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Week Ahead – Risk events galore

Week Ahead – Risk events galore



Or so the old saying goes

Next week is littered with major risk events, from stimulus talks in Washington to Brexit talks on the other side of the Atlantic. What’s more, earnings season has crept up on us, with Covid and the US election stealing all of the headlines. Apple is also releasing a new 5G iPhone so there really is something for everyone.

Presidential election heating up as Biden extends his lead

Another Brexit “deadline” to pass us by?

Hurricane Delta and Norwegian strikes keep oil elevated



The upcoming week is jam-packed with risk events.  First and foremost, stimulus talks will closely be watched to see if the Trump administration capitulates to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s demand to deliver a broader stimulus bill and not just a stand-alone bill to support the airlines.  The virus spread continues to intensify across most of the country and that will bring back stringent lockdowns and restrictive measures.  

Earnings season is upon us and this time, expectations are high for the banks to kick it off with a bang.  The big US banks are likely to post a profit in the third quarter and see estimated provision for loan loss reserves decline significantly.    

Technology stocks will likely take a queue from the reaction to Apple’s October 13 “Hi, Speed” event.  Apple is expected to unveil the biggest overhaul to the iPhone in years.  Four new iPhones that support 5g are expected to be released and if successful, could provide strong support to Apple and all of its suppliers.  

US Politics

It has been a couple of tough weeks for President Trump. He lost the first presidential debate against former-VP Biden, caught COVID-19, and has seen his poll numbers slide even further.  President Trump is eagerly looking to get back on the campaign trail and is also pushing for only in-person debates.  This election for many is a referendum on the Trump administration’s handling of the virus and right now the virus spread is worsening in the US.  With 41 states seeing a rise in new cases and 23 states with at least a 10% surge in hospitalizations, the country does not seem ready to handle a winter wave that could make the virus spread much worse.  


We now know why policy makers were so keen to clarify Christine Lagarde’s comments on the exchange rate the weekend after last month’s meeting, with the minutes highlighting that they are indeed concerned about the pace of appreciation and the challenge it poses for inflation. I expect we’ll hear a lot more of these murmerings given the bloc has historically had with inflation and we could even see hints at more easing, with the challenges coming this winter.


With one week to go until the mid-October “deadline” you would imagine the last week would have been very constructive as the two sides iron out the final differences and move towards a deal, but that wouldn’t be very Brexit, would it. This is going to the eleventh hour and that doesn’t mean next week. Another week of talks will take place and some compromise will be needed on the two remaining issues in order to signal there’s something worth taking to the last minute. This is going to drag on a little further and with every passing week, the pound is likely to increasingly see sensitivity to the prospect of no deal.


No deal Brexit and a severe second wave of Covid remains the biggest downside risks for the UK economy in the final quarter and right now, both remain a significant possibility. The economy didn’t grow as expected in September and at 9.2% below pre-pandemic levels, hasn’t recovered to the extent the BoE anticipated. I imagine we’ll be hearing more easing noises from policy makers over the next couple of months with the extra QE funds running dry by the end of the year.


China released strong PMI data and saw impressive CNY appreciation on Friday after returning from an 8 day holiday.

Balance of Trade and Inflation data the week’s highlight with the political front quiet domestically.

Sentiment vulnerable to increasing anti-China rhetoric from White House and sanction threats on Tencent and Ant Financial.

Hong Kong

No data this week. Market anticipation building for Ant Financial IPO date which should come to market in the next two weeks before US election. Positive for technology stocks.

Evergrande dodging another debt bullet will give confidence to property sector equities.


RBI finally convened a new committee to announce rate decision Friday. The episode has been another black mark on India’s economic management.

Heavy data week Industrial Production still harshly negative, WPI rising and Balance of Trade negative continuing to hold India in a stagflationary embrace. Negative for Indian equities and fixed interest.

Covid-19 continues to crush economic activity and India’s potential recovery.

New Zealand 

Election at the end of the week with the incumbent Labour Party set for landslide victory. Neutral to slightly positive for New Zealand Dollar and equities.

