Stock Report For Week Ended June 17, 2016
Global equities slipped lower on the week in volatile trade as markets grappled with the possibility that the United Kingdom may vote to leave the European Union next Thursday. West Texas Intermediate crude prices fell to $47.27 per barrel from $49.31 last week, and global Brent crude prices dipped to $48.54 from $49.62 a week ago. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) rose to 19.41 from 16.02 last week, while the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note slipped to 1.60% from 1.64%.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC NEWS
Fed indicates more gradual path of rate hikes likely
The Federal Open Market Committee this week voted unanimously to keep rates unchanged and indicated that the path for future rate hikes will likely be more gradual than the committee had forecast in March. The Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank (SNB) all held policy steady this week. However, the Japanese central bank lowered its inflation outlook, potentially setting the stage for additional policy action in July, while the SNB warned that the franc is significantly overvalued due to safe-haven buying ahead of the Brexit vote.
Brexit concerns surge as vote nears
A clear swing in opinion polls in favor of the Leave camp put markets on edge this week. The Brexit campaign came to a sudden halt late in the week when Labour member of Parliament Jo Cox was murdered during a meeting with constituents. The campaign will resume on Monday. Earlier in the week, the Sun, the United Kingdom's largest newspaper, urged readers to vote for the UK to leave the EU, which added to intensifying risk aversion in the markets.
China data raise growth concerns
While retail sales and industrial production data in China met market expectations, fixed asset investment was weak, raising concerns that China may not be able to sustain its 6.5%–7% growth target this year. Separately, the International Monetary Fund warned that China's rapidly rising corporate debt burden clouds its economic outlook. And this week, index provider MSCI again decided not to include mainland China A shares in its Emerging Markets Index.
More record-low bond yields
More global sovereign debt is trading with negative interest rates, with the yield on 10-year German bunds dipping below zero for the first time and Swiss 30-year bonds doing the same. UK 10-year gilts fell to a record low of 1.10%.
IMF warns on political risk to eurozone recovery
Against the backdrop of next week's Brexit vote, growing political divisions and skepticism about the EU project could derail the eurozone's fragile recovery, the IMF warned. The fund urged policymakers to take swift action to boost growth and strengthen integration in order to combat instability and repeated crises of confidence.
California climbs in rankings
If the largest state in the United States were its own independent economy, California would rank number six in the world, according to the California Department of Finance, using data from the IMF. California's $2.5 trillion economy moved ahead of France and Brazil on the list. California's economy slipped to 10th on the global list in the wake of the global financial crisis, before rebounding, thanks in large measure to Silicon Valley.
Coffee doesn't cause cancer after all
After labeling it a carcinogen 25 years ago, the World Health Organization this week reversed course and said not only does coffee not cause cancer, it may actually guard against certain cancers.