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S&P Futures Inexplicably Dip As “Magical, Non-Stop Rally” Reverses

S&P Futures Inexplicably Dip As "Magical, Non-Stop Rally" Reverses



S&P Futures Inexplicably Dip As "Magical, Non-Stop Rally" Reverses Tyler Durden Thu, 09/03/2020 - 08:06

After nine consecutive days of record highs and after closing higher on Wednesday for the ninth time in the past 10 sessions, S&P futures have done something they haven't done in a long time: following a "magical, non-stop rally in stocks continues" as Adam Button of ForexLive dubbed it, futures are down this morning, trading down 0.5% at session lows as of 730am at 3,564, down some 20 points from their all time high hit yesterday.

Chip makers including Nvidia fell in the premarket while banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America on the back of a Deutsche Bank upgrade and as the rotation away from tech stocks looked set to extend. Shares of Apple, Adobe, Nvidia and Netflix, all of which have soared more than 70% this year, slipped about 2% each in premarket trading, following yesterday's declines as the gamma trade appears to be unwinding. Tesla tumbled 6.6%, falling for the third session after announcing a $5 billion stock offering. PVH Corp rose 2.5% after Calvin Klein owner posted a surprise quarterly profit, boosted by strong online demand for comfortable and casual clothing during the coronavirus-led shift to work from home.

"What we are seeing is a little bit of profit-taking now in the big tech sector as people look to rebalance their portfolios going into the last part of this year," Ann Berry, partner at Cornell Capital LLC, said on Bloomberg TV. "Folks are trying to go back to basics a little bit as we continue to see these surges and the topping out in the value of the market right now."

The perplexing decline in Emini futures took place even as European shares jumped the most in a month on the back of continued EURUSD weakness (the pair dipped to 1,1790 after hitting 1.20 two days ago) and after France introduced new stimulus measures to drive the economy and spur job creation.

France plans to spend €100 billion to pull its economy out of a deep coronavirus-induced slump, signalling renewed efforts by President Emmanuel Macron to push through a pro-business reform agenda. The stimulus equates to 4% of GDP, meaning France is plowing more public cash into its economy than any other big European country as a percentage of GDP, an official said ahead of its formal launch later on Thursday. France’s recession, marked by a 13.8% second quarter GDP contraction that coincided with the country’s COVID-19 lockdown and is set to generate an 11% drop in 2020 as a whole, has also been one of Europe’s deepest.

As a result, France’s CAC 40 Index surged as much as 2% amid a broad rally in Europe that showed the stock market advance is continuing to expand beyond the tech sector, while the euro dipped for a third day on signals the European Central Bank is concerned about the currency’s strength (see "With A Record Number Of Bulls, The Euro Is Ripe To Tumble After "Euphoric Run"). Meanwhile, the French Service PMI dipped from 51.9 in July to 51.5 in August, missing expectations of 51.9, even as Germany posted a modest beat (51.9 vs exp. 51.6, last 51.6).

Commenting on the European PMIs, Goldman said that the Euro area composite PMI was revised up by 0.3pt from its flash estimate of 51.6 for August. This reflected a sizeable upward revision to the German composite PMI (concentrated in the service sector), which more than offset the downward flash-to-final revision in France and (implicitly) elsewhere in the Euro area. Both the Italian and Spanish composite PMIs came in below expectations, especially the latter, declining by 3.0 and 4.4pt respectively. The August PMIs across the Euro area indicate a slowdown in the pace of recovery—with a potential contraction in Spain, but also Italy—after a notably stronger-than-expected initial rebound from the April trough.

The Stoxx 600 Travel & Leisure Index climbed to the highest since June 10, while the Auto & Parts Index reaches best level since June 8, amid optimism surrounding the quest for a Covid-19 vaccine, fresh economic stimulus in France, and a weaker euro boosting exporters. SXTP up 2.7% leading the Stoxx 600; IAG (+6%), Carnival (+5.7%) and Easyjet (+5.7%) lead SXTP; Peugeot (+4.9%), Renault (+4.8%), Fiat Chrysler (+3.8%) lead SXAP; The first results showing whether a vaccine can stop people from getting the virus could come by mid-September from AstraZeneca, according to Airfinity, an analytics company that tracks drug trials, while two other contenders may also have initial data before a key FDA meeting on Oct. 22

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were little changed, with energy falling and IT rising, after rising in the last session. Markets in the region were mixed, with South Korea's Kospi Index and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rising, and Jakarta Composite and Shanghai Composite falling. The Topix gained 0.5%, with Fukushima Bank and Solxyz rising the most. China's Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.6%, with Bohai Ferry Group Ltd and Jilin Forest Ind posting the biggest slides.

Global stock have been rising on continued central bank stimulus as well as renewed hopes for a coronavirus vaccine, fueling a catch-up trade in markets that had lagged the U.S. The S&P 500 jumped 1.5% yesterday to hit another record and Japanese stocks are trading at the highest since February. Data on Thursday is likely to show the number of Americans filing for weekly jobless claims remained elevated in the latest week, but dipped below the 1 million mark. Separately, reading on ISM’s services index probably edged lower to 57 in August from 58.1. The critical monthly payrolls report by the Labor Department is set for release on Friday. Signs that the U.S. economic recovery is faltering has raised concerns about depleting federal aid. At the same time, investors are hopeful that the next fiscal coronavirus relief bill could be unveiled in the coming days.

