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Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout

Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout

Ask a drug dealer if methadone helps cure a cocaine addition and – shockingly – you will hear that the answer is "hell no", after all an affirmative response would mean the fixer.

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Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout

Ask a drug dealer if methadone helps cure a cocaine addition and - shockingly - you will hear that the answer is "hell no", after all an affirmative response would mean the fixer needs to get a real job. Just as shocking was the "admission" of Moderna CEO, Stéphane Bancel, who in the latest stop on his media whirlwind tour of the past 48 hours gave the FT an interview in which he predicted that existing vaccines will be much less effective at tackling Omicron than earlier strains of coronavirus and warned it would take months before pharmaceutical companies could manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale.

“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant],” Bancel told the Financial Times, claiming that the high number of Omicron mutations on the spike protein, which the virus uses to infect human cells, and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa suggested that the current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year. Here, the self-serving CEO whose sell-mode was fully engaged - after all what else would the maker of a vaccine for covid say than "yes, the world will need more of my product" - completely ignored the earlier comments from Barry Schoub, chairman of South Afruca's Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, who over the weekend said that the large number of mutations found in the omicron variant appears to destabilize the virus, which might make it less “fit” than the dominant delta strain. As such, it would be a far less virulent strain... but of course that would also reduce the need for Moderna's mRNA therapy and so Bancel failed to mention it.

What is grotesque is that the Moderna CEO’s comments on existing vaccines’ effectiveness against the omicron variant is “old news so should be a fade,” says Prashant Newnaha, a senior Asia-Pacific rates strategist at TD Securities in Singapore. Indeed as Bloomberg notes, Bancel reiterated comments made by Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton during the weekend.

Alas, the last thing algos care about is nuance and/or reading between the lines, and so moments after Bancel's interview hit, markets hit risk off mode on Tuesday, and yesterday’s bounce in markets immediately reversed amid fresh worries about the efficacy of currently available vaccines with U.S. equity futures dropping along with stocks in Europe. Bonds gained as investors sought havens.

After dropping as much as 1.2%, S&P futures pared losses to -0.7%, down 37 points just above 4,600. Dow Eminis were down 339 points or 1% and Nasdaq was down -0.8%. Adding to concerns is Fed Chair Jerome Powell who today will speak, alongside Janet Yellen, at the Senate Banking Committee in congressional oversight hearings related to pandemic stimulus. Last night Powell made a dovish pivot saying the new variant poses downside risks to employment and growth while adding to uncertainty about inflation. Powell's comments dragged yields lower and hit bank stocks overnight.

“The market’s reaction to reports such as Moderna’s suggest the ball is still very much in the court of proving that this will not escalate,” said Patrick Bennett, head of macro strategy for Asia at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Hong Kong. “Until that time, mode is to sell recoveries in risk and not to try and pick the extent of the selloff”

U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Most U.S. airline stocks were down: Alaska Air -5%, United -3.2%, American -3%, Spirit -2.7%, Delta -2.6%, JetBlue -2.6%, Southwest -1.7%. Here are some other notable movers today:

  • U.S. banks decline in premarket trading following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that may push back bets on when the central bank will raise rates. Citigroup (C US) -2.4%, JPMorgan (JPM US) -2.2%, Morgan Stanley (MS US) -2.6%
  • Vaccine manufacturers mixed in U.S. premarket trading after rallying in recent days and following further comments from Moderna about treating the new omicron Covid-19 variant. Pfizer (PFE US) +1.6%, Novavax  (NVAS US) +1.3%, Moderna (MRNA US) -3.8%
  • U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Alaska Air (ALK US) -5%, United (UAL US) -3.2%, American (AAL US) -3%
  • Krystal Biotech (KRYS US) jumped 4.3% in postmarket trading on Monday, extending gains after a 122% jump during the regular session. The company is offering $200m of shares via Goldman Sachs, BofA, Cowen, William Blair, according to a postmarket statement
  • MEI Pharma (MEIP US) gained 8% postmarket after the cancer-treatment company said it will hold a webcast Tuesday to report on data from the ongoing Phase 2 Tidal study evaluating zandelisib in patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma
  • Intuit (INTU US) declined 3.4% postmarket after holder Dan Kurzius, co-founder of Mailchimp, offered the stake via Goldman Sachs

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index fell to almost a seven-week low. Cyclical sectors including retail, travel and carmakers were among the biggest decliners, while energy stocks tumbled as crude oil headed for the worst monthly loss this year; every industry sector fell led by travel stocks.

Earlier in the session, the Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.6% while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. Asian stocks erased early gains to head for a third day of losses on fresh concerns that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be less effective at tackling the omicron variant. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index extended its fall to nearly 1% after having risen as much as 0.8% earlier on Tuesday. The current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year, Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in an interview with the Financial Times, adding that it may take months before pharmaceutical firms can manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale. U.S. futures also reversed gains. Property and consumer staples were the worst-performing sectors on the regional benchmark. Key gauges in Hong Kong and South Korea were the biggest losers in Asia, with the Kospi index erasing all of its gains for this year. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. The fresh bout of selling offset early optimism spurred by data showing China’s factory sentiment improved in November.

