Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
Crude Oil Is Moving. Crude oil futures prices are higher once again. Turmoil in Iraq continues in the wake of last week’s fall of Mosul to ISIS, the Sunni jihadi movement. “The longer the insurgency lasts and the more divisive it becomes, the more difficult it will be for Iraq to even approach its potential to sustain production at 6-m b/d or more, with radical implications for oil markets at a time of growing lost production worldwide due to intensifying disorder in a growing number of petroleum-producing countries,” writes Citi’s Ed Morse.
Natural Gas Is Moving. Natural gas futures are higher. Overnight, Russia and Ukraine failedto reach a deal regarding gas payments pricing. “Ukraine’s energy minister said Russia had cut off all gas supplies to Kiev on Monday but he guaranteed reliable gas flows would continue to Russia’s European clients who get imports through pipelines via Ukraine,” reported Reuters’ Michael Shields and Angelika Gruber.
Medtronic Is Moving. Medical device-maker Medtronic has agreed to acquire peer Covidienfor $US42.9 billion in cash and stock. The only thing bigger than the price tag is the fact that Medtronic is set to take advantage of lower overseas tax rates in a manoeuvre called tax inversion. “After the completion of the transaction, the businesses of Medtronic and Covidien will be combined under a new entity to be called Medtronic plc,” said Medtronic management in its statement. “It will have its principal executive offices in Ireland, where Covidien’s current headquarters resides and where both companies have a longstanding presence.”
Markets Are Red. Stock markets are lower around the world. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE is down 0.3%, France’s CAC 40 is down 0.5%, and Germany’s DAX is down 0.2%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.0% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 0.1%. In the U.S., Dow futures are down 37 points and S&P futures are down 4.6 points.
Challengingly Boring. Low volatility continues to be the big story in the markets. “‘Challengingly boring’ is the way most clients describe the current investing environment,” said Goldman Sachs’ David Kostin in a new research note. “The S&P 500 has quietly returned 5% this year, but fund managers are struggling to generate alpha. Stock return dispersion is at record lows (see page 18) and the distribution of stock valuations and economic outlooks is also historically tight. Averaging 12, VIX in June ranks in the 4th historical percentile since 1990. Realised 1-month volatility at 8% is similarly in the 13th percentile since 1929. 72% of mutual funds are lagging the market and equity long/short hedge funds have returned just 1% YTD.”
New York Area Manufacturing. At 8:30 a.m. ET, we’ll get the June Empire manufacturing report. Economists estimate this regional activity index fell to 15.0 in June from 19.01 in May. “All of the notable sub-indices showed strength on the month, with the shipments and employment indices both hitting multi-year highs,” said Barclays economists who forecast a 19.0 print. “Although the new orders index was not quite as strong, rising to just 10.4 in May, it still bodes well for a pick-up in manufacturing activity in the second quarter.”
Industrial Production. At 9:15 a.m., we’ll get the May industrial production report. Economists estimate production climbed 0.5% in May with capacity utilization increasing to 78.9%. “Manufacturing hours worked jumped 0.6% in the employment report, as the average factory workweek rose to the highest level since 1945,” noted Morgan Stanley’s Ted Wieseman. “Industry figures point to a small pullback in motor vehicle assemblies ahead of a sharp planned ramp up in June and July after the surge in May auto sales, and a bit of further normalization in utility output may be a slight drag on the headline, but overall IP and the key manufacturing gauge should both be up substantially.”
Homebuilder Sentiment. At 10:00 a.m., we’ll get the June NAHB housing market index. Economists estimate this homebuilder sentiment index increased to 47 in June from 45 in May. “The rise in mortgage applications for home purchases thus far in June and consistent increases in construction employment in recent months provide support for the index,” said Nomura economists.
Starbucks U. On Sunday, coffee chain Starbucks announced it is partnering with Arizona State University to allow employees to get degrees through the university’s highly-acclaimed online degree program. From Starbucks: “Partners admitted as a junior or senior, according to ASU’s admission requirements, will earn full tuition reimbursement for each year of coursework they complete toward a bachelor’s degree. Freshmen and sophomores will receive a partial scholarship and need-based financial aid toward the foundational work of completing their degree.”
China Inc Borrows $US14 Trillion. “Chinese corporate borrowers owed $US14.2 trillion at the end of 2013 versus $US13.1 trillion owed by U.S. corporations with the switch in rankings taking place a year earlier than it had expected, S&P said on Monday,” reported Reuters’ Umesh Desai.
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