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Futures Rise On China Growth Hopes

Futures Rise On China Growth Hopes

After US stocks were set to start week with modest gains as optimism around an economic recovery in China…



Futures Rise On China Growth Hopes

After US stocks were set to start week with modest gains as optimism around an economic recovery in China offset fears that the Fed is pushing the US economy off a recessionary cliff. S&P and Nasdaq futures were both up 0.4% as of 7:45 a.m. ET led by energy and tech shares, after China’s leaders said they will focus on boosting the economy next year, hinting at business-friendly policies, and further support for the property market.

In premarket trading, Tesla gained after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk polled users on Twitter over whether he should step down as head of the social-media company, with the result so far leaning toward yes. At the same time, Ardelyx slumped after the biotech said that the FDA may need “up to a few more weeks” to finalize its response to the company’s appeal over the complete response letter for its new drug application for its kidney disease therapy XPHOZAH (tenapanor). Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • Tesla shares gain 5.1% in US premarket trading after CEO Elon Musk polled users on Twitter over whether he should step down as head of the social-media company, with the result so far leaning toward yes.
  • Moderna gains 4% as Jefferies upgraded the stock to buy from hold, saying it can rebound in 2023 on a return of pipeline opportunities.
  • Ardelyx shares drop 13% after the biotech said that the FDA may need “up to a few more weeks” to finalize its response to the company’s appeal over the complete response letter for its new drug application for its kidney disease therapy XPHOZAH.
  • Aerojet shares rise 3% after L3Harris Technologies (LHX US) agreed to buy the rocket engine maker in a deal valued at about $4.7 billion. The purchase makes strategic sense, although analysts at Truist said the offer price looks expensive.
  • Watch Netflix stock as its price target was raised at Morgan Stanley on the back of currency “swings,” though broker flagged risk that expectations and valuation have run “too far too fast.”
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals stock is downgraded to hold at Jefferies, which says that the company continues to offer a good pipeline, but risk/reward and valuation seem “balanced” following strong gains this year.
  • KeyBanc adds to recent upgrades for PerkinElmer moving to overweight from sector weight based on transformational sale of analytical instruments business.

A fourth-quarter rally in the S&P 500 fizzled out as investors grew worried the Fed would keep interest rates higher for longer despite signs of cooling in inflation. Unexpectedly hawkish comments from the European Central Bank added to the pessimism last week, keeping the benchmark index on course for its biggest annual slump since 2008.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said although stock-index futures were climbing today, sentiment is still expected to be subdued into the year-end. “Concerns that the US will be dragged into recession as the Fed tries to tame the wild horse of inflation are still front and center,” she said.

Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Wilson warned US corporate earnings next year are facing their biggest drop since the global financial crisis as the economy weakens. That could spark a new stock-market low that’s “much worse than what most investors are expecting,” he wrote in a note.

Yet while underlying stock indexes remain on track to end the month lower, some investors are starting to look past fears of an economic recession triggered by higher interest rates, and betting that inflation has peaked allowing the Federal Reserve and other central banks some leeway in tightening policy.  

Markets have begun to price in that inflation will decline, in part due to the action by central banks,” Jacob Vijverberg, multi-asset investment manager at Aegon Asset Management, told clients, pointing to recent below-forecast US inflation figures. This would help riskier assets such as higher yielding fixed income and equities to outperform, he added.

European stocks also gained after a downbeat close to the past week, the Stoxx 600 rising 0.5% led by energy shares which outperformed on Monday as oil advanced following a pledge from China to revive consumption and a plan from the Biden administration to begin refilling US strategic crude reserves. The Stoxx 600 Energy sub-index rose 2.2% as of 8:30 a.m. in London, outpacing all other groups in the regional equity benchmark, which gained 0.5%. Here are the biggest Eureopean movers:

  • BP shares rise as much as 3.3%, Shell 3.2% and TotalEnergies 3.4%. European energy shares outperform on Monday as oil advances following a pledge from China to revive consumption and a plan from the Biden administration to begin refilling US strategic crude reserves.
  • Suedzucker shares rise as much as 6.4%, adding to last week’s strong gains following the German sugar producer’s guidance increase, with Warburg today upgrading the stock to buy from hold.
  • Innate Pharma surged as much as 19% at the open after the French biotech company announced it had expanded its collaboration with Sanofi for natural killer cell therapeutics in oncology.
  • Freenet shares rise as much as 4.8% after Deutsche Bank raises the stock to buy from hold, saying the telecom and media firm could be a defensive addition to portfolios in 2023.
  • TietoEVRY shares gain as much as 3.5% after Nordea raised its recommendation to buy from hold, saying the break-up case for the firm is “becoming partly de-risked” following the announced disposals of Banking, Connect and Transform businesses.
  • Nexi shares advance as much as 5% to lead gains on the FTSE MIB index after the government dropped a proposed measure on a minimum threshold to accept digital payments.
  • Fugro shares dropped as much as 30%, the most since 1995, after report on involvement with 2019 dam breach in Brazil that killed 270 people.
  • Tokmanni shares fall as much as 6.8%, extending losses into a fourth session, after Nordea cut its recommendation for the shares to hold from buy, noting the company’s “unwillingness to increase prices” hurts its investment case “at least temporarily.”