“Markets continue to show unrestrained faith in the capacity of central bank liquidity to chart a relatively smooth path for the global economy out of the Covid challenges,” said Stephen Miller, investment strategist at GSFM.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - after halting eviction - told states to prepare for a Covid-19 vaccine to be ready by Nov. 1, an aggressive goal that suggests availability just before the presidential election.  Anthony Fauci warned of a potential surge in American cases from the coming long holiday weekend.

In FX, the dollar rose against G-10 peers, with the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbing a third day. The euro headed for the biggest three-day decline since June following signals that the ECB is concerned about the strength of the common currency. The pound dropped a second day against the greenback. Norway’s krone and the New Zealand dollar led losses among G-10 currencies.

In rates, Treasury yields were little changed across a steeper curve, off session highs reached during European morning. Yields were cheaper by less than 1bp across the curve, with 2s10s and 5s30s curves marginally steeper; 10-year yields around 0.655% with bunds outperforming and gilts lagging, each by ~1bp. At 11am, the Treasury Department will announce sizes of next week’s three coupon auctions; based on its forecasts in Aug. 5 refunding announcement, expectation is for $50b 3-year new issue (vs $48b last month), $35b 10-year reopening (vs $29b in previous cycle) and $23b 30-year reopening (vs $19b).

In commodities, WTI and Brent continued to drift lower, with Brent down more than 1%, partly weighed on by the firmer USD, while traders kept an eye on the supply side of the equation as Gulf of Mexico production comes back online, while comments from Russian Energy Minister Novak yesterday, regarding oil demand at ~90% of pre-pandemic levels and calling on OPEC to take this into account, hinted at a potential proposal of early tapering of the OPEC+ output curbs. Gold dropped for the third day on the back of continued dollar strength, further decoupling from real rates.

Looking at the day ahead, the ISM services index from the US will be the highlight, as well as the weekly initial jobless claims and the July trade balance from the US. Central bank speakers today include BoE Governor Bailey as well as Deputy Governor Ramsden, along with the ECB’s Schnabel and the Fed’s Evans. Campbell Soup, Ciena, Broadcom and DocuSign are among companies reporting earnings.

Market Wrap

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 3,575.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 375.28
  • MXAP up 0.08% to 174.30
  • MXAPJ down 0.1% to 577.19
  • Nikkei up 0.9% to 23,465.53
  • Topix up 0.5% to 1,631.24
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.5% to 25,007.60
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,384.98
  • Sensex up 0.02% to 39,093.85
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.8% to 6,112.61
  • Kospi up 1.3% to 2,395.90
  • German 10Y yield rose 0.5 bps to -0.468%
  • Euro down 0.3% to $1.1823
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 6.3 bps to 0.846%
  • Spanish 10Y yield rose 1.5 bps to 0.346%
  • Brent futures down 1.4% to $43.81/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,934.71
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changedat at 92.87

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • The euro area’s recovery ran out of steam midway through the third quarter, with gauges of activity pointing to contractions in Italy and Spain. While manufacturing output rose markedly in August, the larger services sectors aw only marginal growth, according to an IHS Markit report. Orders increased at a slower pace, job cuts continued and confidence about the outlook eased
  • Boris Johnson’s officials are urgently working to avert a major border crisis when the U.K. leaves the European Union’s trade regime. According to a leaked document, ministers are asking hauliers and other industry groups for help to avoid chaos at the border when the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told states to get ready for coronavirus vaccine distribution as early as November 1 -- days before the presidential election
  • Coronavirus cases surpass 26 million globally while deaths exceed 863,000
  • Sanofi started human trials for its vaccine, aiming for results in December and planning to then move on quickly to late-state trials
  • French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 100 billion-euro ($118 billion) stimulus plan to restart the country’s economy after the pandemic, including wage subsidies, tax cuts for businesses and funding for green projects

A quick stroll across global markets, courtesy of NewsSquawk

Asian equity markets ultimately closed mixed after a predominantly positive session following the firm handover from US peers in which the S&P 500 and Nasdaq extended on record highs and DJIA climbed back above 29,000 amid dovish central bank rhetoric and vaccine optimism. ASX 200 (+0.8%) gained from the open with the index led by its top-weighted financials sector and sentiment underpinned by tax cut hopes after Treasurer Frydenberg announced that the government plans to bring forward tax reductions. Nikkei 225 (+0.9%) found support from a favourable currency and after Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga confirmed he will run in the party leadership race and will continue with Abenomics policies, while index heavyweight Fast Retailing was also buoyed after its domestic same-store sales surged 29.8% last month. Hang Seng (-0.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.6%) were initially positive after stronger than expected data in which Caixin Services PMI topped estimates and Caixin Composite PMI improved, although upside was later reversed following a relatively tepid liquidity effort by the PBoC which resulted to a daily net injection of CNY 20bln and due to US-China tensions after the US imposed fresh restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the US. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher as they tracked recent gains in T-notes despite the strength seen in equity markets, with prices kept afloat amid declining yields and following marginal improvement in the 30yr JGB auction results.

