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“Prepare For An Epic Finale” – Jeremy Grantham Warns Stock Market ‘Super Bubble’ Has Yet To Burst

"Prepare For An Epic Finale" – Jeremy Grantham Warns Stock Market ‘Super Bubble’ Has Yet To Burst

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"Prepare For An Epic Finale" - Jeremy Grantham Warns Stock Market 'Super Bubble' Has Yet To Burst

Having infamously spotted and profited from bubbles in Japan in the late 1980s, tech stocks at the turn of the century and in US housing before the 2008 financial crisis, GMO's co-founder Jeremy Grantham laid out in his latest note to investors why the "super bubble" that he previously warned about hasn't popped yet (despite this year's somewhat chaotic market behavior).

"You had a typical bear market rally the other day and people were saying, ‘Oh, it’s a new bull market,” Grantham said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“That is nonsense.”

Specifically, the 83-year-old investors says that the surge in US equities from mid-June to mid-August fits the pattern of bear market rallies common after an initial sharp decline — and before the economy truly begins to deteriorate; and sees more trouble ahead because of a "dangerous mix" of overvalued stocks, bonds and housing, combined with a commodity shock and hawkishness from the Fed.

“My bet is that we're going to have a fairly tough time of it economically and financially before this is washed through the system,’’ Grantham said. 

“What I don't know is: Does that get out of hand like it did in the ‘30s, is it pretty well contained as it was in 2000 or is it somewhere in the middle?"

In his note today, Grantham warns that we are entering the superbubble's final act...

Executive Summary

Only a few market events in an investor’s career really matter, and among the most important of all are superbubbles. These superbubbles are events unlike any others: while there are only a few in history for investors to study, they have clear features in common.

One of those features is the bear market rally after the initial derating stage of the decline but before the economy has clearly begun to deteriorate, as it always has when superbubbles burst. This in all three previous cases recovered over half the market’s initial losses, luring unwary investors back just in time for the market to turn down again, only more viciously, and the economy to weaken.

This summer’s rally has so far perfectly fit the pattern.

The U.S. stock market remains very expensive and an increase in inflation like the one this year has always hurt multiples, although more slowly than normal this time. But now the fundamentals have also started to deteriorate enormously and surprisingly: between COVID in China, war in Europe, food and energy crises, record fiscal tightening, and more, the outlook is far grimmer than could have been foreseen in January. Longer term, a broad and permanent food and resource shortage is threatening, all made worse by accelerating climate damage.

The current superbubble features an unprecedentedly dangerous mix of cross-asset overvaluation (with bonds, housing, and stocks all critically overpriced and now rapidly losing momentum), commodity shock, and Fed hawkishness. Each cycle is different and unique – but every historical parallel suggests that the worst is yet to come.

The Times that Really Matter for Investors

Most of the time (85% or thereabouts) markets behave quite normally.

In these periods, investors (managers, clients, and individuals) are happy enough, but alas these periods do not truly matter. It is only the other 15% of the time that matters, when investors get carried away and become irrational. Mostly (about 12% of the time), this irrationality is excessive optimism, when you see meme stock squeezes and IPO frenzies, such as in the last 2 years; and just now and then (about 3% of the time), investors panic and sell regardless of value, as they did at 666 on the S&P in 2009 and with many stocks trading at a 2.5 P/E in 1974. These times of euphoria and panic are the most important for portfolios and the most dangerous for careers. (Keynes’ famous Chapter 12 would suggest that when confronted with a bubble, running off the cliff with company is the safest strategy for managers, whose business imperative, after all, is to be a permabull, where the real money can be made. This is a strategy adopted reasonably enough by almost everyone.)

This 15% is very different from ordinary bull and bear markets.

Averaging ordinary bull and bear markets with this handful of outliers dilutes the data and produces misleading signals. My strong suggestion is to treat the superbubbles – 2.5 to 3 sigma events – as special, collectively unique occasions. It is as if there is a phase change in investor behavior. After a long economic upswing and a long bull market, when the financial and economic systems look nearly perfect, especially with low inflation and high profit margins, as does the friendliness of the authorities, especially toward cheap leverage, there gets to be a flashpoint, like that summer evening when every last flying ant takes off simultaneously. This effect luckily creates measurable events in the market. So you can see the explosion of confidence and speculation and crazy wishful thinking regardless of value however you wish to define it. And outcomes from this unique group of superbubbles (just three in modern times in the U.S. before this current one) are indeed special: the much discussed (by us) divergence between conservative and speculative stocks; the rapid bear market rallies discussed later here; the rapid onset of recession (3 out of 3 incidents to date, with 1 mild – 2000 – and the other 2 – 1929 and 1972 – severe); and finally, the much increased probabilities of further unexpected financial and economic accidents.

We’ve been in such a period, a true superbubble, for a little while now. And the first thing to remember here is that these superbubbles, as well as ordinary 2 sigma bubbles, have always – in developed equity markets – broken back to trend. The higher they go, therefore, the further they have to fall.

The Stages of a Superbubble

My theory is that the breaking of these superbubbles takes multiple stages. First, the bubble forms; second, a setback occurs, as it just did in the first half of this year, when some wrinkle in the economic or political environment causes investors to realize that perfection will, after all, not last forever, and valuations take a half-step back. Then there is what we have just seen – the bear market rally. Fourth and finally, fundamentals deteriorate and the market declines to a low.