Asia stocks headed lower for a third day as traders assessed rising infection numbers in China and risks of a regional economic slowdown. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index erased initial gains to fall as much as 0.4%, as health care and industrials dragged on the gauge. Initial optimism for stocks in China and Hong Kong faded amid concerns that Asia’s biggest economy will suffer from a spike in virus cases in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities. Beijing Covid Death Reports Fuel Concern China Hiding Data Benchmarks also slumped in Japan as the yen strengthened, joining the Philippines and South Korea lower, while India and Singapore advanced.   Asian shares could climb more than 9% through 2023, according to strategists surveyed by Bloomberg. But the road may be bumpy as uncertainty remains over the pace of China’s reopening and the outlook for Federal Reserve policy. Moreover, the world’s biggest money managers are set to unload up to $100 billion of stocks in the final few weeks of the year. Still, “modest valuations, light investor positioning and good fundamentals are buffers that should help Asian stocks withstand near-term volatility,” said Zhikai Chen, head of Asian and global emerging market equities at BNP Paribas Asset Management.

The yen strengthens and JGB futures fall on report PM Kishida may add flexibility to BOJ’s 2% inflation goal. Japan’s 5-year yield climbs to 0.145%, highest since 2015. The moves are later pared after Japan’s Matsuno denies plans to revise BOJ accord. Most currency majors grind higher against the dollar; yuan marginally softer. Asian stocks fall for third day, with Japan and China leading the retreat. Hang Seng erases a gain of as much as 1.7%, Shanghai Composite falls 1.5%. S&P futures nudge 0.1% higher, Nasdaq contracts also slightly firmer. Treasury 10-year yield adds three basis points to 3.51%; Australian curve bear steepens after 10-year yield jumps six basis points. WTI crude rises to around $75.20; gold muted near $1,792.

Australia stocks edged lower: the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to close at 7,133.90, with real-estate shares leading declines on the gauge. Shares of Star Entertainment slid 18% to become the worst performer on the gauge after the government issued new proposed tax changes that may impact its business. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7% to 11,518.14

Indian stocks rose the most in nearly a month, in contrast to the broader Asian market that traded lower.  The S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.8% to 61,806.19, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by a similar measure. Benchmark indexes in most other regional economies, including China, Hong Kong and Japan, fell. Broad-based buying in the market lifted overall sentiments, said Osho Krishan, senior analyst, technical and derivative research, Angel One. “Technically, there has been no substantial change in the market outlook as the bulls made a comeback from their support zone and showcased their resilience,” Krishan said.  The gains come as demand in India’s large domestic market cushions it from the impact of a slowing global economy. High-frequency indicators show the economic activity has stayed steady in recent months but may slow going forward as resilience wanes.  Reliance Industries gave the biggest boost to the index, adding 1.4%.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.5% as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Here is how other key pairs did:

  • The euro rose by 0.6% to 1.0653, erasing Friday’s loss after ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said half-point increases in borrowing costs will continue as officials try to tame soaring prices. In Germany, the IFO business confidence index rose to 88.6 (estimate 87.5) in December from revised 86.4 in November, according to the IFO Institute
  • The pound rose while gilts plunged across the curve with the belly outperforming slightly as money markets added to BOE tightening wagers and traders looked ahead to QE sales starting January
  • The yen whipsawed after reports on a potential change to a key agreement between the government and central bank fueled speculation policy makers are moving closer to a hawkish pivot. The BOJ is expected to keep monetary stimulus unchanged Tuesday, yet elevated overnight volatility in the yen reflects risk of a shift in tone when it comes to forward guidance
  • Australian dollar climbed amid broad greenback weakness spurred by speculation of a hawkish pivot in Japan. Gains were refreshed on news that Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong will travel to Beijing on Tuesday

In rates, the Treasury curve twist-steepened; the 2-year yield fell 1bp and the 10-year yield rose by around 4bps. US 10-year yields around 3.54%, cheaper by 6bps vs. Friday close with bunds and gilts lagging by additional 1.5bp and 10bp in the sector; long-end led losses widens 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 3.5bp and 3bp on the day. Dollar issuance slate remains light, with issuance likely concluded now for the year. Treasuries follow more aggressive bear steepening move across gilts, where long-end yield are cheaper by 13bp as traders look ahead to QE sales starting January. This week’s US auctions include $12b 20-year bond reopening Wednesday and $19b 5-year TIPS Thursday. In Europe, Bunds and Italian bonds extend the streak of declines to four, the longest in 6 weeks and money markets added to ECB tightening bets as markets continued to digest last week’s hawkish policy messaging.