Top Asian News

  • Investors Pile Into OCBC’s Biggest Dollar Bond in Six Years
  • Hong Kong Media Mogul Jimmy Lai Acquitted in Intimidation Case
  • China Affirms Right to Approve Tech Deals as TikTok Sale Looms
  • Singapore’s MAS to Boost Access to Dollar Funding for Banks

European equity markets continue on their upwards trajectory (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.2%) in a continuation of yesterday’s price action and following a firm handover from Wall Street, although a divergence is seen between European and US equity futures, with the latter potentially weighed on by the stalemate on Capitol Hill, whilst NQ underperforms in what seems to be an unwind of the recent tech rally. Note: some have attributed the upside in Europe to a piece via the FT noting that ECB members are likely to cut their inflation projections at next week’s meeting amid the recent EUR strength. However, it is worth keeping in mind that price action does not correlate with the timing of the piece, with futures stable until the European cash open, almost three hours after markets picked up on the FT report. Nonetheless, the region experiences a sea of green with some underperformance seen in UK’s FTSE (+0.6) – weighed on by some large-cap miners as metals succumb to the Dollar. Sectors also reside in positive territory across the board with no clear risk bias to be extracted. Basic resources are the laggards whilst Travel & Leisure top the charts, possibly underpinned by vaccine hopes after NIH’s Fauci said there could be a vaccine ready by November or December. The IT sector meanwhile failed to garner much traction from reports that China is said to be mulling broader chip-sector support to battle US President Trump. In terms of individual movers, Sanofi (+0.7%) and GSK (+0.5%) have not deviated much since the cash open despite initiating its Phase 1/2 trial for its protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, with pre-clinical studies showing promising safety and immunogenicity. Iliad (-3.1%) shares have tumbled after reporting a mixed bag of earnings. Finally, Siemens Healthineers (-3.6%) stand as one of the laggards after the group commenced a cash capital increase.

Top European News

  • Europe’s Rebound Lost Momentum With Italy, Spain Shrinking Again
  • Merkel Bloc Backs Plan for Extra Deficit Spending Next Year
  • Merkel Faces Pressure to Drop Russian Pipeline to Punish Putin
  • BOE Talks Up Prospect of Easing as U.K. Faces Triple Threat

In FX, the great Greenback revival seems to have stalled around 93.000 in DXY terms, albeit with the Euro rebounding on the back of a German boost to the pan Eurozone services and composite PMIs after disappointing prints from the periphery and France. Indeed, the Dollar may yet regain the initiative and upward momentum if the services ISM emulates the feats of Tuesday’s manufacturing survey and/or initial claims return to a declining trend. For now, the index is maintaining an underlying bid within a 93.074-92.688 band and taking cues from major counterparts in the main, while US Treasury yields and the curve continue to tick higher and steepen against the backdrop of positive risk sentiment in global stocks vs softer crude and commodity prices.

  • GBP - Sterling has slipped towards the bottom of the G10 ranks, with Cable struggling to keep sight of 1.3300 and Eur/Gbp eyeing 0.8900 after downward revisions to UK services and composite PMIs, but also amidst some re-pricing for zero or negative rates along the Short Sterling strip. However, BoE Governor Bailey may reiterate that NIRP is unlikely to happen anytime soon and MPC member Saunders rounds off this week’s heavy speaker’s schedule tomorrow.
  • AUD/NZD/CAD - Also weaker vs their US rival as the Aussie teeters just above 0.7300 in wake of weak trade data hot on the heels of the record Q2 GDP contraction, the Kiwi pivots 0.6750 and Loonie meanders between 1.3100-1.3040 parameters awaiting Canadian trade and Friday’s labour report.
  • EUR/CHF/JPY - As noted above, the Euro has gleaned some traction from upgrades to final German PMIs that more than offset misses elsewhere, with Eur/Usd back over 1.1800 and within striking distance of the 21 DMA (1.1835), while the Franc has pared declines from circa 0.9142 even though Swiss CPI came in slightly softer than expected and will likely harden the resolve of the SNB to keep rates negative and actively intervening. Similarly, the Yen is trying to contain losses below 106.00 despite more dovish BoJ commentary overnight and Japanese services and composite PMIs staying sub-50.
  • SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned downturn in oil has pushed the Norwegian Crown back under 10.5000 against the Euro and the Yuan is finally succumbing to the Buck’s persistent efforts to recover, but the Lira is underperforming again and sliding to new all time lows following weaker than forecast Turkish inflation and more intense investor anxiety about the nation’s increasingly strained international relations.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures continue to drift lower in early European hours, partly weighed on by the firmer USD, although participants must keep an eye on the supply side of the equation as Gulf of Mexico production comes back online (BSEE estimate 19.9% production shuttered in vs. Prev. 28.4%), whilst comments from Russian Energy Minister Novak yesterday, regarding oil demand at ~90% of pre-pandemic levels and calling on OPEC to take this into account, hinted at a potential proposal of early tapering of the OPEC+ output curbs. Meanwhile, the demand side of the equations continues to eye COVID-19 developments, with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggesting COVID-19 infections in Europe are "almost back" to March levels. Of course, airline fuel demand will be in focus on this front given the implementation of quarantine rules in the continent, whilst lockdowns are likely to be targeted to specific regions of cluster outbreaks. WTI Oct just below USD 41/bbl (vs. high 41.79/bbl) and Brent Nov under USD 44/bbl (vs. high 44.65/bbl), with the latter approaching USD 43.50/bbl to the downside. Elsewhere, precious metals remain subdued as a function of the Dollar – spot gold found overnight resistance at 1950/oz before trundling lower to ~1925/oz. Spot silver saw losses accelerate after a downwards breach of 27/oz, albeit the metal has since reclaimed the level. In terms of base metals, copper prices eased as disruptions ease in Chile, alongside an overall downbeat performance in China.

