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North American Morning Briefing: Retail Sales -2-

07/16/2021 | 06:10am EDT

A Shanghai-based software supplier has requested the court to start the bankruptcy proceedings for Nanjing Zhixing New Energy Vehicle Technology Development Co., or Byton, according to the court record. The court hasn't accepted the petition as Byton is seeking a settlement with the creditor, the company said in a statement.

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ServiceMax, Backed by Silver Lake and GE, to Go Public in $1.4 Billion SPAC Deal

ServiceMax has agreed to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company in a deal that will take the maker of software for field-service technicians public, the companies said Thursday.

The software company-whose current owners include private-equity firm Silver Lake, General Electric Co. and the venture arm of business-software giant Salesforce.com-will merge with Pathfinder Acquisition Corp. in a deal that values ServiceMax at about $1.4 billion.

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Limited Auto Supplies Cloud Broader June Retail Sales Gains

U.S. shoppers likely boosted spending at many retailers in June, but weak auto sales linked to supply disruptions could have restrained revenue gains as the economy more broadly reopened.

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Sovereign-Wealth Funds Invest More at Home as Covid-19 Hits Economies

Sovereign-wealth funds, which are among the world's biggest stock-market players, are unleashing more of their firepower at home, as governments lean on them to reboot pandemic-stricken economies.

The funds made about $12.7 billion in new investments directly into companies and projects in their domestic economies in 2020, more than triple the amount in 2019, according to the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds, or IFSWF. So far this year, sovereign-wealth funds have invested some $4 billion at home, about the same as in all of 2019.

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Yield Premium on Riskier Corporate Bonds Nears All-Time Low

The extra return investors demand to hold lower-rated corporate bonds over ultrasafe Treasurys has fallen within striking distance of all-time lows, a sign of investors' appetite for riskier assets and the changing composition of bond indexes.

As of Wednesday, the average extra yield, or spread, of bonds in the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. high-yield corporate bond index was 2.75 percentage points. Earlier this month, the spread fell as low as 2.62 percentage points, the lowest since June 2007 and just a shade higher than the all-time low of 2.33 percentage points set in May of that year.

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Infrastructure Talks Stall Over Expanded IRS Powers

WASHINGTON-Disagreements over expanding the Internal Revenue Service have snarled lawmakers' efforts to firm up their roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure agreement before an initial vote next week gauging the deal's support.

In an hourslong meeting Thursday afternoon with White House officials, Republicans and Democrats who have spent weeks negotiating the deal again grappled with how to pay for it. Lawmakers and aides said the group may abandon an effort to raise revenue through enhanced enforcement at the IRS after some Republicans said they were concerned about granting the tax agency new power.

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BOJ to Offer Banks Zero-Rate Loans to Help Firms Tackle Climate Change

The Bank of Japan said Friday that it will provide zero-rate loans to commercial banks to help companies finance projects to mitigate climate change.

The BOJ's move adds to the global debate over whether central banks should broaden their mandate beyond their traditional goal of price stability. Japan's central bank said climate change needs to be addressed because of its significant economic and financial impact.

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U.S. Banking Regulators Seek Comment on Third-Party Relationships Guidance

The interagency guidance on third-party relationships proposed by three banking regulators highlights the risks financial institutions face as banks increasingly rely on outside vendors and financial-technology companies for products and services, industry observers said.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are seeking comment on proposed guidance that offers a risk-management framework for third-party relationships, the agencies said this week. Third parties referred to in the document include vendors, fintech companies, affiliates and banking organizations' holding companies, the agencies said.

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Growth Blowback for Wind Turbines

Wind-turbine manufacturers have big plans to supply the booming green-energy market. But burgeoning demand doesn't guarantee continued profitability in the near term.

Late Wednesday night, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, the leading manufacturer of offshore wind turbines, issued a profit warning. On Friday morning, shares were down 16% since the announcement. Management said group earnings margins would be flat or slightly negative and revenues would be at the low end of forecasts. Only last quarter, recently appointed chief executive Andreas Nauen outlined his turnaround plan for the offshore division where the problems are centered.

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Auto Loans Are Getting Off the Beaten Track

Prices of new and used vehicles are at record highs, bolstered by a semiconductor supply crunch that has kept a lid on car production just as consumers are itching to get out and shop for them. Used cars and trucks were 45.2% more expensive in June than they were a year earlier, while new cars were 5.3% pricier, according to the Labor Department. Monthly payments don't look all that different to consumers, though, thanks to lower rates, longer terms, or putting up more cash. For new cars, average monthly loan payments increased just $7 in the first quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, according to consumer-credit reporting company Experian. Monthly loan payments for used cars rose $19, or 5%, in the same period.