In commodities, oil futures rose boosted by Beijing’s pro-growth pledge and a US move to refill strategic crude reserves boosted oil futures, though economic growth fears kept prices on track for a second monthly loss.  

Bitcoin is softer on the session, but resides towards the mid-point of relative narrow parameters.

It's a quiet economic calendar, with just the NAHB Housing Market Index on deck (est. 34, prior 33).

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 3,894.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 426.88
  • MXAP down 0.2% to 156.07
  • MXAPJ little changed at 507.98
  • Nikkei down 1.1% to 27,237.64
  • Topix down 0.8% to 1,935.41
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.5% to 19,352.81
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.9% to 3,107.12
  • Sensex up 0.7% to 61,781.21
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,133.87
  • Kospi down 0.3% to 2,352.17
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 2.19%
  • Euro up 0.6% to $1.0647
  • Brent Futures up 1.1% to $79.90/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,796.99
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.46% to 104.22

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • EU member states will on Monday discuss a gas-price cap that’s almost one-third lower than an original proposal as they attempt to break a deadlock over the controversial proposal to contain the impact of a historic energy crisis
  • After this winter, the EU will have to refill gas reserves with little to no deliveries from Russia, intensifying competition for tankers of the fuel. Even with more facilities to import liquefied natural gas coming online, the market is expected to remain tight until 2026, when additional production capacity from the US to Qatar becomes available. That means no respite from high prices
  • China’s swift abandonment of Covid Zero has seen infections explode, especially in Beijing, which has seen shortages of medicine, overwhelmed hospital staff and deserted streets as residents stay home sick or to avoid the virus. That aligns with what other places experienced as they shifted from eliminating Covid to living with it — except for the lack of officially reported deaths
  • China’s top leaders said they will focus on boosting the economy next year, hinting at business-friendly policies, further support for the property market while likely scaling back fiscal stimulus

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks eventually traded lower across the board following the downbeat performance on Wall Street on Friday. ASX 200 was weighed on by its heavyweight Financials and Healthcare sectors but losses were cushioned by gains in the metals-related names. Nikkei 225 was pressured following weekend reports that Japan's government is set to revise a 10-year-old joint statement with  the BoJ that commits the central bank to achieve its 2% inflation "at the earliest date possible," while Toshiba Corp shares slid over 5% amid Nikkei reports that its preferred bidder JIP reportedly appears to be mulling a lower valuation for a buyout. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were initially mixed but the former failed to hold onto opening gains whilst the latter overlooked the PBoC injecting fresh funds via 14-day reverse repo for the first time in nearly two months, with sentiment dampened by reports of two COVID-related deaths in mainland China. US equity futures traded flat within tight ranges - the ES March contract remained under 3,900.

Top Asian News

  • China reported two new COVID-related deaths in the mainland on December 18th vs zero a day earlier, according to Reuters.
  • China's Shanghai Education Bureau said it is to shut down all in-person classes in kindergartens and childcare centres in the city from December 19th due to COVID-19 infections, according to Reuters.
  • Chip maker Renesas Electronics (6723 JT) suspended work at its Beijing plant from Friday for several days due to the spread of COVID-19 in the city, according to Reuters.
  • Beijing has removed or adjusted 126 COVID-19 prevention measures, and all factories and construction sites above designated size and commercial buildings in the city have fully resumed work, officials cited by Global Times said Sunday.
  • Macau's government is to cancel COVID risk regulations for mainland China from Tuesday; arrivals from China must have a negative COVID test in the last 72 hours, according to Reuters.
  • Hong Kong leader Lee to begin a four-day trip to Beijing on Wednesday, at which he is expected to discuss the reopening of the border with mainland China, via SCMP citing sources.
  • Beijing, China is to buy imported COVID medicines to relive pressure on domestic shortages, via Reuters citing an official; customs will speed up the clearance for imported COVID medicines.
  • USTR Office has announced a nine-month extension of tariff exclusion on 352 Chinese import product categories, according to Reuters.
  • China is to maintain ample liquidity in 2023 to implement proactive fiscal policy, according to state media citing the PBoC Vice Governor.
  • China’s Central Economic Work Conference suggested China will focus on stabilising its economy in 2023 and step up policy to ensure key targets are met, according to a statement cited by Reuters.
  • PBoC injected CNY 9bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate maintained at 2.00%; injects CNY 76bln via 14-day reverse repos with the rate maintained at 2.15% - for a daily net injection CNY 83bln. according to Reuters.
  • Toshiba Corp's (6502 JT) preferred bidder JIP reportedly appears to be mulling a lower valuation for a buyout, according to Nikkei.
  • Japan is reportedly eyeing an initial budget at a record JPY 114tln for FY23, according to Kyodo.
  • Australia’s sovereign wealth fund is positioning for inflationary pressures to persist globally and believes that gold and other commodities will offset hindered returns across asset classes, according to Bloomberg.
  • South Korean Finance Minister said the economy is slowing more rapidly than expected; economic slowdown is to be at its worst pace in H1 2023, via Reuters.

