Saturday, December 19, 2015

Today's Headlines

  • U.S. Stocks Tumble With Crude as Bonds Rise, Dollar Weakens. (video) U.S. stocks tumbled to their lowest level in two months, while the dollar trimmed a weekly gain as investors focused on prospects for a slowdown in global growth and continued to adjust to the end of near-zero interest rates in America. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index pushed its worst two-day slide since Sept. 1 to 3.3 percent and erased its gain for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 350 points Friday. Government bonds rallied as West Texas Intermediate crude traded near a six-year low, damping inflation expectations. Brazil’s real and stocks fell amid speculation that the president will name a new finance minister. The S&P 500 extended declines in the final 15 minutes of trading and volume soared Friday because of a quarterly event known as quadruple witching, when futures and options contracts on indexes and individual stocks expire. More than 12.5 billion shares changed hands across American exchanges, 71 percent above the three-month average and the most since the height of the summer selloff on Aug. 24.
  • Spain Election Quandary Tests Sovereign-Bond Investors' Resolve. It’s an anxious wait for bond markets as Spaniards head to the voting booths on Sunday in general elections that may redefine the nation’s political landscape. Spanish 10-year government bonds rose for a third day on Friday, pushing yields to a five-day low. That’s an indication investors anticipate a result that maintains policies that have cut budget deficits and trimmed unemployment from one of the highest levels in the developed world, even as the Catalan separatist movement threatens to fracture the country. No party will win a majority in the election, according to most polls.
  • U.S. Eases 35-Year-Old Real Estate Tax on Foreign Investors. President Barack Obama signed into law a measure easing a 35-year-old tax on foreign investment in U.S. real estate, potentially opening the door to greater purchases by overseas investors, a major source of capital since the financial crisis. Contained in the $1.1 trillion spending measure that was passed to avoid a government shutdown is a provision that treats foreign pension funds the same as their U.S. counterparts for real estate investments. The provision waives the tax imposed on such investors under the 1980 Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act, known as FIRPTA.   
  • Goldman Sachs: 21 of the World's Most Interesting Charts
  • Oil Drops to 6-Year Low as Rising Rig Count Seen Adding to Glut. (video) Crude slid to the lowest level in more than six years in New York as a rising number of oil rigs in the U.S. signaled the supply glut will be prolonged. Futures capped a third weekly drop after Baker Hughes Inc. reported that the number of active oil rigs in the U.S. climbed by 17 this week to 541. U.S. crude supplies surged to 490.7 million barrels, the most for this time of year since 1930, according to the Energy Information Administration. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. warned of “high risks” that prices may sink further as stockpiles swell.
  • This Is the Fed's Hawk-to-Dove Scorecard. (video) Who's itching for a rate increase, and who wants to wait. 
  • Hedge Funds Just Had Their Worst Quarter Since the Crisis. The number of funds liquidated climbed to 257, up from 200 in the previous three months, according to a report from Hedge Fund Research Inc. on Friday, and taking total closures in the first nine months to 674, compared with 661 during the same period last year. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index declined by more than 4 percent in the three months through September, its biggest quarterly drop in four years, as money managers were caught out by the devaluation of the Chinese yuan in August, which pummeled markets, and as oil and gold prices slumped. Hedge-fund assets contracted by $95 billion to $2.87 trillion during the quarter, HFR data showed, the most since the fourth quarter of 2008, when the industry lost $314.4 billion amid the global financial crisis.
  • Self-Assured Obama Will Leave It on the Field for Gun Control. President Barack Obama can look back on 2015 and take credit for landmark deals over Republican objections on climate, Iran and government spending. The year 2016 may be a tougher stretch, because he’s promising action on another thorny issue: gun control.
 Wall Street Journal:
  • Democratic Presidential Debate — Live Blog.
  • Super Saturday’: Holiday Shoppers Wait Until the Last Minute for Deals. The week before Christmas is as crucial as ever for retailers.
  • The EPA’s Secret Staff. Emails show the agency took dictation from green lobbies in possible violation of the law. States and businesses are suing to stop the Obama Administration’s anticarbon Clean Power Plan, and now they have new evidence to seek a preliminary injunction. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute has obtained government emails that show the EPA secretly worked with environmental lobbyists to craft its Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gases. The emails show this secret alliance designed a standard that would be...
  • Had bullish commentary on (MSFT), (SNA), (MON), (BLK), (IVZ), (BEN), (PTEN) and (TLT).
  • Had bearish commentary on .
Fox News:
  • Iran ready to ship enriched uranium stockpile to Russia. Iran will export most of its enriched uranium stockpile to Russia in the coming days as it rushes to implement a nuclear deal and secure relief from international sanctions, Tehran's nuclear chief was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Zero Hedge: 
Business Insider:
  • Fed's Williams wants low rates, hot economy in 2016. (video) The Federal Reserve aims to keep the U.S. economy running hot next year to boost the job market and inflation, a top central banker said, and to achieve that goal interest-rate hikes will be slow but will not follow any predictable pattern. "Every meeting will truly be live in terms of adjusting policy one way or the other," San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams told Reuters in an interview, referring to the Fed's policy-setting meetings. 
  • Hedge funds raise bullish bets on U.S. crude from record lows. Hedge funds have raised their bullish wagers on U.S. crude from a record low, data showed on Friday, adding positive positions for the first time in six weeks on expectations that oil prices could be bottoming. U.S. crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures have plumbed 2009 lows since Dec. 7 after the biggest oil producers in OPEC refused to cut output in a bloated market. Government data showing a big build in U.S. crude inventories last week added to worries about oversupply. The CFTC data showed that money managers boosted their net longs in WTI by 21,847 contracts to 68,766 during the week to Dec. 15. A week ago, the net long position was at 46,919 contracts, the lowest since the CFTC created the managed money category for oil in 2009.
  • 'Star Wars' movie's global sales reach massive $250 mln.
Financial Times:
  • No easy way for the Fed to reverse course. The Federal Reserve has just embarked on its first interest rate-raising cycle for a decade, but that does not mean it is too soon to think about how it would resuscitate the economy if a new recession unexpectedly struck.

No comments: