Good morning, and welcome to September! Here’s what you need to know.
1. Cantor Goes To Wall Street. Former U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will join investment bank Moelis & Co as vice chairman and managing director, Reuters reports. He will help the firm compete for business and advise clients on deals, the Wall Street Journal says. Founder Ken Moelis is the former president of UBS Investment Bank. Cantor will also be elected to its board. Moelis and Cantor have known each other for more than three years, according to the Journal. Cantor resigned from Congress in August.
2. Dollar General Still Hungry For Family Dollar. The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based firm announced it is boosting its offer to $US80 a share, for a total value of $US9.1 billion. According to its release, it is also increasing the number of stores that it would be willing to agree to divest to 1,500 if ordered by the Federal Trade Commission and, has agreed to pay a $US500 million reverse break-up fee to Family Dollar relating to antitrust matters. All other terms and conditions of the proposal remain unchanged.
3. S&P 3,000? Here’s a fun call to welcome us back from summer vacation: Morgan Stanley’s Adam Parker and Ellen Zentner say U.S. equities find themselves surrounded by forces that could push the S&P to 3,000 in the next five years. “Our best guess is that an S&P500 peak of near 3,000 is possible should the US expansion prove to have five or more years left to it, based on 6% per annum EPS growth through that time frame and a 17x price-to-earnings ratio,” Parker writes. Here’s BI’s Sam Ro: “Like many experts on Wall Street, Parker reminds us that our recent experience of crisis to recovery is not like most of history’s boom and bust cycles. He also reminds us that bull markets and economic recoveries don’t just end because they have gone on for a long time. ‘We believe a prolonged period of deleveraging in the US, coupled with an uneven global recovery, are just two of the reasons why this could prove to be the longest US expansion — ever,’ he writes.”
4. Court Bans Uber In Germany. A regional court has banned the San Francisco-based ride-sharing service, overruling an earlier verdict that had allowed the firm to continue operating, arguing drivers lacked required licenses, the Wall Street Journal reports. In case of violations, the company could be fined up to €250,000 ($328,225) per trip. Uber says it plans to appeal and will not halt operations.
5. Chinese PMI Comes In Lite. On Sunday, we learned China’s official PMI came in at 51.1 versus expectations for 51.2, while HSBC’s reading hit 50.2 against 50.3 expected. Although any reading above 50 signals expansion, analysts remain concerned. “We think the economy still faces considerable downside risks to growth in the second half of the year, which warrant further policy easing to ensure a steady growth recovery,” HSBC chief economist Hongbin QU said. Dariusz Kowalczyk at Credit Agricole said ahead of the reports that, “The data will highlight renewed downward pressure on the Chinese economy emerging in the summer, but it should also prompt more policy easing measures from Beijing, and is therefore going to have only a limited negative impact on market sentiment.”
6. Europe PMI Ugly. On Monday we got the following PMI readings for Europe:
- Germany: 51.4 in August, down from 52.4 in July and an 11-month low.
- UK: 52.5 in August, down from 54.8 in July
- France: 46.9 in August, down from 47.8 in July, the fastest fall in 15 months
- Spain: 52.8 in August, down from 53.9 in July, though still the ninth-straight month of expansion
- Italy: 49.8 in August, down from 51.9 in July and the first month of contraction since June of 2013.
- Total Euro zone: 50.7, down from 51.8. Output shrank to a 14-month low
“France remains a real concern, as does Italy’s descent from solid expansion to stagnation. Signs that growth impetus waned in the key industrial engine of Germany, and in Spain and the Netherlands too, is also less than reassuring,” Markit Economics economist Rob Dobson said. “The slowdown in industry is likely to add further fuel to the fire for analysts expecting additional monetary or fiscal stimulus to be implemented.”
7. Expectations Tempered For Dovish ECB Thursday. Though many major Eurozone economies have now seemingly ground to a halt, expectations that ECB President Mario Draghi will put easing into overdrive are getting dimmed as the region’s hawks have begun pushing back. After stating at the K.C. Fed’s Jackson Hole conference that there was more room for government spending to help boost demand, Draghi received a phone call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister Schaeuble asking for clarification, Reuters reports. The specter of moral hazard has also been raised. “With euro zone bond yields already at record lows, the impact of a QE program could be limited while banishing any pressure on governments to pursue structural economic reforms. ‘The ECB council will likely worry about the moral hazard aspects of QE, which could easily tempt governments in Italy, France and elsewhere to go even slower on reforms,’ Morgan Stanley analysts said in a research note.”
8. UK Bright Spot. This morning we learned the United Kingdom’s construction PMI reading climbed at the fastest pace in seven months in August t0 64.0 from 62.4. “UK construction firms saw one of the sharpest rises in output for seven years in August, with increasing workloads driven by an array of factors including surging homebuilding activity, greater infrastructure spending and renewed confidence within the commercial development sector,” Markit’s Tim Moore said per the FT. “A broad-based upturn in construction demand has created a boom in job creation this summer, as construction companies look to replace capacity lost in the aftermath of the recession.”
9. Data. At 9:45 we get the U.S. PMI manufacturing for August. The prior reading was 58. At 10 a.m. we get ISM manufacturing. Consensus is for a reading of 57 versus 57.1 prior. Also at 10 a.m. we get construction spending for July, which is estimated to have climbed 0.8% after falling 1.8% in June.
10. Markets. Stocks in Asia ex-Japan were lower as Hyundai sank 2.8% after reporting weaker than expected sales, and Samsung shares fell to a two-year low. European stocks were up, led by Germany’s DAX at 0.9%. U.S. futures were higher, with S&P futures up 0.2%.
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