“With the slower vaccination rate and more limited health-care capacity in the region, uncertainty from the new omicron variant may seem to bring about higher economic risks for the region at a time where it is shifting towards further reopening,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asia’s stock benchmark is now down 3.5% for the month, set for its worst performance since July, as nervousness remains over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering schedule and the potential economic impact of the omicron variant. “Moderna is one of the primary mRNA vaccines out there, so the risk-off sentiment is justified,” said Kelvin Wong, an analyst at CMC Markets (Singapore) Pte. Liquidity is thinner going into the end of the year, so investors are “thinking it’s wise to take some money off the table,” he added

Japanese equities fell, reversing an earlier gain to cap their third-straight daily loss, after a report cast doubt on hopes for a quick answer to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Telecoms and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which dropped 1%, erasing an earlier gain of as much as 1.5%. Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.6% loss in the Nikkei 225. The yen strengthened about 0.4% against the dollar, reversing an earlier loss. Japanese stocks advanced earlier in the day, following U.S. peers higher as a relative sense of calm returned to global markets. Tokyo share gains reversed quickly in late afternoon trading after a Financial Times report that Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said a new vaccine may be needed to fight omicron. “The report of Moderna CEO’s remarks has bolstered an overall movement toward taking off risk,” said SMBC Trust Bank analyst Masahiro Yamaguchi. “Market participants will probably be analyzing information on vaccines and the new virus variant for the next couple of weeks, so shares will likely continue to fluctuate on these headlines.”

In FX, the dollar dropped alongside commodity-linked currencies while the yen and gold climbed and bitcoin surged as safe havens were bid. The yen swung to a gain after Moderna Inc.’s chief executive Stephane Bancel was quoted by the Financial Times saying existing vaccines may not be effective enough to tackle the omicron variant. Commodity-linked currencies including the Aussie, kiwi and Norwegian krone all declined, underperforming the dollar

In rates, treasuries held gains after flight-to-quality rally extended during Asia session and European morning, when bunds and gilts also benefited from haven flows. Stocks fell after Moderna CEO predicted waning vaccine efficacy. Intermediates lead gains, with yields richer by nearly 6bp across 7-year sector; 10-year Treasuries are richer by 5.6bp at 1.443%, vs 2.5bp for German 10-year, 4.7bp for U.K. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22. Expectations of month-end flows may support the market, and Fed Chair Powell is slated to testify to a Senate panel.      

In commodities, crude futures are off their late-Asia lows but remain in the red. WTI trades close to $68.30, stalling near Friday’s lows; Brent is off over 2.5% near $71.50. Spot gold rises ~$11 near $1,796/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME zinc outperforms, rising as much as 1.6%. 

To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 1.2% to 4,595.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 1.4% to 460.47
  • MXAP down 0.5% to 190.51
  • MXAPJ down 0.6% to 620.60
  • Nikkei down 1.6% to 27,821.76
  • Topix down 1.0% to 1,928.35
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 23,475.26
  • Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,563.89
  • Sensex down 0.2% to 57,122.74
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,255.97
  • Kospi down 2.4% to 2,839.01
  • German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36%
  • Euro up 0.6% to $1.1362
  • Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl
  • Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,796.41
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.65% to 95.72

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Euro-area inflation surged to a record for the era of the single currency and exceeded all forecasts, adding to the European Central Bank’s challenge before a crucial meeting next month on the future of monetary stimulus.
  • If the drop in government bond yields on Friday signaled how skittish markets were, fresh declines are leaving them looking no less nervous.
  • One of Germany’s most prominent economists is urging the European Central Bank to be more transparent in outlining its exit from unprecedented monetary stimulus and argues that ruling out an end to negative interest rates next year may be a mistake.
  • The Hong Kong dollar fell into the weak half of its trading band for the first time since December 2019 as the emergence of a new coronavirus variant hurt appetite for risk assets.

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asian equities traded mixed with early momentum seen following the rebound on Wall Street where risk assets recovered from Friday’s heavy selling pressure as liquidity conditions normalized post-Thanksgiving and after some of the Omicron fears abated given the mild nature in cases so far, while participants also digested a slew of data releases including better than expected Chinese Manufacturing PMI. However, markets were later spooked following comments from Moderna's CEO that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron variant. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was underpinned by early strength across its sectors aside from utilities and with gold miners also hampered by the recent lacklustre mood in the precious metal which failed to reclaim the USD 1800/oz level but remained in proximity for another attempt. In addition, disappointing Building Approvals and inline Net Exports Contribution data had little impact on sentiment ahead of tomorrow’s Q3 GDP release, although the index then faded most its gains after the comments from Moderna's CEO, while Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was initially lifted by the recent rebound in USD/JPY but then slumped amid the broad risk aversion late in the session. Hang Seng (-1.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) were varied in which the mainland was kept afloat for most the session after a surprise expansion in Chinese Manufacturing PMI and a mild liquidity injection by the PBoC, with a central bank-backed publication also suggesting that recent open market operations demonstrates an ample liquidity goal, although Hong Kong underperformed on tech and property losses and with casino names pressured again as shares in junket operator Suncity slumped 37% on reopen from a trading halt in its first opportunity to react to the arrest of its Chairman. Finally, 10yr JGBs were initially contained following early momentum in stocks and somewhat inconclusive 2yr JGB auction which showed better results from the prior, albeit at just a marginal improvement, but then was underpinned on a haven bid after fears of the Omicron variant later resurfaced.

