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Market Rout Extends With Futures Tumbling To Verge Of Bear Market

Market Rout Extends With Futures Tumbling To Verge Of Bear Market

US stock futures slumped again, extending yesterday’s brutal selloff that…

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Market Rout Extends With Futures Tumbling To Verge Of Bear Market

US stock futures slumped again, extending yesterday’s brutal selloff that erased $1.5 trillion in market value on concerns about everything from slowing growth, to Chinese lockdowns, to soaring inflation and tightening monetary policy. Contracts on the S&P 500 were down 1.2% 7:30 a.m. in New York, having earlier dropped to 3,856, one point away sliding 20% from January's all time highs, and triggering a bear market. The underlying index tumbled 4% on Wednesday, the most since June 2020, as consumer shares cratered after Target slashed its profit forecast due to a surge in costs. Nasdaq 100 futures were down 1.2%. 10Y TSY Yields slumped about 7bps, dropping to 2.833, while the dollar also dropped after yesterday's surge; bitcoin was flat around $29K.

The retail rout continued on Thursday: shares of US retailers again tumbled in premarket trading amid growing worries over the impact of rising inflation and the ability of companies to pass on higher costs to consumers; with Bath & Body Works becoming the latest retailer to cut its guidance. Major technology and internet stocks were also down, pointing to further losses in major technology and internet stocks a day after the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped to its lowest since November 2020. Apple (AAPL US) -1.2%, Microsoft (MSFT US) -1.2%, Meta Platforms (FB US) -1.1%, Netflix (NFLX US) -0.9% and Nvidia (NVDA US) -2.2% in premarket trading. US rail stocks may be in focus as Citi cuts ratings on Norfolk Southern (NSC US), Union Pacific (UNP US) and US Xpress Enterprises (USX US) to neutral from buy, while lowering 2023 estimates “across the board.”Here are some other notable movers:

  • Cisco Systems (CSCO US) plunged 13% in premarket trading after the network-gear maker spooked investors with a warning that Chinese lockdowns and other supply disruptions would wipe out sales growth in the current quarter. Shares of networking equipment makers drop after Cisco cuts outlook, with Broadcom (AVGO US) -3.6% and Juniper Networks (JNPR US) -5.9% in premarket trading.
  • Synopsys (SNPS US) rises 3.8% in premarket trading after the supplier of software used to design semiconductors boosted its profit and revenue guidance for the full year.
  • Target (TGT US) shares fall 2.2% in premarket trading, Walmart (WMT US) -0.3%; Kohl’s (KSS US) is in focus after two senior executives depart
  • Under Armour (UAA US) shares dropped as much as 6% in US premarket trading, with analysts saying that the departure of the sportswear maker’s CEO Patrik Frisk is a surprise and adds uncertainty.
  • Bath & Body Works’s (BBWI US) outlook cut was a little greater than expected, though analysts noted that it was due to higher costs and investment. The company’s shares fell almost 4% in premarket trading.
  • United Wholesale Mortgage (UWMC US) will struggle to main its 1Q earnings level in coming quarters, Piper Sandler says in a note downgrading the stock to underweight from neutral. Shares drop as much as 7% in US premarket trading.

The S&P 500 is on track for its longest weekly losing streak since 2001 as traders flee risk assets over fears that the Federal Reserve will push the economy into a recession as it tries to curb inflation. The benchmark is close to falling into a bear market, after dropping 18% from a record high in January.

"The US selloff was rather orderly and the market isn’t oversold, yet. That tells us that we are likely not at the bottom yet,” said Joachim Klement, head of strategy, accounting and sustainability at Liberum Capital. “Consumer sentiment remains depressed and we are seeing consumers retrenching on some discretionary spending.” 

Speaking on Tuesday in his most hawkish remarks to date, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the US central bank will keep raising interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation is in retreat. JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic, meanwhile, said - what else - that things can get better for US stocks. “There will be no recession this year, some summer increase in consumer activity on the back of reopening, China increasing monetary and fiscal measures,” he said.  Bolstering his opinion is a conviction that US inflation has probably peaked, or is about to do so, paving the way for a pullback in price pressures that will eventually allow the Federal Reserve to moderate the pace of monetary tightening. 

"Since we are pricing in a growth scare but not yet a recession, we could see further downside in the coming weeks, but we are starting to price in a very negative picture already, suggesting we should, at some point, be closer to the bottom,” said Esty Dwek, chief investment officer at Flowbank SA. US stock investors are pricing in stronger odds of a recession than are evident from positive macroeconomic indicators, according to Goldman Sachs strategists.

"A recession is not inevitable,” Goldman strategists led by David J. Kostin wrote in a note. “Rotations within the US equity market indicate that investors are pricing elevated odds of a downturn compared with the strength of recent economic data.”

