Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
It’s A Yellen Rally. The world stock markets are on a tear in the wake of yesterday’s dovish Fed monetary policy announcement. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE is up 0.8%, France’s CAC 40 is up 0.9%, Germany’s DAX is up 0.8%, Spain’s IBEX is up 1.0%, and Italy’s FTSE MIB is up 1.1%. This follows huge gains in Asia where Japan’s Nikkei closed up 1.6% and Australia’s S&P/ASX closed up 1.6%.
ICYMI, Here’s What Yellen Said. From yesterday’s FOMC statement: “When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 per cent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.” Here’s BI’s Joe Weisenthal: “What that means is, she’s not overly concerned about the economy overheating, and not inclined to tighten policy early. And that’s the big takeaway from [Wednesday’s] FOMC events. At every opportunity, Yellen & Co. took the dovish turn.”
Volatility Collapses. If you already thought market volatility was low, you were probably surprised to see volatility collapse further in the wake of Yellen’s comments. The CBOE Volatility Index sunk to as low as 10.57 on Wednesday afternoon. When asked about low volatility, Yellen said that the Fed has no target for it. She also said she was unsure if it was caused by complacency.
Facebook Goes Down. The social network went down across parts of Asia and Europe. According to Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan and Bianca Vazquez Toness, the roughly 30 minute outage affected users in Tokyo, Johannesburg, London, Paris, New Delhi, Amsterdam, Moscow, and Taipei. “We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100 per cent,” said the company.
American Apparel’s Dov Charney Is Out. Dov Charney, the controversial founder of American Apparel was ousted by the company’s board for cause. “We take no joy in this, but the Board felt it was the right thing to do,” board member Allan Mayer said in a statement. “Dov Charney created American Apparel, but the Company has grown much larger than any one individual and we are confident that its greatest days are still ahead.”
Roll-Royce Buybacks. British industrial giant Rolls-Royce is the latest company to announce that it will shovel a ton of cash back to its shareholders. Its board announced that it would launch a 1 billion pound — or $US1.7 billion — share buyback program. CEO John Rishton explained: “As no material acquisitions are planned, and reflecting the strength of our balance sheet, we will return the proceeds of the Energy sale to our shareholders.”
UK Retail Sales Slip. UK retail sales fell 0.5% month-over-month in May, which is the first decline in four months. This was largely due to a 2.4% drop in food sales. According to Bloomberg’s Fergal O’Brien, this more than offset a jump in apparel sales thanks to demand for replica soccer jerseys ahead of the World Cup.
Jobless Claims. At 8:30 a.m. ET, we’ll get teh latest weekly tally of initial unemployment claims. Economists estimate claims slipped to 313,000 from 317,000 last week. “Initial jobless claims continue to linger below 320k,” said Nomura economists. “This suggests that layoffs have bottomed out and that more hiring will be needed to spur job growth.”
Philly Fed. At 10:00 a.m. ET, we’ll get the Philadelphia Fed’ June Business Outlook report. Economists estimate the regional report’s activity index fell to 14.0 in June from 15.4 in May. “Last month the new orders and shipment indices both posted meaningful declines, suggesting that the underlying trend is a bit weaker than the solid headline print would suggest,” said Barclays economists. “That being said, all of the major components remain firmly in expansionary territory and are consistent with an improving manufacturing sector.”
Yo. A startup mobile app called Yo — which allows user to message the word “Yo” to friends — briefly attracted a lot of attention and ire on Wednesday. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen warned naysayers about dismissing the concept too quickly. From his tweets this morning: “Yo is an instance of “one-bit communication” — a message with no content other than the fact that it exists. Yes or no. Yo or no yo … Other instances of one-bit communication: Police siren, flashing stop light, “Open” sign, light turned on, taxicab roof indicator lit.” Andreesen noted that deliberate missed calls, a form of one-bit communications, are popular in developing parts of Asia where phone calls are just too expensive.
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