Top Asian News

  • China’s Biggest Crypto Exchange Picks Singapore as Asia Base
  • SoftBank-Backed Snapdeal Targets $250 Million IPO in 2022
  • Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread
  • Slump in China Gas Shows Spreading Impact of Property Slowdown

Major European bourses are on the backfoot (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.5%; Stoxx 600 -1.5%) as COVID fears again take the spotlight on month-end. APAC markets were firmer for a large part of the overnight session, but thereafter the risk-off trigger was attributed to comments from Moderna's CEO suggesting that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron COVID strain. On this, some caveats worth keeping in mind - the commentary on the potential need for a vaccine does come from a vaccine maker, who could benefit from further global inoculation, whilst data on the new variant remains sparse. Meanwhile, WSJ reported Regeneron's and Eli Lilly's COVID antiviral cocktails had lost efficacy vs the Omicron variant - however, the extent to which will need to be subject to further testing. Furthermore, producers appear to be confident that they will be able to adjust their products to accommodate the new variant, albeit the timeline for mass production will not be immediate. Nonetheless, the sullied sentiment has persisted throughout the European morning and has also seeped into US equity futures: the cyclically bias RTY (-1.7%) lags the ES (-1.0%) and YM (-1.3%), whilst the tech-laden NQ (-0.5%) is cushioned by the slump in yields. Back to Europe, broad-based losses are seen across the majors. Sectors tilt defensive but to a lesser extent than seen at the European cash open. Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas, and Retail all sit at the bottom of the bunch amid the potential implications of the new COVID variant. Tech benefits from the yield play, which subsequently weighs on the Banking sector. The retail sector is also weighed on by Spanish giant Inditex (-4.3%) following a CEO reshuffle. In terms of other movers, Glencore (-0.9%) is softer after Activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners called on the Co. to spin off its coal business and divest non-core assets. In a letter seen by the FT, Glencore was also asked to improve corporate governance. In terms of equity commentary, analysts at JPM suggest investors should take a more nuanced view on reopening as the bank expects post-COVID normalisation to gradually asset itself over the course of 2022. The bank highlights hawkish central bank policy shifts as the main risk to their outlook. Thus, the analysts see European equities outperforming the US, whilst China is seen outpacing EMs. JPM targets S&P 500 at 5,050 (closed at 4,655.27 yesterday) by the end of 2022 with EPS at USD 240 – marking a 14% increase in annual EPS.

Top European News

  • Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread
  • ECB Bosses Lack Full Diplomatic Immunity, EU’s Top Court Says
  • Adler Keeps Investors Waiting for Answers on Fraud Claims
  • European Gas Prices Surge Above 100 Euros With Eyes on Russia

In FX, the Greenback may well have been grounded amidst rebalancing flows on the final trading day of November, as bank models are flagging a net sell signal, albeit relatively weak aside from vs the Yen per Cit’s index, but renewed Omicron concerns stoked by Moderna’s CEO casting considerable doubt about the efficacy of current vaccines against the new SA strain have pushed the Buck back down in any case. Indeed, the index has now retreated further from its 2021 apex set less than a week ago and through 96.000 to 95.662, with only the Loonie and Swedish Krona underperforming within the basket, and the Antipodean Dollars plus Norwegian Crown in wider G10 circles. Looking at individual pairings, Usd/Jpy has reversed from the high 113.00 area and breached a Fib just below the round number on the way down to circa 112.68 for a marginal new m-t-d low, while Eur/Usd is back above 1.1350 having scaled a Fib at 1.1290 and both have left decent option expiries some distance behind in the process (1.6 bn at 113.80 and 1.3 bn between 1.1250-55 respectively). Elsewhere, Usd/Chf is eyeing 0.9175 irrespective of a slightly weaker than forecast Swiss KoF indicator and Cable has bounced firmly from the low 1.3300 zone towards 1.3375 awaiting commentary from BoE’s Mann.

  • NZD/AUD/CAD - As noted above, the tables have turned for the Kiwi, Aussie and Loonie along with risk sentiment in general, and Nzd/Usd is now pivoting 0.6800 with little help from a deterioration in NBNZ business confidence or a decline in the activity outlook. Similarly, Aud/Usd has been undermined by much weaker than forecast building approvals and a smaller than anticipated current account surplus, but mostly keeping hold of the 0.7100 handle ahead of Q3 GDP and Usd/Cad has shot up from around 1.2730 to top 1.2800 at one stage in advance of Canadian growth data for the prior quarter and month of September as oil recoils (WTI to an even deeper trough only cents off Usd 67/brl). Back down under, 1 bn option expiry interest at 1.0470 in Aud/Nzd could well come into play given that the cross is currently hovering near the base of a 1.0483-39 range.
  • SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned downturn in risk appetite after Monday’s brief revival has hit the Sek and Nok hard, but the latter is also bearing the brunt of Brent’s latest collapse to the brink of Usd 70/brl at worst, while also taking on board that the Norges Bank plans to refrain from foreign currency selling through December having stopped midway through this month. The Rub is also feeling the adverse effect of weaker crude prices and ongoing geopolitical angst to the extent that hawkish CBR rhetoric alluding to aggressive tightening next month is hardly keeping it propped, but the Cnh and Cny continue to defy the odds or gravity in wake of a surprise pop back above 50.0 in China’s official manufacturing PMI. Conversely, the Zar is struggling to contain losses sub-16.0000 vs the Usd on SA virus-related factors even though Gold is approaching Usd 1800/oz again, while the Try is striving to stay within sight of 13.0000 following a slender miss in Turkish Q3 y/y GDP.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are once again under pressure amid the aforementioned COVID jitters threatening the demand side of the equation, albeit the market remains in a state of uncertainty given how little is known about the new variant ahead of the OPEC+ confab. It is still unclear at this point in time which route OPEC+ members will opt for, but seemingly the feasible options on the table are 1) a pause in output hikes, 2) a smaller output hike, 3) maintaining current output hikes. Energy journalists have suggested the group will likely be influenced by oil price action, but nonetheless, the findings of the JTC and JMMC will be closely watched for the group's updated forecasts against the backdrop of COVID and the recently coordinated SPR releases from net oil consumers – a move which the US pledged to repeat if needed. Elsewhere, Iranian nuclear talks were reportedly somewhat constructive – according to the Russian delegate – with working groups set to meet today and tomorrow regarding the sanctions on Iran. This sentiment, however, was not reciprocated by Western sources (cited by WSJ), which suggested there was no clarity yet on whether the teams were ready for serious negotiations and serious concessions. WTI Jan resides around session lows near USD 67.50/bbl (vs high USD 71.22/bbl), while Brent Feb dipped under USD 71/bbl (vs high USD 84.56/bb). Over to metals, spot gold remains underpinned in European trade by the cluster of DMA's under USD 1,800/oz – including the 100 (USD 1,792/oz), 200 (USD 1,791/oz) and 50 (1,790/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper is modestly softer around the USD 9,500/t mark, whilst Dalian iron ore futures meanwhile rose over 6% overnight, with traders citing increasing Chinese demand.