Bets that robust earnings can help investors weather this year’s turbulence were thrown in doubt after US consumer titans signaled growing impact of high inflation on margins and consumer spending. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve officials reaffirmed that tighter monetary policy lies ahead, and investors fretted over stagflation risks.

“We are pricing in a growth scare,” Lori Calvasina, the head of US equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg TV. “There is a lot of uncertainty in this market right now about whether or not that recession is going to come through or if it’s going to be another near-death experience.”

There was some more good news on the China covid lockdown front: Shanghai Vice Mayor said Shanghai port throughput recovered to around 90% of the levels a year ago and that Shanghai will expand work resumption in areas with no COVID risk in early June. Furthermore, Shanghai is to gradually restore inter-district public transport from May 22nd and will require residents to show negative PCR tests taken within 48 hours before using public transport, while an economy official said Shanghai will reduce rents for small and medium-sized enterprises by more than CNY 10bln and the city extended CNY 72.3bln of loans to over 10,000 firms since March, according to Reuters.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 retreated 1.8%, after sliding more than 2% earlier, with all industry sectors in the red and personal care and financial services leading the decline as Wednesday’s retailer trouble in the U.S. spills over into Europe. FTSE 100 lags regional peers, dropping 2%. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • HomeServe shares jump as much as 12% after Brookfield agrees to buy the home emergency and repair services company for GBP4.1b.
  • Societe Generale shares rise as much as 1.5%, as it was raised to outperform from market perform at KBW, with the broker saying the sale of Russian activities removes a key overhang for the bank and should result in a re-rating.
  • Generali shares rose as much as 1.4% after 1Q profit beats analyst estimates as EU136m impairments on Russian investments were more than offset by higher operating income.
  • PGNiG shares rise as much as 6.2% after reporting 1Q results that, according to analysts, support Polish gas company’s outlook.
  • Nestle shares drop as much as 5.3% after Bernstein downgraded the stock to market perform from outperform, saying the shares will “struggle” if market sentiment improves and investors exit havens.
  • Royal Mail shares fall as much as 14% after the postal group’s FY results slightly missed estimates and analysts said its outlook is “disappointing.”
  • National Grid shares fall as much as 2.5%, erasing gains from yesterday’s record high, after the utility company reported full-year results.

Earlier in the session, shares of Asian retailers follow their US counterparts lower after Target became the second big retailer in two days to trim its profit forecast.

  • Australia: JB Hi-Fi retreats 6.6%, Wesfarmers -7.8%, Harvey Norman -5.5%, Woolworths -5.6%
  • South Korea: E-Mart - 3.4%; apparel makers Hansae -9.4%, F&F -4.2%, Youngone -8.2%
  • Japan: Fast Retailing - 3.1%, MatsukiyoCocokara -1.4%, Ryohin Keikaku -1.7%, Nitori -3%
  • Singapore: Grocery chain operator Sheng Siong slips as much as 1.3%
  • Hong Kong: Sun Art Retail down as much as 4.1%

In China, Tencent Holdings Ltd. plunged 6.6% after warning it will take time for Beijing to act on promises to prop up the Chinese tech sector. Cisco Systems Inc. slid in extended US trading on a disappointing revenue outlook.

Japan's Nikkei 225 suffered firm losses amid reports the ruling coalition is considering increasing the corporate tax rate and after several data releases in which Machinery Orders topped estimates but Exports missed as China-bound exports declined by the fastest pace since March 2020.

Indian stocks declined to a ten-month low, tracking a sell-off across Asia, on concerns the US Fed’s hawkish stance on inflation may cool economic activity and hurt consumer demand.  The S&P BSE Sensex plunged 2.6% to 52,792.23, its lowest level since July 30, in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index slipped 2.7% to 15,809.40  Software exporter Infosys Ltd. fell 5.4% to a 11-month low and was the biggest drag on the Sensex, which had 27 of 30 member stocks trading lower. All 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by S&P BSE Information Technology index, that dropped the most in over two years.   “Deteriorating macro sentiment such as soaring inflation, recession fears, and the prospect of the Federal Reserve getting even more hawkish will continue to keep benchmarks on the edge,” Prashanth Tapse, an analyst at Mehta Equities Ltd., wrote in a note.  In earnings, of the 36 Nifty 50 firms that have announced results so far, 21 have either met or exceeded analyst estimates, while 15 have missed forecasts.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.7% to close at 7,064.50, tumbling with global shares as concerns over inflation, interest-rate hikes and Ukraine piled up. All sectors dropped, except for health. Consumer shares were among the worst performers, following their US peers lower after Target became the second big retailer in two days to trim its profit forecast. Aristocrat rose after it released its 1H results and unveiled buyback plans. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 11,206.93

And in emerging markets, Sri Lanka fell into default for the first time in its history as the government struggles to halt an economic meltdown that prompted mass protests and a political crisis. An index of developing-nation stocks slumped more than 2%.