Let’s return to where we are in this process today. Bear market rallies in superbubbles are easier and faster than any other rallies. Investors surmise, this stock sold for $100 6 months ago, so now at $50, or $60, or $70, it must be cheap. Outside of the late stage of a superbubble, new highs are slow and nervous as investors realize that no one has ever bought this stock at this price before: so it is four steps forward, three steps back, gingerly exploring terra incognita. Bear market rallies are the opposite: it sold at $100 before, maybe it could sell at $100 again.

The proof of the pudding is the speed and scale of these bear market rallies.

  1. From the November low in 1929 to the April 1930 high, the market rallied 46% – a 55% recovery of the loss from the peak.

  2. In 1973, the summer rally after the initial decline recovered 59% of the S&P 500's total loss from the high.

  3. In 2000, the NASDAQ (which had been the main event of the tech bubble) recovered 60% of its initial losses in just 2 months.

  4. In 2022, at the intraday peak on August 16th, the S&P had made back 58% of its losses since its June low. Thus we could say the current event, so far, is looking eerily similar to these other historic superbubbles.

Fundamentals Threaten to Fall Apart

Economic data inevitably lags major turning points in the economy. To make matters worse, at the turn of events like 2000 and 2007, data series like corporate profits and employment can subsequently be massively revised downwards. It is during this lag that the bear market rally typically occurs.

Why are the historic superbubbles always followed by major economic setbacks?

Perhaps because they occurred after a very extended build-up of market and economic forces – with a major surge of optimism thrown in at the end. At the peak, the economy always looks near perfect: full employment, strong GDP, no inflation, record margins. This was the case in 1929, 1972, 1999, and in Japan (the most important non-U.S. superbubble). The ageing cycle and temporary near perfection of fundamentals leave economic and financial data with only one way to go.

Our “Explaining P/E” exhibit says something similar.

The first leg down in today’s superbubble was “explained” by rising inflation, which has been the main driver of historical valuations, after an unprecedented lag during the second half of 2021. (Although the most speculative stocks were hit fast and hard from the beginning of 2021.) If anything, the question for us at GMO is why such a historic inflation surge in 2021 did not immediately hit broad market P/Es more substantially: new players in the stock market unfamiliar with inflation? Excessive belief in the Fed’s ability to support markets and hence too much faith that inflation would be transitory?

The next leg for the model is likely to be driven by falling margins. Our best guess is that the level of explained P/E will fall toward 15x, compared to the current level of explained P/E of just under 20x, while the actual P/E just rose from 30x to 34x in mid-August in what was probably a bear market rally. (Of course, if the model is indeed driven by falling margins in the near future, then the E will fall as well as the P/E. As you can see, this would imply a substantially lower market than even we have suggested!)

GMO “EXPLAINING P/E” MODEL

As of 7/20/2022 | Source: GMO

My papers, “Waiting for the Last Dance” and “Let The Wild Rumpus Begin,” made a simple point: in the U.S., the three near perfect markets with crazy investor behavior and 2.5+ sigma overvaluation have always been followed by big market declines of 50%. The papers said nothing about fundamentals except to expect some deterioration. Now here we are, having experienced the first leg down of the bubble bursting and a substantial bear market rally, and we find the fundamentals are far worse than expected.

The whole world is now fixated on the growth-reducing implications of inflation, rates, and wartime issues such as the energy squeeze.

In addition, there are several less obvious short-term problems.

NEAR-TERM PROBLEMS

  • The food/energy/fertilizer problems, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, are even worse in the emerging world (especially Africa) than the European energy problems we have heard about. Russia and Belarus account for 40% of global exports of potash, a key fertilizer, driving wheat/corn/soybean prices to records earlier this year. Increased food and energy prices are causing acute trade imbalances and civil disorder in the most vulnerable countries, as seen for example in the extremely rapid virtual collapse of the Sri Lankan economy. The energy shock is now all but guaranteed to tip Europe into recession; while the U.S. market has a long history of ignoring foreign problems and interactions, global growth is assuredly coming down.

  • In China, which has carried by far the biggest load of global growth for the last 30 years, too many things are going wrong at the same time. The COVID pandemic continues, massively affecting its economy. Simultaneously, the Chinese property complex – key to Chinese economic growth – is now under dire stress. This real estate weakness is mirrored around the world, with U.S. homebuilding for example now declining rapidly to well below average levels, as perhaps it should given the record unaffordability of new mortgages. The situation looks even worse in those countries where mortgages are typically floating rate. Historically, real estate has been the most important asset class for economic stability.

  • We are coming off one of the greatest fiscal tightenings in history as governments withdraw COVID stimulus, both in the U.S. and globally. Historically, there has been a strong relationship between fiscal tightening and subsequent decline in margins (see Appendix). At the same time, the new U.S. excise tax on stock buybacks looks like a harbinger that the U.S. government is beginning to shift its attitude toward the eternal battle between labor and capital (which capital has been winning for many decades now). This may even flow through in time to renewed antitrust action, which would be fantastic for consumers but less fantastic for stock investors.

