We've been hearing about it all week, but the moment has finally arrived. All eyes will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell this morning as he speaks at the central bank's annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole. Actually, he won't be taking the podium in Wyoming, but will rather be dialing in for the second year in a row.
Tim Cook just received the tenth and final tranche of a pay deal he received after taking the top job at Apple a decade ago. The award consisted of 5M shares worth a total of $750M, giving the 60-year-old a net worth of over $2B. According to an SEC filing, Cook already sold most of the new stock from the compensation package, which required AAPL's return over the past three years to surpass at least two-thirds of companies in the S&P 500.
Fitness technology group Peloton delivered a disappointing sales outlook for the current quarter and warned that its profitability would be hit by higher commodity costs and lower prices for its most popular video-connected exercise bikes. The company reported a net loss of $313.2m, and slashed the price of its bike by $400.
Initial claims for unemployment insurance were little changed over the past week, hovering around pandemic-era lows as the jobs market shows further signs of healing. First-time filings totaled 353,000 for the week ended Aug. 14, a slight increase from the previous week’s 349,000, the Labor Department reported this morning. A separate economic reading showed that gross domestic product increased at a 6.6% annualized pace in the second quarter, according to the second estimate Thursday from the Commerce Department. That was ahead of the 6.5% initial estimate.
Shares of Western Digital are surging following a report that the data-storage technology leader is close to merging with Japan's Kioxia Holdings in a deal that could be worth more than $20B. Kioxia is owned by private-equity firm Bain Capital. While the company's name might not be as well-known outside of Japan, it was once called Toshiba Memory and has a long track record in the semiconductor industry.
The highly anticipated Jackson Hole symposium from the Federal Reserve will be held virtually this year tomorrow, with many central bank speakers making remarks to the media beginning Thursday. At the event, central bankers could provide updates on their plan around tapering monetary stimulus.
The major averages rose again Tuesday following a broad-based stock rally powered by full approval for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine. The S&P 500 notched its 50th record close of 2021, while the Nasdaq hit the 15,000 milestone. Taper talk remains the worry, but if inflation continues to run hot and economic data continues to be mixed the timing of tapering could get pushed.
Following a year that has been marred by some high-profile cyberattacks, including the SolarWinds (SWI) and Kaseya breach, Colonial Pipeline hack, and supply disruption at meatpacker JBS The CEOs from Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, are heading to the White House this afternoon to discuss efforts in beefing up cybersecurity. Bloomberg reports that other top industry players were also invited to the meeting, including the heads of Alphabet, IBM, Southern Co., and JPMorgan Chase.
Blank-check companies are booming again—in the courts. So far this year, there have been 19 of these more typical class-action lawsuits concerning SPACs filed in federal court. Five were filed in all of 2020. This sharp uptick is likely just the beginning, insurance brokers and lawyers say.
US and international data releases are missing forecasts at an accelerating pace, highlighting rising investor angst that the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant will slow the pace of the global economic recovery.Several closely watched US economic measures published in recent weeks have come in well below Wall Street expectations, indicating the powerful economic growth from the depths of the Covid crisis may be losing steam.
A new report from Bloomberg suggests that Apple (AAPL) will become the latest corporation to delay the return of its global workforce to the office (until at least January). Wells Fargo (WFC) and Chevron (CVX) have already postponed their September returns following an uptick in coronavirus cases, while Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB) have pushed their return into early next year.
The battle over the gig economy is far from over. Last year, companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart sunk $200M into Proposition 22, which exempted them from treating drivers as employees in California. Instead, the app-based businesses promised new protections to workers. While California voters ended up passing the measure with an overwhelming majority, a California Superior Court Judge decided he knew better. The companies have vowed to appeal.
The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators (LEI) rose 0.9% last month to 116.0. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.8%. Even though the U.S. economy is forecast to grow this year at its fastest pace since the 1980s, there are signs the recovery could be cooling off. Supply-chain bottlenecks continue to slow manufacturing growth, and consumer sentiment plummeted in early August to a decade-low as Americans gave faltering outlooks on everything from personal finances to inflation and employment.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 17-month low last week, pointing to another month of robust job growth, though surging COVID-19 infections pose a risk to the labor market recovery.