In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index declines, with all G-10 majors rising against the greenback. CHF is the strongest G-10 performer with USD/CHF snapping lower on to a 0.97 handle and EUR/CHF slumping below 1.03. The Swiss franc diverged from Japanese yen and dollar after hawkish comments from SNB’s Thomas Jordan Wednesday, which assured traders CHF rates could follow EUR higher. Options trades may also be behind the latest move in the spot market.

In rates, Treasury yields dropped about seven basis points as investors sought insurance against further declines in risk assets. Treasury yields richer by up to 6bp across belly of the curve, richening the 2s5s30s fly by 2.2bp on the day; 10-year yields around 2.83% with German 10-year outperforming by 2.5bps. Treasuries extended Wednesday’s rally as stocks resume slide with S&P 500 futures dropping under 3,900 to lowest level in a year; on the curve, the belly led the advance while bunds outperform in a more aggressive bull-flattening move as European stocks tumble. US session highlights include 10-year TIPS reopening at 1pm ET. Flurry of block trades during London session follows a spate of trades Wednesday; five blocks worth a combined cash-equivalent $1.2m/DV01 between 3:38am and 5:35am similarly entailed price action consistent with sales. Most European bonds also gained, with the yield on German 10-year securities falling more than basis points.  German yield curve bull-flattens: 30-year yield drops ~9bps before stalling near 1.05% which has acted as support for much of May so far.

The Dollar issuance slate empty so far; eight borrowers priced $8.5b Wednesday, and new issue activity is expected to be muted during remainder of the week. Three-month dollar Libor +2.69bp to 1.50486%. Economic data slate includes May Philadelphia Fed business outlook and initial jobless claims (8:30am), April existing homes sales and leading index (10am).

In commodities, crude oil extended declines, while most industrial metals were in the red as global growth fears damped the demand outlook. WTI reverses Asia’s gains, dropping back below $110 but holding above Wednesday’s lows. Spot gold is comparatively quiet, holding above $1,810/oz. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 2.1%, outperforming peers while copper held near a seven-month low and zinc extended losses.

Bitcoin is modestly softer in a relatively contained range that lies just shy of the USD 30k mark. Crypto exchange FTX to start rollout of new stock-trading service on Thursday, WSJ reports; will not accept payment for order flow on stock trades.

Looking to the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the weekly initial jobless claims, along with April’s existing home sales and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook survey for May. Central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Holzmann and the Fed’s Kashkari. Finally, the ECB will be publishing the minutes from their April meeting.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 1.1% to 3,879.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1.7% to 426.41
  • MXAP down 1.8% to 161.60
  • MXAPJ down 2.2% to 527.30
  • Nikkei down 1.9% to 26,402.84
  • Topix down 1.3% to 1,860.08
  • Hang Seng Index down 2.5% to 20,120.68
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,096.97
  • Sensex down 2.4% to 52,926.71
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.6% to 7,064.46
  • Kospi down 1.3% to 2,592.34
  • Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,814.49
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.28% to 103.52
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 0.96%
  • Euro up 0.3% to $1.0496
  • Brent Futures down 0.1% to $109.00/bbl

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • President Joe Biden is set to meet on Thursday with Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the White House to discuss the Nordic nations’ NATO bids.
  • China’s top diplomat again warned the US over its increased support for Taiwan, showing the island democracy remains a major sticking point between the world’s biggest economies as Beijing sent more military aircraft toward the island
  • Sri Lanka fell into default for the first time in its history as the government struggles to halt an economic meltdown that prompted mass protests and a political crisis
  • The yuan’s outlook is finally looking more balanced after a 6.5% dive versus its major trading partner currencies since March.

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks were pressured on spillover selling after the worst day on Wall St in almost two years. ASX 200 was led lower by consumer staples following the retailer woes stateside and mixed Australian jobs data. Nikkei 225 suffered firm losses amid reports the ruling coalition is considering increasing the corporate tax rate and after several data releases in which Machinery Orders topped estimates but Exports missed as China-bound exports declined by the fastest pace since March 2020. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp initially weakened with the Hong Kong benchmark dragged lower by heavy losses in tech after Tencent’s profit declined by more than 50% and with the mainland pressured as Beijing conducts a fresh round of mass COVID testing, although the mainland bourse recovered most of its losses after Shanghai announced a further gradual easing of restrictions. Xiaomi (1810 HK) Q1 adj. net profit CNY 2.859bln (vs 6.069bln Y/Y), Q1 revenue CNY 73.4bln (vs. 76.9bln Y/Y); global smartphone shipments -10.5% Y/Y at 38.5mln units.