Meanwhile, the long-term problems of demographics, resources, and climate are only getting worse and now are beginning to bite even in the short run.

LONGER-TERM PROBLEMS

  • Population: workers are beginning to be in short supply and will stay that way for the indefinite future in China and the developed world, where no single country is producing babies at replacement rate. 5 Together with rapid ageing, this will be a drag on growth and a push on inflation. Resources: many metals, especially those required for decarbonizing, are in an unavoidable squeeze, lacking sufficient reserves – which currently are a mere 5-20% of what is needed 6 – and capex is woefully low. It simply does not compute, and it makes clear that our existence in any faintly satisfactory condition will depend on our sustained success with replacement, recycling, and new technologies. A second critical resource shortage is fertilizer. Potash and phosphate, both currently mined and both necessary for all life, are: a) finite; and b) very unevenly distributed: Morocco controls 75% of the world's best phosphate, and Russia and Belarus mine 45% of current potash with even more than that mined in Canada. Food: with deteriorated and eroded soil, freshwater shortages, and increasingly resistant pests, food productivity is slowing down even as African population growth outweighs the slowdown elsewhere. The UN global food index was recently at an all-time high.

  • Climate can be seen this year as in danger of spiraling out of control. Never before have major droughts, and dangerously high temperatures and fires, beset China, India, Europe, and North America at the same time. This is severe enough to act as a drag on global GDP: the Rhine, which moves nearly 20% of German heavy traffic, is closed by drought; French nuclear power stations have had to reduce production because rivers are too hot to be used for cooling; China has had to halve its hydropower (18% of its electricity), which has also been reduced in Canada, Norway, India, and elsewhere by low water levels; rising temperatures in India, Asia, and parts of Africa are suddenly high enough to pose health problems for those without air conditioning and outdoor workers, especially farmers. The collective impact of difficult farming weather is beginning to impose its own global costs and may destabilize a growing number of poorer countries in the near future. It is all happening so much faster than anyone expected 10 years ago.

All that is to say: these long-term negative issues that I have kept at the back of my mind (and hopefully yours) for years – climate, human fertility, food, and other resources – are now becoming relevant short-term issues that bear on both inflation (upwards) and growth (downwards).

Indeed, collectively, they pose a potential risk to our long-term viability.

Prepare for an Epic Finale

Previous superbubbles saw a much worse subsequent economic outlook if they combined multiple asset classes: housing and stocks, as in Japan in 1989 or globally in 2006; or if they combined an inflation surge and rate shock with a stock bubble, as in 1973 in the U.S. and elsewhere. The current superbubble features the most dangerous mix of these factors in modern times: all three major asset classes – housing, stocks, and bonds – were critically historically overvalued at the end of last year. Now we are seeing an inflation surge and rate shock as in the early 1970s as well. And to make matters worse, we have a commodity and energy surge (as painfully seen in 1972 and in 2007) and these commodity shocks have always cast a long growth-suppressing shadow.

Given all these negative factors, it is unsurprising that consumer and business confidence measures are testing historic lows. And in the tech sector, the leading edge of the U.S. (and global) economy, hiring is slowing, layoffs are rising, and CEOs are increasingly bracing for recession. Recently, we have seen a bear market rally. It has so far played out exactly in line with its three historical precedents, the bear market rallies that marked the middle phase of deflating superbubbles. If the bear market has already ended, the parallels with the three other U.S. superbubbles – so far so strangely in line – would be completely broken. This is always possible.

Each cycle is different, and each government response is unpredictable. But these few epic events seem to act according to their very own rules, in their own play, which has apparently just paused between the third and final act.

If history repeats, the play will once again be a Tragedy. We must hope this time for a minor one.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/31/2022 - 16:20

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Government

Washington Gave $28M To Chinese Entities For Joint Research Since 2015: Report

Washington Gave $28M To Chinese Entities For Joint Research Since 2015: Report

Authored by Rita Li via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Recently…

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Washington Gave $28M To Chinese Entities For Joint Research Since 2015: Report

Authored by Rita Li via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Recently released findings show U.S. government agencies sent over $28 million in taxpayers’ dollars “directly to Chinese entities” for joint research over a five-year period ending 2021.

A technician works at a DNA tech lab in Beijing on Aug. 22, 2018. (Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)

From fiscal years 2015 through 2021, “the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], NIH [National Institutes of Health], and DOD [Department of Defense] provided 22 awards totaling $28.9 million directly to Chinese entities including universities and other research institutions,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said on Sept. 29 following a trove of analyses.

Researchers found the federal funding focused on “multiple scientific disciplines,” aiding Chinese entities in conducting research on “disease surveillance, vaccination studies, and the development of new drugs,” as well as “alternative technologies to propel vehicles such as drones.”

The release of its 38-page report (pdf) follows a January request from House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They asked GAO to review federal funds provided to China or entities controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for collaborative research, and U.S. contributions to multilateral institutions.

Stefanik described such funding as “troubling.”

“China’s deception and stonewalling of the truth behind the origins of COVID-19 has led to millions of senseless deaths and trillions of dollars in economic destruction across the globe,” the congresswoman said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

The three agencies awarded a total of 13 Chinese entities for joint publications, information sharing, and workshops, while 84 percent of the direct funding went to the University of Hong Kong, Peking University, and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, known as the Chinese CDC.

