1. Argentina Defaults. Argentina defaulted after failing to make a $US539 million interest payment to a group of hedge funds. No one really knows what will happen next — the country has been locked out of international credit markets since 2001. There’s still a chance the two sides could work out a settlement. “It’s in their best interest to delay acceleration and not introduce more difficulties,” Jane Brauer, a strategist at Bank of America, told Bloomberg. “The best thing for Argentina to do is to continue seeking a solution.”
2. Adidas Shares Plunge On Russia. The footwear giant fell 14% in Europe trading after warning instability in Eastern Europe would affect store openings and profits. “[T]he recent trend change in the Russian rouble as well as increasing risks to consumer sentiment and consumer spending from current tensions in the region point to higher risks to the short-term profitability contribution from Russia/CIS,” management said in a new statement. “As a result, Management has decided to significantly reduce its store opening plan in the market for 2014 and 2015 and to further increase the number of store closures.”
3. Tesla Officially Signs With Panasonic On Gigafactory. As Nikkei.com had previously reported, Tesla and Panasonic announced the Japanese electronics giant had agreed to provide equipment necessary for Tesla to assemble and package lithium-ion batteries, with the goal of doubling the world’s supply by 2020. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that Panasonic would initially invest around 20 to 30 billion yen ($200-300 million) into the factory and would ultimately invest about $US1 billion. “We have already engaged in various collaborative projects with Tesla toward the popularization of electric vehicles,” Panasonic said. “Panasonic’s lithium-ion battery cells combine the required features for electric vehicles such as high capacity, durability, and cost performance. And I believe that once we are able to manufacture lithium-ion battery cells at the Gigafactory, we will be able to accelerate the expansion of the electric vehicle market.”
4. Tesla Earnings. The announcement comes as the Palo Alto firm will report earnings after the bell. Consensus is for a loss of $US0.24/share. In a note Wednesday, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas said numbers could come in light but that investors should be “prepared to buy the dips.” “N. American Model S volume should continue to be down significantly YoY,” he writes. “After falling 47% YoY in 1Q, we expect Tesla’s NA revenues to be down around 20% YoY in 2Q (on NA shipments down nearly 30% YoY). While the company has highlighted supply prioritization for the international rollout, this won’t stop some investors from wondering if markets like California are approaching saturation. We expect a vastly superior Model X (on the road by middle of next year) to put an end to these concerns.”
5. Russia. Russian equities are finishing off their worst month in more than a year, falling 29%. But Bloomberg reports those who have profited from the drop are not adding to their positions because the situation has never been muddier. “Many people are staying away from betting on or against the market because everything depends on the Russian government’s actions,” Sabina Mukhamedzhanova, a fund manager at Promsvyaz Asset Management in Moscow, which manages about 17.9 billion rubles ($500 million), told Bloomberg. “There’s no clarity regarding what’s going to happen.” Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports Vladimir Putin and his closest ally in Europe, Angela Merkel, haven’t spoken in more than a week. “Three days after the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin for at least the 30th time since the Ukraine crisis erupted,” Anton Troianovski and Alan Cullison report. “She had a blunt message, according to people briefed on the phone conversation: Call me if you have progress to report in defusing the conflict.”
6. Banco Espirito Santo May Need A Bail-In. Shares in the Portuguese bank fell 40% before being halted after it reported a $US3.6 billion loss and said it had suspended staff over “harmful management” linked to the bank’s exposure to business holdings of the Espirito Santo family. Reuters’ George Hay says creditors may now need to step in as private investors are scared off. WSJ’s Simon Nixon says the BES situation is a blow to the ECBS’ credibility.
7. Europe Data. Inflation slowed to 0.4%, the lowest level since 2009. The unemployment rate dropped a tenth to 11.5%. Youth unemployment in Spain and Greece remains above 20%.
8. U.S. Data. At 8:30 a.m. ET we get weekly jobless claims. Consensus is for 305,000, up from 284,000 prior. We also get the employment cost index. Consensus is for 0.5%, up from 0.3% prior. At 9:45 a.m. ET we get Chicago PMI. Consensus is for 63.2, up from 62.6.
9. Earnings. Besides Tesla, we get quarterly earnings announcements from Exxon, Mastercard, Sony, and Trulia before the bell. After the bell we get Expedia, LinkedIn, GoPro, Valeant, WWE. BNP reported a loss of $US5.8 billion on U.S. fines for its worst quarter ever. Shell said it was still working to offload bad bets on U.S. shale plays.
10. Markets. U.S. futures are down 0.6%. London’s FTSE was down 0.25%. Frankfurt’s DAX was off 1%. Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.1%.