North American Morning Briefing: Stock Futures Tick Up After S&P 500 Hits Record


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Canadian Manufacturing Survey for April.

Opening Call:

Stock futures edged up Monday, pointing to a fresh record for the S&P 500 after it ended last week at an all-time high.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 ticked up less than 0.1%. The broad market gauge has climbed for three consecutive weeks. Nasdaq-100 futures added 0.2%, pointing to a moderate rise in technology stocks at the opening bell.

Stocks have ground higher amid an improving growth outlook in many developed countries and continued central bank support. All eyes will be on Federal Reserve policy makers' comments this week following a two-day meeting. Investors remain concerned that the Fed's evolving views on inflation and the labor market could prompt the central bank to scale back easy-money policies sooner than previously expected.

"Stock markets are by and large around all-time highs. We think there is still more upside there," Salman Baig, multiasset investment manager at Unigestion. "We're seeing clear signs that the recovery is sustainable."


All eyes this week are on Wednesday's U.S. Federal Reserve decision but ahead of that various U.S. economic data will be released, including retail sales and industrial production, which could weigh on the dollar if weaker than expected, said Commerzbank.

"Following the strong previous rise these [data] are likely to have lost significant momentum," said currency strategist Thu Lan Nguyen. "Fiscal policy stimulus is fading and bottlenecks are making business more difficult," she said.

If this is the case, "US dollar euphoria might quickly ease again just ahead of the FOMC meeting."

RBC Capital Markets advises buying the dollar against the Swiss franc as its trade of the week before the Federal Reserve and Swiss National Bank policy meetings on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

It targets 0.9170 in USD/CHF with a stop loss of 0.8900, compared to 0.8989 currently. With short-seller bets against the dollar having rebuilt in recent weeks and markets fully priced for the first U.S. interest rate rise by mid-2023, the "balance of risk favors being long dollar" into the Fed's meeting, RBC's Adam Cole said.

The Fed's new economic projections could bring forward rate rise expectations, he said. Meanwhile, the SNB will likely reiterate that the franc is highly valued and it's prepared to intervene, he said.

Bitcoin jumped 6.6% from its level at 5 p.m. ET Friday to trade around $39,300, according to CoinDesk. Elon Musk tweeted Sunday that Tesla will resume accepting the cryptocurrency as a form of payment when miners use more clean energy.

Sterling weakened following reports the U.K. government is set to announce that its plan to fully ease England's lockdown on June 21 will be delayed by four weeks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm the delay at a news conference around 1700 GMT.

"It is unlikely that the formal announcement of the delay will trigger any sharp currency movements, as it won't come as a shock," ActivTrades analyst Ricardo Evangelista said. "However, should Johnson surprise the markets by confirming the end of restriction on June 21, the pound would be likely to reverse this morning's losses."


In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.464% from 1.462% on Friday. The yield, which moves inversely to price, has dropped for four consecutive weeks, in part because foreign investors and pension funds are boosting their holdings of U.S. government bonds.

"Fundamentally, bond yields should be much higher," Mr. Baig said. "You're seeing higher inflation being priced into cyclical commodities, growth being priced higher in equities, but bond yields are still pricing fairly muted growth and inflation."

Another reason for the low yields is that money managers believe Fed officials will hold off on tapering until the economy is much stronger, said Lale Akoner, market strategist BNY Mellon Investment Management.

"What the Fed is saying around transitory price pressures are resonating in the bond market," said Ms. Akoner.


Oil prices were higher, with DNB Markets' Helge Andre Martinsen citing positive equity markets and a relative lack of oil-specific news. Both benchmarks are on course to break multiyear highs, with Brent settling Friday at its highest since April 2019 and WTI closing at its highest since October 2018 as demand continues to improve despite high coronavirus rates in the developing world.

Slow vaccination rates in emerging economies means oil demand in 3Q and 4Q will be lower than expected, the IEA said on Friday. Demand will hit its pre-pandemic high in 4Q next year, the watchdog added.


Bitcoin on the Balance Sheet Is an Accounting Headache for Tesla, Others

Elon Musk's curious Twitter war with bitcoin is expected to hit Tesla Inc.'s bottom line this quarter.

Mr. Musk is widely blamed by investors for starting the digital currency's most punishing slide of the year after announcing on Twitter that Tesla would stop accepting bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles. He added fuel to the fire earlier this month, tweeting breakup memes with "#bitcoin" and a broken-heart emoji. Bitcoin has slumped 30% since the original May 12 tweet.


European Privacy Ruling Could Mean More Scrutiny of Companies

The European Union's top court is set to weigh in Tuesday on whether a privacy regulator in one country can sanction a company if its headquarters is in another country. A go-ahead would potentially open firms up to more penalties.


High-Speed Trader Virtu Fires Back at Critics Amid Meme-Stock Frenzy

High-speed trader Virtu Financial Inc. is pushing back against critics in Washington who say the stock market is rigged against small investors.

