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11May2015 Pre-Market Commentary: U.S. Equity Futures Flat As Jittery Investors Move To Cash

Written by Gary

U.S. Futures were down but moving up to the unchanged line as investors consider this weeks global issues.

Saudi Arabia has announced that a "strike force has arrived on the border with Yemen, as the operation to quell Houthi militias in the country continues", while Greece says any deal will be 'difficult' at Eurogroup meeting

Last week showed the U.S. economy was picking up steam, but not by enough to raise concerns about an earlier-than-expected interest-rate rise cooling bulls aspirations of a heated market rise.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed. The FTSE 100 is higher by 0.05%, while the CAC 40 is leading the DAX lower. They are down 1.02% and 0.35% respectively.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Next Up for China's Central Bank: How to Get Loans to Small Firms

China's central bank is grappling with how to steer credit to the small and private businesses Beijing deems crucial to growth but which haven't yet benefited from its easing.

Banks Prep Defense for Anti-Wall Street Campaigns

Top executives from the biggest U.S. banks, concerned about anti-Wall Street rhetoric in the 2016 campaign, are working to push back against the idea that banks are bad.

"All Clear" For Stocks Cancelled: Gartman "Pleasantly Wrong", Goes "Modestly Long" Of Stocks

Last Thursday, when the market seemed on the verge of breaking lower, we asked if Gartman gave the all clear to go right back into stocks with his assessment that "1890 On The S&P Shall Be Our Target." As expected, stocks soared.

It is now time to cancel the "all clear" courtesy, once again, of Dennis Gartman:

As we have maintained since early last week, we've been neutral of stocks and we've now been wrong. At least we had the wisdom of age not to take seriously any bearish considerations and turn net negative of the market in general, but merely turning neutral is wrong and those who've simply chosen to sit tight, remaining fully invested, have prospered. With the S&P breaking to new highs, and with the trends in so many markets still upward, any periods of weakness are to be used to get longer of equities than we are. When we are wrong we admit it and we were wrong to move from merely "pleasantly" long to neutral. Our first step is then to become modestly long, and we shall.

Between the humor and timing the market's inflection points with uncanny perfection, this continues to be the best $29.95 newsletter money can buy.

Oil falls toward $65 on signs of U.S. shale oil recovery

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil slipped toward $65 a barrel on Monday as signs that U.S. shale oil production was recovering after a recent price rally renewed concerns of a growing global supply glut.

OPEC Sees Oil Price Below $100 a Barrel in the Next Decade

OPEC doesn't see oil prices consistently trading at $100 barrel again in the next decade, a pessimistic assessment that has the group considering the return of production limits to influence the market.

Key Events In The Coming Week

Today's Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it's the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.

We kick off in Japan tomorrow with leading and coincident index prints, before we move onto the European timezone where we see French business sentiment and UK industrial and manufacturing production. Focus in the US on Tuesday will be on the JOLTS report as well as the monthly budget statement. The NFIB small business optimism survey is also due.

It's a busy start in Asia on Wednesday as we get trade data out of Japan as well as retail sales, industrial production and fixed assets investment readings in China. It's no less busy in Europe where we see Euro area Q1 GDP (advanced reading) and industrial production as well as German Q1 (provisional) GDP and the final April CPI print. Over in France, we also get CPI data along with employment indicators. In the UK we get the BoE inflation report as well as the usual monthly employment data dump including unemployment and average weekly earnings. In the US on Wednesday, April retail sales will be the main highlight while the import price index is also due.

Its quiet data wise on Thursday with no notable releases in Asia or Europe while in the US PPI and jobless claims prints are expected.

It's a similarly quiet end to the week on Friday with just Japan PPI and consumer confidence due in the early session, followed by US industrial and manufacturing production, capacity utilization and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment print. Fedspeak wise we've got Williams expected to talk on Tuesday while earnings seasons creeps to an end with 15 S&P 500 companies due to report and 56 Stoxx 600 companies expected.

A quick chart summary from BofA:

â€'American Idol' Will End Its Run in 2016

Fox's singing competition, which made its debut in 2002, was one of the most popular reality shows but has lost its luster.

