Daily JAM

Is China’s economy about to slow down again?

Is China’s economy about to slow down again?

China reported faster-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter–but… Although Gross Domestic Product climbed 5.3% in the quarter–a faster rate of growth than in the first quarter of 2023 and above economist estimates, most of the good news came from the first two months of the quarter. In March growth in retail sales slumped and industrial output fell short of forecasts. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of 2024.

Confusion on Tesla climbs ahead of April 23 earnings report

Confusion on Tesla climbs ahead of April 23 earnings report

Can’t figure Tesla (TSLA) out? Welcome to the club. The stock was down another 5.59% today, April 15, and is now down 31% for 2024. Maybe investors will get some clarity on the company’s identity and strategy when it announced earnings on April 23. Wall Street analysts expect earnings of 36 cents a share against earnings of 73 cents a share in 2023. I think that strategic clarity is actually more important than quarterly earnings at this point for Tesla.

Apple’s smartphone market share slide continues

Apple’s smartphone market share slide continues

Apple has lost its spot as the world’s biggest mobile phone seller, IDC reported today, April 15. A steep drop in sales in China for Apple let South Korean rival Samsung retake the lead in global market share. Samsung had been the biggest seller of mobile phones for 12 years until the end of 2023, when sales of Apple’s iPhone models overtook it. Global smartphone shipments increased by 8% to 289.4m units during January-March, according to IDC. Samsung has a 20.8% market share. That beat Apple’s 17.3% share

Saturday Night Quarterback (on a Sunday) asks, And now what in the Middle East and for global financial markets?

Saturday Night Quarterback (on a Sunday) asks, And now what in the Middle East and for global financial markets?

After Israel and its allies (with the help of some Arab states that don’t want to see a wider Middle East war and who aren’t thrilled with the growing power of Iran and its proxies) succeeded in shooting down almost all of the drones (170), ballistic missiles (120), and cruise missiles (30) launched by Iran against the country, will the two sides both declare victory and claim that honor is satisfied or will one or the other escalate the war with another round of attacks? As of early Monday trading in Asia, the oil and gold markets have reacted with concern but not panic. Gold, up 13% already this year to a record above $2,400 an ounce, moved higher but the gains were relatively modest. Spot gold climbed 0.8% to $2,361.92 an ounce as of 6:20 a.m.in Singapore. The global oil market opened to the upside but by less than 1%. And prices have been steady to slightly weaker since then.

JPMorgan Chase disappoints to start earnings season

JPMorgan Chase disappoints to start earnings season

All good things come to an end. After seven straight quarters of record levels of profits from net interest income, the spread between what earns by lending and what it pays depositors to raise funds, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) reported that net interest income slightly missed analyst estimates for the first quarter. The quarter the company reported today certainly wasn’t a disaster. The bank earned $23.1 billion in net interest income in the period, up 11% from the first quarter of 2023. But the end of the beat and raise guidance of the last year and a half plus an increase in costs were enough to lead to substantial selling today, April 12. The shares finished the day down 6.47% at $182.79. Analysts and investors were clearly hoping for more.

War fears driving oil and stocks now

War fears driving oil and stocks now

West Texas Intermediate rose to its October 2023 highs, before pulling back, on fears that an Iranian retaliation for an Israeli attack on an Iranian consulate would lead to a wider war in the Middle East. International benchmark Brent crude surged as much as 2.7% to top $92 a barrel before retreating to close at $90.26 a barrel, up 0.58% on the day. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, is now up 19% in 2024. Bloomberg reports that Western intelligence assessments are looking for an Iranian attack in the next 48 hours. No one wanted to hold U.S. equities ahead of the weekend.

Producer price index continues bond market freak out

Producer price index continues bond market freak out

So why was this so important today? Important enough to send the yield on the 10-year Treasury up another 3 basis points to 4.58%.The Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.2 percent in March, seasonally adjusted, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices moved up 0.6% in February and 0.4% in January. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand increased 2.1% for the 12 months ended in March, the largest advance since rising 2.3% for the 12 months ended April 2023..The March increase in the index for final demand is attributable to a 0.3% rise in prices for final demand services. In contrast, the index for final demand goods edged down 0.1%. Look at the last set of numbers.

CPI inflation bad news increases pressure on earnings to keep rally going

CPI inflation bad news increases pressure on earnings to keep rally going

If, as the too hot April 10 CPI inflation argues, we’re not going to see a June 12 interest rate cut… And if investors are looking at two cuts in 2024 (at the most) instead of three… And if there’s a possibility that we won’t see the first rate cut until the November 7 Fed meeting… Then what will keep this rally from turning into a correction? Earnings look like they will have to do the job .Problem is that this quarter’s earnings look likely to disappoint. There are quarters with better earning growth forecast ahead. Will investors wait for them?

Fitch Ratings calls out China’s growing debt load–what worries me is that China isn’t alone

Fitch Ratings calls out China’s growing debt load–what worries me is that China isn’t alone

Fitch Ratings revised China’s outlook to negative from stable. The Big 3 rating company (along with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Services) said the government is likely to pile on debt as it seeks to pull the economy out of a real estate-driven slowdown.The Fitch announcement matches a similar warning from Moody’s Investors Service in December. China’s public debt has risen rapidly over the past dozen years or so, as the government pumped money into the economy in order to prop up economic growth. To end a now years-long property slump, the government has already outlined new stimulus measures—like subsidies for households and businesses that want to upgrade appliances or machinery— and signaled that more will follow.Public debt was close to 80% of gross domestic product as of the middle of last year, roughly double the level of the mid-2010s, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

Hot CPI inflation number takes June interest rate cut off the table

Hot CPI inflation number takes June interest rate cut off the table

In March the Consumer Price Index inflation rate rose more than expected by economists for a third straight month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. That looks to the market today, and to me, like it takes an initial interest rate cut off the table for the Fed’s June 12 meeting. The all-items inflation rate rose by 0.4% in March from February. The 12-month all-items inflation rate rose at a 3.5% rate in March. The core CPI, the inflation rate more important to the Federal Reserve, rose 0.4% month-over-month in March. And at a 3.8% annual rate.

Nvidia’s next earnings report shaping up as very, ahem, “interesting”

Nvidia’s next earnings report shaping up as very, ahem, “interesting”

Nvidia (NVDA) doesn’t report earnings until May 22. But the report is already shaping up as critical for the stock. Analysts see the company reporting earnings of $5.13 a share for the quarter, up from just 88 cents a share in the same quarter of 2023.
But the short-term earnings numbers aren’t what’s most importance right now. Nvidia has roughly 90% share in the market for AI-accelator chips. That’s put a big target on the company’s back. No one expects Nvidia is maintain that 90% share–which is okay since the market is growing so fast. Last month, analysts at Bank of America said the market could reach anywhere between $250 billion and $500 billion over the next three to five years. That was a big jump from their earlier estimate of less than $250 billion. The question is How fast all the efforts to compete with Nvidia will eat into that market share.

Producer price index continues bond market freak out

10-year Treasury yields hit new high for 2024

Yields on the 10-year Treasury rose to the highest since November, climbing to 4.42%. That an increase in the 10-year yield of 25 basis points in the last month. The bond market looks to have given up its hope for three interest rate cuts in 2024 now to be looking now to just two moves by the Federal Reserve in 2024. Wednesday’s release of CPI inflation numbers for March will confirm or reverse that conviction