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Futures Resume Tumbling After Yields Spike To New 2 Year High

Futures Resume Tumbling After Yields Spike To New 2 Year High

The new week has picked up where last week left off: with futures selling off and global markets lower as yields continued their relentless treck higher, hitting fresh two year…

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Futures Resume Tumbling After Yields Spike To New 2 Year High

The new week has picked up where last week left off: with futures selling off and global markets lower as yields continued their relentless treck higher, hitting fresh two year highs (amid concerns of a faster Fed balance sheet drawdown coupled with a massive IG issuance slate forcing managers to put on rate locks in what remains an illiquid market).

US index futures traded down to session lows as US traders sat at their desks after rising modestly earlier in the session, and were down 27 points or 0.6% at 730am...

... while Treasury yields stabilized after reversing an earlier spike rising as high as 1.8064% before dropping to 1.7656% following a global bond selloff last week as investors awaited key inflation data later in the week. Tech stocks again led the decline with Nasdaq futs down 0.63%, while  Dow futures were down 0.12% or 44 points. The dollar rose, bitcoin dropped and crude oil steadied around $79 a barrel.

“Market volatility continues to grow almost everywhere,” with lingering uncertainties keeping pressure on sentiment, said Pierre Veyret, technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Traders are likely to wait for new major market drivers before pushing stock prices in new directions. All eyes will remain on monetary policy this week with a new batch of comments from major Fed speakers alongside the crucial U.S. inflation report on Wednesday.”

As Bloomberg notes, markets face increasing volatility as investors grapple with how to reprice assets as the pandemic liquidity that helped drive equities to record highs is withdrawn. The latest U.S. consumer price index data due this week will be keenly watched as the Federal Reserve prepares to subdue price pressures with faster-than-expected rate increases. HSBC strategists raised their S&P 500 year-end target to 4,900 from 4,650, but say this year will be challenging for risk assets and consensus expectations are too sanguine.  Watch Adidas and Nike shares after HSBC downgraded its ratings on both to hold from buy, citing a lack of short-term catalysts. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today:

  • BioMarin (BMRN US) shares jump 5.5% in U.S. premarket trading after the biotech firm announced positive results for its hemophilia treatment trial on Sunday.
  • The bull and bear cases for Adidas (ADS GY) and Nike (NKE US) are “quite balanced from here,” according to HSBC, which downgrades its ratings on both to hold from buy, citing a lack of short-term catalysts.
  • Zscaler (ZS US) has “plenty of growth levers to pull,” UBS writes in note upgrading the company to buy from neutral. The stock gains 2.5% in premarket trading.
  • New Oriental’s (EDU US) Chinese ADRs rose 2.2% in U.S. premarket trading, and peer TAL Education (TAL US) gained 2.9% amid news that New Oriental dismissed 60,000 workers in 2021 after ending all K-9 tutoring services. Still, analysts foresee more regulations for the industry this year.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was slightly down, fading an initial dip through Friday’s lows. The Euro Stoxx 50 is flat, DAX off 0.1%; FTSE MIB and IBEX post small gains. Cyclical stocks in energy firms and banks tied to economic expansion were among the biggest gainers on the Stoxx Europe 600, offsetting declines in technology firms and real estate. Travel is the stand out best performer, the Stoxx 600 sector rising 2.5%, rebounding strongly after an early dip.  Atos’s shares slumped as much as 19% to their lowest since June 2012, following a profit warning.

Earlier in the session, Asia’s stocks rose for a second day amid the overhang of rising interest rates, as investors awaited U.S. inflation data this week for further cues on where Treasury yields are headed. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rallied as much as 0.4%, boosted by financial shares. Hong Kong stocks were among the best performers as technology giants including Tencent and Meituan continued to recoup some of their recent losses, while real estate shares extended a rally on state support. South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 1% to be among the region’s biggest decliners, dragged down by losses in the nation’s large chipmakers and internet stocks. Asia’s stock benchmark capped a loss of 0.5% last week. Omicron’s rapid spread in Asia is clouding the growth outlook for many economies, just as the Federal Reserve’s increasingly hawkish stance roils bond markets and hammers growth stocks including tech shares.    “Some market participants may still view this pullback as another healthy correction and potentially an opportunity to buy more,” said Margaret Yang, a strategist at DailyFX, adding that the omicron variant may cause concerns about a delay in reopening among investors.

Japanese markets were closed for a holiday on Monday.

Australian stocks slipped as health-care, consumer shares hit index. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% at 7,447.10 as of 4:15 p.m. on Monday in Sydney, after the S&P 500 capped its worst weekly start to a year since 2016. The Australian index was weighed down by consumer discretionary and health-care stocks, while shares in miners and energy firms rose.  AGL Energy surged after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation on the stock to outperform from neutral. Reliance Worldwide was the biggest decliner after sliding the most in 14 months intraday. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,892.94.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady after earlier advancing and the greenback was mixed against its Group-of-10 peers. The Canadian and Australian dollars along with Norway’s krone were the best G-10 performers amid supportive economic data and commodity prices. Norway’s krone advanced after inflation accelerated more than estimated in December, adding pressure on the central bank to speed up interest-rate hikes. The Australian dollar reversed a drop as exporter demand and solid building data prompted leveraged funds to square short positions. The euro shed around half of Friday’s gains against the dollar and bunds mostly slipped, yet outperformed Treasuries.

In rates, treasury futures were off session lows amid gains for bunds and gilts, with cash yields across the curve still slightly cheaper on the day. Into the U.S. session, yields cheaper by up to 1.2bp across belly of the curve, spreads within 1bp of Friday session close; 10-year yields around 1.778%,lagging bunds and gilts by 1.5bp and 1bp in the sector. As we warned last night, Treasuries are hampered by expectations for another heavy IG credit issuance slate this week, but the market - dumb as always - sees today's rate locks as indication of more panicked outright selling in rates which it isn't.

Coupon auctions also resume this week, beginning with 3-year note sale Tuesday and including 10- and 30-year reopenings.  Last week’s steep UST selloff resumed during European morning after a recommended market close during Asia session because of Japanese holiday; 10-year yields topped at 1.806% before buyers emerged

In commodities, crude futures are little changed with WTI trading either side of $79 and Brent near $82. Spot gold pushes ~$4 higher near $1,800/oz after a slow start in European hours. Base metals are in the green with LME aluminum outperforming slightly. 

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.6% to 4,639.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.1% to 485.58
  • MXAP up 0.4% to 192.99
  • MXAPJ up 0.6% to 629.71
  • Nikkei little changed at 28,478.56
  • Topix little changed at 1,995.68
  • Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 23,746.54
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,593.52
  • Sensex up 1.1% to 60,402.57
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,447.07
  • Kospi down 1.0% to 2,926.72
  • Brent Futures up 0.5% to $82.14/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,796.81
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.17% to 95.88
  • German 10Y yield little changed at -0.03%
  • Euro down 0.2% to $1.1335

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Bond yields are soaring globally in line with Treasuries as investors preparing for the first Federal Reserve interest-rate hike of the pandemic era set aside concern the outbreak will slow their already fragile economies
  • Major emerging markets are set to report a slowdown in inflation this week, offering clues on when investors can finally shake off the burden of negative real yields
  • U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she’s prepared to unilaterally override parts of the post-Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland if talks with the EU fail
  • President Vladimir Putin vowed to protect Russia and its ex-Soviet allies from what he called outside efforts to destabilize their governments with public protests, just days after Russian-led troops helped Kazakh authorities subdue nationwide demonstrations
  • The Biden administration and U.S. allies are discussing possible export controls on Russia, including curbs on sensitive technology and electronics, to be imposed if President Vladimir Putin seizes more of Ukraine, a person familiar with the discussions said
  • There’s growing evidence that China is encouraging state- owned property developers to take market share from stressed rivals to limit the spread of contagion from the debt-stricken industry

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac markets traded mixed and US equity futures were initially pressured after last Friday's post-NFP weakness amid higher yields despite the miss on the headline jobs data, as a wider than expected decline in the Unemployment Rate provided evidence of the US moving towards full employment and boosted odds for a rate hike at the March meeting. This resulted in underperformance in consumer discretionary and tech with the latter also not helped by the worst start to the year for the Nasdaq 100 since 2000, while ongoing Omicron woes and the absence of Japanese participants due to Coming of Aged day further added to the uninspired mood. ASX 200 (-0.1%) was subdued as consumer discretionary and tech mirrored the underperformance of their US counterparts and with Australia suffering from the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, although loses for the index were cushioned by strength in the commodity-related sectors and better than expected Building Approvals data. KOSPI (-1.0%) continued its descent beneath the 3,000 level as it succumbed to the tech and consumer stock woes, with participants also cautious amid mixed expectations regarding the prospects of another rate hike by the BoK later this week. Hang Seng (+1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) remained afloat with Hong Kong underpinned as some property concerns eased after Shimao placed all its property projects for sale and Kaisa agreed to the Shenzhen government's request to generate a plan by end-January to repay wealth management products to investors. Furthermore, China’s Guangdong provincial government held meetings with property enterprises which was said to likely pave the way for state-owned real estate enterprises to conduct M&A with troubled property firms, although not all developers joined in on the spoils as Modern Land reversed initial double-digit gains and slumped almost 40% on resumption from a two-month trading halt with the Co. in talks on a potential debt restructuring plan, while sentiment in the mainland was also contained after China reported its first community transition of the Omicron variant in Tianjin which is a gateway city to Beijing.