Virtu's business of executing individual investors' orders is facing scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators following the surge in shares of meme stocks like AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and GameStop Corp.


Cruise Lines Wrestle With Florida Ban on Vaccine Passports

A standoff between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the cruise industry over whether to require passengers to show proof of Covid-19 vaccines is coming to a head as some cruise lines prepare to relaunch ships from their top ports in the state this summer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed requirements in April that allowed ships to begin regular sailings without first conducting test cruises if they attest that 98% of crew members and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. But Florida, as well as Texas and Alabama, which also have cruise ports, passed laws barring businesses from requiring "vaccine passports," or proof of vaccination.


Facebook and Its Advertisers Feel Pinch of Apple's Privacy Drive

Advertising relationships are often about the people who foster them. But when you are as big as Facebook, relationships are about money.

On Wednesday, Facebook's head of global advertising sales Carolyn Eversonsaid she was leaving the company after more than a decade. Just a few months ago, Facebook's revenue chief David Fischer said in a Facebook post that he would be leaving the company later this year.


Boeing Offloads Unclaimed MAX Jets as Air Travel Recovers

A faster-than-expected recovery in domestic air travel is helping Boeing Co. find new homes for unclaimed 737 MAX jets whose buyers walked away or collapsed during the pandemic.

Some airlines are buying the orphaned jets amid a vaccine-fueled travel rebound in the U.S. and other parts of the world. The purchases have left the Chicago-based plane maker with around 10 stored MAX aircraft needing buyers, people familiar with the matter said. Last July, it counted around 100.


Fed Officials Could Pencil In Earlier Rate Increase at Meeting

WASHINGTON-Federal Reserve officials could signal this week that they anticipate raising interest rates sooner than previously expected following a spate of high inflation readings.

In March, the last time they released quarterly economic forecasts, most officials expected to keep the Fed's benchmark interest rate near zero through 2023 to encourage the economy's recovery from the pandemic. Officials are set to release updated projections Wednesday after a two-day policy meeting.


G-7 Leaders Rally to Biden's Call to Challenge China

CARBIS BAY, England-Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies called on China to respect human rights but stopped short of an outright condemnation of Beijing, as President Biden sought to build momentum for an international coalition to counter Chinese influence in the world.

A 25-page joint statement released by leaders of the G-7 nations on Sunday-covering issues ranging from pandemic recovery to the global economy, tax, trade and girls' education-asked China "to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong." The same section of the statement said the G-7 would continue to consult on how to challenge China's behavior in the global economy.


Economy Week Ahead: The Fed, Factories and Consumers

The Federal Reserve's policy meeting highlights this week's slate of economic news.


Eurozone Industrial Production Growth Beat Expectations Despite Supply Chain Woes

Eurozone industrial production growth in April was higher than expected despite supply bottlenecks hindering activity in many sectors, Eurostat data showed.

Output from factories, mines and utilities across the single-currency area rose by 0.8% over the previous month in April, the EU statistics agency said Monday. This was above forecasts from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who had expected a 0.3% increase.


Markets Are Leaving Little Room for the Fed to Be Wrong on Inflation

Investors have faith in the Fed. Over the past three months consumer prices, excluding volatile food and energy, have risen 2%, equivalent to a shockingly high annual rate of 8.2%. Rather than panic and dump bonds, investors have piled into Treasurys and pushed 10-year yields back down to where they stood in late February. Confidence in the central bank is absolute.

To be fair, the Fed is probably right: This burst of inflation is probably transitory. The reopening of the economy released a surge of pent-up demand, while supply bottlenecks are restricting production and distribution. As things get back to normal inflation should calm down.


Debt Burden Swells as Europe Extends Life Support for Companies

Rousselle Industrie SA, a maker of machinery for paint manufacturers in northern France, almost collapsed in 2020 after the pandemic disrupted supply and its clients' businesses.

The 10-person company was saved by the equivalent of $360,000 in loans under a government program that guaranteed debt and deferred interest payments for 12 months.


Regulators Tell Banks It Is Time to Stop Using Libor

Regulators are ramping up efforts to end Libor trades by year-end.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission last week told brokers that facilitate derivatives trading among large banks that they should stop using Libor, or the London interbank offered rate, as a reference rate by July 26. The Tuesday announcement could accelerate the push to phase out the troubled interest-rate benchmark, which underpins trillions of dollars worth of financial contracts. Authorities decided several years ago, after a widespread Libor-rigging scandal, that it should disappear by the end of 2021.


U.S. Fight Against Chinese 5G Efforts Shifts From Threats to Incentives

The U.S. government is ratcheting up pressure on Beijing's 5G ambitions overseas, offering financial incentives and other enticements to countries willing to shun Chinese-made telecom gear.

