1. Stocks Decline With Treasury Yields Pushing Higher

U.S. stocks declined and Treasury yields pushed higher with inflation concerns lingering and the Federal Reserve letting a capital break for big banks expire. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose for the fourth day after the central bank denied requests from Wall Street that it extend the relief to mitigate any impacts to the financial system and the $21 trillion Treasury market. Yields are up for an eighth consecutive week amid concern the Fed risks letting pricing pressures get out of control. The S&P 500 slumped for a second day, led lower by the financial and materials sectors. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fluctuated in the wake of Thursday’s 3.1% slump.

The S&P 500 Index dipped 0.6%.

The Nasdaq 100 Index decreased 0.5%.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.1%.

2. Fed to End Covid-19 Capital Break It Gave Wall Street Banks

The Federal Reserve will let a significant capital break for big banks expire at month’s end, denying frenzied requests from Wall Street that it extend the relief to mitigate any impacts to the financial system and the $21 trillion Treasury market. The reprieve that was granted last April — a response to coronavirus that allowed lenders to load up on Treasuries and deposits without setting aside capital to protect against losses — will expire March 31 as planned. Though the regulator has concluded the threat that Covid-19 poses to the economy isn’t nearly as severe as it was a year ago, the agency also said that it’s going to soon propose new changes to the so-called supplementary leverage ratio, or SLR.

3. U.S.-China Talks in Alaska Quickly Descend Into Bickering

The first high-level talks between the U.S. and China since President Joe Biden took office immediately descended into bickering and recriminations, illustrating the deep divide that remains despite the change in the White House. Each side sharply criticized the other over human rights, trade and international alliances at the meeting in frozen Anchorage, Alaska. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to raise concerns about cyber attacks, the treatment of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and Beijing’s increasing control over Hong Kong.

4. Putin to Biden After ‘Killer’ Insult: ‘It Takes One to Know One’

Russian President Vladimir Putin fired back at American counterpart Joe Biden’s accusation that he’s a killer, saying “it takes one to know one” as he insisted the U.S. will have to take Russia’s interests into account despite insults. “I would say to him: I wish you good health,” Putin said Thursday, asked for his response to Biden, 78, during a televised videoconference celebrating the anniversary of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. He said Moscow would continue to work with Washington in areas of common interest, even as he claimed there were sharp, even biological, differences between Russians and Americans.

5. Oil’s Swift Rout Triggers the Biggest Weekly Loss Since October

Oil, one of the most-favoured reflation trades, just took a heavy beating. Prices headed for the biggest weekly slump since October after a sell-off driven by inflation concerns and a cooling physical market. Futures in New York fell Friday, deepening Thursday’s 7.1% decline. The drop followed a surge in Treasury yields that pushed the dollar higher, while there were signs of softer near-term crude demand in Asia. The unwinding of long positions by some commodity trading advisers may also have played a role. The impact of the rout stretched into Friday. The market’s structure weakened markedly, with key gauges of supply for both Brent and WTI veering toward a bearish contango structure. It’s the latest sign of a physical market that’s cooled off in recent days.

6. Yemeni Rebels Attack Aramco Refinery in Saudi Capital

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels attacked an Aramco refinery in the Saudi capital Friday using six bomb-laden drones, stepping up their offensive on the kingdom’s energy and security installations. Saudi Arabia’s state news agency said the attack took place at 6:05 a.m. local time, causing a fire that was later controlled with no impact on oil supplies or derivatives. There were no casualties, it said, quoting an Energy Ministry spokesman. Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia rarely claim lives or cause extensive damage but their frequency has increased in recent months, creating unease in the Gulf, a region key to global oil production and transit.

7. Tesla Cars Banned by China Military on Concerns of Cameras

Tesla cars have been banned from Chinese military complexes and housing compounds because of concerns about sensitive data being collected by cameras built into the vehicles. The order, issued by the military, advises Tesla owners to park their cars outside of the military property. The ban, relayed to residents of military housing this week, was triggered by concerns that the world’s biggest maker of electric vehicles is collecting sensitive data via the cars’ in-built cameras in a way the Chinese government can’t see or control. Multi-direction cameras and ultrasonic sensors in Tesla cars may “expose locations” and the vehicles are being barred from military residences to ensure the safety of confidential military information.

8. India Regulator to Ease Rules That Caused Bank Bond Selloff

India’s markets regulator is set to ease proposed rules that caused a selloff in perpetual notes of domestic banks who use them to raise capital. The Securities & Exchange Board of India will allow mutual funds to value so-called perpetual debt as 10-year bonds in the financial year starting April 1, instead of the 100-year-debt valuation that was supposed to take effect. An announcement is likely soon. The rules will gradually be tightened toward 100-year treatment over a multiyear timeframe.

9. Didi Accelerates IPO Plans, Targeting Valuation Above $62 Billion

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi is accelerating plans for an initial public offering as early as next quarter to capitalize on a post-pandemic turnaround. Didi, the largest investment in SoftBank Group Corp.’s portfolio, is targeting a valuation above the $62 billion it secured during its last funding round. The company moved up plans from a previous target of late 2021 after its Uber-like car-hailing business bounced back with China’s success in bringing Covid-19 under control. Based on a common 15% float for mega IPOs in Hong Kong, one potential venue, Didi could raise roughly $9 billion in what would be one of the largest tech debuts globally in 2021. The company hasn’t made a final decision on the listing location. 

10. Thailand to Reduce Quarantine for Visitors to Revive Tourism

Thailand will shorten the mandatory quarantine period for foreign travellers from next month but deferred a decision on recognizing vaccine certificates for easier global mobility amid a spike in global virus cases. A panel chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Friday approved curtailing the quarantine to 10 days from two weeks starting April 1, Traisuree Taisaranakul, a government spokeswoman, told reporters in Bangkok. The country may stop enforcing quarantine altogether from Oct. 1 though the group delayed a decision on cutting the isolation period to seven days for vaccinated tourists as recommended by an expert group last week.

Curated from Bloomberg.com