US Event Calendar

  • 9am: 3Q House Price Purchase Index QoQ, prior 4.9%
    • 9am: Sept. FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.0%
  • 9am: Sept. Case Shiller Composite-20 YoY, est. 19.30%, prior 19.66%; S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. 1.20%, prior 1.17%
  • 9:45am: Nov. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 67.0, prior 68.4
  • 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 111.0, prior 113.8
    • 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Present Situation, prior 147.4
    • 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Expectations, prior 91.3

Central Banks

  • 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before Senate Panel on CARES Act Relief
  • 10:30am: Fed’s Williams gives remarks at NY Fed food- insecurity event
  • 1pm: Fed’s Clarida Discusses Fed Independence

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Just as we go to print markets are reacting negatively to an interview with the Moderna CEO in the FT that has just landed where he said that with regards to Omicron, “There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level... we had with Delta…… I think it’s going to be a material drop (efficacy). I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like ‘this is not going to be good’.”” This is not really new news relative to the last 3-4 days given what we know about the new mutation but the market is picking up on the explicit comments. In response S&P futures have gone from slightly up to down just over -0.5% and Treasury yields immediately dipped -4bps to 1.46%. The Nikkei has erased gains and is down around -1% and the Hang Seng is c.-1.8%. This is breaking news so check your screens after you read this.

In China the official November PMI data came in stronger than expected with the Manufacturing PMI at 50.1 (49.7 consensus vs 49.2 previous) and the non-manufacturing PMI at 52.3 (51.5 consensus vs 52.4 previous).

The negative headlines above as we go to print followed a market recovery yesterday as investors hoped that the Omicron variant wouldn’t prove as bad as initially feared. In reality, the evidence is still incredibly limited on this question, and nothing from the Moderna CEO overnight changes that. However the more positive sentiment was also evident from the results of our flash poll in yesterday’s EMR where we had 1569 responses so very many thanks. The poll showed that just 10% thought it would still be the biggest topic in financial markets by the end of the year, with 30% instead thinking it’ll largely be forgotten about. The other 60% thought it would still be an issue but only of moderate importance. So if that’s correct and our respondents are a fair reflection of broader market sentiment, then it points to some big downside risks ahead if we get notable bad news on the variant. For the record I would have been with the majority with tendencies towards the largely forgotten about answer. So I will be as off-side as much as most of you on the variant downside risk scenario. When I did a similar poll on Evergrande 2 and a half months ago, only 8% thought it would be significantly impacting markets a month later with 78% in aggregate thinking limited mention/impact, and 15% thinking it would have no impact. So broadly similar responses and back then the 15% were most correct although the next 78% weren’t far off.

In terms of the latest developments yesterday, we’re still waiting to find out some of the key pieces of information about this new strain, including how effective vaccines still are, and about the extent of any increased risk of transmission, hospitalisation and death. Nevertheless, countries around the world are continuing to ramp up their own responses as they await this information. President Biden laid out the US strategy for tackling Omicron in a public address yesterday, underscoring the variant was a cause for concern rather than panic. He noted travel bans from certain jurisdictions would remain in place to buy authorities time to evaluate the variant, but did not anticipate that further travel bans or domestic lockdowns would be implemented, instead urging citizens to get vaccinated or a booster shot.

Over in Europe, Bloomberg reported that EU leaders were discussing whether to have a virtual summit on Friday about the issue, and Poland moved to toughen up their own domestic restrictions, with a 50% capacity limit on restaurants, hotels, gyms and cinemas. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel and Vice Chancellor Scholz will be meeting with state premiers today, whilst the UK government’s vaccination committee recommended that every adult be eligible for a booster shot, rather than just the over-40s at present. Boosters have done a tremendous job in dramatically reducing cases in the elder cohort in the UK in recent weeks so one by product of Omicron is that it may accelerate protection in a wider age group everywhere. Assuming vaccines have some impact on Omicron this could be a positive development, especially if symptoms are less bad.

Markets recovered somewhat yesterday, with the S&P 500 gaining +1.32% to recover a large portion of Friday’s loss. The index was driven by mega-cap tech names, with the Nasdaq up +1.88% and small cap stocks underperforming, with the Russell 2000 down -0.18%, so the market wasn’t completely pricing out omicron risks by any means. Nevertheless, Covid-specific names performed how you would expect given the improved sentiment; stay-at-home trades that outperformed Friday fell, including Zoom (-0.56%), Peloton (-4.35%), and HelloFresh (-0.8%), while Moderna (+11.80%) was the biggest winner following the weekend news that a reformulated vaccine could be available in early 2022. Elsewhere, Twitter (-2.74%) initially gained after it was announced CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey would be stepping down, but trended lower throughout the rest of the day. The broader moves put the index back in positive territory for the month as we hit November’s last trading day today. Europe saw its own bounceback too, with the STOXX 600 up +0.69%.

