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Good morning. Steps to oust Trump early, key economic data due, and some good news about the new virus strains. Here’s what’s moving markets.
U.S. President Donald Trump, in a video message overnight, condemned the storming of the Capitol — which occurred after he urged his angry supporters to take action — and said he would prepare for the administration of President-elect Joe Biden. The video was released after a day of mounting demands for his immediate departure from office — even though his term ends on Jan. 20. They included leading Democrats’ calls for Vice President Mike Pence to oust Trump by invoking the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Pence hasn’t responded, and Democrats floated impeachment proceedings as an alternative. Meanwhile, the President’s advisers are vetting the idea of Trump pardoning himself, alongside a sweeping list of individuals, on his final day before leaving office, according to people familiar with the matter.
Starting next week, passengers arriving in the U.K. will be required to prove they do not have the coronavirus, showing a negative test result taken within 72 hours of the start of their journey. Under new rules announced by the British government, anyone failing to produce the evidence of a negative test will be hit with an immediate fine of 500 pounds. Passengers will need to show their negative test results before boarding and will be stopped if necessary. The new restriction comes as health authorities investigate the threat new virus strains, discovered in the U.K. and South Africa, pose to pandemic-fighting efforts. Overnight, media reported that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine seems to work against the mutations.
It’s a day rich with much-awaited economic data, showing the impact of the new coronavirus wave on developed economies. November industrial production is due for several European countries, expected to show France’s first monthly decline since April and a slowdown in Germany. U.S. nonfarm payrolls for December are due in the afternoon, expected to show the country’s jobs recovery coming to a near-halt, with average economist forecasts pointing to the smallest monthly gain since employment cratered last April. The country’s unemployment rate may rise for the first time in eight months.
Boeing reached a $2.5 billion agreement to settle a criminal charge that it defrauded the U.S. government by concealing information about the 737 Max, the ill-fated jet model involved in two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The planemaker entered into a deferred prosecution agreement Thursday in the Northern District of Texas. In turn, the Justice Department will dismiss the charge against Boeing after three years if the company cooperates with the government, including by making current and former officials available to testify before a federal grand jury or in trials. The company’s admissions are highly unusual and stand in stark contrast to decades of airline accident investigations. While aircraft designs have often been cited as contributing to accidents, it’s extremely rare for such issues to be linked to intentional deception by company officials.
French caterer Sodexo’s trading update is already out of the gate, including an upgrade to its first-half profit margin target. Credit Suisse forecast a quarterly net loss after increasing its provisions for a set of legal disputes. Another quarterly update is coming up from Marks & Spencer, whose stock has been underperforming other European retailers with a 35% decline in the past twelve months. There’s a chance the U.K. retailer will also comment on media reports that it’s closing in on a deal to buy loss-making fashion brand Jaeger. At the open, watch European semiconductor stocks after overseas peers Micron and Samsung rose following their quarterly earnings overnight.
What We’ve Been Reading
This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.
And finally, here’s what Cormac Mullen is interested in this morning
A pair of equity indicators involving global technology shares have hit extreme levels, signaling potential danger for investors chasing the rally in stocks, at least according to two veteran market watchers. The earnings yield premium for tech stocks over benchmark Treasuries has fallen through a key trigger point thanks to this week’s spike in bond yields, suggesting valuations are now “stretched beyond breaking point,” wrote SocGen strategist Albert Edwards in a note Thursday. Meanwhile, Tom McClellan, editor of the McClellan Market Report, warned about the implications of a speculative surge in volume in Nasdaq shares, in a note to clients the same day. Edwards pointed out that the gap between the forward earnings yield on global technology shares and Treasuries has fallen below 2.5%, a “danger level” previously flagged by BCA Research Inc. that has preceded stock losses in the past. The rise in bond yields could “crack the tech bubble,” he said. Benchmark Treasury yields broke through 1% for the first time since March on Wednesday as traders weighed the implications of Democrats winning control of the U.S. Senate. The 12-month forward earnings yield on the MSCI World Information Technology Index was 3.4%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. For McClellan, a spike in volume on Nasdaq shares relative to those on the New York Stock Exchange is reminiscent of similar extremes seen during the dot-com bubble. It is likely down to retail investors speculating heavily in lower-priced stocks, and is an indication of frothy bullish sentiment, he said. A gauge of global equities was trading at an all-time high Friday, thanks in part to a 43% surge in tech stocks last year.
Cormac Mullen is a cross-asset reporter and editor for Bloomberg News in Tokyo.
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