Here is what you need to know.
European stocks are getting smoked. Heavy selling has European stock markets under pressure. Greece’s ASX is down 5.7%. Financials are being hit especially hard, off 20%. Other European markets are lower with Germany’s DAX weaker by 2.4%. Here in the US, S&P 500 futures are down 21.25 points at 1854.00.
Bond yields are rising in Europe. A 33 basis point spike (prices fall when yields rise) has Greece’s 10-year yield up to 9.66% and flirting with its highest levels since August. The selling has spread into the rest of peripheral Europe with Portugal’s 10-year yield higher by 14 bps at 3.25%, and at a level last seen in November 2014. The 10-year yields of Italy and Spain are both up 5 bps at 1.60% and 1.69%, respectively.
There’s a flight to safety into German debt. Safe-haven buying has pushed the German 2-year yield to a record low -51.4 bps (bond yields fall when prices rise). Elsewhere along the curve, Germany’s 10-year yield is down 4.3 basis points at 25.1 bps, but still has some ways to go before reaching the record low of 7.3 bps set in April 2015.
Deutsche Bank’s CDS is surging. Shares of Deutsche Bank are down 3.3% in Frankfurt, and at a record low. As if the stock’s price wasn’t worrying enough, the cost of insuring Deutsche Bank’s debt is surging. After beginning 2016 at about 95 bps, Deutsche Bank’s credit default swap spread has surged to 207 bps on Monday, hitting its highest level since July 2012.
Markets across much of Asia were closed. Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei (+1.1%) and Australia’s ASX (unch) were the only major averages open. The rest of the region was closed in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Markets in China are closed for the entire week as it brings in the “Year of the Monkey. “
China’s currency reserves are shrinking. China’s foreign exchange reserves fell by $99.5 billion in January to $3.23 trillion. The total was above the $3.2 trillion that was expected by as Reuters poll. Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist for IHS Global Insight, told Business Insider in an emailed statement, “In such a downside risk scenario where the PBOC capitulates due to further rapid erosion of FX reserves and there is significant further yuan devaluation, this could also cause shocks in China’s corporate debt markets, as Chinese non-bank borrowers hold a large amount of USD debt, estimated at USD 1.2 trillion in mid-2015.”
Russia is returning to the bond market. Both Bloomberg and FT are reporting Russia has asked 25 banks from nine countries to tender for its first bonds issue since September 2013. The West imposed sanctions on Russia, locking it out of the bond market, after its forces entered Ukraine and it eventually annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Russia has also considered partial privatization of some of its biggest state-owned companies as a way to raise cash.
Oil companies are being forced to slash their budgets. The prolonged oil slump has already caused a number of US shales companies to cut their 2016 budgets for a second time. Reuters reports, 18 of 30 US shale companies have released their 2016 budgets, and on average, they are reducing spending by 40%. Last year, these companies reduced spending by 70%, according to Reuters analysis.
Earnings reports continue to flow. CNA Financial, Cognisant Technology, Hasbro and Loews will are among the names reporting ahead of the opening bell. 21st Century Fox and Yelp highlight the names releasing their quarterly results after markets close.
Economic data is absent. This week is relatively slow for data. Data begins to flow on Tuesday with the release of wholesale inventories. Wednesday’s semi-annual Humphrey Hawkins testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen will garner attention. The US 10-year yield is lower by 2 basis points at 1.81%.
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