US Event Calendar:

  • 7:30am: Challenger Job Cuts 115.762K, vs 262.649K last
  • 8:30am: Nonfarm Productivity, est. 7.5%, prior 7.3%; Unit Labor Costs, est. 12.0%, prior 12.2%
  • 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, est. 950,000, prior 1.01m; Continuing Claims, est. 14m, prior 14.5m
  • 8:30am: Trade Balance, est. $58.0b deficit, prior $50.7b deficit
  • 9:45am: Markit US Services PMI, est. 54.7, prior 54.8; Markit US Composite PMI, prior 54.7
  • 10am: ISM Services Index, est. 57, prior 58.1

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

On the subject of vaccines there are a few questions on this in our monthly survey. We’ve been very happy with the number of responses (very many thanks) so far and as a result we are going to close it a day early this lunchtime. So last few hours to fill it in. Link is here. Results hopefully tomorrow once we count all the ballots up!!

It’s a landmark day at home as my daughter Maisie migrates from nursery to school today and the twin boys start their first day at nursery at the same school. So cue lots of tears from everyone apart from me. Although I was a little upset to find that nursery didn’t have a boarding option. We plan to take a group photo in uniform at our front door this morning. I suspect there is no chance of them 1) all looking at the camera, 2) all smiling and 3) not fighting. However we may as well make the photos as authentic as possible. The twins do absolutely everything together (including wild fighting) but they are being separated into two classes today so goodness knows how that will turn out. Not our problem. We’ll just leave them at the gates and run.

Even if today is the first day of school for many, global equity markets have been at the top of the class this month already. US equities again hit fresh highs, with the S&P 500 jumping +1.54% as the index remains on track to close higher for the 9th week out of the last 10. It was the largest one day gain for the index since July 6th. The Dow Jones (+1.59%) hit a post-pandemic high as well, though unusually tech stocks lagged behind as the NASDAQ ‘only’ rose +0.98%. 22 of 24 S&P industries were higher with Autos and Utilities up over +3%, while Tech Hardware fell back -1.37% as Apple (-2.07%) retreated after rallying over +7% following its stock split back on Monday.

In Europe the moves were even stronger, with the STOXX 600 up +1.66%, though banks struggled (-0.65%) as bond yields took a sharp turn lower. The DAX (+2.07%) was another to reach a post-pandemic high, though it fell just -0.04% shy of being in positive territory on a YTD basis. Staying with Europe, a reminder that on Tuesday, 8 September at 2pm BST/3pm CET/9am ET, DB’s Mark Wall will be hosting a conversation with Peter Praet, Former Executive Board Member and Chief Economist of the ECB (2011-2019) on ECB policy through the pandemic and beyond. To register for the event, please click here.

Back now to those moves in fixed income yesterday. Yields on 10yr bunds (-5.3bps), OATs (-6.1bps) and BTPs (-6.3bps) fell throughout the session. Even in the US, where Treasury yields had climbed at the start of the day, they finished -1.6bps lower at 0.653%. Elsewhere, it was a pretty mixed performance for other safe havens, with the dollar index (+0.38%) strengthening for a second day running, whilst gold (-1.38%) and silver (-2.36%) saw noticeable falls. The stronger dollar weighed on oil as well, as WTI (-2.92%) and Brent (-2.52%) fell. The other factor pushing crude lower was news of OPEC+ beginning to taper cuts.

Overnight in Asia markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+1.31%) and Kospi (+1.41%) both posting strong advances while the Asx is up a more modest +0.77%. The Hang Seng -0.31% and Shanghai Comp -0.06% are down though. In FX, most G-10 and emerging market currencies are trading weak against the US dollar this morning with the euro down -0.35% to 1.1814. Futures on the S&P 500 are -0.08% this morning while yields on 10y USTs are back up +1.2bps.

Looking forward, attention today will turn to the release of the services and composite PMIs from around the world. Overnight we’ve already had the numbers in from Japan/China/Australia, which showed China’s Caixin services PMI stabilising at 54.0 (vs. 54.1 last month and 53.9 expected) while the composite reading moved up to 55.1 (vs. 54.5 last month). Japan’s final services PMI printed in line with the flash at 45.0 while the composite stood at 45.2 (vs. 44.9 in flash). Lastly Australia’s services reading was confirmed at 49.0 (vs. 48.1 in flash). So certainly no nasty data surprises in Asia as we head into European PMIs.

In other overnight news, the US State Department said in a statement that Chinese diplomats in the US will now face new limits on travel and meetings in the US. Under the new rules, senior Chinese diplomats must get approval to visit university campuses or meet with local officials and any Chinese-hosted cultural events outside of consular posts will need approval if the audience is larger than 50 people. The statement also added that the State Department will require that Chinese diplomatic social media accounts are identified as government-controlled. The moves are aimed at matching Communist Party restrictions on American diplomats and impose costs for what it calls unfair treatment.

