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North American Morning Briefing: Stock Futures Edge Higher Ahead of GDP Data

07/29/2021 | 06:11am EDT


Watch For:

U.S. Advance Estimate Gross Domestic Product for 2Q; U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims; Amazon.com 2Q earnings; Comcast Corp. 2Q earnings; MasterCard Inc. 2Q earnings; Merck & Co. Inc. 2Q earnings.

Opening Call:

Stock futures edged up ahead of fresh data on economic growth and the labor market that are expected to provide insight into the state of the recovery.

Earnings season is under way with Hershey, Comcast, Mastercard and Carlyle Group scheduled to report ahead of the opening bell. Amazon. com and T-Mobile are expected to post earnings after markets close.

"Most companies are in a pretty positive situation. They have cash, they have demand. It's something that was a bit expected already from last quarter, but we're still having positive surprises," said Ludovic Subran, chief economist at Allianz.

Facebook posted sharp growth in quarterly revenue and profit late Wednesday but shares declined 3.5% in after hours trading after the company said it expects revenue growth to slow in the second half of the year.

Popular investing platform Robinhood will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday, after pricing its IPO at $38 a share, at the bottom of its expected range.

In Asia, most major benchmarks rose. The Chinese government sought to reassure global banks and investors about the recent volatility in markets, saying that Beijing would consider the market impact of future policies.

The latest data on gross domestic product in the U.S. in the second quarter is slated to go out at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists are forecasting an almost 9% jump on an annualized basis. Jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, are also scheduled to go out at 8:30 a.m.

"Spending by American families has certainly skyrocketed over the past couple of months and GDP should capture that," said Mr. Subran.

Investors are also digesting the latest communication from the Federal Reserve. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the U.S. economy had progressed and signaled that the central bank may taper bond-buying programs this year.

"The essence of the message is that they're not in a hurry," said Sebastien Galy, a macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management. "We'll likely see a relatively slow pace of tapering and one that the market can anticipate."

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 advanced.

Earnings pushed around the shares of several blue-chip European companies. Credit Suisse slid 3.5% after it reported a sharp decline in quarterly profit and said it lost billions from the blowup of family office Archegos due to failures of its management and controls.

Telecommunications-equipment maker Nokia surged nearly 7% after its quarterly revenue and profit beat analysts' estimates. Airbus advanced 3.3% after it lifted its guidance for full-year profit and deliveries. Danone rose 4.8% after the food company reported higher net profit in the first half of the year.

Beer making giant Anheuser-Busch InBev tumbled 6.8% after it posted earnings that came in below analysts' expectations and said it was facing headwinds from tight supply chains.


The dollar fell to its lowest in three weeks against a basket of currencies as the Fed remained cautious at Wednesday's meeting.

A message that the central bank is moving closer to scaling back asset purchases wasn't enough to lift the currency, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell said "we're not there yet" and there is "some ground to cover to get there," said Lee Hardman, currency analyst at MUFG.

"Last night's FOMC meeting failed to provide the fresh bullish trigger required to regain upward momentum [in the dollar] in the near-term," Hardman said, adding that the Fed's policy update was "largely in line with expectations."

The euro won't enjoy much of a boost from the Fed's cautious tone at Wednesday's policy meeting, ING said.

While the dollar weakened after the Fed's meeting, pushing EUR/USD higher, the euro will be the "laggard" among G10 currencies along with other low yielding currencies with "dovish" central banks including the Japanese yen and Swiss franc, ING analysts said.

"This is because the Fed will eventually be ahead of the European Central Bank in normalising policy, particularly next year when the Fed fully ends quantitative easing and starts hiking [interest rates]."

EUR/USD will struggle to "persistently and meaningfully" rise above 1.20, the analysts said.

Optimism over the recent decline in U.K. coronavirus cases could prompt speculators to rebuild bets on a stronger sterling, ING said.

"Sterling continues to reap the benefits of the slowdown in Covid-19 cases, in turn reversing the prior market concerns about another meaningful wave," ING analysts said.

There is room to rebuild sterling long positions, which expect the currency to appreciate, following a meaningful decline over the past few months, they said.


In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note slid to 1.249%, from 1.259% Wednesday.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell did not provide much in the way of new information that would help the markets to pin down the timing of the tapering announcement, said Brian Rose, senior economist for Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Powell also made it clear that no decisions had been made yet, and "all of this suggests a tapering announcement is not imminent," Rose said. Based on that, UBS Global Wealth Management maintains the view that the Fed will be dropping "stronger and stronger" hints in the months ahead, with December the most likely timing of the formal tapering announcement.


Oil prices rose after Wednesday's Energy Information Administration data mostly confirmed those of the American Petroleum Institute the previous day, said ING's Warren Patterson.

The drop in U.S. inventories revealed by both sets of data comes mostly from lower imports--specifically from Iraq--with stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, at their lowest since last January.

Elsewhere, Royal Dutch Shell and TotalEnergies shares are up 3.6% and 2.6%, respectively, after both released second-quarter results. Shell's income and cash generation were well ahead of expectations, while Total investors are enthused by the company's balance between maintaining its dividend, green spending, and its core business, said RBC Capital Markets' Biraj Borkhataria.

Copper prices gain, lifted by a weaker dollar and supply risks in major producer Chile. Three-month copper on the LME was up 1.5% at $9,801 a metric ton. Demand for the metal is getting a lift as the ICE Dollar Index falls to a four-week low in the wake of the Fed's policy meeting.

The potential of strike action at the world's largest copper mine added to price support. The union at the Escondida mine in Chile urged its members to strike over owner BHP's latest contract offer.


