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Futures, Global Markets Rally, Bonds Slide As Traders Turn More Bullish

Futures, Global Markets Rally, Bonds Slide As Traders Turn More Bullish

Following the best week for stocks in one month, global stocks extended…

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Futures, Global Markets Rally, Bonds Slide As Traders Turn More Bullish

Following the best week for stocks in one month, global stocks extended gains on Monday on continued easing of fears for a hawkish Fed; US futures rose, with the Nasdaq 100 advancing 0.5% as by tech giants Amazon, Apple and Microsoft all rose in premarket trading. Tech shares also boosted indexes in Europe and Asia. Treasuries slipped, pushing the rate on the US 10-year note to 3.17%. Yields have retreated from June highs on growth worries, but whether that marks the end of the Treasury bear market is a live debate. The dollar fluctuated while oil and bitcoin rose.

In the US premarket, major US technology and internet stocks were higher, poised to extend gains. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 closed up 7.5% last week, its best week since March. Among notable movers: Apple +0.6%, Microsoft +0.6%, Amazon.com +1%, Meta +0.8%, Nvidia +1.6% in premarket trading. Other notable premarket movers include:

  • JD.com (JD US) is among the top performers in US-listed Chinese stocks, rising 5% in premarket trading, after tech investor Prosus disposed of its stake in JD.com for about $3.67 billion.
  • Coinbase (COIN US) shares fall 4% in premarket trading as the stock was downgraded to sell from neutral, with a joint Street-low price target of $45 at Goldman Sachs, which cited the “continued downdraft” in crypto prices and drop in industry activity levels.
  • Robinhood (HOOD US) shares rise 3.9% in premarket trading as Goldman Sachs analyst William Nance raised the recommendation on the stock to neutral from sell
  • Epizyme (EPZM US) jumps 64% to $1.56 in US premarket trading after Ipsen announced the acquisition of the US biotech firm for $1.45/share in cash plus a contingent value right of $1/share.
  • Selective Insurance Group (SIGI US) shares may be in focus after Morgan Stanley initiated an overweight rating on the stock, citing a favorable business model that will help the company’s margin to outperform peers.
  • Keep an eye on WEC Energy Group (WEC US) as KeyBanc Capital Markets raised the recommendation on the stock to overweight from sector weight, citing “valuation dislocations” triggered by the recent industry volatility.

As Goldman traders speculated over the weekend, Friday's massive Russell rebalance may have helped flush out any leftover liquidation trades, while the upcoming month- and quarter-end portfolio rebalancing by pensions could boost stocks by as much as 7% this week according to JPM's Marko Kolanovic. Further boosting bullish sentiment - if only temporarily - one of Wall Street’s biggest bears sees the rally in US stocks extending, prior to the selloff recommencing. Morgan Stanley's Michael Wilson say the S&P 500 Index may climb another 5% to 7%, before resuming losses.

Meanwhile, investors are also parsing incoming data to work out if the highest inflation in a generation is close to topping out as that will give the Fed latitude to ease up on sharp interest-rate hikes, something the market last week aggressively repriced. A more troubling scenario is of lasting price pressures and tighter policy even as the global economy falters.

“There’s a feeling that things aren’t as bad as we thought they were going to be,” Carol Pepper, founder of Pepper International, said on Bloomberg Radio. She added “there’s a hope that perhaps we’ve oversold, perhaps there’s not going to be a recession.”

Traders are also monitoring a summit of the Group of Seven leaders, who plan to commit to indefinite support for Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion. The G-7 in addition is weighing a price cap on Russian oil. As reported yesterday, the US, UK, Japan and Canada also plan to announce a ban on new gold imports from Russia during the G-7 summit. Prices for the precious metal naturally rose.

European equities trade off session highs as an earlier rally in Asian tech stocks buoys sentiment. Miners, tech and autos are the strongest performing sectors in Europe. Euro Stoxx 50 rallies 1%. DAX outperforms peers, adding 1.2%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 0.2%.  Among notable European stock moves, Prosus NV soared on plans to sell more of its $134 billion stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. to finance a buyback program. Mediobanca SpA fell after the death of Italian entrepreneur Leonardo Del Vecchio, the single largest investor in the bank.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Prosus shares surge as much as 17% in Amsterdam after the tech investor said it will sell down its holding in Tencent to finance an open-ended share buyback program, which could help close the gap between the firm’s market value and the value of the Tencent stake, according to analysts.
  • Mining stocks lead gains in the Stoxx 600 Index on Monday as iron ore and base metals recover ground amid signs of improvement in China’s economy. Rio Tinto shares rise as much as 4.4%, Anglo American +4.6%, Glencore +4.2%
  • Nordex shares jump as much as 12% after the firm announced a EU139.2m cash injection from Acciona in a bid to increase liquidity and strengthen its balance sheet to shield itself against the risks of short term headwinds in the industry.
  • Kion shares rise as much as 7.7% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight from underweight, saying that the structural case for warehouse and forklift companies remains intact even amid a de-rating for the stocks.
  • Lundbeck soars as much as 15% after the Danish pharmaceutical company reported positive data in a clinical study of agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Ocado shares fall as much as 3.1% after the stock was cut to neutral from outperform and PT slashed to 960p from 1,600p at Credit Suisse, with the broker saying new disclosures from the online grocer indicate that its prior assumptions were “too optimistic.”
  • Ipsen shares drop as much as 5.1% after the pharmaceutical company announced the acquisition of US biotech Epizyme for $1.45/share in cash plus a contingent value right of $1/share. Analyst had mixed reactions to the deal.
  • Mediobanca shares fall as much as 4.4% in Milan after news that Italian entrepreneur Leonardo Del Vecchio, the single largest investor in the bank with a stake of about 19.4%, has died.
  • Wise shares drop as much as 5.3% after the money transfer firm said its CEO is facing a probe by UK regulators.
  • Tecnicas Reunidas shares tumble as much as 17% after the company said it began arbitrage to recover excess costs in a dispute with the Sonatrach-Neptune Energy consortium over a contract for the Touat Gaz Plant in Algeria.