Online retail giant Amazon is planning to open physical retail locations similar to department stores. The first locations of the stores, roughly 30,000 square feet in floor space, are expected to be in California and Ohio. The stores would likely open in strip centers, given the space, which requires a smaller footprint than traditional department stores. It’s another foray into brick-and-mortar sales for the company, which recently passed Walmart as the world’s largest retailer outside China.
U.S. housing starts declined more than expected in July, adding to evidence that supply and labor constraints are holding back home construction while demand has slowed. Residential starts dropped 7% last month to a three-month low 1.53 million annualized rate, according to government data released Wednesday. Building permits, however, climbed 2.6% in July due to a pickup in applications for multifamily dwellings.
The Federal Reserve release the minutes of their last meeting where they indicated they are making plans to pull back the pace of their monthly bond purchases likely before the end of the year. However, the summary of the July 27-28 Federal Open Market Committee gathering indicated that the central bankers wanted to be clear that the reduction, or tapering, of assets was not a precursor to an imminent rate hike. The minutes noted that “some” members preferred to wait until early in 2022 to start tapering.
Shares in both Target and Lowes are higher after the retailers reported earnings that were better-than-expected. Both companies also raised their forecast for sales in the second half of the year.
With no clear end in sight to high home prices and supply-chain struggles, home-building firms are growing increasingly concerned about the state of the housing market. The National Association of Home Builders’ monthly confidence index fell five points to a reading of 75 in August. It represents the lowest level for the index in 13 months — at that time, the housing market was still reeling from the onset of the pandemic, and the home-buying craze of the past year was just beginning to take shape. Buyer traffic has fallen to its lowest reading since July 2020 as some prospective buyers are experiencing sticker shock due to higher construction costs.
Oregon added 20,000 jobs in July and the state’s jobless rate dropped from 5.6% to 5.2%, the steepest monthly decline in nearly a year. The numbers out from the Oregon Employment Department indicate that the state is continuing its rapid recovery from the pandemic, but the rampant spread of the coronavirus’ delta variant has introduced considerable uncertainty for the fall. In Oregon, July’s job gains were more than double the monthly average of 9,100 over the prior six months.
The S&P 500 has reached a milestone as the benchmark index has doubled from its pandemic closing low on March 23, 2020. That marks the fastest bull-market doubling since World War II.
Shoppers in the U.S. cut back their purchases in July even more than expected as worries over the delta variant dampened activity and government stimulus dried up. According to the Commerce Department Retail sales for the month fell 1.1%, worse than the Dow Jones estimate of a 0.3% decline. Consumers make up nearly 70% of all activity in the U.S., so retail sales are watched closely as a gauge to overall economic health.
Data showed Chinese economic growth slowing more than expected. China’s retail sales increased by 8.5% in July year-over-year, below the 11.5% forecast from economists. Online sales gained just 4.4% for the month. On the manufacturing sector in the country, industrial production increased by 6.4%, below the 7.8% consensus estimate. China’s National Bureau of Statistics noted an impact from Covid and domestic flooding, saying the country’s “economic recovery is still unstable and uneven.”
Tesla’s stock sold off after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a formal probe into the electric vehicle maker’s Autopilot partially automated driving system. Federal safety regulators are investigating at least 11 accidents involving Tesla cars using Autopilot or other self-driving features that crashed into emergency vehicles when coming upon the scene of an earlier crash
Investors will get some hard reads on the U.S. consumer this week, with earnings reports due out from Walmart, Target, Lowe's and Macy's. Sandwiched in between those reports will be the July update on retail sales, which is forecast to show a 0.2% decline from the June tally. On Wednesday, the release of Fed minutes will gives us some color on the varying viewpoints on bond buying tapering and inflation within the Fed.
According to the University of Michigan a key consumer sentiment reading saw a dramatic drop in early August as the delta variant of Covid increased fears about the path of the economy. The consumer sentiment index tumbled to 70.2 in its preliminary August reading. That is down more than 13% from July’s result of 81.2 and below the April 2020 mark of 71.8 which was lowest of the pandemic era.
About 90% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported 2nd quarter earnings and 87% of those companies have reported positive earnings per share surprises for the second calendar quarter. If 87% is the final percentage, it will mark the highest percentage of S&P 500 companies reporting positive EPS surprises since FactSet began tracking this metric in 2008.
