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Neurotic Futures Tumble Despite Record Apple Quarter

Neurotic Futures Tumble Despite Record Apple Quarter

If you thought that yesterday’s blowout, record earnings from Apple would be enough to put in at least a brief bottom to stocks and stop the ongoing collapse in risk assets, we have some…

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Neurotic Futures Tumble Despite Record Apple Quarter

If you thought that yesterday's blowout, record earnings from Apple would be enough to put in at least a brief bottom to stocks and stop the ongoing collapse in risk assets, we have some bad news for you: after staging a feeble bounce overnight, S&P futures erased earlier gains as traders ignored the solid results from Apple and instead focused on the risk of higher interest rates hurting economic growth.  Contracts in S&P 500 dropped as negative sentiment continued to prevail, while Nasdaq 100 futures erased earlier gains after strong Apple earnings. As of 730am, Emini futures were down 48 points or 1.12% to 4,269, Dow futures were down 335 points or 0.99% and Nasdaq futs were down 77 or 0.6%. The dollar was set for a fifth straight day of gains, the longest streak since November, 19Y TSY yields were up 3bps to 1.83%, gold and bitcoin both dropped.

Markets have been whiplashed by volatility this week as the Federal Reserve signaled aggressive tightening, adding to investor concerns about geopolitical tensions and an uneven earnings season. Also sapping sentiment on Friday were weak data on the German economy and euro-area confidence. Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions were still on the agenda with a potential conflict in Ukraine not yet defused.

“Market expectations for four to five rate hikes this year will not derail growth or the equity rally,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “We expect an eventual relaxation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine,” he added. Expected data on Friday include personal income and spending data, as well as University of Michigan Sentiment, while Caterpillar, Chevron, Colgate-Palmolive, VF Corp and Weyerhaeuser are among companies reporting earnings.

Money markets are now pricing in nearly five Fed hikes this year after a hawkish stance from Chair Jerome Powell. That’s up from three expected as recently as December.

“Tighter liquidity and weaker growth mean higher volatility,” Barclays Plc strategists led by Emmanuel Cau wrote in a note. The “current growth scare looks like a classic mid-cycle phase to us, while a lot of hawkishness is priced in.”

In premarket trading, Apple shares rose 4.5% as analysts rose their targets to some of the most bullish on the Street, after the iPhone maker reported EPS and revenue for the fiscal first quarter that beat the average analyst estimates. Watch Apple’s U.S. suppliers after the iPhone maker posted record quarterly sales that beat analyst estimates, a sign it was able to work through the supply-chain crunch. Peers in Asia rose, while European suppliers are active in early trading. Tesla shares also rise as much as 2% in premarket, set to rebound from yesterday’s 12% slump following a disappointing set of earnings and outlook. Other notable premarket movers:

  • Visa (V US) shares gain 5% premarket after company reported adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter that beat the average analyst estimate.
  • Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks gain as Bitcoin and other digital tokens rise. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +3.7%, Marathon Digital (MARA US) +3.3%, Bit Digital (BTBT US) +1.6%, Coinbase (COIN US) +0.5%.
  • Robinhood (HOOD US) shares tumbled 14% in premarket after the online brokerage’s fourth-quarter revenue and first-quarter outlook missed estimates. Some analysts cut their price targets.
  • Atlassian (TEAM US) shares jump 10% in extended trading on Thursday, after the software company reported second-quarter results that beat expectations and gave a third-quarter revenue forecast that was ahead of the analyst consensus.
  • U.S. Steel (X US) shares fall as much as 2.4% aftermarket following the steelmaker’s earnings release, which showed adjusted earnings per share results missed the average analyst estimate.

The U.S. stock market is priced “quite aggressively” versus other developed nations as well as emerging markets, and valuations in the latter can be a tailwind rather than a headwind as in the U.S., Feifei Li, partner and CIO of equity strategies at Research Affiliates, said on Bloomberg Television.

