Here is what you need to know.
Japan says a large stimulus package is coming this fall. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will delay the sales-tax hike. The increase to 10% from 8% that was planned for 2017 will now take effect in October 2019. Additionally, Abe will announce a new stimulus package in the fall aimed at sparking private demand and accelerating infrastructure projects, CNBC says, citing Reuters. The Japanese yen is stronger by 1.2% at 109.44 per dollar.
China’s yuan midpoint was fixed at its lowest level since 2011. The People’s Bank of China set the yuan’s midpoint rate at 6.5889 per dollar, its weakest level since 2011. Wednesday’s fix was the third straight at a five-year low, and it comes as Chinese manufacturing data showed more evidence the economy has not yet found solid footing. The Caixin Manufacturing PMI slid deeper into contraction with a 49.2 print, its weakest since February.
South Korean exports were light. South Korean exports, often referred to as “the world’s economic canary in the coal mine,” fell 6% in May. The data showed an improvement from the 11.2% drop that was witnessed in April but was worse than the 0.4% dip that economists had forecast. Additionally, South Korea’s trade surplus came in at $7.1 billion, down from the $8.81 billion in April and well shy of the $9.64 billion that was expected. The South Korean won ended weaker by 0.1% at 1,193.10 per dollar.
Macau casino revenue slumped in May. Macau casino revenue fell 9.6% year-over-year in May, slightly worse than the 9.5% drop that was experienced in April. Data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau showed that receipts fell to 18.4 billion patacas, or $2.3 billion, and have now declined for two straight years. The revenue slump comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping has tightened rules, causing high rollers to take their business elsewhere.
Softbank is selling a big chunk of its Alibaba stake. The Japanese telecom giant Softbank says it will sell at least $7.9 billion worth of its Alibaba stake to cut down the size of its debt load. According to Reuters, the sale will be the first by Softbank since it began investing in Alibaba in 2000, and it will reduce Softbank’s stake to about 28% from 32.2%. There have been some recent reports that Yahoo is also looking to cut its Alibaba stake along with selling its core business, Reuters says.
The CEO of Staples is stepping down. Ron Sargent says he is stepping down as Staples’ CEO after his company’s failed merger with Office Depot. According to a statement released by Robert E. Sulentic, lead director of Staples’ board, “With the termination of the merger, we mutually agreed that now is the right time to transition to new management to lead Staples through its next phase of growth.” Sargent spent the past 27 years at Staples.
The world’s largest tequila producer is thinking about going public. Jose Cuervo is planning an initial public offering for the third quarter, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The IPO would raise $1 billion and occur in Mexico. The company hasn’t said how it would use proceeds from the deal.
Stock markets around the world are lower. Japan’s Nikkei (-1.6%) lagged in Asia, and France’s CAC (-0.8%) paces the decline in Europe. S&P 500 futures are down 6.75 points at 2,088.25.
Earnings reports trickle out. Michael Kors reports ahead of the opening bell.
US economic data flows. The ADP jobs report is due out at 8:30 a.m. ET before ISM Index and construction spending are set to cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET. Then, at 2 p.m. ET, the Fed’s Beige Book is set for release. Auto and truck sales will be reported throughout the day. The US 10-year yield is lower by 2 basis points at 1.82%.