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Futures Flat Ahead Of ECB, Powell Doubleheader

Futures Flat Ahead Of ECB, Powell Doubleheader

US stock futures traded flat, erasing modest earlier gains and losses in the overnight session…

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Futures Flat Ahead Of ECB, Powell Doubleheader

US stock futures traded flat, erasing modest earlier gains and losses in the overnight session as investors remained cautious while watching for signs of a softening in the Federal Reserve’s policy. Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed by 7:15 a.m. in New York after earlier gaining as much as 0.6%. S&P 500 contracts were up less than 0.1%, at 3,983.75 after hitting 3,996 overnight and following small gains in Estoxx50. The underlying index notched its biggest gain in a month on Wednesday which was sparked by yet another short squeeze, and is attempting to rebound following three straight weeks of declines that were fueled by fading bets on a Fed policy pivot and as investors braced for the impact of a potential economic contraction. Crude oil futures managed a feeble, +0.5% bounce after falling 5.7% Wednesday. The dollar reversed earlier gains helping lift the badly beaten EUR and JPY higher.

Among notable movers in premarket trading, American Eagle Outfitters slumped as much 16% after the retailer reported results for a quarter that Citigroup analysts described as “rough,” while also pausing its quarterly cash dividend. GameStop jumped as much as 12% in US premarket trading after the announcement of a partnership with cryptocurrency exchange FTX US, though the gaming company reported net sales for the second quarter that missed estimates. Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • Asana gains 18% in premarket trading after the software company boosted its revenue guidance for the full year. Separately, the company said CEO Dustin Moskovitz bought $350 million of shares in a private placement.
  • Moderna (MRNA US) gains 2.2% in premarket trading after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock to buy from hold after its “solid” second quarter earnings beat and the “welcome” late- July news of additional fall 2022 orders from the US.
  • Apple (AAPL US) shares were steady in premarket trading as analysts say the biggest takeaway from the company’s product event was its pricing strategy, with the iPhone maker opting not to raise average prices for its latest smartphone and watch models.
  • Keep an eye on Intel (INTC US) as the stock is started with a hold rating and $32 price target at Stifel, which cites uncertainty over the chipmaker’s turnaround strategy. Stifel also started Nvidia (NVDA US) with a hold recommendation and AMD (AMD US) with a buy rating.
  • Chipmakers may also be in focus after TSMC, the world’s largest supplier of made-to-order chips, said sales rose 59% in August from a year earlier. In the US, watch equipment stocks such as Applied Materials (AMAT US), KLA (KLAC US), Lam Research (LRCX US), Entegris (ENTG US), Teradyne (TER US), and MKS Instruments (MKSI US)

Sentiment improved on Wednesday after Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard warned that “two-sided” risks will eventually emerge from tightening monetary policy -- remarks that were considered to have a more dovish tone than some other recent Fed comments. Focus on Thursday will be on a speech by Chair Jerome Powell, who is scheduled to speak just after a monetary policy decision by the European Central Bank.

Still, strategists warn that risks to a sustained rally are growing. “Sentiment is very depressed and markets are oversold,” Frederique Carrier, head of investment strategy at RBC Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg TV. “It’s possible that there is a rally, but as long as the Fed is increasing interest rates, it’s very difficult for the upside to be very strong.”

As central banks are walking a tightrope, moving sharply to tackle price pressures while remaining leery of sparking a damaging economic contraction in the process, today we get a central bank doubleheader with the ECB expected to hike rates by 75bps at 8:15am, while Jerome Powell speaks at a monetary conference at 9:10am ET.  The Euro is holding around parity against the dollar ahead of the ECB, where money markets price in around 65bp of rate hikes for the meeting, with most economists expecting a 75bp rate hike. The focal point of US session after ECB is Powell participation in moderated discussion at a monetary policy conference.

“What we are seeing in Europe is very, very concerning, what is happening there is the worst energy crisis we have seen since the oil embargo in 70s,” Ryan Lemand, Securrency Capital advisor to the board, said on Bloomberg Television. “Europe will face a recession, one of the worst recessions it will have faced and I don’t think risky assets are pricing this in correctly.”

Fed officials reiterated their determination to get inflation under control. Vice Chair Lael Brainard said interest rates will need to rise to restrictive levels, while cautioning risks would become more two-sided in the future. The Fed’s Beige Book report said US economic expansion prospects were weak, while adding that price growth showed signs of decelerating.

Goldman economists lifted their forecast for the pace of Fed interest rate increases, expecting the Fed to hike by 75 basis points this month and 50 basis points in November, up from previous forecasts of 50 basis points and 25 basis points respectively. They are tipping a 25 basis points move in December.

Deutsche Bank AG strategists also said that elevated “late-cycle earnings,” higher valuations and the risk of a recession limit the fundamental case for a sustained rally in US stocks. In their worst case scenario, they see the S&P 500 slumping to 3,000 points in the event of a recession -- almost 25% below its latest close. However, their base case still calls for equities to rise by year end.

