Today’s Big Picture
Equity indices in Asia finished the day mostly higher, led by the 2.3% rise in India’s Sensex and the 1.1% move in South Korea’s Kospi. By mid-day trading in Europe, equity indices were also mostly higher while U.S. futures point to a mixed open.
Kicking some of the wind out of our sails is the early morning climb in the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield, which topped 1.77%, its highest point since January 2020. Treasury yields are ticking higher ahead of President Biden’s expected unveiling of his infrastructure plan tomorrow, which closely follows two prior rounds of pandemic-related stimulus with plans for child care and healthcare-related stimulus in April. As investors digest those programs and assess potential inflation-related risks, they will also be contending this week with quarter-end rebalancing against the year-to-date run-up in Treasury yields.
The headlines over progress in the U.S. with vaccinations are wonderful to see, but at the same time, the number of new daily cases of the coronavirus has been rising over the past 10 days as the nation looks to be heading into a fourth wave. We take a quick look around the world to see just where daily new cases are heading. First the bad news:
- Cases in Germany have been rising for about a month-and-a-half as it is well into its third wave.
- New cases have been steadily rising in France since the beginning of December, but may finally be rolling over.
- Italy’s third wave is rolling over amidst draconian lockdowns that are expected to continue through to May.
- Spain’s daily new cases have been rising for two weeks.
- Brazil has seen cases continuing to rise since November with a new record high on March 25 of just under 100,000.
- Cases in India have gone parabolic as the nation is deep within its second wave.
There is some good news though:
- Daily new cases in South Africa have been steadily falling since early January.
- Cases in the UK have plummeted from over 68,000 to under 5,000 with weekly deaths from Covid-19 reaching 5-month lows in England and Wales.
To assuage recent fears over the AstraZeneca (AZN) coronavirus vaccine, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi and his wife both received their first dose of the company’s vaccine today.
How about some even better news? Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced the results from a study of Moderna (MRNA) and Pfizer (PFE)-BioNTech (BNTX) vaccine recipients. The study found that those vaccinated with either not only received very high levels of protection from any level of symptoms but also protection against infection of any kind, which means that vaccinated people will not be carriers. Now that is a major cause for celebration. But before you get too excited, and you knew there would be a but, since children under 16 are not eligible for the vaccines, that means that 65 million Americans could remain at the very least carriers of the virus.
Japan’s Unemployment Rate in February remained steady at 2.9% from which it was expected to increase to 3.0%. Retail sales for February fell less than expected, to a -1.5% contraction after falling -2.4% YoY in January, from which they were expected to accelerate further to -2.8% YoY.
Economic Sentiment in the Eurozone was better-than-expected, rising to 101 in March from 93.4 in February from which it was expected to improve to just 96. Back in March 2020, it sat at 95.3, then plummeted to a low of 67.8 in April 2020.
Consumer Confidence in France also came in stronger than expected in March, rising to 94 from 91 in February where it was expected to remain.
Ireland is looking to take advantage of the disruptions caused by the pandemic. On Monday the country unveiled its “Our Rural Future” strategy, the first of its kind by any European country since the start of the pandemic, whose aim is to redress the urban-rural divide by creating a network of more than 400 remote working hubs, and introducing tax breaks for individuals and for companies which support homeworking as the nation seeks to strengthen rural economies. By the end of the year, the government is looking to have 20% of Ireland’s 300,000 civil servants working remotely.
With yesterday’s Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index report we now have manufacturing data for all five of the regional Federal Reserve banks and it all looks exceptionally strong, with businesses booming, except for inventories, which fell in March despite intentions to build stock. That was likely because disruptions to the supply chain are at record levels with the average of prices paid and delivery times at an all-time high. We also saw, courtesy of the Dallas report, that over 83% of manufacturing businesses experience a weather-related complete shutdown, and 63% experienced a loss of power. More than 30% of retail, 28% of service firms, and 39% of manufacturers experienced damage to their facilities from the storms.
Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) extended the national ban on evictions, which was scheduled to expire tomorrow, through the end of June. According to a survey published by the Census Bureau in March, 20% of adult renters reported having not paid February’s rent.
Later today we will get the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price report for January, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence for March, and the usual weekly API Crude Oil stock report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a new record high yesterday after starting the session modestly lower. The S&P 500 finished the day little changed but lower and the Nasdaq Composite closed down 0.6% while the Russell 2000 closed at session lows, falling 2.8%. The US dollar rose 0.2% and Treasury yields bear steepened.
Stocks to Watch
Flavor-focused company McCormick & Co. (MKC) reported February quarter results that easily topped consensus expectations as sales for the quarter rose 22% YoY with double-digit gains in all geographies across its Consumer and Flavor Solutions businesses. For its 2021, the company sees EPS of $2.97-3.02 vs the $2.95 consensus with revenue up 8%-10% YoY to ~$6.05-6.16 billion vs the $6.0 billion consensus and its prior YoY revenue guidance of +7%-9%.