Shares of Disney are climbing in premarket trading after its subscriber numbers topped Wall Street expectations -reaching 174m subscribers across all its streaming services. Revenues grew 45% to $17 billion, and the company swung back to a $995 million profit from last year's $4.84 billion loss. Per capita spending was up "significantly" vs. 2019 numbers, at both Disney World and Disneyland, and reservations remain strong at both domestic resorts.
In other earnings news, Airbnb reported gross booking value of $13.4B in Q2 vs. beating consensus estimates. Revenue for the quarter was up 299% Y/Y against the soft pandemic comparable and the company's loss narrowed to $68M.
The latest census data is out: The fastest-growing big city in the country is Phoenix, which surpassed Philadelphia as the fifth largest. Immigration, a tech boom and middle-class Californians seeking affordable housing all contributed to Phoenix’s growth. The change in Phoenix reflects a trend: All 10 of the largest U.S. cities saw their populations rise in the past decade. Three big cities in Texas — Houston, San Antonio and Dallas — outpaced the national average.
Lots of economic data this morning: Initial jobless claims declined for the third consecutive week as the U.S. labor market continued its recovery from last year’s recession. New claims for jobless benefits totaled 375,000 last week, the Labor Department said this morning, matching estimates. Jobless claims numbers have come down sharply since the spring as the economy has recovered, and they have settled near the 400,000 level in recent weeks. The four-week average is now 396,250 initial claims.
U.S. wholesale prices rose sharply in July for the sixth month in a row and offered little evidence that a big wave of inflation is on the verge of cresting. The producer price index jumped 1% last month, well ahead of expectations. The pace of wholesale inflation over the past 12 months moved up to 7.8% from 7.3% in June. That’s the highest level since the index was reconfigured in 2010, and on an adjusted basis, one of the highest readings since the early 1980s.
Scale is the name of the game in the unprofitable food-delivery business: DoorDash is said to have held talks to purchase Instacart over the past two months that may value the grocery delivery company at $40B to $50B. The talks fell apart in recent weeks at least partly over regulatory concerns that the Biden administration may not allow a combination.
Prices that Americans pay for everyday goods and services accelerated in July as pent-up demand for travel and restaurants kept inflation hot, but about where economists had expected. The Labor Department reported this morning that its consumer price index rose 5.4% in July from a year earlier, in line with June’s figure and matching the largest jump since August 2008. The government said CPI increased 0.5% on a month-over-month basis
Within minutes of passing a sweeping $1tn infrastructure package yesterday, the Senate moved to the next order of business: an even bigger budget bill with an estimated price tag of $3.5tn. But the “two-track” strategy of pursuing a pair of landmark bills creates the possibility that neither becomes law. While the infrastructure package was hailed by President Joe Biden as a model of bipartisanship — 19 Senate Republicans voted for it — the budget plan is far more divisive. Not only are Republicans opposed to it, but centrist Democrats question the merits of such massive deficit spending.
ViacomCBS is halting any potential talks with Comcast as Chairman Shari Redstone puts an eye toward lining up more buyers for the company. Redstone reportedly is pushing any more talks (about a merger, or joint venture on streaming) with Comcast chief Brian Roberts into next year.
As the FDA evaluates the option of introducing COVID-19 booster shots, Moderna is continuing its upward trend, with a 17% gain yesterday, its biggest one-day gain since November 2020. In late November, Moderna shares climbed in reaction to the company’s announcement of filing for the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. In a year-and-a-half, Moderna has gone from relative obscurity to a $195bn company.
The US Senate is set to pass a $1tn package to invest in America’s crumbling infrastructure. The bill focuses on so-called hard infrastructure, including $110bn for roads, bridges and other major building projects, along with $66bn in passenger and freight rail and $39bn in other forms of public transport.
Available jobs in the U.S. rose to another record high at the end of June, pushing openings above the number of unemployed Americans seeking work, a sign of an unusually tight labor market. Unfilled job openings rose by 590,000 to a seasonally adjusted 10.1 million in June, the highest level since record-keeping began in 2000. The number of job openings in June exceeded the 9.5 million people who were unemployed that same month.