Top Asian News

  • Tencent Nears Deal for Smartphone Maker in Major Metaverse Push
  • Fintech Startup Pine Labs Said to Seek $500 Million in U.S. IPO
  • Omicron Flares in China as Variant Inches Closer to Beijing
  • Shimao Group Holdings Downgraded to B- by S&P

European equities (Euro Stoxx 50 Unch; Stoxx 600 -0.1%) have erased the mild opening gains of around 0.4% as the pick-up from Friday’s losses lost steam early doors. There wasn’t much in the way of a catalyst after the cash open for the price action with not much in the way of fresh developments for the region over the weekend. The handover from the APC region was a mixed one (Japan away from markets) with the ASX (-0.1%) a touch softer amid losses on consumer discretionary and tech names, whilst Chinese bourses (Shanghai Comp. +0.4%, Hang Seng +1.1%) shrugged off COVID angst with property stocks in Hong Kong boosted after Shimao placed all its property projects for sale and Kaisa agreed to the Shenzhen government's request to generate a plan by end-January to repay wealth management products to investors. Stateside, US futures are mixed (ES Unch, NQ -0.1%, RTY +0.2%) after last week’s losses of 2.5%, 5.7% and 4.1% for the S&P 500 Nasdaq and Russell 2000 respectively. In a note published today, HSBC has raised its S&P 500 target to 4,900 from 4,650 (vs 4,677 close on Friday). The focus in the US remains on the pace of Fed tightening, on which, Goldman Sachs now anticipates a total of four hikes this year beginning in March and for the balance runoff to start in July. Elsewhere, JPMorgan recommends overweighting stocks which are positively correlated to upside in bond yields; banks, autos, mining, energy and insurance. Back to Europe, sectors are painting a relatively mixed picture, with Travel & Leisure names best in class thus far amid support from airline names, whilst Oil & Gas and Banking names are also seen higher with the latter supported by the ongoing favourable yield environment. To the downside, Real Estate names lag with softness observed in UK homebuilders (Persimmon -3.8%, Berkeley -2.8%, Barratt Developments -3.2%) as companies attempt to push back on government plans to resolve the cladding crisis which could result in them footing the bill of as much as GBP 4bln. In terms of stock specifics, Credit Suisse (+1.6%) sits at the top of the SMI following reports in Inside Paradeplatz suggesting rumours of a potential sale or merger of the Co. with UniCredit and BNP Paribas mentioned in the article. To the downside, Atos (-17%) is the standout laggard in the Stoxx 600 after issuing a further profit warning and announcing that it will present a new re-organisation to the board of directors.

Top European News

  • Gold Extends Weekly Loss as U.S. Bond Yields Continue to Rise
  • European Natural Gas Declines With LNG Imports at Two-Year High
  • Putin Vows to Defend Ex-Soviet Allies from ‘Color Revolutions’
  • Credit Suisse Sale or Merger ‘Rumored’: Inside Paradeplatz

In FX, the DXY has lost some steam after an early resurrection from Friday’s NFP-induced fall under 96.000 (to a 95.710 low), with overnight and early European gains a function of a rise in US yields and a decline in the EUR. US cash yields continue the grind higher with the 10yr eclipsing Friday’s 1.8010% peak, in part spurred (or at least influenced) by Goldman Sachs now expecting four Fed hikes this year alongside faster quantitative tightening, citing above-target inflation. This comes ahead of the CPI metrics on Wednesday - which is expected to see the headline Y/Y at 7.0% and the Core Y/Y at 5.4%; but before that, Fed Chair Powell and 2022-voters (and hawks) George and Bullard are slated for tomorrow ahead of the Fed blackout commencing on the 15th Jan. Back to this week’s inflation metrics and using last week’s PMIs (Markit and ISM) as proxies, the releases are consistent with a rise in CPI and a cooling in PPI in December. Markit noted “Input shortages, transportation delays and upticks in labor costs drove the rate of private sector input price inflation to a fresh series high in December”, whilst ISM suggested “Vendors are trying not to pass on expenses, but their margins are such that they will need to raise prices…Prices continue to be driven up, with shipping costs the largest driver due to inflated pressures on capacity and fuel costs.” From a technical standpoint, the index remains above its 50 DMA (95.838), with the 21 DMA (96.171) the closest point of resistance ahead of Friday’s 96.299 pinnacle, if 96.00 sees a convincing upside break. Ahead, the State-side calendar is light, with 2024-voter Bostic’s speech seemingly postponed.

