Today - Thursday, March 13, 2014
- Asian shares mostly fall following more evidence that China's economy is slowing - although not in Shanghai - while European equities and U.S. stock futures are mainly higher.
- Japan -0.1%, Hong Kong -0.7% , China +1.1%, India -0.3%.
- Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%, London -0.1%, Paris +0.2%, Frankfurt +0.2%, Milan +0.7%, Madrid +0.2%.
- U.S. stock futures: Dow +0.2%, S&P +0.3%, Nasdaq +0.3%
- Liberty Global (LBTYA) intends to enter the mobile-phone market in a number of European countries, including the U.K., Holland and Austria, by offering cellular services via the networks of other carriers.
- The new plan comes on top of Liberty's expansion in Europe's cable market through acquisitions and mirrors Vodafone's strategy of adding wire-line assets to its mobile-phone business.
- The NY Fed looked at the WM/Reuters fix foreign-exchange benchmark in late 2012, the WSJ reports, just a few months before other global regulators began investigating possible manipulation in the $5.3T-a-day currency markets.
- The article didn't seem to indicate whether the Fed discovered anything untoward, although it did say that officials took no public action.
- The Bank of England has found itself at the center of the possible scandal, as it was warned in 2008 that the WM/Reuters rate could be manipulated. The BOE has also commissioned an independent investigation into whether its staff acted improperly.
- Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) plans to separate some of its Americas downstream businesses, which include refining, chemicals, lubricants and biofuels, and slash spending on its upstream operations in the region by 20%.
- Shell also intends to sell more nonstrategic assets.
- "With sharper accountability in the company, this approach will target growth investment more effectively, (and) focus on areas of the business where performance improvement is most required," said CEO Ben van Beurden.
- The unveiling of the plans comes after Shell suffered a steep drop in profit in Q4 and after it took a large writedown on its U.S. shale assets last year.
- Shell's plans for the Americas follow news of a similar strategy by BP.
- Shell's shares are -0.55% in London. (PR)
- Apple (AAPL) Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) hold a combined $124B in U.S. Treasurys and a further $39B in other government debt, the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism calculates.
- The tech giants appear to hold much U.S. debt offshore, which enables them to earn tax-free interest. Repatriating the assets would saddle them with a huge tax bill.
- Unsurprisingly, Senator Carl Levin is not happy. "If a U.S. multinational puts its offshore cash into a U.S. bank and uses the money to buy U.S. Treasurys, stocks and bonds, those funds ought to be treated as having been repatriated and subject to US tax."
4:11 AM| Comment!
- Alibaba is "95% certain" to carry out its much anticipated IPO in New York rather than in Hong Kong, the FT writes, adding to previous reports that the Chinese e-commerce behemoth will float in the U.S.
- Listing in New York would allow Alibaba to create a dual-class structure of stocks that would enable its founders and senior managers to retain their tight grip on the company. Hong Kong doesn't provide such an option, although it's mulling a change in rules.
- Either way, the IPO is set to be one of the largest on record and should provide a large bonanza to Alibaba investors Yahoo (YHOO) and Softbank (SFTBF).
- Indian consumer inflation fell for the third consecutive month, dropping to 8.1% on year from 8.79% in January and coming in below consensus of 8.3%.
- The decline comes as the Reserve Bank of India considers setting a CPI target after having raised interest rates three times since September.
- Meanwhile, industrial output surprisingly grew for the first time in four months, expanding 0.1% in January vs expectations for a contraction of 0.9%.
- The Sensex is +0.4% and the USD-INR is +0.1% 61.026 rupees.
- ETFs: EPI, INDY, SCIF, PIN, INP, INDL, ICN, INR, INDA, SCIN, INXX, INCO, SMIN
- The number of full-time Australian jobs has risen by the largest amount since 1991, jumping by 80,500 in February vs just 2,700 in January. The increase is also the second-largest ever and indicates that the central bank's policy of record-low interest rates is having an impact.
- The overall number of jobs increased by 47,300 vs 18,000 previously and consensus that was 18,000 also.
- The number of part-time jobs fell by 33,200 vs growth of 3,400 in January.
- As expected, the unemployment rate held stead at 6%.
- The "super strong result" should ease concerns about the labor market, says economist Savanth Sebastian. "Central bank policy makers are comfortable with the way the recovery is panning out. The housing recovery continues to gather momentum, while rising wealth levels are supporting confidence."
- The S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5%, while the Australian dollar is +0.8% at $0.9063.
- ETFs: FXA, EWA, AUD, AUSE, CROC, AUNZ, KROO, EWAS, GDAY, FAUS
- China's industrial production growth slowed to 8.6% on year in January from 9.7% in December and missed consensus of 9.5%.
