Monday, April 03, 2017

Tuesday Watch

Evening Headlines
  • Australia Losing AAA Would Spark Turn to Bank Debt, NAB Says. Australia’s biggest banks would find new demand for their debt if the country loses its top credit score. That’s the view of Eva Zileli, head of group funding at the nation’s fourth-largest lender by market value, National Australia Bank Ltd. Australian banks receive sovereign support for their credit scores and while a downgrade of the country’s AAA rating would force lenders to pay more to tap debt markets, it would also deepen their investor pool as higher-yielding paper lures new investors, she said.
  • Asia Stocks Drop as Yen Gains; Rand Extends Loss. The yen climbed against the dollar for a third day. Equities in Japan, Australia and South Korea all retreated. U.S. shares were led lower by auto manufacturers that reported worse-than-expected U.S. sales for March. China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India are closed for a holiday. South Africa’s rand extended losses for a seventh day after the country lost its investment-grade credit rating from S&P Global Ratings for the first time in 17 years. The Russian ruble steadied after declines sparked by a subway bomb in St. Petersburg that killed 11 people. The yen rose 0.2 percent to 110.68 per dollar as of 9:17 a.m. in Tokyo, after climbing 0.4 percent on Monday. The Topix index lost 0.6 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index sank 0.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi slid 0.4 percent.
  • Trump Cracks Down on H-1B Visa Program That Feeds Silicon Valley. The U.S. administration began to deliver on President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on a work visa program that channels thousands of skilled overseas workers to companies across the technology industry. Fed up with a program it says favors foreign workers at the expense of Americans, the Trump administration rolled out a trio of policy shifts. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency on Friday made it harder for companies to bring overseas tech workers to the U.S. using the H-1B work visa. On Monday, the agency issued a memo laying out new measures to combat what it called "fraud and abuse" in the program. The Justice Department also warned employers applying for the visas not to discriminate against U.S. workers.
Wall Street Journal:
Night Trading 
  • Asian equity indices are unch. to -.5% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 94.5 unch. 
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 21.25 +.25 basis point.
  • Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 72.03 -.03%. 
  • S&P 500 futures -.15%. 
  • NASDAQ 100 futures -.09%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note

  • (CONN)/-.18
  • (SHLM)/.30
  • (ISCA)/.45
Economic Releases
8:30 am EST 
  • The Trade Deficit for February is estimated at -$44.5B versus -$48.5B in January. 
10:00 am EST
  • Factory Orders for February are estimated to rise +1.0% versus a +1.2% gain in January.  
Upcoming Splits
  • None of note
Other Potential Market Movers
  • The Fed's Tarullo speaking, Eurozone retail sales reports, weekly US retail sales reports, (DAL) traffic data report, (PWR) investor day, Needham Healthcare Conference, BofA Merrill Oil & Gas Conference, World Retail Congress could also impact trading today.
BOTTOM LINE:  Asian indices are modestly lower, weighed down by consumer and commodity shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open mixed and to rally into the afternoon, finishing modestly higher.  The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the day.

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