TODAY ON WALL STREET: Was yesterday just a fluke?

06/26/2020 | 08:51am

After yesterday dip, financial markets are bouncing back, despite the surge in coronavirus cases in the U.S. This is rather unexpected. Wall Street took the pretext of good news on banking stocks to recover.

Several states including Arizona, Texas, South Carolina and Florida, have recorded a 30% spike in cases over the past week, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. This led Texas’ governor to postpone the easing of restrictions.

Yesterday, US banks recorded gains, after US authorities relaxed the "Volker rule", decided in 2013 by the Obama team to avoid the excessive risk-taking that had contributed to the 2008 crisis. From next October, institutions will find it easier to participate in venture capital or hedge fund operations. The future will tell us whether this is a good idea… After the close, however, the Fed, on the sidelines of the announcement of the latest round of stress tests, banned banks from buying back shares in the third quarter and limited their possibilities of paying dividends (they will not be higher than those of the second quarter and will be capped on the basis of an average of profits over four quarters). U.S. bankers can still gloat: the easing of the Volker rule offers them a new perspective that goes well beyond the temporary effect of the restrictions announced by the Fed.

Meanwhile, after the death of 20 Indian soldiers last week in clashes with the Chinese army, India could respond with trade sanctions. Although the government has said it has no information on the matter, the director of the India Cellular & Electronics Association has warned that all imports of electronics from China have experienced customs problems.

In the U.K., the South Cambridgeshire district voted Thursday in favor of the proposed construction of a Huawei factory, worth about GBP 1 billion. The US government said it was "very concerned" about the decision, issuing a further warning about the security risks associated with Huawei, and stressing that the decision affected its confidence in the U.K.

The US economy is still going through a rollercoaster ride. Yesterday, the US Census Bureau released very encouraging results regarding Durable Goods Orders. Indeed, they came out at +15.8% (MoM) for the month of May, compared to -18.1% in April. Jobless claims are also higher than expected. While the consensus was for 1.32M weekly registrations, this came out at 1.48M. Even though these were down from the previous week, analysis suggests that these are more job cuts than temporary job losses.

Today on the agenda, three indicators are planned in the United States, the "core PCE" price index and household spending and income, followed by the latest reading of the University of Michigan's consumer confidence index.

Romain Fournier
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