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Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On “Covid Zero”

Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero"

One day after futures ramped overnight (if only to crater…

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Futures Slide Amid Renewed Recession Fears After China Doubles Down On "Covid Zero"

One day after futures ramped overnight (if only to crater during the regular session) on hopes China was easing its highly politicized  Zero Covid policy after it cut the time of quarantine lockdowns, this morning futures slumped early on after China's President Xi Jinping made clear that Covid Zero isn't going anywhere and remains the most “economic and effective” policy for China during a symbolic visit to the virus ground zero in Wuhan, in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system. That coupled with renewed recession worries (market is again pricing in a rate cut in Q1 2023) even as monetary policy tightens in much of the world to fight supply-side inflation, sent US futures and global markets lower. S&P futures dropped 0.2% and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 0.4% after the underlying index slumped on 3.1% on Tuesday. The dollar was steady after rising the most in over a week while WTI crude climbed above $112 a barrel, set for a fourth session of gains. In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin dipped below the closely watched $20,000 level on news crypto hedge fund 3 Arrows Capital was ordered to liquidate.

The Nasdaq's Tuesday’s slump added to what was already one of the worst years in terms of big daily selloffs in US stocks. The S&P 500 Index has fallen 2% or more on 14 occasions, putting 2022 in the top 10 list, according to Bloomberg data.

Not helping the tech sector, on Wednesday morning JPMorgan cut its earnings estimates across the sector, especially for companies exposed to online advertising, citing macroeconomic pressures, forex and company-specific dynamics.

One of the chief drivers for overnight weakness, China's Xi said during a trip Tuesday to Wuhan where the virus first emerged in late 2019 that relaxing Covid controls would risk too many lives in the world’s most populous country. China would rather endure some temporary impact on economic development than let the virus hurt people’s safety and health, he said, in remarks reported Wednesday by state media. As a result, China’s CSI 300 Index extended loss to 1.4% after the headline, while the yuan drops as much as 0.2% to trade 6.7132 against the dollar in the offshore market.

Among key premarket movers, Tesla slipped in US premarket trading. The electric-vehicle maker laid off hundreds of workers on its Autopilot team as it shuttered a California facility, according to people familiar with the matter. Carnival slumped as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the London and New York-listed cruise vacation company’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock. Pinterest gained 3.7% as the company’s co- founder and CEO Ben Silbermann quit and handed the reins to Google and PayPal veteran Bill Ready in a sign the social-media company will focus more on e-commerce. Also, despite the pervasive weakness, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund ETF (XLE) rebounded off key support (50% Fibonacci) relative to the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). That said, energy was alone and most other notable movers were down in the premarket:

  • Carnival (CCL US) shares fall 8% premarket as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock.
  • Nio (NIO US) shares drop 8.2% after short-seller Grizzly Research published a report on Tuesday alleging that the electric carmaker used battery sales to a related party to inflate revenue and boost net income margins. The company rejected the claims.
  • Upstart Holdings (UPST US) shares slump about 9% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the consumer finance company to underweight from equal-weight amid rising cyclical headwinds.
  • Ormat Technologies (ORA US) rallies as much as 5% after the renewable energy company is set to be included in the S&P Midcap 400 Index.
  • 2U (TWOU US) shares rise 16% premarket. Indian online-education provider Byju’s has offered to buy the company in a cash deal that values the US-listed edtech firm at more than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said.
  • Watch Amazon (AMZN US) shares as Redburn initiated coverage of the stock with a buy recommendation and set a Street-high price target, saying “there is a clear path toward a $3 trillion value for AWS alone.”
  • Shares in data center REITs could be active later in the trading session after short-seller Jim Chanos said in an FT interview that he’s betting against “legacy” data centers. Watch Digital Realty (DLR US) and Equinix (EQIX US), as well as data center operators Cyxtera Technologies (CYXT US) and Iron Mountain (IRM US)

Investors are growing increasingly skeptical that the Fed can avoid a bruising economic downturn amid sharp interest-rate hikes. Evaporating consumer confidence is feeding into concerns that the US might tip into a recession. Naturally, Fed officials sought to play down recession risk. New York Fed President John Williams and San Francisco’s Mary Daly both acknowledged they had to cool inflation, but insisted that a soft landing was still possible.

“It seems the market is in this tug of war between on the one hand the hope that we are close to the peak in inflation and rates, and on the other hand the challenge of a slowing economy and potential recession,” Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays Bank Plc, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Central banks are walking a very tight line and to a certain extent dictate the mood in the markets.”

European equities snapped three days of gains, trading poorly but off worst levels with sentiment also hurt by China remaining committed to its zero-Covid approach. Spanish inflation unexpectedly surged to a record, dashing hopes that inflation in the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy had peaked, and emboldening European Central Bank policy makers pushing for big increases in interest rates. The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow. German benchmark bonds rose, while 10-year Treasury yields slipped to 3.16%. DAX lags, dropping as much as 1.8%. Real estate, autos and miners are the worst performing sectors.

In notable moves in European stocks, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) gained after the Swedish low-cost retailer’s earnings beat analyst estimates. Just Eat Takeaway.com NV tumbled to a record low after Berenberg analysts rated the stock sell, saying the food delivery firm’s UK business will remain under pressure. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Just Eat Takeaway shares plunge as much as 21% after Berenberg initiated coverage with a sell rating, saying the firm’s UK business will remain under pressure and a sale of its Grubhub unit is unlikely to satisfy the bulls.
  • Carnival stocks slumped over 12% in London as Morgan Stanley analysts warned that the cruise vacation firm’s shares could lose all their value in the event of another demand shock.
  • Pearson drops as much as 6.1% after the education company was cut to sell at UBS, which reduced forecasts to reflect a weak outlook for 2022 college enrollments.
  • Grifols shares plunge as much as 13% on a media report the Spanish plasma firm is weighing a capital raise of as much as EU2b to cut its debt.
  • Diageo shares fall after downgrades for the spirits group from Deutsche Bank and Kepler Cheuvreux, while Pernod Ricard also dips on a rating cut from the latter.
  • Diageo declines as much as 4.2%, Pernod Ricard -3.7%
  • Fluidra shares fall as much as 8.4% after Santander cut its rating on the Spanish swimming pools company. The bank’s analyst Alejandro Conde cut the recommendation to neutral from outperform.
  • H&M shares rise as much as 6.8% after the Swedish apparel retailer reported 2Q earnings that beat estimates. Jefferies said the margin beat in particular was reassuring, while Morgan Stanley said it was a “positive surprise” overall.
  • Ipsen shares rise as much as 3.1% after UBS analyst Michael Leuchten said that accepting palovarotene refiling priority review should be a net present value and confidence boost.

Asian stocks fell, halting a four-day gain, as renewed angst over the outlook for global economic growth and inflation help drive a selloff across most of the region’s equity markets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.5%, led by consumer discretionary and information sectors. Chinese equities in particular took a hit, as the CSI 300 Index fell 1.5% Wednesday after Xi Jinping reiterated his firm stance on Covid zero. Tech-heavy indexes in markets such as South Korea and Taiwan took the brunt of Wednesday’s drop amid lingering concerns that monetary tightening in much of the world to fight inflation will cause an economic slowdown. While Federal Reserve members have played down the risk of a US recession, gloomy data such as US consumer confidence have damped investor sentiment.