European equity indexes are again under pressure, rounding off a miserable week, and set for the worst monthly decline since October 2020 as corporate earnings failed to lift the mood except in the retail sector. The Euro Stoxx 50 dropped over 1.5%, DAX underperforming at the margin. Autos, tech and banks are the weakest Stoxx 600 sectors; only retailers are in the green. Hennes & Mauritz shares climbed on a profit beat, while technology stocks continued to underperform. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • LVMH shares rise as much as 5.8% after analysts praised the French conglomerate’s full-year results, with several noting improved performance at even minor brands such as Celine.
  • Signify gains as much as 15% after saying it expects to grow in 2022 even as the supply chain problems that caused its “worst ever” quarter continue.
  • H&M climbs as much as 7.4% after posting a strong margin in 4Q which impressed analysts. Analysts also lauded the Swedish retailer’s buyback announcement and target to double sales by 2030.
  • Stora Enso rises as much as 6.2% on 4Q earnings with the CEO noting paper capacity closures have helped boost its pricing power, contributing to a turnaround in the unprofitable business.
  • SCA gains as much as 5.5% in Stockholm, the most since May 2020, after reporting better-than-expected Ebitda earnings and announcing a SEK3.25/share dividend -- higher than analysts had estimated.
  • AutoStore rises as much as 18% after a German court halts Ocado’s case against the company. Ocado drops as much as 8.1%.
  • Henkel slides as much as 10% after the company’s forecast for organic revenue growth of 2% to 4% in 2022 was seen as cautious.
  • Wartsila falls as much as 9% after posting 4Q earnings that analysts say showed strong order intake overshadowed by lagging margins.
  • Alstom drops as much as 7.3% after Exane BNP Paribas downgrades to neutral, citing risk that the company might resort to raising equity financing to forestall a possible credit-rating cut.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose after slumping to their lowest since November 2020, with Japan and Australia leading the rebound as turbulence over the highly anticipated U.S. monetary tightening eased.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 1% on Friday following a 2.7% slide the day before. Industrials and consumer-discretionary names provided the biggest boosts to the measure. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average was among the best performers in the region after enduring its worst daily drop in seven months.  “It’s undeniable that stock markets last year -- as well as the real economy -- were supported by continued monetary easing, considering which, more share-price correction could be anticipated,” said Tetsuo Seshimo, a portfolio manager at Saison Asset Management in Tokyo. Even so, “stocks fell too much yesterday.” The Asian benchmark is down almost 5% this week, and set to cap its biggest such drop since February last year. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank was ready to raise interest rates in March and didn’t rule out moving at every meeting to tackle inflation, triggering a broad selloff in global equities Thursday.  Japan’s Topix and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained after slipping into technical correction earlier this week. South Korea’s Kospi also added almost 2% after sliding into a bear market Thursday. Meanwhile, Chinese shares extended a rout of nearly $1.2 trillion this month.

Japanese equities rose, trimming their worst weekly loss in two months, as some observers saw the selloff on concerns over higher U.S. interest rates as having gone too far. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose 1.9%, paring its weekly decline to 2.6%. Fast Retailing and Shin-Etsu Chemical were the largest contributors to a 2.1% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen was little changed after weakening 1.3% against the dollar over the previous two sessions. “Looking at the technical indicators like RSI, you can see that Japanese equities have been oversold,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities. “Shares have fallen too much considering the not-bad corporate earnings and also when compared with U.S. equities.” U.S. futures rallied in Asian trading hours, after a volatile cash session that ended in losses as investors continued to reprice assets on the Fed’s pivot to tighter policy. Apple provided a post-market lift with record quarterly sales that sailed past Wall Street estimates.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 2.2% to 6,988.10 at the close in Sydney, bouncing back after slipping into a technical correction on Thursday. The benchmark gained for its first session in five as miners and banks rallied, trimming its weekly slide to 2.6%. Champion Iron was a top performer after its 3Q results. Newcrest was one of the worst performers after its 2Q production report, and as gold extended declines. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1.6% to 11,852.15.