Elsewhere, Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced after battered technology shares rebounded as easing recession fears underpinned investor sentiment.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 2.1%, its biggest intraday gain this month, as chip and internet companies including TSMC and Alibaba climbed. Tech-heavy markets such as Taiwan and South Korea extended gains made Friday, while an index of Asian tech stocks rallied for a second straight session after dropping to the lowest since September 2020.  Asian equities are bouncing back from a two-year low, as US Treasury yields retreat. Almost all markets in the region rose, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index leading gains and China’s benchmark coming closer to a bull market as Shanghai’s leader declared victory in defending the financial hub against Covid.

A Chinese tech index in Hong Kong advanced 4.7%. Still, the rally in technology shares may be short-lived, as global demand for consumer electronics remains fragile.  “Korea and Taiwan have high leverage to tech products, and we’ve seen a lot of that come under pressure so the end demand has slowed down,” Ray Sharma-Ong, investment director at Abrdn Asia, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We expect continued outflows post this relief rally.”

Japanese equities climbed as the latest comments from Federal Reserve officials buoyed sentiment on the economy and a reading on US inflation expectations eased.  The Topix Index rose 1.1% to 1,887.42 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 1.4% to 26,871.27. Sony Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.3%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,490 rose and 568 fell, while 112 were unchanged.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.9% to close at 6,706, the benchmark’s biggest daily gain since Jan. 28, as investors in Asia assessed whether inflation is bottoming and recession can be averted. The index’s biggest gains were seen in the financial, energy and tech sectors. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index closed 1.7% higher at 10,997.92, the benchmark’s best day since March 1

Emerging-market stocks climbed to the highest in more than a week as China’s recovery from its virus-induced slump propels the Asian nation’s equities toward a bull market. Technology stocks led emerging-market equity gains, with China’s economy showing some improvement in June amid a further easing of pandemic curbs in Shanghai. Chinese shares look to be the best home for fresh money in Asia amid a tough investment environment, according to abrdn plc’s regional chairman Hugh Young. China plans to extend the yuan’s trading hours as it seeks to increase global investor participation in onshore currency trading as part of its internationalization push.

In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index fell 0.2% as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Australian dollar.  AUD and CHF are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, SEK and GBP outperform. The volatility term structures for the Group-of-4 currencies focus on the upcoming central bank meetings as there is little demand for long gamma in the front-end. The euro advanced, nearing $1.06 and European bonds fell broadly, with the exeption of Greece and Sweden, as focus turns to ECB President Christine Lagarde’s speech. Sterling rose for a second day, supported by a rally in global stocks that is limiting demand for the dollar. Gilts extended their slide across the curve, while money markets raised BOE tightening bets as haven- buying was unwound amid equity advances.

In rates, Treasuries are weaker amid a selloff in core European rates, which extended losses after EU’s sale of EU2.5b four-year bonds. US yields are cheaper by nearly 4bp at long end, steepening 2s10s by ~2.4bp, 5s30s by ~1bp on the day; 10-year is up 3.6bp at ~3.17% with bunds and gilts lagging by additional 8bp and 5bp in the sector.  As Bloomberg notes, the broad risk-asset rally puts added cheapening pressure on Treasury yields with S&P 500 futures and Estoxx50 rising led by big gains for Asia stocks. Two coupon auctions slated for Monday may also weigh: Monday’s auctions include $46b 2- year at 11:30am ET and $47b 5-year notes at 1pm. The WI 2-year yield near 3.07% (vs 2.519% last month) is above auction stops since 2007; WI 5Y near 3.22% (vs 2.736% in May) exceeds results since 2008. IG dollar issuance expectations for the week are around $15b, although remain highly dependent on market conditions. The long- end of the curve may benefit this week from anticipated month- end demand; Bloomberg Indices estimated a 0.07yr Treasury index duration extension for July 1, slightly below 12-month average. In Europe, Gilts underperform Treasuries and bunds, cheaper by about 5-6bps at the long end.

In commodities, industrial metals rebounded, while oil rose. Copper steadied and most other base metals rebounded after their worst week in a year as China’s economy showed signs of recovering and Goldman Sachs said global supplies were still constrained. Oil fluctuated near $107 a barrel in New York as investors monitored developments from the gathering of Group of Seven leaders; G7 leaders met to decide on a Russian oil price cap ahead of Iranian nuclear talks and on the week of the OPEC+ meeting. French CGT unions will participate in strikes at LNG terminals and gas storage facilities this week; strike in the energy sector on June 28th. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 6.8%, outperforming peers. LME zinc lags, dropping 0.9%. Spot gold maintains gains, adding ~$13 to trade near $1,840/oz. as some G-7 nations plan to announce ban on new gold imports from Russia

Looking at today's US calendar, we get the May durable goods orders, capital goods orders, pending home sales, and June Dallas Fed manufacturing index.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 3,944.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 417.68
  • MXAP up 1.6% to 161.83
  • MXAPJ up 1.8% to 538.51
  • Nikkei up 1.4% to 26,871.27
  • Topix up 1.1% to 1,887.42
  • Hang Seng Index up 2.4% to 22,229.52
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,379.19
  • Sensex up 1.2% to 53,368.36
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 6,705.95
  • Kospi up 1.5% to 2,401.92
  • Brent Futures up 0.2% to $113.31/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,840.40
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.29% to 103.88
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.49%
  • Euro up 0.3% to $1.0580