In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.1%, surrendering most of an initial 0.6% advance as retailers slumped after a profit warning from Primark-owner Associated British Foods Plc. The FTSE 100 outperformed peers, adding 0.4%, IBEX lags, dropping 0.2%. Insurance, banks and miners are the strongest-performing sectors. Here are the biggest European movers:

  • Genus shares jump as much as 16%, the most since May 2019, after Peel Hunt upgraded the firm to buy, saying its business was “back on the front foot” after publishing FY earnings
  • SBB shares jumped as much as 11% during early trading in Stockholm after signing a letter of intent to sell SEK9 billion worth of properties to an unidentified institutional investor
  • European semiconductor stocks rise on Thursday, after chipmaking bellwether TSMC reported an acceleration in sales in August and Apple launched a new lineup of devices
  • Ocado shares advance as much as 4.4% after being upgraded to equal-weight from underweight at Barclays, which says the risks are now “more evenly balanced” for the online grocer
  • Alleima gains as much as 6.1% after Danske Bank initiated coverage of the shares with a buy recommendation, where it sees “plenty of value,” also expecting it to benefit from a cyclical recovery
  • Munters shares rise as much as 7.6% after Nordea upgraded the Swedish climate and cooling manufacturer to buy on “surging order intake,” raising adjusted Ebita estimates for 2023 and 2024
  • Energean shares rise as much as 15% after it increased medium-term financial targets in its 1H report and a quarterly dividend helped by what Peel Hunt called “robust operational performance”
  • Atos shares tumble to the lowest level since 1993 after Goldman Sachs downgrades the French tech firm to sell from neutral, citing low visibility and a long path to recovery
  • Darktrace shares plunge as much as 35%, the most on record, after M&A talks with Thoma Bravo collapsed, with the suitor not intending to make an offer for the UK cybersecurity company
  • AB Foods shares drop as much as 8.6% after the Primark owner said it expects FY23 adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share to be lower than this financial year
  • Somfy fell as much as 13% after the French maker of windows and doors warned of a possible pullback in consumer spending after its 1H results were hurt by a slowdown in growth

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rebounded from their lowest level in more than two years as oil prices eased and the region’s suppliers to Apple Inc. climbed after the US company unveiled new lineups for its iPhones and watches. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.3%, snapping a five-day slump, as technology and industrial shares advanced. Japan gained along with Australia and Taiwan, while China dropped as Chengdu extended a week-long lockdown in most downtown areas after Covid-19 cases increased.  Asian stocks regained some footing amid a rout that still has the market on course for its fourth-straight week of losses. A two-day retreat in long-term US Treasury yields and Wednesday’s plunge in oil prices helped lift sentiment that had been hurt by concerns over a hawkish Federal Reserve.

“Markets have started to price in a less aggressive Fed, while falling oil and other commodity prices have also helped to ease profit-margin pressures for Asian companies,” Soo Hai Lim, head of Asia ex-China equities at Barings, wrote in a note. “In the longer term, we believe the performance of individual Asian markets will be driven by country-specific growth factors.” Asian stocks are down more than 4% this month amid an outflow of funds from the region. Still, some investors believe that attractive valuations will lure money back and spur a rebound. Read: ‘Massive Discount’ Has Robeco Eyeing 2003-Like Asia Stock Bounce

Japanese stocks gained, with the Topix climbing the most since July 20, after a rally in US shares and a weak yen boosted exporters.  The Topix rose 2.2% to 1,957.62 at the 3pm close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 2.3% to 28,065.28. Toyota Motor contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.3%. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 1,947 rose and 161 fell, while 61 were unchanged. Shares also climbed after Japanese GDP data showed the economy grew at a faster pace last quarter than earlier estimates. “Japanese stocks look attractive to dollar-denominated investors in the short term,” said Tetsuo Seshimo, portfolio manager at Saison Asset Management. “It makes it easier to buy when there’s a bit of a risk-on mood.” 

Australian stocks gained most in ten weeks on RBA Lowe's comments. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.8% to close at 6,848.70, staging an afternoon rally after the RBA’s chief signaled a potential end to outsized interest rate hikes. Mining and banking shares provided the biggest boost to the benchmark. Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said the case for a slower pace of tightening becomes stronger as the cash rate moves higher. The central bank delivered a fourth straight half-point hike this week to take the cash rate to 2.35%.  Energy shares declined as oil fell to a near eight-month low before steadying, with investors assessing the outlook for demand as China pushes on with its Covid Zero policy and central banks tighten monetary policy.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.1% to 11,677.93

Indian stocks rose, snapping two sessions of declines, as a drop in crude oil prices below $90 per barrel raised optimism of lower import costs and softer consumer prices.  The S&P BSE Sensex gained 1.1% to 59,688, its highest level in three weeks, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 1%. ICICI Bank contributed the most to the Sensex, which had 24 of 30 member shares ending higher.  Fourteen of 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of banks.  Price of Brent crude, a major import for India, hovered around $88 per barrel, their lowest level since early February

In FX, the pound pared a decline as UK Prime Minister Liz Truss outlined plans to provide relief on rising energy costs to British households and businesses, which she said is expected to curb inflation. There has been widespread speculation that the government’s aid proposals will require further debt sales to fund it that could drive up bond yields. Short-end gilts steadied after rallying Wednesday on bets the plan would calm inflation. Other notable movers:

  • A dollar gauge was steady as traders assessed comments from Federal Reserve officials on their commitment to fighting inflation. 
  • The euro was little changed against the dollar. On European bond markets, two-year German yields rose by around 5 basis points, while the Italian two-year yield fell by one basis point. Market pricing for the following ECB meetings picked up slightly. Just one jumbo rate hike from the European Central Bank may not cut it for euro bulls looking for a sustainable move above parity with the dollar
  • The yen gave up an earlier modest advance to trade below 144 per dollar after senior Japanese officials met for the first time since June to discuss markets but said their stance remained the same
  • The Australian dollar slumped and Australian sovereign bonds jumped after Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe signaled a potential end to outsized interest-rate increases. Australian dollar underperformed all its Group-of-10 peers

In rates, Treasuries steadied after rallying as Australia’s central bank chief signaled a potential end to outsized policy moves; they were slightly richer from belly out to the long-end of the curve with price action light ahead of ECB policy rate decision at 8:15am ET. US yields were richer by up to 2bp across belly of the curve with 2s5s, 2s10s spreads both flatter by around 2bp on the day as front-end underperforms; 10-year yields around 3.25% with bunds and gilts lagging by 3bp and 2bp in the sector after an earlier rally spurred by RBA signaling a potential end to outsized interest-rate increases, making it an outlier in G-10.  Bunds yield curve bear-flattens with 2-year yield up 3.6bps to around 1.12%, underperforming USTs and gilts. Both 10-year and 2-year gilts yields trade around 3% as traders gear for details of the new economic package from Truss. Futures gained during Asia session after RBA’s dovish policy pivot, following Aussie bonds higher before fading slightly over London morning. IG dollar issuance slate includes Mitsubishi HC $500m 5Y; six borrowers priced $10b on Wednesday, follows Tuesday’s massive $33b over 44 tranches. Three-month dollar Libor +4.17bp to 3.23571%.

In commodities, oil trimmed a sharp slide this week sparked by demand risks from monetary tightening and China’s Covid travails -- the megacity of Chengdu extended a weeklong lockdown in most downtown areas. Gold added $1 to ~$1,719. Most base metals trade in the green; LME aluminum rises 1.4%, outperforming peers. LME nickel lags, dropping 1.3%.

Bitcoin trades relatively flat just above USD 19,000 whilst Ethereum remains north of USD 1,600.

To the day ahead now, and the ECB policy decision will be the main highlight, along with President Lagarde’s press conference. Otherwise, we’ll also hear from Fed Chair Powell and the Fed’s Evans and Kashkari. Finally, data releases include the weekly initial jobless claims from the US.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 3,975.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 412.42
  • MXAP up 1.0% to 152.06
  • MXAPJ up 0.3% to 498.31
  • Nikkei up 2.3% to 28,065.28
  • Topix up 2.2% to 1,957.62
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.0% to 18,854.62
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.3% to 3,235.59
  • Sensex up 0.8% to 59,518.06
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.8% to 6,848.67
  • Kospi up 0.3% to 2,384.28
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.59%
  • Euro down 0.2% to $0.9984
  • Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,717.37
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 109.81

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • With the greenback supercharged by expectations of higher-for- longer US interest rates, traders are struggling to pick the bottom for Asian currencies
  • The European Union may need additional stimulus measures if the economic downturn worsens, according to the bloc’s economy chief, who warned that the coming winter could be “one of the worst in history”
  • Investors are bracing for details of UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’s new economic package, with some warning that a new wave of debt issuance to fund the spending risks roiling debt markets and pressuring the battered pound
  • Inflation in Hungary accelerated to the highest level since 1998 in August as food prices increased by almost a third, according to stats office data. Consumer prices rose an annual 15.6% in August after 13.7% growth in July
  • Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov said the government plans to resume sales of its bonds, known as OFZs, as early as this month, Interfax reports

A more detailed look at global markets

Asia-Pacific stocks were mostly positive after the relief rally on Wall St where a lower yield environment and declines in oil prices underpinned risk appetite, although Chinese markets underperformed on COVID woes. ASX 200 was positive with tech and gold miners leading the advances across nearly all sectors aside from energy after the recent fall in oil. Nikkei 225 surged towards the 28,000 level with sentiment lifted following the larger-than-expected upward revisions to Q2 GDP. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp underperformed their regional peers after the megacity of Chengdu extended its lockdown in most areas and Shenzhen also temporarily lowered its entry quota for Hong Kong travellers amid a resource squeeze from the ongoing outbreak.

