The initial boost given to European equities following weaker than expected overnight data from China, which renewed speculation of more stimulus measures, has faded throughout the morning. The major European bourses are now trading in negative territory at the North American crossover. The DAX is underperforming, weighed down by the likes of Commerzbank and Deutsche Telekom who both failed to impress markets with their earnings reports pre-market. However, thin summer volumes and another light economic calendar have once again been the theme for the morning, with only the UK Trade Balance for June gaining some market attention. Despite the larger than expected deficit, the ONS said that the figure is likely distorted by the extra public holidays.
The European start was quiet in terms of news-flow, with concentration still centered on the finances of the peripheral nations as Spain still refuses to accept they may need a bailout for the country as a whole. The Spanish short-end has seen a continuation of yesterday’s downside, with profit-taking noted following last weeks rally. Bund futures have seen a part-retracement of yesterday’s weakness, boosted by a well-bid 10yr German auction and as sentiment takes a turn towards safer havens. The headline event today came out of London with the Bank of England quarterly inflation report. Alongside expectation they cut growth forecasts for this year and next, although against forecasts the report and comments from Governor King were less dovish than anticipated causing strengthening of GBP, with moves to fresh highs in GBP/USD. Short sterling suffered downside following comments from King who said cutting interest rates would damage some financial institutions and would be partly counter-productive.
European equities are seen in decent positive territory heading into the Wall Street bell, though a clear lack of direction has been observed as well a thin summer volumes . The FTSE-100 is the day's underperformer following last night's allegations made by the State of New York against UK bank Standard Chartered that the company violated US sanctions by making secret transactions to the tune of USD 250bln with Iran. The Spanish 10-year yield has held below the key 7.00% level, though higher than yesterday's close at 6.76 with the spread over the benchmark Bund is slightly wider by 1.2bps. Steepening seen in the Spanish 2-year over the last couple of days as ECB's Draghi commented that any periphery bond-buying programme would be in the short end has halted and is now wider by 13bps. The Italian 10-year yield briefly traded above the 6.00% level though has since pulled back to lows printed earlier, currently standing at 5.91%, its spread tighter by 10.4bps on the session.
Both the ECB and the BoE have held their benchmark borrowing rates unchanged at 0.75% and 0.5% respectively at their rate announcements. The ECB decision provided instant support for EUR/USD, in firm positive territory at the North American crossover. In the fast money move, European equity futures sold off, but half the move has been rapidly pared. In fixed income, Bund futures declined, and are now seen marginally higher on the day. Despite this decision being largely expected, markets have priced in action from the ECB today, and some analysts pointed to a potential rate cut today. This reaction was seen on initial disappointment and the retracement move made as the ECB could still announce measures at the press conference scheduled to begin at 1330BST/0730CDT. Risk appetite has boosted European equities are in positive territory at the North American crossover as speculation that the ECB will announce further stimulus at the press conference later today rises. Financials are the best performing sector led by BNP Paribas whose earnings beat analyst expectations despite a decline of 13% year-over-year for its net.
Some positive indicators have prompted at least one article at Forbes to predict $8.00 natural gas by "the approaching winter."
European equities are trading in flat-to-positive territory going into the North American crossover with the FTSE-100 the primary laggard, being driven lower by individual earnings releases. Oil supermajor BP released a disappointing set of Q2 earnings, reporting a net loss of USD 1.39bln, pressing the stock lower by 4.25% at the midpoint of the European trading day. Data releases from Europe today have picked up in volume, but come alongside expectations, proving unreactive across the asset classes, as German unemployment changes matches estimates at a reading of +7K for July. The topic of a banking licence for the ESM has arisen once more, as German politicians have begun voicing their concerns on the issue, with a German senior lawmaker commenting that he cannot see an ESM banking licence becoming a reality. However, this appears to be another reiteration of the German political stance, and therefore not a particular shock to markets. With today the last trading day in the month, larger than average month-end extensions have proved supportive in the longer-end of the curve today, with notably large extensions in Germany, France and the Netherlands.
The major European bourses are down as US participants come to their desks, volumes still thin but higher than yesterday’s, and underperformance once again observed in the peripheries, with the IBEX down 2.5% and the FTSE MIB down 1.2%. Last night’s outlook changes on German sovereign debt caused a sell-off in the bund futures, with the effect being compounded as Germany comes to market with a 30-year offering tomorrow. The rating agency moves, as well as softer Euro-zone PMIs and reports that Spain is considering requesting a full international bailout have weighed on the riskier asset classes, taking EUR/USD back below the 1.2100 level. Furthermore, with Greece and a potential Greek exit now back in the news, investor caution is rife as the Troika begin their Greek report of the troubled country today.