Over in rates, the partial unwind of Friday’s moves was even smaller, with yields on 10yr Treasuries moving up +2.6bps to 1.50%, driven predominantly by real rates, as inflation breakevens were a touch narrower across the curve. One part of the curve that didn’t retrace Friday’s move was the short end, where markets continued to push Fed rate hikes back ever so slightly, with the first full hike now being priced for September (though contracts as early as May still price some meaningful probability of Fed hikes). We may see some further movements today as well, with Fed Chair Powell set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 15:00 London time, where he may well be asked about whether the Fed plans to accelerate the tapering of their asset purchases although it’s hard to believe he’ll go too far with any guidance with the Omicron uncertainty. The Chair’s brief planned testimony was published on the Fed’s website last night. It struck a slightly more hawkish tone on inflation, noting that the Fed’s forecast was for elevated inflation to persist well into next year and recognition that high inflation imposes burdens on those least able to handle them. On omicron, the testimony predictably stated it posed risks that could slow the economy’s progress, but tellingly on the inflation front, it could intensify supply chain disruptions. The real fireworks will almost certainly come in the question and answer portion of the testimony.

The bond moves were more muted in Europe though, with yields on 10yr bunds (+2.0bps), OATs (+1.0bps) and BTPs (+0.4bps) only seeing a modest increase.

Crude oil prices also didn’t bounce back with as much rigor as equities. Brent gained +0.99% while WTI futures increased +2.64%. They are back down -1 to -1.5% this morning.

Elsewhere in DC, Senator Joe Manchin noted that Democrats could raise the debt ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, but indicated a preference for the increase not to be included in the build back better bill, for which his support still seems lukewarm. We’re approaching crucial deadlines on the debt ceiling and financing the federal government, so these headlines should become more commonplace over the coming days.

There were some further developments on the inflation front yesterday as Germany reported that inflation had risen to +6.0% in November (vs. +5.5% expected) on the EU-harmonised measure, and up from +4.6% in October. The German national measure also rose to +5.2% (vs. +5.0% expected), which was the highest since 1992. Speaking of Germany, Bloomberg reported that the shortlist for the Bundesbank presidency had been narrowed down to 4 candidates, which included Isabel Schnabel of the ECB’s Executive Board, and Joachim Nagel, who’s currently the Deputy Head of the Banking Department at the Bank for International Settlements. Today we’ll likely get some further headlines on inflation as the flash estimate for the entire Euro Area comes out, as well as the numbers for France and Italy.

There wasn’t much in the way of other data yesterday, though UK mortgage approvals fell to 67.2k in October (vs. 70.0k expected), which is their lowest level since June 2020. Separately, US pending home sales were up +7.5% in October (vs. +1.0% expected), whilst the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing activity index for November unexpectedly fell to 11.8 (vs. 15.0 expected). Finally, the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area dipped to 117.5 in November as expected, its weakest level in 6 months.

To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November.

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 07:50

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Futures Levitate Higher After China Vows To Accelerate Reopening

Futures Levitate Higher After China Vows To Accelerate Reopening

US futures were flat as the Fed minutes did not help resolve the uncertainty…

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Futures Levitate Higher After China Vows To Accelerate Reopening

US futures were flat as the Fed minutes did not help resolve the uncertainty about the path of Federal Reserve monetary tightening, while fresh prospects about China’s economic reopening sent oil higher. Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 futures were up 0.2% at 745am ET having recovered from an earlier loss, as traders assessed minutes from the Fed’s last meeting which noted that officials saw risks from tightening more than necessary even as they planned on hiking until inflation was on a steady downward slope, while President Xi Jinping’s comments that China will persist with opening up its economy were also in focus and boosted commodities. The dollar gave up gains, and Treasury yields dipped, reversing some of this week's sharp gains. Bitcoin traded in a tight range around $23,500.

In US premarket trading, Cisco Systems advanced after issuing an upbeat forecast for quarterly sales as chip-supply shortages ease and the company is able to fill more orders. Keep an eye on US building products stocks as Deutsche Bank initiates coverage on 22 names, saying the US housing market is in the midst of a “mid-cycle crisis,” but that this is likely to be different from the downturn seen in the mid-2000s. Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • Bluebird Bio’s (BLUE) shares rise as much as 10% as analysts digest yesterday’s FDA clearance of its Zynteglo therapy, ahead of its launch call due later today.
  • BJ’s Wholesale (BJ) shares gain 6% after the warehouse club operator reported adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter that beat the average analyst estimate.
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO) rose 6% after issuing an upbeat forecast for quarterly sales as chip-supply shortages ease and the company is able to fill more orders.
  • Elanco Animal Health (ELAN) cut to equal-weight from overweight at Morgan Stanley as visibility on the firm’s outlook remains weak. Elanco shares fall 1.7% in US premarket trading.
  • Estee Lauder (EL) falls 1.3% after the beauty company’s forecasts for first quarter and the full year trailed consensus estimates. In Europe, shares of L’Oreal declined after EL’s release.
  • Five months after disclosing a stake in Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., (BBBY) activist shareholder Ryan Cohen wants out, sparking a selloff in the shares of the home goods retailer. Shares fall 13%.
  • Kohl’s (KSS) drops 7% after slashing its guidance for the year, including adjusted earnings per share, operating margin and net sales growth. Peer Macy’s (M), which reports Aug. 23, falls 3%.
  • Mattel (MAT) rises 0.8% after it was initiated with a buy rating at BofA, which said that the company has “successfully” completed its turnaround and is now in growth mode.
  • MoffettNathanson cut the recommendation on Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) to underperform from market perform, as T-Mobile widens its competitive advantage in 5G and AT&T undercuts it with aggressive promotions. Verizon shares fall 0.8%.
  • NetEase (NTES) shares rise as much as 3% after the Chinese video-game giant’s 2Q revenue came in slightly above the consensus analyst estimate.
  • NuScale Power (SMR) was initiated with a recommendation of buy at Guggenheim Securities, as analyst Shahriar Pourreza says its “shares represent one of the only opportunities for public exposure to the next generation of nuclear.” Shares gain 4%.