Covid-19 has been eliminated once again but RBNZ continues to be ultra dovish announcing preparation for negative interest rates. NZ Dollar in danger of tracing a major bearish reversal as a result.


Federal budget well received. Business confidence data expected to show continuing rebound. RBA rate decision Tuesday, unchanged with market looking for negative interest rate comments. If mentioned, strongly negative AUD.

Stocks and currency positive on the back of firm commodity prices and data. Both though are vulnerable to the nuances of the dreaded Trump tweet next week.


Services PMI and Household Spending expected to show domestic recovery remains slow and patchy. Yen negative. Talk still circulates of further fiscal stimulus although authorities are reluctant to commit.

Japan equities vulnerable to Trump tweets along with the rest of the world. USD/JPY has traced out a major bullish technical formation implying a move to 108.00 or higher.  



Oil prices are seeing a little profit-taking heading into the weekend following a 10% rally this week in response to a number of short-term bullish factors lifting the market. Hurricane Delta has been upgraded to category three and forced the closure of most oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, amounting to around 1.67 million barrels per day. 

North sea outages as workers strike over pay has resulted in another 330,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of additional shutins and that could rise to  966,000 by the middle of next week if a resolution isn’t found.

That’s a lot of lost production, it’s hardly surprising we’ve seen the spike we have. It also means there’s a long way to fall if the Hurricane causes minimal damage and the strike is resolved.


Trump’s confidence in a stimulus package being agreed is rubbing off on the markets and risk assets are reaping the benefits.

And right now, gold falls into that bracket, having aligned itself with positive risk apetite this year rather than its traditional safe haven role. There is an added element here as well, with gold also typically viewed as an inflation hedge so a massive stimulus package could be doubly positive for the yellow metal.

Despite the market getting excited about the prospect of stimulus, I’m not there yet and think this gold rally may be a little premature, leaving it vulnerable to a further corrective move to the downside.

This will only be short-term – the decline since August is, itself, corrective – but I don’t view this month as strongly risk on unless something changes. Still, a move above $1,920 may reinforce the counter view, at which point the $1,960-2,000 region becomes very interesting indeed. There’s a cluster of resistance here which, if overcome, could be very bullish indeed.

Economic Calendar

Saturday, Oct. 10

– Kim Jong Un might have a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.

Economic Data

China money supply and new yuan loans to be released sometime this week

Sunday, October 11th

– Hungary holds a special election for a parliamentary seat, with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s legislative supermajority hanging in the balance. The race will test the united opposition, which plans to field joint candidates in the 2022 elections.

Monday, October 12th

– Bond markets will be closed in the US and Canada for the US Columbus Day holiday and Canada’s Thanksgiving Day, respectively.

– Brexit endgame:  The UK is coming up against another deadline to secure a trade deal with the EU.  Limited progress has been made as sticking points on fisheries and state aid remain.

– The UK is weighing tougher coronavirus restrictions after lockdown failures

– ECB President Christine Lagarde leads off the virtual annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. Through Oct. 18.

– Bank of England policy maker Jonathan Haskel speaks on the University of Exeter Economics Society’s webinar.

– BOE Governor Andrew Bailey appears at the BOE Citizens’ Panel open forum.

– The Institute of International Finance holds its annual membership meeting. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves are among the speakers at this five-day event. Live-streamed, through Oct. 16.

– Milken Institute 2020 Global Conference convenes virtually with a theme of “Meeting the Moment.” Speakers include Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease official. Though Oct. 21.

– Switzerland publishes updated economic forecasts.

Economic Data

Mexico industrial production

Japan PPI, core machine orders

South Africa manufacturing production

Turkey current account balance, unemployment

India CPI, industrial production

 Tuesday, October 13th

Earnings Season begins!  JPMorgan and Citigroup kick things off in the morning. 

– IMF World Economic Outlook is published

– Apple officially launches iPhone 12.  A total of four iPhones will be launched.