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • ECB policy makers gather on a Portuguese hillside on Monday with the sinking feeling that their rush to tackle the inflation shock they failed to forecast risks both a recession and echoes of the euro area’s sovereign debt crisis
  • It was while sitting apparently alone in a London hotel basement that Christine Lagarde engineered a fix to the euro zone’s most alarming debt turmoil since the pandemic struck
  • The ECB is pushing back its policy decisions and the timing of the subsequent press conferences by 30 minutes as of July
  • The US, UK, Japan and Canada plan to announce a ban on new gold imports from Russia during a summit of Group of Seven leaders that’s getting underway Sunday. Prices of the precious metal climbed Monday
  • President Joe Biden rebooted his effort to counter China’s flagship trade-and- infrastructure initiative after an earlier campaign faltered, enlisting the support of Group of Seven leaders at their summit in Germany
  • China’s economy showed some improvement in June as Covid restrictions were gradually eased, although the recovery remains muted
  • China plans to extend the yuan’s trading hours as it seeks to increase global investor participation in onshore currency trading as part of its internationalization push
  • Russia defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt for the first time in a century, the culmination of ever-tougher Western sanctions that shut down payment routes to overseas creditors
  • The world economy risks entering a new era of high inflation which central banks need to keep in check, the Bank for International Settlements said
  • Signs of distress flashing in bond markets suggest the world’s poorest nations are set to see a wave of debt restructurings. But a growing cohort of investors say that’s a buying opportunity

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks were higher across the board as the region took impetus from last Friday's firm gains on Wall St heading closer into month-end. ASX 200 enjoyed broad gains across its sectors although gold miners lagged as Evolution Mining shares dropped by more than 20% due to a cut in its FY output guidance. Nikkei 225 was lifted after the BoJ’s Summary of Opinions reiterated that they must maintain easy policy and with Tepco among the biggest gainers on tight electricity supply amid the hot weather. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the upbeat mood as Hong Kong benefitted from a rampant tech sector and with the mainland encouraged by further easing of restrictions in Shanghai and Beijing, while the PBoC also upped its liquidity efforts with a CNY 100bln injection.

Top Asian News

  • Beijing will permit schools to resume in-class teaching as soon as Monday, ending one of the last major curbs in the capital, according to Bloomberg.
  • Shanghai is to gradually resume dining-in at restaurants from June 29th, according to an official cited by Reuters.
  • PBoC injected CNY 100bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate at 2.10% for a CNY 90bln net injection, according to Reuters.
  • China requested that banks make preparations for longer trading hours for the CNY, with trading in the onshore CNY potentially to extend until 03:00 local time the following day (20:00BST/15:00CDT), according to Bloomberg.
  • BoJ Summary of Opinions from the June meeting stated the BoJ must maintain easy policy and keep a close eye out on the market and FX impact on the economy and prices. It also noted the number of goods seeing prices rise is increasing due to higher raw material costs and a weak yen but it is appropriate to keep easy policy as inflation is not driven by a positive economic cycle. Furthermore, it said maintaining ultra-easy policy is effective in sustaining a rise in wages and that a sharp fall in Yen would hurt the economy and heighten uncertainty.
  • Japanese government issued power shortage warnings for Tuesday, for a second straight day, according to Reuters.
  • Japan has proposed removing reference to the goal of 50% zero-emission vehicles by 2030; wants less concrete target, according to a draft cited by Reuters.
  • BoJ's holding of JGBs has reportedly topped 50% of its total, according to Nikkei.

European bourses are kicking off the week on the front-foot as global equities see tailwinds from Wall Street’s bounce on Friday. Sectors in Europe are mostly positive – but Utilities and Insurance are subdued, with the overall picture being a cyclical one. Stateside, US equity futures track sentiment higher – with the NQ the current outperformer vs the ES, YM, and RTY.

Top European News

  • ECB says as of the July meeting, the policy decisions will be released at 14:15CET and presser at 14:45CET, according to Reuters.
  • ECB’s Pivot Toward Rate Hikes Feeds Fears of New Bond Crisis; ECB to Announce Rate Decisions 30 Minutes Later From July
  • EU Confronts Low Gas Storage Risk in Test of Unity on Russia
  • Gas Jumps as Europe Struggles to Fill Russian Gap
  • UK’s Battered Economy Is Sliding Toward a Breaking Point

FX

  • Greenback continues to gravitate as risk sentiment improves, but could get a month end boost given models indicating broad rebalancing requirement - DXY pivots 104.000 within 104.120-103.790 range just shy of last week's low.
  • Yen benefits from all round fix buying ahead of final trading day of June and Q2 on Thursday - Usd/Jpy not far from 134.50 at one stage overnight alongside declined in Yen crosses.
  • Pound perks up as IMM spec accounts trim short positions again and Euro tests technical resistance ahead of 1.0600 vs Buck amidst firmer rebound in EGB yields - Cable probes 1.2300 at best, Eur/Usd touches 21 DMA at 1.0591.
  • Aussie lags on Aud/Nzd headwinds, but Loonie pares losses in tandem with oil - Aud/Usd sub-0.6950, cross under 1.1000, Nzd/Usd hovering over 0.6300 and Usd/Cad back below 1.2900.
  • Yuan underpinned by net PBoC liquidity injection and easing of Covid restrictions in China - Usd/Cnh and Usd/Cny both beneath 6.6900.
  • Lira knee jerks higher after Turkey cuts credit to firms with more than Try 15 mn FX cash assets - Usd/Try down to 16.1040 or so before rebound towards 16.8900.

