|Colonial Pipeline Shippers Say Comms System Is Down|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 14:42:06 +0000|
Colonial Pipeline Shippers Say Comms System Is Down
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 10:42
Just two weeks after the Colonial Pipeline was hacked, causing chaotic scenes amid gas shortages as the massive U.S. fuel system, and subsequently, allegedly, paid the ransomware attackers off, shippers on the pipeline's platform say the communications system is now down.
As Bloomberg reports, the system that allows customers to nominate and make changes to their batches of fuel traveling through the system has been inaccessible as of Tuesday morning, according to shippers on the line, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Oil prices briefly blipped higher on the headline...
And of course it prompted some social media responses:
This comes on the same day that President Biden proposes adding billions of dollars tied to improving cybersecurity to his infrastructure proposal.
|This Is What Hedge Funds Bought And Sold In Q1: Complete 13F Summary|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 14:20:00 +0000|
This Is What Hedge Funds Bought And Sold In Q1: Complete 13F Summary
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 10:20
Late yesterday - around the time we were "transitorily" suspended by twitter yet again - we reported on what we think is the biggest story in the hedge fund word right now: the stark reversal in the smart money's love affair with tech stock manifesting itself in the biggest shorting of tech stocks by hedge funds in 5 years (according to Goldman Prime).
Well, the latest barrage of 13F reports confirms that tech indeed was the bete noir of the first quarter, with some of the most notable hedge funds dumping some or all of their tech exposure, as they rotated into value and reflation sectors such as financials and energy. That and much more is noted in the below summary of the most notable 13F moves of the past quarter, courtesy of Bloomberg:
Jana Partners built a new position in Vonage Holdings Corp. The hedge fund plans to push for changes at the telecommunications services company, according to people familiar with the matter
Andreas Halvorsen’s Viking Global started a new position in Bank of America, snapping up 31.3 million shares worth $1.2 billion as of March 31. That makes it Viking’s fifth biggest long holding. Shares of Bank of America have been on a tear, rising 28% in the first quarter after gaining 26% in the fourth quarter. Viking also took new stakes in Netflix, solar energy company Sunrun and 25 others companies. Meanwhile it sold out of Disney, ditching shares worth $774 million as of March 31 and getting out of a stake worth $632 million in American Express as of the same date.
A detailed breakdown of the top fund changes follows:
ADAGE CAPITAL PARTNERS
BALYASNY ASSET MANAGEMENT
D1 CAPITAL PARTNERS
DUQUESNE FAMILY OFFICE
IMPALA ASSET MANAGEMENT
LAKEWOOD CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
MELVIN CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
OAKTREE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
SOROS FUND MANAGEMENT
VIKING GLOBAL INVESTORS
WHALE ROCK CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
|Gold Gains As Dollar Goes Red For 2021, Nears Lowest Since 2014|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 14:07:20 +0000|
Gold Gains As Dollar Goes Red For 2021, Nears Lowest Since 2014
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 10:07
The USDollar index's recent acceleration lower has pushed it into the red for 2021, erasing the 3% surge seen in the first few months of the year...
As Bloomberg notes, the recent weakness came after Fed officials reiterated (vehemently) on Monday that they see recent price pressures as transitory and intend to keep policy accommodative for some time to come. Meanwhile, investors are brushing off fears that the new Indian virus variant could threaten reopening drives in the U.K. and Europe, while a surge in raw materials from iron to oil and copper has buoyed commodity-linked currencies.
But all of this has pushed the dollar down to a critical support level, near its weakest since 2014...
And the dollar's recent slide has reignited interest in gold (as bitcoin comes under pressure)...
Of course, the only thing that can stop the dollar's demise is Goldman going short again...
Still this trend is definitely not your friend if you're a dollar-based consumer/investor...
And finally, don't forget that the dollar's status as the dominant global reserve currency has dropped to a 25 year low...
Remember, nothing lasts forever...
As Craig Hemke recentlky noted, The Fed is powerless to 'fix' any of this (even if it should want to) as it is stuck and is fearful of rising rates with massive U.S. debt. Hemke contends, “The Fed cannot allow the bond market to sell off because that would translate to higher interest rates. We are already at $30 trillion in a federal budget deficit . . . and they are averaging 1.5%. So, they are paying $450 billion in interest alone. If that goes to 3%, they are paying $900 billion. If that goes to 4.5%, they are paying $1.3 trillion. The whole budget deficit has already exploded, and there is no turning back. . . . You saw the CPI at 4.25 %. Who in their right mind is going to buy a Treasury note at 1.65%£ They will guarantee themselves a loss of purchasing power of 2.5%. . . . The Fed is promising that the inflation rate is going to come down, and it will be ‘transitory.’ I say it’s not ‘transitory.’ We have $3 trillion in deficit spending this year already, and it’s only going to get worse. We are on the path of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), and the Treasury issues the bonds and the Fed just buys the bonds. . . . This creates a very favorable environment for owning physical gold and physical silver even with the phony baloney pricing scheme of futures contracts.”
|US Again Blocks UN Statement Urging Halt To Gaza Violence - Accused Of "Obstructionism"|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 13:50:00 +0000|
US Again Blocks UN Statement Urging Halt To Gaza Violence - Accused Of "Obstructionism"
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 09:50
Perhaps entirely as expected (given it was the same pattern in past Israel-Gaza conflicts), the United States on Monday blocked an attempt of the UN Security Council to pass a joint statement calling for an immediate end to the Israeli-Palestinian violence.
