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Futures Jump As Crypto Turmoil Fades, Dip Buyers Make Cautious Appearance

Futures Jump As Crypto Turmoil Fades, Dip Buyers Make Cautious Appearance

After dropping to the edge of a bear market, with Eminis sliding…

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Futures Jump As Crypto Turmoil Fades, Dip Buyers Make Cautious Appearance

After dropping to the edge of a bear market, with Eminis sliding to precisely 3,855 or exactly 20% lower than the all time high, US index futures rebounded sharply from the brink (the same way they did on Dec 24, 2018 when the S&P spent a few minutes in a bear market) as the stabilization of much of the cryptosphere (where no new stablecoins suddenly cratered to 0) and an overnight easing in Treasury yields provided some relief after a two-day slide. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 1.7% as of 730 a.m. in New York. S&P 500 futures were also higher, rising 1.1%, as high as 3976 after dropping to 2,855 yesterday. Twitter shares plunged as much as 26% in New York premarket trading after Elon Musk tweeted that his deal for the social media company was "temporarily on hold." Yields on 10-year US Treasury yields fell for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday, reaching 2.85%, before edging higher again on Friday. The dollar index dipped but remains on course for its longest streak of weekly gains since 2018, while bitcoin and ether reversed several days of harrowing losses to rise back over 30,000 and 2,000, respectively.

Abating panic in the cryptocurrency market was among the highlights of a risk-on environment on the last day of the week. Bitcoin added about $1,800 to top $30,000. US cryptocurrency-exposed stocks including Riot Blockchain Inc. and Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. also rallied premarket.

In notable premarket moves, Twitter slumped 21% after bidder Elon Musk tweeted deal was “temporarily on hold” pending details about fake accounts. On the other end, Robinhood surged 20% after cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried snapped up a 7.6% stake, while Affirm jumped 30% after earnings. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks climbed as digital assets started to rebound after the recent rout linked to the implosion of the TerraUSD stablecoin. Coinbase rose 11% despite being sued over its role in the promotion and trading of a stablecoin that purportedly had its value pegged to the price of the Japanese yen.  Bank stocks rose in premarket trading Friday, putting them on track to snap a six-day losing streak. Here are all the notable premarket movers:

  • Twitter (TWTR US) shares slump as much as 19% premarket after Musk says deal is “temporarily on hold pending details”. Tesla (TSLA US) shares hit a session high, rising nearly 5% on the news
  • Megacap tech stocks and semiconductor makers rally in US premarket trading amid a broad rebound across growth sectors, while Korean chip peer Samsung was said to be in talks to hike chipmaking prices. Apple (AAPL US) +2.1%, Meta Platforms (FB US) +2.4%, Microsoft (MSFT US) +1.8%
  • Robinhood (HOOD US) shares surge as much as 27% in U.S. premarket trading after cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried disclosed a new 7.6% stake in the online brokerage
  • Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks climb in US premarket trading as digital assets started to rebound after the recent rout linked to the implosion of the TerraUSD stablecoin. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +7.9%, Marathon Digital (MARA US) +7.2%
  • US-listed Chinese stocks rise in premarket trading, with sentiment boosted by the Fed’s pushback on speculation of steeper interest-rate hikes and Shanghai’s new timeline to end a grueling lockdown. Alibaba (BABA US) +3.3%, JD.com (JD US) +4%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +4.3%.
  • New Relic (NEWR US) declined 9% in postmarket. It delivered a mixed fourth quarter, according to analysts, with revenue growth coming in ahead of consensus, albeit with a lower beat compared to the last period
  • Figs (FIGS US) sinks as much as 27% in US premarket trading, with Cowen saying that the scrubs maker’s cut to its full-year 2022 sales growth and Ebitda margin guidance is “well below” previous guidance
  • Compass (COMP US) jumpped 7% in extended trading after the real-estate software company reported larger-than-expected revenues in the first quarter, despite guiding toward lower- than-expected second-quarter revenue
  • First Solar Inc. (FSLR US) shares gained 2.8% in extended trading on Thursday, as Piper Sandler upgrades the stock to overweight from neutral

Stocks have plunged this year as traders fretted over the impact tighter monetary will have on growth, with the S&P 500 dropping to precisely 20% from its recent peak before bouncing. On Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday reaffirmed that the central bank is likely to raise interest rates by a half percentage point at each of its next two meetings, while leaving open the possibility it could do more. The Fed chair also said that whether a soft landing can be executed or not may depend on factors that they cannot control but added they have tools to get inflation under control and that it will ultimately be more painful if high inflation is not dealt with and becomes entrenched. Furthermore, he noted that with perfect hindsight, it would have been better to have hiked rates sooner, according to Reuters.

As the Federal Reserve embarks on interest-rate hikes to tame surging inflation, expensive growth shares, including the tech sector, have suffered as higher rates mean a bigger discount for the present value of future profits. This marks a shift in investor outlook after tech stocks had been some of the market’s best performers for years. 

“While we continue to see positives for the market, investor sentiment isn’t likely to turn until we get greater clarity on the 3Rs -- rates, recession and risk,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer, UBS Global Wealth Management. “Until then, we favor parts of the market that should outperform in an environment of rising policy rates, slowing growth, and geopolitical uncertainty.”

At $1.1 billion, tech stocks suffered their biggest outflows so far this year in the week to May 11, second only to financials, which lost $2.6 billion, Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett wrote in a note, citing EPFR Global data. By contrast, US stocks overall noted their first inflow in five weeks at $93 million.

It’s a “very tough time,” Kathy Entwistle, managing director at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “We’re holding just still and quiet and patient and waiting for some more insights as to where we’re going. We still see a lot of volatility on the horizon."

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index rose 1.2% as the lowest valuations since the start of the pandemic drew buyers. Banks and technology stocks led gains, while autos and telecommunication shares underperformed.  Here are Europe's biggest movers:

  • Evotec shares rise as much as 9.5% after Deutsche Bank analyst Falko Friedrichs raised the recommendation to buy from hold, citing a unique opportunity to invest in a firm with an entire partnered drug pipeline “for free.”
  • Deutsche Telekom shares advance 1.8% after raising full-year outlook for adjusted Ebitda after leases, reflecting higher forecasts for T-Mobile US.
  • Freenet shares gain as much as 4.8% 1Q results show a good start to the year, and there may be scope for a guidance upgrade in 1H22, Citi (buy) writes in note
  • Fortum shares advance as much as 11% on Friday -- the biggest intraday gain since 2009 -- after SEB and Danske Bank raised their recommendation on the stock citing the Finnish utility’s Russia exit and de-risking related to Uniper gas contracts.
  • UCB shares fall as much as 17% after the company said the US FDA said it can’t approve UCB’s psoriasis treatment bimekizumab in its current form, forcing the company and analysts to reasses 2022 expectations.
  • Drax falls as much as 7.6% and is among weakest performers in the Stoxx 600 on Friday after Credit Suisse gives the stock its only negative rating, moving to underperform on elevated power prices.
  • SalMar drops as much as 4%, falling alongside peers in the Norwegian salmon and seafood sector, after a slew of several companies in the sector reported 1Q earnings that came in below expectations.
  • Unipol and UnipolSai drop in Milan trading after releasing first-quarter results and the 2022-2024 strategic plan; analysts note lower-than-expected cumulative dividends in plan for UnipolSai.

