Here is what you need to know.
China devalued its currency even further. The People’s Bank of China fixed the yuan weaker by another 1.9% on Wednesday. The fix of 6.3306 comes after the PBOC moved it to 6.2298 on Tuesday. The yuan is now the weakest its been versus the dollar since October 2012. During trading on Wednesday, the yuan fell to a low of 6.4489 per dollar before some late-day strength caused it to settle at 6.3858.
China released more bad data. Overnight, China released a trio of disappointing data. Industrial production rose 6.0% versus last year, but that was well below the 6.7% YoY increase that was expected. Fixed asset investment climbed 11.2% YoY, its weakest in several years. Economists were anticipating growth of 11.4% YoY. Finally, retail sales were light, printing up 10.5% YoY on expectations of a 10.6% YoY gain.
Greece’s vote on its bailout has been delayed. Greece’s parliament has delayed the vote on the text of its bailout until Thursday. The delay will give members of parliament more time to review the demands set forth by Greece’s creditors. The two sides agreed in principle to €85 billion ($US94 billion) bailout package on Tuesday. Greece’s 2-year yield is down 12 basis points at 13.96%.
The IEA says oil demand is growing. The International Energy Agency says oil demand will grow by 1.6 million barrels per day in 2015, its fastest pace in five years, “as consumers respond to lower oil prices.” However, production by non-OPEC producers won’t decline until 2016, the agency says. Crude oil is trading up 1.6% at $US43.75 per barrel.
Capital One is buying GE’s health care lending unit. Credit card lender Capital One has agreed to pay approximately $US9 billion for GE’s health care lending unit. The sale means GE has shed $US78 billion in assets this year, bringing it closer to its year-end goal of $US100 billion, according to Reuters. “This addition will catapult us to a leading market position in providing financial services to the healthcare sector,” commented Michael Slocum, president of Capital One’s commercial bank.
Ford is starting to make commercial trucks in the US. Production at Ford’s Cleveland-area plant will begin on Wednesday for medium-duty F-650 and F-750 commercial trucks. The production shift has been much anticipated after Ford announced the move out of Mexico in March 2014. About 1,000 members of the United Auto Workers union will keep their jobs because of the change, according to Reuters.
S&P warns on Berkshire Hathaway. The credit rating agency put Berkshire Hathaway on credit watch negative after its acquisition of Precision Castparts. S&P said the warning “reflects uncertainty around the funding of the acquisition and how it may affect current cash resources and leverage metrics at the holding-company level.” On Monday, Berkshire acquired Precision for $US37.2 billion and the assumption of roughly $US5 billion in debt.
Stock markets around the world are lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-2.4%) paced the decline in Asia and Germany’s DAX (-2.1%) leads the way lower in Europe. S&P 500 futures are down 17.25 points at 2062.50.
US economic data is light. JOLTs – Job Openings will cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET and will be followed by crude oil inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET and the Treasury budget at 2 p.m. ET. Treasury will auction $US24 billion 10-year notes at 1 p.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is lower by 4 basis points at 2.10%.
Earnings releases continue to slow from their frantic pace. Alibaba and Macy’s are the notable names set to report ahead of the opening bell. Cisco Systems and News Corp. highlight the earnings releases coming after markets close.