- China's Hidden Debt Stirs Investor Angst as Local Defaults Rise. Rising defaults in China are unearthing hidden debt at companies across the country. Small firms that can’t get loans by themselves have been winning banks over by getting other companies to guarantee their borrowings. The companies making those pledges exclude them from their balance sheets, leaving creditors in the dark. Borrowers often extend the guarantees for each other, raising the risk that failures could ricochet, at a time when increasing borrowing costs have already added to strains. China’s banking regulator has ordered checks of such cross-guaranteed loans, Caixin reported Friday. Scrutiny is mounting after a corn oil producer in the eastern province of Shandong said last month it had guaranteed debt of a neighboring aluminum product manufacturer which is now stuck in a cash crunch. Just days before that, a local government financing vehicle in China’s southwest had to repay an auto parts maker’s loans it had guaranteed after the latter defaulted.
- Banks Are Backing Out of $1.7 Trillion in Chinese Investments. A $1.7 trillion source of inflows into Chinese markets has suddenly switched into reverse, roiling the nation’s money management industry and sending local bonds and stocks to their biggest losses of the year. The turbulence has centered on so-called entrusted investments -- funds that Chinese banks farm out to external asset managers. After years of funneling money into such investments, banks are now pulling back in response to a series of regulatory guidelines over the past three weeks that put a spotlight on the risks. Critics have blamed entrusted managers for adding leverage to China’s financial system and reducing transparency.
- Asian Stocks Gain After Global Rally; Yen Steady. Asian equities edged higher, after a rally that swept across financial markets in the wake of French elections. The euro held on to its biggest advance since June while the yen was steady after Monday’s declines. Japanese equities rose for a fourth day, after the MSCI All-Country World Index closed at a record and European shares surged to a 20-month high. Markets jumped after Emmanuel Macron advanced as the favorite in the presidential runoff over nationalist Marine Le Pen, easing concerns that the country will leave the euro currency bloc. Australia and New Zealand are closed Tuesday for Anzac Day. Japan’s Topix rose 0.1 percent as of 9:12 a.m. in Tokyo, after jumping 1 percent on Monday. South Korea’s Kospi increased 0.2 percent.
- Alcoa(AA) Earnings Sizzle Brings Life to Party After Share Surge. Alcoa Corp.’s first full quarter as a standalone company vindicates investors’ faith and signals even better times may be ahead. Profit excluding one-time items was 63 cents a share compared with a 62-cent loss a year earlier, New York-based Alcoa said Monday in a statement. That beat the 48-cent average profit estimated by seven analysts tracked by Bloomberg. Sales climbed to $2.66 billion from $2.13 billion.
- Fresenius Buys Akorn for $4.3 Billion in U.S. Expansion. In just 10 months at the head of Germany’s Fresenius SE, Chief Executive Officer Stephan Sturm has now inked the health-care provider’s two biggest-ever deals. With the $4.3 billion acquisition of Illinois-based generic drugmaker Akorn Inc., announced late Monday, Fresenius will get a stronger foothold in the U.S., with access to a network of retail pharmacies and outpatient clinics as well as the hospitals where it has traditionally marketed its products. Akorn will complement Fresenius’s Kabi medicines unit, which specializes in intravenous drugs.
- Apple(AAPL) Hires NASA AR Guru to Help Run its Own Efforts. Jeff Norris led AR and VR projects at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
Wall Street Journal:
- French Vote Fuels Hopes for Growth. Emmanuel Macron’s rise as heavy favorite in race spurs investors to set aside political worries.
- ObamaCare Repeal Needs a Direction. Focus on reducing the costs of health care, and more Americans will end up getting covered.
- U.S. Sanctions 271 Syrians Involved in Chemical Weapons Program. Sanctions come in response to April 4 chemical attack in Idlib province.
- One of the biggest middlemen in the drug industry is losing its largest customer — and the stock is tanking.
Earnings of Note
9:00 am EST
- Asian equity indices are unch. to +.25% on average.
- Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 95.25 -2.75 basis points.
- Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 23.0 -1.0 basis point.
- Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 72.66 -.07%.
- S&P 500 futures -.02%.
- NASDAQ 100 futures -.03%.
Earnings of Note
9:00 am EST
- The FHFA House Price Index MoM for February is estimated to rise +.4% versus unch. in January.
- The S&P CoreLogic CS 20-City MoM for February is estimated to rise +.77% versus a +.86% gain in January.
- New Home Sales for March are estimated to fall to 584K versus 592K in February.
- Consumer Confidence for April is estimated to fall to 122.5 versus 125.6 in March.
- The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index for April is estimated to fall to 16.0 versus 22.0 in March.
- None of note
- The $26B 2Y T-Note auction, Eurozone Government Balance report, weekly US retail sales reports, (ABX) annual meeting, (VFC) annual meeting, (HUM) investor day and the (CLF) annual meeting could also impact trading today.