Top Asian News

  • China Health Authority encourages people to stay put during China National Day holidays (Oct 1st-7th), and to avoid travel outside their cities, via Reuters. China Transport Ministry Official said daily average travel for mid-Autumn festival expected to drop 32% Y/Y.
  • RBA Governor Lowe said further rate rises will be required but they are not on a preset path and said the case for a slower pace of rate hikes becomes stronger as the level of the Cash Rate increases. Lowe also commented that demand has to grow more slowly to bring it back in line with supply and there is a significant demand element to higher inflation, while he added it is very possible that wage growth does not pick up much further and said quantitative tightening is not on the agenda.
  • Japanese top currency diplomat Kanda said MoF, BoJ, and FSA meeting produced no statement this time as basic understanding on FX remains unchanged from the prior meeting. Japanese top currency diplomat Kanda agreed at the meeting on the need to watch markets with a strong sense of urgency, will not rule out any step, and are ready to take action in the FX market; BoJ and Govt are extremely worried about the recent JPY moves.
  • Japan Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary said it is watching FX moves with high sense of urgency, ready to take necessary steps if recent FX moves continue. When asked about potential intervention, said he would not comment on specific market views. Will make decisions at the appropriate time regarding both economic sentiment and inflation when asked about supplementary budget

European bourses trade with a directionless bias on ECB day after waning off best levels, and following a mixed APAC handover. European sectors are now mixed (vs mostly firmer at the open), with defensives making their way up the ranks. Stateside, US equity futures are portraying a similar tentativeness as their European counterparts, with the main contracts trading on either side of the flat mark but holding onto yesterday’s gains.

Top European News

  • Primark Drags Down AB Foods Outlook as Energy Costs Rise
  • Commerzbank Says Profit Target Remains Despite Energy Crisis
  • Euro Holding Parity Needs Uber-Hawkish Meet: ECB Cheat Sheet
  • Sampo Plans Dual Listing in Stockholm to Boost Liquidity
  • Zurich Cuts Swimming Pool Temperatures to Save Energy

FX

  • DXY pulled back further from Wednesday’s new y-t-d and multi-year peak before finding support just under 109.500.
  • The EUR briefly popped over parity and the JPY pared more losses from its worst levels in around 24 years vs the USD.
  • The Kiwi and Aussie both have cause to underperform given a deceleration in NZ manufacturing sales, bleak Australian trade data and remarks from RBA Governor Lowe.

Fixed Income

  • Bunds and Gilts sit far from best levels between 145.82-144.71 and 106.84-105.75 parameters.
  • Conversely, US Treasuries are treading water ahead of jobless claims and Fed chair Powell, albeit also off overnight peaks

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent front-month futures trade volatile with two-way action seen in the European morning.
  • JPMorgan believes OPEC+ will need to cut another 1mln BPD to stabilise the market.
  • Spot gold holds onto yesterday’s gains north of USD 1,700/oz, but under the USD 1,726.79/oz high set on Tuesday
  • Base metals are mostly firmer but the upside is capped by China’s COVID woes, nonetheless, 3M LME copper is supported by reports that Workers at Chile's Escondida copper mine voted to strike over safety concerns.
  • Russian Finance Minister considers it reasonable to build reserves in gold and Yuan, according to Tass.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: Aug. Continuing Claims, est. 1.44m, prior 1.44m
  • 08:30: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 235,000, prior 232,000
  • 15:00: July Consumer Credit, est. $32b, prior $40.2b

Central Banks

  • 09:10: Powell Speaks at Monetary Policy Conference
  • 12:00: Fed’s Evans speaks on economy, policy at DuPage forum
  • 14:20: Fed’s Kashkari Makes Introductory Remarks at Labor Market...

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Readers could be forgiven for losing track of the various themes in markets right now, after a volatile 24 hours that’s seen oil prices crash to their lowest level in months, the dollar reach another multi-decade high, a WSJ article that cemented expectations for another 75bps Fed hike this month, but an S&P 500 that relentlessly marched higher all day to close +1.83%. Indeed even as the likelihood rose that we could see a more rapid pace of near-term hikes, both equities and sovereign bonds rallied yesterday, since the commodity declines raised hopes that central banks could afford to slow up on rate hikes when we get to 2023. Today could put that narrative under pressure however, as there’s a decent chance we’ll see the largest ECB hike in their history, and we’re also set to hear from Fed Chair Powell in his last appearance before the next FOMC meeting.

Running through those specific moves, oil prices took a significant tumble yesterday as concerns about the strength of global demand continued to fester. Indeed, Brent crude (-5.55%) closed beneath $90/bbl for the first time since early February, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, whilst WTI fell -5.69% to $81.85/bbl. Brent futures are back up c.+1% this morning in Asia. One factor behind the declines has been the continued pursuit of the zero-Covid strategy in China, and we got confirmation yesterday that Chengdu (population 21 million) would be extending its lockdown in most of the city. Even European Gas (-10.82%) fell and is now down -28.47% from the intra-day peak on Monday as the market digested the latest NS1 closure announced after the close on Friday. Since then we’re actually down -14.78%. How much of this is a demand destruction story this week and how much is a “we now have peak bad news on European gas supplies” is one to debate.

On the commodities topic, at 12:00 London time today I’ll be speaking on a client call on the outlook for commodities, China and inflation. It’s hosted by DB’s metals and mining team, and I’ll be joined by their head Liam Fitzpatrick, our chief China economist Yi Xiong, and our head of Asian property equity research, Lucia Kwong. Industrial commodities have come under heavy pressure in recent months since peaking earlier this year, so is this the end of the bullish mining and commodities trade, or a cyclical blip within a larger structural uptrend? For further details on the call and how to register, click here.