“Volatility is going to be the enduring feature of the market, I suspect, for the next couple of quarters at least until we get a firm sense that peak inflation has passed,” John Woods, Credit Suisse Group AG’s Asia-Pacific chief investment officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Markets, I think, have aggressively priced in quite a serious or steep recession.”  China’s four-day winning streak came to a halt, putting its advance toward a bull market on hold.  “We will continue to see a risk of targeted lockdowns, and that spoils the initial euphoria seen in the markets from the announcement on relaxation of quarantine requirements,” said Charu Chanana, market strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “Still, economic growth will likely be prioritized as this is a politically important year for China.” 

Japanese equities decline as investors digested data that showed a drop in US consumer confidence over inflation worries and increased concerns of an economic downturn.  The Topix Index fell 0.7% to 1,893.57 in Tokyo on Wednesday, while the Nikkei declined 0.9% to 26,804.60. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 1.8%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 1,114 fell, 984 rose and 72 were unchanged. “There are concerns about stagflation,” said Hideyuki Suzuki a general manager at SBI Securities. “The consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, which provides one of the fastest data points, has already shown poor figures.”

Stocks in India tracked their Asian peers lower as brent rose to the highest level in two weeks, while high inflation and slowing global growth continued to dampen risk-appetite for global equities. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.3% to 53,026.97 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by an equal measure. Both gauges have lost more than 4% in June and are set for their third consecutive month of declines. The main indexes have dropped for all but one month this year. Twelve of the 19 sub-sector gauges compiled by BSE Ltd. eased, led by banking companies while power producers were the top performers.   Investors will also be watching the expiry of monthly derivative contracts on Thursday, which may lead to some volatility in the markets.  Hindustan Unilever was the biggest contributor to the Sensex’s decline, decreasing 3.5%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 10 rose and 20 fell.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched up modestly as the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers; the Swiss franc led gains while Antipodean currencies were the worst performers and the euro traded in a narrow range around $1.05. The relative cost to own optionality in the euro heading into the July meetings of the ECB and the Federal Reserve was too low for investors to ignore and has become less and less underpriced. The yen strengthened and US and Japanese bond yields fell.

In rates, fixed income has a choppy start. Bund futures initially surged just shy of 200 ticks on a soft regional German CPI print before fading the entire move over the course of the morning as Spanish data hit the tape, delivering a surprise record 10% reading for June and more hawkish ECB comments crossed the wires. Treasuries and gilts followed with curves eventually fading a bull-steepening move. Long-end gilts underperform, cheapening ~4bps near 2.75%. Peripheral spreads are tighter to core. 

Treasuries are slightly higher as US trading day begins, off the session lows reached as bund futures jumped after the first monthly drop since November in a German regional CPI gauge. Yields are lower across the curve, by 1bp-2bp for tenors out to the 10-year with long-end yields little changed; 10-year declined as much as 5.3bp vs as much as 8.2bp for German 10- year, which remains lower by ~3bp. Focal points for the US session include a final revision of 1Q GDP, comments by Fed Chair Powell, and anticipation of quarter-end flows favoring bonds. Quarter-end is anticipated to cause rebalancing flows into bonds; Wells Fargo estimated that $5b will be added to bonds, with most of the flows occurring Wednesday and Thursday.

In commodities, crude futures advance. WTI drifts 0.3% higher to trade near $112.13. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 5.6% while LME zinc gains 0.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $5 to trade near $1,815/oz

Looking ahead, the highlight will be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,829.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 412.69
  • MXAP down 1.3% to 159.96
  • MXAPJ down 1.6% to 531.04
  • Nikkei down 0.9% to 26,804.60
  • Topix down 0.7% to 1,893.57
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.9% to 21,996.89
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,361.52
  • Sensex little changed at 53,204.17
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% to 6,700.23
  • Kospi down 1.8% to 2,377.99
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.59%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0510
  • Brent Futures down 0.4% to $117.46/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,816.09
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 104.55

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The Fed’s Loretta Mester said she wants to see the benchmark lending rate reach 3% to 3.5% this year and “a little bit above 4% next year” to rein in price pressures even if that tips the economy into a recession
  • The ECB should consider raising interest rates by twice the planned amount next month if the inflation outlook deteriorates, according to Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus, as calls not to exclude an outsized initial move grow
  • ECB has “ample room” to hike in 25bps-50bps steps to “whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable,” Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said in interview with CNBC
  • Swedish consumers are gloomier than they have been since the mid-1990s, as prices surge on everything from fuel to food and furniture
  • China’s President Xi Jinping declared Covid Zero the most “economic and effective” policy for the nation, during a symbolic visit to Wuhan in which he cast the strategy as proof of the superiority of the country’s political system
  • NATO moved one step closer to bolstering its eastern front with Russia after Turkey dropped its opposition to Swedish and Finnish bids to join the military alliance

A more detailed look at markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks were pressured amid headwinds from the US where disappointing Consumer Confidence data added to the growth concerns. ASX 200 failed to benefit from better than expected Retail Sales and was dragged lower by weakness in miners and tech. Nikkei 225 fell beneath the 27,000 level as industries remained pressured by the ongoing power crunch. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. conformed to the negative picture in the region although losses in the mainland were initially stemmed after China cut its quarantine requirements which the National Health Commission caveated was not a relaxation but an optimization to make it more scientific and precise.

Top Asian News

  • Chinese President Xi said China's COVID prevention control and strategy is correct and effective and must stick with it, via state media. Shanghai will gradually reopen museums and scenic sports from July 1st, state media reports.
  • US Deputy Commerce Secretary Graves said the US will take a balanced approach on Chinese tariffs and that a clear response on China tariffs is coming soon, according to Bloomberg.
  • China State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said it firmly opposes the US signing any agreement that has sovereign connotations with Taiwan, according to Global Times.
  • BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japanese Core CPI reached 2.1% in April and May which is almost fully due to international energy prices and Japan's economy has not been affected much by the global inflationary trend so monetary policy will stay accommodative, according to Reuters.
  • Japanese govt to issue power supply shortage warning for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday, according to a statement.

European bourses are on the backfoot as the region plays catch-up to the losses on Wall Street yesterday. Sectors are mostly lower (ex-Energy) with a defensive tilt as Healthcare, Consumer Products, Food & Beverages, and Utilities are more cushioned than their cyclical peers. Stateside, US equity futures trade on either side of the unchanged mark with no stand-out performers thus far, with the contracts awaiting the next catalyst.