European Union nations said it may be time to consider delaying a push to ban Russian oil if the bloc can’t persuade Hungary to back the embargo. Wheat production in Ukraine, one of the biggest growers, will fall by one-third compared to last year, according to a US forecast.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rallied as battered technology shares bounced back, with the regional benchmark still on track for its worst weekly losing streak since 2015 on worries about higher interest rates and lockdowns in China. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.8%, advancing with US futures as comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled rate hikes of more than 50 basis points may be unlikely. SoftBank was among the biggest boosts after its results, along with Tencent and TSMC. Traders said Friday’s rebound was largely driven by the unwinding of short positions following the recent selloff, with many still nervous about how China’s virus measures can complicate the already murky global economic outlook. The Asian equity measure was on track for its sixth-straight weekly decline, down 2.5% in the past five sessions.

“We have to be watchful on the impact of China’s lockdowns, that’s going to have an effect on inflation as well as on growth,” said Jumpei Tanaka, a strategist at Pictet. “Up until now, the earnings outlook hasn’t been lowered that much. The market has been adjusting valuations because of the Fed’s rate hikes. The next key point is how corporate earnings will be affected.” Japan’s Nikkei rose 2.6%, boosted by gains in Tokyo Electron after strong profits as well as SoftBank. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Tech Index jumped 4.5%.

India’s key equity indexes fell for a 6th straight session and posted their longest stretch of weekly losses in two years as investors’ appetite faded on the back of the local currency’s plunge to a record low and disappointing earnings.  The S&P BSE Sensex declined 0.3% to 52,793.62 in Mumbai after erasing advance of as much as 1.6% during the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index retreated 0.2% to its lowest level since July 30. Both gauges have retreated 3.7% and 3.8% for the week respectively and fallen for a fifth straight week, their longest run of losses since April 2020. “The fear of rising inflation and expectations of more rate hikes in the near term are weighing on investors’ minds,” according to Kotak Securities analyst Amol Athawale.“Traders are selling at every opportunity given that there seems to be no respite from the negative news flows.” The Sensex and Nifty are now about 14.5% off their peak levels in Oct.  Ten of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. dropped on Friday, led by metal companies. For the week, utilities stock gauge was the worst performer, dropping about 11%.  ICICI Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, easing 2.7%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 15 rose while rest fell.

In rates, Treasuries were pressured lower as stock futures pushed through Thursday’s session highs, following gains across European equities. 10-year TSY yields rose to around 2.90%, cheaper by 5bp on the day and sitting close to session highs into early session -- both bunds and gilts underperform slightly across the sector. Risk sentiment was boosted by a rebound in cryptocurrencies, leaving Treasury yields cheaper by up to 6bp across long-end of the curve where 20-year sector underperforms. Long-end led losses steepening 5s30s by 2bp on the day and 2s10s by 2.8bp. The Dollar issuance slate is empty so far; six deals were priced for $11.5b Thursday, taking weekly total to $21.7b vs. $30b projected -- two names decided to stand down. Bund, gilt and UST curves bear-steepen. Peripheral spreads widen, short-dated BTPs lag, widening 5bps to core. Yields on Japan’s debt fell even as those on Treasuries rise across the curve in Asia amid higher equities.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slumped and the greenback weakened against all of it Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen as investor demand for haven assets ebbed after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell pushed back against speculation of more aggressive interest-rate hikes. Risk sensitive Scandinavian currencies as well ask the Australian dollar led gains. The main theme in the FX options space Friday is gamma selloff following the large swings this week. Still, demand for low-delta exposure on a haven basis remains better bid, with greenback topside in good demand versus the euro and the pound. European government bonds followed US Treasuries lower, snapping a recent rally. Treasury yields rose by 3-7 bps as the curve bear- steepened. The yen pared early weakness after BOJ’s Kuroda stressed FX stability. China’s yuan strengthens against the dollar following warnings from the CBIRC with gains fading following soft loan data.

In commodities, Crude futures advance, WTI gains stall near $108. Base metals trade poorly with much of the LME complex down over 1%. Spot gold trades in a narrow range near $1,823/oz.

In crypto, Bitcoin rose back above $30,000.  Binance said that withdrawals for Lunar and UST will open when the market becomes more stable, will suspend spot trading for LUNA/BUSD and UST/BUSD at 09:30BST, May 13th.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include Euro Area industrial production for March, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for May. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Kashkari and Mester, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Nagel and Schnabel.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 1.1% to 3,970.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 429.53
  • MXAP up 1.7% to 160.25
  • MXAPJ up 1.9% to 522.21
  • Nikkei up 2.6% to 26,427.65
  • Topix up 1.9% to 1,864.20
  • Hang Seng Index up 2.7% to 19,898.77
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.0% to 3,084.28
  • Sensex up 1.2% to 53,564.26
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,075.11
  • Kospi up 2.1% to 2,604.24
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 0.91%
  • Euro up 0.2% to $1.0403
  • Brent Futures up 0.8% to $108.30/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,822.04
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 104.59

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Calls are growing for China’s government to sell more bonds to pay for extra stimulus to boost an economy facing its greatest challenges since the initial few months of the pandemic in 2020
  • For global investors trying to gauge the fallout from surging interest rates and slowing economic growth, Hong Kong is quickly emerging as a must-watch market. While Hong Kong’s $466 billion foreign-reserves stockpile and plentiful interbank liquidity suggest little chance of an imminent crisis, signs of financial stress are building
  • UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said the Brexit settlement in Northern Ireland is causing economic and political harm and called on the European Union to be flexible, comments likely to be seen as an attempt to publicly align himself with Boris Johnson after reports of a rift
  • With the U.K. wilting under the fastest inflation in three decades, supermarkets are raising prices at an even quicker rate, according to a new analysis prepared for Bloomberg. That’s turning the screws on shoppers who are already grappling with higher gas and heating bills and falling real incomes
  • Some EU nations are saying it may be time to consider delaying a push to ban Russian oil so they can proceed with the rest of a proposed sanctions package if the bloc can’t persuade Hungary to back the embargo
  • Beijing reported a slight increase in new Covid-19 cases after officials late Wednesday denied the city will be locked down amid growing concern the Chinese capital’s response to a persistent outbreak is about to be intensified
  • Investors are deep in risk-off mood with outflows from stocks, bonds, cash and gold, Bank of America strategists said, citing EPFR Global data

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

APAC stocks were firmer as risk momentum picked up following on from the volatile session on Wall St where the major indices finished mixed but almost wiped out all losses after a late ramp up heading into the close. ASX 200 traded with respectable gains and back above the 7,000 level with tech frontrunning the advances. Nikkei 225 outperformed as focus remained on earnings, while SoftBank surged amid buyback hopes and despite a record loss. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp joined in on the elated mood with Hong Kong led by strength in tech, although the advances in the mainland were moderated by the mixed COVID headlines with Beijing to conduct the next round of mass COVID testing, while Shanghai aims to achieve zero community spread by the middle of this month and is considering expanding the scale of output resumption.

Top Asian News

  • Shanghai Vice Mayor said they aim to have no community spread of coronavirus by mid-May and are considering expanding the scale of production resumption, while they will aim to open up, ease traffic restrictions and open shops in an orderly manner, according to Reuters.
  • Shanghai is to prioritise resuming classes for grades 9, 11 and 12, while supermarkets, convenience and department stores will resume offline operations in an orderly manner and other services such as hairdressing will open gradually, according to Global Times.
  • China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission says the Yuan's weakening is not sustainable, adding do not bet on the unilateral devaluation and appreciation or you could face unnecessary losses; retreat in the Yuan was normal market reaction..
  • BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japan still hasn't achieved a situation where inflation is stably and sustainably at 2%, while the expected rise in inflation is driven mostly by energy costs and is lacking sustainability. Kuroda reiterated the BoJ must continue monetary easing to reach its price target and it is premature to debate an exit from ultra-easy policy, while he also said it is appropriate to maintain the current dovish forward guidance on interest rates, according to Reuters.
  • North Korea said around 350k have shown fever symptoms of an 'unknown cause' and 187.8k are being treated in isolation, while it reported 18k COVID-19 cases and 6 died from a fever in which one was confirmed as a COVID death, according to KCNA and Yonhap.