- Retail sales softened to +11.8% from +13.6% and vs +13.5%.
- Urban fixed-asset investment +17.9% vs +19.6% and +19.4%.
- The disappointing readings add to other data that indicate that China's economic growth is moderating, including plunging exports.
- However, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang became the latest member of the government to indicate that the leadership is prepared to accept slower growth. "The GDP growth target (for 2014) is around 7.5%," Li said. "'Around' means there is some flexibility and we have some tolerance."
- Li also reiterated the government's increased acceptance of bankruptcy, saying that some loan defaults are "hard to avoid." He added that the government needs to "enhance oversight" and ensure that there's no "systemic and regional risks."
- Meanwhile, Chinese cadres will be assessed on a range of metrics, such as the environment and improving people's lives, and not just on economic growth.
- Despite the disappointing data, the Shanghai Composite rose 0.95% amid speculation that listed firms will be permitted to offer preferred shares for the first time.
- ETFs: FXI, PGJ, GXC, FXP, CYB, YINN, KWEB, HAO, CNY, ASHR, CHIQ, DSUM, TAO, CHIX, YANG, CQQQ, MCHI, PEK, QQQC, XPP, YAO, CHXX, CHII, FXCH, CHXF, YXI, ECNS, CHIM, CHIE, KFYP, FCA, TCHI, CHLC, CHNA, KBA
- 8:30 Retail Sales
- 8:30 Initial Jobless Claims
- 8:30 Import/Export Prices
- 9:45 Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index
- 10:00 Business Inventories
- 10:00 Hearing: Nomination of Stanley Fischer as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of Federal Reserve
- 10:30 EIA Natural Gas Inventory
- 1:00 PM Results of $13B, 30-Year Note Auction
- 2:00 PM Treasury Budget
- 4:30 PM Money Supply
- 4:30 PM Fed Balance Sheet
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
- Nvidia's (NVDA) new 800M notebook GPU line mostly leverages the company's new Maxwell architecture on the low-end, and its older Kepler architecture on the high-end. The top-of-the-line GTX 880M (competes against AMD's R9 M290X) features 1536 cores, a 954MHz. GPU clock, and a 256-bit GDDR5 graphics RAM interface.
- Drawing the most attention: Nvidia's Battery Boost tech (found in high-end and mid-range 800M parts), which the chipmaker claims can lead to 50%+ increases in notebook battery life during gaming sessions. Nvidia achieves this in part by keeping frame rates at a target level, and monitoring non-GPU system elements.
- AnandTech: "I suspect many of us simply don’t bother trying to game while unplugged because it drains the battery so quickly, and potentially doubling your mobile gaming time will certainly help in that respect." Nvidia argues Maxwell parts with Battery Boost can also enable thinner/lighter notebooks with strong gaming credentials.
- Jon Peddie Research estimates Nvidia's discrete notebook GPU shipments rose 3.2% Q/Q in Q4, while AMD's fell 6.7%. The company is estimated to have a total PC GPU share of 16.6% (-20 bps) vs. 18.3% for AMD and (-140 bps) and 65.1% for Intel (+210 bps). AMD and Intel's figures take integrated CPUs/GPUs into account.
7:02 PM| Comment!
- While steep drops in copper, iron ore and coking coal prices have spooked investors, KGHM chief Derek White says there's no need for mining executives to panic - at least not yet.
- There's no real threat to copper mining operations at a long-term copper price ~$3/lb., White says, but that could change if the price drops below $2.50 for a prolonged period.
- Iron ore prices have performed better than expected in recent years, and this week’s drop brings them closer to many forecasts; analysts believe most iron ore projects are fine at a long-term price above $100/metric ton.
- Coking coal's current $110/metric ton is still not low enough to disrupt most operations, with some exceptions; TD Securities expects Teck Resources (TCK) to defer its Quintette project in British Columbia until the market recovers.
- ETFs: XME, COPX, CU, JUNR, PICK, JJC, DBB, CPER, RJZ, BOM, BOS, JJM, BDD, CUPM, RGRI, UBM, BDG, USMI, HEVY
- NetApp's (NTAP) new job cuts come on top of 2013 layoffs that impacted 900 employees, and which followed pressure from activist investor Elliott Management. (8-K)
- With NetApp having 12,680 employees at the end of its January quarter, ~5% of its workforce stands to be affected. The enterprise storage vendor expects to record $35M-$45M worth of charges.
- The news arrives exactly a month after NetApp provided light April quarter revenue guidance.