Economic Data

US September CPI M/M: 0.2% eyed v 0.4% prior

Mexico international reserves

New Zealand food prices

Japan money stock

Germany ZEW survey expectations

Turkey industrial production

UK unemployment rate, jobless claims

China trade 

Wednesday, Oct. 14

-Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivers the annual policy address.

-IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass give press conferences from the annual IMF/World Bank Meetings

– Bank of America and Goldman Sachs report earnings before the bell.

-Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida speaks with IIF President Tim Adams at the IIF annual meeting.

-Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Randal Quarles, vice chair for supervision at the Fed, will speak on financial supervision at an event hosted by Hoover Economic Policy Working Group. Kaplan will also hold a virtual town hall on recent economic developments.

-ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane and Governing Council members Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Robert Holzmann and Pablo Hernandez de Cos speak during an online conference.

-BOE Chief Economist Andy Haldane gives the Engaging Business Summit autumn lecture.

Economic Data

US Sept PPI Final Demand M/M: 0.1% eyed v 0.3% prior

Australia Westpac consumer confidence

Singapore monetary authority policy statement, GDP

Japan industrial production, capacity utilization

India wholesale prices

South Africa retail sales

Euro-area industrial production

Thursday, October 15th

– EU leaders meet for a two-day summit in Brussels. Topics to be covered include Brexit, climate change, Covid-19 and relations with Africa.

– Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari talks to NYU Stern’s Center on the economy. Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin speaks at the Economic Club of New York.

– Bank of Canada’s Deputy Governor Timothy Lane speaks on a panel.

– EIA crude oil inventory report

Economic Data

US Weekly Initial Jobless Claims, Empire manufacturing: 12.0eyed v 17.0 prior

Australia unemployment, participation rate

Polish CPI

China PPI, CPI

Trade: Indonesia, India

Japan tertiary industry index

Italy industrial orders 

Friday, October 16th

– US retail sales for September could show the slowdown is here already.  |

Economic Data

US: Baker Hughes rig count, September Advance Retail Sales M/M: 0.7% eyed v 0.6% prior, September Industrial Production 0.6%eyed v 0.4% prior, Oct Prelim Univ. of Michigan sentiment: 80.0eyed v 80.4 prior, TIC flows

Canada manufacturing sales

New Zealand performance of manufacturing index

Singapore non-oil domestic exports, electronic exports

Sovereign Rating Updates:

– United Kingdom (Moody’s) 

– France (DBRS)


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Beloved mall retailer files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, will liquidate

The struggling chain has given up the fight and will close hundreds of stores around the world.



It has been a brutal period for several popular retailers. The fallout from the covid pandemic and a challenging economic environment have pushed numerous chains into bankruptcy with Tuesday Morning, Christmas Tree Shops, and Bed Bath & Beyond all moving from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.

In all three of those cases, the companies faced clear financial pressures that led to inventory problems and vendors demanding faster, or even upfront payment. That creates a sort of inevitability.

Related: Beloved retailer finds life after bankruptcy, new famous owner

When a retailer faces financial pressure it sets off a cycle where vendors become wary of selling them items. That leads to barren shelves and no ability for the chain to sell its way out of its financial problems. 

Once that happens bankruptcy generally becomes the only option. Sometimes that means a Chapter 11 filing which gives the company a chance to negotiate with its creditors. In some cases, deals can be worked out where vendors extend longer terms or even forgive some debts, and banks offer an extension of loan terms.

In other cases, new funding can be secured which assuages vendor concerns or the company might be taken over by its vendors. Sometimes, as was the case with David's Bridal, a new owner steps in, adds new money, and makes deals with creditors in order to give the company a new lease on life.

It's rare that a retailer moves directly into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and decides to liquidate without trying to find a new source of funding.

Mall traffic has varied depending upon the type of mall.

Image source: Getty Images

The Body Shop has bad news for customers  

The Body Shop has been in a very public fight for survival. Fears began when the company closed half of its locations in the United Kingdom. That was followed by a bankruptcy-style filing in Canada and an abrupt closure of its U.S. stores on March 4.

