N American Morning Briefing: Stocks to Soar on Chinese Data; PMI In Focus

Trade hopes lift Wall Street; S&P 500 notches best quarter since 2009
April 1, 2019
Dow Jones Rises 300 Points on Strong US and China Data
April 2, 2019

N American Morning Briefing: Stocks to Soar on Chinese Data; PMI In Focus

DJIA      26140.30 215.00 0.83%

S&P 500    2855.57  22.25 0.79%

Nasdaq 100 7458.20  81.50 1.10%

As of 5.43am

FTSE 100   7345.33  66.14 0.91%

Xetra DAX 11656.03 129.99 1.13%

CAC40      5394.96  44.43 0.83%

As of 5.25am

Nikkei    21509.03 303.22 1.43%

Shanghai   3170.36  79.60 2.58%

Hang Seng 29562.02 510.66 1.76%

As of 5.25am

Snapshot:

-Stock futures jump; EUR/USD 1.1243-46; 10-year Treasury yield 2.441%; Nymex $60.54; gold futures $1295.50

-Watch for: Manufacturing PMI; ISM Manufacturing Report on Business; Advance Monthly Sales for Retail & Food Services; Construction Spending; Manufacturing & Trade: Inventories & Sales; earnings from Cal-Maine Foods Inc

 

Opening Call:

U.S. stock futures rose sharply Monday after strong manufacturing data out of China helped global markets kick off the new quarter with positive moves.

Chinese, Japanese and Korean benchmarks all rose, as did indexes across Europe after the Caixin-Markit China manufacturing purchasing managers index rose in March above 50, which indicates growth, after February’s reading came in below 50, signaling contraction.

Investors were moving back into stocks after the U.S. and European central banks both turned more supportive toward markets, with the Federal Reserve signaling a pause in its interest-rate rises and the European Central Bank extending its expansionary monetary policies.

That was helping to buoy investors’ hopes for growth even after signals from U.S. Treasury markets appeared to warn of a recession ahead.

The big question for investors in the second quarter will be whether growth begins to improve again, or whether investors should see the central bank moves in a more negative light.

“[The second quarter] is more likely to be the ‘reality’ phase for markets,” said James McCormick, global head of strategy at NatWest Markets in London. “Either growth begins to recover, validating the rise in asset prices, or it doesn’t, in which case risk assets look very vulnerable.”

In Europe, the Brexit drama entered another week with no answers settled on the road ahead. The U.K. now has less than 10 days to come up with a plan for how to leave the European Union or to try to remain part of the bloc for a longer period.

 

Equities:

Tension is smoldering between U.S. and Ethiopian officials as investigators prepare to release in the coming days an interim report about the Boeing Co. 737 MAX jetliner that nose-dived after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10, according to people from both countries.

U.S. investigators, according to people familiar with their thinking, have privately complained that Ethiopian authorities have been slow in to provide data retrieved from the black-box recorders of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which went down minutes into a flight to Nairobi, killing all 157 people on board.

American air-safety officials also have described what they view as an aloof attitude among the Ethiopians toward other investigators and say the Ethiopians have provided often limited access to relevant crash information, these people said.

The online child-care marketplace Care.com scrubbed its site of tens of thousands of unverified day-care center listings just before a Wall Street Journal investigation published March 8, an analysis shows.

Care.com, the largest site in the U.S. for finding caregivers, removed about 72% of day-care centers, or about 46,594 businesses, listed on its site, a Journal review of the website shows. Those businesses were listed on the site as recently as March 1.

Comscore Chief Executive Bryan Wiener is leaving the media measurement firm after less than a year because of disagreements with the board over the execution of the company’s strategy, he said on Sunday.

President Sarah Hofstetter, who joined six months ago, will also leave the company as part of a leadership shake-up.

Dale Fuller, a board member, will become interim CEO. Irwin Gotlieb, former Chairman at WPP’s GroupM, will join the board, along with Social Finance’s chief marketing officer Joanne Bradford and founder of Motherwell Resources Kathi Love.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called for global regulators to take a “more active role” in governing the internet, among his strongest remarks yet on regulation that come after more than a year of intense scrutiny over missteps at the social network.

In an op-ed published Saturday on the websites of the Washington Post and Ireland’s Independent, Mr. Zuckerberg said such intervention is vital to protect both the welfare of users and the fundamental values of an open internet.

He said the U.S. needed European-style privacy regulations and called on regulators globally to set clearer rules regarding “harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.”

Kellogg is near a deal to sell its Keebler, Famous Amos and fruit snacks units to Ferrero in a deal worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, CNBC reported Sunday.

Italy-based Ferrero owns Nutella and bought Nestle’s U.S. candy business in January 2018. Kellogg has been looking to sell some of its snack-food brands for months as it looks to refocus on its core products. Ferrero beat out Hostess Brands for the cookie brands, CNBC said, and a deal may be announced as soon as Monday.

A federal judge is threatening to prevent PG&E from resuming dividend payments to shareholders until it reduces its role in sparking California wildfires, an action with little precedent that could have big repercussions for other companies put on probation.

William Alsup, a U.S. district court judge in Northern California, began overseeing PG&E’s probation after the utility company was convicted of safety-related violations following a natural-gas explosion that killed eight people in 2010.

Now that state investigators have linked PG&E equipment to wildfires that have killed dozens of people in recent years, Judge Alsup is proposing to prevent the company from doling out dividends until it meets goals to trim hundreds of thousands of trees near its power lines. A hearing on the matter is set for Tuesday.

Under pressure from federal regulators and some investors, Walgreens Boots Alliance is testing tobacco-free stores in the U.S., but the pharmacy chain’s leader has no plans to quit selling cigarettes entirely.

“The safety of our patients is very important, but we also have to do what our customers are requiring us to do,” Walgreens Boots Chief Executive Stefano Pessina said in a recent interview. “We see that when we don’t sell tobacco, we have a lot of [negative] reactions.”

 

Forex:

The dollar was little changed Monday after rising at the end of last week and capping a strong quarter in which worries about global economic growth lifted the currency.

The WSJ Dollar Index was last at 90.09, marginally lower from Friday’s settlement.

The British pound was slightly stronger against the dollar at $1.3072, ahead of a series of votes in the British Parliament Monday that are meant to identify the least unpopular Brexit strategy.

At 4.50am, USD/JPY was 111.04-05, EUR/USD was 1.1243-46 and GBP/USD was 1.3081-83.

 

Bonds:

Government bond yields climbed Monday, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note last at 2.441% in European trading after reaching 2.416% at the end of last week.

With concerns about the pace of growth rising, investors will be closely watching this week’s employment report. The labor market is forecasted to add about 175,000 jobs in March, according to Alex Li, head of interest-rate strategy at Credit Agricole.

While some investors believe slowing growth will push the Federal Reserve to lower rates, others are following the guidance of some Fed officials and wagering that this pessimism overstates recent signs of economic weakness, analysts said.

“People are taking a step back and looking at the economy,” Mr. Li said. “Things are not bad enough to warrant a rate cut.”

 

Commodities:

Oil prices kicked off the new quarter higher Monday, with WTI adding 0.6% and Brent 0.8%.

On Friday Nymex hit a four-month high of $60 a barrel, and posted its biggest quarterly gain since 2009 as global supplies tighten and risk appetite grows amid rising stock markets.

Investors have become increasingly confident the global oil-oversupply problems of late 2018 have been mostly resolved as OPEC and Russia make good on promises to cut production, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital.

Gold futures, meanwhile, moved lower to $1,295.50 a tory ounce.