European bourses are firmer as the rebound from Thursday's selloff continues, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%. US futures are similarly bolstered across the board, NQ outpacing peers modestly as Tech recoups, ES +0.9%. Samsung (005930 KS) is reportedly in talks to hike chipmaking prices by up to 20%, according to Bloomberg sources. Elon Musk says the Twitter (TWTR) deal is temporarily on hold, pending details supporting the calculation that spam/fake accounts represent less than 5% of users. Pressure in TWTR subsequent extended to -13% in the pre-market; extending to -19% after five-minutes.

Top European News

  • UK PM Johnson is considering as many as 90k job cuts in civil service, according to ITV.
  • GVS Shares Rise After Agreeing to Buy Haemotronic for EU212m
  • EU Starts to Consider Oil Sanctions Delay as Hungary Digs In
  • UCB Plunges After FDA Says It Can’t Approve Psoriasis Drug Now
  • Black Bankers Fight to Hold Finance Accountable for Its Promises

FX

  • Dollar and Yen shed some safe haven gains as risk sentiment recovers ahead of the weekend; DXY slips from fresh 2022 peak at 104.920, though still positive, and USD/JPY up near 129.00 vs new retracement low circa 127.50.
  • Aussie takes advantage of pickup in risk appetite and Yuan bounce amidst verbal intervention; AUD/USD hovering under 0.6900 from sub-0.6850 yesterday, USD/CNH and USD/CNY around 6.8000 vs 6.8370 and 6.8110.
  • Euro, Pound and Franc regroup, but remain vulnerable around psychological levels; 1.0400, 1.2200 and parity in EUR/USD, Cable and USD/CHF respectively.
  • Loonie off recent lows post hawkish BoC comments and pre Q1 Loans Survey, USD/CAD close to 1.3000 and 1.1bln option expiry interest between 1.2990 and the round number.
  • Peso underpinned after 50 bp Banxico hike as 1 of the 5 voters dissented for 75 bp.
  • Czech Koruna caught between CNB minutes underlining dovish leaning of new head and Holub opining that May’s hike may not be the final one.

Fixed Income

  • Bonds bounce after conceding ground to recovering risk assets.
  • Bunds find support just ahead of 154.00, Gilts in the low 120.00 zone and 10 year T-note at 119-07.
  • Curves re-steepen after decent US 30 year sale completes the Quarterly Refunding remit and attention turns to 20 year and 10 year TIPS auctions next week.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent are firmer moving with the broad rebound in risk-assets, however, upside is capped amid the EU considering omitting the proposed Russia oil embargo from the 6th sanctions round.
  • WTI resides around USD 107/bbl (106.29-108.13 intraday range) and Brent trades just under USD 109/bbl (107.79-109.79 intraday range).
  • Spot gold is contained around USD 1820/oz, though it is coming under modest pressure as the DXY picks up most recently.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: April Import Price Index MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 2.6%; YoY, est. 12.2%, prior 12.5%
  • 08:30: April Export Price Index MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 4.5%; YoY, est. 19.2%, prior 18.8%
  • 10:00: May U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 64.0, prior 65.2; Current Conditions, est. 69.3, prior 69.4; Expectations, est. 61.5, prior 62.5
  • 10:00: May U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 5.5%, prior 5.4%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

As those working in this industry know, spreadsheet errors can have consequences – often costly ones. My fiancée doesn’t spend as much time on Excel as I do, but with our wedding coming up in July, she’s been using a spreadsheet to keep track of the number of guests. I privately regard this sheet to be an abomination, so in the interests of our future marriage I’ve tried to avoid the subject. But a couple of weeks ago I was told that we needed more guests and had to extend further invites, since we were up against the reception venue’s minimum. This I duly did, although having already invited my friends, I mostly resorted to being a lot more generous on my plus-one policy. At the weekend however, she showed me the spreadsheet. It turned out she hadn’t extended the range on the guest list sum function, and we were already comfortably above what we needed. I won’t tell you how much these extra invites have cost us. Thankfully as a primary school teacher she doesn’t teach Excel to her 5- and 6-year-olds, although I then discovered with even more alarm that she’s considered the spreadsheet expert at her school…

It’s been a costly few weeks in markets too as investors have priced in growing recession risks, and over the last 24 hours we’ve seen some incredible intraday volatility across a range of asset classes. At one point in the New York afternoon, the S&P 500 had been down -1.94% at the lows, which left it just shy of a -20% decline since its all-time closing peak that would mark the formal start of a bear market. But then in the final hour there was a major recovery that meant the index only saw a modest -0.13% fall on the day, even if that still marked a fresh one-year low. Futures markets are implying we’re going to see that rally extended today, with those for the S&P up +0.92% this morning. But even if we do see a recovery of that sort of magnitude, then the major losses we’ve already seen this week mean it would still be the first time in over a decade that the index has posted 6 consecutive weekly declines.

That pattern of deep losses followed by a late recovery was echoed more broadly yesterday, with the NASDAQ paring back losses of more than -2% on the day to eke out a marginal +0.06% advance. For the FANG+ index (-0.30%), the late recovery wasn’t enough to bring it back into positive territory, and there was a significant milestone reached since its latest slump means it’s now more than -40% beneath its all-time high, which surpasses its losses during the Covid selloff of 2020 when it was “only” down by -34% from peak to trough. European equities lost ground too, and the STOXX 600 (-0.75%) similarly saw a second-half recovery, having been as low as -2.41% earlier in the day.

Unlike in April, when the equity declines were triggered by the prospect of a more aggressive Fed tightening cycle and went hand-in-hand with sovereign bond losses, this week’s declines have much more obviously surrounded global growth risks, which you can see in the way that Fed Funds futures are now beginning to take out some of the tightening they’d been pricing in over the year ahead. Only yesterday, the futures-implied rate by the FOMC’s December meeting came down by -5.3bps to still be beneath its level from 3 weeks earlier, which marks a change from the almost relentless march higher we’ve seen over the last 8 months. In fact the only major interruption to that trend so far has come from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late-February, before the inflationary consequences of the conflict reasserted themselves on market pricing.

With investors expecting less monetary tightening and seeking out safe havens, yesterday witnessed a major sovereign bond rally across countries and maturities. The 10yr Treasury yield came down -7.3bps to 2.85%, and at the front-end of the curve, 2yr yields were down -7.8bps to 2.56%. This came on a day with another round of Fed speakers sounding the same tune of late, including Chair Powell who said that +50bp hikes at the next two meetings were probably appropriate. Meanwhile, he sounded an even more pessimistic tone on the path of the economy given the impending tightening, noting that getting inflation back to target would “include some pain” and that whether a soft landing can be arranged is up to matters beyond the Fed’s control.

Over in Europe the declines were even larger, with yields on 10yr bunds (-14.6bps) undergoing their biggest daily move since the start of March, as yields on 10yr OATs (-13.8bps), BTPs (18.4bps) and gilts (-16.5bps) saw similar declines. A noticeable feature of the recent sovereign bond rally is how investors’ expectations of future inflation have come down significantly over recent days, with the 10yr German breakeven falling from a peak of 2.98% on May 2 to just 2.29% yesterday, which is an even faster decline than the one seen during the initial phase of the Covid pandemic in March 2020.

That flight to havens was evident in foreign exchange markets too, where the dollar index strengthened a further +0.97% to levels not seen since 2002. Conversely, that saw the euro close beneath the $1.04 mark for the first time since late-2016, although the traditional safe haven of the Japanese Yen was the top-performing G10 currency yesterday, strengthening +1.27% against the US Dollar and +2.61% against the Euro. When it came to cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin hit an intraday low of $25,425 shortly after the European open, which is the first time it’s traded that low since late 2020, before recovering its losses to end the session higher at $28,546, and this morning it’s rebounded another +6.34% to hit $30,356.