Top European News

  • UK expects defence spending to reach 2.3% of GDP and said PM Johnson will announce new military commitments to NATO, according to Reuters.
  • UK Weighs Capping Maximum Stake in Online Casinos at £5
  • Europe Is the Only Region Where Earnings Estimates Are Rising
  • European Gas Prices Rise as Supply Risks Add to Storage Concerns
  • Gold Steady as Traders Weigh Fed Comments on US Recession Risks
  • Choppy Start for Euro-Area Bonds on Mixed Inflation

FX

  • Dollar mostly bid otherwise as rebalancing demand underpins - DXY pivots 104.500 within 104.700-350 confines.
  • Franc outperforms on rate and risk considerations - Usd/Chf breaches 0.9550 and Eur/Chf approaches parity.
  • Euro erratic in line with conflicting inflation data - Eur/Usd rotates around 1.0500.
  • Aussie and Kiwi undermined by downturn in sentiment - Aud/Usd loses 0.6900+ status, Nzd/Usd wanes from just over 0.6250.
  • Yen rangy following firmer than forecast Japanese retail sales and BoJ Governor Kuroda reaffirming intent to remain accommodative - Usd/Jpy straddles 136.00.
  • Nokkie welcomes oil worker wage agreement with unions to avert strike action, but Sekkie hampered by softer Swedish macro releases pre-Riksbank policy call tomorrow - Eur/Nok probes 10.3000, Eur/Sek hovers around 10.6800.
  • Rand rattled by decline in Gold and ongoing SA power supply problems, but Rouble rallies irrespective of CBR and Russian Economy Ministry divergence over deflation.

Central Banks

  • ECB's Lane said there are two-way inflation risks: "on the one side, there could be forces that keep inflation higher than expected for longer. On the other side, we do have the risk of a slowdown in the economy, which would reduce inflationary pressure", via ECB.
  • ECB's Holzmann said "We will have to make an assessment where the economic development is going and where inflation stands and afterwards there’s ample room to hike in 0.25 and 0.5 levels to whatever rate we think, we consider reasonable" via CNBC.
  • ECB's Simkus said if data worsens, then he wants a 50bps July hike as an option, 50bps hike is very likely in September; ECB's fragmentation tool should serve as a deterrent, via Bloomberg.
  • ECB's Herodotou said EZ inflation will peak this year, via CNBC.
  • ECB's Wunsch said government aid may spell more rate hikes, via Bloomberg; 150bps of hikes by March 2023 is reasonable
  • ECB is said to be weighting whether or not they should announce the size and duration of their upcoming bond-buying scheme, according to Reuters sources.
  • Fed's Mester (2022, 2024 voter) said on a path towards restrictive interest rates; July debate between 50bps and 75bps hike, via CNBC. Mester said if inflation expectations become unanchored, monetary policy would have to act more forcefully; current inflation situation is a very challenging one, via Reuters.
  • SARB Governor said a 50bps hike is "not off the table", Via Bloomberg
  • CBR Governor said she does not see risks of deflation; sees room to cut rates; sticking to policy of floating RUB exchange rate.
  • PBoC will step up implementation of prudent monetary policy, will keep liquidity reasonably ample.

Fixed Income

  • Bunds unwind all and a bit more of their hefty post-NRW CPI gains as other German states show smaller inflation slowdowns and Spanish HICP soars.
  • Gilts suffer more pronounced fall from grace in relative terms and US Treasuries slip from overnight peaks in sympathy.
  • UK debt and STIRs also await testimony from MPC member elect to see if newbie leans dovish, hawkish or middle of the road
  • 10 year benchmarks settle off worst levels within 147.37-145.14, 112.66-11.85 and 117-12+/116-27 respective ranges awaiting comments from ECB, Fed and BoE heads at Sintra Forum.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent front-month futures traded with no firm direction in early European hours before picking up modestly in recent trade.
  • US Private Inventory (bbls): Crude -3.8mln (exp. -0.6mln), Cushing -0.7mln, Distillate +2.6mln (exp. -0.2mln) and Gasoline +2.9mln (exp. -0.1mln).
  • Norway's Industri Energi and SAFE labour unions agreed a wage deal for oil drilling workers and will not go on strike, according to Reuters.
  • OPEC to start today at 12:00BST/07:00EDT; JMMC on Thursday at 12:00BST/07:00EDT followed by OPEC+ at 12:30BST/07:30EDT, via EnergyIntel.
  • Libya's NOC suspends oil exports from Es Sider port.
  • Spot gold is under some mild pressure as the Buck and Bond yields picked up, with the yellow metal back to near-two-week lows
  • Base metals are mixed but off best levels after President Xi reaffirmed China's COVID stance – LME copper fell back under USD 8,500/t

US Event Calendar

  • 07:00: June MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 4.2%
  • 08:30: 1Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 5.1%, prior 5.1%
  • 08:30: 1Q GDP Price Index, est. 8.1%, prior 8.1%
  • 08:30: 1Q Personal Consumption, est. 3.1%, prior 3.1%
  • 08:30: 1Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. -1.5%, prior -1.5%

Central Banks

  • 09:00: Powell Takes Part in Panel Discussion at ECB Forum in Sintra
  • 09:00: Lagarde, Powell, Bailey, Carstens Speak in Sintra
  • 11:30: Fed’s Mester Speaks on Panel at ECB Forum in Sintra
  • 13:05: Fed’s Bullard Makes Introductory Remarks

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap


I'm finishing this off in a taxi on the way to the Eurostar this morning and I made the mistake of telling the driver I was slightly pressed for time. He seems to be taking the racing line everywhere and my motion sickness is kicking in.

A little like this car journey, it's been another volatile 24 hours in markets, with a succession of weak data releases raising further questions about how close the US and Europe might be to a recession. That saw equities give up their initial gains to post a decent decline on the day, whilst there was little respite from central bankers either, with sovereign bonds selling off further as multiple speakers doubled down on their hawkish rhetoric. That comes ahead of another eventful day ahead on the calendar, with investors primarily focused on a panel featuring Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey, as well as the flash German CPI print for June, who are the first G7 economy to release their inflation print for the month, which will provide some further clues on how fast central banks will need to move on rate hikes. Just as we go to print the NRW region of Germany has seen CPI print at 7.5% YoY, way below last month's 8.1%. This region is around a quarter of GDP so it could imply the national numbers will be notably softer when we get them later. The energy tax cuts were always going to come through in June so some respite was always possible but at first glance this seems materially below what might have been expected.

This comes after a significant sovereign bond selloff in Europe once again yesterday as President Lagarde reiterated the central bank’s determination to bring down inflation, and described inflation pressures that were “broadening and intensifying”. And although Lagarde stuck to the existing script about the ECB raising rates by 25bps at the next meeting, we also heard from Latvia’s Kazaks who said that “front-loading the increase would be a reasonable choice” in the event that the situation with inflation or inflation expectations deteriorates. Lagarde did nod to this in part, saying that if the ECB was “to see higher inflation threatening to de-anchor inflation expectations, or signs of a more permanent loss of economic potential that limits resources availability, we would need to withdraw accommodation more promptly to stamp out the risk of a self-fulfilling spiral.” Separately on fragmentation, Lagarde said that they could “use flexibility in reinvesting redemptions” from PEPP starting July 1 in order to deal with the issue.

