Here is what you need to know.
Puerto Rico is in default. On Monday, the commonwealth paid just $US628,000 of the $US58 million it owed creditors, triggering the largest municipal default in US history. According to the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, “By a quirk of law, it [Puerto Rico] does not enjoy the partial protection of full US states. At the same time, it is unable to draw on support from the International Monetary Fund since it is not a sovereign country.” A group of 34 hedge funds is calling on Puerto Rico to shut down schools, saying it spends far too much money on education.
China banned short-selling. Speculators in China will no longer be allowed to borrow stocks, sell them and buy them back at lower prices. According to Reuters, major brokerages Citic Securities and Haitong Securities are halting their short-selling services. “In order to comply with urgent changes in exchange rules and control business risks, as of today we are temporarily halting our short selling business,” Citic said in a statement. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 3.7% on the news.
Australia’s central bank might be done cutting rates. The Reserve Bank of Australia held its key rate unchanged at 2.00%, as expected. However, the central bank softened its tone regarding the Australian dollar. The RBA removed the language from its July statement suggesting “further [Australian dollar] depreciation seems both likely and necessary” and replaced it with “The Australian dollar is adjusting to the significant declines in key commodity prices.” The Australian dollar is stronger by 1.5% at .7394.
The Reserve Bank of India warned lower rates could be coming. India’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 7.25%, but indicated a fourth rate cut this year might be on the horizon. “Significant uncertainty will be resolved in the coming months, including the likely persistence of recent inflationary pressures, the full monsoon outturn, as well as possible Federal Reserve actions,” the RBI said in its statement. India’s rupee is stronger by 0.4% at 63.7660 per dollar.
Allstate posted a big miss. The insurance giant announced adjusted earnings of $US0.63 per share, falling well short of the $US1.02 that Wall Street was expecting. Revenue edged up 4.8% to $US7.55 billion, in-line with estimates. Reuters reports the miss was attributed to the company having to pay out more claims. “More people have started driving and as more people drive and drive further, they have more accidents. We see this as a continuation of a trend that started last fall,” CEO Thomas Wilson said. The stock was down more than 4% in after hours trade.
Twitter closed at a record low. The social media giant fell 5.6% on Monday to $US29.25 per share, closing at an all-time low. The stock has been under pressure since last Tuesday when interim CEO Jack Dorsey said it would be a “considerable” amount of time before its user base saw notable growth. The stock is down 20% since its high on July 28.
Citadel might IPO. People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal the Chicago-based hedge fund might IPO sometime next year. “Business is business,” fund manager Ken Griffin told the WSJ in an earlier interview. “I don’t manufacture cars, but we do manufacture money.” Assets under management at Citadel are up 63% since the start of 2014 to $US26 billion.
Global stock markets are mixed. Aside from the strength in China, Australia’s ASX (+0.3%) was the top performer in Asian trade. In Europe, Spain’s IBEX (-1.1%) paces the decline despite a big drop in unemployment. S&P 500 futures are lower by 3.50 points at 2087.50.
US economic data is light. Factory orders will be released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 1 basis point at 2.16%.
Earnings releases are heavy. Aetna, Archer-Daniels, Coach, CVS Health, Kellogg and MGM Resorts highlight the names scheduled to report ahead of the opening bell. Caesars Entertainment, Genworth Financial, News Corp., Walt Disney and Zillow are among the notables set to release their quarterly results following the market’s close.