Receiving almost $5 million from the NIH and the CDC over the past years, the Chinese CDC had been suppressing information about the outbreak domestically and snubbed U.S. offers of assistance, despite how any health data would have been crucial to formulate a more effective COVID-19 containment strategy and minimize the disease’s global spread.

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment walk on a street in a neighborhood during a COVID-19 lockdown in the Jing’an district in Shanghai on April 8, 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

“Even more frightening,” Stefanik continued, “we still have no idea how much total money has been sent to China due to lax reporting requirements. Make no mistake, the Chinese Communist Party’s deception throughout the pandemic confirmed that China is not a reliable partner.”

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/06/2022 - 17:40

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Meet Florence, WHO’s AI-powered digital health worker

An artificial intelligence-powered digital health worker has been unveiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as its latest
The post Meet Florence,…

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An artificial intelligence-powered digital health worker has been unveiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as its latest tool for disseminating reliable health information to the public.

Originally developed by New Zealand tech company Soul Machines with support of the Qatar Ministry of Health, the first version of the virtual health worker was used to combat misinformation about the pandemic.

The new version – dubbed Florence 2.0 – covers a broader range of topics. Along with advice on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments it can also share advice on mental health, give tips to de-stress, provide guidance on how to eat healthily and be more active, and quit tobacco and e-cigarettes, according to the WHO.

The chatbot can currently converse in English, with Arabic, French, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi and Russian to follow.

It’s an interesting move for the WHO, which hasn’t been on the front lines of the digital health revolution, and an indicator of the growing acceptance of AI to help support health.

The topics chosen for Florence are some of those that have the greatest burden on health around the world, and according to her developers she could help support healthcare workers in areas where there are shortages in healthcare staff.

It is estimated that one in every eight people globally lives with a mental disorder while tobacco use and unhealthy diets kill 16 million people every year, and physical inactivity plays a role in another 830,000 preventable deaths from cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

“Digital technology plays a critical role in helping people worldwide lead healthier lives,” said Andy Pattison, WHO’s Team Lead for Digital Channels.

“The AI health worker Florence is a shining example of the potential to harness technology to promote and protect people’s physical and mental health,” he added.  “AI can help fill gaps in health information that exist in many communities around the world.”

The WHO said it plans to continue to develop the digital health worker to help meet major health issues facing the world today.

Soul Machines co-founder and chief executive Greg Cross said the challenge with this kind of project is to bring an avatar to life that is empathetic, informative, and understanding.

“Our digital people operate and respond in real time, providing users with a unique and emotionally engaging experience,” added Cross. “We look forward to continuing our work on Florence as we aim to positively reshape and transform the healthcare industry.”

The latest version of Florence joins a growing list of chatbots that aim to deliver first-line primary care, currently within fairly limited health categories although their capabilities are expected to grow in the next decade.

Apps like Ada Health, Healthily and Sensely combine symptom checkers with information while some such as Woebot and OneRemission provide psychological and behavioural support to patients with specific health concerns,

Others are going even further, providing functions such as medication and appointment management, or connecting patients remotely with clinicians for diagnosis and treatment. Examples of these include Babylon Health‘s platform and Gyant.

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Futures Slide As OPEC+ Cut Sparks Gas Inflation Fears And “Tighter For Longer” Fed

Futures Slide As OPEC+ Cut Sparks Gas Inflation Fears And "Tighter For Longer" Fed

Two days ago, when stocks were melting up even as oil was…

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Futures Slide As OPEC+ Cut Sparks Gas Inflation Fears And "Tighter For Longer" Fed

Two days ago, when stocks were melting up even as oil was storming higher and threatened to rerate inflation expectations sharply higher, we mused that algos were clearly ignoring this potentially ominously convergence.

And while yesterday we saw the first cracks developing in the meltup narrative as oil extended gains following OPEC's stark slap on the face of the dementia patient in the White House, it was only today that the "oil is about to push inflation sharply higher" discussion entered the broader financial sphere, with JPM writing this morning that "OPEC+ presents inflation risk", Bloomberg echoing JPM that "OPEC+ alliance’s plan to cut oil supply stoked inflation fears and as traders awaited labor-market data to gauge the risk of recession" and Saxo Bank also jumping on the bandwagon, warning that OPEC+ supply cut will worsen global inflation which "raises the risk of inflation staying higher for longer” and “sends the wrong signal to the US Federal Reserve... It could send a signal that they have to keep on their foot on the brake for longer.”

And sure enough, with oil rising above its 50DMA for the first time since Aug 30, futures have slumped overnight as oil kept its gains, with S&P and Nasdaq 100 futures both sliding 0.5% as of 730am, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 erased an advance and traded near session lows. US crude futures held on to weekly gains of about 11% after the oil cartel said it would cut daily output by 2 million barrels. Treasuries were steady, the 10Y trading around 3.77%, with the 2Y rate hovering about the 4.15% level.

