Daily Agenda: Markets Calm as Brexit Vote Nears
Investors hedge on U.K. exit; bondholders hit Valeant with default notice; initial jobless claims fall; Mickelson gives up gains in insider case.
With only weeks to go before British voters decide whether they will remain within the European Union, markets appear to be slowly pricing in a victory for Prime Minister David Cameron, with the latest Evening Standard poll giving the “remain” side a double-digit lead. Despite a growing sense that Britain will stay in the EU, the risk of an exit — the so-called Brexit — remains high for policymakers at both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. Although calm, investors hedged their bets and markets continued a flight-to-safety this week, with yields on ten-year U.K. gilts compressing to levels that place their year-to-date price performance higher than equivalent German and U.S. securities.
Valeant served notice of default. On Thursday, embattled drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International announced it had received a notice of default from bondholders after the company failed to file its 10-Q on time. The notice provides the company with 60 days to address the filing before payment becomes immediately due on outstanding debts.
Mickelson to give up trading profits. Popular professional golfer Phil Mickelson agreed on Thursday to comply with a request by the Securities and Exchange Commission to disgorge profits totaling nearly $1 million that he made on stock tips from a professional gambler. The gambler, William “Billy” Walters, has been accused of executing trades based on inside information from former Dean Foods chairman Tom Davis. Mickelson was not accused of wrongdoing in the SEC complaint. Davis pleaded guilty Monday and is cooperating with the authorities against Williams.
Initial claims drop. On Thursday, initial jobless-claims data released by the Department of Labor revealed that new unemployment filings declined by 16,000 during the week ending on May 14 — the largest contraction in the ranks of newly jobless since February. New York State claims data dropped significantly after spiking in the prior week, likely due to a seasonal distortion.
Crowds flock to Shanghai Disney ahead of opening. According to a briefing provided by a government official on Thursday, some one million Chinese tourists have visited portions of Walt Disney’s new Shanghai theme park in the past month, despite the fact that it is not yet open for business. The park, which cost more than $5 billion to construct, will officially open its doors on June 16.
Deere lowers profit forecast. On Friday Deere & Co. lowered forward guidance for full-year 2016, reducing net-income projections by $100 million on expectations for lower demand for farm equipment. According to management at the company total sales of agricultural equipment in the US may decline by as much as 20 percent year-over-year.
Tesla completes capital raise. On Thursday Tesla Motors placed 6.8 million new shares in a secondary offering that raised nearly $1.5 billion earmarked for expanding production capacity. The electric auto company plans to have 500,000 vehicles coming off the assembly lines per year by 2018. The transaction was lead managed by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and others.
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