Overnight in Asia we’ve seen a significant rebound in equity markets too, with the Nikkei (+2.52%), the Hang Seng (+2.00%) and the KOSPI (+1.72%) all seeing sizeable advances, and the Shanghai Comp (+0.56%) also posting a solid gain. Those earlier comments from Chair Powell after the US close have supported risk appetite, particularly since he echoed his previous comments about the Fed being on course for further 50bp hikes at the next couple of meetings, rather than moving towards 75bps in the aftermath of the stronger-than-expected CPI reading. A number of yesterday’s other moves have also begun to unwind, with the Japanese Yen down -0.50% against the US Dollar this morning, whilst yields on 10yr Treasuries have risen +3.6bps overnight. Separately in Shanghai, officials said that they planned to stop community spread of Covid-19 and start reopening by May 20, which is the first time that a timeline has been put forward as to when the lockdown might end.

Elsewhere yesterday, there was a significant +13.50% rise in European natural gas futures after Gazprom said that gas flows wouldn’t be able to go through the Yamal pipeline because of Russian-imposed sanctions on European companies. But on the other hand, Bloomberg reported that some EU nations were considering a delay in sanctioning Russian oil in light of Hungarian opposition, and instead pushing ahead with the rest of the sanctions package. There were also further signs of the geopolitical shifts as a result of Russia’s invasion, after Finland’s President and Prime Minister endorsed NATO membership, saying the country should apply “without delay”.

Staying on the political sphere, tensions have continued to fester between the UK and the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, and yesterday’s statements from the two sides indicated there was a difficult phone call between UK Foreign Secretary Truss and EU Commission Vice President Šefčovič. The UK Foreign Office’s readout of the call said that “if the EU would not show the requisite flexibility … we would have no choice but to act.” Then Šefčovič said in his own statement that it was “of serious concern that the UK government intends to embark on the path of unilateral action.” So one to watch into next week given press reports we could hear more from the UK side then.

Looking at yesterday’s data, the US PPI reading added to the picture of elevated inflationary pressures. The headline monthly gain for April came in at +0.5% as expected, but the March reading was revised up two-tenths to +1.6%, meaning that the year-on-year figure only came down to +11.0% (vs. +10.7% expected). We also had the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through May 7, which came in at 203k (vs. 193k expected). And in the UK, the Q1 GDP reading was a bit below consensus at +0.8% (vs. +1.0% expected), and looking at the monthly reading for March specifically there was actually a -0.1% contraction (vs unchanged expected).

To the day ahead now, and data releases include Euro Area industrial production for March, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for May. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Kashkari and Mester, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Nagel and Schnabel.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/13/2022 - 07:56

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S&P Futures Jump Above 4,000 As Fed Fears Fade

S&P Futures Jump Above 4,000 As Fed Fears Fade

After yesterday’s post-FOMC ramp which sent stocks higher after the Fed’s Minutes were…

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S&P Futures Jump Above 4,000 As Fed Fears Fade

After yesterday's post-FOMC ramp which sent stocks higher after the Fed's Minutes were less hawkish than feared and also hinted at a timeline for the Fed's upcoming pause (and easing), US index futures initially swung between gains and losses on Thursday as investors weighed the "good news" from the Fed against downbeat remarks on the Chinese economy from premier Li who warned that China would struggle to post a positive GDP print this quarter coupled with Apple’s conservative outlook. Eventually, however, bullish sentiment prevailed and even with Tech stocks underperforming following yesterday's disappointing earnings from Nvidia, e-mini futures rose to session highs as of 715am, and traded up 0.6% above 4,000 for the first time since May 18, while Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.2% after earlier dropping as much as 0.8%. The tech-heavy index is down 27% this year. Treasury yields and the dollar slipped. Fed policy makers indicated their aggressive set of moves could leave them with flexibility to shift gears later if needed.

Investors took some comfort from the Fed minutes that didn’t show an even more aggressive path being mapped to tackle elevated prices, though central banks remain steadfast in their resolve to douse inflation. Still, volatility has spiked as the risk of a US recession, the impact from China’s lockdowns and the war in Ukraine simmer.

While the Fed minutes “provided investors with a temporary relief, today’s mixed price action on stocks mostly shows that major bearish leverages linger,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “The war in eastern Europe and concerns about the Chinese economy still add stress to market sentiment,” he wrote in a report. “Investors will want to see evidence of improvements regarding the pressure coming from rising prices.”

“We expect key market drivers to continue to be centered around inflation and how central banks react; global growth concerns and how China gets to grip with its zero-Covid policy; and the geopolitical conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” said Fraser Lundie, head of fixed income for public markets at Federated Hermes Limited. “Positive news flow on any of these market drivers could sharply improve risk sentiment; however, there is a broad range of scenarios that could play out in the meantime.”

In premarket trading, shares in Apple dropped 1.4% after a report said that the tech giant is planning to keep iPhone production flat in 2022, disappointing expectations for a ~10% increase. The company also said it was raising salaries in the US by 10% or more as it faces a tight labor market and unionization efforts. In other premarket moves, Nvidia dropped 5.3% as the biggest US chipmaker by market value gave a disappointing sales forecast. Software company Snowflake slumped 14%, while meme stock GameStop Corp. fell 2.9%. Among gainers, Twitter Inc. jumped 5.2% after billionaire Elon Musk dropped plans to partially fund his purchase of the company with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the deal’s equity component to $33.5 billion. Other notable premarket movers include:

  • Shares of Alibaba and Baidu rise following results, sending other US-listed Chinese stocks higher in US premarket trading. Alibaba shares shot up as much as 4.5% after reporting fourth- quarter revenue and earnings that beat analyst expectations.
  • Lululemon’s (LULU US) stock gains 2.4% in premarket trading as Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation to overweight, suggesting that the business can be more resilient through headwinds than what the market is expecting.
  • Macy’s (M US) shares gain 15% in premarket trading after Co. increases its adjusted earnings per share guidance for the full fiscal year
  • Williams-Sonoma (WSM US) shares jumped as much as 9.6% in premarket trading after 1Q sales beat estimates. The retailer was helped by its exposure to more affluent customers, but analysts cautioned that it may be difficult to maintain the sales momentum amid macroeconomic challenges.
  • Nutanix (NTNX US) shares shed about a third of their value in US premarket trading as analysts slashed their price targets on the cloud platform provider after its forecast disappointed.
  • US airline stocks rise in premarket trading on Thursday, after Southwest and JetBlue provided upbeat outlooks for the second-quarter. LUV up 1.5% premarket, after raising its second-quarter operating revenue growth forecast. JBLU up 2% after saying it expects second-quarter revenue at or above high end of previous guidance.
  • Cryptocurrency-tied stocks fall in premarket trading as Bitcoin snaps two days of gains. Coinbase -2.6%; Marathon Digital -2.3%; Riot Blockchain -1.2%. Bitcoin drops 1.9% at 6:11 am in New York, trading at $29,209.88.

It’s time to buy the dip in stocks after a steep global selloff in equity markets, according to Citi strategists. Meanwhile, Fidelity International Chief Executive Officer Anne Richards said the risk of a recession has increased and markets are likely to remain volatile, the latest dire warning on the outlook at the World Economic Forum.

“If inflation gets tame enough over summer, there may not be continued raising of rates,” Carol Pepper, Pepper International chief executive officer, said on Bloomberg TV, adding that investors should look to buy tech stocks after the selloff. “Stagflation, I just don’t think that’s going to happen anymore. I think we are going to be in a situation where inflation will start tapering down and then we will start going into a more normalized market.”