In pre-market trading, Credit Suisse jumped as much as 5.2% after JPMorgan upgraded to neutral from underweight, saying it sees $15bn as a minimum value for the lender, in-line with the estimated value of the Swiss legal entity. Shares were 2% higher by 13:20pm CET in Zurich, after Bloomberg News reported that the lender is trying to bring in an outside investor to inject money into a spinoff of its advisory and investment banking businesses, citing people with knowledge of the deliberations. Other banks did not do as well, and slumped in premarket trading Thursday, putting them on track to fall for a second straight day. Twitter shares fell as much as 1.1% to $50.75, trading nearly 7% below Elon Musk’s offer price of $54.20 as investors await progress in the revived deal. Here are the other notable premarket movers:

  • Pinterest (PINS US) shares jump as much as 5.8% in US premarket trading after Goldman Sachs upgraded the social networking site to buy from neutral on improving user growth and better engagement trends, even as the backdrop for digital advertising remains uncertain.
  • Biohaven Ltd. (BHVN US) shares rise 9.7% in US premarket trading, set to extend a 75% gain over the past two days as regular trading in the newly constituted drug developer began following an unusual deal with Pfizer Inc.
  • SurgePays (SURG US) shares soar as much as 11% in premarket trading after the company gave an update on subscriber numbers for its subsidiary SurgePhone Wireless.
  • Flutter (FLTR LN) gained 3.3% in premarket trading as it was initiated at outperform at Exane as the best-placed online gambling name, while Entain also at outperform and DraftKings started at underperform.
  • Richardson Electronics (RELL US) rose 8.2% in extended trading after reporting year-over-year growth in net sales and earnings per share for the fiscal first quarter.

While higher energy prices could stoke inflation, some have speculated that this will also divert discretionary income from core items thus pushing core inflation lower and hit company earnings -- potentially encouraging the Federal Reserve to slow monetary tightening.

While such expectations fueled equity gains this week, several money managers are cautioning that the economic path to a less aggressive Fed could be painful: “If you want to preempt the Fed, you are playing a very high-stakes game,” said Kenneth Broux, a strategist at Societe Generale SA. “The Fed do not want financial conditions to loosen; they don’t want equity markets to take off and get too comfortable.”

That said, investors are wary of placing large-scale equity bets as they await a report on US initial jobless claims later Thursday and the official nonfarm payrolls data Friday. A Bloomberg survey shows the US economy will have added 260,000 jobs last month; a higher-than-anticipated number may spook markets.

In Europe, the Stoxx 50 dropped -0.3% to session lows. Stoxx 600 outperforms peers, adding 0.2%, FTSE MIB lags, dropping 0.5%. Energy and insurance underperform while real estate and travel lead gains. Here are all the notable European movers:

  • Imperial Brands shares rise as much as 4.7% after the tobacco company said it will buy back up to £1b worth of stock. The move was welcomed by analysts, with RBC calling it a “big deal” and Citigroup saying the announcement was earlier than expected.
  • Home24 SE gains as much as 126% to EU7.53 after XXXLutz offered to buy all outstanding shares in the German online furniture retailer for EU7.50 apiece. The bid is generous and the deal is straightforward from a regulatory perspective, according to Tradition.
  • Credit Suisse jumps as much as 5.2% after JPMorgan upgraded to neutral from underweight, saying it sees $15b as a minimum value for the lender, in-line with the estimated value of the Swiss legal entity.
  • CMC Markets climbs as much as 6.5% after the online trading firm said it sees first- half net operating income up 21% y/y, with market volatility in August and September boosting the results. Numis upgraded the stock to add from hold following the report.
  • Shell drops as much as 5% as analysts say the oil and gas major’s trading update looks “weak” and may mean that FY consensus proves too ambitious.
  • Kloeckner falls as much as 12% as the company faces a “high likelihood” of an imminent profit warning, Bankhaus Metzler says, double-downgrading the stock to sell from buy.
  • Swiss Re is among the weakest members of the Stoxx 600 insurance index on Thursday, declining as much as 4.0%, as Morgan Stanley lowers its price target ahead of third-quarter earnings.
  • Accor drops as much as 2.5% after the hotel chain owner was downgraded to underweight from equal-weight at Barclays, which sees short-term risks as bigger for the company compared with peers and feels investors are looking more at potential negative factors heading into FY23 than 2022 upgrades.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a third day as hardware technology stocks in South Korea and Japan advanced on views they may have reached a bottom. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.9%, lifted by TSMC, SoftBank and Sony. The benchmark trimmed gains later in the day, but remains on track to advance for the week, following a seven-week losing streak that was the longest since 2015.Korea’s Kospi Index was the region’s best-performing major benchmark, jumping about 1%. The advance was helped by chipmakers extending their gains amid Morgan Stanley’s bullish view on the sector. Hong Kong stocks retreated after Wednesday’s catch-up rally.

Trading volume in the region was light as mainland China remains closed for the Golden Week holiday. The MSCI’s Asian benchmark has rebounded this week from its lowest in more than two years. The move tracked a nascent revival in global equities on bets that the Federal Reserve may turn less aggressive in its tightening. In a potential harbinger of shifting market views, Morgan Stanley strategists upgraded emerging-market and Asia ex-Japan stocks to overweight from equal-weight.   Investors are also optimistic that monetary policies in China and Japan, which have bucked the global wave of tightening to remain loose, could provide further support to the nations’ equities.  “While the rest of the world is tightening, Japan and China are still easing, especially China where we are going to see more easing policies going forward,” Chi Lo, senior investment strategist for Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “That makes us more positive on EM Asia.”