For now, overnight index swaps are only pricing in a +31.3bps move in July from the ECB, so still closer to 25 than 50 for the time being. Meanwhile the rate priced in by year-end rose also by +7.9bps as investors interpreted the comments in a hawkish light. That supported a further rise in yields, with those on 10yr bunds up another +8.1bps yesterday, following on from their +10.7bps move in the previous session. That’s now almost reversed the -21.9ps move over the previous week, which itself was the third-largest weekly decline in bund yields for a decade, and brought the 10yr yield back up to 1.63%, so not far off its multi-year high of 1.77% seen last week. A similar pattern was seen elsewhere, with 10yr yields on 10yr OATs (+9.6bps), BTPs (+4.2bps) and gilts (+7.2bps) all moving higher too.

Things turned near the European close with some poor US data releases piling on to some lacklustre confidence figures in Europe. Earlier in the day the GfK consumer confidence reading from Germany fell to -27.4 (vs. -27.3 expected), taking it to another record low. Separately in France, consumer confidence fell to 82 on the INSEE’s measure (vs. 84 expected), which we haven’t seen since 2013. Then in the US, the Conference Board’s measure fell to 98.7 (vs. 100.0 expected), which is the lowest since February 2021. The Conference Board’s one-year ahead inflation expectations hit a record high of 8.0%, surpassing the June 2008 record of 7.7%, adding to the pessimism. Along with waning confidence, the Richmond Fed’s Manufacturing Index registered a -19, its lowest since the peak onset of the pandemic, versus expectations of -7 and a prior of -9, showing that production data has weakened as well. This put a serious damper on risk sentiment which drove Treasury yields and equities lower intraday during the New York session.

10yr Treasury yields ended down -2.8bps after trading as much as +5.5bps higher during the European session. They are down another -4bps this morning. Concerningly as well, there was a fresh flattening in the Fed’s preferred yield curve indicator (which is 18m3m – 3m), which came down another -9.1bps to 165bps, which is the flattest its been since early March.

With that succession of bad news helping to dampen risk appetite, US equities gave up their opening gains to leave the S&P 500 down -2.01% on the day. Tech stocks saw the worst losses, with the NASDAQ (-2.98%) and the FANG+ (-3.74%) seeing even larger declines. And whilst there was a stronger performance in Europe, the STOXX 600 ended the day up just +0.27%, having been as high as +0.95% in the couple of hours before the close.

We didn’t hear so much from the Fed ahead of Chair Powell’s appearance today, although New York Fed President Williams said that at the upcoming July meeting “I think 50 to 75 is clearly going to be the debate”. Markets are continuing to price something in between the two, although since the last Fed meeting futures have been consistently closer to 75 than 50, with 69.0 bps right now.

Those sharp losses in US equities are echoing across Asia this morning. The Hang Seng (-1.86%) is leading the losses followed by the Kospi (-1.82%), the Nikkei (-1.07%) and the ASX 200 (-1.06%). Over in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite (-0.77%) and the CSI (-0.80%) are slightly out-performing after yesterday’s surprise move by China to slash the quarantine period for inbound travellers (more on this below). Looking ahead, US stock index futures point to a positive opening with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.18%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.19%) mildly higher.

Earlier today, data released showed that Japan’s retail sales advanced for the third consecutive month in May (+3.6% y/y) but lower than the consensus of +4.0%, but with the previous month's data revised up to +3.1% (vs +2.9% preliminary). Meanwhile, South Korea’s consumer sentiment index (CSI) fell sharply to 96.4 in June (vs 102.6 in May), sliding below the long-term average of 100 for the first time since Feb 2021. Separately, Australia’s retail sales put in another strong performance as it climbed +0.9% m/m in May, surpassing analyst estimates of a +0.4% increase.

Oil has fallen back slightly overnight after three sessions of gains with Brent futures down -0.84% at $116.99 and WTI futures (-0.64%) at $111.04/bbl as I type.

Just after we went to press yesterday, it was also announced that China would be shortening the required quarantine period for inbound travellers to one week from two. So although China is still very-much committed to a Covid-zero strategy for the time being, this step towards loosening rather than tightening restrictions is an interesting development that helped support Chinese equities in yesterday’s session towards the close which filtered through into early northern hemisphere risk performance.

In terms of other data yesterday, there were signs that US house price growth might finally be slowing somewhat, with the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index up by +20.4% in April, which is down slightly from the +20.6% gain in March. So still a long way from an absolute decline, but that marks a reversal in the trend after the previous 4 months of rises in the year-on-year measure.

To the day ahead now, and the highlight will likely be the panel at the ECB Forum that includes Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde and BoE Governor Bailey. We’ll also be hearing from ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Schnabel, the Fed’s Mester and Bullard, and the BoE’s Dhingra. On the data side, releases include German CPI for June, Euro Area money supply for May, and the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for June. From the US, we’ll also get the third reading of Q1 GDP.

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 08:00

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Economics

Where Are Interest Rates Headed? Is The Fed Correct Or The Eurodollar Curve?

Where Are Interest Rates Headed? Is The Fed Correct Or The Eurodollar Curve?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The Eurodollar curve…

Published

on

Where Are Interest Rates Headed? Is The Fed Correct Or The Eurodollar Curve?

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The Eurodollar curve implies four quarter-point cuts are on the way starting in 2023. The Fed believes otherwise. Let's discuss stock market implications.

Data from CME and Fed via Wall Street Journal.

Eurodollar Curve

The eurodollar curve has nothing to do with euros or dollars. Rather it is an interest rate curve and one of the world's most widely traded futures.

After peaking at about 3.9% this year, eurodollar betters believe the Fed will then cut rates all the way down to 2.8%. 

Five Not-Quite-Impossible Things the Market Believes

Wall Street Journal Contributor James Macintosh discussed the above chart in Five Not-Quite-Impossible Things the Market Believes

  1. Inflation is transitory. 

  2. The Fed realizes this in time.

  3. The jobs market cools enough to slow wage rises. 

  4. But not so much it means falling household spending.

  5. So consumer spending rises in real terms. 

In reference to the led chart, Macintosh says "The first assumption is the hardest to believe."

I disagree. The hardest thing to believe is the overall goldilocks scenario and that the current rally makes any sense at all. 

Inflation may easily come down if the Fed tightens too much too fast causing a severe recession. What would that do to corporate profits? 

But assume otherwise, that inflation does not come down more. What would that do to corporate profits? 

While any of the first three points may easily be correct, the combination of all five being correct and that stocks will rise in a goldilocks scenario is what I find hard to believe.

Is the Market Forward Looking?

Goldilocks proponents will tell you that the market is forward looking. 

The market isn't forward looking and never was. It is a coincident indicator of current sentiment, wildly wrong at major turns.

If the market was forward looking, what precisely was it looking forward to at the November 2007 peak with recession starting the next month? 

What was it looking forward to at the 1929 peak, the 1933 bottom, the 2009 bottom or any other top or bottom?

The Fed Will Hike Until It Breaks Something

I believe the eurodollar curve is more likely to be correct than the Fed. When has the Fed gotten much of anything correct?

The eurodollar view has two ways to win. The first is the Fed actually does tame inflation to the degree that it wants.

That's possible in a severe enough recession. And the global picture is easily weak enough for that to happen.

The second way the eurodollar curve might be correct is if the Fed breaks the credit market. 

The Fed would immediately reverse course, regardless of inflation, should that happen. 

Neither a credit event nor strong recession would be good for the stock market.