Fixed Income

  • Debt futures unwind more recovery gains with EGBs leading the way.
  • Bunds retreat towards 146.50 vs 149.00 at one stage last Friday.
  • Gilts closer to 113.00 than 114.00 and 10 year T-note near the base of 116-31/117-13 overnight range.
  • US durable goods data ahead and a double dose of issuance comprising Usd 46 bn 2 year and Usd 47 bn 5 year auctions.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent futures consolidate with modest intraday losses as G7 leaders meet to decide on a Russian oil price cap ahead of Iranian nuclear talks and on the week of the OPEC+ meeting.
  • French CGT unions will participate in strikes at LNG terminals and gas storage facilities this week; strike in the energy sector on June 28th.
  • Spot gold piggy-backs off the softer Dollar – with the yellow metal currently eyeing its 21 DMA (1,841.60/oz) and 200 DMA (1,845.20/oz) to the upside
  • Base metals are largely rebounding following the recent rout – also aided by the Buck.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: May Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.2%, prior 0.5%; -Less Transportation, est. 0.3%, prior 0.4%
  • 08:30: May Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.1%, prior 0.4%
  • 08:30: May Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.2%, prior 0.8%
  • 10:00: May Pending Home Sales YoY, prior -11.5%
  • 10:00: May Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. -3.9%, prior -3.9%
  • 10:30: June Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. -6.5, prior -7.3

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

This morning we are launching our monthly survey which hopefully comes at an opportune time to assess what you all think about recession risk, whether the next big move in markets will be up or down, whether the BoJ will be able to hold the line on YCC, whether your market view includes the risk of Russian gas being cut off from Europe, and whether you think negative rates will be seen again in the next decade after the ECB likely moves away from it by September. There are a couple of other repeat questions to answer. It should take 2-3 minutes, is all anonymous, with answers likely Thursday morning. The link is here and all help gratefully received.

A reminder that my chart book was out last week with lots of charts on one of the worst H1s in history, recession risks and lots more. See here for more.

Without having a blockbuster event to look forward to this week there are plenty of things to keep us occupied in what are highly uncertain times. Perhaps the ECB's Forum on Central Banking in Sintra will be the key event to watch, with a policy panel on Wednesday which will bring together Chair Powell, President Lagarde and Governor Bailey together the likely highlight.

Staying in Europe, all eyes will be on the June CPI numbers released for Germany (Wednesday), France (Thursday) and Italy and the Eurozone on Friday. Consensus expectations don’t suggest we’re yet at peak headline inflation with CPI expected to pick up a few tenths YoY this week. With commodity prices fading sharply in June the hope is that we will be near the top soon. In fact, our US economists put out an inflationary chart book last week that suggested that the peak will be in September (9.1% headline and 6.3% core).

The problem is that even if headline dips because of energy, core won’t necessarily fall as quickly with wages and second round effects in full force. We had a small indicator of that last week as our economists also pointed out that the recent acceleration in US hospital workers’ wage growth from around 2.5% to almost 5% should serve to add an additional 50bps to core PCE inflation next year (link here). On Thursday, we’ll get the latest reading of the US core PCE deflator within the personal income and spending data. Core PCE is the Fed's preferred inflation measure so this and the healthcare news is important.

Staying with US data, we have a fair amount to look forward to with the all important ISM on Friday (53.2 expected vs 56.1 last month). We'll also see the Chicago PMI on Thursday and regional Fed's manufacturing indices throughout the week. Durable goods orders (today) and wholesale and retail inventories (tomorrow) will be key to assessing inventory pressures flagged by several firms in recent weeks as well as corporate behaviour amid some easing in supply-chain backlogs.

How the consumer is faring under rising rates and stubborn inflation will be another key theme, with the Conference Board’s June consumer confidence index out tomorrow (99.9 expected vs 106.4 last month). Elsewhere, China's industrial data and PMIs (Thursday), as well as key economic indicators from Japan, will be in focus.

Even though we at the very back end of Q2 earnings, this week will see some bellwether consumer spending companies such as Nike (Monday), H&M and General Mills (Wednesday) report. Other corporates releasing results will include Prosus (Monday), Micron and Walgreens Boots Alliance (Thursday).

Overnight in Asia, equity markets are continuing last week’s rally with the Hang Seng (+2.72%) leading gains thanks to a strong performance in Chinese tech firms. The Kospi (+2.08%), Nikkei (+1.04%), Shanghai Composite (+0.89%) and CSI (+1.24%) are all also up.

Outside of Asia, DM equity futures point to further gains with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.19%), NASDAQ 100 (+0.44%) and DAX (+0.79%) moving higher. Bitcoin is above $21,000 after falling to as low as $17,600 last week for the first time since December 2020, while 10yr US yields are up around +2.5bps.

Earlier today, data released showed that China’s industrial profits (-6.5% y/y) contracted at a slower pace in May following a big fall of -8.5% in April as companies resumed their activity in major manufacturing hubs amid easing Covid restrictions.

In other overnight news, Russia has defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt ($100 million) for the first time in more than 100 years, after the grace period for the payment deadline expired on Sunday.