The continued decline in oil prices has been welcome news from an inflation perspective, and US gasoline prices are now down by nearly a quarter since their peak in mid-June. And in turn, the prospect that central banks don’t need to hike rates as aggressively if inflation is subdued (rightly or wrong) helped both equities and bonds to stage a strong rally over yesterday’s session. For instance, the S&P 500 (+1.84% yesterday) is now on track to end a run of three consecutive weekly declines, where only the Energy (-1.15%) sector ended in the red and every other sector gained at least +1%, a broad-based gain. Germany’s DAX (+0.35%) also recovered from its initial losses of more than -1% to move higher on the day. In the meantime, yields on 10yr Treasuries (-8.6bps), bunds (-6.1bps), OATs (-7.7bps) and BTPs (-11.4bps) all declined, which makes a change from the awful run that sovereign bonds have been on over recent weeks. As we go to print, we are another -3.6bps lower on the 10yr USTs but less than a basis point lower for 2yrs.

Indeed, when it comes to the next couple of weeks, it looks as though the series of bumper rate hikes is set to continue. There was a noticeable reaction in Fed funds futures yesterday after the WSJ’s Nick Timiraos published an article saying that Chair Powell’s pledge to tackle inflation “appears to have put the central bank on a path” to a 75bps hike. Remember it was Timiraos’ article back in June that was seen as setting the stage for the first 75bps hike of this cycle (rather than 50bps as previously expected), so his articles do carry weight in markets. That was apparent in futures, which are now pricing in +69.5bps worth of hikes for the September meeting, which is the most hawkish markets have been on September since the last meeting in July. Fed speakers continued to weigh in yesterday. Notably, Fed Vice Chair Brainard noted the Fed’s commitment to bring inflation under order, and the risks of inflation expectations moving higher, while at the same time paying heed to the two-sided risks of over-doing tightening. In short, her remarks didn’t do anything to discourage markets from pricing a larger hike in September and from pricing in lower yields out the curve. As noted, Fed Chair Powell will follow up at a conference later this morning.

Speaking of rate hikes, the focus today will be on the ECB’s latest decision, where the consensus among both market pricing and economists is that they’ll follow the Fed’s moves in June and July and similarly hike by a bumper 75bps. Our own economists at DB are also expecting a 75bps move, and if realised this would be the largest ECB hike since the formation of the single currency, so a historic move. In our economists’ view, the factors tipping the balance towards a larger hike are the upside inflation surprises (hitting a record +9.1% in August), along with the significant minority of Governing Council members publicly calling for 75bps to be on the table. You can see their full preview here.

Staying on this theme, overnight, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe reiterated that further rate rises are required to cool inflation while signalling that the hikes could be smaller in the coming months. Comments from the Governor indicated that he is hopeful that the central bank can navigate the narrow path to a soft landing despite badly misreading the growing inflation crisis. Aussie yields are around -15bps lower across the curve with two-thirds of the move coming after Lowe's speech. So a big reaction.

Another focus today will be the UK once again, as new PM Truss is set to announce the government’s plan on energy bills in the House of Commons. According to media reports, that will involve bills being frozen around their current levels, rather than rising in October in line with the increase in the energy price cap. However, there was a tough market backdrop yesterday, as sterling fell to its weakest intraday level against the US Dollar since 1985, hitting $1.1406 at one point before recovering to end the day at $1.1533. To be fair, a good chunk of sterling’s recent weakness has been down to dollar strength, with the dollar index currently up by +14.72% YTD, leaving it on track for its biggest annual gain since 1981, when it strengthened +15.8%. But when it came to yesterday, it was certainly a story of sterling weakness, as it fell -0.89% against the Euro too.

Asian equity markets are mixed this morning following Wall Street’s solid rebound overnight. As I type, the Nikkei (+2.05%) is leading gains across the region with the Kospi (+0.55%) also trading in positive territory. Over in mainland China, stocks are slightly down with the Shanghai Composite (-0.08%) and CSI (-0.04%) both struggling for direction on the extension of a lockdown in the city of Chengdu while the Hang Seng (-0.53%) is slipping in early trade. US stock futures are little changed with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.06%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.09%) marginally higher after yesterday’s rally.

Early this morning, the final estimate of Japan’s GDP showed that the economy expanded an annualised +3.5% in the second quarter (+2.9% expected) up from the initial reading of +2.2% growth as the removal of local Covid-19 restrictions boosted consumer and business spending. Separately, Australia recorded a record drop in its trade surplus, narrowing to A$8.7 bn in July from A$17.7 bn a month before mainly due to declining iron ore and coal exports. At the same time, exports in July declined -10.0% (-8.0% expected) from the month before while imports rose +5%.

Back to yesterday and the theme of hawkish central banks continued (notwithstanding the Aussie news this morning), as the Bank of Canada hiked by 75bps, whilst outlining their view that “the policy interest rate will need to rise further.” Meanwhile on the data side, we heard that the Euro Area economy grew faster than previously thought in Q2, with a +0.8% expansion (vs. +0.6% previous estimate). Finally, German industrial production in July contracted by a smaller-than-expected -0.3% (vs. -0.6% expected).

To the day ahead now, and the ECB policy decision will be the main highlight, along with President Lagarde’s press conference. Otherwise, we’ll also hear from Fed Chair Powell and the Fed’s Evans and Kashkari. Finally, data releases include the weekly initial jobless claims from the US.