  • EUR, GBP - EUR has been offered this morning and stands as the current G10 laggard as GBP/EUR threatens an upside breach of 1.2000 (a 23-month peak), with traders noting potential stops above for GBP/EUR and below the corresponding 0.8333 mark in EUR/GBP. The weekend also saw commentary from ECB-regular Schnabel, who suggested that rising energy prices could require the ECB to act on policy but added there have not been signs so far of broader second-round effects of higher inflation. Eyes remain on the German 10yr cash yield eyeing positive territory. Nonetheless, the ECB policy divergence with the Fed and BoE keeps the single currency subdued against major peers. From a technical standpoint, EUR/USD is back under its 50 DMA (1.1345) with the 21 DMA (1.1308) the next support ahead of 1.1300. Sterling is in turn supported, with GBP/USD testing 1.3600 to the upside at the time of writing – with clean air seen until 1.3650.
  • AUD, NZD, CAD, JPY - The high-beta FX are the current top performers with the Loonie leading the gains as crude prices remain firm. USD/CAD has dipped under its 100 DMA, (1.2625) for the first time since November last year. The AUD is the next best gainer with copper firm and the AUD/NZD cross topped 1.0600 once again. NZD/USD meanwhile tested but failed to breach resistance at its 21 DMA (0.6787). Conversely to the high-betas, the havens are among the straddlers with USD/JPY off its overnight highs (with Japan also observing a market holiday) and stuck within a 115.55-85 range with upside capped by the recent downside across stocks.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures have trimmed earlier gains after seeing overnight support with the inflation narrative underpinning prices at the time, although supply woes arising from Kazakhstan (1.6mln BPD) could be abating as production at its largest oilfield comes back online and the President claims the domestic unrest is now under control. In terms of some themes to be aware of: China’s COVID situation will be eyed heading into the Lunar New Year – which is marked as the largest human migration – with COVID restrictions likely to dampen the demand side of the equations. On the geopolitical front, noises out of the Iranian nuclear talks have been more sanguine but progress remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Russian-Ukraine spat is picking up traction with punch verbal rhetoric from both sides and talks set to take place later in the week. WTI Feb has falling back under USD 79.50/bbl (vs low USD 78.36/bbl) while Brent Mar briefly topped USD 82/bbl (vs low USD 81.20/bbl). In terms of metals, spot gold remains sub-1,800/oz but topped its 100 DMA (1,792/oz) and 21 DMA (1,799/oz) with technical re-eyeing the 200 DMA (1,800/oz) and 50 DMA (1,804/oz) from a technical standpoint ahead of Wednesday’s US CPI. LME copper has been constrained to a tight range above USD 9,500/t amid the overall indecisive mood. Coal meanwhile eyes the potential resumption of Indonesian coal exports, which was paused last week amid domestic power worries. Elsewhere, Vale announced that it has partially suspended trains at the Vitoria-Minas railway amid rain in the Minas Gerais state, but maintained guidance for 2022 iron ore productions of 320-335mln tonnes.

US Event Calendar

  • 10am: Nov. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, prior 2.2%
  • 10am: Nov. Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.2%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Wow. What a start to the year. To be fair it’s felt to us that the Fed have been way behind the curve since the spring of last year. One can argue that a fair degree of this was deliberate due to their move to FAIT which we may look back on in the future as having arrived with very unfortunate timing. The reason we say that is that the policy mostly fights the battle of the last war and not this one where we’ve had genuine helicopter money at a time when the global banking system wasn’t in turmoil and heavily deleveraging as it was in the post-GFC years. To be fair the Fed were starting to catch up with reality late last year but Omicron meant that the market was reluctant to read their more hawkish move as entirely realistic given the risks that the variant presented. However the holiday season provided more evidence that Omicron was notably milder, especially amongst the vaccinated, and the result has been that the market has looked through this more than they were willing to before Xmas whilst at the same time the Fed have become even more hawkish by upping the ante on QT. So a perfect storm.

So in today’s EMR we wanted to start with a detailed review of the events of last week alongside commentary as to what it all might mean. Let’s start with Treasuries. 10 year yields moved +25.2bps higher (+4.1bps Friday) to 1.76%, and finally above the highs reached in 2021. The policy-driven selloff meant most of the gains were in real yields, with 5yr and 10yr real yields climbed an astonishing +32.7bps (+3.4bps Friday) and +32.6bps (+2.3bps Friday) on the week, respectively. It was the biggest weekly climb for both since the wild swings in yields we saw in March 2020. In our 2022 credit outlook we highlighted how rising real yields were much more negative for credit than rising nominal yields. The risk of real yields risking due to a Fed that would have to accelerate tightening was behind our H1 widening view (see the report from November here). We’ll see if it actually materialises though.

The fun and games started on Tuesday when a WSJ story revealed the Fed was considering starting quantitative tightening (QT) earlier in the cycle than they did last time. We didn’t need to wait long for confirmation. Minutes from the December FOMC released the next day revealed that starting QT closer to liftoff and proceeding at a faster pace than last cycle was indeed the position of the Committee. On top of that, there were strong signals that the FOMC thought that full employment and therefore liftoff were right around the corner, and Friday’s jobs numbers (recapped below) did nothing to dissuade that notion.

In turn, our US economics team have updated their Fed call. Full details here, but to recap, they’re moving their liftoff call to the March meeting and calling for four Fed rate hikes in 2022. Although not many economists have yet pencilled in a March hike, Fed Funds futures now price in an 86% chance, up from 63% at the close on New Year’s Eve, just 27% at the end of November and 0% in early October. Our economists also believe that QT will commence after two rate hikes, starting sometime in the third quarter.

The minutes forcefully argued for an aggressive QT program, noting that the Fed needed to signal a strong commitment to fighting inflation, that the balance sheet was large compared to GDP, and the imposition of the new standing repo facility should alleviate strains in money and Treasury markets that may arise from a drawdown of their portfolio. Notably, Fed presidents spanning the dove-hawk spectrum came out in support of a relatively soon start to QT in subsequent communications, with both President Daly and Bullard giving their blessing.

When QT starts, its pace, and how its decomposed between Treasury and MBS remain unknowns, but the communications had the desired effect of tightening financial conditions. After being unresponsive to the start of taper and subsequent doubling of the pace, Fed policymakers probably welcomed this tightening, although this can be a fine line to tread. All told, more than 3 hikes are priced into markets during 2022 but you would have to say that unless financial conditions notably tighten then all seven meetings from March to the end of 2022 are now potentially in play.