While policy makers warned against over-tightening and signaled the potential for slower rate increases at some point, they also flagged the risk of inflation pressures becoming entrenched. The nuanced messaging wasn’t dovish enough for markets to sustain a risk-on stance into Thursday. Caution was the byword of the moment with further clues awaited at the Fed’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming next week.

“People are a little overly optimistic about how likely it is that we can solve the inflation problem quickly and in a way where we don’t have to include more policy and more rising rates,” Kathryn Kaminski, AlphaSimplex Group chief research strategist and portfolio manager, said on Bloomberg Television.

While most saw the FOMC minutes as dovish, others disagreed. According to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, the Fed meeting minutes were more hawkish than what was needed to give another boost to US equities. “Investors quickly realized that there was no mention of cutting the rates in the foreseeable future. If anything, the Fed would continue lifting the rates, and keep them steady for a while.”

Equities had rallied in recent weeks as investors bet July’s softer inflation print would allow the Fed to rethink its aggressive pace of hiking rates. The Nasdaq 100 had led the advance amid relief at the prospect of easier policy, boosted by raging CTA buying, stock buybacks, a return of retail investors and hedge funds forced to FOMO-chase higher.

"This rally is over-extended in the technology sector,” said Freddie Lait, chief investment officer at Latitude Investment Management. “The relative valuation of most of those Nasdaq stocks compared to other stocks around the world has become extreme again, and positioning has become quite extreme again, and so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that rolling over into the end of the summer.” The Nasdaq 100 is now trading at 23.2 times forward earnings, above the average level of 20.2 times over the past decade.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index was 0.2% higher as the latest report of euro-area inflation met expectations, sparing traders of any ugly surprise. FTSE MIB outperforms, adding 0.4%, IBEX lags, dropping 0.2%. Autos, energy and chemicals are the strongest-performing sectors. Concerns of tightening monetary conditions increased after the European Central Bank’s Governing Council member Martins Kazaks said rate hikes will continue in the region. Thin trading exaggerated moves across markets. The Stoxx 600 witnessed a 33% drop in volumes relative to the 30-day average. Here are the biggest European movers:

  • Siegfried shares jump as much as 13%, the most since October 1998, after 1H results analysts say were a significant beat, also noting effective management of macro risks.
  • GN Store Nord shares rise as much as 10% after the Danish audio firm presented its latest earnings, which included a guidance cut that was less pessimistic than analysts expected.
  • Zur Rose shares rise as much as 14%, the most since May, after its latest earnings report, which includes a goal to be profitable in 2023, a plan Jefferies call “very positive.”
  • Nibe rise as much as 8.6% after the Swedish heat pump manufacturer published earnings. Analysts note solid results, which beat expectations, as well as a positive outlook.
  • Global Fashion Group shares rise as much as 31%, the most intraday on record, after reporting better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter, also offering some FY clarity.
  • Balfour Beatty shares rise as much as 3.8% after Peel Hunt further raised FY22 profit forecasts for the UK construction and engineering firm and saw scope for material share price upside.
  • Adyen shares tumble the most since 2018 as 1H Ebitda and net revenue missed consensus analyst forecasts. Analysts point out that accelerated hiring is also a cause of Ebitda miss.
  • AutoStore shares wipe out an earlier jump of 13% to fall as much as 6.8%. Analysts say results look strong, albeit they note a small miss on orders and guidance for more margin pressure in 2H.
  • Made.com shares drop as much as 12%, biggest decliner in the FTSE All-Share Index, after the online furniture seller said it’s considering “all options” to strengthen its balance sheet.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as disappointing results from some key Chinese firms and worries about the outlook for the region’s biggest economy weighed on investor sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped as much as 0.7%, with benchmarks in the biggest markets of Japan and China down close to 1%. Risk appetite improved a smidge after President Xi Jinping said China will persist with opening up its economy, the comments coming in after the nation’s markets closed. China’s largest developer Country Garden Holdings, saw its stock slump after it warned that first-half earnings probably tumbled by as much as 70% amid an escalating property crisis. Tencent, the nation’s most-valuable company, logged its first-ever revenue drop though its shares -- which have fallen for three straight months -- advanced.

Thursday’s losses in Asia tracked declines in US shares overnight. Minutes of the Fed’s latest meeting showed that officials agreed on the need to eventually dial back the pace of interest-rate hikes but also wanted to gauge how their monetary tightening was working toward curbing US inflation.  The minutes “lacked fresh impetus needed to bring up the pricing of Fed’s rate hikes,” Saxo Capital Markets’ Asia-Pacific strategy team wrote in a note. “Chairman Powell’s speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium next week will be keenly watched for further inputs.” Meanwhile, consumer discretionary and technology were among the worst-performing sectors on the Asian benchmark. Goldman Sachs and Nomura further cut their forecasts for China’s economic growth, with a power supply crunch adding more uncertainty to the outlook.

Japanese stocks fell, following US peers lower after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed officials see risks from tightening more than necessary. The Topix fell 0.8% to close at 1,990.50, while the Nikkei declined 1% to 28,942.14. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix decline, decreasing 1.8%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 565 rose and 1,503 fell, while 102 were unchanged.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to close at 7,112.80 as investors assessed a slew of corporate results and jobs data. Australian employment unexpectedly dropped in July, giving the Reserve Bank scope for more flexibility in its tightening cycle. Telix Pharma slumped after reporting a net loss for the first half. IPH was the top performer after saying it’s buying Canadian firm Smart & Biggar. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3% to 11,814.34.

