Before markets open on Monday, here is what you need to know.
Greece remains without a deal. Talks between Greece and its creditors have broken down. Business Insider reports, “The remaining major disputes still seem to be over the extent of austerity (including things like [value-added tax] increases), Greece’s state pension system and further reform to hiring and firing laws in the country.” While June 30 is the deadline for Greece to make its payment to the IMF, it must also make a June 20 payment to the European Central Bank. Greece’s 2-year yield is higher by 234 basis points at 27.88%.
Saudi Arabia’s stock market opened to foreign investors. Saudi Arabia has opened its $US590 billion stock market to the world. The Wall Street Journal says, “In the longer run, some analysts expect the market to attract $US40 billion in foreign investment, especially after it is classified as an emerging market by index compilers such as MSCI Inc.” Saudi Arabian stocks edged up 0.3%, and are higher by 16% year-to-date.
Two homebuilders are merging. Standard Pacific and Ryland Homes have announced a merger that would give the combined company a market cap of $US5.2 billion. According to the USA Today, “Standard Pacific said it will implement a one-for-five reverse stock split at the time of the merger. That means five shares of its stock will be combined into a single share. Ryland shareholders will receive 1.0191 shares of Standard Pacific stock for each share of their own.” Standard Pacific shareholders will have a 59% stake in the company while the remaining 41% would go to Ryland shareholders. The deal will give the combined entity control of 74,000 homesites.
Russia’s central bank cut rates. The Central Bank of Russia lowered its benchmark interest rate 100 basis points to 11.50%, as expected. The announcement comes as the Russian economy continues to reel as a result of the drop in oil prices and international sanctions imposed on the country. Monday’s announcement marks the fourth straight month of rate cuts, which has the central bank’s key rate now 550 basis points off its December high of 17.00%. Russia’s ruble is stronger by 0.4% at 55.0325.
The market cap of Chinese stocks has topped $US10 trillion. Data from the World Federation of Exchanges showed as of the end of May the Shanghai Stock Exchange had a market cap of $US5.9 trillion and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange had a market cap of $US4.4 trillion, making for a combined figure of $US10.3 trillion. In terms of market cap, the Shanghai’s stock market is the third largest in the world, and Shenzhen’s is the fifth.
China will make a big investment in Europe’s infrastructure fund. The announcement will be made on June 29 in Brussels. While the size of the investment is unknown, it is said to be in the billions of dollars, and comes in response to several EU countries joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Reuters reports, “The bloc is relying mainly on private investors and development banks to fund projects selected from an initial list of almost 2,000 submitted by the 28 member states, from airports to flood defences, that are together worth 1.3 trillion euros.”
Hong Kong has a big vote coming up. Later this week, Hong Kong will vote on Beijing’s electoral reform package. Polls show opposition to Beijing’s proposal has gained momentum following a televised debate on the matter. The South China Morning Post says before the debate 49% of the 188-person forum was in favour vetoing the reform bill, and after the debate that number has grown to 54%. Police are preparing for the possibility of more pro-democracy protests.
Alibaba is starting a Netflix-like service in China. The streaming service will be called Tmall Box Office (TBO), and is expected to launch in two months.”Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States,” said Alibaba’s Patrick Liu.
Global stock markets are mostly lower. China’s Shanghai Composite (-2.0%) led the decline in Asia and Germany’s DAX (-1.5%) paces the losses in Europe. S&P 500 futures are lower by 5.50 points at 2079.50.
US economic data flows. Empire Manufacturing is due out at 8:30 a.m. ET while industrial production and capacity utilization are scheduled for a 9:15 a.m. ET release. The NAHB Housing Market Index will cross the wires at 10 a.m. ET before data concludes for the day at 4 p.m. ET with the release of Net Long-Term TIC Flows. The US 10-year yield is down 3 basis points at 2.36%.