"The Canadian subsidiary of the global beauty and cosmetics brand announced it has started restructuring proceedings by filing a Notice of Intention (NOI) to Make a Proposal pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada). In the same release, the company said that, as of March 1, 2024, The Body Shop US Limited has ceased operations," Chain Store Age reported.

A message on the company's U.S. website shared a simple message that does not appear to be the entire story.

"We're currently undergoing planned maintenance, but don't worry we're due to be back online soon."

That same message is still on the company's website, but a new filing makes it clear that the site is not down for maintenance, it's down for good.

The Body Shop files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

While the future appeared bleak for The Body Shop, fans of the brand held out hope that a savior would step in. That's not going to be the case. 

The Body Shop filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States.

"The US arm of the ethical cosmetics group has ceased trading at its 50 outlets. On Saturday (March 9), it filed for Chapter 7 insolvency, under which assets are sold off to clear debts, putting about 400 jobs at risk including those in a distribution center that still holds millions of dollars worth of stock," The Guardian reported.

After its closure in the United States, the survival of the brand remains very much in doubt. About half of the chain's stores in the United Kingdom remain open along with its Australian stores. 

The future of those stores remains very much in doubt and the chain has shared that it needs new funding in order for them to continue operating.

The Body Shop did not respond to a request for comment from TheStreet.   

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Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super…



Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super Tuesday primaries have got it right. Barring cataclysmic changes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the Republican and Democratic nominees for president in 2024.

(Left) President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Right) Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump stands on stage during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images)

With Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, there will be no more significantly contested primaries or caucuses—the earliest both parties’ races have been over since something like the current primary-dominated system was put in place in 1972.

The primary results have spotlighted some of both nominees’ weaknesses.

Donald Trump lost high-income, high-educated constituencies, including the entire metro area—aka the Swamp. Many but by no means all Haley votes there were cast by Biden Democrats. Mr. Trump can’t afford to lose too many of the others in target states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Majorities and large minorities of voters in overwhelmingly Latino counties in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and some in Houston voted against Joe Biden, and even more against Senate nominee Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas).

Returns from Hispanic precincts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts show the same thing. Mr. Biden can’t afford to lose too many Latino votes in target states like Arizona and Georgia.

When Mr. Trump rode down that escalator in 2015, commentators assumed he’d repel Latinos. Instead, Latino voters nationally, and especially the closest eyewitnesses of Biden’s open-border policy, have been trending heavily Republican.

High-income liberal Democrats may sport lawn signs proclaiming, “In this house, we believe ... no human is illegal.” The logical consequence of that belief is an open border. But modest-income folks in border counties know that flows of illegal immigrants result in disorder, disease, and crime.

There is plenty of impatience with increased disorder in election returns below the presidential level. Consider Los Angeles County, America’s largest county, with nearly 10 million people, more people than 40 of the 50 states. It voted 71 percent for Mr. Biden in 2020.

Current returns show county District Attorney George Gascon winning only 21 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan primary. He’ll apparently face Republican Nathan Hochman, a critic of his liberal policies, in November.

Gascon, elected after the May 2020 death of counterfeit-passing suspect George Floyd in Minneapolis, is one of many county prosecutors supported by billionaire George Soros. His policies include not charging juveniles as adults, not seeking higher penalties for gang membership or use of firearms, and bringing fewer misdemeanor cases.

The predictable result has been increased car thefts, burglaries, and personal robberies. Some 120 assistant district attorneys have left the office, and there’s a backlog of 10,000 unprosecuted cases.

More than a dozen other Soros-backed and similarly liberal prosecutors have faced strong opposition or have left office.

St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner resigned last May amid lawsuits seeking her removal, Milwaukee’s John Chisholm retired in January, and Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby was defeated in July 2022 and convicted of perjury in September 2023. Last November, Loudoun County, Virginia, voters (62 percent Biden) ousted liberal Buta Biberaj, who declined to prosecute a transgender student for assault, and in June 2022 voters in San Francisco (85 percent Biden) recalled famed radical Chesa Boudin.

Similarly, this Tuesday, voters in San Francisco passed ballot measures strengthening police powers and requiring treatment of drug-addicted welfare recipients.

