Here is what you need to know.
Bond yields are at/near record lows. Global bonds are seeing safe haven flows amid concerns about a slowing global economy and the upcoming Brexit vote. Germany’s 10-year yield pressed to less than two basis points in early action while Britain’s 10-year hit 1.22%, both record lows. Here in the US, the 10-year yield is down to 1.66%, and flirting with its lowest level since January 2015.
The Bank of Russia cut rates. In an expected move, Russia’s central bank lowered its key interest rate 50 basis points to 10.50%. According to the Bank of Russia’s statement, the rate cut comes amid “positive trends of more stable inflation, decreased inflation expectations and inflation risks against the backdrop of imminent growth recovery in the economy.” The bank says it will consider further rate cuts “based on estimates for inflation risks and alignment of inflation decline with the forecast trajectory.” Russia’s ruble is little changed at 64.3400 per dollar.
Illinois was downgraded. Moody’s lowered its rating to Baa2 from Baa1, the lowest for any state since Massachusetts in 1992, Bloomberg says. According to Moody’s, “The rating downgrade reflects continuing budget imbalance due to political gridlock that for more than a year has kept Illinois from addressing revenue lost due to income tax cuts that took effect in January 2015.” In addition, S&P Global Ratings lowered its rating to BBB+ from AA- and Fitch gave a negative outlook on the state and issued a grade of BBB+.
Puerto Rico’s debt plan passed the House. By a vote of 297 to 127, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would help ease the commonwealth’s debt burden. According to Reuters, the fear is that passing the bill will allow Puerto Rico to “restructure its $70 billion debt in a way that changes the seniority of the creditors,” creating a bad precedent for US states that face similar burdens. The White House has urged the Senate to pass the bill before July 1, when a $1.9 billion debt payment is due.
The NHTSA is looking at Tesla’s Model S. According to spokesman Bryan Thomas, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reviewing possible suspension problems in Tesla’s Model S. The NHTSA is also examining the language of the company’s non-disclosure agreement. In a Thursday evening blog post on its website, Tesla responded, “There is no safety defect with the suspensions in either the Model S or Model X,” and said the “NHTSA has not opened any investigation nor has it even started a “preliminary evaluation,” which is the lowest form of formal investigatory work that it does.”
Verizon might have to buy parts of Yahoo it doesn’t even want. CNBC’s David Faber reports, Verizon’s $3.5 billion offer for Yahoo’s core internet business is light compared to other bids that total more than $5 billion for the core internet business, patents, and real estate. That means that Verizon will either have to up its bid for the internet business, or buy the pieces it doesn’t even want. Eric Jackson, managing director of SpringOwl Asset Management, told Business Insider’s Eugene Kim there could be some surprise bidders like Comcast or Fox emerging in the weeks ahead.
Here come the robots. Three of the world’s 10 largest employers are turning to tens of thousands of robots to replace workers. According to CLSA, Foxconn, Walmart, and the US Department of Defence have begun the process, or are headed in that direction. Additionally, both Citigroup and Oxford University say that 77% of all jobs in China could one day be replaced by robots.
Tencent reportedly wants to buy a piece of the company that makes Clash of Clans. Tencent is eyeing a run at Softbank’s 73% stake in Supercell, Bloomberg reports. The deal would reportedly value Supercell at $9 billion, up 1,068% from 2013. Back in June of 2015, it was reported that Clash of Clans rakes in $1.5 million per day.
Stock markets around the world are lower. Germany’s DAX (-2.2%) lags in Europe after Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-1.2%) paced the decline in Asia. S&P 500 futures are down 11.75 points at 2102.50.
US economic data trickles out. University of Michigan consumer confidence will be released at 10 a.m. ET and the Treasury budget will cross the wires at 2 p.m. ET.