Top Asian News

  • Shanghai Vice Mayor said Shanghai port throughput recovered to around 90% of the levels a year ago and that Shanghai will expand work resumption in areas with no COVID risk in early June. Furthermore, Shanghai is to gradually restore inter-district public transport from May 22nd and will require residents to show negative PCR tests taken within 48 hours before using public transport, while an economy official said Shanghai will reduce rents for small and medium-sized enterprises by more than CNY 10bln and the city extended CNY 72.3bln of loans to over 10,000 firms since March, according to Reuters.
  • Japanese MOF official said China's COVID curbs are among the factors that caused a decline in China-bound exports from Japan which fell by the fastest pace since March 2020, while Japan's April imports reached the largest amount on record, according to Reuters.
  • Japan's ruling coalition is reportedly considering increasing the corporate tax rate, according to Jiji.
  • New Zealand sees 2021/22 OBEGAL at NZD -18.98bln (prev. forecast -20.44bln), 2021/22 net debt at 36.9% of GDP (prev. forecast 37.6%) and Cash Balance at NZD -31.78bln (prev. forecast -34.10bln), while Finance Minister Robertson said the economy is expected to be robust in the near term and they see a return to OBEGAL surplus in 2024/25, according to Reuters.

European bourses are pressured across the board in a broader risk-off moves after yesterday's Wall St. sell off, as European players look past the brief respite seen overnight on Shanghai's reopening; Euro Stoxx 50 -2.3%. Stateside, the magnitude of the downside is somewhat more contained given newsflow has been limited since Wednesday's downside commenced, ES -1.2%.

Top European News

  • EU is reportedly considering a targeted trade war on troublesome Brexiteer MPs and Tory ministers to force UK PM Johnson to do a U-turn on the Northern Ireland protocol, according to The Telegraph.
  • Top UK Economist Defends BOE’s Handling of Inflation Crisis
  • EasyJet Bookings Pick Up Ahead of Uncertain Summer Season
  • Apax-Owned Rodenstock Acquires Spanish Rival Indo
  • European Gas Slips With LNG Imports Helping Boost Stockpiles

In FX

  • Franc resurgence and re-emergence as a safe haven currency continues; USD/CHF touches 0.9750 vs 1.0060+ peak on Monday, EUR/CHF sub-1.0250 vs circa 1.0500 at one stage only yesterday.
  • Dollar loses momentum as US Treasury yields retreat further and curve re-flattens amidst ongoing risk rout, DXY ducks under 103.500 after peaking just shy of 104.000 on Wednesday.
  • Kiwi and Aussie find positives via fiscal and fundamental factors to evade aversion; NZD/USD back above 0.6300 after NZ budget and AUD/USD hovering around 0.7000 post- Aussie jobs data.
  • Yen retains underlying bid irrespective of mixed Japanese data, USD/JPY below 128.00 again.
  • Euro firmer beyond EUR/CHF cross ahead of ECB minutes and Sterling off UK inflation data lows awaiting retail sales on Friday, EUR/USD retains sight of 1.0500 and Cable near 1.2400.
  • Rand meandering ahead of SARB in anticipation of 50 bp rate hike, USD/ZAR around 16.0000, irrespective of Gold taking firmer hold of USD 1800/oz handle.

Fixed Income

  • Debt resumes safe-haven rally as market mood continues to sour.
  • Bunds top 154.00, Gilts get close to 120.00 and 10 year T-note even nearer the same psychological level.
  • BTPs lag amidst the ongoing aversion to risk, while OATs and Bonos reflect on somewhat mixed auction results.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent are pressured in-fitting with broader sentiment as initial resilience on demand-side positives re. China/COVID were overpowered by the risk move.
  • However, the benchmarks are around USD 1.00/bbl off lows of USD 104.36/bbl and USD 106.76/bbl respectively, following reports that China is discussing the purchase of Russian crude.
  • China is said to be in talks with Russia to purchase oil for strategic reserves, according to Bloomberg sources; detailed on terms and volume reportedly not decided yet
  • Qatar Energy was reportedly selling July Al-Shaheen crude at premiums of USD 5.80-6.40/bbl above Dubai quotes which is the highest in 2 months, according to Reuters sources.
  • Spot gold is bid as it draws haven allure, with the yellow metal marginally surpassing USD 1830/oz.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: May Initial Jobless Claims, est. 200,000, prior 203,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.32m, prior 1.34m
  • 08:30: May Philadelphia Fed Business Outl, est. 15.0, prior 17.6
  • 10:00: April Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -2.2%, prior -2.7%; Home Resales with Condos, est. 5.64m, prior 5.77m
  • 10:00: April Leading Index, est. 0%, prior 0.3%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Today is my last day at work this week before I head up to Cambridge tomorrow for my Masters’ graduation. Before you send in a flood of congratulations though, I didn’t actually do any work for this qualification, with not even a single hour of revision. Now at this point you’re probably thinking I’m either a genius or guilty of some serious academic malpractice. I’m hoping the former. But the truth is that I’m benefiting from a quirky tradition that somehow means Cambridge, Oxford and Dublin will upgrade your Bachelors into a Masters after a few years. With the wedding two months away, it appears as though I’m losing all my bachelor status at once.