India’s benchmark index edged lower on Friday to extend its decline to a second consecutive week as investors grapple with volatility created by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s rate-hike plan. The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.1% to 57,200.23 in Mumbai on Friday, erasing gains of as much as 1.4% earlier in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index ended flat. For the week, the key gauges ended with declines of 3.1% and 2.9%, respectively.  All but five of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed on Friday, led by a measure of health-care companies. BSE’s mid- and small-sized companies’ indexes outperformed the benchmark by rising 1% and 1.1%. “Selling pressure has now cooled off, markets will now focus on local triggers such as expectations from the budget,” said Prashant Tapse, an analyst with Mumbai-based Mehta Equities.  Investors will also monitor corporate-earnings reports for the December quarter to gauge demand and inflation outlook. Of the 21 Nifty 50 companies that have announced results so far, 12 either met or exceeded expectations, eight missed, while one can’t be compared.  Kotak Mahindra Bank continued the strong earnings run by lenders, reporting fiscal third-quarter profit ahead of the consensus view, while Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories missed the consensus estimate.  ICICI Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, falling 1.6%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 14 rose and 16 fell.

In rates, bonds trade poorly again with gilts and USTs bear steepening, cheapening 3-3.5bps across the back end. Treasuries are weaker, same as most European bond markets, with stock markets under pressure globally and S&P 500 futures lower but inside weekly range. Treasury yields are cheaper by 4bp-5bp from intermediate to long-end sectors, 10-year around 1.84%, inside weekly range; though front-end outperforms, 2-year yield reaches YTD high 1.22%, steepening 2s10s by ~1bp. Gilts underperformed as traders price in a more aggressive path of rate hikes from the BOE. Treasury curve is steeper for first day in four, lifting spreads from multimonth lows. Globally in 10-year sector, gilts lag Treasuries by 0.5bp while bunds outperform slightly. Bunds bear flatten with 5s30s near 52bps after two block trades but subsequently recover above 54bps. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; Procter & Gamble priced a $1.85b two-tranche offering Thursday, the first since Wednesday’s Fed meeting.

In FX, Bloomberg Dollar Spot pushes to best levels for the week. Scandies and commodity currencies suffer the most. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was set for a fifth straight day of gains, the longest streak since November, and near its strongest level in 17 months as the greenback was steady or higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro steadied near a European session low of $1.1121 while risk-sensitive Australian and Scandinavian currencies led the decline. Sweden’s krona sank, despite data showing the Nordic nation’s economy grew more than expected in the final quarter of 2021, fueling speculation that the central bank could soon start to take its foot off the stimulus pedal. Australia’s dollar dropped to the lowest level in 18 months as the Reserve Bank of Australia lags behind many of its peers in signaling monetary tightening. Treasuries sold off, led by the belly; Bunds also traded lower, yet outperformed Treasuries, and Germany’s 5s30s curve flattened to 52bps after two futures blocks traded. Italian government bonds underperformed with the nation’s parliament voting twice on Friday to elect a new president, as the lack of progress after four days of inconclusive ballots adds to pressure to end a process that’s left the country in limbo.

In commodities, Crude futures hold a narrow range, just shy of Asia’s best levels. WTI trades either side of $87, Brent just shy of a $90-handle. Spot gold drops near Thursday’s lows, close to $1,791/oz. Base metals are under pressure; LME copper underperforms peers, dropping over 1.5%.

Crypto markets were rangebound in which Bitcoin traded both sides of the 37,000 level. Russia's government drafted a roadmap for cryptocurrency regulation, according to RBC.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include Germany’s Q4 GDP, US personal income and personal spending for December, as well as the Q4 employment cost index and the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index for January. Earnings releases include Chevron and Caterpillar.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,323.75
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1.0% to 465.51
  • MXAP up 0.5% to 182.48
  • MXAPJ little changed at 597.31
  • Nikkei up 2.1% to 26,717.34
  • Topix up 1.9% to 1,876.89
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 23,550.08
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,361.44
  • Sensex down 0.1% to 57,197.94
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 2.2% to 6,988.14
  • Kospi up 1.9% to 2,663.34
  • Brent Futures up 0.4% to $89.71/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,792.52
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.13% to 97.38
  • German 10Y yield little changed at -0.05%
  • Euro down 0.1% to $1.1132

