We know from the history of insurgencies that they die away -- and they come back. We have seen this in Hong Kong. The big protests in Hong Kong, remember, 2003, 2014, 2019. In those interim periods, everyone said, "Oh, the protest movement is gone." It wasn't. China has been very effective with its national security law, but there is still resistance in Hong Kong. There is still a lot of fight there. It may not manifest itself for quite some time, but this struggle is not over, especially if the United States stands behind the people there. Biden, although he campaigned on helping Hong Kong, has done nothing. On the second question, I would close China's four remaining consulates. I would also strip the Chinese embassy down to the ambassador and his personal staff. The thousands who are in Washington, DC, they would be out. I would also raise tariffs to 3,600%, or whatever. This is a good time to do it. We have supply chain disruptions. We are not getting products from China anyway. We can actually start to do this sort of stuff. The third thing, I would do what Pompeo did, just hammer those guys all the time verbally. People may think, "Those are just words." For communists, words are really important, because they are an insecure regime where propaganda is absolutely critical. I would be going after the Communists on human rights, I would be going after them on occupying the South China Sea, on Taiwan, unrelentingly -- because I would want to show the world that the United States is no longer afraid of China. We have taught the world that we are afraid of dealing with the Chinese. State Department people, they are frightened. We need to say to the Chinese regime, like Dulles, "I'm not afraid of you. I'm going after you, and I'm going to win." Tyler Durden Sun, 05/01/2022 - 23:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 2nd, 2022

Correction - Eagle Bancorp Montana Earns $2.2 Million, or $0.34 per Diluted Share, in First Quarter of 2022; Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend of $0.125 per Share and Renews Stock Repurchase Plan

HELENA, Mont., April 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc.  (NASDAQ:EBMT), (the "Company," "Eagle"), the holding company of Opportunity Bank of Montana (the "Bank"), today announced a correction of its earnings press release issued on April 26, 2022, and reported net income of $2.2 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $5.3 million, or $0.78 per diluted share, in the first quarter a year ago, and increased 19.5% compared to $1.7 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, in the preceding quarter.  Financial results for the past few quarters reflect a mortgage market that is returning to more normal levels and reduced origination fees for Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") loan forgiveness. Eagle's board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.125 per share on April 21, 2022. The dividend will be payable June 3, 2022 to shareholders of record May 13, 2022. The current annualized dividend yield is 2.26% based on recent market prices. "We delivered strong first quarter earnings, fueled by continuing strength in asset quality and balance sheet expansion," said Peter J. Johnson, CEO. "We achieved double digit loan and deposit growth compared to a year ago, while keeping expenses in check. While lower volumes of mortgage activity impacted earnings compared to the year ago quarter, we remain optimistic for our growth prospects for the year ahead." On October 1, 2021, Eagle announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire First Community Bancorp, Inc. and its subsidiary, First Community Bank ("First Community"). "Our proposed merger recently received all regulatory approvals and is on schedule to close at the end of April," said Laura F. Clark, President. "First Community is an experienced agriculture and commercial lender with a 130-year operating history in Montana and deep roots in the communities it serves. This transaction will expand our presence across the state of Montana and build on our reputation as an experienced and preferred agricultural lender. We foresee this merger, like other recent acquisitions, resulting in significant benefits to our expanding group of clients, communities, employees and shareholders." Headquartered in Glasgow, Montana, First Community is the largest bank headquartered in Northeast Montana, and currently operates nine branches and two mortgage loan production offices, including commercial-focused branches in Helena and Three Forks in Gallatin County. Upon completion of the acquisition, Opportunity Bank of Montana will have 32 retail branches in key commercial and agricultural markets across Montana. First Quarter 2022 Highlights (at or for the three-month period ended March 31, 2022, except where noted): Net income was $2.2 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $1.7 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, in the preceding quarter, and $5.3 million, or $0.78 per diluted share, in the first quarter a year ago. Net interest margin ("NIM") was 3.64% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 3.75% in the preceding quarter, and 3.97% in the first quarter a year ago. Revenues (net interest income before the loan loss provision, plus noninterest income) were $20.1 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $21.8 million in the preceding quarter and $24.5 million in the first quarter a year ago.   