The pain U.S. markets felt yesterday brought out all the bears and negative market pundits. Today, investors will see if the markets are brave enough to drown out the noise and focus on corporate profitability trends and global macro economy.
U.S. equity futures were trading up this morning, while many international markets – including big ones in the eurozone – are closed for the International Workers Day holiday. London markets are open and the FTSE, which opened in the red, is currently flat.
Taking a look overseas, we saw the Chinese PMI which came in at 50.1 for April, hovering just above the critical 50 mark that delineates growth from contraction. In Japan, PMI dropped to 49.9 in April from 50.3 in March, bringing it into negative growth territory, which it had been able to avoid since last May. In both cases, the countries’ central banks have been actively pumping stimulus into their economies and we expect more of the same.
The dollar continues its decline — which may help stimulate some growth as its clear from listening to conference calls that sales are being negatively impacted by the strong dollar.
Today’s notable earnings report include: Newell Rubbermaid (NWL), Legg Mason (LM), Trifecta Stock’s CVS Health (CVS) and VF Corp. (VFC), Clorox (CLX), Chevron (CVX), and Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A).
We have a busy domestic economic calendar today, with the April U.S. Manufacturing PMI being reported at 9:45 a.m., with consensus calling for a 54.2 reading. At 10 a.m. we get three reports: the March Construction Spending report, where consensus calls for 0.5%, the April ISM Manufacturing report (consensus calls for 52) and the University of Michigan Sentiment survey, with estimates at 96. Last, at 1 p.m., we’ll get the Baker Hughes rig count.
Hang in there…after a battle of a week, the weekend is near.
China unveiled new measures to boost employment on Friday. More flexible tax breaks to companies to hire the jobless, preferential loans and incentives for farmers and new graduates, are among these measures. Official PMI data in China showed factory activity was still sluggish in April. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was 50.1 in April, flat from March and just above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.
U.K. bank Lloyds (LYG), in which the government has a stake, reported a profit before tax of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) in the first quarter, lower than 1.4 billion pounds in the same period of 2014, mainly because it took a hit from the sale of retail bank TSB.
Japanese inflation inched up in March but demand is still weak, keeping the Bank of Japan under pressure. Inflation data for Tokyo, available a month before nationwide figures, showed prices barely rose in April as well, even discounting more stable oil prices.
NATO’s top commander said Russia may be getting ready for a new offensive in Ukraine. U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, the NATO supreme allied commander, said Russian forces had been seeking to “reset and reposition” while protecting battlefield gains, despite a fragile ceasefire agreed in February.
The euro climbed towards a two-month high vs. the dollar and the yen on Friday, when most eurozone markets are closed for a holiday. The single European currency strengthened as Bund yields rose after inflation data calmed fears that the eurozone is close to deflation.