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“Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society, and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world as we see today.” – Hu Jintao

Morning stock market summary

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It’s been a roller-coaster morning for US equity markets since futures opened for trading last night.  After opening sharply higher, futures drifted lower all morning before bottoming out between 4 AM and 6 AM eastern time.  Investors remain optimistic following Friday’s surprise WSJ ‘leak’ of the potential for a Fed pause to rate hikes later this year.  While the Fed is moving markets this morning, earnings are likely to take a more front-and-center role this week as more than 150 S&P 500 companies are set to report this week, including the largest companies in the index.  On the economic calendar, the only reports of note are the Chicago Fed National Activity Index and the flash S&P Manufacturing PMI.

While free markets are all rallying this morning, the same can’t be said for Chinese markets where Xi’s consolidation of power at the national party congress after his predecessor Hu Jintao was unceremoniously escorted out has investors running for the exits.  Hu Jintao may have said in his comments that he advocated for diversity, but Chairman Xi has consolidated power into a tight group composed entirely of loyalists to his views.  The KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF (KWEB) is trading down below $20 per share today to all-time lows and is down 82% from its all-time high in February 2021.  That’s an even larger drawdown than the Nasdaq had from the dot-com bust!

Today’s new low in the KWEB comes from what is poised to be a 12.5% decline at the open, which, if it holds up through the close, would be the largest single-day decline in the ETF’s history going back more than 20 years!

The Chinese currency has also been under considerable pressure lately.  In today’s trading, the renminbi exchange rate rose above 7.26 which is the weakest level since January 2008, taking out the lows seen in the year leading up to COVID when President Trump began the trade war with the country.

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