Recapping last week now, markets grew increasingly concerned about a recession as the week went on, thanks to weak economic data, hawkish central bank rhetoric, and the threat of a Russian gas cut-off in Europe. That led to a significant rally in sovereign bonds as investors sought out safe havens and cast doubt on whether central banks could keep hiking into a downturn. Indeed, yields on 10yr bunds came down by -21.9bps over the week as a whole (+1.0bps Friday), which is their 3rd biggest weekly decline in the last decade. Yields on 10yr Treasuries also saw a similar, albeit less marked decline, with yields down -9.6bps (+4.3bps Friday).

That decline in yields came in spite of continued hawkish central bank commentary, and on Friday we saw San Francisco Fed President Daly say that a 75bps hike in July was “where I’m starting”, thus joining a growing number of officials who’ve openly backed a 75bps move again. Bear in mind if the Fed did move by 75bps in July, that would mean the hiking cycle since March would now be at 225bps, which matches the entire hiking cycle we saw in 3 years between 2015 and 2018. Nevertheless, when it came to monetary policy expectations, the growing fears of a recession led investors to take out the probability of more aggressive tightening, with the fed funds rate priced in by December’s meeting down by -16.0bps over the week (-5.0bps Friday). And looking at the entire profile of meetings ahead, futures are now expecting the peak Federal funds rate to come as soon as March 2023, before pricing in cuts after that.

With investors expecting somewhat more dovish central banks, global equities rallied strongly last week as they recovered from their worst weekly performance since the pandemic began. The S&P 500 gained +6.45% on the week, and its Friday advance of +3.06% was the best daily performance for the index since May 2020. Europe’s STOXX 600 put in a weaker +2.40% advance (+2.62% Friday), but matters weren’t helped by German equities, with the DAX losing -0.06% (+1.59% Friday) as concerns grew about a potential cut-off in Russian gas. That’s sent natural gas futures in Europe to a 3-month high, with last week seeing a further +9.14% gain (-3.63% Friday).

Lastly, after the poor mid-week data including the flash PMIs for June, Friday’s releases did bring some modest respite. First, the final reading of the University of Michigan’s long-term inflation expectations was revised down to 3.1% (vs. 3.3% previously). The unexpected jump in that measure before the Fed’s meeting was said to be a factor in their move to 75bps, as they’re very concerned about the prospect that longer-term inflation expectations could become unanchored, making inflation much harder to control. Furthermore, new home sales for the US in May rose to an annualised rate of 696k (vs. 590k expected), whilst the previous month also saw upward revisions. To be fair though, it wasn’t all positive on Friday, and Germany’s Ifo business climate indicator fell to 92.3 in June (vs. 92.8 expected), which marks an end to two successive monthly increases in April and May.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/27/2022 - 08:06

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Government

Inflation

Rising price pressures, stronger and more persistent than generally expected, has been the main challenge for consumers, businesses, and policymakers. It…

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Rising price pressures, stronger and more persistent than generally expected, has been the main challenge for consumers, businesses, and policymakers. It will stay top of mind in the week ahead as both the world's two largest economies, the US and China, report July consumer and producer prices.  

During the Great Depression, the central governments discovered their balance sheets, and budget deficits became a nearly permanent fixture. This is true even for countries like Germany, which ostensibly shunned Keynesian demand management and embraced "ordo-liberalism." During the Global Financial Crisis, the central bank balance sheet was called into action as policy rates hit zero (and fell into negative territory for the members of the eurozone, Switzerland, a few other European countries, and Japan).  

After the Great Financial Crisis, many monetarists and hard-money folks warned of ruinous inflation, which did not materialize. Instead, inflation has soared over the past year or so for most high-income and emerging market countries. The hard-money and monetarists say they told us so. Yet, it took a pandemic of biblical proportions to spur inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, there seems to be no correlation between the size of the central bank's balance sheet (as a percent of GDP), government deficit spending during and after the pandemic, and the subsequent inflation.

The Bank of Japan's balance sheet is nearly 135% of GDP. The Fed's balance sheet is about 36.5% of GDP. The ECB's balance sheet is almost 69% of GDP. Japan's central government debt is more than 2.3-times larger than its GDP. In proportionate terms, US debt is less than half as much as Japan's. The eurozone's debt-to-GDP is a little more than 95%. Consider fiscal policy. The cumulative budget deficit in the US for 2020 and 2021 was a stunning 26.4% of GDP. The deficit in the eurozone was less than half the size (12.2%). Japan's was almost 16% of GDP.  

We will likely learn next week that the July US CPI (year-over-year) fell below the preliminary EMU reading of 8.9%. The median forecast in the Bloomberg survey sees a 0.2% month-over-month gain, which given the base effect, would be consistent with an 8.8% year-over-year rate.  Energy prices have pulled back.  Sept WTI fell 5.3% in June and and another 4.3% in July.  It is off almost 10% so far this month.  The average price of retail gasoline fell 13% in July.  

Japan's headline CPI was a modest 2.4% in June. The BOJ's last meeting concluded the day before the June CPI was reported. Its updated forecast put this year's CPI at 2.4% before falling back to 1.3%-1.4% for the next two years. Do not be mistaken. The BOJ's forecasts are not an outlier. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are also convinced Japan's inflation is temporary. The median forecast is a 1.2% rise in CPI next year, followed by a 0.8% increase in 2024.  

Conventional wisdom is that monetary policy will not change until Governor Kuroda steps down next April. The inflation forecasts, if accurate, suggest the new governor will find that the deflation demon has not been slain after all. Although the BOJ's policy rate is -0.1%, it has been trading at -0.009%. The swaps market has it at 0.01% in a year, 0.07% in two years, and 0.11% in three years.  

