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Retail Sales, Jobless Claims, Cathie Loves Coinbase - What's Moving Markets

EconomyApr 15, 2021 11:22
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By Geoffrey Smith -- Retail sales, industrial production and jobless claims head a busy U.S. data calendar. Coinbase gets ready for its second day of trading after a triumphant debut, helped in no small measure by Cathie Wood's ARK funds. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) announces a $25 billion stock buyback plan, while TSMC warns that the global chip shortage could drag into 2022. Dell surges as its founder simplifies the fiendishly complicated  structure of his empire, and oil consolidates after hitting its highest in nearly a month. Russian assets, meanwhile, come under pressure as the U.S. prepares a fresh round of sanctions against the country. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, April 15th. 

1. Retail sales, jobless claims lead data calendar

It’s a data-driven day in the U.S., with retail sales and industrial production data for March due, as well as the weekly update on jobless claims.

Retail sales, due out at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT) are expected to have risen by 5.9% last month, bouncing back from a weather-depressed 3% drop in February.

Industrial production, due 45 minutes later, is expected to have rebounded 2.8% after a 2.2% drop in February, when a week-long cold snap across much of the south paralyzed the energy complex and a suite of energy-intensive industries.

Initial jobless claims, which rose to 744,000 in last week’s release, are expected to have fallen to 700,000, a number that would still reflect a high continuing rate of layoffs in the economy, over a year after the start of the pandemic. The Philly Fed and Empire State manufacturing surveys are also due.

2 Bank of America plans $25 billion buyback; Citi and US Bancorp earnings to follow 

Bank of America became the latest lender to announce better-than-expected results thanks to a big release of reserves that were booked at the start of the pandemic. It also announced plans for a $25 billion stock buyback, lifting the shares in premarket trading.

Bank earnings continue to roll in, after results on Wednesday suggested a sharp divergence in trends between Main Street and Wall Street. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) registered its best ever quarter due to frenetic dealmaking activity, especially in equities. The same uplift at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) wasn’t enough to mask weak trends in consumer and business lending, which were also visible in Wells Fargo’s results.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) will also report before the open. Also reporting later are Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), Pepsico (NASDAQ:PEP), Blackrock (NYSE:BLK) and Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW).

3. Stocks set to open higher; Cathie loves Coinbase, while TSMC warns on chip shortage

U.S. stock markets are set to open mostly higher after a mixed day on Wednesday on which tech underperformed value stocks.

By 6:30 AM ET (1030 GMT), Dow Jones futures were up 154 points, or 0.5%, while S&P 500 futures were up 0.5% and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.6%.

Aside from those companies reporting, stocks likely to be in focus later include Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), after its spectacular debut on Wednesday left it with a market value of $76 billion. That’s down over 25% from its intraday high, but the stock was supported by news that Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment funds had bought $246 million of the stock for her suite of ETFs.

Also in focus will be Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL), after the PC maker announced plans to spin off its stake in VMWare, aiming to reduce its $52 billion debt pile. Dell was up 7.8% in premarket trading.

Overnight, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM) raised its guidance after predicting that the global shortage of silicon chips will drag on into 2022.

4. Russian assets stumble as U.S. readies sanctions

The Russian ruble fell as much as 2% and the country’s benchmark stock index fell 2.4% in response to news that the U.S. will impose fresh sanctions on the country due to its involvement in the SolarWinds hack and in past election interference.

According to reports, which cite unnamed U.S. officials, the new sanctions stop short of penalizing entities for holding Russian assets.

The news comes as Russia masses troops and armor on its border with Ukraine in what may be a prelude to a fresh escalation of the frozen conflict in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Elsewhere in emerging markets, the Turkish lira is in focus as the country's central bank meets for the first time under new leadership. The previous governor was fired last month after raising interest rates too aggressively for the liking of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

5. Oil steadies after inventory drawdown pushes it into new range

Crude oil prices retreated overnight after making substantial gains in response to a faster-than-expected draw on U.S. crude stockpiles last week.

The drop in inventories reported by the Energy Information Administration was nearly twice was was expected. Crude prices hit their highest in nearly a month in response, already supported by two upgrades to world oil demand this week from OPEC and the International Energy Agency.

Sentiment is also being supported by signs of the airline industry regaining momentum, at least in the U.S.  American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and others have signaled increases in flying capacity through the summer as the spread of vaccination-based immunity restores people’s confidence in mass transport.

Retail Sales, Jobless Claims, Cathie Loves Coinbase - What's Moving Markets

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