Remaining purchase discount on loans from acquisitions prior to 2021 totaled $884,000 as of March 31, 2022. The accretion of the loan purchase discount into loan interest income from the Western Bank of Wolf Point, and previous acquisitions was $108,000 in the first quarter of 2022, compared to interest accretion on purchased loans from acquisitions of $171,000 in the preceding quarter. The allowance for loan losses represented 202.9% of nonperforming loans at March 31, 2022, compared to 146.7% a year earlier. Total loans increased 15.6% to $958.7 million, at March 31, 2022, compared to $829.3 million a year earlier and increased 2.7% compared to $933.1 million at December 31, 2021. Total deposits increased 16.2% to $1.27 billion at March 31, 2022, from $1.09 billion a year ago, and increased 3.9% compared to $1.22 billion at December 31, 2021. Eagle remained well capitalized with a tangible common shareholders' equity ratio of 8.24% at March 31, 2022. Paid a quarterly cash dividend of $0.125 per share on March 4, 2022 to shareholders of record February 11, 2022. Balance Sheet Results Eagle's total assets increased 13.8% to $1.49 billion at March 31, 2022, compared to $1.31 billion a year ago, and increased 3.9% from $1.44 billion three months earlier.   Strong commercial real estate and commercial construction activity more than offset PPP loan forgiveness, causing the loan portfolio to grow approximately 15.6% compared to a year ago and grow approximately 2.7% from the previous quarter end. Eagle originated $177.5 million in new residential mortgages during the quarter and sold $172.1 million in residential mortgages, with an average gross margin on sale of mortgage loans of approximately 3.62%. This production compares to residential mortgage originations of $235.4 million in the preceding quarter with sales of $239.0 million and an average gross margin on sale of mortgage loans of approximately 4.11%. There has been some margin compression due to increased competition. Commercial real estate loans increased 31.3% to $433.0 million at March 31, 2022, compared to $329.8 million a year earlier. Commercial construction and development loans increased 58.5% to $105.8 million, compared to $66.7 million a year ago. Construction projects were slow to start in early 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns and initial supply chain issues, but have picked up in recent quarters. Agricultural and farmland loans decreased 6.0% to $110.2 million at March 31, 2022, compared to $117.2 million a year earlier. Residential mortgage loans decreased 1.7% to $99.2 million, compared to $100.9 million a year earlier. Commercial loans decreased 9.6% to $98.5 million, compared to $109.0 million a year ago, reflecting SBA PPP loan forgiveness. Home equity loans increased 1.0% to $53.8 million, residential construction loans increased 15.2% to $41.0 million, and consumer loans decreased 3.0% to $18.8 million, compared to a year ago.   Total deposits increased 16.2% to $1.27 billion at March 31, 2022, compared to $1.09 billion at March 31, 2021, and increased 3.9% from $1.22 billion at December 31, 2021. Noninterest-bearing checking accounts represented 29.3%, interest-bearing checking accounts represented 16.5%, savings accounts represented 18.3%, money market accounts comprised 24.6% and time certificates of deposit made up 11.3% of the total deposit portfolio at March 31, 2022. Shareholders' equity was $143.5 million at March 31, 2022, compared to $155.8 million a year earlier and $156.7 million three months earlier. The decrease compared to both the prior quarter and the first quarter a year ago is primarily due to unrealized losses on securities available-for-sale caused by the recent increase in interest rates. Tangible book value was $18.08 per share, at March 31, 2022, compared to $19.60 per share a year earlier and $19.74 per share three months earlier.   Operating Results "Lower yields on interest earning assets continued to put pressure on our NIM during the first quarter," said Johnson. "However, with the recent rate increase enacted by the Federal Reserve at the end of the quarter, we anticipate improvement in our NIM in future quarters, especially with the possibility of additional rate increases throughout the year."   Eagle's NIM was 3.64% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 3.75% in the preceding quarter, and 3.97% in the first quarter a year ago. The interest accretion on acquired loans totaled $108,000 and resulted in a three basis-point increase in the NIM during the first quarter of 2022, compared to $171,000 and a five basis-point increase in the NIM during the preceding quarter. PPP fee income on loans totaled $177,000 and resulted in a five basis-point increase in the NIM during the first quarter of 2022, compared to $407,000 and a 13 basis-point increase in the NIM during the previous quarter. PPP fee income of $500,000 in the first quarter of 2021 resulted in an 18 basis-point increase in the NIM. The investment securities portfolio decreased to $264.6 million at March 31, 2022, compared to $271.3 million at December 31, 2021, which was driven by changes in market values. However, the portfolio increased $84.4 million from $180.3 million at March 31, 2021 due to purchases resulting from excess liquidity levels. Average yields on earning assets for the first quarter decreased to 3.92% from 4.28% a year ago. Eagle's first quarter revenues decreased to $20.1 million, compared to $21.8 million in the preceding quarter and $24.5 million in the first quarter a year ago. The decrease compared to the first quarter a year ago was largely due to lower volumes in mortgage banking activity. Net interest income, before the loan loss provision, decreased 1.7% to $11.8 million in the first quarter, compared to $12.