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The euro-area economy kicked off 2022 on a weak footing, with pandemic restrictions taking a toll on confidence and growing fears that Germany may be on the brink of a recession for the second time since the crisis began. A sentiment gauge by the European Commission fell to 112.7 in January, the lowest in nine months, driven by declines in most sectors and among consumers. Employment expectations dropped for a second month
  • Germany’s economy shrank 0.7% in the fourth quarter with consumers spooked by another wave of Covid-19 infections and factories reeling from supply-chain problems.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the American proposal to defuse tensions with Ukraine contained “rational elements,” even though some key points were ignored
  • A U.K. government probe into alleged rule-breaking parties in Boris Johnson’s office during the pandemic could be stripped of key details at the request of police, potentially handing the prime minister a boost as he tries to persuade his Conservatives not to mount a leadership challenge
  • Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the Bank of Japan won’t be switching its bond yield target until inflation rises high enough to warrant exit talks
  • Seven straight jumps in the so- called “fear gauge” for the S&P 500 is a signal that it may be time to wager against volatility, if history is any guide. Only 10 times in the past two decades has the Cboe Volatility Index - - better known as the VIX -- risen for that many trading sessions in a row

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asian stocks eventually traded mixed although China lagged ahead of holiday closures next week. ASX 200 (+2.2%) was lifted back up from correction territory. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) gained on a weaker currency and with corporate results driving the biggest movers. KOSPI (+1.9%) was boosted by earnings including from the world's second-largest memory chipmaker SK Hynix. Hang Seng (-1.1%%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.9%) lagged with a non-committal tone in the mainland ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday closures and with Hong Kong pressured by losses in blue chip tech and health care

Top Asian News

  • Asia Stocks Rise, Still Head for Worst Week Since February
  • Kuroda Hints No Chance of Switching Yield Target Until Exit
  • China Fintech PingPong Said to Mull $1 Billion Hong Kong IPO
  • Biogen Sells Bioepis Stake for $2.3 Billion to Samsung Biologics

European bourses have conformed to the downbeat APAC handover with losses in the region extending following the cash open, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.7%. Sectors were mixed with Tech and Banking names the laggards while Personal/Household Goods and Retail outperformer following LVMH and H&M respectively; since then, performance has deteriorated though the above skew remains intact. US futures are moving in tandem with European-peers; however, magnitudes are more contained as the ES is only modestly negative and NQ continues to cling onto positive territory following Apple earnings. Apple Inc (AAPL) Q1 2022 (USD): EPS 2.10 (exp. 1.89), Revenue 123.95bln (exp. 118.66bln), iPhone: 71.63 bln (exp. 68.34bln), iPad: 7.25bln (exp. 8.18bln), Mac: 10.85bln (exp. 9.51bln), Services:  19.52bln (exp. 18.61 bln), according to Businesswire. +3.5% in the pre-market, trimming from gains in excess of 5.0% earlier

Top European News

  • German Economy Contracted Amid Tighter Virus Curbs, Supply Snags
  • H&M CEO Sets Target to Double Retailer’s Sales by 2030
  • Telia Sells Tower Stake for $582 Million, Cuts Costs
  • U.K. ‘Partygate’ Probe May Be Watered Down at Police Request

In FX, buck bull run continues as DXY takes out another July 2020 high to leave just 97.500 in front of key Fib resistance. Aussie feels the heat of Greenback strength more than others amidst risk-off positioning and caution ahead of next week’s RBA policy meeting. Kiwi also lagging and Loonie losing crude support after the BoC’s hawkish hold midweek. Euro and Yen reliant on some hefty option expiry interest to provide protection from Dollar domination. BoJ Governor Kurdoa if times come to debate the exit of policy, then targeting  shorter maturity JGBs could become an option; at this stage its premature to raise yield target or take steps to steepen yield curve.

In commodities, WTI and Brent are consolidating somewhat after yesterday's choppy price action, but remain towards the lowend
of a circa. USD 1.00/bbl range. Focus remains firmly on geopols as Russia is set to speak with French and German officials on Friday, though rhetoric, remains relatively familiar. Spot gold and silver are pressured as the yellow metal loses the 100-DMA, and drops to circa. USD 1780/oz as the USD rallies, and ahead of inflation data while LME copper follows the equity downside.