The increase in yields and steepening of curves reverberated through other advanced economy sovereign bond markets. 10yr gilt and bund yields increased +20.7bps (+2.2bps Friday) and +13.4bps (+1.8bps Friday) respectively. 10yr bund yields finished the week at -0.04%, approaching positive territory for the first time since spring 2019.

US equity markets took some collateral damage due to the yield selloff. The S&P 500 dropped -1.87% (-0.41% Friday), with discount exposed sectors such as large technology (FANG -2.77%, -0.60% Friday) and real estate (-4.94%, -0.55% Friday) the biggest losers. The drop in tech stocks sent the NASDAQ down -4.53% on the week (-0.96% Friday). Of course, steeper yield curves boosted financial stocks, with the S&P 500 bank index up +9.37% (+1.50% Friday). As you’ll see below, a few US financials will kickoff earnings season late this week. European equity indices proved much more resilient, with the STOXX 600 (-0.32%, -0.39% Friday), DAX (+0.40x%, -0.65% Friday), and CAC (+0.93%, -0.42% Friday) all finishing within a percent of the prior week’s close.

Oil prices climbed to start the year. OPEC+ announced they would proceed with the expected modest 400k barrel per day increase to production in February; Brent and WTI futures increased +5.10% (-0.83% Friday) and +4.91% (-1.24% Friday), respectively.

On the Covid front, a number of advanced economies registered record positive one-day case counts, including the US breaching a mind-boggling 1 million daily cases. Nevertheless, there were signs for optimism, as London, an early victim of Omicron, saw ventilator usage hit its lowest mark since mid-October coupled with a decline in positive test rates. Prime Minister Johnson remarked further lockdowns were not likely in response to Omicron, suggesting we’re moving toward an official policy of living with and adapting to Covid.

December employment data in the US showed the economy was rapidly approaching full employment. The unemployment rate sank to 3.9%, below the FOMC’s estimate of the longer-run rate of 4.0% which might be too low post covid. Headline payroll gains were below the expectations of +450k, printing at +199k, though the prior two months were revised higher. Average hourly earnings increased to +0.6%, beating expectations, while the prime-age employment-population ratio increased 0.2pps. Taken in concert, the data were consistent with an FOMC expecting the economy to reach full employment “relatively soon”, as described in the December minutes, and thus enabling the March rate hike our economists now expect. The Fed have long been way behind the curve and they are now starting to catch up with markets now finally listening.

Staying with a central bank theme, ECB board member Schnabel gave a very interesting speech over the weekend where she became the first major central bank speaker to acknowledge the risk of higher inflation with the energy transition away from carbon. Clearly this is a medium to longer-term theme but it’s been one of the reasons we’ve felt this decade will see notably higher structural inflation than the last one.

The highlight of the week ahead will clearly be US CPI on Wednesday. The Fed goes into pre-FOMC blackout at the weekend and all this week’s Fedspeak will therefore be very closely watched as the committee are moving very rapidly at the moment towards an ever tightening bias in their commentary. Even the doves are coming over to the other side. Elsewhere we start US earnings season, albeit slowly and late in the week with some important financials reporting. In terms of other data, this week sees a slew of hard US data for December with PPI (Thursday) and retail sales and industrial production on Friday alongside consumer sentiment.

There’ll also be some interest in Fed Chair Powell’s nomination hearing for a second term as Fed Chair, which is taking place before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow. There’ll also be Governor Brainard’s nomination hearing to become Fed Vice Chair, which is taking place on Thursday. Both positions do require Senate confirmation, although last time in January 2018 Chair Powell was confirmed by a large bipartisan majority of 84-13. So a formality but there might be a fair bit of probing of their leadership

Previewing US CPI, recent months have seen consistent upside surprises as inflation has increasingly broadened out, and it’s now the case that 7 of the last 9 CPI releases have seen the monthly headline increase come in above the consensus among economists on Bloomberg, which just demonstrates how this has taken a lot of people by surprise. In terms of what to expect this time round, our US economists are projecting that year-on-year inflation will move higher once again, with an increase to +7.0%, which would be the fastest pace of inflation since 1982, back when Ronald Reagan was in his first term as president. Interestingly though, they think we could be at a turning point with December marking the peak in the year-on-year readings. For more information, take a look at our economists’ inflation outlook (link here) .

As discussed, earnings season will slowly get going this week, with a number of US financials among those reporting. The highlights include Delta Air Lines on Thursday, before we hear from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and BlackRock on Friday.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/10/2022 - 08:02

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Economics

Is housing inventory growth really slowing down?

The problem with new listings declining now is what will happen if mortgage rates make a solid push lower.
The post Is housing inventory growth really…

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One of the most important housing market stories in recent weeks has been the decline in new listings, which has slowed the growth rate of total inventory. What does this mean? Some have said this is evidence of a soft landing for housing since we are in August and it doesn’t look like we are going to even get to the peak inventory levels we saw in 2019 this year, or even breach the lower levels of 2019 on the national data.

