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Author: skywalker   |   Latest post: Thu, 21 Jun 2018, 10:48 AM

 

Wall Street Breakfast: CPI Comes On By

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The consumer price index will likely be a sleeper for investors today, but if it's not, interest rates could spike and equities might sell off. It's expected to come in at 0.2% M/M for both headline inflation and core, which excludes energy and food, or 2.2% and 1.9% Y/Y. A CPI figure that misses or meets estimates is likely to reaffirm the case for just three rate hikes in 2018, but rising inflation could get the Fed, which meets next week, to change its forecasts.

Economy

U.K. Treasury chief Philip Hammond is due to present his Spring Statement today, but it's the first time the event will not feature the traditional "red box" and budget, which has been moved to the autumn. Britain's economy is in better shape than forecast, he's expected to say, while arguing that the U.K.'s national debt is still far too high and the need for fiscal prudence ahead of Brexit.

The OECD has released new forecasts for growth in major economies, raising its projections for the U.S. in response to the tax and spending bills passed in recent months. While the agency didn't incorporate the impact of new U.S. tariffs into its "Interim Economic Outlook," it joined other organizations and governments in warning of the dangers posed by a trade conflict.

China has unveiled plans for overhauling government bureaucracy, combining some financial, competition and business regulators as part of President Xi's efforts to strengthen Communist Party control over levers of power. Since the beginning of last year, Beijing has cracked down on leverage and risky market practices, with Chinese regulators releasing many new rules in an attempt to rein in risks.

The House Intelligence Committee has ended its yearlong interference probe into the 2016 U.S. presidential election, discovering "no evidence of collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia. Separately, Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb are said to be neck-and-neck ahead of today's special election for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, a region Trump won by 20 percentage points in 2016.

Larry Kudlow is the leading contender to head the White House National Economic Council and would take the job if offered it, according to several sources. His emergence is notable because he publicly came out against President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum - the plan that proved the last straw for Gary Cohn, who resigned on March 6.

Canada's exemption from U.S. metal tariffs have nothing to do with talks on the NAFTA, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told CNBC, but he thanked President Trump for the "special consideration." The EU is not mincing any words, however, as French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said member states should form a united response and could even retaliate alongside nations from outside Europe.

Stocks

Blocked! "There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO)... through exercising control of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)... might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the U.S.," reads an order issued by CFIUS and signed by President Trump. "All 15 individuals listed as potential candidates filed by Broadcom... are also hereby disqualified from standing for election as directors of Qualcomm." QCOM -5% premarket.

Apple closed at an all-time high on Monday, briefly surpassing an intraday market cap of $925B for the first time. It comes after Apple Music (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit 38M paid subscribers, up 2M from last month, and signed on its first animated series show from Loren Bouchard, creator of Bob's Burgers. Apple also acquired digital magazine subscription app Texture for an undisclosed amount.

General Electric did not pay cash bonuses last year to its senior executives for the first time in the company's 126-year history. John Flannery, who took over as CEO on Aug. 1 with a $2M annual salary, received $9M in total compensation for 2017, including stock options and changes in values in his pension plan. Former GE CEO Jeff Immelt received $8.1M in total compensation, down from $21.3M in 2016.

Women working in U.S.-based technical jobs at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) filed 238 internal complaints about gender discrimination or sexual harassment between 2010 and 2016, according to court filings that were just made public. The figure was cited by plaintiffs suing the world's largest software company for systematically denying pay raises or promotions to women. Microsoft denies it had any such policy.

Data breach victims can sue Yahoo - meaning, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) - in the U.S., according to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Yahoo has been accused of being too slow to disclose three data breaches in 2013 and 2016 that compromised 3B users, increasing the risk of identity theft and requiring them to spend money on credit freeze, monitoring and other protection services.

Overheated tech market? Dropbox (Pending:DBX) has offered a $16-$18 price range for shares in its IPO set for Friday that would value the cloud storage company at up to $7.1B, nearly a third below the valuation it commanded in 2014. Investors are carefully watching Dropbox for signs of how other highly valued tech companies will be received by the public markets.

Saudi Arabia is increasingly looking to just float Aramco (Private:ARMCO) locally, Reuters reports, as the kingdom counts on being awarded emerging market status by MSCI in June to help attract international funds. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said last week that Aramco was too important to risk listing in the U.S. because of litigation concerns, like existing climate change lawsuits against rival oil companies.

A "shared sacrifice" is needed to fix GM Korea, President Dan Ammann told Reuters. "It's a classical restructuring where everybody needs to contribute something," while unions and the South Korean government need to quickly agree on a restructuring. Nearly 2T won ($1.88B) of GM Korea's debts to its parent are due by end-March or early April.

Airbnb for cars? General Motors (NYSE:GM) is also planning to start a pilot program this summer through its Maven car-sharing unit that will enable car owners to rent out their vehicles when they aren't using them, Bloomberg reports. GM will try to grow the pilot into a full-fledged business if it's successful, marking another step towards transitioning from manufacturer to mobility provider.

The world's first commercial autonomous flying taxi service is hitting the runway in New Zealand. The venture has been unveiled by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, alongside Zephyr Airworks, the local operator of Kitty Hawk, which is backed by Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) CEO Larry Page. The self-flying taxi called Cora has a dozen lift fans - all powered by batteries - for vertical take-off and landing, and can fly about 62 miles and carry two passengers.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.7%. Hong Kong flat. China -0.5%. India -0.2%.
In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris +0.4%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.3%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.1%. Crude +0.3% to $61.54. Gold -0.2% to $1318.60. Bitcoin -1% to $9021.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +1 bps to 2.88%

Today's Economic Calendar

6:00 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
8:30 Consumer Price Index
8:55 Redbook Chain Store Sales
1:00 PM Results of $13B, 30-Year Note Auction

 

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