European bourses have commenced the week on a firmer footing, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.7%, shaking off the softer APAC handover in minimal newsflow. Sectors are firmer ex-Media/Real Estate, featuring outperformance in Energy after Friday's pressure. Stateside, futures are similarly supported, ES +0.5%, in-tandem with the European tone ahead of a sparse US docket.

Top European News

  • UK Chancellor Hunt has commissioned the OBR to prepare an economic & fiscal forecast, to be presented alongside the Spring Budget due 15th March, 2023.
  • UK PM Sunak scrapped Liz Truss' plan to purchase energy from foreign producers, according to Sky News. Elsewhere, Sunak is set to sign off an extension to the government's energy support package for businesses for up to 12 months.
  • Bank of France cut France's 2023 growth forecast to 0.3% (prev. 0.5%) and cut the 2024 forecast to 1.2% (prev. 1.8%), according to Reuters.
  • ECB's de Guindos says the ECB will keep hiking rates and does not know when they will stop, not planning on altering the 2% mid-term price stability goal.
  • ECB's Simkus is in no doubt that there will be a 50bps hike in February.
  • ECB's Kazimir says rates will not only need to go to restrictive territory but stay there much longer.


  • USD has faded despite hawkish weekend Fed rhetoric, with the DXY nearer the lower-end of 10412-83 parameters.
  • Action which benefits peers across the board, with marked outperformance in the JPY as USD/JPY gapped lower from the 136.69 close to either side of the figure.
  • Antipodeans are the current best performers, with the Kiwi through 0.64 vs USD at best and AUD holding above 0.67.
  • EUR is bid but to a slightly lesser extent despite hawkish (as expected) ECB rhetoric and strong German Ifo release while Cable has reclaimed 1.22 convincingly.
  • ZAR is the marked outperformer after Ramaphosa secures re-election as ANC leader for the 2024 presidential campaign.
  • PBoC sets USD/CNY mid-point at 6.9746 vs exp. 6.9753 (prev. 6.9791)
  • South African President Ramaphosa has been re-elected as leader of the governing ANC party.

Fixed Income

  • Bunds are facing modest pressure, though are off worst levels which occurred in wake of ECB's Kazimir which prompted the 10yr German yield to test 2.20%, action which is being felt more keenly in the periphery.
  • Gilts are the marked underperformers after last week's relative resilience, with the UK yield around 3.45%.
  • USTs are softer, but comparably more contained and haven't really threatened a breach of initial early-European parameters.


  • A choppy but ultimately fairly contained start to the week for the crude benchmarks. Price action throughout the European morning has been two-way in nature and at times without an overt catalyst or driver.
  • Currently, WTI & Brent Fed’23 are firmer by around USD 1.00/bbl on the session but are shy of their overnight peaks by around another USD 1.00/bbl, and as such are someway from last week’s respective USD 77.77/bbl and USD 75.26/bbl best levels.
  • EU countries are reportedly mulling a gas price cap at levels lower than suggested to date, with the bloc set to meet on Monday in a bid to come to an agreement, according to a document cited by Reuters. Czech Republic proposed a EUR 188/MWh cap on Dutch TTF front-month contract vs the EUR 275/MWh cap originally suggested, according to Reuters.
  • Saudi Aramco, Sinopec and SABIC have expanded refining and petrochemical cooperation and expect to start operations by the end of 2025, according to Reuters.
  • Algeria is considering exporting its spare power capacity to Europe, according to the Algerian Energy Minister cited by Reuters.
  • Uniper (UN01 GY) said the first German LNG terminal is to open in Wilhelmshaven; an annual volume of at least 5bcm of natural gas is expected to be imported, according to Reuters.
  • El Paso Natural Gas Co. has lifted the force majeure at its Amarillo compressor station, according to Reuters.
  • North Dakota Pipeline Authority said an estimated 200-250k BPD of oil was curtailed on Friday as a result of an extended storm system but anticipated a relatively quick return of production over the next several days, according to Reuters.
  • USDA and USTR chiefs said Mexican officials have presented potential amendments to restrictions on genetically modified corn and other biotech products, according to Reuters.
  • Indian antitrust agency raided some steel firms for alleged price collusion, according to Reuters sources.
  • Peruvian President has urged congress to pass a bill to bring forward general elections amid protests, according to Reuters.
  • Spot gold and silver are benefitting from the dented dollar while base metals derive support from the generally positive risk tone and the aforementioned unwinding of restrictions in China, with LME Copper firmer by over 1.0%.


