A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the World Wide Web.
I've run out of dramatic terms for what's going on in energy markets so let's just go with "rout." Some volatility is expected in commodity markets but the sheer speed of the oil price collapse is breathtaking – December WTI crude traded below $80 this morning.
The recent drop in oil prices has been severe enough that investors need to be concerned with the mid-term fallout. For one, problems are expected in the U.S. debt market. Energy companies have been responsible for 15 per cent of the explosion in corporate debt issuance. The more than 20 per cent decline in the commodity price will in some cases erase cash flow and make interest payments on debt extremely difficult.
Domestically, any investor holding energy company debt needs to recalculate the coverage ratio for lower levels of profit and cash flow generation.
"Plunging oil prices hurting energy-heavy junk bond market " – Barrons
"Don't buy this dip in energy" – CNBC
"When the cartel bursts" – FT Alphaville (registration, but not subscription required)
See also: "No respite for sliding crude prices" – FastFT (subscription may be required)
A terrific post from the neophyte Business in Canada blog breaks down the first official S&P/TSX Composite correction in two years. Luke Kawa presents a number of informative charts and details the weakness in oil prices:
"Geopolitical tensions have made way for renewed concerns about global growth. Meanwhile, the increase in supply of black gold from OPEC and North America is outstripping the pick-up in demand, which, according to the International Energy Agency, is rising at its slowest pace since 2009 this year. Broad U.S. dollar strength certainly hasn't been a boon for commodities, either. The result: the capped S&P/TSX Energy index is in a bear market, down more than 25 percent from its mid-June peak."
"Unpacking the TSX's first correction in more than two years" – Business in Canada
Reuters reports that a second health care worker in Dallas has been diagnosed with Ebola. I'm obviously deeply concerned about the potential for this horrendous disease to spread in the United States but, at the same time, I think the hysteria is overdone.
Call it ghoulish if you want, but the Ebola panic may set up a buying opportunity in a sector I've been wanting to own – U.S. hospital stocks. Ebola treatment takes up huge resources, and is expensive for hospitals. This has caused weakness in the dominant industry stocks like Tenet Health care and Universal Health Services. If the virus is contained, these stocks should rally and they are already positioned for strong growth due to demographics and Obamacare.
For one, I think this kind of sloppiness won't continue: "The first Dallas Ebola patient was left in an open area of the emergency room for hours "– Business Insider
"Second Texas healthcare worker tests positive for Ebola" – Reuters
Tweet of the Day is from the Wall Street Journal's must-follow @katie_Martin_FX: "'Fear of deflation stalks the markets.' It's not pretty out there. Markets today, by @TomStub >> online.wsj.com/articles/fears…"
Diversion: Even if you're not a sports fan, there are some brilliant examples of how data should be presented in "40 maps and charts that explain sports in America" – Vox