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/08/2022 - 08:01

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nTIDE November 2022 Jobs Report: People with disabilities continue to outperform people without disabilities in labor market

East Hanover, NJ – December 2, 2022 – Job numbers rose again for people with disabilities, in contrast to people without disabilities, according to…

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East Hanover, NJ – December 2, 2022 – Job numbers rose again for people with disabilities, in contrast to people without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). People with disabilities continued to show strength in the labor market in November, as evidenced by the substantial rise in their employment-to-population ratio.

Credit: Kessler Foundation

East Hanover, NJ – December 2, 2022 – Job numbers rose again for people with disabilities, in contrast to people without disabilities, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment – Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). People with disabilities continued to show strength in the labor market in November, as evidenced by the substantial rise in their employment-to-population ratio.

Month-to-Month nTIDE Numbers (comparing October 2022 to November 2022)

Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Jobs Report released today, the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities (ages 16-64) increased from 35.5 percent in October to 36.5 percent in November (up 2.8 percent or 1 percentage point). For people without disabilities (ages 16-64), the employment-to-population ratio decreased from 74.6 percent in October to 74.4 percent in November (down 0.3 percent or 0.2 percentage point). The employment-to-population ratio, a key indicator, reflects the percentage of people who are working relative to the total population (the number of people working divided by the number of people in the total population multiplied by 100).

“Similar to last month, the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities increased and remains above historic highs. For those without disabilities, however, the ratio dropped,” said John O’Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation. “This decline may be a sign of the Fed’s efforts to slow the labor market. This is interesting in light of this month’s strong gain for people with disabilities.”

Findings were similar for November’s labor force participation rate. For people with disabilities (ages 16-64), the labor force participation rate was increased slightly from 38.7 percent in October to 38.8 percent in November (up 0.3 percent or 0.1 percentage point). Conversely, the labor force participation rate decreased slightly for people without disabilities (ages 16-64), from 77.1 percent in October to 76.9 percent in November (down 0.3 percent or 0.2 percentage point). The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working, not working, and on temporary layoff, or not working and actively looking for work.

“While labor force participation for people with disabilities remains stable, increases in the employment to population ratio for people with disabilities suggest that more people with disabilities are succeeding in finding jobs,” remarked Debra Brucker, PhD, research associate professor at the UNH-IOD. “Keep in mind that gains in employment may in part reflect the need to boost income in the face of rising prices. Also, these data are not seasonally adjusted, so some of this increase may be due to seasonal employment.”

Why have people with disabilities been outperforming people without disabilities? Favorable changes in the workplace as employers adapted to COVID-19 restrictions may be a factor. Our new survey compares the workplaces of 2017 and 2022, revealing gains in recruiting, hiring, accommodating, and retaining employees with disabilities. Read more about the 2022 National Employment & Disability Survey: Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic Supervisor Perspectives.

Year-to-Year nTIDE Numbers (Comparing November 2021 to November 2022)

Reflecting the continued strength of the employment of people with disabilities over the course of the year, the employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increased substantially from 34.6 percent in November 2021 to 36.5 percent in November 2022 (up 5.5 percent or 1.9 percentage points). However, the employment-to-population ratio increased slightly for working-age people without disabilities, from 73.8 percent in November 2021 to 74.4 percent in November 2022 (up 0.8 percent or 0.6 percentage points).

Similarly, for people with disabilities (16-64), the labor force participation rate increased substantially from 37.7 percent in November 2021 to 38.8 percent in November 2022 (up 2.9 percent or 1.1 percentage points). The labor force participation rate increased slightly for people without disabilities (ages 16-64), from 76.7 percent in November 2021 to 76.9 percent in November 2022 (up 0.3 percent or 0.2 percentage points).

In November, among workers ages 16-64, the 5,962,000 workers with disabilities represented 4 percent of the total 148,009,000 workers in the U.S.

Ask Questions about Disability and Employment

Each nTIDE release is followed by an nTIDE Lunch & Learn online webinar. This live broadcast, hosted via Zoom Webinar, offers attendees Q&A on the latest nTIDE findings, provides news and updates from the field, as well as invited panelists to discuss current disability-related findings and events. On December 2, 2022 at 12:00 pm Eastern, Chai Feldblum, JD, vice chair the of Ability One Commission, a federal agency devoted to the employment of people with significant disabilities, joins Drs. O’Neill and Brucker, and Denise Rozell, Policy Strategist at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Join our Lunch & Learns live or visit the nTIDE archives at: ResearchonDisability.org/nTIDE.

NOTE: The statistics in the nTIDE are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers but are not identical. They are customized by UNH to combine the statistics for men and women of working age (16 to 64). nTIDE is funded, in part, by grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (90RT5037) and Kessler Foundation.

About the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire

The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. For information on the NIDILRR-funded Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics, visit ResearchOnDisability.org.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes – including employment – for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

Stay Connected with Kessler Foundation

Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | iTunes & SoundCloud

To interview an expert, contact:

Deborah Hauss, DHauss@kesslerfoundation.org;

Carolann Murphy, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org.