  • Blasts were heard across Ukrainian capital Kyiv early Monday morning, according to a Reuters witness.
  • Russian military stationed in Belarus are to conduct tactical exercises, according to Interfax citing the Russian Defence Ministry
  • Ukrainian advisor Podolyak says, to European partners, Ukraine will not surrender to or fulfil the demands of Russia; adds, "War ending can only be accelerated by increasing artillery/tanks supply. Even unilaterally…"
  • Qatari diplomat said Qatar has been "exclusively criticised and attacked" in the investigation into the European parliament, according to a statement cited by Reuters. Qatari diplomat added that "limiting dialogue and cooperation" on Qatar before the legal process has ended will negatively affect discussions on global energy security and security cooperation.
  • North Korea fired two ballistic missiles towards the Korean Peninsula's east coast on Sunday, according to the South Korean military cited by Reuters. The missiles appeared to have landed outside of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to NHK.
  • US State Department said the US is gravely concerned that Iranian authorities are reportedly continuing to kill protesters, according to Reuters.
  • Italian Economy Minister urged the EU to give a strong and strategic response to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and suggested some Italian companies are considering moving production to the US, according to Reuters.
  • Australian PM said Foreign Minister Wong is to travel to Beijing on Tuesday at the invitation of China, according to Reuters.

US Event Calendar

  • 10:00: Dec. NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 34, prior 33

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Well, I had Argentina in the research World Cup sweepstake. After hours of studying form, player fatigue, different systems, the climate etc., I skillfully closed my eyes and put my hand in a jar and pulled the winners out. I will try to not let my success change me.

As everyone recovers from a breathtaking final, it'll be interesting to see whether market activity drops off a cliff this week as we approach Christmas even if there was lots of unfinished business after last week. The market doesn't believe the Fed, with a pricing disconnect now opening up, and the market is now worried the ECB has upped its level of hawkishness. Outside of the ECB's Guindos and Simkus speaking today we won't hear much from these two central banks before Xmas so there is unlikely to be much official follow-through to last week's meetings. It will therefore be left to quite a full slate of data to move markets in what is likely to be a week low on liquidity.

The US consumer will be a big focus with consumer confidence (Wednesday) and personal income data, along with PCE inflation (both Friday). We'll also see various housing market and business activity indicators from the US, as well as Japan's CPI report and PPI numbers from Europe.

Elsewhere, the BoJ will be the last major central bank to make a monetary policy decision this year tomorrow. It could be a bit more interesting than usual as we'll see below.

In terms of some of the highlights now, we start with US housing. This is obviously a big focus at the moment and today's NAHB housing index (33 DB forecast vs 33 previously), tomorrow's housing starts (1.400mn vs. 1.425mn) and building permits (1.500mn vs. 1.512mn), Wednesday's existing home sales (4.25mn vs. 4.43mn) and Friday's new home sales (600k vs. 632k) will all be important. The hard data is all expected to slow further from last month.

Probably more important is Friday's income and consumption report which contains the latest reading on core PCE. Our economists think it should come in at 0.2% mom (vs. 0.2% previously), taking the YoY rate down three-tenths to 4.7%. Normally core PCE is above core CPI but over the next 12 months our economists think that anomalies in healthcare components between the two means that the former will edge above the latter at 3.2% for 2023 Q4/Q4 against 3.1%. Friday also see the final revisions to the University of Michigan consumer sentiment, including the important consumer expectations of inflation.

Other business activity gauges for the US include durable goods orders on Friday, with both headline (DB forecast -3.5% vs +1.1% in October) and core (DB forecast unch vs +0.6%) seen showing signs of weakening by our US economists. Indicators of manufacturing activity from regional Feds are also due throughout the week. These releases will follow an array of downside surprises in activity-related gauges recently, including the fall in industrial production last Thursday.

Over in Europe, we will get PPIs from several countries starting with Germany tomorrow. As a reminder, the latest YoY reading stands at 34.5%, some way off the 45.8% peak reached in August. October's report also showed the first MoM decrease in producer prices since May 2020 amid falling energy costs.

From central banks, all eyes will be on the BoJ tomorrow and we will also get minutes from their October meeting on Thursday. Our Chief Japan economist previews the meeting and addresses the potential for YCC revision or a policy assessment here.

The yen initially rallied as much as +0.61% this morning after Kyodo News reported on Saturday that Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was looking to add flexibility around the 2% inflation goal and would discuss it with the next governor after Kuroda's term ends in April. This follows Bloomberg last week reporting that a policy review is being considered for next year. However, some of the Japanese currency’s early gains today were reversed after a government spokesman denied the report and the Yen (+0.28%) is currently trading at $136.22.

Following the BoJ's decision, the CPI report for Japan will be released on Thursday. Our Chief Japan economist (full preview here) expects the overall index to reach 3.9% YoY (vs +3.7% in October), the core index excluding fresh food to be up 3.8% (+3.6%), and core-core index excluding fresh food and energy to rise to 2.8% (+2.5%) as food and durable goods continue to be the key drivers of inflation.

