- Reuters/Mike Hutchings
Here is what you need to know.
Oil is at a seven-month high. Overnight, West Texas Intermediate crude oil hit $48.58 a barrel, its highest level since October. Crude prices have marched higher in recent weeks as supply disruptions in Canada, Nigeria, and Venezuela have taken millions of barrels of oil off the market. WTI is now trading up 0.3% at $48.45 a barrel.
Expectations for a Fed rate hike are being pulled forward. The largest consumer price gains in three years and hawkish Fed speak from Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart and San Francisco Fed president John Williams have caused fed fund futures traders to pull forward their expectations of an interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Entering Tuesday’s session, fed fund futures were pricing in December as the first month with more than a 50% chance for a rate hike. But the market now sees chances of just worse than a coin flip for a September hike and a 51.2% chance of the next hike occurring in November. Interestingly, the yield curve, when measured as the spread between the two-year and the 10-year yield, is down to 94.5 basis points, the flattest it has been since the fourth quarter of 2007.
Japan is growing again. The Japanese economy returned to growth in the first quarter, with government data showing that it expanded at a 0.4% clip. The Q1 reading was ahead of the 0.1% gain that economists were anticipating and marked the strongest growth since the corresponding quarter from a year ago. The second estimate will be released June 8, and it could be subject to some large revisions as it includes more hard data as opposed to estimates. The Japanese yen is weaker by 0.2% at 109.35 per dollar.
The eurozone remained in deflation. Consumer prices in the eurozone slipped 0.2% in April, which was in line with economists’ forecasts. Prices haven’t posted a monthly gain since December. Stripping out the volatile food and energy components, core CPI matched expectations with a 0.7% gain. The euro is down 0.2% at 1.1285.
Valeant might sell some assets. The embattled drugmaker is considering selling some of its skin and cancer drugs to pay down a portion of its $30 billion debt, according to Manuel Baigorri, Ed Hammond, and Cynthia Koons at Bloomberg. The company could reportedly raise $1 billion by selling its Obagi and Provenge drugs. Even if those drugs are sold, Valeant appears to still have a long way to go in tackling its debt load.
Burberry is overhauling its business. The high-end slowdown is causing big changes at Burberry. The iconic British luxury brand says revenue slumped 1% to £2.5 billion ($3.6 billion) and pretax profit was down 7% to £415.6 million ($600 million) during the past fiscal year. Additionally, comparable sales slipped 1%. Burberry says it will cut £100 million ($144 million) of annualized costs after “demand slowed in many markets for both cyclical and structural reasons.”
John McAfee’s mysterious new company is on fire. On Tuesday, John McAfee Global Technologies gained more than 37% to finish at $4.08 a share. Notable was that the move came on volume of more than 108 million shares, making it the most traded stock in America. MGT has been on fire since McAfee was named CEO on May 9, surging more than 1,000%.
Stock markets around the world are mostly lower. Britain’s FTSE (-0.5%) lags in Europe after Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-1.5%) trailed in Asia. S&P 500 futures are down 1.25 points at 2,042.25.
Earnings reports continue to flow. Lowe’s, Staples, Hormel Foods, and Target are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell. American Eagle Outfitters, Cisco Systems, L Brands, Salesforce.com, and Urban Outfitters highlight the names releasing their quarterly reports after markets close.
The latest Fed minutes are due out. At 2 p.m. ET, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its April policy meeting. Traders will be parsing the minutes for clues as if/when the Fed’s next interest-rate hike will occur. Important things to look for include any discussions about inflation returning to the Fed’s 2% target and low unemployment as they are the two components of the Fed’s dual mandate. The US 10-year yield is up one basis point at 1.78%.