U.S. foreign-affairs agencies are developing workshops and a handbook that would help policy makers in places like Central and Eastern Europe, and in developing countries elsewhere, to build next-generation 5G cellular networks that don't use equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. and China's ZTE Corp.


Carlos Ghosn Fallout: American Father, Son Plead Guilty to Role in Escape

TOKYO-Americans Michael Taylor and Peter Taylor pleaded guilty in Tokyo on Monday to the charge of helping former Nissan Motor Co. chief Carlos Ghosn escape Japan in a box aboard a private jet in late 2019.

Michael Taylor, a 60-year-old former Green Beret, and his son Peter Taylor, 28, were brought into a Tokyo courtroom in handcuffs surrounded by guards for the first day of their trial. After prosecutors read out a summary of the charge, the Taylors told the judge the prosecutors' statements were correct. The defendants didn't speak further on Monday, but a second trial session was scheduled for late June.


Ousted From Power, Israel's Netanyahu Plots Comeback

TEL AVIV-Outmaneuvered by rival politicians after 12 years in power, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is already plotting a comeback, intending to challenge the new government on matters that could deeply divide the cross- party coalition.

Mr. Netanyahu, who now is expected to lead the opposition, plans to press the new governing coalition, which includes eight parties ranging from an Arab group to conservative forces, on sensitive policy issues such as settlement construction and empowering the country's Arabs.


Biden and Macron Share Affection and Worldview at G-7 Summit

President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron threw their arms around each other as they walked on the beach. Later the two men shared a tête-à-tête as aides looked on. At one point Mr. Biden asked Mr. Macron to answer a reporter's question for him.

At the summit of the Group of Seven leaders in Cornwall this weekend, the two presidents embraced each other, sometimes literally, as allies on a host of issues-from multilateralism to fighting climate change-after years of volatility between Mr. Macron and former President Donald Trump.


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Major Drilling Grp 4Q

Economic Indicators (ET):

0830 Apr New motor vehicle sales

0830 Apr Monthly Survey of Manufacturing

Other News:

Canada to Discard 300,000 Doses of J&J Covid-19 Vaccine

Canada said late Friday it would discard 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine it received in April, saying health authorities were unable to determine whether the shipment met safety standards.

Canada halted distribution of the doses after learning the doses included a substance produced at a Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore -- a factory beset by contamination problems. In April, Canada's health department said the J&J doses would undergo a safety assessment before they were released for use.

In a Friday evening statement, Canada said the health regulator was unable to issue a decision on the doses, without elaborating. Further, it said it would no longer accept Covid-19 vaccine doses made at Emergent's Baltimore factory, nor would it accept vaccine doses with ingredients produced at the plant.

"To ensure the safety of any future vaccine supply from this facility, Health Canada is planning an onsite inspection, expected to take place this summer," the statement said. A government representative did not immediately respond to further questions.

A spokesperson at Emergent wasn't immediately available for comment about Canada's statement.

Expected Major Events for Monday

04:30/JPN: Apr Revised Industrial Production

12:30/CAN: Apr New motor vehicle sales

12:30/CAN: Apr Monthly Survey of Manufacturing

All times in GMT. Powered by Kantar Media and Dow Jones.

Expected Earnings for Monday

BMTC Group Inc (GBT.T) is expected to report for 1Q.

Charles Schwab (SCHW) is expected to report.

Coda Octopus Group Inc (CODA) is expected to report for 2Q.

Coffee Holding Co (JVA) is expected to report $0.06 for 2Q.

HEXO Corp (HEXO,HEXO.T) is expected to report for 3Q.

Major Drilling Group International Inc (MDI.T,MJDLF) is expected to report $0.09 for 4Q.

Motorcar Parts Of America Inc (MPAA) is expected to report $0.49 for 4Q.

Optical Cable (OCC) is expected to report for 2Q.

RF Industries (RFIL) is expected to report $-0.01 for 2Q.

Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc - Class A (UBA,UBP) is expected to report for 2Q.

Powered by Kantar Media and Dow Jones.


Air Products & Chemicals Raised to Positive From Neutral by Susquehanna

Biogen Raised to Outperform From Market Perform by Bernstein

Brookdale Senior Living Raised to Overweight From Equal-Weight by Barclays

Celsius Holdings Raised to Outperform From Neutral by Credit Suisse

Cricut Cut to Equal-Weight From Overweight by Morgan Stanley

International Paper Raised to Buy From Hold by Argus Research

OGE Energy Raised to Buy From Neutral by B of A Securities

Qumu Cut to Hold From Buy by Craig-Hallum

Smartsheet Cut to Sector Perform From Outperform by RBC Capital

United Natural Foods Raised to Buy From Neutral by Northcoast Research

Ventas Raised to Overweight From Equal-Weight by Barclays

This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  06-14-21 0608ET
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