The least likely thing is that the Fed achieves a goldilocks soft landing. Yet, assume that happens. 

Macintosh says, and I agree, "The bull case that stocks and corporate bonds are pricing requires the combination of low joblessness and wage rises to allow spending to rise faster than inflation even after pandemic savings run out. But not so much faster that it hits capacity constraints and accelerates inflation."

The problem with goldilocks is stocks are priced so much beyond perfection that they may decline anyway. 

Globally Speaking 

  1. China Does Surprise Rate Cut to Help Its Economy, But It Won't Work

  2. German Costs to Ship by Barge are up Twenty Times and May Soon Be Impossible

  3. UK Average Electricity Cost Will Soar to $5,370 Per Year By 2023

  4. US Industries Are Buckling Under Pressure of Surging Electricity Costs

Good luck with goldilocks, especially with the Fed still hiking. 

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 09:45

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Bonds

Futures Tumble After UK Double-Digit Inflation Shock Sparks Surge In Yields

Futures Tumble After UK Double-Digit Inflation Shock Sparks Surge In Yields

Futures were grinding gingerly higher, perhaps celebrating the…

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Futures Tumble After UK Double-Digit Inflation Shock Sparks Surge In Yields

Futures were grinding gingerly higher, perhaps celebrating the end of the Cheney family's presence in Congress, and looked set to re-test Michael Hartnett bearish target of 4,328 on the S&P (which marked the peak of yesterday's meltup before a waterfall slide lower when spoos got to within half a point of the bogey), when algos and the few remaining carbon-based traders got a stark reminder that central banks will keep hammering risk assets after the UK reported a blistering CPI print, which at a double digit 10.1% was not only higher than the highest forecast, but was the highest in 40 years.

The print appeared to shock markets out of their month-long levitating complacency, and yields - both in the UK and the US - spiked...

... and with yields surging, futures had no choice but to notice and after trading at session highs just before the UK CPI print, they have since tumbled more than 40 points and were last down 0.85% or 37 points to 4,271.

Nasdaq 100 futures retreated 0.9% signaling a selloff in technology names will continue. The dollar rose as investors awaited the minutes of the Fed’s last policy meeting for clues on policy makers’ sensitivity to weaker economic data.

In US premarket trading, retail giant Target slumped 4% after reporting earnings that missed expectations despite still predicting a rebound. Applied Materials and PayPal dropped at least 1.3%. Tech stocks are the forefront of the growing pessimism over equity valuations on the back of Fed rate increases. The S&P 500 had posted a small gain on Tuesday, aided by earnings reports from retailers Walmart Inc. and Home Depot. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today:

  • Manchester United (MANU US) rises as much as 17% in US premarket trading before trimming most of the gains, after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was buying the English football club but later added that he was joking.
  • Hill International (HIL US) shares rise 61% in premarket trading hours after it announced Global Infrastructure Solutions will commence an all-cash tender offer for $2.85/share in cash, representing a premium of 63% to the last closing price.
  • BioNTech (BNTX US) was initiated with a market perform recommendation at Cowen, which expects demand for Covid-19 vaccines to mirror annual flu trends as the pandemic enters its endemic phase.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY US) shares surge 20% in premarket trading, putting the stock on track for its sixth day of gains. The home-goods company has helped reinvigorate a wave of meme stock buying
  • Agilent (A US) saw its price target boosted at brokers as analysts say the scientific testing equipment maker’s results were strong thanks to growth in biopharma and a recovery in China, while the company’s guidance was on the conservative side. Shares rose .
  • Jefferies initiated coverage of Waldencast Plc (WALD US) class A with a buy recommendation as analyst Stephanie Wissink sees 29% upside potential.
  • Sea Ltd. (SE US) ADRs slipped as much as 2.1% in US premarket trading, extending Tuesday’s declines, as Morgan Stanley cut its PT on expectations of slowing growth at the Shopee owner’s e-commerce business in the third quarter.
  • Weber (WEBR US) downgraded to sell from neutral at Citi, which says there are too many concerns to remain on the sidelines, including a decline in point-of-sale traffic and macro factors like inflation weighing on consumer demand

In the past two months, US stocks rallied on signs of peaking inflation and an earnings-reporting season that saw four out of five companies meeting or beating estimates. Boosted by relentless systematic (CTA) buying and retail-driven short squeezes, as well as a surge in buybacks, stocks recovered more than 50% of the bear market retracement. Yet, continuing rate hikes and the likelihood of a recession in the world’s largest economy are weighing on sentiment. Meanwhile, concern is growing that Fed rate setters will remain focused on the fight against inflation rather than supporting growth.

“We expect the FOMC minutes to have a hawkish tilt,” Carol Kong, strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd., wrote in a note. “We would not be surprised if the minutes show the FOMC considered a 100 basis-point increase in July.”

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 fell after a strong start amid signs the continent’s energy crisis is worsening. Benchmark natural-gas futures jumped as much as 5.1% on expectations the hot weather will boost demand for cooling. In the UK, consumer-price growth jumped to 10.1%, sending gilts tumbling. Real estate, retailers and miners are the worst performing sectors. The Stoxx 600 Real Estate Index declined 2%, making it the worst-performing sector in the wider European market, as focus turned to UK inflation that soared to double digits for the first time in four decades and also to today's FOMC minutes. German and Swedish names almost exclusively account for the 10 biggest decliners. TAG Immobilien drops 5.4%, Wallenstam is down 4.7%, Castellum falls 4% and LEG Immobilien declines 3.3%. The sector tumbles on rising bond yields, with 10y Bund yield up 11bps, and dwindling demand for Swedish real estate amid rising rates.

Earlier on Wednesday, stocks rose in Asia amid speculation that China may deploy more stimulus to shore up its ailing economy while Japanese exporters were boosted by a weaker yen. After a string of weak data driven by a property-sector slump and Covid curbs, China’s Premier Li Keqiang asked local officials from six key provinces that account for 40% of the economy to bolster pro-growth measures. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 0.8%, with consumer-discretionary and industrial stocks such as Japanese automakers Toyota and Honda among the leaders on Wednesday. The benchmark Topix erased its year-to-date loss. Chinese food-delivery platform Meituan also rebounded after dropping more than 9% in the previous session on a Reuters report that Tencent may divest its stake in the firm. Chinese stocks erased declines early in the day, as investors hoped for more economic stimulus after a surprise rate cut on Monday failed to excite the market. Premier Li Keqiang has asked local officials from six key provinces that account for about 40% of the country’s economy to bolster pro-growth measures.