After arguably waiting too long to get going, the Federal Reserve has stepped up its game. It persuaded many, even if not everyone, that it is so determined to bring inflation down that it is willing to risk an economic contraction. This is important because it shows that inflation expectations are anchored. Consider the 10-year breakeven peaked in mid-April a little above 3.05% and fell to the year's low slightly below 2.27% a few weeks ago. It is now hovering in narrow band around 2.50%.  In the middle of last month, the two-year breakeven fell to 2.85%, the lowest since October 2021. It popped back to around 3.25% but is approaching the low again.  Recall it peaked shortly after the first rate hike was delivered in March 16, near 5%.  Doesn't this say something about the Fed's anti-inflation credibility? 

While the breakevens have been consolidating, we note the correlation between the changes in the 10-year yield breakeven and oil prices increased to almost 0.60 over the past 30 days, the highest in more than three months. The correlation between the changes in oil and the US two-year breakeven is around 0.83, the highest since the end of 2020. Surely, most observers would agree that whatever attenuated relationship there may be between fiscal and monetary policy on one hand and oil prices on the other, it is overshadowed by several other factors.

Last week, the Bank of England warned that inflation was likely to peak near 13%. That is twice as much as it anticipated at the end of last year when it began its tightening cycle. The main culprit is not monetary or fiscal variables but the supply shock from the energy sector. The BOE is also the first major central bank to acknowledge a recession. Indeed, it warns that the economy will contract for five consecutive quarters, which does not include the second quarter. The UK reports Q2 GDP on August 12, and the median forecast (Bloomberg survey) is for a small contraction.  

Nevertheless, the  BOE is clearly determined to continue to tighten monetary policy. Governor Bailey is cagey about the pace of hikes going forward, like many other central banks, including the Fed, ECB, and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Yet, the market remains fairly convinced that the central BOE will hike rates by at least another 100 bp in the last three meetings of the year. The BOE is also the first major central bank to announce intentions of actively selling some of its sovereign and corporate bond holdings to shrink its balance sheet quicker than the passive approach of allowing maturing issues to roll off.  

The cottage industry of critics put the Federal Reserve in a "damned if they do and don't if they don't" box. First, many wanted the central bank to be more aggressive than even the hawks at the Fed advocated. Then as the economy slows, they are among the first to condemn the Fed for inducing a recession. Endless fodder for the large pipes that deliver the streaming news.  

We have staked out a middle ground between those pundits and cynics who have been saying the US is in a recession for a few months and several Fed officials who suggest there is little sign of a broad economic slowdown. Yet, even Powell acknowledges the path to a soft landing is getting narrower. While recognizing we live in a probabilistic world, we see the odds of a soft-landing as minuscule at best. 

It is not just because of monetary policy, which is tightening aggressively. Indeed, after the stronger than expected employment report, which saw a new cyclical low in the unemployment rate (3.5%) and the strongest jobs growth in five months (528k), the Fed funds futures were discounting around a 75% chance of another 75 bp hike at next month's meeting that concludes on September 21. The 2-10-year yield curve is inverted by the most since 2000 (almost 40 bp).  Fiscal policy is tightening too, and aggressively at that. The OECD projects government spending to fall by 0.1% this year. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey is for the budget deficit to fall to 4.4% of GDP this year from 10.8% last year. The two-month 25% slide in oil prices is helpful for the soft-landing scenario, but they have still doubled since early 2021, which proceeded the end of the last few business cycles.  

Also, the inventory cycle has matured, and from a tailwind last year, it has turned into a headwind. If it weren't for the inventory adjustment, the US economy would have expanded in H1. The good news here is that the drag from inventories may be winding down. Another drag that may replace it is that some sectors that saw strong demand during the pandemic may have built too and cut back. Given that it was slow to take its foot off the accelerator, the Fed's biggest mistake would be to declare victory too early. This risk-reward assessment also injects a human element into the risks of a hard-landing. 

The July CPI should offer some comfort that inflation, which jumped in Q2, is steadying at the start of Q3. After rising by 1.0% in May and 1.3% in June, the July CPI is expected to edge up by 0.2%. If so, it would match the smallest monthly increase since November 2020. It would also be consistent with a small decline in the year-over-year rate, which has only happened one other time since last August (in April). However, the core rate may tick up. The median forecast (Bloomberg survey) sees a 0.6% increase, which is the average over the last nine months. This would produce the first increase in the year-over-year core CPI since March. It peaked then at 6.5% and fell to 5.9% in June.  

The market still expects the Fed to raise rates aggressively and double the pace of the roll-off from its balance sheet starting next month. The market is now looking for the Fed to hike rates by 125 bp in the last three meetings of the year. Look at what has happened. The year-end Fed funds rate has mostly been between 3.25% and 3.50% for the past two months. It pushed through the upper end after the jobs report.  

Moreover, the Fed's hawkish rhetoric and the jobs report did not manage to dissuade the market from pricing in a cut in the Fed funds rate next year.  Even if the terminal rate is a bit higher than the market previously thought, it seems more confident of a rate cut in H2 23.  Specifically, the implied yield of the December 2023 Fed funds futures is about 33 bp below the yield of the December 2022 contract.  Over the course of the week the chances of a cut in Q3 23 were downgraded. At the end of July, the September Fed funds yielded 32 bp less than the December 2022 contract. It closed last week at  a 12 bp discount.  

The team of economists at ITC found that since 1990, the first Fed cut has come on average 10.6 months after the last hike. It is in a range of five months to 18 months. If the market is right and the Fed finishes its tightening this year, or even early next year, it appears to be pricing in a fairly typical gap.  