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced a second day and the greenback rose versus most of its Group-of-10 peers, with Norway’s krone as the best performer. The euro traded in a narrow range against the dollar for a third consecutive day. Norway’s krone extended an advance versus the euro after Norges Bank raised the key interest rate to 1.75% from 1.25%, in line with what most economists in a Bloomberg survey had expected. The central bank also said the policy rate “will most likely be raised further in September.” The pound extended losses against the dollar, hitting the lowest since July 26, amid broad-based greenback strength.
The yen fell in a volatile session as traders mulled rising US yields and their negative impact on stocks. Japan’s government bond yields rose

In rates, Treasuries were slightly richer across the curve with gains led by long-end, having outperformed bunds and gilts during European morning. US yields richer by ~2bp across long-end of the curve with 5s30s spread flatter by ~1bp on the day; 10-year yields around 2.87% within narrow overnight range, outperforming bunds by 4bp in the sector. Front-end German yields lag after ECB’s Isabel Schnabel says the euro area’s inflation outlook has not changed fundamentally.  Bunds bear-flattened out to the 10-year sector as money markets added to ECB tightening bets after the ECB’s Schnabel said the euro area’s inflation outlook has not changed fundamentally, in an interview cited by Reuters, suggesting that another hike of similar magnitude may be coming next month.  Australia’s bond yields trimmed opening gains and the nation’s currency eased after employment contracted for the first time since October 2021.

In commodities, oil jumps to session high after Xi says China will persist with opening up its economy. WTI rises 1.5% to trade around $89. Spot gold rises roughly $4 to trade near $1,766/oz. Most base metals trade in the red; LME nickel falls 0.5%, underperforming peers. LME copper outperforms, adding 1%, after Xi’s comments

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

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,265.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.1% to 438.54
  • MXAP down 0.6% to 161.98
  • MXAPJ down 0.5% to 526.40
  • Nikkei down 1.0% to 28,942.14
  • Topix down 0.8% to 1,990.50
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.8% to 19,763.91
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,277.54
  • Sensex down 0.3% to 60,079.59
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,112.78
  • Kospi down 0.3% to 2,508.05
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 1.11%
  • Euro down 0.1% to $1.0165
  • Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,763.18
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.20% to 106.79

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The US says it has commenced bilateral trade negotiations w/Taiwan, something Washington signaled was going to happen back in June. WSJ
  • A United Nations expert on slavery has found it “reasonable to conclude” that forced labour is taking place in the China’s far-western region of Xinjiang. SCMP
  • China’s state media said local governments could sell more than $229 billion of bonds to fund infrastructure investment and plug budget gaps, a further move by Beijing to shore up an economy hit by worsening coronavirus outbreaks and a property slump. BBG
  • More AMTD intrigue. The investment firm that stunned investors when its post-IPO stock soared 32,000% was probed by Hong Kong's watchdog even before its US listing, people familiar said. AMTD Group's office and the home of ex-UBS banker Calvin Choi were searched in February 2021. The regulator investigated its underwriting arrangements as recently as November, one person said. BBG
  • Norway hiked by 50 bps to 1.75% and flagged the potential for another increase of that magnitude next month. ECB official Martins Kazaks said euro-area rates will continue to go up, while his colleague Isabel Schnabel suggested another big hike may come in September. The Philippines raised by 50 bps as expected. Sri Lanka held. Turkey is expected to follow suit later. BBG
  • Tighter links between crypto and US stock prices are forcing digital asset hedge funds to consider buying expensive data from other markets. The influx of traditional trading firms into crypto, which already have the inputs needed to track what's up in stocks, is also adding pressure. Hedge fund bosses said crypto firms may see market data costs rise to $500,000 a month from near zero. BBG
  • Allen Weisselberg, a long-time executive for Donald Trump’s company, will plead guilty on Thurs and while he won’t implicate the former president or Trump’s family, his testimony could be used against the Trump Organization. NYT
  • The decision of 10 members of the House of Representatives to vote to impeach former President Trump has cost some of them their seats, including the most vocal critic, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who lost the state's primary Tuesday to Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman.  Trump has spent most of his post-presidency backing candidates who are running against the lawmakers he considers disloyal to him. Four of these 10 Republicans have lost the primaries, four have chosen not to seek reelection, and two made it through their primaries and are running in November’s general election to keep their seats. USA Today
  • AMZN is searching for a senior movie-studio executive to help lead its growing entertainment division, turning to rivals for a chance to poach an experienced Hollywood player. Amazon Studios has held conversations with several Hollywood leaders about the role, including NFLX's film head, Scott Stuber, one of the streamer’s most powerful and visible executives, according to people familiar with the matter. WSJ
  • The probability of a 75 bps rate hike in September, which was climbing on Wednesday morning, dropped below 50% after the FOMC minutes....

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

APAC stocks mostly declined following the weak handover from global counterparts which were pressured as yields climbed on the back of the red-hot UK inflation data and with only a brief reprieve seen after the FOMC Minutes noted many officials saw a risk the Fed could tighten more than necessary. ASX 200 was subdued as participants digested the latest influx of earnings releases and disappointing jobs data which showed a surprise contraction in headline Employment Change. Nikkei 225 slipped back beneath the 29,000 level in tandem with the overall downbeat sentiment. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp conformed to the glum mood after both Goldman Sachs and Nomura cut their China GDP growth forecasts and with focus also on earnings releases including Tencent after it posted its first-ever decline in quarterly revenue although its shares were lifted and it had vowed a return to growth, while Country Garden led the declines after the developer issued a profit warning of as much as an 87% drop in H1 net.