European equities are trading in minor positive territory on light volume and a light economic calendar with the exception of the IBEX and the FTSE MIB which are down 0.3% and 0.4% respectively as US participants begin to come to their desks. Headline employment data from the UK was for the most part in-line with expectations, though the jobless claims change for June showed a 6.1K increase compared with the 5.0K expected, with downward revisions to May’s figures. The BoE minutes showed the July increase in APF was not unanimous at 7-2, and a GBP 75bln increase was also discussed, and that should the additional easing measures not work, a further rate cut would be examined. The final comment caused a spike to the upside in the short Sterling strip of 6 ticks, Gilt futures rose to make highs of 121.78, and GBP/USD to slide back below 1.5600, though the pair has since come off its lows and trades back above this level.
Many Other Core Economic Figures Manipulated As Well
European equities are seen softer at the North American crossover as continued concerns regarding global demand remain stubborn ahead of tonight’s Chinese GDP release. Adding to the risk-aversion is continued caution surrounding the periphery, evident in the Spanish and Italian bourses underperforming today. A key catalyst for trade today has been the ECB’s daily liquidity update, wherein deposits, unsurprisingly, fell dramatically to EUR 324.9bln following the central bank’s cut to zero-deposit rates. The move by the ECB to boost credit flows and lending has slipped at the first hurdle, as the fall in deposits is matched almost exactly by an uptick in the ECB’s current account. As such, it is evident that the banks are still sitting on their cash reserves, reluctant to lend, as the real economy is yet to see a boost from the zero-deposit rate. As expected, the European banks’ share prices are showing the disappointment, with financials one of the worst performing sectors, and CDS’ on bank bonds seen markedly higher. A brief stint of risk appetite was observed following the release of positive money supply figures from China, particularly the new CNY loans number, however the effect was shortlived, as participants continue to eye the upcoming growth release as the next sign of health, or lack thereof, from the world’s second largest economy.
European equities are seen firmly in the green at the North-American crossover, with outperformance noted in the peripheral bourses. Overnight news from the Eurogroup has confirmed that the EFSF/ESM rescue funds will be given the powers to intervene in the secondary bond markets, easing sentiment towards the European laggard economies. Gains are being led by a particularly strong technology sector, with the riskier financials and basic materials also making solid progress. Asset classes across the board in Europe are benefiting from risk appetite, with the Bund seen lower and both the Spanish and Italian 10-yr yields coming below their key levels of 7% and 6% respectively. The moves follow a spurt of activity in Europe with a number of factors assisting the way higher.
European equities have been grinding lower throughout the European morning, with basic materials seen underperforming following the release of a multi-month low Chinese CPI figure, coming in at 2.2%, below the expected 2.3% reading. The focus in Europe remains on the Mediterranean periphery, as weekend reports from Spanish press suggest that the heavily weighted Valencia region may be pressed into default unless it receives assistance from the central government. The sentiment is reflected in the Spanish debt market today, with the long-end of the curve showing record high yields, and the 10-yr bond yield remaining elevated above the 7% mark. News from an EU council draft, showing that Spain is to be given extra time to meet its deficit targets did bring the borrowing costs off their session highs, but they do remain stubbornly high at the North American crossover. The gap between the core European nations and their flagging partners continues to widen, as Germany sell 6-month bills at a record low of -0.0344%. As such, the 10-yr government bond yield spread between the Mediterranean and Germany is seen markedly wider on the day.
Several months ago, as John Arnold was terminally unwinding long gas positions into an illiquid market, sending natgas as low as $1.80, various pundits called for a bidless market in natgas. Today they are silent, because 3 months later, nat gas is 60% higher, and is on the verge of crossing the $3.00 psychological barrier, and going unchanged on the year, in the process pushing Chesapeake energy above $20 for the first time since the vendetta-like Reuters battery of negative articles allowed such activists as Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb, not to mention Zero Hedge readers, to accumulate a position in the name in the mid-teens.
A confluence of factors is forming a perfect storm for the oil market to face some major headwinds for the next 5 years.
European equities are seen modestly higher at the midpoint of the European session, with the utilities and financials sectors leading the way higher. As such, the Bund is seen lower by around 40 ticks at the North American crossover. The closely-watched Spanish 10-yr government bond yield is seen lower on the day, trading at 6.85% last, as such, the spread between the peripheral 10-yr yields and their German counterpart has been seen tighter throughout the European morning. Issuance of 6-month bills from the Italian treasury passed by smoothly, selling EUR 9bln with a higher yield, but not an increase comparable with yesterday’s auction from the Spanish treasury. The decent selling from Italy today may pave the way for tomorrow’s issuance of 5- and 10-year bonds, which will be closely watched across the asset classes. Data of note has come from Germany, with the state CPIs coming in slightly higher than the previous readings, proving supportive for the expectation of national CPI to come in flat at 0.0% over the last month.