And Israel promptly "thanked" the United States for blocking the statement urging peace...
This marks the third time within a week that the US has thwarted UN efforts toward urging a ceasefire, which sent the security council into an emergency closed-door session planned for Tuesday.
Despite the Gaza death toll in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes surpassing 200 by the end of Monday, and with at least ten Israeli civilian deaths from Hamas rocket fire, one US diplomat said they "could not currently support an expression" by the Security Council, according to AFP.
The AFP notes that "The text drafted by China, Tunisia and Norway was submitted late Sunday for approval Monday by the council's 15 members" and that it has "held three emergency meetings on the escalating violence in the past week, the latest on Sunday, without reaching a common position - with Israel's main ally the United States accused of obstructionism."
On the effectiveness toward bringing the warring parties into a ceasefire agreement, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric stressed: "I would really restate the need for a very strong and unified voice from the Security Council, which we think will carry weight".
During a Monday phone call, President Joe Biden conveyed to PM Netanyahu for the first time since fighting began that he's ready to "support" a ceasefire; however, the Israeli leader reportedly answered that he "wants to complete all the goals of the Gaza operation," according to Axios correspondent Barak Ravid.
This further comes after it was revealed early this week that Biden approved a $735 million dollar in weapons sales from the United States to Israel - which reportedly happened just before the outbreak of fighting.
|Rabo: All The Elements Are In Place For Things To Get Truly Heated|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 13:30:00 +0000|
Rabo: All The Elements Are In Place For Things To Get Truly Heated
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 09:30
By Michael Every of Rabobank
As the market goes through another inflation/deflation/stagflation spasm, this time reflected in some commodity prices tumbling from sky-high peaks, and some going yet higher, and gold up as crypto is down, it’s time to underline that all the elements are in place for things to get truly heated ahead.
After the US CPI report, I talked about the price of second-hand cars and how the lack of any new vehicles, because of the global lack of semiconductors, meant people were having to bid up whatever there was available to drive around in. Yet don’t think there aren’t silicon chips in *everything* nowadays: phones and computers, sure; but even fridges and toasters use them. And so does farming equipment – at a time when there is huge, underlying, upwards pressure on food prices for many other reasons. Indeed, a report from Hoosier Ag Today says:
So let’s just underline again that we built a technological wonder of a global economy based on just-in-time supplies of a few key inputs from only a few locations; and then demand surged due a virus that ran rampant through said global economy; and supply chains got snarled for that, and other reasons; and now a lack of silicon chips even impacts on the price of potato chips (in the US) and chips (in the UK). And this is before global supply-chain issues get any worse due to increasingly-strained geopolitics, physically and/or legally.
As the Hoosier Ag Today concludes in op-ed rather than straight news fashion: “While free and fair world trade is important, there is value in having adequate domestic production of vital things like computer chips, energy, vaccines, and, of course, food. This is something our leaders need to be thinking about before the next shortage reaches crisis proportions.” Lots of leaders are: but more in some sectors, and some countries, than others.
From those not on that Talebian “where is the fat tail risk£” list, what we get instead is a continuation of the verbal and intellectual trend that inserted silicon chips into toasters. In this regard, it reminds me of the AI-driven Talkie Toaster from UK sci-fi comedy ‘Red Dwarf’. Bought for $£19.99 (DollarPounds) plus tax, to quote from a fan Wiki: “Despite being more intelligent than the Red Dwarf computer Holly, the novelty kitchen appliance was, on top of being defective, only designed to provide light conversation at breakfast time, and as such it was totally single-minded and tried to steer every conversation to the subject of toast.” In one episode, we get this exchange, for example:
Of course, Talkie Toaster is highly intelligent: but any subject will be steered round to toasting, which is the raison d'être and sine qua non of existence. In another episode we get this:
Substitute iterations of neoliberalism for toasting and see the parallel. If you don’t want globalization, how about free-trade£ No£ So you must want efficient market mechanisms operating across borders£ No£ Then how about balancing existing global demand and supply£ If not, then how about out-sourcing to boost productivity, or maximizing returns on equity£ For every global Lister saying he doesn’t want the economic equivalent of pancakes or pikelets, there are still those chirping out cheerily that in that case they must want a pita pocket “because markets”. And meanwhile, the *actual* global economy is being severely disrupted, with the tail risk of even more to come, from cotton to solar panels to who knows what or where next.
Frankly, sometimes you need to feed your brain with bacon and eggs instead; or oatmeal; or steamed buns. Indeed, without wishing to be as normative as the Hoosier Ag Today, if one thinks like an AI toaster, then one is likely to be toast in the long run: and consumers expecting low, low prices forever “because markets” are already getting burned.
Whether that inflation now means stagflation or deflation later requires more space than available here. And some toast inside me.
|Fidelity Launches Trading Accounts For Teens As Battle For Next Generation Of Day Traders Heats Up|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 13:10:00 +0000|
Fidelity Launches Trading Accounts For Teens As Battle For Next Generation Of Day Traders Heats Up
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 09:10
Fidelity once tried to offset its image as a stodgy retirement-focused investment giant by allowing customers to integrate their crypto holdings into their Fidelity dashboard. But after Robinhood and WeBull attracted millions of millennial customers, Fidelity is finally trying to woo the next generation of investors in an effort to protect its business from shifting generational tastes.