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3%, pare some of their earlier gains but remain in the green, led by gains for retail, consumer and energy stocks. IBEX outperforms, adding 0.6%, FTSE MIB is flat but underperforms peers. Retailers, energy and consumer products are the strongest-performing sectors, with energy shares outperforming for the second day as oil climbed amid data that showed a further decrease in US crude and gasoline stockpiles. Here are the most notable European movers:

  • Auto Trader rises as much as 3.5% after its full-year results beat consensus expectations on both top- and bottom-lines.
  • Galp climbs as much as 4.1% as RBC upgrades to outperform, saying the stock might catch up with the rest of the sector after “materially” underperforming peers in recent years.
  • Rightmove rises as much as 1.5% after Shore upgrades to hold from sell, saying the stock has reached an “appropriate” level following a 27% decline this year.
  • FirstGroup soars as much as 16% after the bus and train operator said it received a takeover approach from I Squared Capital Advisors and is currently evaluating the offer.
  • United Utilities declines as much as 8.9% as company reports a fall in adjusted pretax profit. Jefferies says full-year guidance implies a materially-below consensus adjusted net income view.
  • Johnson Matthey falls as much as 7.5% after the company reported results and said it expects operating performance in the current fiscal year to be in the lower half of the consensus range.
  • BT drops as much as 5.7% after the telecom operator said the UK will review French telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi’s increased stake in the company under the National Security and Investment Act.
  • JD Sports drops as much as 12% as the departure of Peter Cowgill as executive chairman is disappointing, according to Shore Capital.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were mixed as traders assessed China’s emergency meeting on the economy and Federal Reserve minutes that struck a less hawkish note than markets had expected.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after fluctuating between gains and losses of about 0.6% as technology stocks slid. South Korean stocks dipped after the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points as expected. Chinese shares eked out a small advance after a nationwide emergency meeting on Wednesday offered little in terms of additional stimulus. The benchmark CSI 300 Index headed for a weekly drop of more than 2%, despite authorities’ vows to support an economy hit by Covid-19 lockdowns. Investors took some comfort from Fed minutes in which policy makers indicated their aggressive set of moves could leave them with flexibility to shift gears later if needed. Still, Asia’s benchmark headed for a weekly loss amid concerns over China’s lockdowns and the possibility of a US recession.

“The coming months are ripe for a re-pricing of assets across the board with a further shake-down in risk assets as term and credit premia start to feature prominently,” Vishnu Varathan, the head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a research note. 

Japanese stocks closed mixed after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting reassured investors while Premier Li Keqiang made downbeat comments on China’s economy. The Topix rose 0.1% to close at 1,877.58, while the Nikkei declined 0.3% to 26,604.84. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix gain, increasing 1.9%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,171 rose and 898 fell, while 102 were unchanged.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.7% to close at 7,105.90 as all sectors tumbled except for technology. Miners contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline. Whitehaven slumped after peer New Hope cut its coal output targets. Appen soared after confirming a takeover approach from Telus and said it’s in talks to improve the terms of the proposal. Appen shares were placed in a trading halt later in the session. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 11,102.84.

India’s key stock indexes snapped three sessions of decline to post their first advance this week on recovery in banking and metals shares. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.9% to 54,252.53 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced by a similar measure. Both benchmarks posted their biggest single-day gain since May 20 as monthly derivative contracts expired today. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained.  HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank provided the biggest boosts to the two indexes, rising 3% and 2.2%, respectively. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 24 rose and 6 fell. As the quarterly earnings season winds up, among the 45 Nifty companies that have so far reported results, 18 have trailed estimates and 27 met or exceeded expectations. Aluminum firm Hindalco Industries is scheduled to post its numbers later today.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar fell 0.3%, edging back toward the lowest level since April 26 touched Tuesday. The yen jumped to an intraday high after the head of the Bank of Japan said policymakers could manage an exit from their decades-long monetary policy, and that U.S. rate rises would not necessarily keep the yen weak. Commodity currencies including the Australian dollar fell as China’s Premier Li Keqiang offered a bleak outlook on domestic growth. The Chinese economy is in some respects faring worse than in 2020 when the pandemic started, he said.

Central banks were busy overnight:

  • Russia’s central bank delivered its third interest-rate reduction in just over a month and said borrowing costs can fall further still, as it looks to stem a rally in the ruble and unwinds the financial defenses in place since the invasion of Ukraine.
  • The Bank of Korea raised its key interest rate on Thursday as newly installed Governor Rhee Chang-yong demonstrated his intention to tackle inflation at his first policy meeting since taking the helm. New Zealand’s central bank has also shown its commitment this week to combat surging prices.

In rates, Treasuries bull-steepen amid similar price action in bunds and many other European markets and gains for US equity index futures. Yields richer by ~3bp across front-end of the curve, steepening 2s10 by ~2bp, 5s30s by ~3bp; 10-year yields rose 2bps to 2.76%, keeps pace with bund while outperforming gilts. 2- and 5-year yields reached lowest levels in more than a month, remain below 50-DMAs. US auction cycle concludes with 7-year note sale, while economic data includes 1Q GDP revision. Bund, Treasury and gilt curves all bull-steepen. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund narrowing 5.1bps to 194.6bps.

The US weekly auction calendar ends with a $42BN 7-year auction today which follows 2- and 5-year sales that produced mixed demand metrics, however both have richened from auction levels. WI 7-year yield at ~2.735% is ~17bp richer than April’s, which tailed by 1.7bp. IG dollar issuance slate includes Bank of Nova Scotia 3Y covered SOFR; issuance so far this week remains short of $20b forecast, is expected to remain subdued until after US Memorial Day.

In commodities,  WTI trades within Wednesday’s range, adding 0.6% to around $111. Spot gold falls roughly $7 to trade around $1,846/oz. Cryptocurrencies decline, Bitcoin drops 2.5% to below $29,000. 

Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the second estimate of Q1 GDP, the weekly initial jobless claims, pending home sales for April, and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for May. Meanwhile in Italy, there’s the consumer confidence index for May. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Brainard, the ECB’s Centeno and de Cos, and also get decisions from the Central Bank of Russia and the Central Bank of Turkey. Finally, earnings releases include Costco and Royal Bank of Canada.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,974.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 435.16
  • MXAP little changed at 163.17
  • MXAPJ down 0.3% to 529.83
  • Nikkei down 0.3% to 26,604.84
  • Topix little changed at 1,877.58
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.3% to 20,116.20
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,123.11
  • Sensex up 0.4% to 53,975.57
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7% to 7,105.88
  • Kospi down 0.2% to 2,612.45
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 0.90%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0679
  • Brent Futures up 0.5% to $114.55/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,847.94
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 102.11

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Federal Reserve officials agreed at their gathering this month that they need to raise interest rates in half-point steps at their next two meetings, continuing an aggressive set of moves that would leave them with flexibility to shift gears later if needed.
  • Russia’s central bank delivered its third interest-rate reduction in just over a month and said borrowing costs can fall further still, halting a rally in the ruble as it unwinds the financial defenses in place since the invasion of Ukraine.
  • China’s trade-weighted yuan fell below 100 for the first time in seven months as Premier Li Keqiang’s bearish comments added to concerns that the economy may miss its growth target by a wide margin this year.
  • Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve won’t necessarily cause the yen to weaken, saying various factors affect the currency market.