Saudi Army Strike Force Arrives On Yemen Border In Preparation For Land Invasion

One week ago when news hit that Houthi rebels had launched a rocket attack on a Saudi border town in what may be described as an act of sheer irrationality and one which like Assad's "chemical attack" of 2013 was almost certainly staged not so much by the Yemen rebels to provoke just the desired media response, we said that "a Saudi response now appears just a matter of time, and one which the oil-trading algos are eagerly expecting, pushing Brent to within two dollars of $68." By response, we of course meant a land invasion since Saudi Arabia has already been bombing Yemen for nearly a month (a campaign focused on the Yemen rebels which mysteriously destroyed the residence of Yemen's former anti-Saudi president Saleh).

That "time" may have arrived, because as Al Arabiya reports, Saudi Arabia has announced that a "strike force has arrived on the border with Yemen, as the operation to quell Houthi militias in the country continues." Which is ironic considering it was just a few days ago that Saudi Arabia declared a 5 day ceasefire, one which was promptly accepted by Houthis, and one which appears to have been taken straight from the Ukraine civil war "ceasefire" playbook.

How Is U.S. TV Changing? Ask Jane

The show "Jane the Virgin" demonstrated the power of shows that appealed to Hispanics as well as broader audiences, and networks are preparing to introduce more of them. Above left, Gina Rodriguez, the show's star, on the set.

What The Sellside Thought Of China's Leaked Rate Cut

Over the weekend we observed that the timing of the latest round of easing by the PBoC (the third rate cut in six months and the fourth time this year Beijing has loosened monetary policy) felt rather familiar. Last week, reports out of China indicated that brokers were moving to tighten margin requirements amid the country's leverage-fueled equity rally. The following session saw Chinese equities plunge 4% on their way to an abysmal week. Last month, a similar series of events played out on the Friday before the PBoC announced its second RRR cut of 2015, prompting us to suggest that Beijing may be taking its cues not from the economy, but primarily from the stock market.

Ultimately we came to the same conclusion we did after April's RRR cut: last week's dip will be bought and the centrally-planned bubble now has the green light to inflate to still greater and more unsustainable levels. Sure enough, Chinese stocks soared 3% overnight and less than 48 hours after the PBoC's latest effort, the message from the sellside is clear: MOAR.

From Deutsche Bank, who thinks there are two more rate cuts and one more RRR cut in the cards this year:

The PBoC cut 1 year benchmark deposit and lending rates by 25bp today. The PBoC also lifted the ceiling of deposit rate to 1.5x of benchmark rate from 1.3x in the past. This rate cut is in line with our expectation. We revise our interest rate call and expect two more cuts in 2015 -- the next cut in June and another cut in Q3. We continue to expect one more RRR cut in Q3. Our detailed comments are:

We believ ...

Dish revenue rises as it earns more per pay-TV user

(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp reported a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue as it earned more per user in its core pay-TV business, making up for a fall in subscribers.

Banks prepare defense for anti-Wall Street campaigns: WSJ

(Reuters) - Top executives from the biggest U.S. banks, concerned about anti-Wall Street rhetoric that is already bubbling up on the 2016 campaign trail, are working to push back against the prevailing narrative that "banks are bad", the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Fiskars Agrees to Buy Owner of Wedgwood and Waterford

The Finnish maker of home and garden products said it would pay $437 million for WWRD, which also owns Rogaska, Royal Albert and Royal Doulton.

Frontrunning: May 11

Full picture of Clinton charities' foreign government funding remains elusive (Reuters)

Greece Readies for Another Week of Deadlines (BBG)

Greece says deal will be 'difficult' at Eurogroup meeting (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's Rulers Snub Arab Summit, Clouding U.S. Bid for Iran Deal (WSJ)

Saudi Aramco Said to Plan Spending $80 Billion Overseas (BBG)

The $900 Billion Influx That's Wreaking Havoc in U.S. Bills (BBG)

Cameron rules out another Scottish independence vote (Reuters)

Banks Prep Defense for Anti-Wall Street Campaigns (WSJ)

China's Currency Trap (BBG)

During One Hour Every Day, China's Stock Rally Falls Apart (

Bank of England Holds Rates Steady

The decision was intended in part to mitigate government spending cuts expected after the Conservative Party's election victory.

Stock futures slightly down after soaring last week on strong jobs data

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly lower on Monday after the markets leapt on Friday on strong jobs data that showed the U.S. economy was picking up steam, but not by enough to raise concerns about an earlier-than-expected interest-rate rise.