Markets seem ready for a holiday too after the last 24 hours, with the selloff resuming at pace after the brief respite on Tuesday. In fact it was nothing short of a rout with the S&P 500 ending the day down -4.04%, marking its worst daily performance since June 2020, and leaving the index at a fresh one-year low. There wasn’t a single catalyst behind the slump, but weak housing data out of the US along with Target’s move to cut its profit outlook helped feed investor concern that the consumer might not be in as strong a position as previously thought. And that’s on top of all the other worries of late that the global economy is heading in a stagflationary direction amidst various supply-chain issues, alongside the prospect that tighter central bank policy is going to further dent growth and risks tipping various economies into recession.

In terms of the specific moves, the S&P 500 gradually tumbled as the day went on, with its -4.04% decline more than reversing its +2.02% bounceback on Tuesday. The decline was an incredibly broad-based one, with just 8 constituents in the index ending the day higher, which is the lowest number since November. That earnings report we mentioned at the top meant that Target (-24.93%) saw the worst performance in the entire S&P 500, after saying they now expected their full-year operating income margin rate to be around 6%. That follows a disappointing report from Walmart the previous day, and meant that consumer staples (-6.38%) and consumer discretionary (-6.60%) were the worst-performing sectors in the S&P yesterday. The latest declines also mean that the S&P is back on track for a 7th consecutive weekly decline, having shed -2.49% since the start of the week, and S&P 500 futures are only up by +0.18% this morning. If the S&P 500 does see a 7th week in negative territory, then that would be the longest run of weekly declines for the index since 2001. Other indices lost ground too given the risk-off move, with the Dow Jones (-3.57%), the NASDAQ (-4.73%), and the small-cap Russell 2000 (-3.56%) all experiencing sizeable declines of their own. European indices had a better performance after closing before the worst of the US declines, and the STOXX 600 was “only” down -1.14% to just remain in positive territory for the week.

With recessionary concerns back in focus, sovereign bonds rallied on both sides of the Atlantic as investors sought out safe havens. Yields on 10yr US Treasuries fell by -10.2bps to 2.88%, with the decline mostly led by a -9.6bps move lower in real yields, and nominal yields are only back up +2.5bps this morning. The yield curve also continued to flatten and the 2s10s slope (-6.9ps) fell to its lowest in over two weeks, at 21.0bps, although it’s been over 6 weeks now since the curve last traded in inversion territory. We did get some Fedspeak but to be honest there weren’t any major headlines relative to what we already knew, with Chicago Fed President Evans saying it was “quite likely” the Fed would be at a neutral setting by year-end, whilst Philadelphia Fed President Harker was making the case for more gradual rate hikes after the next few 50bp hikes are delivered. More important for the outlook was the release of various housing data yesterday, where housing starts fell to an annualised rate of 1.724m in April (vs. 1.756m expected), and that was from a downwardly revised 1.728m in March. That comes against the backdrop of rising mortgage rates, and the MBA reported that mortgage purchase applications fell -11.9% in the week ending May 13, leaving them at their lowest levels since May 2020 when the numbers were still recovering from the pandemic slump.

Over in Europe, sovereign bond curves also became flatter as investors became increasingly aggressive on the near-term ECB rate path. Indeed the amount of ECB rate hikes priced in by the December meeting hit a fresh high of 108bps, or equivalent to at least four rate hikes of 25bps by year-end. That came amidst further ECB speakers over the last 24 hours, including Finnish central bank governor Rehn, who had already endorsed a July hike and said yesterday that the initial hike was “likely to take place in the summer”. Furthermore, he said that it seemed “necessary that in our policy rates we move relatively quickly out of negative territory”. We also heard from Estonian central bank governor Muller, who also endorsed a July hike and said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the deposit rate were in positive territory by year-end. However, Spanish central bank governor De Cos said that rate hikes should be gradual as he called for APP purchases to end at the start of Q3, with rate hikes to follow shortly afterwards.

Those growing expectations of tighter policy saw shorter-dated yields move higher in Europe once again, with 2yr German yields hitting their highest level since 2011 despite only a marginal +0.1bps move to 0.36%. However, the broader risk-off tone meant it was a different story for their longer-dated counterparts, and yields on 10yr bunds (-1.6bps) and OATs (-2.2bps) both moved lower on the day. Peripheral spreads widened as well, whilst iTraxx Crossover neared its recent highs with a +26.2bps move to 468bps.