On the coronavirus, Dr Fauci warned yesterday that the Labor Day holiday coming up could lead to a rise in cases as other summer holidays have in the US. Cases are currently rising at a rate of 290,000 per week in the US, the lowest since just before the July 4th holiday weekend in the states. While new cases are declining in the summer hot spots like Texas, Florida, and Arizona the concern has shifted to states that were less affected in both the first (Northeast) and second waves such as Iowa and the Dakotas, which have seen sharp rises over the past 2 weeks. Back to the topic of vaccines, the CDC in the US told health officials in all 50 states that they should be ready to distribute a vaccine by November 1 to at-risk individuals including healthcare workers and the elderly. As outlined in the vaccine piece linked above, the timeline puts a potential rollout right before the US election and already over 75% of Americans believe the approval process is driven by politics (according to a Stat/Harris poll). This could hamper the initial uptake and politicise it as discussed in our piece.

In the UK, the government had to step back from easing restrictions in some areas of northwest England after pushback from local leaders. On the continent, France reported over 7000 cases in the last day and along with Spain are now seeing more confirmed cases on a weekly basis than they did during their original outbreaks. Hospitalisations continue to lag as countries continue to cite younger populations as being infected in larger quantities. There is also a matter of greater testing, but the increasing numbers before the weather gets cold will mean the probability of some form of restrictions returning in the next few months is high. The question for governments remain how to balance restrictions with the economic impacts.

Ahead of tomorrow’s US jobs report, the ADP’s private payrolls report showed that firms added +428k jobs, which was beneath the +1m reading expected. However as our US economists wrote last week, given their miss last month, this release may be discounted somewhat. As a reminder, their forecast is still for a +1.2m increase in nonfarm payrolls tomorrow. In terms of other data out yesterday, US factory orders in July were up +6.4% (vs. +6.1% expected), though German retail sales in July unexpected fell by -0.9% (vs. +0.5% expected).

Overnight, Fed’s Daly became the latest official to speak on the need for fiscal stimulus in the US. She said “at this point more fiscal would be appropriate” and added if support isn't restored to its previous levels, it could be a "headwind" to growth with a "disproportionate" effect on those who are struggling the most. She also said, “I think there’s more to do in that Main Street lending program, and we’re actively trying to do it”. On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised concerns over whether the Congress can get a deal at all after lawmakers return to Capitol post a month long recess. He said, “I don’t know if there will be another package in the next few weeks or not,” while adding that talks between top administration officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi haven’t been fruitful, and that any embrace of bipartisanship in the Capitol has “descended” as the elections near.

Here in the UK we actually had a number of headlines yesterday, including an array of Bank of England speakers. On the possibility of further stimulus, Deputy Governor Ramsden said that the BoE had “headroom to do materially more QE if we need to add to it”, though Governor Bailey also said that the BoE’s “best guess” was that inflation probably wouldn’t go negative, since the pass-through of the VAT cut was less than anticipated. Meanwhile on the UK-EU trade negotiations, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier gave a speech yesterday in which he criticised the UK’s stance on multiple points. He said that “the UK has refused to engage on credible guarantees for open and fair competition”, that they have “not shown any willingness to seek compromises on fisheries”, and that “the UK has been extremely reluctant to include any meaningful horizontal dispute settlement mechanisms in our future agreement”. We’ll likely get some more headlines on this front next week when the next negotiating round takes place in London.

To the day ahead now, and the aforementioned services and composite PMIs from around the world are likely to be the main data highlight, along with the ISM services index from the US. Otherwise, there’s Euro Area retail sales for July, as well as the weekly initial jobless claims and the July trade balance from the US. Central bank speakers today include BoE Governor Bailey as well as Deputy Governor Ramsden, along with the ECB’s Schnabel and the Fed’s Evans.

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New IRS Report Provides Fascinating Glimpse Into Your “Fair Share”

New IRS Report Provides Fascinating Glimpse Into Your "Fair Share"

Authored by Simon Black via,

Every year the IRS publishes…



New IRS Report Provides Fascinating Glimpse Into Your "Fair Share"

Authored by Simon Black via,

Every year the IRS publishes a detailed report on the taxes it collects. And the statistics are REALLY interesting.

A few weeks ago the agency released its most recent report. So this is the most objective, up-to-date information that exists about taxes in America.

This is important, because, these days, it’s common to hear progressive politicians and woke mobsters calling for higher income earners and wealthier Americans to pay their “fair share” of taxes.

But this report, directly from the US agency whose job it is to tax Americans, shows the truth:

The top 1% of US taxpayers paid 48% of total US income taxes.

And that’s just at the federal level, not even counting how much of the the local and state taxes the wealthy paid.

Further, the top 10% paid nearly 72% of total income taxes.

Meanwhile, the bottom 40% of US income tax filers paid no net income tax at all. And the next group, those making between $30-$50,000 per year, paid an effective rate of just 1.9%.

(Again, this is not some wild conspiracy theory; these numbers are directly from IRS data.)

But the fact that 10% of the taxpayers foot nearly three-fourths of the tax bill still isn’t enough for the progressive mob. They want even more.

The guy who shakes hands with thin air, for example, recently announced that he wants to introduce a new law that would create a minimum tax of 25% on the highest income earners.

But the government’s own statistics show that the highest income earners in America— those earning more than $10 million annually— paid an average tax rate of 25.5%. That’s higher than Mr. Biden’s 25% minimum.

So he is essentially proposing an unnecessary solution in search of a problem.

I bring this up because whenever you hear the leftist Bolsheviks in government and media talking about “fair share”, they always leave out what exactly the “fair share” is.