In Geopolitics:

  • US President Biden reaffirmed in call with Ukraine's President the readiness of US to respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine, according to Reuters.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says Russia is analysing NATO and US proposals and will decide on how to respond to them, via Reuters; additionally, Lavrov will speaking with German Foreign Minister Baerbock on Friday, via Ifx.
  • Russia's Kremlin says President Putin's talks with Chinese President Xi will give attention to security in Europe and Russia-US dialoged, according to Reuters; Kremlin does not rule out that Putin will provide some assessments on response to Russian proposals.
  • US requested a public UN Security Council meeting for Monday to discuss the build up of Russian forces on Ukraine border, according to Reuters citing diplomats.
  • US bipartisan group of Senators have reportedly been meeting to create legislation that would dramatically increase presence of US military aid for Ukraine, according to Reuters sources.
  • Lithuania and Germany are in discussions to increase the presence of the German military, given current events, according to Reuters

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: 4Q Employment Cost Index, est. 1.2%, prior 1.3%
  • 8:30am: Dec. Personal Income, est. 0.5%, prior 0.4%
    • Dec. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.8%, prior 4.7%; PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%
    • Dec. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 5.8%, prior 5.7%; PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6%
  • 8:30am: Dec. Personal Spending, est. -0.6%, prior 0.6%; Real Personal Spending, est. -1.1%, prior 0%
  • 10am: Jan. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 68.8, prior 68.8
    • Current Conditions, est. 73.2, prior 73.2; Expectations, est. 65.9, prior 65.9
    • 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.9%, prior 4.9%; U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.1%

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

What a week we’ve had. Yesterday saw another market whipsaw as markets continued to try to digest the aftermath of Chair Powell’s press conference. In particular, there was growing speculation that the Fed would embark on back-to-back hikes in order to get inflation under control, with Fed funds futures now pricing 2 full hikes over the next two meetings in March and May, in line with our US econ team’s updated call. Assuming this is realised, then this would be a much faster pace of hikes than anything seen over the last cycle, when the initial hike in December 2015 wasn’t followed by another for an entire year, and the fastest things got was a consistent quarterly pace when the Fed hiked 4 times in 2018. This time, we almost have 4 hikes priced between March and September alone. Of course however, it’s worth noting that today they face a very different set of circumstances, since the last hiking cycle actually began with inflation beneath the Fed’s target, and was a pre-emptive one given their belief that inflation would rise from that point. By contrast, this cycle of rate hikes is set to begin with inflation at levels not seen since the early 1980s, with the Fed seeking to regain credibility after consistently underestimating inflation over the last year. As we’ve highlighted in our work over the last 6-9 months this is a very, very, very different cycle to the last one and we should therefore expect different inflation and Fed outcomes. We repeat a few slides on this in the chart book so feel free to dip in.

These growing expectations of near-term hikes supported the more policy-sensitive 2yr Treasury yield, which rose a further +3.8bps to a fresh post-pandemic high after the previous day’s massive +13.3bps advance. And the number of hikes priced for 2022 as a whole actually rose to a new high of its own at 4.8 hikes. However, a -6.4bps decline in the 10yr yield to 1.80% meant that there was a further flattening of the yield curve, with the 2s10s down to its flattest level in over a year, at just 60.9bps. This is only adding to the late-cycle signals we’ve been discussing of late, particularly when you consider that the yield curve historically tends to flatten in the year after the Fed begins hiking rates, so an inversion over the next 12 months would be no surprise on a historic basis followed perhaps by a 2024 recession? See the chart book for more on this. Indeed, some parts of the curve are even closer to inverting than the 2s10s, with the 5s10s slope at just 14.1bps yesterday, which is the flattest it’s been since the initial market panic about Covid back in March 2020.

The implications of this hawkish push could also be seen in FX markets, where the dollar index strengthened +0.81% to levels not seen in over 18 months. Conversely though, the Fed’s more aggressive posture on inflation significantly hurt precious metals, with gold (-1.22%) falling by more than -1% for a second consecutive session.