 

 


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Scientists reveal encouraging findings in first-in-human clinical trial evaluating HIV vaccine approach

NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being…

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NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being pursued by researchers at Scripps Research, IAVI, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Fred Hutch) and the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) shows new promise, according to data from a first-in-human clinical trial.

Credit: CHRISTOPHER COTTRELL, CREATED WITH BIORENDER.COM

NEW YORK and LA JOLLA, CA—While scientists have struggled in the past to create an effective vaccine against HIV, a novel vaccine design strategy being pursued by researchers at Scripps Research, IAVI, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Fred Hutch) and the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center (VRC) shows new promise, according to data from a first-in-human clinical trial.

In a paper published in Science on December 2, 2022, the scientists reveal critical new insights into their novel vaccine strategy, which involves a stepwise approach to producing antibodies capable of targeting a wide range of HIV variants. 

“The data we are publishing in Science demonstrates for the first time that one can design a vaccine that elicits made-to-order antibodies in humans. We specified in advance certain molecular properties of the antibodies that we wanted to elicit, and the results of this trial show that our vaccine antigen consistently induced precisely those types of antibodies,” says co-senior author William Schief, PhD, a professor and immunologist at Scripps Research and executive director of vaccine design at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center, whose laboratory developed the vaccine antigen. “We believe this vaccine design strategy will be essential to make an HIV vaccine and may help the field create vaccines for other difficult pathogens.”

The Phase 1 trial, known as IAVI G001, tested the first stage in a multi-stage HIV vaccine regimen the researchers are developing. The trial results show that the vaccine had a favorable safety profile and induced the targeted response in 97% of people who were vaccinated. Importantly, the Science study also provides a detailed immunological analysis of the vaccine responses.

“HIV represents an area of dire unmet need across the world, which is what makes the findings from our Phase 1 clinical trial so encouraging,” says Mark Feinberg, MD, PhD, president and CEO of IAVI. “Through the close-knit collaboration of many different scientists, disciplines and institutions, we are that much closer to designing an effective vaccine that could help end the HIV pandemic.”  

Priming the Immune System

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) are a rare type of antibody that can fight and protect against many different variants of a virus—including HIV. This is why scientists have tried to develop an HIV vaccine that induces bnAbs, but thus far without success.   

The researchers in the study are using a strategy known as ‘germline targeting’ to eventually produce bnAbs that can protect against HIV. The first step of germline targeting involves stimulating the rare immune cells—known as bnAb-precursor B cells—that can eventually evolve into the cells that produce the bnAbs needed to block the virus. To accomplish this first step, the researchers designed a customized molecule—known as an immunogen—that would “prime” the immune system and elicit responses from these rare bnAb-precursor cells.

The overarching goal of the IAVI G001 trial was to determine if the vaccine had an acceptable safety profile and could induce responses from these bnAb-precursor B cells.

“Through extensive safety and tolerability monitoring during the trial, we showed the vaccine had a favorable safety profile, while still inducing the necessary target cells,” says study author Dagna Laufer, MD, vice president and head of clinical development at IAVI. “This represents a large step forward in developing an HIV vaccine that is both safe and effective.”

To determine if the targeted bnAb-precursor B cells were induced, the researchers carried out a sophisticated analytical process.

“The workflow of multidimensional immunological analyses has taken clinical trial evaluation to the next level,” says co-senior author Adrian B. McDermott, PhD, former chief of the Vaccine Immunology Program at the NIAID VRC. “In evaluating these important immunological factors, we helped show why the vaccine antigen was able to induce the targeted response in 97% of vaccine recipients.” 

IAVI G001 was sponsored by IAVI and took place at two sites: George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C., and Fred Hutch in Seattle, enrolling 48 healthy adult volunteers. Participants received either a placebo or two doses of the vaccine antigen, eOD-GT8 60mer, along with an adjuvant developed by the pharmaceutical company GSK. Julie McElrath, MD, PhD, co-senior author, senior vice president and director of Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, and David Diemert, MD, professor of medicine at GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences, were lead investigators at the trial sites.

A Deeper Immunological Dive

The study also carefully examined the properties of the antibodies and B cells induced by the vaccine antigen, in what Schief likens to “looking under the car hood” to understand how the immune system operated in response to the vaccine. One analysis showed that the vaccine antigen first stimulated an average of 30 to 65 different bnAb precursors per person vaccinated, and then caused those cells to multiply. This helped explain why the vaccine induced the desired response in almost all participants.

Other analyses delved into the specific mutations the bnAb-precursor B cells acquired over time and how tightly they bound to the vaccine antigen. These investigations showed that that after each dose of the vaccine, the bnAb-precursor B cells gained affinity and continued along favorable maturation pathways.

One concern for this type of vaccine approach is the notion of “competitors”—in other words, the B cells induced by the vaccine antigen that are not bnAb precursors. The researchers extensively studied the “competitor” responses, and the results were very encouraging. Although the majority of the B cells triggered by vaccination were, in fact, “competitors”, these undesired B cells could not match the binding strength of the desired bnAb precursors and did not seem to impede maturation of the bnAb-precursor responses.

“These findings were very encouraging, as they indicated that immunogen design principles we used could be applied to many different epitopes, whether for HIV or even other pathogens,” adds Schief.

