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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Mon, 26 Jun 2017, 10:04 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: Spotlight Falls on Jobs Report

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The U.S. jobs report is due to be released today in the headline event for market watchers. Economists expect U.S. non-farms payrolls to be up a strong 200K jobs for February, down from the 227K gain in January. The unemployment rate is seen declining to 4.7% from 4.8% in the previous month. Also keep an eye on wages; hourly earnings are forecast to increase 0.3%. Anything but a disastrous report is expected to give the Federal Reserve enough ammunition to raise interest rates in March and lean toward at least three rate hikes for the year.

Economy

Global stocks are higher ahead of today's U.S. payrolls data. A strong day for European banks has helped push the Stoxx Europe 600 to a 0.4% gain. U.K.'s FTSE +0.42%, Germany's DAX +0.58% and France's CAC +0.56% are all in positive territory for the day. The Nikkei led the way in Asia with a 1.48% jump, while South Korean stocks were also strong. U.S. stock futures are all pointing higher.

Crude oil prices move higher after dropping to a three-month low this week. WTI crude oil futures +0.75% to $49.65/bbl. Brent crude +0.50% to $52.45/bbl. Analysts said they expect some consolidation this week after the heavy selling pressure. The drop in crude oil has sent the average U.S. gas price down to $2.30 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.

China says it won't devalue its currency in order to stoke exports growth. Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, notes the nation isn't looking for a currency war. China's yuan fell 6.5% the dollar last year. A further drop is expected this year if the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates as expected in the U.S.

The GOP health bill is still taking shots from all sides, including from within the party. "We’re going to listen very intently to conservative leaders," Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News last night. Doctor and hospital groups warn that many people close to retirement could end up paying more under the new system. Standard & Poor's has estimated that 10 million people might end up losing coverage under the new plan. Working in the legislation's favor is the hard pitch from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is calling the choice a binary decision between keeping Obamacare or discarding it.

Industrial output fell 0.4% month over month in the U.K. during January to edge past the consensus estimate from economists for a 0.5% decline. Industrial output was up 3.2% on a year-over-year comparison. Factory output fell 0.9% in January, from December's level.

Stocks

Top executives with Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Suzuki (OTCPK:SZKMY, OTCPK:SZKMF) met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss a partnership in the region. The two automakers aim to manufacture next-gen vehicles out of India at a high volume to export globally. India is the third largest automobile market in Asia after China and Japan

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is looking to boost its stake in Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), sources tell Reuters. HNA currently holds a 3% position in the German bank. Shares of Deutsche Bank are up 2.89% in premarket trading.

Kennedy Space Center continues to get busier. SpaceX (Private:SPACE) plans to launch the EchoStar XXIII satellite on March 14, after the company confirmed a static test of the Falcon 9 rocket went off smoothly. SpaceX plans for the first flight of a Falcon 9 with a reused first stage before the end of the month. Next year, Elon Musk's company aims for the first lunar mission in almost 45 years.

There's another food play from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to watch as the company seeks approval from India's trade ministry to sell groceries directly to consumers within the nation. The Seattle-based company hopes to capitalize on eased restrictions on foreign sellers in India. Amazon wants to invest about $500 million in the new venture, which will include delivery of locally sourced food.

Retail superstar Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA) reported a 17% pop in comparable sales in Q4, but guidance for Q1 trailed estimates, sending shares lower. During the conference call, execs tipped that the company had struck a deal to sell Estee Lauder's (NYSE:EL) MAC brand online and in stores. MAC products are expected to reach at least 100 Ulta stores this year. The development is another huge win for Ulta and another painful blow for the department store sector.

The hits keep coming for the mall sector, with Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) the latest to report soft guidance for 2017. The retailer expects revenue of $178-182M to fall short of the consensus estimate of $185M. A net loss of -$0.17 to -$0.21 is seen vs. -$0.03 consensus. Shares are down 12% in premarket action. Earlier this week, Express (NYSE:EXPR) and Tailored Brands (NYSE:TLRD) issued soft outlooks while citing traffic pressure.

BP hopes to make a splash in Mexico with the introduction of ~1,500 service stations it plans to open across the country over the next five years. BP's entry into Mexico's fuel market, which by law was closed for decades to everyone except the Pemex national oil company, marks the first time a foreign oil major has sought a foothold in Mexico's newly liberalized fuel sector.

Kong: Skull Island opens this weekend to high expectations. Production costs for the Kong film are reported to have been $185M before factoring in market expenses. The Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX) film will face some intense competition from holdover Logan, but no other film is opening nationally. Early box office numbers from Korea, France and Indonesia are strong. In the U.S., the giant gorilla is expected to pull in $45-50M for the weekend.

The semiconductor sector will be paying attention as Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL) hosts its 2017 Investor Day event this morning in New York. Some analysts think the company has crossed a threshold by addressing concerns with accounting, opex and patent lawsuits. Shares are up 14% YTD as investors have bet on Marvell's cloud potential.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +1.5%. Hong Kong +0.3%. China -0.1%. India +0.1%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.6%. Frankfurt +0.6%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.3%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.3%. Crude +0.8% to $49.65. Gold -0.6% to $1196.50.
Ten-year Treasury Yield Flat at 2.61%.

Today's Economic Calendar

8:30 Non-farm payrolls
1:00 PM Baker-Hughes Rig Count
2:00 PM Treasury Budget

 

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