Apple (AAPL) supplier Foxconn (HNHPF) posted a lower December quarter profit that lagged expectations as the pandemic hit margins and warned of the impact of “materials shortages” amid tight global chip supplies. Despite that note of caution, the company expects March quarter revenue to be “better than normal” thanks to strong sales of smartphones and telecommuting devices amid a coronavirus-induced work-from-home trend. Foxconn also shared it is in talks with “related foundries” on possible collaboration to make chips for electric vehicles.
PayPal (PYPL) has launched Checkout with Crypto, which will allow U.S. consumers to use their cryptocurrency holdings to pay at millions of its online merchants globally. Checkout with Crypto will automatically appear in the PayPal wallet for customers with cryptocurrency holdings in the U.S. and Checkout with Crypto will convert cryptocurrency holdings to fiat currency at checkout. According to Reuters, PayPal will charge no transaction fee to checkout with crypto and only one type of coin can be used for each purchase.
Albertsons Companies (ACI) and Google (GOOGL) inked a multi-year partnership aimed at making it easier for customers to get groceries for pickup and delivery, by providing helpful information about online ordering from many Albertsons Cos.’ stores directly within mobile search. Planned innovations include shoppable maps with dynamic hyperlocal features AI-powered conversational commerce, and predictive grocery list building.
Reports suggest global banks could lose more than $6 billion from the downfall of Archegos Capital, the family office run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang. Already, Japan’s Nomura (NMR) warned of a $2 billion related loss while Credit Suisse (CS) said its losses are likely to be at least $1 billion.
Alongside naming a new CFO, Activision Blizzard (ATVI) shared it is on track to exceed its prior guidance of EPS of $0.59 and revenue of $1.75 billion for the March 2020 quarter.
T-Mobile (TMUS) announced plans to expand its collaboration with Google across a wide array of customer experiences later this year, including establishing Messages by Google as the default messaging solution; promoting Pixel and Android devices; harnessing Google One as the preferred phone backup and cloud storage solution; and embracing YouTube TV as T-Mobile’s premium TV solution. Just five months after T-Mobile announced it would change TV for good through its low-cost streaming service, TVision, it has decided to close the door on the project and instead give customers a $10 a month discount on Google’s YouTube TV. Verizon (VZ) is likely to be paying attention given that this TV partnership is part of a broader deal between the two. And, don’t forget about the Sprint merger and their aggressive rollout of 5G.
Shares of electric vehicle startup Canoo Inc. (GOEV) moved higher in after-market trading last night following the company reported a net loss of $0.08 per share vs. -$0.57 in the year-ago quarter. During the quarter, the company added 48 patent filings and design registrations bringing the total active number of filings and registrations to 59.
Toyota Motor’s (TM) Lexus luxury brand is planning to introduce 20 new or redesigned vehicles globally by 2025, at least half of which will be all-electric or electrified hybrid models.
Speculation suggestions Volkswagen (VLKAY) will change the name of its U.S. operations to “Voltswagen of America,” emphasizing the German automaker’s electric vehicle efforts.
CalAmp (CAMP) announced its LoJack Italia subsidiary entered into an agreement with CGTE, a TESYA Group company and multi-specialist dealer for the Cat Rental Store in Italy for Caterpillar (CAT) machinery.
Shares of AeroCentury (ACY) crashed in after-hours trading last night in reaction to the company’s announcement it has commenced a voluntary Chapter 11 filing. The company will continue to operate its business as “debtor-in-possession” under the jurisdiction of the Bankruptcy Court.
After today’s market close, Blackberry (BB), Chewy (CHWY), lululemon athletica (LULU), and PVH (PVH) among others will be reporting their quarterly results. Investors looking to get the nitty-gritty on those reports as well as other earnings reports to be had in the coming days should visit Nasdaq’s earnings calendar page.
On the Horizon
- April 1: Alien Nation IPOs on Nasdaq through a Mars Rover SPAC sponsored by the Wormhole Venture Fund led by Jean Luc Picard from Hawkins, Indiana (hint: Note the date), Weekly jobless claims, Markit Manufacturing PMI, Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing PMI, Total Vehicle Sales
- April 2: Nonfarm Payrolls
- April 5: Markit Services PMI, ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI, Factory Orders
- April 6: JOLTS Job Openings, IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism, API Crude Oil Stocks
- April 7: Balance of Trade, EIA Energy Stocks, FOMC Minutes
- April 8: Weekly jobless claims
- April 9: PPI, Wholesale Inventories
- April 12: Monthly Budget Statement for March
- April 13: Inflation, API Crude Oil Stock report
- April 14: Import/Export prices, EIA energy stock reports
- April 15: Retail Sales, NY Empire State Manufacturing, Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing, weekly Jobless Claims, Industrial Production, Business Inventories, NAHB Housing Market Index, Net Capital, and TIC flows, Foreign Bond Investment
- April 16: Housing Starts, Building Permits, Michigan Consumer Sentiment
Thought for the Day
“The point is that the pleasures of spring are available to everybody, and cost nothing.” ~George Orwell
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.