“I believe policymakers have the tools to prevent a hard landing if needed,” Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, said in a note. “I find investors are overly pessimistic about Chinese stocks -- which means there is the potential for positive surprise.” Asia’s stock benchmark is trading at mid-June levels as traders attempt to determine the trajectory of interest-rate hikes and economic growth globally -- as well as the impact of China’s property crisis and Covid policies. Meanwhile, minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting, out later Wednesday, will be carefully parsed. New Zealand stocks closed little changed as the country’s central bank raised interest rates by a half percentage point for a fourth-straight meeting. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,127.70, supported by materials and consumer discretionary stocks. South Korea’s benchmark missed out on the rally across Asian equities, as losses by large-cap exporters weighed on the measure

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose as the dollar gained versus most of its Group-of-10 peers. The pound was the best G-10 performer while gilts slumped, led by the short end and sending 2-year yields to their highest level since 2008, after UK inflation accelerated more than expected in July. The yield curve inverted the most since the financial crisis as traders ratcheted up bets on BOE rate hikes in money markets, wagering on 200 more basis points of hikes by May. The euro traded in a narrow range against the dollar while the region’s bonds slumped, led by the front end. Scandinavian currencies recovered some early European session losses while the aussie, kiwi and yen extended their slide in thin trading. EUR/NOK one-day volatility touched a 15.12% high before paring ahead of Norges Bank’s meeting Thursday where it may have to raise rates by a bigger margin than indicated in June given Norway’s inflation exceeded forecasts for a fourth straight month, hitting a new 34-year high. Consumer sentiment in Norway fell to the lowest level since data began in 1992, according to Finance Norway. New Zealand’s dollar and bond yields both rose in response to the Reserve Bank hiking rates by 50bps, while flagging concern about labor market pressures and consequent wage inflation; the currency subsequently gave up gains in early European trading. The Aussie slumped after data showing the nation’s wages advanced at less than half the pace of inflation in the three months through June, backing the Reserve Bank’s move to give itself more flexibility on interest rates.

In rates, treasuries held losses incurred during European morning as gilt yields climbed after UK inflation rose more than forecast. US 10-year around 2.87% is 6.5bp cheaper on the day vs ~13bp for UK 10-year; UK curve aggressively bear-flattened following inflation data, with long-end yields rising about 10bp. Front-end UK yields remain cheaper by ~20bp, off session highs, leading a global government bond selloff. US yields are higher on the day by by 4bp-7bp; focal points of US session are 20-year bond auction and FOMC minutes release an hour later. Treasury auctions resume with $15b 20-year bond sale at 1pm ET; WI 20-year yield at around 3.35% is ~7bp richer than July’s sale, which stopped 2.7bp through the WI level.

In commodities, oil fluctuated between gains and losses, and was in sight of a more than six-month low -- reflecting lingering worries about a tough economic outlook amid high inflation and tightening monetary policy.  Spot gold is little changed at $1,774/oz

Looking at the day ahead, the FOMC minutes from July will be the main highlight, and the other central bank speaker will be Fed Governor Bowman. Otherwise, earnings releases include Target, Lowe’s and Cisco Systems, and data releases include US retail sales and UK CPI for July.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,293.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 443.30
  • MXAP up 0.5% to 163.48
  • MXAPJ up 0.2% to 530.38
  • Nikkei up 1.2% to 29,222.77
  • Topix up 1.3% to 2,006.99
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 19,922.45
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,292.53
  • Sensex up 0.5% to 60,168.83
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,127.68
  • Kospi down 0.7% to 2,516.47
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.06%
  • Euro little changed at $1.0178
  • Gold spot down 0.0% to $1,775.21
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 106.50

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • More market prognosticators are alighting on the idea of benchmark Treasury yields sliding to 2% if the US succumbs to a recession. That’s an out-of-consensus call, compared with Bloomberg estimates of about a 3% level by the end of this year and similar levels through 2023. But it’s a sign of how growth worries are forcing a rethink in some quarters
  • The euro-area economy grew slightly less than initially estimated in the second quarter as signs continue to emerge that momentum is unraveling. Output rose 0.6% from the previous three months between April and June, compared with a preliminary reading of 0.7%, Eurostat said Wednesday
  • Egypt became a prime destination for hot money by tethering its currency and boasting the world’s highest interest rates when adjusted for inflation
  • Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, posted its biggest loss since the pandemic as rate hikes, surging inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spurred volatility. It lost an equivalent of $174 billion in the six months through June, or 14.4%

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks just about shrugged off the choppy lead from the US where markets were tentative amid mixed data signals and strong retailer earnings, but with gains capped overnight ahead of the FOMC Minutes and as participants digested another 50bps rate hike by the RBNZ. ASX 200 swung between gains and losses with the index indecisive amid a slew of earnings and with strength in the consumer sectors offset by underperformance in tech, energy and healthcare. Nikkei 225 climbed above the 29,000 level with the index unfazed by mixed data releases in which Machinery Orders disappointed although both Exports and Imports topped forecasts. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were somewhat varied with Hong Kong led higher by tech amid plenty of attention on Meituan after reports its largest shareholder Tencent could reduce all or the bulk of its shares in the Co. which a Tencent executive later refuted, while the mainland was less decisive amid headwinds from the ongoing COVID situation and with power restrictions disrupting activity in Sichuan, although reports also noted that Chinese Premier Li told top provincial officials that they must have a sense of urgency to consolidate the economic recovery and reiterated to step up macro policies.

Top Asian News

  • RBNZ hiked the OCR by 50bps to 3.00%, as expected, while it stated that conditions need to continue to tighten and they agreed that maintaining the current pace of tightening remains the best means. RBNZ also agreed that further increases in the OCR were required to meet the remit objective and that domestic inflationary pressures had increased since May. Furthermore, the RBNZ raised its projections for the OCR and inflation with the OCR seen at 3.69% in Dec. 2022 (prev. 3.41%) and at 4.1% for both Sept. 2023 and Dec. 2023 (prev. 3.95%), while it sees annual CPI at 4.1% by Sept. 2023 (prev. 3.0%).
  • RBNZ Governor Orr stated at the press conference that they are not forecasting a recession but expected below-potential growth amid subdued consumer spending. Governor Orr also stated that they did not discuss a 75bps rate hike today and that 50bps moves have been orderly and sufficient, while he added that getting rates to 4% would buy comfort for the policy committee and that a Cash Rate of around 4% is unambiguously above neutral and sufficient to meet the inflation mandate.
  • Chongqing, China is to curb power use for eight days for industry.
  • China’s Infrastructure Boom Gets Swamped by Property Woes
  • Tencent 2Q Revenue Misses Estimates
  • Hong Kong Denies Democracy Advocates Security Law Jury Trial
  • UN Expert Says Xinjiang Forced Labor Claims ‘Reasonable’
  • Singapore’s COE Category B Bidding Hits New Record
  • Delayed Deals Add to Floundering Singapore IPO Market: ECM Watch

European bourses have dipped from initial mixed/flat performance and are modestly into negative territory, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%. Stateside, futures are under similar pressure awaiting fresh corporate updates and the July FOMC Minutes, ES -0.6%. Fresh drivers relatively limited throughout the session with known themes in play and focus on upcoming risk events; stocks also suffering on further hawkish yield action. Lowe's Companies Inc (LOW) Q1 2023 (USD): EPS 4.68 (exp. 4.58), Revenue 27.47 (exp. 28.12bln); expect FY22 total & comp. sales at bottom-end of outlook range, Operating Income and Diluted EPS at top-end. Target Corp (TGT) Q1 2023 (USD): EPS 0.39 (exp. 0.72), Revenue 26.0bln (exp. 26.04bln); current trends support prior guidance.