A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks were indecisive as risk appetite waned despite the positive handover from Wall St where the major indices extended on gains post-FOMC minutes after the risk event passed and contained no hawkish surprises. ASX 200 failed to hold on to opening gains as weakness in mining names, consumer stocks and defensives overshadowed the advances in tech and financials, while capex data was mixed with the headline private capital expenditure at a surprise contraction for Q1. Nikkei 225 faded early gains but downside was stemmed with Japan set to reopen to tourists on June 6th. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were mixed with early pressure after Premier Li warned the economy was worse in some aspects than in 2020 when the pandemic began, although he stated that China will unveil detailed implementation rules for a pro-growth policy package before the end of the month, while the PBoC issued a notice to promote credit lending to small firms and the MoF announced cash subsidies to Chinese airlines.

Top Asian News

  • PBoC issued a notice to promote credit lending to small firms and is to boost financial institutions' confidence to lend to small firms, according to Reuters.
  • BoK raised its base rate by 25bps to 1.75%, as expected, via unanimous decision. BoK raised its 2022 inflation forecast to 4.5% from 3.1% and raised its 2023 forecast to 2.9% from 2.0%, while it sees GDP growth of 2.7% this year and 2.4% next year. BoK said consumer price inflation is to remain high in the 5% range for some time and sees it as warranted to conduct monetary policy with more focus on inflation, according to Reuters.
  • Morgan Stanley has lowered China's 2022 GDP estimate to 3.2% from 4.2%.
  • CSPC Drops After Earnings, Covid Impact to Weigh: Street Wrap
  • China Builder Greenland’s Near-Term Bonds Set for Record Drops
  • Debt Is Top Priority for Diokno as New Philippine Finance Chief

European bourses are firmer across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.7%, but remain within initial ranges in what has been a relatively contained session with much of northern-Europe away. Stateside, US futures are relatively contained, ES +0.2%, with newsflow thin and on familiar themes following yesterday's minutes and before PCE on Friday.  Apple (AAPL) is reportedly planning on having a 220mln (exp. ~240mln) iPhone production target for 2022, via Bloomberg. -1.4% in  the pre-market. Baidu Inc (BIDU) Q1 2022 (CNY): non-GAAP EPS 11.22 (exp. 5.39), Revenue 28.4bln (exp. 27.82bln). +4.5% in the pre-market. UK CMA is assessing whether Google's (GOOG) practises in parts of advertisement technology may distort competition.

Top European News

  • UK Chancellor Sunak's package today is likely to top GBP 30bln, according to sources via The Times; Chancellor will confirm that the package will be funded in part by windfall tax on oil & gas firms likely to come into effect in the autumn. Subsequently, UK Gov't sources are downplaying the idea that the overall support package is worth GBP 30bln, via Times' Swinford; told it is a very big intervention.
  • UK car production declined 11.3% Y/Y to 60,554 units in April, according to the SMMT.
  • British Bus Firm FirstGroup Gets Takeover Bid from I Squared
  • Citi Strategists Say Buy the Dip in Stocks on ‘Healthy’ Returns
  • The Reasons to Worry Just Keep Piling Up for Davos Executives
  • UK Unveils Plan to Boost Aviation Industry, Passenger Rights
  • Pakistan Mulls Gas Import Deal With Countries Including Russia

FX

  • Dollar drifts post FOMC minutes that reaffirm guidance for 50bp hikes in June and July, but nothing more aggressive, DXY slips into lower range around 102.00 vs 102.450 midweek peak.
  • Yen outperforms after BoJ Governor Kuroda outlines exit strategy via a combination of tightening and balance sheet reduction, when the time comes; USD/JPY closer to 126.50 than 127.50 where 1.13bln option expiries start and end at 127.60.
  • Rest of G10, bar Swedish Crown rangebound ahead of US data, with Loonie looking for independent direction via Canadian retail sales, USD/CAD inside 1.2850-00; Cable surpassing 1.2600 following reports that the cost of living package from UK Chancellor Sunak could top GBP 30bln.
  • Lira hits new YTD low before CBRT and Rouble weaker following top end of range 300bp cut from CBR.
  • Yuan halts retreat from recovery peaks ahead of key technical level, 6.7800 for USD/CNH.

Fixed Income

  • Debt wanes after early rebound on Ascension Day lifted Bunds beyond technical resistance levels to 154.74 vs 153.57 low.
  • Gilts fall from grace between 119.17-118.19 parameters amidst concerns that a large UK cost of living support package could leave funding shortfall.
  • US Treasuries remain firm, but off peaks for the 10 year T-note at 120-31 ahead of GDP, IJC, Pending Home Sales and 7 year supply.

Commodities

  • Crude benchmarks inch higher in relatively quiet newsflow as familiar themes dominate; though reports that EU officials are considering splitting the oil embargo has drawn attention.
  • Currently WTI and Brent lie in proximity to USD 111/bbl and USD 115/bbl respectively; within USD 1.50/bbl ranges.
  • Russian Deputy PM Novak expects 2022 oil output 480-500mln/T (prev. 524mln/T YY), via Ria.
  • Spot gold is similarly contained around the USD 1850/oz mark, though its parameters are modestly more pronounced at circa. USD 13/oz

Central Banks

  • CBR (May, Emergency Meeting): Key Rate 11.00% (exp. ~11.00/12.00%, prev. 14.00%); holds open the prospect of further reductions at upcoming meetings.
  • BoJ's Kuroda says, when exiting easy policy, they will likely combine rate hike and balance sheet reduction through specific means, timing to be dependent on developments at that point; FOMC rate hike may not necessarily result in a weaker JPY or outflows of funds from Japan if it affects US stock prices, via Reuters.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: 1Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 5.2%, prior 5.2%
  • 08:30: 1Q Personal Consumption, est. 2.8%, prior 2.7%
  • 08:30: May Continuing Claims, est. 1.31m, prior 1.32m
  • 08:30: 1Q GDP Price Index, est. 8.0%, prior 8.0%
  • 08:30: May Initial Jobless Claims, est. 215,000, prior 218,000
  • 08:30: 1Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. -1.3%, prior -1.4%
  • 10:00: April Pending Home Sales YoY, est. -8.0%, prior -8.9%
  • 10:00: April Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. -2.0%, prior -1.2%
  • 11:00: May Kansas City Fed Manf. Activity, est. 18, prior 25

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

A reminder that our latest monthly survey is now live, where we try to ask questions that aren’t easy to derive from market pricing. This time we ask if you think the Fed would be willing to push the economy into recession in order to get inflation back to target. We also ask whether you think there are still bubbles in markets and whether equities have bottomed out yet. And there’s another on which is the best asset class to hedge against inflation. The more people that fill it in the more useful so all help from readers is very welcome. The link is here.

For markets it’s been a relatively quiet session over the last 24 hours compared to the recent bout of cross-asset volatility. The main event was the release of the May FOMC minutes, which had the potential to upend that calm given the amount of policy parameters currently being debated by the Fed. But in reality they came and went without much fanfare, and failed to inject much life into afternoon markets or the debate around the near-term path of policy. As far as what they did say, they confirmed the line from the meeting itself that the FOMC is ready to move the policy to a neutral position to fight the current inflationary scourge, with agreement that 50bp hikes were appropriate at the next couple of meetings. That rapid move to neutral would leave the Fed well-positioned to judge the outlook and appropriate next steps for policy by the end of the year, and markets were relieved by the lack of further hawkishness, with the S&P 500 extending its modest gains following the release to end the day up +0.95%.

As the Chair said at the meeting, and has been echoed by other Fed officials since, the minutes noted that the hawkish shift in Fed communications have already had a noticeable effect on financial conditions, with Fed staff pointing out that “conditions had tightened by historically large amounts since the beginning of the year.” Meanwhile on QT, which the Fed outlined their plans for at the May meeting, the minutes expressed some trepidation about market liquidity and potential “unanticipated effects on financial market conditions” as a result, but did not offer potential remedies.