And since younger investors have signaled that they prefer the gamefied, zero-commission speculation free-for-all to contributing a predetermined percentage of their paychecks to a retirement account, Fidelity has decided to give them what they want. As WSJ reports, in an effort to "open the door to a new generation of investors", Fidelity is launching new credit and debit cards, along with investing and savings accounts, to teenagers aged 13 to 17. Like Robinhood and its other competitors, Fidelity won't charge account fees or commissions for online trading.
Fidelity already operates one of the largest online brokerages in the country and offers $0 trading fees like Charles Schwab, E-Trade and the other big discount brokerages. But competition for the next generation of customers has grown particularly fierce over the past year. And after lagging its competitors on earlier innovations like zero-fee stock trading, the firm is angling to get a jump start on getting more teenagers addicted to day trading. In the case of Fidelity's new offering, a parent must open the account and agree to backstop their child's trading. But after that, the teenager will have complete control over all trades. Parents can sign up for alerts for the child's transactions, and step in to close the account if things get out of hand, but that's not required. And with so many other things to keep track of, including their child's activities on social media, parents can easily lose track of their child's trading.
In a press release, Fidelity also said it would offer even more "financial literacy" tools including "a library of tailored educational content."
Now the next generation can get a leg up on day trading, the new engine of investment gains in the US.
The company insists that its plans for offering brokerage accounts to teenagers predates the current trading frenzy, and that this is in no way an opportunistic crackdown.
Fidelity also won't allow teenagers to trade options or trade on margin, meaning it will rein in some of the riskiest behavior associated with the retail trading boom. But as soon as they turn 18, those restrictions will be lifted (or they can simply convince their parents to set up a Robinhood account for them, like hundreds of thousands of American teenagers already have).
While we're sure Fidelity won't ever cave to offering altcoins or other risky products (though they didn't say anything about 3x leveraged ETFs), the adventurous nature of teenagers suggests that they will find some way to ratchet up the risks.
|Blain: Buy Copper, Sell America|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 12:50:20 +0000|
Blain: Buy Copper, Sell America
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 08:50
“You thought polarization and conspiracy theories were bad before corpses started reanimating and eating folks£”
The world looks poised on the edge of a synchronous recovery on pandemic recovery, climate-change, renewables and infrastructure investments. It will fuel a massive commodities supercycle, but is not without danger in terms of currency confidence and debt risks. A key proxy will be copper – which could rally strongly, yet still looks cheap in dollar terms. However, the growing sense of fractured political polarisation and gridlock in the US suggests substantial dollar depreciation.
This morning’s Porridge is bound to upset my chums across the Pond.. Nothing infuriates ‘Muricans as much as criticising their politics, or suggesting the Earth’s economy might not revolve around them… but this blog is about market strategy, not pleasing Trump supporters.
The first part of this morning’s trade is simple – buy into global recovery. Post-Pandemic the Global Economy is set for synchronistic growth, fuelled by governments everywhere inflating their economies through new fiscal spending programmes. Growth since 2008 remained anaemic on the back of misguided government austerity policies. Growth post 2020 is going to be hyper-accelerative on the back of new fiscal freedoms Governments have found to spend, spend, spend! (Nothing upsets liberty loving libertarians as much as government spending programmes’ wastefulness, or the abuse of the currency they perceive.)
Since March 2020, government borrowing has ballooned to pay for immediate Pandemic relief and furlough schemes. It happened, and the skies did not fall upon us. Next up will be massive infrastructure, climate change/environment, health and education programmes on a scale we’ve never, ever seen before. Since every government is doing it, what’s the worry….£ (Rhetorical question….)
All that spending is going to drive a massive commodities uptick; the super-cycle everyone is so excited about. Already we’re seeing key construction commodities rise. A key proxy beneficiary will be copper. The world functions on electricity, and you can’t pour a gallon of four-star volts into an EV without copper cables….
But.. and here’s an interesting thought – which was spotted by my colleague Julian Wheeler: at over $10000, copper is back to the record levels it last achieved in 2011, when the dollar was relatively weak at 75 on the DXY dollar index. Today copper is some 15% undervalued compared to its value of the dollar around 90. On the back of the rising demand metrics for copper, I fully expect it will continue to rise in price (Goldman has a $15k target), but is also likely to make significant gains relative to the dollar – which is likely to continue its recent slide.
Hence the trade – Buy Copper on the back of global synchronous growth…. But sell dollar£
Conventionally, you would sell a currency because of its overly-row interest rate, or concern about its credibility and rising debt. Both apply to the US. The FED has committed to low rates despite the like pandemic recovery – justified on the basis the economy will stage a brief recovery spike before calming back down to pre-pandemic activity levels. US Debt has expanded to pay the costs the pandemic programmes, and now will have to fund whatever programme Biden can push through. Every other major economy is furiously printing money… so why would the US suffer more than any other£
I’ll come back to further reasons to sell the dollar… but they are host of reasons to expect copper to rise; the demand for the kind of new “smart, connected” infrastructure every government had on its wish list, the need to replace and evolve national grids as renewable power becomes more important, and the replacement of carbon unfriendly internal combustion engine cars by electric is all significant. (I think I’ve quoted before that an EV used approximately 4 times as much copper (around 80kg) as an ICE auto.)
The super-cycle is not just about copper. Around the globe we’re seeing steadily growing demand for all strategic commodities. The tiny village of Hemerdon in Devon is home to the largest tungsten deposit outside China. The mine went bust a few years ago, was picked up for a few million by Tungsten West is now looking at a £100mm AIM valuation.