Loan durations had been getting longer even before the pandemic. The average length of an auto loan was 70 months for new cars and 68.9 months for used cars in the second quarter, according to data from Edmunds; 10 years ago, they averaged 64 months and 62 months, respectively. Much of that happened as competition grew among lenders and as car prices gradually increased, with auto makers adding new technology and customization options on vehicles. Longer payment terms were designed to make vehicles look more affordable.

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Palladium Prices to Peak This Year as Auto Makers Switch Back to Cheaper Platinum -- Analysis

Palladium's yearslong rally could finally come to an end this year as car makers revert to using the now cheaper alternative platinum, UBS said.

Palladium futures have soared from around $200 a troy ounce in 2009 to a high of $2,981 an ounce this year. The metal has risen every year since 2015 as it became the primary metal car makers used in their autocatalysts, which filter out harmful emissions from car exhausts.

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Eurozone Exports Fell Again in May

Eurozone exports fell in May for the fifth consecutive month, signaling that international goods trading remained on a weak footing despite the easing of most coronavirus-related restrictions.

The European Union's statistics agency said Friday that the currency area's exports fell by 1.5% in May compared with April, while imports increased by 0.7%, both adjusted for seasonal variations. The seasonally adjusted trade surplus was 9.4 billion euros ($11.1 billion) compared with EUR13.4 billion in April.

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EU New Car Sales Rose in June, But Pace of Growth Slowed

Passenger-car registrations in the European Union continued their ascent in June, although the pace of growth has been more modest than in previous months, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, or ACEA, said Friday.

New car registrations--a reflection of sales--rose 10% year-on-year to 1.05 million units in June, with growth of 25% from January to June to 5.4 million units.

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Biden Says Situation in Hong Kong Deteriorating

WASHINGTON-President Biden said the situation in Hong Kong is "deteriorating" as the administration prepares to issue an advisory to businesses that he said would lay out what may happen as China furthers its crackdown on the territory.

Mr. Biden didn't give details on the advisory, which officials said may be released as early as Friday. Asked about the planned advisory during a press conference Thursday alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Biden said "The situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating, and the Chinese government is not keeping its commitment."

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Floods in Germany, Belgium Leave at Least 100 Dead as Rescuers Race to Find Survivors

BERLIN-Rescuers in Germany and neighboring countries were racing to find survivors from the region's worst flooding this century, as the death toll rose to over 100 with hundreds still missing following days of torrential rainfall that some politicians and scientists linked to climate change.

German authorities used helicopters and drones to locate survivors who fled to roofs and high ground without being able to collect any of their belongings when the homes were engulfed by flash floods that turned streets into rivers, swept away cars and crushed houses.

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Biden Says He Expects to Give Update on Europe Travel Ban Soon

President Biden said he expected to give an update on whether his administration would lift a ban on travel from Germany and other parts of Europe in the coming days, following an evaluation from his Covid-19 advisers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the subject during a bilateral meeting with Mr. Biden Thursday, he said.

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Canada Eyes Reopening Border to U.S. Tourists in Mid-August

OTTAWA-Canada could start allowing Americans into the country for recreational or tourist activities starting in mid-August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said late Thursday.

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

07-16-21 0609ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (AUD/JPY) -0.13% 80.374 Delayed Quote.1.38%
BANK OF JAPAN 3.10% 29900 End-of-day quote.20.91%
BARCLAYS PLC -0.12% 183.74 Delayed Quote.25.27%
BRITISH POUND / JAPANESE YEN (GBP/JPY) 0.02% 151.399 Delayed Quote.7.29%
CANADIAN DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (CAD/JPY) 0.40% 87.477 Delayed Quote.7.41%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.10% 34798 Delayed Quote.13.59%
EURO / JAPANESE YEN (EUR/JPY) 0.20% 129.779 Delayed Quote.2.81%
EXPERIAN PLC -1.71% 3281 Delayed Quote.18.15%
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY 0.89% 103.8 Delayed Quote.20.14%
INDIAN RUPEE / JAPANESE YEN (INR/JPY) 0.40% 1.500848 Delayed Quote.5.79%
NEW ZEALAND DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (NZD/JPY) -0.36% 77.661 Delayed Quote.5.16%
PALLADIUM -0.90% 1971.5 Delayed Quote.-18.93%
PATHFINDER ACQUISITION CORPORATION 0.34% 9.8936 Delayed Quote.0.00%
SIEMENS AG -1.53% 147.96 Delayed Quote.25.90%
SIEMENS GAMESA RENEWABLE ENERGY, S.A. -0.70% 22.82 Delayed Quote.-31.04%
SILVER 0.00% 22.39 Delayed Quote.-14.41%
US DOLLAR / JAPANESE YEN (USD/JPY) 0.33% 110.685 Delayed Quote.6.92%
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