Speaking of energy prices, EU energy ministers will meet today to resume talks regarding a natural gas price cap as well as other measures to cope with the energy crisis as winter looms.

Similar to the US, a number of sentiment indicators will be released in Europe. For Germany, they will include the Ifo survey today and the GfK's consumer confidence reading on Wednesday. Manufacturing and consumer confidence will also be released for Italy on Friday.

Asian stock markets had a negative start to the final full trading week of 2022, tracking Friday’s losses on Wall Street as synchronised interest rate hikes and a hawkish tone from global central banks weigh on sentiment. Rising Covid-19 cases in China, particularly in Beijing, following the abandonment of Covid Zero are also adding to the bearish mood. Chinese equities are retreating with the Shanghai Composite (-1.31%) and the CSI (-1.03%) both in the red. The Nikkei (-1.15%), the KOSPI (-0.60%) and the Hang Seng (-0.45%) are also weak in early trading. In overnight trading, US stock futures are little changed with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.06%) and the NASDAQ 100 (-0.07%) slightly down after posting two consecutive weekly losses.

In energy markets, oil futures have moved higher in Asian trading hours with Brent oil (+0.94%) trading at $79.81/bbl and WTI futures (+1.00%) at $75.03/bbl after China indicated its intention to revive consumption heading into 2023. Meanwhile, yields on 10Yr USTs are up +2.92 bps, trading at 3.51%.

Looking back at last week, it was a familiar 2022 story in markets since hawkish central bank announcements from the Fed and the ECB sparked a fresh selloff. The decisions themselves were actually in line with expectations, with both hiking by 50bps. But what struck investors was the much more aggressive tone on future rate hikes than the consensus had expected. For instance, the FOMC’s dot plot signalled that rates would be at 5.1% even by end-2023, which was up from 4.6% in the September dot plot. Meanwhile, the ECB said that rates would “still have to rise significantly”, with President Lagarde explicitly pointing to further 50bp moves ahead.

Given those developments, risk assets sold off across the board, with the S&P 500 ending the week -2.08% lower (-1.11% Friday). That was a massive turnaround from earlier in the week, when the index had surged on the back of the US CPI print on Tuesday that surprised to the downside. Indeed, by the close on Friday the S&P 500 was down -6.06% from its intraday peak for the week just after the release. It was a similar story elsewhere too, with the STOXX 600 down -3.28% over the week (-1.20% Friday), and the Nikkei down -1.34% (-1.87% Friday).

In Europe, sovereign bonds saw significant losses in light of the ECB’s rhetoric, and yields on 10yr German bunds rose by +21.9bps (+7.0bps Friday) to 2.14%. The moves at the front-end of the curve were even larger, with the 2yr German yield up +26.5bps (+3.7bps Friday) to a post-2008 high, which came as investors increased their expectations for the ECB terminal rate. For Treasuries there was a rather different reaction however, with 10yr yields ending the week down -9.6bps (+3.6bps Friday). That occurred as investors grew increasingly confident that the Fed would be able to keep long-term inflation in check, with the 10yr breakeven down to a nearly two-year low of 2.13%.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/19/2022 - 08:06

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February Employment Situation

By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000…



By Paul Gomme and Peter Rupert

The establishment data from the BLS showed a 275,000 increase in payroll employment for February, outpacing the 230,000 average over the previous 12 months. The payroll data for January and December were revised down by a total of 167,000. The private sector added 223,000 new jobs, the largest gain since May of last year.

Temporary help services employment continues a steep decline after a sharp post-pandemic rise.

Average hours of work increased from 34.2 to 34.3. The increase, along with the 223,000 private employment increase led to a hefty increase in total hours of 5.6% at an annualized rate, also the largest increase since May of last year.

The establishment report, once again, beat “expectations;” the WSJ survey of economists was 198,000. Other than the downward revisions, mentioned above, another bit of negative news was a smallish increase in wage growth, from $34.52 to $34.57.

The household survey shows that the labor force increased 150,000, a drop in employment of 184,000 and an increase in the number of unemployed persons of 334,000. The labor force participation rate held steady at 62.5, the employment to population ratio decreased from 60.2 to 60.1 and the unemployment rate increased from 3.66 to 3.86. Remember that the unemployment rate is the number of unemployed relative to the labor force (the number employed plus the number unemployed). Consequently, the unemployment rate can go up if the number of unemployed rises holding fixed the labor force, or if the labor force shrinks holding the number unemployed unchanged. An increase in the unemployment rate is not necessarily a bad thing: it may reflect a strong labor market drawing “marginally attached” individuals from outside the labor force. Indeed, there was a 96,000 decline in those workers.