The big joke is that commodities analysts have predicted about 12 of the 4 commodities super-cycles that have actually occurred. It normally takes years to get a new mine into production – and in these years the boom conditions and demand that encouraged the developers to spend the money might have evaporated, meaning a load of new supply hitting the market after the top, accelerating prices falls as rising supply exceeds diminishing demand.
This time may be different. The last supercylce was largely fuelled by China’s infrastructure rebuild. This time it’s global buildout. Long-term infrastructure projects mean steady demand out over a decade or more, long-enough to drive a screed of new mine development now – which is why mining financiers and analysts are getting terribly excited.
Who knows, maybe the UK government will have a smart lightbulb moment and realise that using our own Metallurgical Coal from the mine I was trying to fund in Cumbria is better, less polluting, and more efficient than importing it from Australia or Steel from China. However, hoping for common sense from government is not something to base an investment strategy around. Hey-ho and ho-hum.
Whatever – Copper and global commodities look a solid bet..
Perhaps even more important is the second part of the bet – selling the dollar.
Why would you£ The US is home to World’s largest, successful, valuable and most innovative companies. The dollar is the defacto global medium of exchange. The US president is widely acknowledged to be the most powerful man on the planet. Yet… there is something of a shadow upon the land…
As event unfold over the next 2 years into the mid-term elections, and the next full presidential cycle, the degree to which US politics is terminally broke will become increasingly apparent. Words like Gridlock, partisan, and polarisation dominate the news flow. While the rest of the globe gets on with rebuilding their economies, Biden has a short-window, and tiny majority in the House to push through his plans. He may become as irrelevant as Obama after the next vote.
I’ve been trolled many times for daring to comment on the non-functionality of US politics. Serious fund managers tell me I understand nothing – that I massively overestimate any ongoing danger from Trump, and underestimate just how deeply Biden is plunging the US into a woke dominated parody of socialism. As a global market strategist, I don’t particularly care about the politics, I just need to look at events and draw conclusions as to how investible the US looks on a relative basis£ (For the record, I will state most Americans are wonderful people – until you start talking politics, at which point they tend to shed perspective..)
Can the Democrats turn around the economy and build the physical and social welfare structures a sustainable new America will require£ Its’ record in the big cities is less than reassuring.
Meanwhile – can the Republicans offer a credible alternative£ At the moment, the answer is no. Trump will remain an utterly destabilising feature from the bunker now that he’s conclusively demonstrated his reach and control of the party by the defenestration of Liz Cheney. The extraordinary recount in Arizona gives continued succour to Trump’s Big Lie.
Don’t take my word on how divided America is. A recent survey for USA Today found “destructive partisan devisiveness” is a huge problem. 54% of Republican voters are convinced Biden is taking them down the road to hell. 77% of Americans think the nation’s toxic political problems come from the top down, while a majority of Republicans still believe Trump was robbed of the election.
We could spend hours analysing policies and election trends, in much the same way US Sports commentators talk for hours about irrelevant data and numbers as if it actually meant anything.. The real issue for markets is where does a broken American political system put it on a relative basis to other economies£
There are massive “investibility” issues elsewhere – with Europe, the UK, or China – but these can’t be completely dismissed when the US looks likely to become even more politically dysfunctional.
|Single-Family Housing Starts Crash In April|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 12:42:58 +0000|
Single-Family Housing Starts Crash In April
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 08:42
After April's massive catch up surge (following March's weather-driven dip), Housing Starts and Permits data was expected to slow (or contract) in April as higher rates, and even higher prices (amid demand and higher commodity costs) begin to stymie the unprecedented buying-panic in the housing market over the past year. However, the retracement was far larger with Starts plunging 9.5% MoM (against -2.0% MoM expected) after March's upwardly revised 19.8% rise and Permits rising just 0.3% MoM (half the expected 0.6% MoM rise) after March's revised lower 1.7% rise...
Is the housing boom over£
Housing Starts plunge was dominated by a 13.4% plunge in Single-family home starts (while Multi-family (Rental) was up 4.0%)...
Housing Permits saw the opposite pattern to Starts with Single Family down 3.8% and Multi-family (Rental) up 11.1%
The Midwest saw Starts crash 34.8% (and the South dropped 11.5%) while The West (+9.0%) and Northeast (+6.2%) both rose.
The Widwest also led the weakness in Permits, dropping 9.9%, along with The West (-4.1%) while The South (+3.9%) and Northeast (+8.4%) both saw increased activity.
Finally, as we noted yesterday, the vast gap of incredulity between homebuilders' record high confidence and homebuyers' record low confidence remains a key harbinger of problems ahead (and/or perhaps a sign of the inexorably growing inequality gap created by The Fed)...
Get back to work escaping that box you're in Mr. Powell.
|Futures, Global Stocks Rise As Dollar Rout Accelerates|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 12:19:56 +0000|
Futures, Global Stocks Rise As Dollar Rout Accelerates
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 08:19
US equity futures rose for the 3rd day in 4 and world stocks pushed higher on Tuesday while the dollar tumbled to three-month lows as optimism that economic reopening will boost growth outweighed concern about a pick-up in virus cases in parts of Asia even if it leads to higher prices. Oil gained and 10Y yields dropped marginally.
At 7:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 77 points, or 0.22%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.3%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 73 points, or 0.55%. Retailers Walmart and Macy’s jumped in premarket trading after raising their full-year guidance, while Home Depot gained as its results beat estimates. Commodity and automotive shares boosted the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, while Asian equities also climbed.