In terms of the fight against inflation, there was a potential boost on the trade side yesterday as US Treasury Secretary Yellen confirmed ahead of a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governments that the she favoured removing some tariffs on goods that are not considered strategic. Separately the risk-off move also saw oil prices move lower for a 2nd day running yesterday, with Brent crude down -2.52%, although it’s since taken back a decent chunk of that loss this morning with a +1.51% move higher to $110.76/bbl.

Over in Asia, equity markets have tracked those steep overnight losses on Wall Street to move sharply lower this morning. Among the key indices, the Hang Seng (-2.25%) is the largest underperformer amidst a broad weakness in tech stocks as the Hang Seng Tech index fell by an even larger -3.40%. Mainland Chinese stocks have performed relatively better however, even if the Shanghai Composite (-0.08%) and CSI (-0.25%) have both moved slightly lower, while the Nikkei (-1.91%) and the Kospi (-1.29%) have seen more substantial losses. Finally there was some important employment data out of Australia this morning ahead of their election on Saturday, with the unemployment rate falling to its lowest since 1974, at 3.9%. The employment gain was a bit softer than expected with just a +4.0k gain (vs. +30.0k expected), but that included a +92.4k gain in full-time employment, offset by a -88.4k decline in part-time employment.

Elsewhere on the data side, there were fresh signs of inflationary pressure in the UK after CPI inflation rose to a 40-year high of +9.0% in April. But in spite of the 40-year high, that was actually slightly beneath the +9.1% reading expected by the consensus, which marked the first time in over 6 months that the reading hasn’t been higher than expected. Gilts outperformed following the release as it was also beneath the BoE’s staff projection of +9.1%, and 10yr gilt yields closed down -1.6bps on the day, whilst sterling underperformed the other major currencies leave it -1.28% weaker against the US Dollar.

To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the weekly initial jobless claims, along with April’s existing home sales and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook survey for May. Central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Holzmann and the Fed’s Kashkari. Finally, the ECB will be publishing the minutes from their April meeting.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/19/2022 - 08:02

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Steps to building a more patient-centric industry

Lack of access, strict regulations, and demanding schedules have made it extremely difficult for patients to participate in
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Lack of access, strict regulations, and demanding schedules have made it extremely difficult for patients to participate in clinical trials. A 2018 NIH survey found that patients felt clinical trial participation to be inconvenient and burdensome, and nearly half (49.0%) said it disrupted their daily routine. In 2021, a CISCRIP Perceptions and Insights Study reported more disruption to daily routines compared to previous years, citing length of visits, travel, and diagnostic tests as top burdens.

To ease this burden, the life sciences industry has been searching for ways to make clinical trials more accessible for patients and to drive participation numbers, increase participant diversity, and improve overall patient experience. For many patients, this change starts with choice.

A recent survey of clinical trial professionals found that more than two-thirds of respondents (61%) believe giving patients choice will have a positive impact on clinical research, and well over half (58%) said that their organisations plan to give patients the option to choose how they participate in clinical trials moving forward. Some examples of these choices can include video visits, phone visits, and remote monitoring.

As the industry focuses on creating a more holistic, inclusive patient experience, here are key steps to consider in order to help bridge the gap between clinical research and the patient experience.

Build a base in the community

According to the FDA’s 2020 Drug Trials Snapshot Report, only 8% of clinical trial participants are Black or African American, as compared to nearly 14% of the US population. The fact is, many minorities never learn about vital clinical trials in play, or that they’re eligible to participate. Subsequently, they are excluded, creating an evident gap in participants, and subsequently needed data on how treatments respond across different demographics of people.

Creating a broader, more inclusive patient experience starts with building a network of advocates who can help organisers meet patients where they are located and educate them about the availability and value of the trials. Initially, there needs to be a more proactive and sustained nationwide outreach effort to raise clinical trial awareness within minority communities.

It’s also important to partner with trusted people within minority communities, such as religious and government leaders that have the credibility needed to share clinical trial information to counter scepticism. If sponsors can partner with patient-advocacy groups to inform design, recruitment, follow-up, and even data collection (particularly for patient-reported outcomes), it will help to keep patients engaged longer and potentially derive higher quality data sets that can lead to better patient outcomes over the long run.

Embrace technology to expand reach

Technology – especially related to automation and the cloud – can help create a more flexible clinical trial model, thereby making it easier for patients to participate. Digital tools used in decentralised trials, remote enrolment tools, consent forms, wearables, and remote devices, as well as data capture, can help to expand overall access to clinical trials. For example, with remote monitoring, doctors and trial administrators can analyse all the data coming in and, if there’s a problem, they can act more quickly and respond back to the patient through a mobile device such as a smartphone.

Cloud platforms can open two-way communication channels for patients, doctors, and trial administrators to talk and share data, essentially in real-time. Some early examples of these capabilities were part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) v-safe program, developed by Oracle, which is used to track the effects of the COVID-19 vaccines through voluntary, scheduled survey prompts, and to remind people about boosters. Today, capabilities like this are being extended so that trial data from wearable devices and home-monitoring systems can be communicated directly to trial sites.