Japanese equities gained for a fourth day as investors awaited domestic corporate earnings coming out later this month.  The Topix rose 0.5% to 1,922.47 as of the market close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% to 27,311.30. Sony Group contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 1.7%. Out of 2,168 stocks in the index, 1,564 rose and 490 fell, while 114 were unchanged. “There is relatively little concern about corporate earnings for Japanese stocks with the economy restarting and the yen weakening,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index consolidated within the recent day’s ranges, while Britain’s pound slipped 0.4% and gilt yields rose after Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook on the nation to negative. The greenback advanced against most of its G-10 peers. The euro steadied just below $0.99. Euro hedging costs are on the rise again as traders position ahead of Friday’s payrolls print and next week’s US inflation report. Commodity currencies were the worst performers along with the pound. Australian and New Zealand dollars gave up an Asia-session advance. The yen traded in a narrow range.

In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve after paring declines led by gilts in London trading after a Bank of England survey found expectations for higher prices. Focal points of US session include several Fed speakers and potential for risk-reduction ahead of Friday’s September jobs report Friday. US yields cheaper by less than 2bp across the curve in bear- flattening move, 10-year by 2bp vs 17bp for UK 10-year, the downside leader in developed market sovereign bonds.  German and Italian bond curves flattened modestly as yields on shorter-dated notes rose, while those further out fell.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate futures traded near $88 a barrel, while Brent crude held near $93.30. The output-cut plan drew a warning from the White House about negative effects on the global economy. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its fourth-quarter price target for Brent to $110 a barrel.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the weekly initial jobless claims from the US. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll get the ECB’s account of their September meeting, as well as remarks from the Fed’s Evans, Cook, Kashkari, Waller and Mester, and the BoE’s Haskel.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 3,783.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 400.25
  • MXAP up 0.4% to 145.05
  • MXAPJ up 0.3% to 471.37
  • Nikkei up 0.7% to 27,311.30
  • Topix up 0.5% to 1,922.47
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 18,012.15
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,024.39
  • Sensex up 0.6% to 58,403.02
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 6,817.52
  • Kospi up 1.0% to 2,237.86
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 2.05%
  • Euro little changed at $0.9886
  • Brent Futures up 0.3% to $93.62/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,716.69
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 111.24

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • UK bond markets face a potential “cliff edge” when the Bank of England exits the market at the end of next week, leaving traders to navigate a turbulent backdrop without the support of a buyer of last resort
  • Millions more Britons will be dragged into higher rates of income tax over the next three years, costing twice as much as Prime Minister Liz Truss’s personal tax cuts, according to calculations by the Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Britain’s construction industry turned more pessimistic in September after rising interest rates and the risk of recession held back new orders
  • The European Union plans to examine whether Germany’s massive plan to shelter companies and households from surging energy costs respects the bloc’s rules on public subsidies, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said
  • German factory orders dropped in August after the previous month was revised to show an increase, hinting at a lack of momentum as the economy stands on the brink of a recession
  • Societe Generale SA cut its exposure to counterparties on trades in China by about $80 million in the past few weeks as global banks seek to guard against any potential fallout from rising geopolitical risks in the world’s second-largest economy

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed as the region partially shrugged off the lacklustre lead from the US where the major indices snapped a firm two-day rally and finished the somewhat choppy session with mild losses amid higher yields and as Fed rhetoric essentially pushed back against a policy pivot. ASX 200 lacked direction amid underperformance in the Real Estate and the Consumer sectors, although the downside was also limited by strength in energy after oil prices were lifted by the OPEC+ output cut. Nikkei 225 was positive with notable gains in exporter names and with Rakuten leading the advances as Mizuho looks to acquire a 20% stake in Rakuten Securities for USD 555mln. Hang Seng was lacklustre and took a breather after the prior day’s more than 5% jump with the mood also not helped after Hong Kong PMI slipped into contraction territory for the first time in 6 months.

Top Asian News

  • Haikou city in China's Hainan imposed a COVID lockdown for Thursday, according to Bloomberg.
  • Malaysia PM May Propose Parliament Dissolution, Bernama Reports
  • Why Polio, Once Nearly Eradicated, Is Rebounding: QuickTake
  • Legoland Korea’s Default Flags Risks for Nation’s Developers
  • Paris Club Seeks China Collaboration in Sri Lanka Debt Talks
  • Yen Rout Is Over on Peak US Rate Hike Bets, Says Top Forecaster

European bourses are under modest pressure as sentiment broadly takes a slight turn for the worst amid limited newsflow as participants look to Friday's NFP. Currently, European benchmarks are lower by 0.1-0.3% while US futures are posting slightly larger losses of circa 0.7 ahead of Fed speak.