Nasdaq 100 contracts led U.S. futures higher after dovish remarks on Monday from Fed Vice-Chair Richard Clarida, who pointed to the weak April jobs report as proof of slack in the economy, and from other Fed policymakers helped to reassure markets that U.S. monetary policy will remain easy. The comments came ahead of Wednesday’s release of the minutes from the Fed’s policy meeting last month, which will be closely watched for any indications about where monetary policy is headed this year.
“Investors welcomed reassuring words from Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida yesterday as he continued to downplay inflation data, highlighting lingering lack of progress on employment numbers,” said Pierre Veyret, an analyst at ActivTrades in London. “The trading stance remains bull-oriented so far and investors are ready to seize any opportunity to buy dips on stocks.”
“In short, the Fed’s music is still the same. It is not yet time for tapering, and will not be for a while,” said Giuseppe Sersale, fund manager at Anthilia in Milan.
Here are some notable premarket movers:
Market volatility had risen in recent weeks on worries that abundant stimulus and rising inflationary pressure in the United States could force the Federal Reserve to reduce its support in order to prevent the world’s largest economy from overheating. “Taper talk is the new taper,” said Mike Kelly, head of multi-asset at PineBridge Investments. “Structural inflation is still some way off but temporary supply-side bottlenecks will last at least until September. The Fed will try to talk their way through it and markets will get frustrated. But the more temporary inflation overshoots, the harder it will be to avoid taper talk."
Connected with that, tomorrow traders will parse the Fed minutes for policy discussion about inflation and hints of a timeline for reducing stimulus, after Vice Chair Richard Clarida said Monday that the weak U.S. jobs report showed the economy had not yet reached the threshold to warrant scaling back asset purchases.
Clarida's comments spilled over to global markets, and bourses in Europe rose, with the STOXX 600 regional benchmark closing in on its previous record high, up 0.4% led higher by energy and basic resources firms on optimism around easing economic restrictions. Italy’s FTSE MIB outperforms peers. Vodafone fell 6.5% after Chief Executive Officer Nick Read’s strategy showed higher capital expenditure on network investments will hit free cash flow. Here are some notable European movers:
Earlier in the session, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rallied 1.6%, rising for a third-straight session, with Taiwan leading the charge Tuesday in a dramatic rebound from a week-long selloff amid concerns over a resurgence of the coronavirus. Taiwan’s benchmark gauge climbed more than 5% in its best day since March 2020 on news the country is in talks with the United States for a share of the vaccine doses Washington plans to send abroad. Gains were driven by tech giants including chipmaker TSMC and iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision, which also ranked among the biggest boosts to the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Stocks were also strong in Japan, where investors shrugged off data showing Japan’s economy shrank more than expected in the first quarter as a slow vaccine rollout and new COVID-19 infections hit spending and engaged in dip-buying after recent declines. Among larger names, human-resources firm Recruit and the nation’s largest bank MUFG climbed after encouraging outlooks. South Korean shares gained as local institutional investors added tech and auto names. MSCI’s key regional index has gained over 3% in the past three days of trading after tumbling 4.9% over three days last week. In addition to rising virus infections in places including India, Taiwan and Singapore, global markets have been spooked by fears of accelerating inflation as economies ramp back up, especially in the U.S.
“Despite the optics, underlying growth is still favorable given the conducive external backdrop -- aggressive U.S. stimulus and U.S. economic reopening will lend further impetus to Asia’s export recovery,” Morgan Stanley analysts led by Terence Cheng wrote in a note. “We see recent Covid-19 flare-ups across Asia as a temporary speed bump” and “inflation should still stay benign in Asia.”
China stocks rose slightly, with the CSI 300 Index climbing 0.1% to close at 5,187.60, in its third straight day of gains and led by energy and material companies, as investor caution weighed on market sentiment. China Oilfield Services rose 4.7% to lead gains in the energy sector as Brent oil edges toward $70 a barrel. Meanwhile, vaccine makers were the biggest decliners on the gauge, as investors took profit following gains over the past week. Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical and Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products fell more than 6.5% each. Semiconductor products manufacturer JCET Group was also one of the biggest drags on the index, falling 5% after saying a state chip fund planned to trim its stake in the firm.
Morgan Stanley said it remained cautious on the broader Chinese stock market despite the recent rebound, with lingering uncertainties including limited room for upside earnings revisions as they are already priced in and a reflationary environment putting pressure on company margins. There are also concerns around liquidity tightening and continued regulatory risks for internet and fintech stocks, the Wall Street broker said. Stocks in China and Hong Kong will only see gains of mid -to high-single digits over the next year, “marginally higher” than the broader emerging market universe, analysts including Laura Wang wrote in the note.
In FX, the dollar fell toward a four-month low, while U.S. 10-year Treasuries were steady as investors awaited key housing data ahead of minutes due Wednesday from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting.
The Bloomberg dollar index fell against all of its Group-of-10 peers while the euro advanced beyond $1.22 for the first time in almost three months. The New Zealand dollar outperformed led by a rally in equity and commodity markets after the Fed’s Richard Clarida played down the risk of policy tightening. The pound climbed to its highest level since February and neared amulti-year high, with the focus turning to Bank of England speeches later Tuesday, and Wednesday’s inflation data. The U.K. labor market strengthened more than expected and added more payrolls in April than any month since early 2015. The Norwegian krone touched a one-week high versus the greenback as Brent crude topped $70 a barrel in London for the first time since mid-March amid signs that recovering consumption has whittled away a glut of oil built up at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. The yen advanced a fourth consecutive day versus the dollar.
