The Nasdaq Composite closed at a new all-time high on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 not far behind with sentiment brightening sentiment across trading desks.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 0.7 per cent to 6,025.5 — its first ever close above the 6,000 mark. The small-cap Russell 2000 was up 1 per cent to 1,411.3, having hit an intra-day record earlier in the day. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent to 2,388.6.
Equities have gotten a boost after the results of the French elections on Sunday eased one short-term risk. At the same time, the Trump administration has been taking an increasingly optimistic tone on tax reform, saying on Monday that it intends to push the corporate tax rate down by 20 percentage points to 15 per cent.
Lower taxes would increase corporate America’s profits and spark higher levels of economic growth, according to analysis from numerous investment banks following the November election. However, the failure of the White House to repeal and replace Obamacare has cast a shadow on the administration’s ability to enact fiscal measures.
Meanwhile, investors continued to unwind positions in havens that were built up ahead of the French vote. The 10-year Treasury yield, which moves in the opposite direction of the price, was up 0.0646 percentage points to 2.338 per cent. Gold slid 1 per cent to $1,263 a troy ounce.
Despite leading in the polls for Round One, The Express reports that a monumental computer blunder could cost Marine Le Pen the French general election as 500,000 citizens living outside of France have the chance to vote twice.
The election has become extremely close with just 4.5 percentage points separating Macron, Fillon, Mélenchon, and Le Pen…
Which is why this shocking error in election procedures could be the swing to crush Le Pen’s hopes. As The Express reports, half a million people received duplicate polling cards in the post, which would allow them to cast two votes at the first round of the election, held on April 23.
French authorities confirmed they would not be investigating the potential electoral fraud until AFTER the election, when retrospective prosecution may take place.
We are sure this is a simple ‘accident’, but coincidentally (for the establishment), this could crush Ms Le Pen’s dreams of surging to power, as most French nationals living outside of their country are not right wing – demonstrated by the fact many feel they depend on the European Union (EU) to guarantee their stay in foreign countries. Far left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has surged in the polls recently and threatens to break into the leadership race against Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron, could also benefit from this catastrophic error.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is facing a tough time in his political career due to the back to back defeats across the country, is once again making the headlines. This time Rahul has been into the limelight for a completely unique reason. Vishal Diwan, who is an engineering student from Hoshangabad Madhya Pradesh has approached to the Guinness Book of World Records and requested to enlist Rahul Gandhi’s name for losing as many as 27 elections in the country.
Diwan believes that the fact that Congress party has lost 27 elections in the span of 5 years is somewhere a result of Rahul Gandhi’s active participation in election campaigning and media interactions. As a matter of fact, this number consistent losses are more than enough to get qualified for the record book. In order to fulfill his wish, Diwan has written a letter to the administration of Guinness Books and have also paid the enrollment fees for the same. Diwan has received the confirmation of acceptance of his application, but the US-based record book have not confirmed whether it will approve such request or not.
The premium investors are demanding to hold French over German 10-year debt has hit a fresh post-eurozone crisis high today – exceeding 0.81 percentage points for the first time since August 2012.
The yield gap has swollen to its highest in over four years this month, reflecting investor jitters about France’s upcoming and unpredictable presidential elections in three months’ time.
France’s 10-year bond yield – which reflects the government’s borrowing costs – leapt 7 basis points today to 1.1 per cent after latest polls show the far-right Marine Le Pen is on course to emerge as a clear winner in the first round vote held in late April.
Ms Le Pen, who has promised to hold a referendum on France’s eurozone membership, is polling at 27 per cent in the first round vote, with her two main rivals, Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron tied at 20 per cent, according to latest collated polls from Opinionlab.
The prospect of a Le Pen presidency has spooked French bond investors with markets warily eyeing the apparent demise of her biggest rival, the right-wing Mr Fillon.
Marine Le Pen’s French election victory odds reached their highest level of the campaign overnight and it appears global investors are starting to panic-bid protection against the consequences for French stocks…
Oddschecker indicates Le Pen’s incessant rise in popularity…
A payout of more than 100 million euros ($106 million) may be beckoning for options investors if the German 10-year yield drops to zero in the aftermath of France’s elections.
German 10-year bunds currently yield about 0.30 percent, so a decline to zero would represent a significant increase in demand for haven assets. That would mirror moves seen after the U.K.’s Brexit vote.