Top European News

  • Fitch affirmed the UK at AA-; Outlook revised to Negative from Stable, while it stated that the fiscal package announced as part of the new UK government's growth plan could lead to a significant increase in deficits over the medium-term, according to Reuters.
  • The UK Treasury is set to impose GBP 21bln of additional income taxes despite the "tax-cutting mini-budget", according to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. (Times)
  • BoE Monthly Decision Maker Panel data - September 2022; looking ahead, DMP members expected CPI inflation to be 9.5% one-year ahead, up from 8.4% in the August survey, and 4.8% in three years’ time.
  • BoE's Cunliffe says the FPC will publish its next financial policy statement and record on October 12th, liquidity conditions in the run up to the BoE gilt intervention were "very poor", MPC will make a full assessment of recent developments at its November 3rd meeting.
  • UK government has proposed easing the fee cap for illiquid assets in pensions, according to a rule consultation publication by the government.
  • Swedish Economy Shrinks More Than Estimated on Weak Industry
  • UK Tech M&A Spree Pauses as Buyers Pull Out Amid Chaotic Markets

FX

  • USD benefits from the mentioned risk tone, with the DXY extending to a 111.35 peak to the modest detriment of peers.
  • However, EUR is relatively resilient and holding around 0.99 vs the USD as we await the ECB Minutes account for near-term guidance.
  • Cable faded sub-1.1400 and reversed through 1.1300 again amid the USD's move and prior to a letter exchange from the BoE to Treasury re. the Gilt Intervention.
  • Antipodeans under pressure given the USD move and associated action in metals, while the Yuan initially lent a helping hand but this has since dissipated.
  • Given the broader tone, the traditional havens are holding near unchanged levels though yield dynamics are a hinderance.

Fixed Income

  • Gilts are once again the standout laggard following rating agency action and the BoE DMP showing inflation pressures were already elevated MM before the fiscal update.
  • As such, the UK yield has extended back above 4.10%; in the US, yields are also bid though to a much lesser extent before Fed speak and Friday's jobs.
  • Back to Europe, Bunds are pressured though only modestly so vs UK counterparts awaiting the ECB's September account

Commodities

  • Crude benchmarks are modestly firmer at present, extending marginally above yesterday’s best levels with fresh newsflow limited as participants digest yesterday’s OPEC+ action.
  • WTI and Brent are towards the mid-point of circa. USD 1/bbl ranges, though Brent Dec’22 briefly surpassed the 200-DMA at USD 94.11/bbl before moving back below the figure.
  • Acting Kuwaiti Oil Minister said the OPEC+ decision to cut output will have positive ramifications for oil markets, while they understand consumers' concerns about prices increasing but added that the main motive in OPEC+ is balancing supply and demand, according to Reuters.
  • US National Security official stated the US sanctions policy on Venezuela remains unchanged and there are no plans to change the sanctions policy without constructive steps from Maduro, according to Reuters.
  • Norway's Budget proposes changing the temporary tax rules for the petroleum sector, entails that the uplift is reduced to 12.40% (prev. 17.69%), via Reuters.
  • Saudi sets the November Arab Light OSP to N.W Europe at Ice Brent +USD 0.90/bbl; to the US at ASCI +USD 6.35/bbl, via Reuters citing a document; to Asia at Oman/Dubai +USD 5.85 (Unch.), via Reuters sources.

Geopolitics

  • North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles which were fired from Pyongyang and landed outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone, according to the South Korean military cited by Yonhap. Furthermore, North Korea said that its missile launches are counteraction measures against the US and South Korean military drills.
  • North Korean jets and bombers have been seen flying in an exercise, according to Yonhap; South Korean jets take off in response, via Reuters.
  • US State Department condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launch and said North Korea's missile launches pose a threat to regional neighbours and the international community, while it added that the US remains committed to a diplomatic approach to North Korea and called on North Korea to engage in dialogue, according to Reuters.
  • The EU has approved the 8th round of Russian sanctions; as expected.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 1.35m, prior 1.35m
  • 08:30: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 204,000, prior 193,000

Central bank Speakers

  • 08:50: Fed’s Mester Makes Opening Remarks
  • 09:15: Fed’s Kashkari Takes Part in Moderated Q&A
  • 13:00: Fed’s Evans Takes Part in Moderated Q&A
  • 13:00: Fed’s Cook Speaks on the Economic Outlook
  • 13:00: Fed’s Kashkari Discusses Cyber Risk and Financial Stability
  • 17:00: Fed’s Waller Discusses the Economic Outlook
  • 18:30: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook

DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap

After an astonishing rally at the beginning of Q4, markets reversed course yesterday as investors became much more sceptical that we’ll actually get a dovish pivot from central banks after all. The idea of a pivot has been a prominent theme over recent days, particularly after the financial turmoil during the last couple of weeks, thus sparking the biggest 2-day rally in the S&P 500 since April 2020 as the week began. But over the last 24 hours, solid US data releases have created a pushback against that narrative, since they were seen as giving the Fed more space to keep hiking rates over the coming months. And if markets had any further doubt about the Fed’s intentions, San Francisco Fed President Daly explicitly said yesterday that she didn’t expect there to be rate cuts next year, in direct contrast to futures that are still pricing in rate cuts from Q2. Indeed for a sense of just how volatile the reaction has been, 10yr bund yields were up by +16.3bps yesterday, which is their largest daily rise since March 2020 during the initial wave of the pandemic.