In rates, treasuries were little changed in early U.S. session, off lows despite gains for stock futures; regional support for U.S. debt emerged during Asia session in light trading. 10-year yield near flat around 1.65% with belly of the curve slightly richer, long-end marginally cheaper on the day, steepening 5s30s by ~1bp; bunds and gilts underperform by less than a basis point. Curve slightly steeper although yields remain within a basis point of Monday’s closing levels. U.S. data includes housing starts, while Fed’s Kaplan is expected to speak. IG dollar issuance slate includes World Bank 5Y, CDP Financial $1b 5Y and Cades 3Y; another active session is expected after almost $20b was priced Monday, led by $7b UnitedHealth offering whose order book was said to approach $27b
In commodities, Brent crude topped $70 a barrel for the first time since March, as expectations of demand recovery following reopenings of the European and U.S. economies offset concern over spreading coronavirus cases in Asia. Brent crude was up 0.8% at $70.03 and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.7% at $66.75. Copper rose toward a record as the potential for tighter regulation and higher taxes in Chile fueled concerns about the long-term supply outlook; zinc jumped amid speculation about disruptions to Chinese output. Spot gold rose to its highest in nearly four months as a weaker U.S. dollar and growing inflationary pressure bolstered the metal’s appeal as an inflation hedge. It was last up 0.1% at $1,867.9 per ounce.
Bitcoin rose 4%, paring some of its steep losses since Tesla boss Elon Musk said he would stop taking bitcoin as payment due to environmental concerns. Ether jumped 6.7%.
Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases include US housing starts and building permits for April, UK unemployment data for March, and the second estimate Q1 GDP in the Euro Area. Central bank speakers include BoE Governor Bailey and Deputy Governors Broadbent and Ramsden, the ECB’s Villeroy and the Fed’s Kaplan. Finally, earnings releases include Walmart and Home Depot.
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
A look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk
Asian equities traded mostly positive as the region shrugged off the negative lead from Wall Street where sentiment was dragged lower by lingering inflationary concerns and following somewhat mixed NY Fed Manufacturing data, while US equity futures also staged a rebound after-hours. ASX 200 (+0.6%) was underpinned as the mining-related sectors benefitted from the continued strength in underlying commodity prices and amid reports that Australian PM Morrison is pushing states to remove domestic restrictions on vaccinated citizens as part of a plan to boost travel freedom. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) notched firm gains with the index unfazed by the wider than expected contraction in Japan’s Q1 GDP which printed -1.3% vs exp. -1.2% Q/Q and -5.1% vs exp. -4.6% for the annualized reading. The decline in the world’s 3rd largest economy was widely anticipated due to the state of emergency for nearly a dozen prefectures including Tokyo which lasted for almost the entirety of Q1, although there was also plenty of jawboning from Economic Minister Nishimura who stated the decline was smaller than during last year's state of emergency as spending on durable goods was solid and that the economy still has potential to recover with exports continuing to increase due to the overseas recovery. Furthermore, Nishimura suggested that job and income conditions are improving, consumer spending appetite appears strong and that the government will take flexible action including using reserves set aside to address the virus as required. Hang Seng (+1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.3%) were varied whereby the mainland lagged despite a lack of direct catalysts, but there were reports that the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to open the debate on the bill that would provide USD 110bln for technology research to address China competition, while the TAIEX (+5.2%) was the outperformer in an aggressive resurgence from yesterday’s COVID-triggered slump. Finally, 10yr JGBs languished amid strength in Japanese stocks and following the recent pullback in T-notes, while the lack of BoJ purchases also contributed to the subdued demand with the central bank only in the market today for treasury discount bills.
Top Asian News
Major bourses in Europe have drifted off best levels but still hold onto modest gains (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%) amid a distinct lack of catalysts throughout the European morning and as earning seasons simmers down. US equity futures meanwhile hold onto a bulk of overnight gains but have lost momentum as Europe wanes alongside a pickup in the EUR. Bank of America’s May Fund Manager survey suggested the first signs of “peak optimism” on growth, whilst tech stocks overweight is at a three-year low as investors load up on resources and banking names, whilst suggesting that the most prominent tail risks include inflation and a taper tantrum. Back to Europe, major bourses largely see broad-based gains with some mild outperformance in the FTSE MIB (+0.7%) and AEX (+0.7%) with the former lifted by banks and the latter underpinned by its tech exposure. In fitting with this, Tech and Banks reside as top performers, but Oil & Gas and Basic Resources outpace amid price action in those respective complexes (see commodities section). Meanwhile, the Telecoms sector is the marked laggard following its outperformance yesterday as Vodafone (-10%) and Iliad (-9.0%) shares slump after earnings underwhelmed. Healthcare resides at the bottom of the pile, pressured by Novartis (-0.8%) after the US supreme court rebuffed the Co’s appeal over its arthritis drug. Overall, the sectors are portraying a pro-cyclical bias. In terms of individual movers, BT (+1.8%) bucks the telecoms trend amid reports its CEO has purchased another GBP 2mln worth of shares, whilst Vivendi (+1.7%) is also firmer on the back of news that it could offload a further 10% of its Universal Music Group business.