Transatlantic equity performance was a mixed bag yesterday. The STOXX 600 fell -1.47% immediately after the European open, just as US futures were pointing to additional losses on top of the previous day’s. However, sentiment turned into the European afternoon, with the major indices on both sides of the Atlantic moving into positive territory, leaving the STOXX 600 +0.65% higher. True to recent form though, the S&P 500 reversed course after the European optimists called it a day, drifting lower to end the day at -0.54%. Sector performance was fairly split, with five sectors in the red: discretionary (-2.27%) and real estate (-1.75%), industrials (-0.93%), financials (-0.92%), and tech (-0.69%). Energy (+1.24%) was again the outperformer, but didn’t do enough to drag the entire index into the green. Tesla was a big driver of the discretionary drawdown. After bouncing around following its earnings release the evening before, Tesla declined -11.55% yesterday on the back of potential supply chain issues, and to a 3-month low. The NASDAQ underperformed the S&P, declining -1.40%, bringing it -16.84% below its all-time high. The Russell 2000 of small caps (-2.29%) fell into “bear market” territory and is now down -20.94% from its highs in early November. The Vix index of volatility closed modestly lower (-1.37ppts) for the first time in almost two weeks, but remained elevated at 30.59.

Apple reported fourth quarter earnings after the close. Like other goods manufactures, they continued to be besot by supply chain issues, but that did not stop them from beating sales and earnings estimates, posting their best quarter of revenues ever. The stock was more than +5% higher in after-hours trading following the release. Prior to this they were down around -10% YTD. This has helped the S&P 500 (+0.7%) and Nasdaq (+1.1%) futures rebound as we hit the last day of a tough and very volatile week.

Overnight in Asia, equity markets are also recovering some of their recent losses with the Nikkei rebounding (+2.17%), after falling nearly -3% in the previous session, followed by the Kospi (+1.44%). Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite (+0.05%) and CSI (0.08%) are trading flattish as we type. On the other hand, the Hang Seng (-0.94%) is extending its recent losses this morning ahead of the release of Hong Kong’s Q4 GDP report scheduled in a few hours.

Early morning data showed consumer prices in Tokyo fell to +0.5% y/y in January from +0.8% in December while the core CPI inflation (+0.2% y/y) in January failed to exceed market expectations (+0.3%) after increasing +0.5% last month. Elsewhere, South Korea’s industrial output surprisingly advanced +4.3% m/m in December against economist expectations of -0.3%. It follows November’s upwardly revised +5.3% increase.

Back in Europe, sovereign bond yields rose for the most part, having been closed at the time of Chair Powell’s press conference the previous day. Those on 10yr bunds (+1.6bps), OATs (+0.7bps) and gilts (+3.1bps) all moved higher, and that rise in gilt yields comes ahead of next week’s Bank of England decision, where overnight index swaps are now pricing in a 94% chance of another rate hike, which is also our UK economist’s expectation.

One factor supporting sentiment yesterday was a decent set of economic data, with the US economy growing by an annualised rate of +6.9% in Q4 2021 (vs. +5.5% expected). That’s the fastest quarterly pace since Q3 2020 when the economy rebounded sharply from the various lockdowns, and left growth for the full year 2021 at +5.7%, the fastest since 1984. Meanwhile, the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through January 22 subsided to 260k (vs. 265k expected), ending a run of 3 consecutive weekly increases.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include Germany’s Q4 GDP, US personal income and personal spending for December, as well as the Q4 employment cost index and the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index for January. Earnings releases include Chevron and Caterpillar.

 

Tyler Durden Fri, 01/28/2022 - 08:07

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

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

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

Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central banks were busy overnight:

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

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

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

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

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

Market Snapshot

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

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

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

A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

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

Top Asian News

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

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

Top European News

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

FX

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

Fixed Income

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

Commodities

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

Central Banks

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

US Event Calendar

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

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Economics

Weekly investment update – Weaker economic outlook weighs on markets

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

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

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

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

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

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

US equities still weak

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

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

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

European markets under the cosh

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

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

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

European economy resists

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

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

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

Higher food prices

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

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

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

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

Coming up…

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

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

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

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

Forthcoming economic data  

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

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

Disclaimer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over the weekend, we…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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