Daily Agenda: Fed’s New Policy is ‘Lower for Longer’

Federal Reserve refrains from rate hike; Cooperman to fight insider-trading charges; Mylan CEO testifies before Congress; Yahoo! to admit hack; Apple turns to cars.


Equities in Europe and Asia rose in aggregate today after the Federal Reserve refrained from raising the benchmark overnight lending rate. Derivatives markets linked to interest rates suggest that investors now anticipate a single hike in 2016 to be followed by another in spring of 2017, as the gradual tightening spelled out in the Fed’s dot-plot chart appears to indicate. In a note to clients this morning, CCTrack CEO Robert Savage comments that “lower-for-longer rates in the U.S. brings on a renewed interest in carry trades, boosts equities, lifts commodities,” adding that “markets suggest summer will last until the U.S. election if not December.” According to Savage, the Federal Open Market Committee likely now sees the cost of waiting on rate normalization as balanced against risks to global financial stability, with the threat of larger bubbles viewed as manageable for now. Investors now appear to have relaxed with the likelihood that U.S. markets will face only a gradual incline in rates.

Cooperman scoffs at SEC allegations. Hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, CEO and founder of Omega Advisors, has vowed to fight insider-trading charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against him. The SEC alleges that Cooperman used his insider status at Atlas Pipeline Partners to profit. Cooperman denied the charge in a note to investors in Omega, which manages more than $5 billion. Atlas is one of a number of energy companies controlled by Edward Cohen, whose corporate structuring has drawn criticism from investors in the past.

Mylan chief grilled by Congress. Mylan Pharmaceuticals CEO Heather Bresch appeared before the Congressional House Oversight Committee yesterday to answer questions about her company’s pricing strategy for the EpiPen allergy-shot product. Bresch maintained that profit margins for the product remained relatively modest in the face of a barrage of often-hostile questions over price increases and executive pay. Bresch is the daughter of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

Yahoo! said ready to admit hack. Multiple media and social network sources reported today that Yahoo! will announce a data breach affecting as many as 200 million users. The news, coming on the heels of an agreed-upon acquisition of Yahoo’s core business units by Verizon Communications, presents a potential hurdle to completion of the merger, which does not include Yahoo’s stake in Chinese online commerce giant Alibaba.

Creditor throws lifeline to Korea shipping giant. It was announced today that Hanjin Shipping Co. has received a credit-line extension of slightly more than $45 million from primary creditor Korea Development Bank as part of an attempt to ease the shipping company’s logistical woes as it reorganizes. The loan is conditional on additional funds already pledged by primary shareholders, including Korea Air, of the container shipper. The funding will allow the unloading of cargo currently stuck at sea as Hanjin seeks bankruptcy protection in the Korean courts.

Apple moves into auto market. Apple has begun discussions to acquire a stake in U.K. performance automobile maker McLaren, as well as purchase San Francisco electric-scooter startup Lit Motors outright. The move comes as Silicon Valley is increasing focused on the automotive industry. According to unnamed sources, Apple already has a design team in place for a car aimed at entering the market by 2020. If accurate, the reports could indicate that Apple intends to compete with Tesla Motors, currently the highest-profile performance electric-car maker.