Earlier in the week, the BLS announced JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data for January. There isn’t much to report here as the job openings changed little at 8.9 million, the number of hires and total separations were little changed at 5.7 million and 5.3 million, respectively.

As has been the case for the last couple of years, the number of job openings remains higher than the number of unemployed persons.

Also earlier in the week the BLS announced that productivity increased 3.2% in the 4th quarter with output rising 3.5% and hours of work rising 0.3%.

The bottom line is that the labor market continues its surprisingly (to some) strong performance, once again proving stronger than many had expected. This strength makes it difficult to justify any interest rate cuts soon, particularly given the recent inflation spike.

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Mortgage rates fall as labor market normalizes

Jobless claims show an expanding economy. We will only be in a recession once jobless claims exceed 323,000 on a four-week moving average.



Everyone was waiting to see if this week’s jobs report would send mortgage rates higher, which is what happened last month. Instead, the 10-year yield had a muted response after the headline number beat estimates, but we have negative job revisions from previous months. The Federal Reserve’s fear of wage growth spiraling out of control hasn’t materialized for over two years now and the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9%. For now, we can say the labor market isn’t tight anymore, but it’s also not breaking.

The key labor data line in this expansion is the weekly jobless claims report. Jobless claims show an expanding economy that has not lost jobs yet. We will only be in a recession once jobless claims exceed 323,000 on a four-week moving average.

From the Fed: In the week ended March 2, initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits were flat, at 217,000. The four-week moving average declined slightly by 750, to 212,250

Below is an explanation of how we got here with the labor market, which all started during COVID-19.

1. I wrote the COVID-19 recovery model on April 7, 2020, and retired it on Dec. 9, 2020. By that time, the upfront recovery phase was done, and I needed to model out when we would get the jobs lost back.

2. Early in the labor market recovery, when we saw weaker job reports, I doubled and tripled down on my assertion that job openings would get to 10 million in this recovery. Job openings rose as high as to 12 million and are currently over 9 million. Even with the massive miss on a job report in May 2021, I didn’t waver.

Currently, the jobs openings, quit percentage and hires data are below pre-COVID-19 levels, which means the labor market isn’t as tight as it once was, and this is why the employment cost index has been slowing data to move along the quits percentage.  


3. I wrote that we should get back all the jobs lost to COVID-19 by September of 2022. At the time this would be a speedy labor market recovery, and it happened on schedule, too

Total employment data

4. This is the key one for right now: If COVID-19 hadn’t happened, we would have between 157 million and 159 million jobs today, which would have been in line with the job growth rate in February 2020. Today, we are at 157,808,000. This is important because job growth should be cooling down now. We are more in line with where the labor market should be when averaging 140K-165K monthly. So for now, the fact that we aren’t trending between 140K-165K means we still have a bit more recovery kick left before we get down to those levels. 

From BLS: Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, and the unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in health care, in government, in food services and drinking places, in social assistance, and in transportation and warehousing.

Here are the jobs that were created and lost in the previous month:


In this jobs report, the unemployment rate for education levels looks like this:

  • Less than a high school diploma: 6.1%
  • High school graduate and no college: 4.2%
  • Some college or associate degree: 3.1%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 2.2%

Today’s report has continued the trend of the labor data beating my expectations, only because I am looking for the jobs data to slow down to a level of 140K-165K, which hasn’t happened yet. I wouldn’t categorize the labor market as being tight anymore because of the quits ratio and the hires data in the job openings report. This also shows itself in the employment cost index as well. These are key data lines for the Fed and the reason we are going to see three rate cuts this year.

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Inside The Most Ridiculous Jobs Report In History: Record 1.2 Million Immigrant Jobs Added In One Month

Inside The Most Ridiculous Jobs Report In History: Record 1.2 Million Immigrant Jobs Added In One Month

Last month we though that the January…



Inside The Most Ridiculous Jobs Report In History: Record 1.2 Million Immigrant Jobs Added In One Month

Last month we though that the January jobs report was the "most ridiculous in recent history" but, boy, were we wrong because this morning the Biden department of goalseeked propaganda (aka BLS) published the February jobs report, and holy crap was that something else. Even Goebbels would blush. 

What happened? Let's take a closer look.

On the surface, it was (almost) another blockbuster jobs report, certainly one which nobody expected, or rather just one bank out of 76 expected. Starting at the top, the BLS reported that in February the US unexpectedly added 275K jobs, with just one research analyst (from Dai-Ichi Research) expecting a higher number.

Some context: after last month's record 4-sigma beat, today's print was "only" 3 sigma higher than estimates. Needless to say, two multiple sigma beats in a row used to only happen in the USSR... and now in the US, apparently.

Before we go any further, a quick note on what last month we said was "the most ridiculous jobs report in recent history": it appears the BLS read our comments and decided to stop beclowing itself. It did that by slashing last month's ridiculous print by over a third, and revising what was originally reported as a massive 353K beat to just 229K,  a 124K revision, which was the biggest one-month negative revision in two years!

