Stocks and bonds sold off after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell underwhelmed markets by refraining from pushing back more forcefully against the recent spike in Treasury yields.
The S&P 500 pared losses after briefly erasing its advance for 2021, but the gauge still headed toward its lowest close in about five weeks. Benchmark 10-year bond rates topped 1.5% as the dollar climbed. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 extended its decline from a February peak to almost 10%, and the Russell 2000 of small caps slid nearly 2.5%. Oil remained higher.
In an online event Thursday, Powell said he’d be “concerned” by disorderly markets, but stopped short of offering steps to curb volatility. The surge in Treasury yields has triggered fears about elevated stock valuations after a torrid rally from the depths of the pandemic. While bulls have decided to view the jump in rates as a sign of economic strength that could lift corporate profits, there’s been mounting concern over a potential pickup in consumer prices. For Bleakley Advisory Group’s Peter Boockvar, the Fed has put itself in a “tough situation,” and the only way out is if inflation doesn’t rise any further and stays below the 2% target.
“We are again seeing a market that is taking control of monetary policy from the Fed,” said Boockvar, the firm’s chief investment officer. “Long rates are rising right now because Powell is again very dovish. The more dovish they get in the face of market expectations of higher inflation, the more financial tightening we’ll see.”
Despite the lingering uncertainties about the impacts of rising bond yields, such fears are “misplaced,” according to Candice Bangsund, portfolio manager of global asset allocation at Fiera Capital.
“As long as the back-up in bond yields reflects stronger growth expectations (versus tighter monetary policy), then the long-term bull market will not be at risk,” she said. “The latest normalization in bond yields should be viewed as an encouraging sign that growth is healing, while the prospect for a hawkish turn from the Federal Reserve is clearly not in the cards today.”
- The February U.S. employment report on Friday will provide an update on the speed and direction of the nation’s labor market recovery.
These are some of the mains moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 fell 1.3% as of 3:06 p.m. New York time.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4%.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 2.4%.
- The MSCI Emerging Market Index declined 2.6%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.6%.
- The euro decreased 0.7% to $1.1974.
- The Japanese yen depreciated 0.8% to 107.86 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose six basis points to 1.54%.
- Germany’s 10-year yield fell two basis points to -0.31%.
- Britain’s 10-year yield decreased five basis points to 0.731%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude gained 3.9% to $63.65 a barrel.
- Gold slid 0.9% to $1,696.54 an ounce.
SPACs Losing Momentum as Investors Shy Away, Says GlobalData
- Special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) initial public offerings (IPOs) from Jan to Apr 2021 exceeded $87bn*
- Valuations may rise, with many SPACs looking for targets in similar spaces
- Key attractions include technology, media and telecoms (TMT); pharma; and sustainability
US stock exchanges saw a total of 301 SPAC IPOs priced, raising $87.6bn in the first 15 weeks of 2021, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
SPAC IPOs set a new record in the first 12 weeks of the current year, having accounted for 77% of the total listings and 66% of the total capital raised. However, the so-termed ‘SPACulation’ seems to be fading away, evidenced by the sudden drop in capital raised by such IPOs from $11.5bn in week 13 to $0.7bn in week 15.
Keshav Kumar Jha, Business Fundamental Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The slowdown in SPAC IPOs is the result of many factors, including increasing interest rates due to the revival in economic activity and optimism surrounding economic recovery in 2021, which could provide an opportunity for investors to consider investments with lower risk. SPACs typically bring risky propositions to investors’ portfolios as the capital raised is used for acquiring and merging with a private company and taking the company public, usually within 24 months.”
SPACs were the preferred tool to raise capital as traditional-IPO could not account for even one-third of total listing on both NASDAQ and NYSE in 2021 so far.
SPAC is a quicker and more economical way to go public. A company that intends to go public in the US could easily do so the SPAC way. This has attracted investors ranging from institutional investors and hedge-fund billionaires to Hollywood actors and private investors. Michael Dell raised $500m via MSD Acquisition Corp and Sir Richard Branson raised $350m via Virgin Group Acquisition Corp II.
Jha continues: “A number of SPACs with deep pockets are targeting similar companies that could inflate valuations and force them to raise money through other routes to fund their acquisition. However, failure to secure a merger within two years would require SPACs to return the money to investors.”
Apart from the sudden drop in SPAC listing, the performance of these stocks also remained lacklustre. Among the 301 SPACs listed in 2021 so far, only 1% were trading above 10% of their listing price and 16% were trading below the listing price as of April 9, 2021.
Jha adds: “SPACs could find it increasingly difficult to attract investors due to regulators’ actions to prevent SPACs from disseminating misleading information. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently indicated that it would conduct traditional IPO-like scrutiny for SPACs to restrict them from providing overstated and misleading information to investors.”
GTBank Approves N79.464 billion Final Dividend for 2020 Financial Year
Shareholders of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, a leading financial institution in Nigeria, have approved the payment of N79,464,186,000 as the final dividend from the N201.4 billion profit after tax recorded for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.
At the bank’s thirty-first Annual General Meeting held on Friday, April 9, 2021 at the Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island in Lagos, shareholders received and passed final dividend of N2.70k per 50 ordinary share for the 2020 financial year. Bringing the total dividend paid to shareholders for the 2020 financial year to N3.00k per ordinary share of 50 kobo each.
In the year under review, the leading financial institution realised N253.668 billion net interest income in the year under review, up from N231.363 billion achieved in 2019.
Commenting on 2020 financial year, Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, GTBank, said “2020 was arguably the most challenging year that the world has faced in decades. In such unprecedented times, we sought to live out the full extent of our values; safeguarding lives and livelihoods for our people, our customers and across the communities where we operate.”
“We were on solid footing going into 2020; the strength, scale and liquidity of our balance sheet, coupled with the quality of our past decisions and the efficacy of our digital-first customer-centric strategy gave us the resilience and flexibility to navigate the economic shocks and market volatility that dominated the year.”
Jaiz Bank Proposes N0.03k as Final Dividend in 2020
Jaiz Bank Plc, a non-interest bank operating under Islamic banking principles in Nigeria, has proposed N0.03k per 50k ordinary share for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.
The amount is subject to appropriate withholding tax and approval will be paid to shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on June 10, 2021.
Jaiz Bank said the Register of Shareholders will be closed from Friday June 11, 2021 to Friday June 18, 2021.
It said the qualification date is June 10, 2021 but the payment date will be announced later.
However, shareholders who are yet to complete the e-dividend registration are advised to download the Registrar’s E-Dividend Mandate Activation For, from the company’s Registrar’s website at https://africaprudential.com/forms-offers/, complete and submit to the Registrar or their respective Banks.
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