From the National Association of Realtors:

What I want to talk about is the concern I’ve had throughout this post-COVID-19 housing market: When will we get total inventory back into a range of 1.52 million to 1.93 million? Once that happens, I can finally take the savagely unhealthy housing market theme  off my talking points.

First let’s take a look at the data.

Redfin:

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Realtor.com:

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Altos Research:

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Clearly, we are seeing a slowdown in new listings as the data has been negative now for months. One thing that I have stressed is that higher mortgage rates can create a slowdown in demand and thus allow more inventory to accumulate through a weakness in demand. After March of this year when rates were rising, this was the case, especially when rates ranged between 5% to 6%. Inventory growth is happening much like we saw in 2014 — the last time total inventory grew — which was also the last time mortgage purchase application data went negative year over year. 

However, inventory accumulation due to weakness in demand is only one of many ways to see inventory increase. If you really want to see inventory grow to 2019, 2016, 2014 or even 2012 levels, you need a healthy amount of new listing growth each year. We aren’t talking forced sellers, foreclosures or even short sellers. With just traditional new listings and with higher rates and time, we should be able to hit peak 2019 inventory levels. 

The problem with new listings declining now is what will happen if mortgage rates make a solid push lower. At that point housing inventory could slow even more, pause, and in some cases fall again due to demand. If mortgage rates peaked at 6.25% or 6.50%, that means that the next big move should be lower and that is a risk to getting balance back into the system.

How low do rates need to go?

Mortgage rates have made a move of 1.25% in recent week and I have talked about how low they need to go to make a material shift in the markets. Looking at the most recent mortgage purchase application data, I haven’t seen anything yet to show that demand is coming back in the meaningful way. In fact the recent data shows that even though we saw a positive 1% move week to week, the year-over-year data is still down 19%.

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So as of now, the growth rate of inventory slowing down is a supply issue more than demand picking up in a meaningful way. This is why if rates do fall, we will have more supply and more choices for borrowers, who in some areas won’t have to get into a bidding war for a home. This is something I will be keeping an eye on for the rest of the year, since I do have all six of my recession red flags up, which historically means that rates and bond yields fall.

Two things that I believe are key for a soft landing are rates falling to get housing back in line and inflation growth falling so the Fed can stop with the rate hikes and start cutting rates if the economic data gets even worse.

Inflation!

The recent inflation data did surprise the downside a bit, sending the bond market rallying, stocks higher and mortgage rates falling.

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However, we are far from calling it a victory as inflation growth rate is still very high and we do have some variables that can create supply shortages, such as war and aggression by other countries. 

For today, people cheered the growth rate of inflation falling as they know this is the biggest driver of the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone and more aggressive rate hikes. Also, in general, the mood of Americans is much better when gasoline prices are falling and not rising. However, we need much more aggressive monthly prints heading lower for the Fed to be convinced that inflation is no longer a concern. 

All in all, the decline in new listings does warrant a conversation on how much more growth we will see for the rest of the year. Inventory data is very seasonal and traditionally we see inventory start to fall in October as people start getting ready for the holidays and the New Year, and then in the spring and summer inventory pops up again.

I would remind everyone that the growth rate of inventory, working from all-time lows, was aggressive in the last few months, so some context is needed if we do see some weekly declines in inventory during the summer months. For now, this is due to a lack of new sellers rather than demand picking up. If demand starts to pick up due to falling rates, that is an entirely different conversation we will have, but we haven’t crossed that bridge yet. 

Just remember that American homeowners are just in much better shape these days.

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I know the professional grift online since October of 2021 was that a massive wave of millions of people were going to list their homes to sell at any cost to get out before the housing market crashed. 

However, homeowners don’t operate this way. A traditional home seller is a natural homebuyer, buying another property when they sell. They don’t sell their house to be homeless or purposely sell to rent at a higher cost for no good reason. If we get a job loss recession we can have a further discussion of credit risk profiles, but for now, it shouldn’t be too shocking that new listings are declining, except for the fact it’s happening sooner than later in the year.

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Economics

US CPI eases substantially to 8.5% but the Fed yet to “hit the brakes”

US consumers received a welcome break from the meteoric rise in prices with the July CPI ‘easing’ more than anticipated to 8.5% Y-o-Y. The figure moderated…

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US consumers received a welcome break from the meteoric rise in prices with the July CPI ‘easing’ more than anticipated to 8.5% Y-o-Y.

The figure moderated from 9.1% in June owing to a fall in surging gasoline prices as the summer driving season came to a close.

Forecasts had suggested that the CPI may only fall to 8.7%.

Prices of key commodities such as corn, wheat and copper also declined by 20.4%, 27.7% and 13.5% compared to 3 months ago at the time of writing.

Buoyed by renewed optimism, the S&P 500 has risen by 2.1% thus far during today’s session.

Yet, the rate of inflation is still far above the Fed’s stated 2% target.

Source: Investing.com

Core CPI which excludes volatile energy and food items from the main basket stayed unchanged at 5.9% Y-o-Y while increasing by 0.3% on a monthly basis, significantly below July expectations of 0.7%.

Pimco economists Tiffany Wilding and Allison Boxer noted that although headline inflation has eased, core CPI has stayed firm, and has even seen an uptick in related data released by the Fed’s regional institutions.