With these promising data in hand spanning both safety and immune responses, the researchers will continue to iterate and design boosting immunogens that could eventually induce the desired bnAbs and provide protection against the virus. These findings also come shortly after two additional studies in Immunity published in September 2022, which helped validate the germline-targeting approach for vaccinating against HIV.

“Working together with IAVI, Scripps Research, the VRC, GWU, additional investigators at Fred Hutch and many others, this trial and additional analyses will help inform design of the remaining stages of a candidate HIV vaccine regimen—while also enabling others in the field to develop vaccine strategies for additional viruses,” says McElrath of Fred Hutch.

IAVI, Scripps Research, NIAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are partnering with the biotechnology company Moderna to develop and test mRNA delivery of these HIV vaccine antigens. Two Phase I clinical trials are underway that build on IAVI G001, one (IAVI G002) at four sites in the U.S. and another (IAVI G003) at the Center for Family Health Research in Kigali, Rwanda, and The Aurum Institute in Tembisa, South Africa. Both are testing mRNA delivery of the eOD-GT8 60mer that was evaluated as recombinant protein in IAVI G001, and the U.S. trial includes a boost antigen designed by the Schief lab and delivered with Moderna mRNA technology. A third trial (HVTN302), at ten sites in the U.S., is testing mRNA delivery of three different stabilized HIV trimers designed in the Schief laboratory that are candidates for late-stage boosters in multi-stage vaccines aiming to induce bnAbs. Using mRNA technology could significantly accelerate the pace of HIV vaccine development as it allows for faster production of clinical trial material.

This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery; the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center; NIAID; Scripps Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery and Scripps Consortium for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Development; and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. Other collaborating organizations include Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Karolinska Institutet, and La Jolla Institute. 

Research at the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center that contributed to the development of the vaccine antigen eOD-GT8 60mer was also made possible by the government of the Netherlands through the Minister of Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation and through the generous support of the American people through PEPFAR through USAID. The contents are the responsibility of IAVI and Scripps Research and do not necessarily reflect the views of PEPFAR, USAID, or the United States government.

About IAVI

IAVI is a nonprofit scientific research organization dedicated to addressing urgent, unmet global health challenges including HIV and tuberculosis. Its mission is to translate scientific discoveries into affordable, globally accessible public health solutions. Read more at iavi.org.

About Scripps Research

Scripps Research is an independent, nonprofit biomedical institute ranked the most influential in the world for its impact on innovation by Nature Index. We are advancing human health through profound discoveries that address pressing medical concerns around the globe. Our drug discovery and development division, Calibr, works hand-in-hand with scientists across disciplines to bring new medicines to patients as quickly and efficiently as possible, while teams at Scripps Research Translational Institute harness genomics, digital medicine and cutting-edge informatics to understand individual health and render more effective healthcare. Scripps Research also trains the next generation of leading scientists at our Skaggs Graduate School, consistently named among the top 10 US programs for chemistry and biological sciences. Learn more at www.scripps.edu.


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US nonfarm payrolls surpass expectations to rise by 263,000; Wages up by the sharpest in 13 months

In a highly unexpected development, U.S. nonfarm payrolls outperformed market expectations and rose by 263,000 in the month of November. This was against…

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In a highly unexpected development, U.S. nonfarm payrolls outperformed market expectations and rose by 263,000 in the month of November.

This was against market estimates of a slowdown to 200,000.

The unemployment rate was also unchanged and stayed near fifty-year lows at 3.7%.

The recent ADP report missed its mark once more, having forecast a steep dip in jobs, almost halving October’s figures.

October data was revised upwards to 284,000, higher than the preliminary data for November, as compared to the initial report of 261,000 (which I covered here for Invezz).

September data which came in at a strong 315,000 has been revised sharply downwards to 269,000.

Source: TradingEconomics.com

Gains were highest in leisure and hospitality (88,000), health care (45,000), and government (42,000) which were concentrated at the local levels.

Payroll reductions were seen in retail (-32,000) and warehousing and storage (-13,000).

The November uptick is robust compared to average pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that the Fed’s tightening has not yet managed to sufficiently curb labour market strength.

Having said that, monthly additions have largely continued to cool through the second half of the year.

Earnings

Average hourly earnings, month-over-month rose sharply by 0.6% to $32.82, as against expectations of a rise of 0.3%.  This amounted to the sharpest rise in 13 months.

Similarly, on an annual basis, hourly earnings went up 5.1% as against forecasts of 4.6% and improved over October’s 4.7%.

Due to higher wages, the Fed will likely find inflationary pressures staying firmer than earlier anticipated, and price stability elusive.

Outlook

Although there have been reports of mass layoffs in technology companies and the banking sector, the labour market headline for the last month is still relatively firm.

This will be highly frustrating for policymakers who have already executed four 75bps rate hikes this year.

As per the CME FedWatch Tool, there is a 74.7% likelihood of a downshift in rate hikes to 50 bps later this month, but this report may delay discussions of a pivot.

Do check out our other economic analysis that can be found here.

The post US nonfarm payrolls surpass expectations to rise by 263,000; Wages up by the sharpest in 13 months appeared first on Invezz.

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