Many bulls think Nvidia's stellar results will supercharge the excitement that's been building around AI this year and help reignite the tech rally. Bears still think investors have gotten too far ahead of themselves and warn that profit taking and market consolidation is likely ahead. Bears and even many Wall Street insiders think it will be a chore for investors to lift already expensive stocks much further with the uncertainties surrounding the Federal Reserve's next moves and the headwinds that high rates are creating in bond markets.
Bears are also quick to point out that the Nvidia hype may be no match for Fed Chief Jerome Powell and what could be a market-moving speech on Friday morning.
It's unlikely Powell will have a definitive answer as to whether the Fed's interest rate hiking campaign is finished but investors will still be looking for clues in his words as well as delivery. Bears expect Powell to skew to the "hawkish" side and reiterate warnings about keeping rates higher for longer.
Keep in mind, many bulls on Wall Street are betting on rate cuts by the middle of next year. Bears also warn that if Powell hints that more rate hikes may still be needed, it could put more upward pressure on "real" rates and bond yields, which have been a major source of headwinds for stocks recently.
Today, the only economic data of note is the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index. On the earnings front, chip makers Intuit and Marvell Technology will be of major investor interest. Other results today include Affirm, Burlington Stores, Dollar Tree, The Gap, Nordstrom, and Ulta Beauty.
The Surge in Credit Card Delinquencies: Late payments on credit card balances are rising, and that could be a warning sign of difficult times to come in the US economy, according to Wells Fargo. Strategists at the bank pointed to credit card delinquencies surging among commercial banks. And for banks outside of the top 100 in asset size, late payments on credit card balances hit an all-time high, it said in a note on Tuesday. Rising late payments put more pressure on small- and medium-sized banks, strategists said, during a time when markets have been increasingly concerned about bank stability and rising debt levels in the US. You'll recall that earlier this month, Moody's downgraded several US banks, with S&P making similar moves on Monday. Meanwhile, credit card debt also notched $1 trillion for the first time in early August, according to Federal Reserve data. Source Businessinsider
US New Home Sales Rise to Highest Level in Over a Year: Demand for new homes remained hot in July despite higher mortgage rates, with sales rising to their highest level since February 2022. Newly built single-family homes in July were sold at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 714,000, census data show, up +31.5% from one year prior and a +4.4% increase from June. By contrast, sales of previously-owned homes in July waned to the lowest levels since January. And August isn’t looking better, according to leading mortgage application data: the Mortgage Bankers Association’s index tracking applications for home purchase loans fell to its lowest level since April 1995. Mortgage Bankers Association Deputy Chief Economist Joel Kan blame both high interest rates and low existing home inventories that creating affordability hurdles. The imbalance has been a boon for home builders. Luxury home builder Toll Brothers on Tuesday reported earnings growth of nearly +60% with revenue up +8%. New home sales may have benefitted from the lock-in effect so far, but the trend may be faltering as rates hit multidecade highs, National Association of Home Builders chief economist Robert Dietz wrote in a Wednesday blog post. Source Barrons
China Braces for -$38 Billion in Losses in Troubled Trust Sector: China’s $2.9 trillion trust industry is emerging as yet another threat to the world’s second largest economy. After being restructured at least six times since its inception in 1979, the sector is facing another round of losses that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts say may swell to the equivalent of $38 billion. Private wealth giant Zhongzhi Enterprise Group Co. and its affiliate Zhongrong International Trust Co. have halted payments on scores of high-yield investment products since last month, even sparking rare protests in Beijing. Zhongzhi’s size — it manages more than 1 trillion yuan ($137 billion) — and its interconnectedness with wealthy investors, struggling developers and other financial institutions has spurred concern that troubles are beginning to cascade in the broader financial industry. China's trust industry peaked in 2017 but the industry still looms large, with its size equal to almost a fifth of China’s economy. About 7.4% of trust companies’ funds are invested in real estate-related assets as of March. There is also an even more opaque part of the shadow banking business: trust firms private lending to developers. Source Bloomberg
Environmental Activists Pressure US Regulators to halt JBS Listing: A coalition of environmental groups is pushing U.S. securities regulators to thwart JBS SA's New York share listing over concerns about the world's largest meatpacker's impact on deforestation, climate change and other issues. The Brazilian company hopes a U.S. listing will attract a broader investor base to give it more access to cheaper capital. World Animal Protection told the SEC that JBS, which buys grain for livestock feed, did not adequately identify crop farming as a material risk factor for deforestation in its prospectus. JBS said it is using blockchain technology to monitor suppliers' suppliers. As of January 2026, only producers registered in its blockchain tool will be able to continue doing business with JBS, it said. The company expects to conclude its U.S. listing by the end of the year. Source Reuters
China Vows Action Over Japan's Nuclear Wastewater Plan: China vowed to take “necessary steps” to safeguard food safety and the marine environment after Japan set a date to begin flushing treated nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima site into the Pacific Ocean. “This act blatantly transfers the risk of nuclear pollution to neighboring countries, including China and the international community,” China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sun Weidong said in a statement. Beijing, which has criticized Japan’s proposal as unsafe and questioned the accuracy of its testing regime, “will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard the marine environment, food safety and public health,” if the water releases go ahead as planned from Thursday, he said. China’s retaliation threatens agricultural and seafood purchases from Japan, which totaled about 278 billion yen ($1.9 billion) last year. Hong Kong, which imported about 209 billion yen worth of the goods, on Wednesday confirmed it will extend import curbs on products from seafood to seaweed from some areas. Source Bloomberg
Insurers Raise Premiums for Black Sea Oil Tankers: Insurance companies have notified charterers of ships operating in Russia's Black Sea ports of an increase in additional payments known as "war risk premiums", four traders said. A war risk premium was added to the common insurance costs for tankers last year after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Military actions in the Black Sea area of Russian and Ukrainian Black Sea ports have escalated since the grain export deal fell apart in mid-July. So far, oil loadings from Russia's Black Sea ports have not been affected by the attacks, but risks are mounting, traders said. The war risk premium was increased from around 1% of the cargo's cost to some 1.20-1.25%, the traders said. The increase means every voyage will cost +$200,000 per one Suezmax tanker (can carry 120,000-200,000 metric tons) more if Russian oil is delivered to India. The rise in the premium means the overall cost of the premium will be almost $1 million. At the peak of Russian supply and sanctions crisis Russian companies were paying as much as $20 million per tanker towards insurance shipping and freight costs representing more than a third of each cargo's value. Source Reuters
Most U.S. Gun Owners, Protection Is the Main Reason They Own a Gun: Gun owners in the United States continue to cite protection far more than other factors, including hunting and sport shooting, as a major reason they own a gun. A Pew Research Center survey finds that 72% of U.S. gun owners say protection is a major reason they own a gun, a view that has changed only modestly since the Center’s major survey of attitudes toward gun ownership and gun policies in 2017. The shares of adults who say they personally own a gun – or that someone else in their household owns a gun – has changed little in recent years. Roughly a third (32%) say they own a gun; another 10% say that while they do not personally own a gun, someone else in their household does. The demographics of gun ownership have changed little in recent years. Gun ownership is far more common among residents of rural areas (47%) than among people living in suburbs (30%) or urban areas (20%). Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (45%) are far more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners (20%) to report owning a gun. Source Pew Research
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