The July reading showed the sharpest Y-o-Y dip since March 2020, when CPI fell from 2.3% in February to 1.5% as the initial lockdowns took effect.

Source: Investing.com

American families continue to battle sky-high prices amid declining real wages. Simon Moore, a contributor at Forbes magazine adds that “price increases for many other areas of the economy still remain concerning for the Fed.”

The broad-based nature of inflation has meant essentials such as food, rent, and health services are continuing to see an uptick despite a lower aggregate number.

For instance, the Bank of America noted that the average monthly rent has risen by 16% for those in the youth demographics.

Source: TradingEconomics.com, US EIA

Jobs market

The substantial dip in the CPI has proved to be a bit of a surprise following the latest jobs report which registered an increase of 528,000 in July, with the unemployment rate falling to a low of 3.5%.

The labour market continues to remain unnaturally tight despite the Fed’s overall hawkishness, two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction, and reports of big-tech lay-offs earlier in the year.

A tighter job market usually implies more competition for talent, higher wages and ultimately more spending. More spending tends to push up consumer inflation necessitating rate hikes.

As of July 2022, the U.S economy has been able to replace the 22 million jobs that were lost amid covid lockdowns, leading to predictions of a “jobful recession.”

Economists argue that this unique situation may be fueled in part by ageing demographics and a sharp decline in immigration during the course of the pandemic.

Productivity data

A key concern for the Federal Reserve is falling labour productivity in the economy. The output per worker reduced for a second consecutive quarter to -4.6% Y-o-Y, having registered a fall of 7.4% in the first three months of the year.

Q1 marked the deepest cut in labour productivity since records began in 1948, 74 years ago. This was reinforced by the weakness in GDP data that contracted in both Q1 and Q2, contrasting with the positive signals from the headline jobs figures.

At the same time, unit labour costs increased 10.8% in Q2, although real wages have contracted 3.5% over the past year.

Can we expect a pause in rate hikes?

Bluford Putnam, Managing Director & Chief Economist, CME Group, wrote “…factors has changed course in the past six to 12 months and is no longer likely to be a source of future inflation”

Elevated goods demand due to the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns have eased markedly; supply chain disruptions will take time to alleviate completely but significant strides have been made in this regard; the gigantic fiscal stimulus injected during the covid crisis has largely run its course; central banks are finally reducing their balance sheets; while policymakers have embarked upon the withdrawal of rock-bottom interest rates.  These are all sources of price rise that have seemingly turned the corner.

In addition, gasoline prices are likely to ease for the foreseeable future, while WTI and Brent have fallen 4.7% and 2.4%, respectively over the past month.

However, Bill Adams of Comerica Bank has been reluctant to call a peak to inflation and expects that the US is at risk of “another energy price shock” over the winter.

The conduct of monetary policy has never been a clear-cut matter. The judgement of monetary authorities is paramount while projecting into the future has always been fraught with known and unknown unknowns. 

The relatively sharp decline in CPI, contracting GDP and tightness in the job market tell a muddled tale.

For the average householder, costs are punitive, and inflation is likely to stay sticky.

However, the New York Fed in its July survey of expectations found that inflation expectations of the ‘general public’ have followed gasoline and broader energy prices lower, with one year ahead expectations falling to 6.2%.

Since inflation expectations are central to the monetary policy equation, once again, we find that supply-side factors not under the control of central banks may have influenced public sentiment and consumer behaviour more so than simply tighter policies.

In light of the likely easing among key inflationary sources, CME’s FedWatch Tool reports that there is a 60.5% probability of a 50 bps hike in September, while there is a 39.5% chance of a third consecutive 75 bps hike.

This is in spite of the fact that Jerome Powell believes that the Fed has been able to achieve the neutral interest rate during its last meeting – a level where the economy is neither constrained into contraction nor incentivized to expand.

Putnam states that “any level of short-term rates that is below a reasonable view of inflation expectations remains accommodative”, resulting in the Fed taking “its foot off the accelerator, but it has not hit the brakes. “  

Moore points out that “Inflation is starting to fall, but still not by as much as the Fed would like and it may be some time before they can declare any sort of victory”

For now, all eyes will be on tomorrow’s Producer Price Index data and the likely passing of the controversial Inflation Reduction Act in the coming days.

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Stocks

4 Natural Gas Stocks To Watch Today

Are these the best natural gas stocks to watch today?
The post 4 Natural Gas Stocks To Watch Today appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes, Charts…

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Check Out These 4 Top Natural Gas Stocks In The Stock Market Today

If you’re looking for an investment in the stock market that will give you exposure to the natural gas industry, then natural gas stocks may be a good option. For the uninitiated, Natural gas is a vital commodity used in a variety of industries, including power generation, heating, and manufacturing. And as the world moves to cleaner energy sources, demand for natural gas is expected to grow.

Despite the downturn in the economy, natural gas stocks have held their value quite well in recent years. This is evident with natural gas stocks such as Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) and Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR). Both companies have seen their share price increase year-to-date by 19.07% and 113.76%, respectively. While the natural gas industry is not immune to market fluctuations, it has proven to be relatively stable in turbulent times. Moreover, natural gas is a increasingly popular energy source, due in part to its relatively low emissions. As more and more countries commit to reducing their carbon footprint, demand for natural gas is expected to rise. For these reasons, I’m not surprised investors are turning their attention to natural gas stocks in the stock market today.

