Every ugly jobs report has a silver lining, and sure enough following Friday's disastrous jobs report, global mining and energy companies rallied alongside commodities after the jobs data crushed speculation the Fed would raise interest rates this month. “The disappointing U.S. jobs report on Friday means that a summer Fed rate hike is off the table,” said Jens Pedersen, a commodities analyst at Danske Bank. “That has reversed the upwards trend in the dollar, supporting commodities on a broader basis. The market will look for confirmation in Yellen’s speech later today.”
After yesterday's two key events, the ECB and OPEC meetings, ended up being major duds, the market is looking at the week's final and perhaps most important event of the week: the May payrolls report to generate some upward volatility and help stocks finally break out of the range they have been caught in for over a year.
There are just two drivers setting the pace for today's risk mood: the OPEC meeting in Vienna which started a few hours ago, and the ECB's announcement as well as Mario Draghi's press statement due out just one hour from now. Both are expected to not reveal any major surprises, with OPEC almost certainly unable to implement a production freeze while the ECB is expected to remain on hold and provide some more details on its corporate bond buying program, although there is some modest risk of upside surprise in either case.
Following the latest set of global economic news, most notably a mediocre set of Chinese Official and Caixin PMIs, coupled with a mix of lackluster European manufacturing reports and an abysmal Japanese PMI, European, Asian stocks and U.S. stock index futures have continued yesterday's losses. Oil slips for 4th day, heading for the longest run of declines since April, as OPEC ministers gather in Vienna ahead of a meeting on Thursday to discuss production policy. The biggest winner was the Yen, rising 1%, with the USDJPY tumbling overnight and pushing both the Nikkei 1.6% lower and weighing on US futures.
After yesterday's US and UK market holidays which resulted in a session of unchanged global stocks, US futures are largely where they left off Friday, up fractionally, and just under 2,100. Bonds fell as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates amid signs inflation is picking up. Oil headed for its longest run of monthly gains in five years, while stocks declined in Europe.
Now that all of the main oil producers are unequivocally committed to maximizing production, regardless of the impact prices, oil will continue to trade just like any other commodity (for example, iron ore) that is in oversupply in a competitive market. Prices will be determined as described in any standard economics textbook: by the marginal costs of the last supplier whose production is needed to meet global demand. In the 20-year period of competitive pricing from 1985 to 2004, the oil price frequently doubled or halved in the course of a few months. So the near-doubling of oil prices since mid-January’s $28 low is not surprising. But now that the $50 ceiling is being tested, we can expect the next major move in the trading range to be downward.
With the US closed for Memorial Day and UK markets also offline, overnight volumes have been weaker than normal on little newsflow. The main story remains the stronger USD which not only led to the lowest Yuan fixing since February 2011 but pushed the USDJPY as high as 111.50 overnight before paring gains. Europe’s Stoxx 600 is unchanged on poor volume, after earlier rising above the 200 DMA for the first time in 2016. US equity futures were 0.2%, or 4 points higher, currently resting just above 2,101 with the last trading day of May tomorrow expected to push the cash market over 2,100 as well.
In a world where fundamentals don't matter, everyone's attention will be on Janet Yellen who speaks at 1:15pm today in Harvard, hoping to glean some more hints about the Fed's intentionas and next steps, including a possible rate hike in June or July. And with a long holiday in both the US and UK (US bond market closes at 2pm today), it is no surprise overnight trading volumes have been dreadful, helping keep global equities poised for the highest close in three weeks; this won't change unless Yellen says something that would disrupt the calm that’s settled over financial markets.