With the minutes not living up to hawkish fears alongside growing concerns about a potential recession, investors continued to dial back the likelihood of more aggressive tightening, with Fed funds futures moving the rate priced in by the December meeting to 2.64%, which is the lowest in nearly a month and down from its peak of 2.88% on May 3. So we’ve taken out nearly a full 25bp hike by now, which is the biggest reversal in monetary policy expectations this year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. That decline came ahead of the minutes and also saw markets pare back the chances of two consecutive +50bp hikes, with the amount of hikes priced over the next two meetings falling under 100bps for only the second time since the May FOMC. Yields on 10yr Treasuries held fairly steady, only coming down -0.5bps to 2.745%.

Ahead of the Fed minutes, markets had already been on track to record a steady performance, and the S&P 500 (+0.95%) extended its existing gains in the US afternoon. That now brings the index’s gains for the week as a whole to +1.98%, so leaving it on track to end a run of 7 consecutive weekly declines, assuming it can hold onto that over the next 48 hours, and futures this morning are only down -0.13%. That said, we’ve seen plenty of volatility in recent weeks, and after 3 days so far this is the first week in over two months where the S&P hasn’t seen a fall of more than -1% in a single session, so let’s see what today and tomorrow bring. In terms of the specific moves yesterday, it was a fairly broad advance, but consumer discretionary stocks (+2.78%) and other cyclical industries led the way, with defensives instead seeing a much more muted performance. Tech stocks outperformed, and the NASDAQ (+1.51%) came off its 18-month low, as did the FANG+ index (+1.99%).

Over in Europe, equities also recorded a decent advance, with the STOXX 600 gaining +0.63%, whilst bonds continued to rally as well, with yields on 10yr bunds (-1.5bps) OATs (-1.5bps) and BTPs (-2.7bps) all moving lower. These gains for sovereign bonds have come as investors have grown increasingly relaxed about inflation in recent weeks, with the 10yr German breakeven falling a further -4.2bps to 2.23% yesterday, its lowest level since early March and down from a peak of 2.98% at the start of May. Bear in mind that the speed of the decline in the German 10yr breakeven over the last 3-4 weeks has been faster than that seen during the initial wave of the Covid pandemic, so a big shift in inflation expectations for the decade ahead in a short space of time that’s reversed the bulk of the move higher following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nor is that simply concentrated over the next few years, since the 5y5y forward inflation swaps for the Euro Area looking at inflation over the five years starting in five years’ time has come down from aa peak of 2.49% earlier this month to 2.07% by the close last night, so almost back to the ECB’s target. To be fair there’s been a similar move lower in US breakevens too, and this morning the 10yr US breakeven is down to a 3-month low of 2.56%.

That decline in inflation expectations has come as investors have ratcheted up their expectations about future ECB tightening. Yesterday, the amount of tightening priced in by the July meeting ticked up a further +0.2bps to 32.7bps, its highest to date, and implying some chance that they’ll move by more than just 25bps. We heard from a number of additional speakers too over the last 24 hours, including Vice President de Guindos who said in a Bloomberg interview that the schedule for rate hikes outlined by President Lagarde was “very sensible”, and that the question of larger hikes would “depend on the outlook”.

Overnight in Asia, equities are fluctuating this morning after China’s Premier Li Keqiang struck a downbeat note on the economy yesterday. Indeed, he said that the difficulties facing the Chinese economy “to a certain extent are greater than when the epidemic hit us severely in 2020”. As a reminder, our own economist’s forecasts for GDP growth this year are at +3.3%, which if realised would be the slowest in 46 years apart from 2020 when Covid first took off. Against that backdrop, there’s been a fairly muted performance, and whilst the Shanghai Composite (+0.65%) and the CSI 300 (+0.60%) have pared back initial losses to move higher on the day, the Hang Seng (-0.13%) has lost ground and the Nikkei (+0.07%) is only just in positive territory. We’ve also seen the Kospi (-0.08%) give up its initial gains overnight after the Bank of Korea moved to hike interest rates once again, with a 25bp rise in their policy rate to 1.75%, in line with expectations. That came as they raised their inflation forecasts, now expecting CPI this year at 4.5%, up from 3.1% previously. At the same time they also slashed their growth forecast to 2.7%, down from 3.0% previously.

There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, though we did get the preliminary reading for US durable goods orders in April. They grew by +0.4% (vs. +0.6% expected), although the previous month was revised down to +0.6% (vs. +1.1% previously). Core capital goods orders were also up +0.3% (vs. +0.5% expected).

To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the second estimate of Q1 GDP, the weekly initial jobless claims, pending home sales for April, and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for May. Meanwhile in Italy, there’s the consumer confidence index for May. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Brainard, the ECB’s Centeno and de Cos, and also get decisions from the Central Bank of Russia and the Central Bank of Turkey. Finally, earnings releases include Costco and Royal Bank of Canada.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/26/2022 - 07:50

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Economics

Weekly investment update – Weaker economic outlook weighs on markets

Global equities have continued their sell-off over the last week. What is new is that markets are now reacting to risks of weaker economic data weighing…

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Global equities have continued their sell-off over the last week. What is new is that markets are now reacting to risks of weaker economic data weighing on earnings. Real bond yields, whose rise triggered the recent drop in equity markets, have fallen as investors price a higher probability of a recession.   

Yields of US Treasury bonds have slipped since reaching around 3.12% in early May (see Exhibit 1). The rally has been driven by fears of a global recession due to poor economic data, strong inflation numbers, aggressive talk from central bankers and concerns over the consequences of Covid in China.

Recent data that contributed to the bond market’s unease about the prospects for the US economy includes: 

  • The Richmond Federal Reserve Manufacturing survey, which fell to its lowest since 2020 at -9.
  • The monthly survey of manufacturers in New York State conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York fell to -11.6, with the shipment measure falling at its fastest pace since the start of the pandemic two years ago.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s May business index dropped 15 points to 2.6, with the six-month outlook falling to its lowest since December 2008 (though the underlying details were better than the headline number).
  • Existing and new home sales dropped for a third month, to its lowest since 2020, held back by lean inventory, rising prices and higher mortgage rates. 

Taken together, the various regional Federal Reserve surveys suggest that the ISM Report for Business may come in at around 53, above 50 so still clearly in expansion territory for the US economy, but down noticeably from the upper 50s/lows 60s readings to which markets have become accustomed.

US equities still weak

US equities have remained weak as the down move continues for its seventh week.

It has been apparent that, in contrast to the start of the year when rising real bond yields were undermining equity markets, it is now fears of falling earnings due to a weaker economy that are weighing on stocks.

The last week has seen, in accordance with the risk-off regime, more buying-the-dip and selling-the-rally. There has also been a rotation out of growth and cyclicals into value and defensives (healthcare, real estate, utilities and staples).

European markets under the cosh

Bearish sentiment is prevalent in Europe, too, with investors cutting exposures to European equities.

There was another outflow in the week to 18 May, taking the total to 14 weeks of outflows in a row. Cyclicals, in particular, saw strong outflows, led by the materials, financials and energy sectors.

Our multi-asset team are inclined to reduce exposure to equity markets given the deterioration in the outlook.

European economy resists

Economic activity indicators have fallen so far in May, but remain above 50. Activity edged up in the manufacturing sector despite the fallout from the Ukraine war and supply chain disruptions that have intensified with China’s coronavirus lockdowns.

Although factories continue to report widespread supply constraints and diminished demand for goods amid elevated price pressures, the eurozone economy is being boosted by pent-up demand for services as pandemic-related restrictions are wound down.

While purchasing manager indices are still pointing to growth, it may be that these surveys understate the shock to activity, while sentiment surveys likely overstate the shock. Markets are increasingly tilting towards anticipation of a contraction in the coming quarters.