Much to the chagrin of some of the Fed's critics that put the hawks at the Bundesbank to shame, the market is confident that the economy will reach a point later this year or early next year that will prompt the Fed to ease off its drive. This is the real meaning of the central bank put. They will not pursue the old Mellon recommendation:  liquidate, liquidate, and liquidate. The hawks do not have a constituency for it. And that seems global, not just limited to the US. But, of course, like playing three-card Monty, it always looks easy from the sidelines.  

China's inflation will be reported after it its reserves (lower), trade surplus (smaller), and lending figures (less). The June CPI was at 2.5% year-over-year, roughly the midpoint seen since the onset of Covid (-0.5%-5.4%). It is expected to have edged up to 2.8% in July. The recovery in pork prices led to the acceleration in food inflation (2.9% vs. 2.3%). The core measure, which excludes food and energy, rose 1.0% year-over-year in June from 0.9% in April and May.   Meanwhile, China's PPI is expected to lurch down, possibly below 5%, to its lowest level since March 2021. It peaked at 13.5% last October, and the decline in July will be the ninth consecutive monthly decline.

The subdued price pressures may give the PBOC room to ease policy, but it seems to be in no rush. It is encouraging lending and has offered some fiscal support. It has been mild. There appears to be a window to ease policy in the next couple of weeks. Liquidity conditions have tightened due to several factors, including PBOC draining operations and tax payments, and on August 16, a CNY600 bln medium-term lending facility matured. There are several ways that the PBOC could provide more liquidity, including a new medium-term lending facility, reverse repos, and a cut in reserve requirements.  


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Spread & Containment

Inflation Breakeven and Term Spreads Adjusted for Premia

Expected inflation inferred from the Treasury-TIPS spread is tainted by risk and liquidity premia. The difference between expected future short rates and…

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Expected inflation inferred from the Treasury-TIPS spread is tainted by risk and liquidity premia. The difference between expected future short rates and current short rates is also obscured by risk premia. Here are adjusted spreads:

Figure 1: Five year inflation breakeven calculated as five year Treasury yield minus five year TIPS yield (blue, left scale), five year breakeven adjusted by inflation risk premium and liquidity premium per DKW (red, left scale), both in %. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: FRB via FRED, Treasury, NBER, KWW following D’amico, Kim and Wei (DKW) accessed 8/4, and author’s calculations.

The adjusted series suggests an upward movement in expected inflation with the expanded Russian invasion of Ukraine, but less than that indicated by the simple Treasury-TIPS spread (and no downward movement recently).

How have recent releases affected inflation expectations? Figure 2 presents a detail.

Figure 2: Five year inflation breakeven calculated as five year Treasury yield minus five year TIPS yield (blue, left scale), five year breakeven adjusted by inflation risk premium and liquidity premium per DKW (red, left scale), both in %. Source: FRB via FRED, Treasury, KWW following D’amico, Kim and Wei (DKW) accessed 8/4, and author’s calculations.

The inflation breakeven rises with the GDP advance and PCE deflator releases, but stays constant with today’s employment numbers (strangely). However, to the extent that the Treasury-TIPS spread mismeasures expectations, we should be a bit wary of this result (inflation expectations do drop with the GDP release with the adjusted measure).

What about the 10yr-3mo spread? The unadjusted has taken a big dive in recent weeks, coming close to inversion.

Figure 3: 10 year-3 month Treasury spread (dark blue), and implied future nominal rates over next ten years (pink), both in %. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: FRB via FRED, Treasury, NBER, KWW following D’amico, Kim and Wei (DKW) accessed 8/4, and author’s calculations.

 

The gap between 10yr-3mo went negative in 2019, and again with the onset of the pandemic. The yield curve steepened sharply with the Georgia special election outcomes, and then counterintuitively rose again with the Russian expanded incursion into Ukraine. The spread dropped sharply from May 6th onward.

The spread incorporates a inflation risk premium so that on average, the yield curve slopes up. Hence, the standard 10yr-3mo spread does not necessarily equal the difference between 3 month yields over the next 10 years vs the current 3 month yield. I show the sum of the future 3 month real yields and future 3 month inflation rates over the next ten years as the pink line in Figure 2. This line probably better shows the heightened expectations of growth in 2021Q1-Q2, as well as the dropoff in perceived growth prospects in May.

The detail suggests the expected asset price responses to the recent releases as well.

Figure 4: 10 year-3 month Treasury spread (dark blue), and implied future nominal rates over next ten years (pink), both in %. Source: FRB via FRED, Treasury, KWW following D’amico, Kim and Wei (DKW) accessed 8/4, and author’s calculations.

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Economics

Sixth recession red flag raised, despite strong jobs report

On the same day, the BLS revealed that we’ve recovered all the jobs lost to COVID-19 and I am raising my sixth recession red flag.
The post Sixth recession…

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What a crazy day for my economic model! On the same day, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that we’ve recovered all the jobs lost to COVID-19 and I am raising my sixth recession red flag.

When I wrote the America is back recovery model on April 7, 2020, and then retired it on Dec. 9, 2020, I knew one data line would lag the most: jobs! I have talked about how job openings would move toward 10 million and that we should get all the jobs we lost to COVID-19 back by September 2022. Well, I was off by two months: Today, the BLS reported that 528,000 jobs were created with positive revisions of 28,000, which gave us just enough to pass the February 2020 levels.

From BLS: 
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 528,000 in July, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care. Both total nonfarm employment and the unemployment rate have returned to their February 2020 pre-pandemic levels.

