Before markets open on the final trading day of the week, this is what you need to know.
The budget deal has cleared Congress. The United States Senate has passed a two-year budget deal and raised the debt ceiling until March 2017 after voting 64-to-35 in favour of the bill. This follows Wednesday’s passage in the House of Representatives. President Obama will soon sign the bill into law.
The Bank of Japan lowered its growth and inflation forecasts. The Bank of Japan voted 8-to-1 to keep its asset purchase program at 80 trillion yen per year. However, the central bank cutting its growth forecast for the current fiscal year ending March to 1.2% from 1.7%, according to the Wall Street Journal. Additionally, the BOJ sees inflation reaching its 2% target in late-2016 or early-2017 after earlier projecting the target would be hit in mid-2016. The Japanese yen is stronger by 0.6% at 120.35 per dollar.
China is considering loosening capital controls. China’s yuan rallied 0.6% to 6.3174 per dollar to close at its strongest level since the August 11 devaluation. The advance was the largest one-day gain since its peg was removed 10 years ago, and comes after the People’s Bank of China suggested it was considering easing capital controls. Despite today’s gain, the yuan remains near its weakest levels versus the US dollar since the summer of 2012.
The eurozone has escaped deflation. Eurozone CPI Flash Estimate printed 0.0% year-over-year in October, matching estimates. The uptick from September’s reading of -0.1% YoY was good enough to lift the region out of deflation. In addition, eurozone unemployment fell to 10.8%, hitting its lowest levels since January 2012. The euro is up 0.3% at 1.1013.
Valeant is ending its relationship with Philidor. Valeant announced it is cutting all ties with Philidor, a specialty pharmacy that distributes drugs directly to customers at a discounted rate. The announcement comes after similar actions taken by Express Scripts and CVS Health. “We have lost confidence in Philidor’s ability to continue to operate in a manner that is acceptable to Valeant,” Chief Executive Michael Pearson said. Last week, Citron Research accused Valeant of using Philidor to create “phantom sales” of its drugs.
Bill Ackman is holding a conference call to discuss Valeant. Activist investor Bill Ackman, founder of Pershing Square is holding a conference call to discuss his investment in Valeant. Ackman, who owns 21,473,933 shares of Valeant, has likely lost more than $US1.5 billion on his investment in the pharmaceutical giant after doubling down on his bet when Citron Research’s report compared the company to Enron. The conference call will take place at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Starbucks gave disappointing guidance. The coffee giant announced earnings of $US0.43 per share, matching the Bloomberg consensus. Revenue climbed 17.5% to $US4.91 billion, edging out the $US4.90 billion that was anticipated. However, the company announced disappointing first quarter EPS guidance of $US0.44 to $US0.45, which was below the $US0.47 that Wall Street was anticipating, as a result of increased labour costs. The results “underscore the success of the investments we continue to make in our people and business, in new beverage and food innovation and in groundbreaking technology innovation that is deepening our connection to customers everywhere,” Chairman Howard Schultz said in the earnings statement. The stock was down close to 4% in after-hours trade
Stock markets around the globe are mostly lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-0.8%) lagged in Asia and Spain’s IBEX (-1.1%) trails in Europe. S&P 500 futures are are higher by 1.75 points at 2084.75.
US economic data is heavy. Personal income and spending, core PCE prices and the Employment Cost Index are all due out at 8:30 a.m. ET before Chicago PMI crosses the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET and University of Michigan Sentiment is released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 2 basis points at 2.15%.
A bunch of companies are reporting ahead of the opening bell. AbbVie, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Chevron, CVS Health, Exxon Mobil and Phillips 66 highlight the names releasing their quarterly results before markets open.