Of course, that does not mean that this month's jobs print won't be revised lower: it will be, and not just that month but every other month until the November election because that's the only tool left in the Biden admin's box: pretend the economic and jobs are strong, then revise them sharply lower the next month, something we pointed out first last summer and which has not failed to disappoint once.

To be fair, not every aspect of the jobs report was stellar (after all, the BLS had to give it some vague credibility). Take the unemployment rate, after flatlining between 3.4% and 3.8% for two years - and thus denying expectations from Sahm's Rule that a recession may have already started - in February the unemployment rate unexpectedly jumped to 3.9%, the highest since February 2022 (with Black unemployment spiking by 0.3% to 5.6%, an indicator which the Biden admin will quickly slam as widespread economic racism or something).

And then there were average hourly earnings, which after surging 0.6% MoM in January (since revised to 0.5%) and spooking markets that wage growth is so hot, the Fed will have no choice but to delay cuts, in February the number tumbled to just 0.1%, the lowest in two years...

... for one simple reason: last month's average wage surge had nothing to do with actual wages, and everything to do with the BLS estimate of hours worked (which is the denominator in the average wage calculation) which last month tumbled to just 34.1 (we were led to believe) the lowest since the covid pandemic...

... but has since been revised higher while the February print rose even more, to 34.3, hence why the latest average wage data was once again a product not of wages going up, but of how long Americans worked in any weekly period, in this case higher from 34.1 to 34.3, an increase which has a major impact on the average calculation.

While the above data points were examples of some latent weakness in the latest report, perhaps meant to give it a sheen of veracity, it was everything else in the report that was a problem starting with the BLS's latest choice of seasonal adjustments (after last month's wholesale revision), which have gone from merely laughable to full clownshow, as the following comparison between the monthly change in BLS and ADP payrolls shows. The trend is clear: the Biden admin numbers are now clearly rising even as the impartial ADP (which directly logs employment numbers at the company level and is far more accurate), shows an accelerating slowdown.

But it's more than just the Biden admin hanging its "success" on seasonal adjustments: when one digs deeper inside the jobs report, all sorts of ugly things emerge... such as the growing unprecedented divergence between the Establishment (payrolls) survey and much more accurate Household (actual employment) survey. To wit, while in January the BLS claims 275K payrolls were added, the Household survey found that the number of actually employed workers dropped for the third straight month (and 4 in the past 5), this time by 184K (from 161.152K to 160.968K).

This means that while the Payrolls series hits new all time highs every month since December 2020 (when according to the BLS the US had its last month of payrolls losses), the level of Employment has not budged in the past year. Worse, as shown in the chart below, such a gaping divergence has opened between the two series in the past 4 years, that the number of Employed workers would need to soar by 9 million (!) to catch up to what Payrolls claims is the employment situation.

There's more: shifting from a quantitative to a qualitative assessment, reveals just how ugly the composition of "new jobs" has been. Consider this: the BLS reports that in February 2024, the US had 132.9 million full-time jobs and 27.9 million part-time jobs. Well, that's great... until you look back one year and find that in February 2023 the US had 133.2 million full-time jobs, or more than it does one year later! And yes, all the job growth since then has been in part-time jobs, which have increased by 921K since February 2023 (from 27.020 million to 27.941 million).

Here is a summary of the labor composition in the past year: all the new jobs have been part-time jobs!

But wait there's even more, because now that the primary season is over and we enter the heart of election season and political talking points will be thrown around left and right, especially in the context of the immigration crisis created intentionally by the Biden administration which is hoping to import millions of new Democratic voters (maybe the US can hold the presidential election in Honduras or Guatemala, after all it is their citizens that will be illegally casting the key votes in November), what we find is that in February, the number of native-born workers tumbled again, sliding by a massive 560K to just 129.807 million. Add to this the December data, and we get a near-record 2.4 million plunge in native-born workers in just the past 3 months (only the covid crash was worse)!

The offset? A record 1.2 million foreign-born (read immigrants, both legal and illegal but mostly illegal) workers added in February!

Said otherwise, not only has all job creation in the past 6 years has been exclusively for foreign-born workers...

Source: St Louis Fed FRED Native Born and Foreign Born

... but there has been zero job-creation for native born workers since June 2018!

This is a huge issue - especially at a time of an illegal alien flood at the southwest border...

... and is about to become a huge political scandal, because once the inevitable recession finally hits, there will be millions of furious unemployed Americans demanding a more accurate explanation for what happened - i.e., the illegal immigration floodgates that were opened by the Biden admin.

Which is also why Biden's handlers will do everything in their power to insure there is no official recession before November... and why after the election is over, all economic hell will finally break loose. Until then, however, expect the jobs numbers to get even more ridiculous.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2024 - 13:30

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