Feb 2020: 152,504,000
July 2022: 152,536,000

The big job numbers we have seen recently are tied to the decline in the job openings data, which lags also, but we do see a decrease in this data line as it appears for now that the job openings data has peaked in this cycle. It recently went from 11.3 million to 10.7 million, and the recent peak was near 11.9 million.



We have seen increases in jobless claims and slighter increases in continuing claims. However, nothing too drastic yet. Again, at this stage of the economic cycle you should focus on the rate of change data.



A tighter labor market is a good thing; this means people with less educational backgrounds can get employed since we have many jobs that don’t require a college education. The unemployment rate did tick up for those with less than a high school diploma in this report.

Here is a breakdown of the unemployment rate and educational attainment for those 25 years and older:

—Less than a high school diploma: 5.9%.
—High school graduate and no college: 3.6%
—Some college or associate degree: 2.8%
—Bachelor’s degree and higher: 2.0%



Below is a breakdown of the jobs created. Every sector created jobs; even the government created jobs. All this was just working our way back from the losses to COVID-19, which I knew would take a bit longer than some people would have thought with the economic data we had in 2021.



Now that we have regained all the jobs lost to COVID-19, what is next?

Hopefully, people know that we weren’t in a recession in the first six months of the year. When you’re in a recession, you don’t create jobs, have positive industrial production data, or positive consumer data in GDP. We had some funky trade and inventory data that tilted the GDP negatively, but the traditional data lines that go negative in a recession are just not there yet.

Even so, because some of the more current data is trending negatively,  I am raising my sixth recession red flag today. Allow me to present my case.

Recession red flag watch

Where are we in the economic cycle? I’ve already raised five of my six recession red flags, but until they are all up, I don’t use the word recession.

Let’s review those red flags in order, as my model is based on an economic progression model:

1. The unemployment rate falls down to a level where we start to talk about Federal Reserve rate hikes because the economy doesn’t need as much stimulus for employment gains.  For this recovery, the unemployment rate getting to 4% is the level where I raised my first recession red flag. This just means that the recovery is more mature than the earlier stages of the unemployment rate falling. Today it’s currently at 3.5%.

2. The Federal Reserve starts to raise rates. The Federal Reserve started Its rate hike process this year, to start fighting inflation and has been more aggressive recently. This shows that the expansion is longer and that the Federal Reserve is in a mood to tighten policy rather than make it more accommodative.

3. The inverted yield curve. This is more of a market-driven bond yield red flag. I had been on an inverted yield curve watch since Thanksgiving of 2021. This is when the two-year yield and 10-year yield slap high fives and say hi to each other. It’s another progression red flag, reflecting that we are in a more mature stage of the economy. Traditionally you see an inverted yield curve before every recession.



4. Find the overheating economic sector where demand can’t be sustained. Once that demand comes back to normal, people will be laid off. We see this in the durable goods data. A few companies are laying people off or putting into place a hiring freeze.



5.  New home sales, housing starts, and permits fall into a recession. Once mortgage rates rise, the new home sales sector does get hit harder than the existing home sales market. The homebuilder confidence index is falling noticeably, and while we never had the housing build-up in credit and sales that we saw in 2005, the builders will slow housing production down with higher rates. I raised my fifth recession red flag in June.

Today, I am raising the last recession red flag, which considers the Leading Economic Index (LEI). This week I presented my six recession red flag model to the Committee For Economic Development of The Conference Board (CED) — the committee that created the leading economic index. “Since its inception in 1942, CED has addressed national priorities to promote sustained economic growth and development to benefit all Americans. CED’s work in those first few years led to great policy accomplishments. One is the Marshall Plan, the economic development program that helped rebuild Europe and maintain peace, the Bretton Woods Agreement that established the new global financial system, and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.” 

6. Leading economic index declines four to six months before a recession. Historically, the LEI fades into every recession, outside a one-time huge economic shock like COVID-19. To raise this flag I needed four to six months of decline, which we saw recently. However, knowing the components of this data line, I know this data line has legs to keep going lower.

As you can see, the LEI doesn’t have a good history of reversing course when the downtrend is in place. We have had times in the mid-1990s when we saw a slowdown but didn’t get a recession.

With that in mind, how might this reverse? Well, the two easy answers are this:

1. Rates fall to get the housing sector back in line.
2. Growth rate of inflation falls, the Fed stops hiking rates and reverses course, as they did in 2018.

Most Americans are working, and job openings are still high enough that people can find work if they need to. However, if you’re asking me how we could see a reversal after all six flags are up, this is it.

So how do I square raising the last recession red flag when we had such a strong job report today? Well, the model isn’t designed to work during a recession. It’s intended to show the progression of an expansion into a recession.  As you can see below, this data line fell in 2006, and we were still creating jobs in 2006 and 2007.

During the housing bubble, we had a clear over-investment, and that was in the housing market, so the recession red flag model was evident before the recession. Only three of my recession red flags were up before the COVID-19 crisis; in fact, we were still in expansionary mode if COVID-19 hadn’t occurred.

I can’t describe it any other way: things have been crazy since April 2020. All of us that track economic data have had to adjust to the highest velocity of data movement in our lifetime and have had to make COVID-19 adjustments all the time.

At some point in the future, things will get back to normal. I’ve presented you with my data lines to show we weren’t in a recession the first six months of the year, but the economic data is getting softer and softer. I will be looking for weaker data lines getting to the point where we actually see real recessionary data, which means jobs are being lost monthly, production data falls and companies make adjustments to their business model with greater force.

I’ll take each data point one day at a time and try to make sense of it. Remember, economics done right should be very boring, and always, be the detective, not the troll.

The post Sixth recession red flag raised, despite strong jobs report appeared first on HousingWire.

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