With fears that the spreading COVID-19 would slow the economic recovery, it appeared the "reflation trade" narrative was unwinding after an April peak. But then the July's nonfarm payrolls report came in hotter than expected, adding 943K jobs vs. 900K consensus. That implies that the economy may be strong, for the Federal Reserve, enough to start tapering its assets purchases sooner rather than later. Yields have moved higher, and commodity and financial stocks are outperforming again.
The biggest wildcard for U.S. inflation over the next year doesn’t come from used cars or airline fares. Instead, it is housing. Contributions from rising rents and home prices could partially offset anticipated declines. Economists at Fannie Mae said they expected the rate of shelter inflation to pick up from around 2% in May to 4.5% over the coming years—and higher still, if house-price growth doesn’t cool off soon.
Oil was hit with renewed selling pressure on Monday, falling below $70 a barrel and adding to last week’s steep losses on growing concerns about the Delta coronavirus variant sapping demand in Asia. China, the world’s biggest oil importer, is fighting its worst Covid outbreak since the start of the pandemic and has tightened travel restrictions and started mass testing in an effort to try to contain the virus.
U.S. stocks fell from record highs yesterday after the earnings of a major U.S. automaker and a private sector jobs report came in lower than expected.
According to the payroll company ADP Job creation at private companies tumbled in July as fears mounted over the spreading delta variant. Employers added 330,000 positions for the month, a sharp deceleration from the downwardly revised 680,000 in June. It’s also well below the 653,000 Dow Jones estimate. July’s job growth was also the smallest gain since February.
U.S. service providers expanded in July at the fastest pace on record dating back to 1997 as measures of business activity, new orders and employment all improved. The Institute for Supply Management’s services index jumped to 64.1 last month from 60.1 in June, topping all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Readings above 50 indicate expansion. The figures underscore the massive vaccine-fueled snapback in demand for services like dining out and travel in recent months. At the same time, global demand is picking up. New export orders for U.S. service providers expanded at the fastest pace since 2007.
US Stocks closed at record high yesterday on gains in Apple and healthcare stocks, despite concerns over a surge in the Delta variant of the coronavirus taking some shine off an upbeat corporate earnings season.
New orders for U.S.-made goods increased more than expected in June, while business spending on equipment was solid, pointing to sustained strength in manufacturing even as spending is shifting away from goods to services. According to the Commerce Department factory orders rose 1.5% in June after advancing 2.3% in May. Orders soared 18.4% on a year-on-year basis. Demand pivoted towards goods during the pandemic as millions of Americans were cooped up at home, boosting manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the U.S. economy. But the surge in demand is straining the supply chain.
A surge in credit card spending and home purchases caused US household debt to increase by $313 billion, or 2.1%, in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That's the largest nominal jump since 2007 and the biggest percentage increase in seven and a half years. In total, American consumers held $14.96 trillion in debt at the end of June — the biggest pile of bills on record and $812 billion more than what was owed at the end of 2019, before the pandemic hit. Mortgage debt, the single biggest contributor to overall household debt, rose $282 billion to $10.44 trillion. A whopping 44% of the outstanding mortgage balances were originated over the past year.
U.S. labor costs increased solidly in the second quarter as companies raised wages and benefits to attract workers, supporting views that high inflation could persist beyond this year amid supply constraints. The Employment Cost Index, the broadest measure of labor costs, rose 0.7% last quarter after gaining 0.9% in the first quarter. That raised the year-on-year rate of increase to 2.9%, the largest gain since the fourth quarter of 2018.
U.S. consumer sentiment fell to a five-month low in July amid lingering concerns about inflation. The University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index fell to a final reading of 81.2, the lowest level since February.
New jobless claims, which remained stubbornly high in Oregon last spring, are down substantially over the past few weeks. Fewer than 4,200 Oregonians filed new claims for benefits last week, the lowest number since October. The number of new Oregon claims is now below the average number of new claims in the 10 weeks before the pandemic. That’s a hopeful sign. Oregon’s jobless rate was near an all-time low until COVID-19 hit. The dearth of new layoffs this summer, combined with a steep fall in the number of people collecting benefits each week, suggests the state may have a path to get back to full employment.