Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
Modi Landslide. They’re still counting the roughly 800 million votes in India. But the exit polls are signaling that India’s opposition leader Narendra Modi will be the country’s next prime minister in what will be a landslide victory. Modi is widely considered the man with the vision to get India’s economy humming again.
The Importance Of A Landslide. “We considered a decisive majority as probably the best scenario, or our bull case for the market,” wrote Morgan Stanley’s Ridham Desai. “This election result could herald a sea change for India’s economy, which has struggled with stagflationary-type conditions over the past few years. We think the incoming government will have to de-anchor inflation, raise capital productivity, improve the investment climate and de-lever private balance sheets to engineer a new growth cycle.”
Markets Are Mixed. At one point, India’s Sensex index had surged 6.1% to an all-time high. It has since settled up 0.9%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 1.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed down 0.1%. In Europe, markets are trading modestly lower with Britain’s FTSE 100 down 0.3%, France’s CAC 40 down 0.4%, and Germany’s DAX down 0.7%. U.S. futures are slightly in the red.
Smart Money Have Switched To Verizon. The big institutional investors disclosed their big investments via 13-F filings with the SEC on Thursday afternoon. “Billionaire investors Warren Buffett, Daniel Loeb and John Paulson made a connection on Verizon Communications Inc. as their firms separately picked up stakes in the telecommunications firm amid a wave of deal-making in the sector,” reported the WSJ’s Anupreeta Das and Juliet Chang. During the reporting period, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital dumped shares of GM.
An Uber Valuation. Car-service app Uber could be worth over $US10 billion, reports Bloomberg’s Serena Saitto. Management “is in talks to raise new financing in a round that may value it at more than $US10 billion, according to people with knowledge of the situation,” wrote Saitto. “Uber is discussing raising less than $US1 billion with new private equity investors, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.”
JC Penney’s Comeback. Shares of the beleaguered department store chain exploded on Thursday afternoon after the company reported its Q1 financial results. The key metric appears to be same-store sales, which jumped 6.2%, beating expectations for a 4.2% gain. “JC Penney is sucking in a good bit of mall traffic via a combination of effective promotional messaging (we are seeing more consistent promotions in the store, not intra-quarter spikes in worrying “% off signs” as was evident during the holidays), better in stocks on name brand merchandise and basics, and stores that are finally cohesive in terms of layout (home department finagling has concluded),” said retail analyst Brian Sozzi of Belus Capital Advisors.
Eurozone Trade Balance. The Eurozone’s trade surplus expanded to €17.1 billion in March from €14.2 billion the month prior. This was stronger than the 16.0 billion euros forecasted by economists. “The trade balance is mainly helped by a healthy surplus in Germany and the Netherlands,” noted Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Claus Vistesen. “The biggest surpluses for the eurozone are recorded with the US and UK and the surplus with the UK is now higher than with the US. Given the lagged effects of a stronger EURUSD, we would expect the trade balance relative to the US gradually to come under pressure this year, but so far the UK is picking up the baton.”
An Update On The Housing Market. Economists estimate the pace of starts climbed 3.6% to 980,000 in April as while permits climbed 1.3% to 1.010 million. “Building permits for single family homes, although higher in March, are still running below the pace of single family starts,” said BofAML economists. “We therefore think the risk is that single family starts slip to better match the rate of permits. This would also be consistent with the weak signal from the NAHB housing index and sharp drop in single family new home sales. It appears that the spring selling season has kicked off to a slow start. Multifamily starts are likely to improve, although the data are extremely choppy on a monthly basis.” The report will be published at 8:30 a.m. ET.
An Update On Consumer Confidence. Economists estimate the preliminary estimate of this sentiment index climbed to 84.5 in May from 84.1 in April. “Our forecast would be close to the cycle high (July 2013 at 85.1),” said Credit Suisse economists who forecast an 85.0 print. “The revision to the final April reading suggests sentiment improved steadily through the month of April, so May has the wind at its back. Positive headlines from the May employment report should also be supportive.” The report will be published at 9:55 a.m. ET.
Keep An Eye On Rates. The big market story these days is arguably what’s happening in Treasury securities. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note continues to tumbled despite Wall Street’s expectations for it to rise. Currently its at 2.49%. “If we go down [more] on Treasury yields, we will see one of the biggest short-covering scrambles of all time,” said bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach on Wednesday in San Diego.
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