Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Watch

Evening Headlines 
  • Fragile Europe Economy Weakens U.S. Push for Russia Sanctions. The U.S. readiness to impose new economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine is offset by the European Union’s reluctance to introduce stronger measures that could threaten its already fragile economic recovery. While the Obama administration said yesterday that it’s prepared to ramp up sanctions, possibly to target specific sectors of the Russian economy such as financial services and energy, the EU limited its decision to expanding an existing list of individuals under asset freezes and travel bans. 
  • China GDP Gauge Seen Showing More Drop Than Main Measure. China’s loss of economic momentum in the first quarter was deeper than the most widely-cited data will show, according to analyst forecasts for a gauge that’s gaining increasing recognition. Gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent from the previous three months, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey ahead of data released tomorrow, down from 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter. That indicates a sharper deceleration than the median projection for 7.3 percent growth from a year earlier, down from 7.7 percent.
  • Chinese Stocks Decline Most in Three Weeks as Money Growth Slows. China’s stocks declined the most in three weeks, led by financial companies and commodity producers, after the nation’s money supply increased at the slowest pace since 2001. Poly Real Estate Group Co. and Industrial Bank Co. dropped more than 2 percent as a gauge of financial shares, headed for its biggest loss in a month. China Shenhua Energy Co., the publicly traded unit of the nation’s largest coal producer, slid 1.5 percent. Tianjin Faw Xiali Automobile Co. declined 1 percent after saying its net loss probably widened in the first quarter. The Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) slid 0.9 percent to 2,114.69 at 10:47 a.m. local time, heading for its biggest retreat since March 20.
  • Asian Stock Index Headed for First Advance in Three Days. Asian stocks rose for the first time in three days after the largest jump in U.S. retail sales since 2012 added to optimism that the recovery in the world’s biggest economy is intact. Nissan Motor Co. led Japanese exporters higher. Asics Corp. gained 3.7 percent in Tokyo after Nomura Holdings Inc. advised buying shares of the sportswear maker. Rio Tinto Group (RIO) climbed 1 percent in Sydney after iron-ore production at the world’s second-largest miner rose to a record in the first quarter. SK Hynix Inc. advanced 2.3 percent in Seoul after Shinhan Investment forecast improved profit at the semiconductor maker. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 percent to 137.83 as of 9:29 a.m. in Tokyo, before markets open in Hong Kong and China.
  • Rio Produces Record Iron-Ore Output as Global Supply Gains. Rio Tinto Group (RIO), the world’s second-largest mining company, said first-quarter iron ore production rose to a record, swelling global supply that’s forecast to head into surplus this year. Output rose 8 percent to 52.3 million metric tons from 48.3 million tons a year earlier, London-based Rio said today in a statement. This missed the 54.7 million-ton median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg after bad weather affected mines and ports.
Wall Street Journal:  
Fox News:
  • Survey shows ObamaCare sending premiums rising at fastest clip in decades. A recent survey of 148 insurance brokers shows that ObamaCare is sending premiums rising at the fastest clip in decades. "For the last, about, five years they've been doing this survey, so this was the largest percentage increase in any quarter since they've been doing (it)," says Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute. "But at 12 percent, 11 percent increase on average across all the states -- that puts it at the upper end of any increase we've seen for decades." That is the national average in a survey done by Morgan Stanley. But in some states, it found rates are soaring. "There are specific states with exorbitant increases," says Gottlieb.  "Delaware had 100 percent increase, Florida had a 37 percent increase, Pennsylvania 28 percent increase, California had a 53 percent increase in their premiums."  
Zero Hedge: 
  • Ron Muhlenkamp’s Q1 Letter Highlights Emerging Market Slowdown. Most of the economic and market trends we’ve been discussing for the past few years remain in place. Russia’s action in the Ukraine / Crimea may have long-term implications, particularly for Europe, but the near-term economic implications are modest. It remains to be seen whether this gets added to our long-term worry list or not.
Shanghai Securities News:
  • China Faces Risk of 7% Growth Shortfall. China 1Q GDP growth may be about 7.3%, Li Ruoyu, a researcher with the State Information Center, writes in an article.
China Securities Journal:
  • Cass Researcher Says 7% China Growth Acceptable. China can accept economic growth of about 7% and inflation of about 3%, Zhang Zhuoyuan, a researcher at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says in an interview.
People's Daily:
  • China Stimulus Not Needed , NDRC Researcher Says. China doesn't need a stimulus package to boost the economy at current growth levels, citing Wang Haifeng, a researcher under the National Development and Reform Commission, as saying. Full-year growth of even 6.5% should be tolerable to achieve economic restructuring, Wang said. The 7.5% annual growth target my be the "ceiling instead of the bottom line," Wang said. The real effects of traditional stimulus measures are weakening and may not be able to charge the economy as they have done in the past, Wang said.
Evening Recommendations
  • None of note
Night Trading
  • Asian equity indices are -.50% to +.75% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 124.0 +1.0 basis point.
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 88.25 unch.
  • FTSE-100 futures +.11%.
  • S&P 500 futures +.05%.
  • NASDAQ 100 futures  +.07%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note

  • (PBY)/.06
  • (CMA)/.72
  • (JNJ)/1.48
  • (NTRS)/.78
  • (KO)/.44
  • (IBKR)/.29
  • (LLTC)/.53
  • (CSX)/.37
  • (INTC)/.37
  • (YHOO)/.36
Economic Releases
8:30 am EST
  • Empire Manufacturing for April is estimated to rise to 8.0 versus 5.61 in March.
  • The CPI MoM for March is estimated to rise +.1% versus a +.1% gain in February.
  • The CPI Ex Food and Energy MoM for March is estimated to rise +.1% versus a +.1% gain in February. 
9:00 am EST
  • Net Long-Term TIC Flows for February are estimated to rise to @22.5B versus $7.3B in January. 
10:00 am EST
  • The NAHB Housing Market Index for April is estimated to rise to 50 versus a reading of 47 in March.
Upcoming Splits
  • (UA) 2-for-1
Other Potential Market Movers
  • The Fed's Yelling speaking, Fed's Lockhart speaking, Fed's Plosser speaking, Fed's Rosengren speaking, Fed's Kocherlakota speaking, China GDP/Industrial Production/Retail Sales reports, German ZEW index, weekly retail sales reports and the (ITC) Investor Day could also impact trading today.
BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by commodity and industrial shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly higher and to weaken into the afternoon, finishing modestly lower. The Portfolio is 25% net long heading into the day.

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