Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thursday Watch

Evening Headlines
  • Hurricane Irma Sparked Florida Consumer Spending Roller Coaster. Consumer spending in Miami and Fort Lauderdale plunged more than 57 percent from a year earlier last weekend as Hurricane Irma caused residents to evacuate or take shelter, according to a report from First Data Corp. Information released by the Atlanta-based company, which tracks shopping activity through the transactions it processes, shows consumption peaked Sept. 5 and then cratered Sept. 8, two days before Irma made landfall. A narrower gauge of retail spending that strips out industries such as restaurants and grocery stores shows an even steeper decline of 72 percent for the period of Sept. 8 to Sept. 10.
  • Stock Rally Stalls in Asia; Dollar Holds Gains. The rally in risk assets took a breather in Asia ahead of key data on China’s economy and U.S. inflation that will offer a guide for global economic growth and central bank actions. The dollar held on to gains triggered by revived hopes for U.S. tax reform. Benchmarks in Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney were little changed at the open on Thursday after the S&P 500 Index eked out a fresh record high. The dollar was supported by a slight increase in expectations of a U.S. interest-rate increase this year and President Donald Trump’s push for bipartisan support on tax reform. U.S. consumer-price data due Thursday may sway arguments on the chance of any further tightening this year, while in the U.K. the Bank of England is expected to stand pat in its policy decision. The Topix index fluctuated as of 9:07 a.m. Tokyo time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed. Hang Seng Index futures in Hong Kong lost 0.3 percent.
  • Waymo CEO Says Self-Driving Trucks May Precede Taxis. Alphabet Inc.’s(GOOGL) driverless vehicle technology may come to market first in trucks, rather than as an autonomous ride-sharing service. John Krafcik, chief executive officer of Alphabet’s Waymo division, said Wednesday he’s exploring at least two paths for its self-driving systems and software. "Ride-sharing makes a lot of sense for the world," he said at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think conference on Cornell University’s Tech engineering campus in New York City. "For goods transportation, which could travel primarily on highways, there’s a good and compelling use-case there, too. Either of those two might be the first ones you see."
Wall Street Journal: 
Business Insider:
Night Trading 
  • Asian equity indices are unch. to +.25% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 74.25 -.25 basis point. 
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 18.0 unch.
  • Bloomberg Emerging Markets Currency Index 74.57 -.04%.
  • S&P 500 futures -.05%.
  • NASDAQ 100 futures -.07%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note

  • (ORCL)/.60
Economic Releases 
8:30 am EST
  • Initial Jobless Claims for last week are estimated to rise to 300K versus 298K the prior week.
  • Continuing Claims are estimated to rise to 1965K versus 1940K prior.
  • The CPI MoM for August is estimated to rise +.3% versus a +.1% gain in July.
  • The CPI Ex Food and Energy MoM for August is estimated to rise +.2% versus a +.1% gain in July.
  • Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY for August.
Upcoming Splits
  • (HSIC) 2-for-1
  • (NWFL) 3-for-2
Other Potential Market Movers
  • The China Retail Sales/Industrial Production reports, Australia Unemployment report, UK Retail Sales report, weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, weekly EIA natural gas inventory report, BMO Education Conference, CL King Best Ideas Conference and the BofA Merrill Gaming/Lodging Conference could also impact trading today.
BOTTOM LINE:  Asian indices are mostly higher, boosted by technology and industrial 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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