Looking at the details of those releases, it was evident that markets are still treating good news as bad news at the minute, since they sold off even as data pointed to a more resilient performance from the US economy than had been thought. For example, the ISM services index came in above expectations at 56.7 (vs. 56.0 expected), and the employment component moved up to a 6-month high of 53.0. So that’s a noticeably different picture to the manufacturing print on Monday, when there was a surprise contraction in the employment component. Furthermore, there was another sign of labour market strength from the ADP’s report of private payrolls, which came in at +208k in September (vs. +200k expected), and the previous month’s reading was also revised upwards. We’ll see if that picture is echoed in the US jobs report tomorrow, but there was a clear reaction to the ISM print in markets, as investors moved to upgrade the amount of Fed hikes they were expecting whilst the equity selloff accelerated.

Those expectations of a more hawkish Fed were given significant support by comments from Fed officials themselves. The most obvious came from San Francisco Fed President Daly, who was asked about the fact that futures were pricing in rate cuts, and said “I don’t see that happening at all”. In fact when it came to rates, she not only said that they were raising them into restrictive territory, but that they would be “holding it there” until inflation fell. Atlanta Fed President Bostic struck a similar tone, emphasising rate cuts in 2023 were not likely and that “I am not advocating a quick turn toward accommodation. On the contrary.” He said he wanted fed funds rates between 4% and 4.5% by the end of this year, “and then hold at that level and see how the economy and prices react.”

That backdrop led to a sizeable cross-asset selloff yesterday on both sides of the Atlantic. The effects on the rates side were particularly prominent, with 10yr US Treasury yields bouncing back +12.0bps to 3.75%. And that move was entirely driven by real yields, which rose +15.1bps as investors moved to price in a more hawkish Fed over the months ahead. You could see that taking place in Fed funds futures too, with the rate priced in for December 2023 up by +8.9bps to 4.19%, thus partially reversing the -22.2bps move lower over the previous two sessions. This morning, 10yr yields are only down -1.0 bps, so far from unwinding those moves.

The hawkish tones also proved bad news for equities, with the S&P 500 taking a breather following its blistering start to the week, retreating -0.20% after being as low as -1.80% in the New York morning. European equities did not enjoy the benefits of a New York afternoon rally, leading to a transatlantic divergence, and the STOXX 600 was down -1.02% on a broad-based decline. The energy sector outperformed in both the S&P 500 and STOXX 600 following a rally in crude oil which saw both Brent crude (+2.81%) and WTI (+2.53%) oil prices hit a 3-week high. That followed a decision from the OPEC+ group, who cut output by 2 million barrels per day. Those gains have continued in overnight trading as well, with Brent Crude now at $93.48/bbl.

In Europe, the performance of sovereign bonds echoed that for US Treasuries, as yields on 10yr bunds (+16.3bps), OATs (+17.6bps) and BTPs (+29.0bps) all saw their largest daily increases since March 2020. As in the US, that reflected growing scepticism about a dovish pivot from the ECB, but another factor not helping matters was the rebound in energy prices, with natural gas futures up +7.25% on the day to close at €174 per megawatt-hour, alongside the oil rebound mentioned above. That’s been reflected in inflation expectations too, with the 10yr German breakeven up another +8.0bps yesterday to 2.15%, after having closed beneath 2% on Monday for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.

Here in the UK, we also saw several key assets lose ground once again following their rally over the last week. For instance, sterling ended a run of 6 consecutive daily gains against the US Dollar to close -1.31% lower, closing back at $1.13. And that wasn’t simply a story of dollar strength, as the pound weakened against every other G10 currency as well. Gilts were another asset to struggle, with real yields in particular seeing significant daily rises of at least +30bps across most of the yield curve, including a +33.0bps rise for the 10yr real yield, and a +36.7bps rise for the 30yr real yield. That came as the Bank of England said they didn’t buy any gilts under their emergency operation for a second day running. In the meantime, there were fresh signs that the turmoil after the fiscal announcement was impacting the mortgage market, with Moneyfacts saying that the average 2yr fixed-rate mortgage had risen to 6.07%, which is the highest since November 2008. Last night that was then followed up by the news that Fitch had downgraded the UK’s outlook from stable to negative.

Overnight in Asia there’s been a mixed performance from the major equity indices. Both the Nikkei (+0.94%) and the Kospi (+1.25%) have recorded solid advances, which continues their run of having risen every day this week. In addition, futures in the US and Europe are both pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.49%. However, the Hang Seng is down -0.43% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 is down -0.05%, whilst markets in mainland China remain closed for a holiday. The dollar index has also lost ground overnight, falling -0.25%, which comes in spite of those hawkish comments from Fed officials pushing back against rate cuts next year.

Looking at yesterday’s other data, the final services and composite PMIs mostly echoed the data from the flash readings. The composite PMI for the Euro Area was revised down a tenth to 48.1, and the US composite PMI was revised up two-tenths to 49.5. There was a bigger rise in the UK however, where the composite PMI was revised up seven-tenths to 49.1.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the weekly initial jobless claims from the US. Meanwhile from central banks, we’ll get the ECB’s account of their September meeting, as well as remarks from the Fed’s Evans, Cook, Kashkari, Waller and Mester, and the BoE’s Haskel.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/06/2022 - 08:02

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