Monday, March 06, 2017

Tuesday Watch

Evening Headlines
  • Here Are the Top China-U.S. Trade Flashpoints as Trump Readies Case. With his commerce secretary sworn in, U.S. President Donald Trump is now in a position to carry out his trade threats against China -- should he decide to do so. Specific measures against China will be announced “as soon as we have a proper case prepared,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a Bloomberg Television interviewlast week. The billionaire investor spoke just before Trump’s speech to Congress, which included promises to bring back "millions of jobs" and that "dying industries will come roaring back to life." Since the election, Trump hasn’t specified his trade plans, but the U.S. Trade Representative has said the U.S. won’t be bound by World Trade Organization decisions, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News that outlines the administration’s trade agenda.
  • Caution Prevails for Asian Stocks; Aussie Climbs. Asian stocks were mixed as trading began, after U.S. equities and bonds retreated. Caution is rippling through markets after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen all but assured investors that interest rates will rise next week. Japan’s Topix index was little changed while Korean shares advanced. The Aussie strengthened with stocks in Sydney ahead of a central bank policy decision. The S&P 500 Index retreated Monday with volumes 13 percent below the 30-day average. JPMorgan Chase & Co. warned that hawkish Fed rhetoric has increased the likelihood for a short-term pullback after stocks reached records last week. The dollar rose Monday as a surge in corporate bond issuance pushed up Treasury yields. The yen fell 0.1 percent to 114.01 per dollar as of 9:48 a.m. in Tokyo. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after gaining 0.2 percent on Monday. The Aussie rose 0.2 percent to 75.92 U.S. cents. The Topix fluctuated while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.4 percent.
  • One of the Rarest Precious Metals Is on the Best Run in a Decade. Rhodium’s on the best run in a decade on expectations of more demand for the material that’s used in cleaning toxic car emissions. One of the rarest precious metals, it climbed the past seven months and is up 19 percent this year, outperforming most major commodities. Mostly used alongside palladium in gasoline autocatalysts, prices have rebounded from a 12-year low set in July.
  • Exxon(XOM) Is Steering Its Construction Dollars Back to U.S. Exxon Mobil Corp.’s $20 billion building spree in the heart of the U.S. chemical and refining industry will create 45,000 jobs and boost U.S. efforts to feed Asian demand, the company’s new leader said. President Donald Trump couldn’t be happier. Following Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods’s announcement of the projects on Monday, Trump described Exxon as a “true American success story” in a statement. The president followed up with a trademark tweet: “We are already winning again, America!” and a White House video. 
  • Bird Flu Prompts Quick Quarantines as Chicken Farmers Fight Back. The merest mention of bird flu is enough to send shivers down the spine of a chicken farmer. But as the U.S. deals with its first case of highly pathogenic avian influenza on a farm in a year, the poultry industry hasn’t started to panic. Learning lessons after the worst-ever U.S. outbreak two years ago, America’s chicken, turkey and egg producers are gearing up with tighter biosecurity measures and quicker quarantines to deter spread of the infection. One thing working in their favor: early spring-like weather in the region that can stop the virus from thriving.
Wall Street Journal:
  • The Health Bill You’ve Waited For. Our plan removes taxes and mandates, while offering tax credits to help Americans afford coverage. ‘ObamaCare is collapsing,” President Trump said during his address to Congress last week, “and we must act decisively to protect all Americans.” House Republicans have heard the president’s message loud and clear. On Monday night the congressional committees we lead released the American Health Care Act, which will rescue those hurt by ObamaCare’s failures and lay the groundwork for a patient-centered health-care system. 
  • GM’s(GM) Opel Exit Is Rare No-Confidence Vote in European Market. Pulling out of Europe allows the Detroit car maker to slash engineering costs and lower the amount of cash it needs to keep on hand
  • Exxon’s(XOM) $20 Billion Spending Plan Points to U.S. Energy Surge. Exxon CEO Darren Woods outlined an 11-project spending plan, largely aimed at creating new outlets for U.S. natural gas.
  • North Korea Missile Test Stirs ICBM Fears. Latest midrange launch underlines Pyongyang’s threat to U.S. military and allies in region. North Korea’s firing of a burst of midrange missiles aimed at Japan underscores Pyongyang’s immediate threat to the U.S. military, even as it pushes toward a promised launch this year of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially hit the U.S. West Coast.
Zero Hedge: 
Night Trading 
  • Asian equity indices are -.25% to +.25% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 95.5 +.75 basis point.
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 27.5 +1.0 basis point
  • Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 71.09 +.03%
  • S&P 500 futures -.09%. 
  • NASDAQ 100 futures +.02%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note

  • (DKS)/1.30
  • (JW/A)/.79
  • (MIK)/.95
  • (NAV)/-.47
  • (ABM)/.31
  • (HRB)/-.49
  • (URBN)/.56
Economic Releases
8:30 am EST
  • The Trade Balance for January is estimated at -$48.5B versus -$44.3B in December
3:00 pm EST
  • Consumer Credit for January is estimated to rise to $17.75B versus $14.16B in December. 
Upcoming Splits
  • None of note
Other Potential Market Movers
  • The Eurozone GDP report, German Factory Orders report, Japan GDP report, $24B 3Y T-Note auction, weekly US Retail Sales reports, RBC Financial Institutions conference, (CVX) analyst meeting, (IBM) investor briefing and the (QCOM) annual meeting could also impact trading today.
BOTTOM LINE:  Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by industrial and technology shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open modestly lower and to rally into the afternoon, finishing mixed.  The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the day.

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