The top 1% already pay nearly half the taxes. Exactly how much more will be enough?

Should the top 1% pay 60% of all taxes? 80%? At what point will it be enough?

They never say. They’ll never commit to a number. They just keep expanding their thinking scope.

Elizabeth Warren, for example, quite famously stopped talking about the “top 1%” and started whining about the “top 5%”. And then the “top 10%”.

She has already decided that the top 5% of wealthy households should not be eligible for student loan forgiveness or Medicare.

And when she talks about “accountable capitalism” on her website, Warren calls out the top 10% for having too much wealth, compared to the rest of households.

Soon enough it will be the “top 25%” who are the real problem…

Honestly this whole way of thinking reminds me of Anthony “the Science” Fauci’s pandemic logic on lockdowns and mask mandates.

You probably remember how reporters always asked “the Science” when life could go back to normal… and he always replied that it was a function of vaccine uptake, i.e. whenever enough Americans were vaccinated.

But then he kept moving the goal posts. 50%. 60%. 70%. It was never enough. And there was never a concrete answer.

This same logic applies to what the “experts” believe is the “fair share” of taxes which the top whatever percent should pay.

They’ll never actually say what the fair share is. But my guess is that they won’t stop until 100% of taxes are paid by the top 10% … and the other 100% of taxes are paid by the other 90%.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/29/2023 - 11:25

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Financial Stress Continues to Recede

Overview: Financial stress continues to recede. The Topix bank index is up for the second consecutive session and the Stoxx 600 bank index is recovering…



Overview: Financial stress continues to recede. The Topix bank index is up for the second consecutive session and the Stoxx 600 bank index is recovering for the third session. The AT1 ETF is trying to snap a four-day decline. The KBW US bank index rose for the third consecutive session yesterday. More broadly equity markets are rallying. The advance in the Asia Pacific was led by tech companies following Alibaba's re-organization announcement. The Hang Seng rose by over 2% and the index of mainland shares rose by 2.2%. Europe's Stoxx 600 is up nearly 1% and US index futures are up almost the same. Benchmark 10-year yields are mostly 1-3 bp softer in Europe and the US.

The dollar is mixed. The Swiss franc is leading the advancers (~+0.3%) while euro, sterling and the Canadian dollar are posting small gains. The Japanese yen is the weakest of the majors (~-0.6%). The antipodeans and Scandis are also softer. A larger than expected decline in Australia's monthly CPI underscores the likelihood that central bank joins the Bank of Canada in pausing monetary policy when it meets next week. Most emerging market currencies are also firmer today, and the JP Morgan Emerging Market Currency Index is higher for the third consecutive session. Gold is softer within yesterday's $1949-$1975 range. The unexpectedly large drop in US oil inventories (~6 mln barrels according to report of API's estimate, which if confirmed by the EIA later today would be the largest drawdown in four months) is helping May WTI extend its gains above $74 a barrel. Recall that it had fallen below $65 at the start of last week.

Asia Pacific

The US dollar is knocking on the upper end of its band against the Hong Kong dollar, raising the prospect of intervention by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. It appears to be driven by the wide rate differential between Hong Kong and dollar rates (~3.20% vs. ~4.85%). Although the HKMA tracks the Fed's rate increases, the key is not official rates but bank rates, and the large banks have not fully passed the increase. Reports suggest some of the global banks operating locally have raised rates a fraction of what HKMA has delivered. The root of the problem is not a weakness but a strength. Hong Kong has seen an inflow of portfolio and speculative capital seeking opportunities to benefit from the mainland's re-opening.  Of course, from time-to-time some speculators short the Hong Kong dollar on ideas that the peg will break. It is an inexpensive wager. In fact, it is the carry trade. One is paid well to be long the US dollar. Pressure will remain until this consideration changes. Eventually, the one-country two-currencies will eventually end, but it does not mean it will today or tomorrow. As recently as last month, the HKMA demonstrated its commitment to the peg by intervening. Pressure on the peg has been experienced since last May and in this bout, the HKMA has spent around HKD280 defending it (~$35 bln).

The US and Japan struck a deal on critical minerals, but the key issue is whether it will be sufficient to satisfy the American congress that the executive agreement is sufficient to benefit from the tax- credits embodied in the Inflation Reduction Act. The Biden administration is negotiating a similar agreement with the EU. The problem is that some lawmakers, including Senator Manchin, have pushed back that it violates the legislature's intent on the restrictions of the tax credit. Manchin previously threatened legislation that would force the issue. The US Trade Representative Office can strike a deal for a specific sector without approval of Congress, but that specific sector deal (critical minerals) cannot then meet the threshold of a free-trade agreement to secure the tax incentives. 