Top European News

  • German Gas to Last Less Than 3 Months if Russia Cuts Supply
  • European Gas Surges Again as Higher Demand Compounds Supply Pain
  • Entain Falls; Citi Views Fine Negatively but Notes Steps by Firm
  • UK Inflation Hits Double Digits for the First Time in 40 Years
  • Crypto.com Receives Registration as UK Cryptoasset Provider

FX

  • Greenback underpinned ahead of US retail sales data and FOMC minutes, DXY holds tight around 106.500.
  • Pound pegged back after spike in wake of stronger than expected UK inflation metrics, Cable hovers circa 1.2100 after fade into 1.2150.
  • Kiwi retreats following knee jerk rise on the back of hawkish RBNZ hike, NZD/USD near 0.6300 from 0.6380+ overnight peak.
  • Aussie undermined by marginally softer than anticipated wage prices and lower RBA tightening bets in response, AUD/USD well under 0.7000 vs 0.7026 at one stage.
  • Yen weaker as yield differentials widen again, but Euro cushioned by more pronounced EGB reversal vs USTs, USD/JPY probes 21 DMA just below 135.00, EUR/USD bounces from around 1.0150 towards 1.0200.
  • Loonie and Nokkie soft amidst latest slippage in oil, USD/CAD closer to 1.2900 than 1.2800, EUR/NOK nudging 9.8600 within 9.8215-9.8740 range.

Fixed Income

  • Debt retracement ongoing and gathering pace ahead of Wednesday's key risk events.
  • Bunds now closer to 154.00 than 156.00 and 157.00 only yesterday, Gilts not far from 114.50 vs almost 116.00 and 117.00+ earlier this week and T-note sub-119-00 vs 119-31 at best on Monday.
  • Sonia strip hit hardest as markets price in aggressive BoE hikes in response to UK inflation data toppy already elevated expectations.

Commodities

  • Crude benchmarks are currently little changed overall, having recovered from a bout of initial pressure; newsflow thin awaiting fresh JCPOA developments
  • Spot gold is little changed overall but with a slight negative bias as the USD remains resilient and outpaces the yellow metal as the haven of choice.
  • Aluminium is the clear outperformer amid updates from Norsk Hydro that they are shutting production at their Slovalco site (175k/T year) by end-September, due to elevated energy prices.
  • OPEC Sec Gen says he sees a likelihood of an oil-supply squeeze this year, open for dialogue with the US. Still bullish on oil demand for 2022. Too soon to call the outcome of the September 5th gathering. Spare capacity at around the 2-3mln BPD mark, "running on thin ice".
  • US Private Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -0.4mln (exp. -0.3mln), Cushing +0.3mln, Gasoline -4.5mln (exp. -1.1mln), Distillates -0.8mln (exp. +0.4mln).
  • Shell (SHEL LN) announced it is to shut its Gulf of Mexico Odyssey and Delta crude pipelines for two weeks in September for maintenance, according to Reuters.
  • Uniper (UN01 GY) says the energy supply situation in Europe is far from easing and gas supply in winter remains "extremely challenging".
  • China sets the second batch of the 2022 rare earth mining output quota at 109.2k/T, via Industry Ministry; smelting/separation quota 104.8k/T.

Geopolitics

  • China's military is to partake in a military exercise in Russia, their participation has nothing to do with the international situation.
  • Taiwan's Defence Ministry says they have detected 21 Chinese aircraft and five ships around Taiwan on Wednesday, via Reuters.
  • Iran is calling on the US to free jailed Iranian's, says they are prepared for prisoner swaps, via Fars.

US Event Calendar

  • 07:00: Aug. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 0.2%
  • 08:30: July Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 1.0%
  • 08:30: July Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. -0.1%, prior 1.0%
  • 08:30: July Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.6%, prior 0.8%
  • 10:00: June Business Inventories, est. 1.4%, prior 1.4%
  • 14:00: July FOMC Meeting Minutes

DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap

Starting in Europe, where the looming energy crisis remains at the forefront. An update from our team, who just published the fourth edition of their indispensable gas monitor (link here), where they note the surprisingly fast rebuild of German gas storage, driven by reductions in industrial activity, reduces the risk that rationing may become reality this winter. Many more insights within, so do read the full piece for analysis spanning scenarios. Keep in mind, that while gas may be available, it is set to come at a higher clearing price, which manifest itself in markets yesterday where European natural gas futures rose a further +2.64% to €226 per megawatt-hour, just shy of their closing record at €227 in March. But, that’s still well beneath their intraday high from March, where at one point they traded at €345. Further, one-year German power futures increased +6.30%, breaching €500 for the first time, closing at €507. Germany is weighing consumer relief measures in light of climbing consumer prices and also announced that planned nuclear facility closures would be “temporarily” postponed.

The upward energy price pressure and attenuated (albeit, not eliminated) risk of rationing pushed European sovereign yields higher. 10yr German bunds climbed +7.1bps to 0.97%, while 10yr OATs kept the pace, increasing +7.4bps. 10yr BTPs increased +15.9bps, widening sovereign spreads, while high yield crossover spreads widened +10.2bps in the credit space.

Equities were resilient, however, with the STOXX 600 posting a +0.16% gain after flitting around a narrow range all day. Regional indices were also robust to climbing energy prices, with the DAX up +0.68% and the CAC +0.34% higher. In the States the S&P 500 registered a modest +0.19% gain, with the NASDAQ mirroring the index, falling -0.19%. Retail shares drove the S&P on the day, with the two consumer sectors both gaining more than +1%, following strong earnings reports from Wal Mart and Home Depot.

Treasury yields also climbed, but the story was the further flattening in the curve. 2yr yields were +7.5bps higher while 10yr yields managed to increase just +1.6bps, leaving 2s10s at its second most negative close of the cycle at -46bps. 10yr yields are another basis point higher this morning. A hodgepodge of data painted a mixed picture. Housing permits beat expectations (+1674k vs. +1640k) while starts (+1446k vs. +1527k) fell to their slowest pace since February 2021. However, under the hood, even permits weren’t necessarily as strong as first glance, as single family permits fell -4.3% with gains in multifamily pushing the aggregate higher. Indeed, year-over-year, single family permits have now fallen -11.7% while multifamily permits are +23.5% higher. So the single family housing market continues to feel the impact of Fed tightening. Meanwhile, industrial production climbed +0.6% month-over-month (vs. +0.3%), with capacity utilization hitting its highest level since 2008 at 80.3%.

Drifting north of the border, Canadian inflation slowed to 7.6% YoY in July in line with estimates, while the average of core measures climbed to a record 5.3%. Bank of Canada Governor Macklem penned an opinion piece saying that while it looks like inflation may have peaked, “the bad news is that inflation will likely remain too high for some time.” In turn, Canadian OIS rates by December climbed +16.2bps.

In other data, the expectations component of the German ZEW survey fell to -55.3, its lowest level since October 2008 at the depths of the GFC. In the UK, regular pay (excluding bonuses) fell by -3.0% in real terms over the year to April-June 2022, its fastest decline on record.