Amazon's Profit-Run Poised to Continue

Amazon.com Inc. is expected to report strong profits Thursday after its midyear Prime Day event boosted sales, and its cloud computing and advertising units continued to grow.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant's success in the pandemic comes as U.S. consumers increasingly meet their shopping, entertainment and work needs online, strengthening the power of the world's largest technology companies.


Didi Global Considers Going Private to Placate China and Compensate Investors

HONG KONG-Ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. is considering going private in order to placate authorities in China and compensate investors for losses incurred since the company listed in the U.S. in late June, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Beijing-headquartered company has been in discussions with bankers, regulators and key investors about how it could resolve some of the problems that emerged after Didi listed on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, the people said. A take-private deal that would involve a tender offer for its publicly traded shares is one of the preliminary options being considered, they added.


Hollywood Productions Halted as Covid-19 Emerges on Sets Again

Production of movies and TV shows is getting disrupted again because of Covid-19 and uncertainty over vaccination protocols, a setback as networks and streaming services remain hungry for fresh content.

Among shows that recently suspended shooting as members of the production tested positive for Covid-19 is "House of the Dragon," the much-anticipated prequel to HBO's smash hit "Game of Thrones." Hulu's comedy "Woke" also had to stop filming because of positive Covid-19 cases.


Robinhood IPO Prices at $38 a Share

Robinhood Markets Inc. priced its initial public offering at $38 a share, at the low end of expectations, after the popular trading platform met tepid demand for its highly anticipated debut.


Credit Suisse Failed to Act on Archegos Risks, Report Says

Credit Suisse Group AG said top employees failed to act on numerous warning signals before it lost billions from family office Archegos Capital Management in March.

A report released Thursday prepared by a law firm for Credit Suisse detailed how employees failed to adequately address the risk of Archegos's positions as trades repeatedly breached internal loss limits. By March, the trades had swelled to $21 billion in gross exposure.


AstraZeneca Loses Money on Covid-19 Vaccine for Second Straight Quarter

LONDON-AstraZeneca PLC narrowed losses from its Covid-19 vaccine in the second quarter, but the shot continued to weigh on the drug giant's earnings.

The British-Swedish drugmaker pledged last year to distribute the shot at no profit during the pandemic. AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said Thursday the company and its manufacturing partners had released more than one billion doses of the vaccine for use in more than 170 countries. That included 700 million doses delivered by the end of June. The vaccine boosted second-quarter revenue by $894 million.


(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

07-29-21 0610ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AIRBUS SE 0.43% 116.34 Real-time Quote.29.03%
ALLIANZ SE 0.49% 191.84 Delayed Quote.-4.82%
ASTRAZENECA PLC 0.63% 8670 Delayed Quote.17.65%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / EURO (AUD/EUR) 0.32% 0.6206 Delayed Quote.-2.12%
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (AUD/USD) 0.58% 0.72739 Delayed Quote.-6.06%
BRITISH POUND / EURO (GBP/EUR) 0.40% 1.16992 Delayed Quote.4.10%
BRITISH POUND / US DOLLAR (GBP/USD) 0.69% 1.37096 Delayed Quote.-0.12%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / EURO (CAD/EUR) 0.58% 0.67312 Delayed Quote.3.40%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (CAD/USD) 0.85% 0.7886 Delayed Quote.-0.64%
COMCAST CORPORATION -0.07% 56.02 Delayed Quote.6.91%
CREDIT SUISSE GROUP AG 0.78% 9.012 Delayed Quote.-21.56%
DANONE 0.45% 60.13 Real-time Quote.11.37%
DIDI GLOBAL INC. 4.60% 7.96 Delayed Quote.0.00%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 1.00% 34258.32 Delayed Quote.10.83%
DOW JONES FXCM DOLLAR INDEX -0.18% 11986.54 Delayed Quote.2.86%
EURO / US DOLLAR (EUR/USD) 0.27% 1.17181 Delayed Quote.-4.03%
FACEBOOK INC -3.99% 343.21 Delayed Quote.25.64%
INDIAN RUPEE / EURO (INR/EUR) 0.02% 0.011578 Delayed Quote.3.25%
INDIAN RUPEE / US DOLLAR (INR/USD) 0.25% 0.013571 Delayed Quote.-0.91%
ISTOXX FP GR DEC 2.54 (EUR) 2.53% 39.67 Delayed Quote.0.00%
LONDON BRENT OIL -0.09% 75.81 Delayed Quote.44.45%
MASTERCARD 1.79% 343.41 Delayed Quote.-5.48%
NASDAQ COMP. 1.02% 14896.847191 Real-time Quote.14.42%
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR / US DOLLAR (NZD/USD) 0.87% 0.7048 Delayed Quote.-2.56%
NOKIA OYJ 0.81% 4.808 Delayed Quote.51.38%
NORDEA BANK ABP 1.82% 110.9 Delayed Quote.62.06%
ROBINHOOD MARKETS, INC. 10.85% 46.88 Delayed Quote.0.00%
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC 0.16% 17.812 Real-time Quote.21.66%
STOXX EUROPE 600 0.86% 467.19 Delayed Quote.16.08%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR 0.85% 1048.89 Delayed Quote.18.23%
T-MOBILE US 2.27% 127.73 Delayed Quote.-5.28%
THE CARLYLE GROUP INC. 1.12% 48.01 Delayed Quote.52.70%
TOTALENERGIES SE 0.50% 39.265 Real-time Quote.10.68%
US DOLLAR / EURO (USD/EUR) -0.26% 0.853381 Delayed Quote.4.20%
WISDOMTREE CLOUD COMPUTING UCITS ETF - ACC - USD 0.58% 60.27 Delayed Quote.12.59%
WTI -0.12% 71.85 Delayed Quote.46.78%
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