Top European News
In FX, the Greenback has now given up all and more of its post-US CPI recovery gains amidst almost universal declines and a resumption of the bear trend that was prevalent prior to last Wednesday’s inflation data. Indeed, the DXY has fallen to a new sub-90.000 multi-month low at 89.751 to expose the only remaining trough ahead of 89.500 from late February (89.677 on the 25th of that month) and before Buck bears train crosshairs on the current 2021 trough (89.206 from January 6). The negative narrative for the Dollar remains the same and is compounded by renewed strength in commodities on the ROTW reopening bandwagon, bar recent/latest COVID-19 outbreak hotspots, as vaccine rollouts catch up to the US, while the Fed continues to hold back on tapering and policy normalisation in contrast to other Central Banks that have started the process of removing pandemic levels of accommodation. Ahead, housing data and more from Fed hawks Bostic and Kaplan, but it’s hard to imagine anything that might turn the tide for the index and Greenback in general at present.
In commodities, WTI and Brent July contracts have been choppy but ultimately firmer, with Brent topping USD 70/bbl (vs low 69.44/bbl) alongside the European cash open in what seemed to be a tech-driven move at the time, whilst WTI tested USD 67/bbl to the upside (vs low 66.24/bbl). News flow for the complex has again been on the lighter side, with eyes remaining on the fallout of COVID across the globe, whilst geopolitical risks also remain heightened. Meanwhile, the private inventory data later today will be followed for any hints towards tomorrow’s DoEs, which is expected to be distorted by the Colonial Pipeline outage. As a reminder, a significant draw is expected in PADD1 (East Coast) product stocks alongside builds in crude and products from PADD3 (US Gulf Coast) and a decline in refining activity. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver see sideways trade as upside from softer Dollar is countered by elevated yields. LME copper meanwhile eyes USD 10,500/t to the upside with the aid of risk appetite alongside the weaker Dollar. On this front, BHP sees a rise in average copper production over the next five years of over 300k tonnes per year and predicts that there will be strong demand in steel-making as the world decarbonises. Overnight, Dalian iron ore and Shanghai zinc surged, with traders citing robust domestic demand and expectations for overseas demand to rise significantly.
US Event Calendar
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
Yesterday I hinted at the need for fresh knee surgery. Well today I’m putting out a public health announcement in the hope that I save others. About 2 months ago I felt tightness and swelling at the back of my knee one morning as I started on my exercise bike. There was no specific catalyst or pain. 2 months later, and with my knee constantly swollen, the scan revealed a hole in my cartilage. There were only two things that could have caused it. Speed swing training for golf or trampolining with the kids. When I cited these two things to my consultant on Friday I fully expected him to blame golf and tell me I had to take it easier at my age. However when I said the word trampolining he looked at me in horror and said if there was one thing he would rip out of every garden that has one it would be a trampoline. He said he’s treated nearly as many of these injuries as he has skiing ones. My kids were devastated over the weekend when I told them that I had to officially retire from bouncing them on the trampoline. This is an extended list that now includes running, tennis, football and cricket. Secretly I was very relieved that golf hadn’t caused it though. So full throttle with that while I decide when to have microfracture surgery for a second time and on a different knee. This will involve 6 weeks on crutches with no weight bearing and then rehab. Sigh. So next time your kid asks you to bounce them give it a second thought.
Markets are bouncing around at the moment without quite working out what to do about the onslaught of important data since payrolls. Net net, 10yr yields are c.8.3bps higher since just before that employment report and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are down -1.64% and -2.71% respectively. So although there have been some big daily moves in the opposite direction we’ve generally seen small risk off at the same time as higher yields over this period.
Yesterday saw a similar trend alongside a rebound in commodity prices that only served to bolster the existing inflationary pressures argument. In terms of the moves, the S&P 500 (-0.25%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (-0.05%) both fell back by the close of trade, with technology stocks underperforming in both regions as the NASDAQ fell a larger -0.38%. This coincided with higher volatility, with the VIX index up +0.9pts to 19.7pts, though this was some way beneath the intraday high of 28.93 reached on Thursday of last week. Energy stocks were more buoyant with the S&P energy sector gaining +2.30% and the STOXX 600 Oil and Gas sector up a lesser +0.38%, aided by the fact that WTI oil prices were up +1.38% to just about reach a post-pandemic high of $66.27/bbl.
The market moves came as yesterday’s Fed speakers continued to strike their overall dovish tone, as well as their belief that the inflationary pressures seen will prove temporary. In terms of tapering, Vice Chair Clarida said that the weak jobs report in April demonstrated that “we have not made substantial further progress” that the Fed needs to see in order to begin that process. This message was also reiterated by Atlanta Fed President Bostic, who said that “We are still 8 million jobs short of where we were pre-pandemic. Until we make substantial progress to close that gap, I think we have got to have our policies in a very strongly accommodative situation or stance”.
Against this backdrop, US Treasuries were fairly steady yesterday, with the 10yr yield seeing a modest +2.0bps rise to 1.649%. The rise was driven by inflation expectations with the 10yr breakevens increasing +2.6bps to 2.56% - a new 8 year high. The moves were similar in Europe, where yields climbed to fresh pandemic highs as nervousness over ECB tapering and higher inflation remained in the background. 10yr bunds saw yields rise +1.4bps to -0.12%, which is their highest level in almost 2 years, while French OATs were up +2.7bps to 0.289%, their highest level in over a year themselves. The risk-off tone meant that bunds outperformed their counterparts across the continent, with the Italian (+2.0bps) and Spanish (+1.6bps) spreads over bunds both moving wider. The taper story is gathering some momentum here. Elsewhere the greenback fell -0.17% for its 6th daily loss in its last 8 sessions and is now trading near three month lows.