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, and increased 6.3% compared to $11.1 million in the first quarter of 2021. The decrease compared to the prior quarter reflected lower origination fees for PPP loan payoffs or forgiveness during the current quarter, compared to the prior quarter. Eagle's total noninterest income decreased 14.6% to $8.3 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $9.7 million in the preceding quarter, and decreased 38.1% compared to $13.4 million in the first quarter a year ago. Net mortgage banking, the largest component of noninterest income, totaled $6.2 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $7.7 million in the preceding quarter and $11.8 million in the first quarter a year ago. These decreases were driven by a decline in net gain on sale of mortgage loans, as well as changes in the fair value of loans held-for sale and derivatives. These changes are largely driven by the reduced volumes in mortgage activity. First quarter noninterest expense decreased to $16.9 million, compared to $19.1 million in the preceding quarter and $17.2 million in the first quarter a year ago. The decrease compared to both the prior quarter and the year ago quarter reflects lower commissions paid on residential mortgage originations. Acquisition costs were also down for the first quarter of 2022 compared to the preceding quarter related to the proposed merger with First Community. For the first quarter of 2022, the income tax provision totaled $695,000, for an effective tax rate of 23.9%, compared to $632,000 in the preceding quarter, and $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2021.   Credit Quality The loan loss provision was $279,000 in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $285,000 in the preceding quarter and $299,000 in the first quarter a year ago. The allowance for loan losses represented 202.9% of nonperforming loans at March 31, 2022, compared to 177.1% three months earlier and 146.7% a year earlier. Nonperforming loans decreased to $6.3 million at March 31, 2022, compared to $7.1 million at December 31, 2021, and $8.1 million a year earlier. Local economies continue to rebound from the pandemic and loan quality has remained strong. Eagle had $346,000 in other real estate owned and other repossessed assets on its books at March 31, 2022. This compared to $4,000 at December 31, 2021, and none at March 31, 2021. Net loan charge-offs totaled $79,000 in the first quarter of 2022, compared to net loan recoveries of $15,000 in the preceding quarter and net loan recoveries of $1,000 in the first quarter a year ago. The allowance for loan losses was $12.7 million, or 1.32% of total loans, at March 31, 2022, compared to $12.5 million, or 1.34% of total loans, at December 31, 2021, and $11.9 million, or 1.43% of total loans, a year ago.   Capital Management Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. continues to be well capitalized with the ratio of tangible common shareholders' equity (shareholders' equity, less goodwill and core deposit intangible) to tangible assets (total assets, less goodwill and core deposit intangible) of 8.24% as of March 31, 2022. Stock Repurchase Authority Eagle announced that its Board of Directors has authorized repurchase of up to 400,000 shares of its common stock, representing approximately 5.0% of outstanding shares, assuming the issuance of shares pursuant to the First Community acquisition scheduled to close at the end of April. Under the plan, shares may be purchased by the company on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions. The extent to which the Company repurchases its shares and the timing of such repurchase will depend upon market conditions and other corporate considerations. The plan is expected to be in place for approximately 12 months, but may be suspended, terminated or modified by the Company's Board of Directors at any time. The plan does not obligate the Company to purchase any particular number of shares. Recent Events On January 21, 2022, the Company completed the issuance of $40.0 million in aggregate principal amount of subordinated notes due in 2032 in a private placement transaction to certain institutional accredited investors and qualified buyers. The notes will bear interest at an annual fixed rate of 3.50% payable semi-annually until August of 2027 at which point interest will accrue at a floating rate payable quarterly. A portion of the net proceeds were used to redeem $10.0 million of 5.75% fixed senior notes due February 15, 2022. About the Company Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. is a bank holding company headquartered in Helena, Montana, and is the holding company of Opportunity Bank of Montana, a community bank established in 1922 that serves consumers and small businesses in Montana through 23 banking offices. Additional information is available on the Bank's website at www.opportunitybank.com. The shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. are traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol "EBMT." Forward Looking Statements This release may contain certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and may be identified by the use of such words as "believe," "will"' "expect," "anticipate," "should," "planned," "estimated," and "potential." These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to statements of our goals, intentions and expectations; statements regarding our business plans, prospects, mergers, including the proposed transaction with First Community, growth and operating strategies; statements regarding the current global COVID-19 pandemic, statements regarding the asset quality of our loan and investment portfolios; and estimates of our risks and future costs and benefits. These forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs and expectations of our management and are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. In addition, these forward-looking statements are subject to assumptions with respect to future business strategies and decisions that are subject to change. These factors include, but are not limited to, changes in laws or government regulations or policies affecting financial institutions, including changes in regulatory fees and capital requirements; general economic conditions and political events, either nationally or in our market areas, that are worse than expected; the duration and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including but not limited to the efficiency of the vaccine rollout, new variants, steps taken by governmental and other authorities to contain, mitigate and combat the pandemic, adverse effects on our employees, customers and third-party service providers, the increase in cyberattacks in the current work-from-home environment, the ultimate extent of the impacts on our business, financial position, results of operations, liquidity and prospects, continued deterioration in general business and economic conditions could adversely affect our revenues and the values of our assets and liabilities, lead to a tightening of credit and increase stock price volatility, and potential impairment charges; competition among depository and other financial institutions; loan demand or residential and commercial real estate values in Montana; the concentration of our business in Montana; our ability to continue to increase and manage our commercial real estate, commercial business and agricultural loans; the costs and effects of legal, compliance and regulatory actions, changes and developments, including the initiation and resolution of legal proceedings (including any securities, bank operations, consumer or employee litigation); inflation and changes in the interest rate environment that reduce our margins or reduce the fair value of financial instruments; adverse changes in the securities markets; other economic, governmental, competitive, regulatory and technological factors that may affect our operations; cyber incidents, or theft or loss of Company or customer data or money; the effect of our recent acquisitions, including the failure to achieve expected revenue growth and/or expense savings, the failure to effectively integrate their operations and the diversion of management time on issues related to the integration. In addition, future factors related to the proposed transaction between Eagle and First Community, include, among others: the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the right of one or both of the parties to terminate the definitive merger agreement between Eagle and First Community; the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Eagle or First Community; the possibility that the proposed transaction will not close when expected or at all because conditions to the closing are not satisfied on a timely basis or at all; the risk that any announcements relating to the proposed combination could have adverse effects on the market price of the common stock of Eagle; the possibility that the anticipated benefits of the transaction will not be realized when expected or at all, including as a result of the impact of, or problems arising from, the integration of the two companies or as a result of the strength of the economy and competitive factors in the areas where Eagle and First Community do business; the possibility that the transaction may be more expensive to complete than anticipated, including as a result of unexpected factors or events; diversion of management's attention from ongoing business operations and opportunities; potential adverse reactions or changes to business or employee relationships, including those resulting from the announcement or completion of the transaction; Eagle's and First Community's success in executing their respective business plans and strategies and managing the risks involved in the foregoing; and other factors that may affect future results of Eagle and First Community; the business, economic and political conditions in the markets in which the parties operate; the risk that the proposed combination and its announcement could have an adverse effect on either or both parties' ability to retain customers and retain or hire key personnel and maintain relationships with customers; the risk that the proposed combination may be more difficult or time-consuming than anticipated, including in areas such as sales force, cost containment, asset realization, systems integration and other key strategies; revenues following the proposed combination may be lower than expected, including for possible reasons such as unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the transactions; the unforeseen risks relating to liabilities of Eagle or First Community that may exist; and uncertainty as to the extent of the duration, scope, and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on First Community, Eagle and the proposed combination. Because of these and other uncertainties, our actual future results may be materially different from the results indicated by these forward-looking statements. All information set forth in this press release is current as of the date of this release and the company undertakes no duty or obligation to update this information. Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures In addition to results presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles utilized in the United States, or GAAP, the Financial Ratios and Other Data contains non-GAAP financial measures. Non-GAAP disclosures include: 1) core efficiency ratio, 2) tangible book value per share, 3) tangible common equity to tangible assets, 4) earnings per diluted share, excluding acquisition costs and 5) return on average assets, excluding acquisition costs. The Company uses these non-GAAP financial measures to provide meaningful supplemental information regarding the Company's operational performance and to enhance investors' overall understanding of such financial performance. In particular, the use of tangible book value per share and tangible common equity to tangible assets is prevalent among banking regulators, investors and analysts. The numerator for the core efficiency ratio is calculated by subtracting acquisition costs and intangible asset amortization from noninterest expense. Tangible assets and tangible common shareholders' equity are calculated by excluding intangible assets from assets and shareholders' equity, respectively. For these financial measures, our intangible assets consist of goodwill and core deposit intangible. Tangible book value per share is calculated by dividing tangible common shareholders' equity by the number of common shares outstanding. We believe that this measure is consistent with the capital treatment by our bank regulatory agencies, which exclude intangible assets from the calculation of risk-based capital ratios and present this measure to facilitate the comparison of the quality and composition of our capital over time and in comparison, to our competitors. Non-GAAP financial measures have inherent limitations, are not required to be uniformly applied, and are not audited. Further, the non-GAAP financial measure of tangible book value per share should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for book value per share or total shareholders' equity determined in accordance with GAAP, and may not be comparable to a similarly titled measure reported by other companies. Reconciliation of the GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures are presented below.     Contacts: Peter J. Johnson, CEO(406) 457-4006 Laura F. Clark, President(406) 457-4007 Balance Sheet                 (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)     (Unaudited)               March 31, December 31, March 31,               2022 2021 2021                       Assets:                   Cash and due from banks       $ 17,516   $ 10,938   $ 17,199       Interest bearing deposits in banks       62,697     43,669     87,165       Federal funds sold           14,889     6,827     6,859         Total cash and cash equivalents     95,102     61,434     111,223       Securities available-for-sale         264,635     271,262     180,276       Federal Home Loan Bank ("FHLB") stock       1,723     1,702     1,977       Federal Reserve Bank ("FRB") stock       2,974     2,974     2,974       Mortgage loans held-for-sale, at fair value       22,295     25,819     60,609       Loans:                   Real estate loans:                 Residential 1-4 family         99,242     101,180     100,948       Residential 1-4 family construction       40,968     45,635     35,558       Commercial real estate         432,976     410,568     329,772       Commercial construction and development     105,754     92,403     66,718       Farmland           60,363     67,005     67,592       Other loans:                   Home equity           53,828     51,748     53,270       Consumer           18,834     18,455     19,424       Commercial           98,471     101,535     108,956       Agricultural           49,836     46,335     49,642       Unearned loan fees         (1,591 )   (1,725 )   (2,541 )       Total loans         958,681     933,139     829,339       Allowance for loan losses         (12,700 )   (12,500 )   (11,900 )       Net loans         945,981     920,639     817,439       Accrued interest and dividends receivable       5,750     5,751     5,451       Mortgage servicing rights, net         14,288     13,693     11,320       Premises and equipment, net         69,536     67,266     61,971       Cash surrender value of life insurance, net       36,681     36,474     27,911       Goodwill           20,798     20,798     20,798       Core deposit intangible, net         1,660     1,780     2,202       Deferred tax asset, net         3,776     -     154       Other assets           6,854     6,334     7,116         Total assets       $ 1,492,053   $ 1,435,926   $ 1,311,421                         Liabilities:                   Deposit accounts:                   Noninterest bearing         371,818     368,846     331,589       Interest bearing           898,758     853,703     761,815         Total deposits       1,270,576     1,222,549     1,093,404       Accrued expenses and other liabilities      .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaApr 27th, 2022