- Reuters/Marko Djurica
Here is what you need to know.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton suffered setbacks in Wisconsin. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas won the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary, taking 48.3% of the vote, compared with 35.1% for Donald Trump. The win gave Cruz 33 delegates to Trump’s three, and it increases the chances of a contested convention. In a statement released after Cruz was projected to win, Trump’s team said, “Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet – he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.” On the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders took 56.5% of the vote, beating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (43.1%). The win gave Sanders 45 delegates to Clinton’s 31.
The biggest pharma deal in history has been called off. Pfizer has called off its $160 billion merger with Allergan. Pfizer is said to have gotten cold feet after the US government took steps to prevent corporate tax-inversion deals. The deal would have allowed Pfizer to move its headquarters to Ireland to take advantage of the 12.5% corporate tax rate there, which is far lower than that of the US. Pfizer shares are up about 1% ahead of the opening bell.
Bill Ackman is holding his first-quarter investment call. Hedge fund titan Bill Ackman will hold a call for investors, explaining what went wrong during the first quarter as his fund posted its largest quarterly loss on record. Ackman is likely to discuss positions in Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Herbalife as well as other holdings. According to Reuters, one of Ackman’s funds lost 25% during the first quarter of 2016, and that was on top of the 20.5% decline in 2015. The call will begin at 10 a.m. ET.
The minutes from the Fed’s March meeting will be released Wednesday afternoon. The minutes are likely to outline a shift from not only examining inflation and unemployment in the US to also looking at developments overseas. Wells Fargo’s Sam Bullard wrote, “Indeed, investors will be paying close attention to the evidence that led all officials to cut their median interest rate projections in 2016 from four hikes to two.” The minutes will be released at 2 p.m. ET.
China’s services sector is looking better.The Caixin-Markit services purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.2 in March, up from 51.2 in February, indicating that China’s services sector is accelerating. According to Markit, “New orders rose modestly at service providers in March, with the rate of growth little changed from the previous month.” Not all the news was good as companies took a cautious approach to hiring, and sentiment fell to its lowest level of the year. However, “Optimism was generally linked to forecasts of an improving economic climate and planned company expansions,” Markit said.
IPOs in China are slowing. Xinhua reports that data provided by ChinaVenture says 43 companies went public in China during the first quarter, amounting to a 56% drop versus a year ago. In all, the companies raised 35.9 billion yuan ($5.6 billion), which was down 42% year-over-year. China Zheshang Bank raised 10.9 billion yuan ($1.7 billion), making it the biggest initial public offering in the world during Q1.
Crude oil is surging. West Texas Intermediate crude oil is up 2.9% at $36.91 a barrel Wednesday as traders continue to price in the possibility exporters will agree to freeze production at the April 17 meeting in Doha, Qatar. Reuters reports, citing Nawal Al-Fuzaia of Kuwait, the OPEC governor, that there are “positive indications an agreement will be reached.” The oil market has been recently supported by the initial output freeze agreed to in February by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela, gaining about 40% over that time.
Stock markets around the world are mixed. Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei (-0.1%) suffered a seventh straight loss. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE (+0.5%) leads while Germany’s DAX (-0.4%) lags. S&P 500 futures are higher by 3.50 points at 2,042.25.
Earnings reporting remains light. Constellation Brands and Monsanto are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell, and Bed Bath & Beyond will release its quarterly results after markets close.
US economic data trickles out. Crude-oil inventories will be announced at 10:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 2 basis points at 1.74%.