Higher food prices

Restrictions on the export of Ukrainian cereals continue and risks increasing food insecurity as the UN World Food Programme has highlighted.

As much of Russian and Ukrainian wheat goes to poorer nations, hunger could be a critical risk, driving up political instability.

The risk of further rises in food prices will be a key driver of inflation, particularly in emerging markets, the worst-case scenario being that the situation worsens significantly.

Moreover, lower fertiliser supply will have a greater impact on the next few months’ harvests, while the pass-through of costlier logistics and input prices is likely to drive food prices even higher.

Coming up…

Minutes of the meeting of the US Federal Open Markets Committee on 3-4 May will be published later on Wednesday.

However, market conditions have soured appreciably since the Fed’s first 50bp rate rise, so some of the language in the minutes pertaining to financial risks and market conditions will be outdated.

Instead, the three major focus points for market participants will likely be: 

  • Policymakers’ views on the conditions which could lead to a shift down, back to a pace of raising rates by 25bp at each FOMC meeting;
  • Any hints as to how far and for how long policymakers intend to push policy rates into restrictive territory;
  • Guidance shaping expectations for the next Summary of Economic Projections — aka the dot plot — due to be released at the June meeting. 

Forthcoming economic data  

US personal income and spending data for April should give investors an insight into the US consumer’s behaviour: Are they tightening the purse strings? The report may also show the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge (core PCE deflator) starting to decelerate.

Perhaps equally important, the report should shed light on how consumers are responding to the current high inflation environment, indicating how wages are performing relative to inflation and how aggressively consumers are tapping into the USD 2.5 trillion of accumulated savings from the pandemic period.

Disclaimer

Any views expressed here are those of the author as of the date of publication, are based on available information, and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may hold different views and may take different investment decisions for different clients. The views expressed in this podcast do not in any way constitute investment advice.

The value of investments and the income they generate may go down as well as up and it is possible that investors will not recover their initial outlay. Past performance is no guarantee for future returns.

Investing in emerging markets, or specialised or restricted sectors is likely to be subject to a higher-than-average volatility due to a high degree of concentration, greater uncertainty because less information is available, there is less liquidity or due to greater sensitivity to changes in market conditions (social, political and economic conditions).

Some emerging markets offer less security than the majority of international developed markets. For this reason, services for portfolio transactions, liquidation and conservation on behalf of funds invested in emerging markets may carry greater risk.

Writen by Andrew Craig. The post Weekly investment update – Weaker economic outlook weighs on markets appeared first on Investors' Corner - The official blog of BNP Paribas Asset Management, the sustainable investor for a changing world.

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China Will Struggle To Reach Positive GDP This Quarter Premier Says, Warning Economy “To Some Degree” Worse Than 2020

China Will Struggle To Reach Positive GDP This Quarter Premier Says, Warning Economy "To Some Degree" Worse Than 2020

Over the weekend, we…

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China Will Struggle To Reach Positive GDP This Quarter Premier Says, Warning Economy "To Some Degree" Worse Than 2020

Over the weekend, we quoted Goldman's head of hedge fund sales Tony Pasquariello who had some very choice words for China, saying its economy was so bad, "it’s simply eye-popping (witness the worst IP print on record)", and prompted Goldman's sellside research desk to cut its expectation for 2022 Chinese GDP growth to just 4%, which ex-2020 would be the slowest growth rate since 1990! For the sake of balance, Pasquariello noted that Shanghai was set to reopen on June 1st which could be a potential upside catalyst at a time when foreign investors have largely written away Chinese equities.

Fast forward to today when we find that Pasquariello's hedging was not necessary, because on Wednesday, China's Premier Li Keqiang held a teleconference this afternoon under the topic of "stabilizing economic growth" with provincial, city-level and county-level local government officials across the country in which he had some very dismal comments about the current state of China's economy.

As Goldman notes, "while there are not many new measures being announced from this conference, the nature and scale of this conference is quite unusual. Chinese policymakers are in greater urgency to support the economy after the very weak activity growth in April, anemic recovery month-to-date in May, and continued increases in unemployment rates."

Specifically, premier Li said China’s economy is worse off to a “certain extent” than 2020 when the pandemic first emerged, urging efforts to reduce the unemployment rate which as we noted recently has soared to the highest level since the covid crash.

“Economic indicators in China have fallen significantly, and difficulties in some aspects and to a certain extent are greater than when the epidemic hit us severely in 2020,” Li said Wednesday following a meeting with local authorities, state-owned companies and financial firms to discuss how to stabilize the economy, Bloomberg reported.

China’s premier also said the world’s second-largest economy would struggle to record positive growth in the current quarter, urging officials to help companies resume production after Covid-19 lockdowns, according to the FT.

“We will try to make sure the economy grows in the second quarter,” Li said, according to a transcript that the Financial Times verified with three people briefed on the premier’s remarks. “This is not a high target and a far cry from our 5.5 per cent goal. But we have to do so.”

The last time China’s growth entered negative territory was when output plunged 6.9 per cent year on year in the first quarter of 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic ended an era of uninterrupted growth dating back more than 30 years.

The comments by Li Keqiang, to tens of thousands of officials on an internal videocast on Wednesday, underscore the difficulties President Xi Jinping’s administration will have in reaching its annual growth target of 5.5% while also battling Omicron outbreaks.

Concerned that the unemployment rate is approaching levels where the dreaded "social unrest" becomes a possibility, the premier urged officials to make sure the unemployment rate falls and the economy “operates in a reasonable range” in the second quarter of this year, state media cited him as saying. Earlier in May, Li warned of a “complicated and grave” employment situation after the nation’s surveyed jobless rate climbed to 6.1% in April, the highest since February 2020, and sent the yuan plunging to the lowest level since late 2020.

Today's meeting was the latest in a series of urgent calls by Li (who is quitting his job next March) to shore up the economy, which has come under enormous pressure from Covid outbreaks and lockdowns in recent months, threatening the government's growth target of about 5.5%. President Xi's stubborn commitment to Covid Zero means China is guaranteed to miss that goal this year: Economists now forecast gross domestic product growth will hit just 4.5%, according to a new Bloomberg survey, with Goldman predicting GDP will rise just 4.0% as noted above.

In hopes of offsetting some of the gloom and doom unleashed by Beijing's flawed covid policies, Li indicated that China will try to reduce the impact of its strict Zero-Covid policy on the economy. “At the same time as controlling the epidemic, we must complete the task of economic development,” he said.

Li also stressed implementation of current support policies, and said more detailed implementation measures would be issued by the end of this month. Somewhat bizarrely, he said that economic data for the second quarter would be released “accurately”, hinting that prior Chinese data was - gasp - inaccurate? Perish the thought.

As Bloomberg reported earlier this week, China's State Council outlined 33 support measures on Monday to help businesses struggling to cope with the lockdowns, including extra tax rebates, relief on social insurance payments and loans, and additional funding for aviation and rail construction. Local governments were told to spend most of the proceeds from special bonds -- used mainly for infrastructure -- by the end of August. Judging by the lack of market reaction, investors saw right through this latest mostly verbal attempt to prop up confidence in the country ahead of the 20th Party Congress later this year, where Xi's fate will be determine (amid some rumors that his political career may be cut short if China's economy does not stabilize).

The central bank and banking regulator also held a meeting with major financial institutions on Monday to urge them to boost loans.
Li met with local authorities in April, when Shanghai was in the middle of a lockdown, telling them to “add a sense of urgency” as they rolled out policy. During a trip to Yunnan province last week, he said they should “act decisively” to support growth. Of course, when banks artificially inject loans into an economy where there is no loan demand, what you end up getting is just another bubble.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/25/2022 - 11:25

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