The Japanese yen is the weakest of the major currencies today, dragged lower by the nearly 20 bp rise in US 10-year yields this week and the end of the fiscal year related flows. Some dollar buying may have been related to the expirations of a $615 mln option today at JPY131.75. The greenback tested the JPY130.40 support we identified yesterday and rebounded to briefly trade above JPY132.00 today, a five-day high.  However, the session high may be in place and support now is seen in the JPY131.30-50 band. Softer than expected Australian monthly CPI (6.8% vs. 7.4% in January and 7.2% median forecast in Bloomberg's survey) reinforced ideas that the central bank will pause its rate hike cycle next week. The Australian dollar settled near session highs above $0.6700 in North America yesterday and made a margin new high before being sold. It reached a low slightly ahead of $0.6660 in early European turnover. The immediate selling pressure looks exhausted and a bounce toward $0.6680-90 looks likely. On the downside, note that there are options for A$680 mln that expire today at $0.6650. In line with the developments in the Asia Pacific session today, the US dollar is firmer against the Chinese yuan. However, it held below the high seen on Monday (~CNY6.8935). The dollar's reference rate was set at CNY6.8771, a bit lower than the median projection in Bloomberg's forecast (~CNY6.8788). The sharp decline in the overnight repo to its lowest since early January reflect the liquidity provisions by the central bank into the quarter-end.


Reports suggest regulators are finding that one roughly 5 mln euro trade on Deutsche Bank's credit-default swaps last Friday, was the likely trigger of the debacle. The bank's market cap fell by1.6 bln euros and billions more off the bank share indices. Then there is the US Treasury market, where the measure of volatility (MOVE) has softened slightly from last week when it rose to the highest level since the Great Financial Crisis. While the wide intraday ranges of the US two-year note have been noted, less appreciated are the large swings in the German two-year yield. Before today, last session with less than a 10 bp range was March 8. In the dozen sessions since, the yield has an average daily range of around 27 bp. The rapid changes and opaque liquidity in some markets leading to dramatic moves challenges the price discovery process. The speed of movement seems to have accelerated, and reports that Silicon Valley Bank lost $40 bln of deposits in a single day.

Italy's Meloni government will tap into a 21 bln euro reserve in the budget to give a three-month extension of help to low-income families cope with higher energy bills but eliminate it for others. It is projected to cost almost 5 billion euros. The energy subsidies have cost about 90 mln euros. Most Italian families are likely to see higher energy bills, though gas will still have a lower VAT. Meloni also intends to adjust corporate taxes to better target them and cost less. Separately, the government is reportedly considering reducing or eliminating the VAT on basic food staples. Meanwhile, the EU is delaying a 19 bln euro distribution to Italy from the pandemic recovery fund. The aid is conditional on meeting certain goals. The EU is extending its assessment phase to review a progress on a couple projects, licensing of port activities, and district heating. These are tied to the disbursement for the end of last year. The EU acknowledged there has been "significant" progress. Italy has received about a third of the 192 bln euros earmarked for it. Despite the volatile swings in the yields, Italy's two-year premium over Germany is within a few basis points of the Q1 average (~46 bp). The same is true of the 10-year differential, which has averaged about 187 bp this year. 

After slipping lower in most of the Asia Pacific session, the euro caught a bid late that carried into the European session and lifted it to session highs near $1.0855. The session low was set slightly below $1.0820 and there are nearly 1.6 bln euros in option expirations today between two strikes ($1.0780 and $1.0800). Recall that on two separate occasions last week, the euro be repulsed from intraday moves above $1.09. A retest today seems unlikely, but the price actions suggest underlying demand. Sterling has also recovered from the slippage seen early in Asia that saw it test initial support near $1.2300. Yesterday, it took out last week's high by a few hundredths of a cent, did so again today rising to slightly above $1.2350. However, here too, the intraday momentum indicators look stretched, cautioning North American participants from looking for strong follow-through buying.


What remains striking is the divergence between the market and the Federal Reserve. On rates they are one way. Fed Chair Powell was unequivocal last week. A pause had been considered, but no one was talking about a rate cut this year. The market is pricing in a 4.72% average effective Fed funds rate in July. On the outlook for the economy this year, they are the other way. The median Fed forecast was for the economy to grow by 0.4% this year. The median forecast in Bloomberg's survey anticipated more than twice the growth and projects 1.0% growth this year. As of the end of last week, the Atlanta Fed sees the US expanding by 3.2% this quarter (it will be updated Friday). The median in Bloomberg's survey is half as much. 

The US goods deficit in February was a little more than expected and some of the imports appeared to have gone into wholesale inventories, which unexpectedly rose (0.2% vs. -0.1% median forecast in Bloomberg's survey). Retail inventories jumped 0.8%, well above the 0.2% expected and biggest increase since last August. Given the strength of February retail sales (0.5% for the measure that excludes autos, gasoline, food services and building materials, after a 2.3% rise in January), the increase in retail inventories was likely desired. FHFA houses prices unexpectedly rose in January (first time in three months, leaving them flat over the period). S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller's measure continued to slump. It has not risen since last June. The Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence rose due to the expectations component. This contrasts with the University of Michigan's preliminary estimate that showed the first decline in four months. Moreover, when its final reading is announced at the end of the week, the risk seems to be on the downside, according to the Bloomberg survey. Meanwhile, surveys have shown that the service sector has been faring better than the manufacturing sector. However, the decline in the Richman Fed's business conditions, while its manufacturing survey improved, coupled with the sharp decline in the Dallas Fed's service activity index may be warning of weakness going into Q2.