On the Iranian nuclear deal, EU negotiators reportedly found Iran’s response constructive, though Iran still had some concerns. Notably, Iran is looking for guarantees that if a future US administration withdraws from the JCPOA the US will "have to pay a price”, seeking insulation from the vagaries of representative democracy.

Asian equity markets are trading higher after Wall Street’s solid performance overnight. The Nikkei (+0.76%) is leading gains across the region with the Hang Seng (+0.57%), the Shanghai Composite (+0.23%) and the CSI (+0.51%) all rebounding from its opening losses this morning. US futures are struggling to gain traction this morning with the S&P 500 (-0.02%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.09%) trading just below flat.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand lifted its official cash rate (OCR) for the fourth consecutive time by an expected +50bps to 3%, a seven-year high, while bringing forward the estimate of future rate increases. The central bank expects the OCR will reach 3.69% at the end of this year and expects it to peak at 4.1% in March 2023, higher and sooner than previously forecast.

Early morning data coming out from Japan showed that exports rose +19.0% y/y in July (v/s +17.6% expected) posting 17 straight months of gains while imports advanced +47.2% (v/s +45.5% expected) driven by global fuel inflation and a weakening yen. With the imports outweighing exports, the nation reported trade deficit for the 14th consecutive month, swelling to -2.13 trillion yen in July (v/s -1.91 trillion yen expected) compared to a revised deficit of -1.95 trillion yen in June.

In terms of the day ahead, the FOMC minutes from July will be the main highlight, and the other central bank speaker will be Fed Governor Bowman. Otherwise, earnings releases include Target, Lowe’s and Cisco Systems, and data releases include US retail sales and UK CPI for July.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/17/2022 - 07:55

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Economics

S&P 3500 By Year End If QT Continues

"Don’t Fight the Fed" echoes through the financial media, Wall Street, and in the minds of retail and institutional investors. The phrasing pertaining…

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“Don’t Fight the Fed” echoes through the financial media, Wall Street, and in the minds of retail and institutional investors. The phrasing pertaining to Fed-generated liquidity is often the sole basis for investors to chase bull markets when the Fed employs easy monetary policy. Unfortunately, some investors forget the phrase is equally meaningful when the Fed is not friendly to markets. As we share in this article, we have developed a model to track Fed liquidity, allowing us to quantify the Fed’s influence on the S&P 500.

Before unveiling our liquidity formula and its forecast for the S&P 500, it’s essential to discuss the three primary drivers by which the Fed is influencing liquidity: Reverse Repurchase (RRP), Treasury General Account (TGA), and the Fed’s balance sheet.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements (RRP)

The New York Fed uses numerous repo programs to manage the supply of cash in the banking system, thereby maintaining the Fed Funds rates within the FOMC’s target range. Currently, they are employing its RRP program to accomplish this task. In an RRP transaction, the Fed sells securities to a counterparty and simultaneously agrees to repurchase them at a future date. The duration is often overnight. The transaction temporarily reduces the supply of money from the banking system. Increasing daily RRP balances results in less system liquidity, and a declining balance reduces liquidity.

As shown below, RRP has been around for 20 years but was scarcely used until early 2021. The various pandemic-related rounds of fiscal stimulus and massive Fed liquidity efforts left banks and money market funds with excessive levels of cash. The excess liquidity would have pushed the Fed Funds rate lower than the target rate without the RRP program. As such, RRP sucks up liquidity, making Fed Funds easier for the Fed to manage.

The Fed has other repo tools, such as repurchase agreements and the standing repo facility, which can dampen money market rates by providing the banking system with liquidity.

The RRP facility has been increasing rapidly and now sits at over $2 trillion daily. Rising RRP balances are a drain on liquidity.

As money market yields rise with Fed Funds and asset markets perform poorly, investors tend to prefer higher cash balances. Such should keep RRP levels elevated for the time being.

Treasury General Account (TGA)

The Treasury General Account is the U.S. Treasury Department’s checking account. The account is held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Like your checking account, the TGA receives deposits (tax receipts and proceeds from debt issuance) and makes payments.

The Fed doesn’t manage the TGA balances, but the surplus cash balance held at the Fed affects banking system liquidity. Fed liabilities (bank reserves) must equal its assets. Bank reserves are fodder allowing banks to make loans and, by default, print money. When the TGA account increases, bank reserves must fall, reducing banking system liquidity. Conversely, a shrinking TGA account adds reserves and liquidity to the banking system.

The graph below shows that TGA balances are elevated versus the pre-pandemic years but have fallen as the banking system normalizes from the massive fiscal cash injections. It will likely drop a bit more, but the TGA will not significantly impact liquidity, barring unusual circumstances.

tga account

Fed Balance Sheet

The Fed’s assets, mainly Treasury bonds and Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), are the liquidity elephant in the room. Its assets currently account for 75% of total Fed-sponsored liquidity and historically average over 90%.

When the Fed does Quantitative Easing (QE), they remove securities from the bond markets and, in their place, leaves reserves with the banks. Again, bank reserves can lead to loan creation which is the creation of new money. Ergo, QE adds to the system’s liquidity. Conversely, Quantitative Tightening (QT) removes liquidity and reserves from the system and increases the amount of securities in the market.

For this reason, QE tends to be bullish for stocks, and QT is bearish. 

Liquidity and Stock Prices

With an understanding of the three key factors driving banking system liquidity, we can create a Fed liquidity model. The size of the Fed’s assets less the sum of the TGA and RRP equals the amount of Fed-generated liquidity in the system. Recent changes in net liquidity shed light on how the S&P 500 trends.

The two graphs below compare the liquidity measure and the S&P 500. The first graph shows how the S&P 500 rose in line with liquidity through 2021, and both reversed simultaneously to start 2022. The dotted lines are quarterly moving averages to help smooth out the data. The moving averages track each other almost perfectly this year. The green dashed line forecasts liquidity based solely on the Fed’s plan to reduce its balance sheet by $95 billion a month. The S&P 500 could be close to 3500 by year-end if they follow through with their QT plans and the correlation holds up.

The second graph shares the same data but in scatter plot form. The correlation between liquidity and the S&P 500 is statistically significant, with an R-squared of 0.57. The orange dot shows the S&P 500 is about 3% overpriced based on liquidity.

liquidity Fed
liquidity S&P 500

The model does have an important caveat. Other factors become the predominant driver of market returns when the Fed is inactive and liquidity is relatively stable.  

Summary

The Fed is not the only game in town, but they are the biggest game in town. While many other factors account for stock price performance, liquidity may be the most important to grasp.

To drive home this point, recall March 2020, when covid struck the economy. Global economies were shutting down worldwide. Unemployment was soaring, and the economy was careening toward a depression. Despite zero clarity on the economic future, stocks began to rally strongly in late March. Why? Liquidity via fiscal stimulus and a surge in Fed QE purchases drove markets higher. The economic situation was awful, and earnings outlooks were crumbling, but liquidity trumped fundamentals. 

By accepting what the Fed does, right or wrong, and closely following its actions, we can quantify how liquidity will steer markets. On top of fundamental and technical analysis, this additional layer of research helps us better navigate the market’s twists, turns, and trends when the Fed is active.

The post S&P 3500 By Year End If QT Continues appeared first on RIA.

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