Asian markets are mostly trading higher this morning with the Nikkei (+2.24%), Hang Seng (+1.25%) and Kospi (+1.07%) all posting gains. Chinese markets are trading a bit more mixed though with the CSI (-0.16%) and Shenzhen Comp (-0.06%) down while the Shanghai Comp (+0.08%) is up. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s TAIEX exchange is up as much as +4.96% as the country’s financial stabilisation fund said it was monitoring stocks after the worst rout in more than a year. Futures on the S&P 500 (+0.23%) are also pointing towards a positive open for nowalongside the Stoxx 50 and Dax futures being up +0.68% and +0.55% respectively. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s preliminary 1Q21 annualised GDP print came in at -5.1% qoq (vs. -4.5% expected) while the previous quarter was revised down to 11.6% qoq from 11.7% qoq. In other news, Variety reported that Amazon is in discussion to buy MGM movie studio for about $9bn. Small change for a company worth $1.65tn.
In other market news, Bitcoin rose +1.63% bouncing as it reached a 3-month low, closing at $44,816. That’s just the second gain in the last week for the cryptocurrency after a variety of tweets from Elon Musk, including a new one yesterday where he clarified in a fresh tweet that “Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin”. Companies exposed to cryptocurrencies struggled yesterday, with Coinbase down -4.07% as it caught up with the moves over the weekend. Tesla was down another -2.34% and is now down -34.7% from its peaks in late-January and -18.3% YTD.
In terms of the pandemic, cases continue to decline at the global level with the number of new cases in India also having now peaked for the time being. But other areas have experienced a renewed surge, particularly in Asia, and fresh restrictions were being imposed yesterday to deal with this. In Singapore, the Ministry of Health said that they’d found a further 21 cases, of which 11 weren’t linked to existing clusters. It comes as the World Economic Forum announced that they were cancelling their annual meeting that had been scheduled to be held in Singapore, saying that it would instead happen in the first half of 2022, at a location to be determined. Given I was planning to attend I’ve recommended the Bahamas. Meanwhile, Hong Kong moved to classify Singapore as a high-risk virus destination, and will now require a 21-day quarantine for arrivals from the city-state. Elsewhere, a flareup in Taiwan saw them ban foreigners from entering for a month from May 19 until June 18. However, there was better news out of the US, where John Hopkins data showed that Sunday saw the lowest number of new cases since March 2020, at the start of the pandemic. President Biden announced that the US will send an additional 20 million vials of vaccine abroad by the end of June. The shots will be a mix of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines, and will be on top of the 60 million Astrazenca shots that have already been promised.
|Two Months After Biden Blasted "Neanderthal Thinking", Texas Reports Zero COVID Deaths|
|Tue, 18 May 2021 12:00:18 +0000|
Two Months After Biden Blasted "Neanderthal Thinking", Texas Reports Zero COVID Deaths
Tyler Durden Tue, 05/18/2021 - 08:00
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott elicited criticism from Dr. Fauci and a host of Democrats when he decided to drop all COVID-19-linked restrictions in the Lone Star State back in March. Now, as states across the country are falling in line with President Biden's aggressive new mask guidance (clearly intended to encourage more holdouts to accept the vaccine) Texas is reporting a milestone that many of these critics once believed unthinkable: On Sunday, the state's Department of State Health Services reported its first day without a single COVID-19 deaths since March 21, 2020.
Confronted in an interview last month, Dr. Fauci finally acknowledged that he couldn't explain Texas' success. And President Biden memorably slammed Republicans in Texas (and in other southern states like Mississippi that followed Texas' lead) as "Neaderthal-thinking" Republicans.
That good news was quickly overshadowed when state officials reported 23 new deaths on Monday, the highest daily count in two months.
Still, as the Houston Chronicle admits, it's clear Texas has "turned a corner" and that the takeaway from the zero-death day is that the state has done remarkably well in combating COVID.
And in a social media post, Gov. Abbott recently rattled off a host of stats illustrating just how successful the state has been.
Adding to this, the state reported a record low seven-day positivity rate of 3.9% last week, and cases and hospitalizations have fallen to their lowest marks since last summer.
Funeral homes in the area rejoiced at finally seeing business return to a more normal pace.
Bradshaw-Carter Funeral Home owner Tripp Carter said they haven’t had a COVID-related service since early March, which she credited in part to Houstonians abiding by precautionary measures.
Texas counted only 624 new confirmed infections on Wednesday according to state data, with a seven-day average of 2,072 new cases per day.
Source: State of Texas
To put this all in context, Texas was reporting nearly 30,000 new cases per day and upward of 400 deaths a day earlier this year. It once was home to the worst outbreak in the country, and last summer became the first state to top 1 million confirmed cases.
Deaths finally began to slow in March, as vaccine eligibility was gradually expanded. To date, 41% of Texans have received at least one vaccine dose, and nearly one in three are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, which lags the rate in many other states.
Now, the state can focus its attention on the new crisis of 2021: the fester crisis at the southern border caused by a surge in migrants responding to Biden's pledge to welcome immigrants.
At least now, with the COVID numbers down, maybe Biden will deem it safe enough to hold more photo-ops at the border where he lectures the GOP on immigration policy.