The US dollar flirted with CAD1.38 at the end of last week is pushing through CAD1.36 today to reach its lowest level since before the banking stress was seen earlier this month. The five-day moving average has crossed below the 20-day moving average for the first time since mid-February. Canada's budget announced late yesterday boosts the deficit via new green initiatives and health spending, while raising taxes, including a new tax on dividend income for banks and insurance companies from Canadian companies. The market appears to be still digesting the implications. Today's range has thus far been too narrow to read much into it. The greenback has traded between roughly CAD1.3590 and CAD1.3615. On the other hand, the Mexican peso has continued to rebound from the risk-off drop that saw the US dollar surge above MXN19.23 (March 20). The dollar is weaker for fifth consecutive session and seventh of the last nine. It finished last week near MXN18.4450 and fell to about MXN18.1230 today, its lowest level since March 9. However, the intraday momentum indicators are stretched, and the greenback looks poised to recover back into the MXN18.20-25 area. Banxico meets tomorrow and is widely expected to hike its overnight target rate by a quarter-of-a-point to 11.25%.



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The ONS has published its final COVID infection survey – here’s why it’s been such a valuable resource

The ONS’ Coronavirus Infection Survey has ceased after three years. Two experts explain why it was a uniquely useful source of data.



March 24 marked the publication of the final bulletin of the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Coronavirus Infection Survey after nearly three years of tracking COVID infections in the UK. The first bulletin was published on May 14 2020 and we’ve seen new releases almost every week since.

The survey was based primarily on data from many thousands of people in randomly selected households across the UK who agreed to take regular COVID tests. The ONS used the results to estimate how many people were infected with the virus in any given week.

In the survey’s first six months, we had results from 1.2 million samples taken from 280,000 people. Although the number of people participating each month declined over time, the survey has continued to be a highly valuable tool as we navigate the pandemic.

In particular, because the ONS bulletins were based on surveying a large, random sample of all UK residents, it offered the least biased surveillance system of COVID infections in the UK. We are not aware of any similar study anywhere else in the world. And, while estimating the prevalence of infections was the survey’s main output, it gave us a lot of other useful information about the virus too.

Unbiased surveillance

An important advantage of the ONS survey was its ability to detect COVID infections among many people who had no symptoms, or were not yet displaying symptoms.

Certainly other data sets existed (and some continue to exist) to give a sense of how many people were testing positive. For example, earlier in the pandemic, case numbers were reported at daily national press conferences. Figures continue to be published on the Department of Health and Social Care website.

But these totals have usually only encompassed people who tested because they had reason to suspect they may have been infected (for example because of symptoms or their work). We know many people had such minor symptoms that they had no reason to suspect they had COVID. Further, people who took a home test may or may not have reported the result.

Similarly, case counts from hospital admissions or emergency room attendances only captured a very small percentage of positive cases, even if many of these same people had severe healthcare needs.

Symptom-tracking applications such as the ZOE app or online surveys have been useful but tend to over-represent people who are most technologically competent, engaged and symptom-aware.

Testing wastewater samples to track COVID spread in a community has proved difficult to reliably link to infection numbers.

Read more: The tide of the COVID pandemic is going out – but that doesn't mean big waves still can't catch us

What else the survey told us

Aside from swab samples to test for COVID infections, the ONS survey collected blood samples from some participants to measure antibodies. This was a very useful aspect of the infection survey, providing insights into immunity against the virus in the population and individuals.

Beginning in June 2021, the ONS survey also published reports on the “characteristics of people testing positive”. Arguably these analyses were even more valuable than the simple infection rate estimates.

For example, the ONS data gave practical insights into changing risk factors from November 21 2021 to May 7 2022. In November 2021, living in a house with someone under 16 was a risk factor for testing positive but by the end of that period it seemed to be protective. Travel abroad was not an important risk factor in December 2021 but by April 2022 it was a major risk. Wearing a mask in December 2021 was protective against testing positive but by April 2022 there was no significant association.

We shouldn’t find this changing picture of risk factors particularly surprising when concurrently we had different variants emerging (during that period most notably omicron) and evolving population resistance that came with vaccination programmes and waves of natural infection.

Also, in any pandemic the value of non-pharmaceutical interventions such wearing masks and social distancing declines as the infection becomes endemic. At that point the infection rate is driven more by the rate at which immunity is lost.

A woman wearing a face mask receives a vaccine.
The survey gave us insights into the protection offered by vaccines and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Paul Maguire/Shutterstock

The ONS characteristics analyses also offered evidence about the protective effects of vaccination and prior infection. The bulletin from May 25 2022 showed that vaccination provided protection against infection but probably for not much more than 90 days, whereas a prior infection generally conferred protection for longer.

After May 2022, the focused shifted to reinfections. The analyses confirmed that even in people who had already been infected, vaccination protects against reinfection, but again probably only for about 90 days.

It’s important to note the ONS survey only measured infections and not severe disease. We know from other work that vaccination is much better at protecting against severe disease and death than against infection.

Read more: How will the COVID pandemic end?

A hugely valuable resource

The main shortcoming of the ONS survey was that its reports were always published one to three weeks later than other data sets due to the time needed to collect and test the samples and then model the results.

That said, the value of this infection survey has been enormous. The ONS survey improved understanding and management of the epidemic in the UK on multiple levels. But it’s probably appropriate now to bring it to an end in the fourth year of the pandemic, especially as participation rates have been falling over the past year.

Our one disappointment is that so few of the important findings from the ONS survey have been published in peer-reviewed literature, and so the survey has had less of an impact internationally than it deserves.

Paul Hunter consults for the World Health Organization. He receives funding from National Institute for Health Research, the World Health Organization and the European Regional Development Fund.

Julii Brainard receives funding from the NIHR Health Protection and Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness.

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