In retrospect, it appears the Floyd video, appearing after three months of COVID-19 confinement, sparked a frenzied, even crazed reaction, especially among the highly educated and articulate. One fatal incident was seen as proof that America’s “systemic racism” was worse than ever and that police forces should be defunded and perhaps abolished.

2020 was “the year America went crazy,” I wrote in January 2021, a year in which police funding was actually cut by Democrats in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. A year in which young New York Times (NYT) staffers claimed they were endangered by the publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) opinion article advocating calling in military forces if necessary to stop rioting, as had been done in Detroit in 1967 and Los Angeles in 1992. A craven NYT publisher even fired the editorial page editor for running the article.

Evidence of visible and tangible discontent with increasing violence and its consequences—barren and locked shelves in Manhattan chain drugstores, skyrocketing carjackings in Washington, D.C.—is as unmistakable in polls and election results as it is in daily life in large metropolitan areas. Maybe 2024 will turn out to be the year even liberal America stopped acting crazy.

Chaos and disorder work against incumbents, as they did in 1968 when Democrats saw their party’s popular vote fall from 61 percent to 43 percent.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 23:20

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Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reviewed no data when deciding in 2023 to keep its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place.

Doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Washington in a file image. (Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said on May 1, 2023, that the end of many other federal mandates “will not impact current policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

He said the mandate was remaining for VA health care personnel “to ensure the safety of veterans and our colleagues.”

Mr. McDonough did not cite any studies or other data. A VA spokesperson declined to provide any data that was reviewed when deciding not to rescind the mandate. The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act for “all documents outlining which data was relied upon when establishing the mandate when deciding to keep the mandate in place.”

The agency searched for such data and did not find any.

The VA does not even attempt to justify its policies with science, because it can’t,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the Health Freedom Defense Fund, told The Epoch Times.

“The VA just trusts that the process and cost of challenging its unfounded policies is so onerous, most people are dissuaded from even trying,” she added.

The VA’s mandate remains in place to this day.

The VA’s website claims that vaccines “help protect you from getting severe illness” and “offer good protection against most COVID-19 variants,” pointing in part to observational data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimate the vaccines provide poor protection against symptomatic infection and transient shielding against hospitalization.

There have also been increasing concerns among outside scientists about confirmed side effects like heart inflammation—the VA hid a safety signal it detected for the inflammation—and possible side effects such as tinnitus, which shift the benefit-risk calculus.

President Joe Biden imposed a slate of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in 2021. The VA was the first federal agency to implement a mandate.

President Biden rescinded the mandates in May 2023, citing a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His administration maintains the choice to require vaccines was the right one and saved lives.

“Our administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations,” the White House said.

Some experts said requiring vaccination meant many younger people were forced to get a vaccine despite the risks potentially outweighing the benefits, leaving fewer doses for older adults.

By mandating the vaccines to younger people and those with natural immunity from having had COVID, older people in the U.S. and other countries did not have access to them, and many people might have died because of that,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times previously.

The VA was one of just a handful of agencies to keep its mandate in place following the removal of many federal mandates.

“At this time, the vaccine requirement will remain in effect for VA health care personnel, including VA psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees,” Mr. McDonough wrote to VA employees at the time.

This also includes VA volunteers and contractors. Effectively, this means that any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee, volunteer, or contractor who works in VHA facilities, visits VHA facilities, or provides direct care to those we serve will still be subject to the vaccine requirement at this time,” he said. “We continue to monitor and discuss this requirement, and we will provide more information about the vaccination requirements for VA health care employees soon. As always, we will process requests for vaccination exceptions in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.”

The version of the shots cleared in the fall of 2022, and available through the fall of 2023, did not have any clinical trial data supporting them.

A new version was approved in the fall of 2023 because there were indications that the shots not only offered temporary protection but also that the level of protection was lower than what was observed during earlier stages of the pandemic.

Ms. Manookian, whose group has challenged several of the federal mandates, said that the mandate “illustrates the dangers of the administrative state and how these federal agencies have become a law unto themselves.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 22:10

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