As Le Pen’s odds of victory in the French elections rises, so the spread between ‘risky’ France and ‘safe-haven’ Germany has soared…
Back in September, Tad Rivelle, Chief Investment Officer for fixed income at LA-based TCW, said in a note that “the time has come to leave the dance floor”, noting that “corporate leverage, which has exceeded levels reached before the 2008 financial crisis, is a sign that investors should start preparing for the end of the credit cycle.” Ominously, he added that “we’ve lived this story before.” Five months later, the FT reports that TCW, which is also the US asset manager that runs the world’s largest actively managed bond fund, has put its money where its bearish mouth is, and has eliminated its exposure to eurozone bank debt over fears these lenders are “excessively risky.”
In an interview with the FT, Rivelle said the company began to reduce its exposure to debt issued by eurozone lenders following the UK’s vote to leave the EU last June. In the first half of last year TCW, which oversees $160bn in fixed income strategies, had around $2bn invested in European bank debt. This has fallen to less than $500m since the Brexit vote, most of it in UK banks.
Rivelle, who previously was a bond fund manager at PIMCO, said his biggest concern was the number of toxic loans held by eurozone lenders, which amount to more than €1 trilion. Last month Andrea Enria, chairman of the European Banking Authority, said the scale of the region’s bad-debt problem had become “urgent and actionable”, and called for the creation of a “bad bank” to help lenders deal with the issue. Rivelle said: “The [eurozone] banking system [has] a bad combination of negative rates, slow growth and lots of problem non-performing loans. It is inherently prone to a potential crisis should global economic conditions, or European economic conditions, worsen. [These are] the preconditions of a potential banking crisis.”
Continuing his bearish bent, Rivelle added that there is a 50% likelihood of another global recession within the next two years, removing any incentive to invest in the eurozone banking sector within that timeframe. The forthcoming French presidential elections in April, which could see Eurosceptic candidate Marine Le Pen come to power, and the problems facing the Italian banking system, are additional risks for eurozone banks this year.
There is never as much detail or conviction in the Minutes as market-watchers hope for. This is the closest thing there is to guidance:
“At this meeting, members continued to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, inflation would rise to the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term as the transitory effects of past declines in energy prices and non-energy import prices dissipated and the labor market strengthened further. This view was reinforced by the rise in inflation in recent months and by recent increases in inflation compensation. Against this backdrop and in light of the current shortfall in inflation from 2 percent, members agreed that they would continue to closely monitor actual and expected progress toward the Committee’s inflation goal.”
The knee-jerk reaction in the FX market was disappointment and the US dollar fell 30 pips but it quickly rebounded back to unchanged.
On Wednesday night, controversial filmmaker Michael Moore made yet another mind-numbing prediction: He strongly suggested to late-night talk show host Seth Meyers that the Electoral College would deny President-elect Donald Trump a victory prior to his January 20th, 2017 inauguration. Moore previously stunned everyone by predicting Trump’s victory at a time when the analytics — and the political-media establishment — all favored Hillary Clinton.
There is a mechanism for what Moore is suggesting, however unlikely, and it exists within the Electoral College itself in the form of a decentralized, existential bunch of wonks. And, historically speaking, they have never actually asserted their power and changed a presidential election. They’re called ‘faithless electors,’ people nominated to represent the will of the people but who may, constitutionally speaking, revoke their duties. So far, there are seven ‘faithless electors’ who have defected from voting for Trump in the Electoral College. Count ‘em, seven — out of 270. That’s not a lot, obviously, but the mind balks at how quickly momentum could swing against a candidate that garnered over 2.5 million fewer votes than his challenger in the popular vote.
Here are three reasons why I believe Trump could, incredibly, still lose this election:
Trump has revealed himself to be fully in support of the establishment.
With his selections for pretty much the full gamut of cabinet positions, Trump has revealed himself to be an establishmentfigure, which is exactly the perception he ran against. Will his voters turn against him? Mostly no (or, at least, not yet). Will the other 74.5 percent of Americans who did not support him reject his victory? Possibly. Will this alone cause Trump to end up losing the vaunted Electoral College? No. Of course not! That’s why there are two more reasons.
Hillary won the popular vote by over 2.5 million.
This is fact. The number is actually growing. It’s historic; it’s actually disgusting if one is prone to be disgusted by electoral politics. Will this alone — or in conjunction with reason one — cause Trump to lose? No. Of course not! That’s why there’s one more, important, reason.