A new solution

One significant roadblock to clinical trial inclusion of minority groups has been location and transportation. Many potential participants lack transportation to and from clinical sites, and some trials are only held in large city hospitals, instead of smaller community hospitals that participants can sometimes access more easily. Thanks to decentralised trials and technology that collects data remotely, people from anywhere can participate.

One approach the industry has been exploring is to utilise community retail pharmacies as a central location for people to learn about and participate in clinical trials. By collaborating with pharmacy retailers, sponsors will have more opportunities for patient recruitment because they can offer patients the convenience and comfort of visiting familiar community sites.

For example, CVS and Walgreens have instituted flexible clinical trial models that combine patient insights, technology capabilities, and in-person and virtual-care options to engage broader and more diverse communities. The result is a much more expansive pool of participants and potentially much better information about populations where the drug is effective, and other populations where it might not be effective.

Keep it simple

There’s a notion that because the healthcare and life sciences industries are very complex, the systems that support them have to be equally complex. In fact, the opposite is true. Easier-to-use systems will increase participation rates, and we will have better outcomes as a result. With so many technology advancements at its disposal, the industry must find a way to bridge the divide between patient experience and clinical research. The patient journey must be a positive one, so that they will encourage others to participate.

Imagine, clinical research as an accessible care option to anyone. Technology has given us the opportunity to make this goal a reality. But as an industry, we must innovate to bring new experiences to market and improve the clinical research ecosystem for patients, healthcare professionals, sponsors, and regulators.

About the author

Katherine (Kathy) Vandebelt is global head of clinical innovation at Oracle Health Sciences. With over thirty years of experience in clinical research working in different geographies and across various TA, Kathy has worked with various organisations to advance their clinical operations and business processes to a better operating model. She believes patients are the most important constituent in clinical development and provide the necessary information to assess the safety and efficacy of new medicines. She strives to introduce new experiences and make the clinical research ecosystem better for patients, healthcare professionals, sponsors, and regulators using the power of technology.

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Meta ‘powering through’ with Metaverse plans despite doubts — Zuckerberg

Billions of dollars have been poured into Meta’s virtual world with little return on investment, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is holding fast.

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Billions of dollars have been poured into Meta’s virtual world with little return on investment, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he is holding fast.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is still hopeful about the company’s Metaverse plans regardless of the billions of dollars it’s sucking up from the company, claiming “someone has to build that.”

Appearing remotely for an interview at the Nov. 30 DealBook Summit in New York, Zuckerberg was asked his thoughts on whether the tech giants’ Metaverse play was still viable given its cost and the doubts cast over the platform, answering:

“I think things look very different on a ten-year time horizon than the zone that we're in for the next few years [...] I'm still completely optimistic about all the things that we've been optimistic about.”

He added part of “seeing things through” in the longer term was “powering through” the doubts held about its ambitions.

Meta's latest earnings, released on Oct. 26, revealed the largest-ever quarterly loss in its metaverse-building arm Reality Labs dating back to the fourth quarter of 2020. Zuckerberg’s virtual reality has cost $9.44 billion in 2022, closing in on the over $10 billion in losses recorded for 2021.

On the earnings call at the time Zuckerberg was unfazed by the cost, calling its metaverse the “next computing platform.” He doubled down on this claim at DealBook:

“We're not going to be here in the 2030s communicating and using computing devices that are exactly the same as what we have today, and someone has to build that and invest in it and believe in it.”

However, Zuckerberg admitted that the plans have come at a cost, Meta had to lay off 11,000 employees on Nov. 9 and the CEO said it had “planned out massive investments,” including into hardware to support its metaverse.

He said the company “thought that the economy and the business were going to go in in a certain direction” based on positive indicators relating to e-commerce businesses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. “Obviously it hasn't turned out that way,” Zuckerberg added.

“Our kind of operational focus over the next few years is going to be on efficiency and discipline and rigor and kind of just operating in a much tighter environment.”

Despite the apparent focus from Meta to build its metaverse, Zuckerberg claimed 80% of company investments are funneled into its flagship social media platforms and will continue that way “for quite some time.”

Investments in Reality Labs are “less than 20%” at least “until the Metaverse becomes a larger thing” he said.

Related: The metaverse is happening without Meta's permission

Of the 20% invested in Reality Labs, Zuckerberg said 40% of it goes toward its Virtual Reality (VR) headsets with the other “half or more” building what he considers “the long-term most important form factor [...] Normal-looking glasses that can put holograms in the world.”

Zuck takes bite at Apple

Zuckerberg also took a few jabs at its peer tech company Apple regarding its restrictive App Store policies, the likes of which have placed restrictions on crypto exchanges and nonfungible token (NFT) marketplaces, saying:

“I do think Apple has sort of singled themselves out as the only company that is trying to control unilaterally what apps get on a device and I don't think that's a sustainable or good place to be.”