Natural Gas Stocks To Watch Today

Occidental Petroleum (OXY Stock)

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) is an international energy company that has majority of its assets throughout the U.S., Middle East, and North Africa. The company is one of the largest oil producers in the U.S., as well as a leading producer in the Permian and DJ basins, and the offshore Gulf of Mexico. Its midstream and marketing segment provides flow assurance and maximizes the value of its oil and gas products. Also, Occidental Petroleum has its Oxy Low Carbon Ventures subsidiary that is advancing leading-edge technologies and business solutions that economically grow its business.

Just this month, OXY reported a beat for its 2nd quarter 2022 results. Diving in, the company reported earnings of $3.16 per share on revenue of $10.7 billion. Wall street’s conensus earnings estimate was $2.93 per share on revenue of $9.8 billion. This reflects an increase in revenue of 78.6% year-over-year. Since releasing these results, OXY stock has jumped over 5% and is currently trading on Wednesday afternoon at $63.25 per share.

Oxy completed another quarter with strong operational and financial performance across all of our businesses. We generated $4.2 billion of free cash flow before working capital in the second quarter, our highest quarterly free cash flow to date. We also achieved a significant milestone as we surpassed our near-term debt reduction goal and activated our share repurchase program,” commented President and Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub. All in all, is OXY on your list of stocks to watch today?

OXY stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] What Are The Best Stocks To Invest In? 4 Lithium Stocks To Know

ConocoPhillips 

Following that, let’s take a look a independent exploration and production company, ConocoPhillips (COP). In brief, ConocoPhilips explores, produces, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids. With operations in 14 countries around the world, while boasting $87 billion worth of total assets, I could see why investors may be add COP stock to your radar in the stock market today. In August, ConocoPhillips reported a miss for its second quarter 2022 results.

In detail, the company posted earnings of $3.91 per share on revenue of $22.0 billion. Analysts consensus earnings expectations were $3.78 per share on revenue of $17.2 billion. Next, the company notched a 115.3% increase in revenue on a year-over-year basis. As well as announcing a $5 billion increase in estaimted 2022 return on capital to its shareholders, brining it to a total of $15 billion. Over the last five trading days shares of COP stock are up 3.75% and it’s currently trading at $96.09 a share on Wednesday afternoon.

The second quarter delivered strong financial results and presented outstanding opportunities to accelerate progress on our Triple Mandate to reliably and responsibly deliver oil and gas production to meet energy transition pathway demand, deliver competitive returns on and of capital for our shareholders, and achieve our net-zero operational emissions ambition,” quoted chairman & CEO Ryan Lance. All being said, is now the time to add COP stock to your radar?

COP stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

Chevron 

Next, let’s check out Chevron (CVX). Chevron is another natural gas company to watch in the stock market today. The company focuses in producing a broad range of offerings. This ranges from the production of crude oil and natural gas to the manufacturing of transportation fuels and petrochemicals. Separate from that, Chevron also develops additives alongside industry-relevant tech solutions. For a sense of scale, they currently have operations in over 180 countries across the globe.

In July, the company reported a beat on its 2nd quarter 2022 results. In the earnings report, Chevron reported a year-over-year revenue increase of 82.9%. Furthermore, the company posted an earnings per share of $5.82 on revenue of $68.8 billion. As a whole, wall street estimates for this quarter were $5.02 per share on revenue of $55.1 billion. “Second quarter financial performance improved as we delivered a return on capital employed of 26 percent,” commented Mike Wirth, Chevron’s chairman and chief executive officer. As a result, shares of CVX have gained 10% in the last month of trading action and is currently trading at $155.77 during Wednesday’s lunchtime session.

CVX stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

[Read More] Stock Market Today: Dow Jones, S&P 500 Rally On Less-Than-Expected Inflation Report

ExxonMobil

Last but not least, let’s look at ExxonMobil (XOM). As most would know, ExxonMobil is among the largest players in the global energy and petrochemical market today. Through its broad portfolio, ExxonMobil serves the energy needs of the world. Among ExxonMobil’s core divisions would include its Upstream, Product Solutions, and Low Carbon Solutions. Through this, the company produces energy, chemicals, lubricants, and low-emission tech. 

At the end of last month, XOM announced a better-than-expected second quarter 2022 results. Specifically, the company announced a earnings of $4.14 per share on revenue of $115.7 billion. This was better than the consensus estimates of earnings per share of $3.80 and revenue of $120.2 billion. Also, Exxon notched in a 70.8% year-over-year jump in revenue for the quarter. “Earnings and cash flow benefited from increased production, higher realizations, and tight cost control,” commented chairman and CEO Darren Woods. “Strong second-quarter results reflect our focus on the fundamentals and the investments we put in motion several years ago and sustained through the depths of the pandemic.” On Wednesday afternoon, shares of XOM stock are trading at $91.40. Given all this, do you think XOM stock is a buy now?

XOM stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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