Top Asian News

  • China may issue CNY 1.5tln in additional debt as part of an investment push, according to China Securities News.
  • China's COVID-19 cases rose to a 3-month high of 3,424 on Wednesday from 2,888 the day before.
  • Nomura cut its China 2022 GDP growth forecast to 2.8% from 3.3%.
  • China's MOFCOM says, re. US CHIPS act, some provisions restrict normal economic, trade and investment activities of relevant enterprises in China. Will, when necessary, take forceful measures to safeguard interests.
  • China's President Xi says they will persist with opening up the economy, via CCTV.
  • China's banking regulator is reportedly looking into the property sector loan portfolios of some local/foreign lenders to assess systemic risk, via Reuters citing sources.

European bourses began the session mixed/flat and are yet to gain any real traction in relatively limited newsflow, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.5%.  Though, it is worth pointing out DAX 40 +1.0% outperformance, after lagging on Wednesday, amid strength in their heavyweight industry names. Stateside, performance is similar ahead of a few corporate updates, data and Fed speak, ES +0.1%

Top European News

  • The FTSE 100’s Weirdly Good Run of Form Hits a Wall of Problems
  • Norway Raises Rates to Highest in Decade to Stem Inflation
  • Embracer CEO Eyes IP Windfall After Buying ‘Lord of the Rings’
  • PwC Raises UK Partner Pay to £1 Million for First Time
  • ‘Enough Is Enough’ Rally Pulls UK Crowds as Rail Strike Begins
  • Truss Planning Review of Regulators in City of London Shakeup

FX

  • Buck bounces after brief post-FOMC minutes dip on dovish elements, DXY touches Fib at 106.960 from 106.500 low.
  • Euro derives more support from rising EGB yields amidst hawkish ECB commentary, EUR/USD holds around 1.0150 amidst raft of option expiries extending beyond 1.0200.
  • Norwegian Krona underpinned by another half point hike from Norges Bank and signal for further tightening in September, EUR/NOK towards base of 9.8550-9.9150 range.
  • Aussie finds support at psychological level against Greenback after mixed jobs data, but Kiwi cautious ahead of NZ trade, AUD/USD nearer 0.6950 than 0.6900, NZD/USD closer to 0.6250 than 0.6300.
  • Sterling still stunned by double digit UK CPI and economic ramifications, Cable ducks under 1.2000, albeit fractionally and briefly.
  • Loonie gleans some traction from firmer oil prices pre-Canadian PPI, USD/CAD closer to 1.2900 than 1.2950.
  • Yuan retreats amidst reports of property loan portfolio probes and PBoC LPR cuts, USD/CNY 6.7900+ and USD/CNH 6.8000+.

Fixed Income

  • EGBs and Gilts regain some poise after extended and heavy declines on hawkish ECB rhetoric.
  • Bunds back up near 154.00 within 154.47-153.24 range, UK benchmark 114.00+ between 114.41-113.63 parameters.
  • US Treasuries idling post-FOMC minutes and pre-busy agenda - 10 year T-note flat at 118.24+ vs 119-01+ high and 118-18 low.

Commodities

  • WTI and Brent were bolstered by rhetoric from the Russian Defence Ministry re. Zaporizhia and as China's President Xi spoke
  • Currently, the benchmarks are in proximity to their respective highs of USD 89.56/bbl and USD 95.44/bbl.
  • Spot gold experienced a marginal haven bid bringing the yellow metal to an incremental new session peak of USD 1767/oz and eclipsing the 21-DMA at USD 1764/oz.
  • Broader metal space is mixed and features essentially unchanged action for Aluminium, after Wednesday’s noted rally, while LME Copper has climbed back towards a test of the USD 8k handle

Central Banks

  • ECB's Schnabel says a recession alone would not be enough to control inflation, growth is going to slow and a technical EZ recession is possible. Inflation concerns from before the July hike have not alleviated, outlook is unchanged. Number of indicators point to a de-anchoring of inflation expectations. Short-term inflation could still accelerate. Re. fragmentation: markets are more stable now, but volatility is elevated and liquidity is low.
  • Norwegian Key Policy Rate 1.75% vs. Exp. 1.75% (Prev. 1.25%) via a unanimous decision; policy rate will most likely be raised further in September. Click here for reaction & newsquawk analysis.
  • BoE will aim to unwind the full stock of Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme (CBPS) holdings at end-2023/early-2024, subject to market conditions.
  • Turkey's central bank shocked markets when it unexpectedly cut rates by 100bps to 13% from 14%. All 21 economists polled by Bloomberg had expected an unchanged print.

DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tyler Durden Thu, 08/18/2022 - 08:18

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Economics

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

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

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The Eurodollar curve…

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

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

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

Data from CME and Fed via Wall Street Journal.

Eurodollar Curve

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

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

Five Not-Quite-Impossible Things the Market Believes

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

  1. Inflation is transitory. 

  2. The Fed realizes this in time.

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

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

  5. So consumer spending rises in real terms. 

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

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

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

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

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

Is the Market Forward Looking?

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

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

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

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

The Fed Will Hike Until It Breaks Something

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Globally Speaking 

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

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

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

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

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

*  *  *

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

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Bonds

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

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

Futures were grinding gingerly higher, perhaps celebrating the…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Market Snapshot

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

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

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

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

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

Top Asian News

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

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

Top European News

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

FX

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

Fixed Income

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

Commodities

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

Geopolitics

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

US Event Calendar

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

DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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