He pointed to other computing platforms such as Windows and Android which are not as restrictive and even allow other app markets and sideloading — the use of third-party software or apps.

He added its been Meta’s commitment to allow sideloading with its existing VR units and upcoming Augmented Reality (AR) units and hoped the future Metaverse platforms were also open in such a manner.

“I do think it is it is problematic for one company to be able to control what kind of app experiences get on the device.”

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Nifty News: Porsche 911 NFTs, BMW files Web3 trademarks, Baby Shark’s NFT game and more…

BMW and Porsche have both recently ramped up their own Web3 plays, while Baby Shark is dipping into the blockchain gaming sector, but just for kids.

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BMW and Porsche have both recently ramped up their own Web3 plays, while Baby Shark is dipping into the blockchain gaming sector, but just for kids.

Porsche to launch 7,500 NFTs for use in a ‘virtual world’

German luxury car manufacturer Porsche has suggested it will be significantly ramping up its Web3 efforts after unveiling an upcoming NFT project consisting of 7,500 customizable tokenized vehicles.

In a Nov. 29 announcement, Porsche stated that the NFTs will be launched in January, and users will be able to customize various aspects of the cars in relation to performance and appearance.

The NFT art itself is being designed by designer and 3D artist Patrick Vogel, with all pieces revolving around the famous Porsche 911 model.

Notably these virtual assets will be designed in Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5, suggesting that gaming integrations are afoot.

NFT car designs: Porsche

The company gave a sneak peek into the project at the Art Basel conference in Miami on Nov. 30. While specific details have not been mentioned, the company noted that owners will be able to use the cars in the “virtual world,” most likely meaning some sort of Metaverse.

More broadly, Porsche suggested that it is looking to significantly ramp up its exposure to Web3 moving forward, with the announcement noting that:

“Digital art is just one aspect of Porsche’s Web3 strategy. The sports car manufacturer is working to integrate the potential of blockchain technology into existing and future processes and solutions.”

Porsche previously had a hand in launching soccer-themed NFT collectibles in June 2021 as part of a project called Fanzone, but now appears to be taking the tokenization of its cars more seriously.

BMW to get Web3 trademarks

Speaking of German luxury car manufacturers, BMW has reportedly applied to trademark its logo in relation to a host of Web3 products and services.

The move was highlighted by USPTO licensed trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis, who frequently shares news regarding Web3 trademark applications in the U.S. from major companies.

BMW outlined intentions for its logo to span across collectibles such as virtual clothing, footwear, headwear and vehicles, while also indicating plans for downloadable virtual goods such as online environments and games.

Baby Shark’s Web3 arc

Content from Pinkfong’s massively popular children’s song/music video Baby Shark is set to be tokenized as part of a family-focused blockchain game.

Pinkfong reportedly penned a licensing agreement with Toekenz Collectibles to create and issue Baby Shark characters in a child safe digital environment.

Baby Shark NFT partnership: Toekenz

Toekenz Collectibles is an NFT platform targeted at children aged 12 and under, and the focus of the game is to educate kids aged five to nine “about the trading economy of digital collectibles.”

The kids will also be able to customize the NFT art to their own liking, and even participate in a Tokenz DAO where they “can exercise democratic decision-making.”

This is not Pinkfong’s first dip into NFTs, Cointelegraph previously reported that the South Korea-based company launched a series of limited editions Baby Shark NFTs in December last year.

Related: Two Bored Apes sell for $1M each: Nifty Newsletter, Nov. 23–29

Deadmau5 rolling out music metaverse

A Web3 startup co-founded by popular crypto-friendly DJ Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) is gearing up for the launch of a music and gaming focused Metaverse platform.

Announced at the Art Basel event on Nov. 29, the start-up known as Pixelynx stated that the Polygon-based platform will launch this week, and kick things off with an Augmented Reality (AR) scavenger hunt set on Miami Beach.

The firm’s CEO and co-founder Inder Phull described the AR scavenger hunt as a “Rock Band meets Pokémon Go experience,” in which virtual gaming features are merged with real locations on maps via smart devices.

Users who hold Deadmau5’s Droplet NFTs will gain early access to Pixelynx’s metaverse with the platform aiming to provide a host of virtual experiences for fans of particular musicians and artists.

More Nifty News

NFTs depicting the ongoing protests in China against the country’s tough zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy have found their way to the NFT marketplace OpenSea at the tail end of November.

On Nov. 30, decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap announced that users can now trade NFTs on its native protocol. The function will initially feature NFT collections for sale on platforms including OpenSea, X2Y2, LooksRare, Sudoswap, Larva Labs, X2Y2, Foundation, NFT20, and NFTX.

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