T Rowe's challenge to Dell deal may fuel critics of 'appraisal'

WILMINGTON, Del (Reuters) - An increasingly popular tactic used by hedge funds and others to extract more money from buyouts could face a major courtroom test as soon as Monday, when a big investor in Dell Inc may argue that it should be paid a higher price for the 2013 acquisition of the PC maker.

Greece wants progress noted, but still no deal on reforms

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Greece demanded on Monday that euro zone finance ministers acknowledge progress in fraught negotiations on a cash-for-reform deal, hoping to unlock short-term borrowing to ease its acute financing crunch.

Investors Pay a Price for Caution on China

For years, Western portfolio managers have been reluctant to steer much cash into Chinese investments. This year, that caution has taken a toll.

Volvo Cars picks South Carolina to supply toughening U.S. market

PARIS/DETROIT (Reuters) - Sweden's Volvo Cars has chosen a site in South Carolina for a $500 million investment in its first U.S. plant, it said on Monday, targeting a bigger share of the increasingly competitive North American premium market.

TPG-Backed DTZ to Acquire Cushman & Wakefield

DTZ, a rapidly growing commercial real-estate services firm backed by private equity giant TPG, has cut a deal to buy Cushman Wakefield for $2 billion.

Futures Jittery As Attention Returns To Greece; China Stocks Rebound On Latest Central Bank Intervention

With the big macro data out of the way, attention today and for the rest of the week will focus on the aftermath of the latest Chinese rate cut - its third in the past 6 months - which managed to boost the Shanghai Composite up by 3% overnight but not nearly enough to make up for losses in the past week; any resumption of the 6+ sigma volatility in the German Bund, which already has been jittery with the yield sliding to 0.52% only to spike to 0.62% shortly thereafter before retracing some of the losses; and finally Greece, which in a normal world would have concluded its negotiations during today's Eurogroup meeting and unlocked up to €7 billion in funds for the coming months. Instead, Greece may not only not make its €770 million IMF payment tomorrow but according to ever louder rumors, is contemplating a parallel currency on its way out of the Eurozone.

This is how DB's summarized the latest news out of Greece:

Greece will no doubt be front and centre at today's Eurogroup meeting, however the likelihood of any material outcome looks fairly slim with more â€'progress' likely to be a popular term used by officials in both camps. One topic which we await news on is the potential for increased haircuts on Greek collateral, which may or may not come to fruition depending on just how much â€'progress' is made at today's meeting. There was little in the way of new news over the weekend on the subject. Instead, German finance minister Schaeuble was quoted as warning that â€'experience in other parts of the world has shown that a country can suddenly slide into bankruptcy' in German press FAS, while Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem reiterated that today's meeting â€'won't be decisive'. Perhaps of more interest, pressure appears to be growing internally from German Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democratic Party to give up on Greece for ...

Bitcoin Technology Gets Nasdaq Test

Nasdaq is testing a new use of the technology that underpins the digital currency bitcoin, in a bid to transform the trading of shares in private firms.

Greece says deal will be 'difficult' at Eurogroup meeting

ATHENS (Reuters) - Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis acknowledged that a deal to ease Greece's cash crunch was not likely at a meeting of euro zone finance ministers later on Monday despite progress in talks with lenders on some issues.

Australia to crack down on alleged tax avoidance by 30 multinationals

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Australian government on Monday announced a world-leading crackdown on alleged tax avoidance by 30 multinational companies in a move that could force the likes of Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp to restructure their businesses to escape huge penalties.

Greece weighs on Europe, China cut keeps shares steady

LONDON (Reuters) - China's interest rate cut kept shares worldwide near record highs on Monday, though euro zone bourses, bonds and the euro were pegged back by a lack of progress in resolving Greece's financing woes.

IMF Works With Greece's Neighbors to Contain Default Risks

The IMF is working with national authorities in southeastern Europe, where Greek banks remain big players, on contingency plans for a Greek default, a senior fund official said.

China crude imports to pick up as storage, buyers emerge

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China's appetite for crude oil is expected to pick up later this year as storage comes online and new buyers emerge, even after its inbound shipments surpassed United States imports last month for the first time, traders and analysts say.

Toshiba shares skid 17 pct on accounting probe; $2.5 billion wiped off market value

TOKYO (Reuters) - Fears over Toshiba Corp's second probe into its own accounting in two years wiped close to $2.5 billion off the Japanese industrial giant's market value on Monday, with analysts saying lingering doubt on the root of the problem will keep investors on edge.

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