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Futures At Record High Ahead Of "Biggest Trading Event Of The Year" As Russell Rebalances

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jun 25, 2021 - 07:54 AM

S&P futures traded at record highs, tracking strong gains in Asian markets, as investors braced for the Fed's preferred inflation data following a tentative bipartisan agreement on infrastructure spending, while U.S. lenders rose after clearing stress tests. At 7am ET S&P futures were up 5.75pts or 0.14%, Dow Jones futs were +110 or 0.32% and Nasdaq futs were up 29.25 or +0.2%. Global stocks are poised for their biggest weekly advance since April, extending their fifth monthly gain.

On Thursday, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 indexes closed at record highs, while the Dow jumped almost 1% after Joe Biden embraced the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Senate spending deal and as data showed a labor market recovery was on track, albeit at a slower pace. Major US banks such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were all higher in premarket trading after all Wall Street banks passed the Federal Reserve’s stress tests, paving the way for over $140 billion in payouts. Nike surged 12% in premarket trading after sneaker maker forecast fiscal full-year sales ahead of Wall Street estimates prompting several analysts to raise their price projections, and helping Dow futures rise 0.3%. In sympathy, Adidas jumped 5.1% to 17-month high, while electricity producer Iberdrola dropped 2.1% to the lowest since early March. The latest evidence of a labor shortage came from FedEx Corp as the U.S. delivery firm missed 2022 earnings forecast due to hiring difficulties. Its shares shed 3.8%.

Here are some of the other big premarket U.S. movers today:

  • Blank-check firm Property Solutions Acquisition (PSAC) rises 16% after it said the registration statement on its merger with electric vehicle maker Faraday Future had been declared effective by the SEC.
  • Cannabidiol product seller Grove (GRVI) surges 35% rising further above yesterday’s IPO price of $5 per share.
  • Netflix (NFLX) gains 1.3% after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to outperform, with subscriber growth expected to normalize in 4Q21. A survey by CS of U.S. consumers reinforced the stream platform’s strong competitive position and high user satisfaction.
  • Nike (NKE) shares surge 12% after the sportswear maker reported better-than-expected 4Q results and forecast FY revenue surpassing $50b for the first time. Several analysts increased their price targets on the stock, noting the company’s impressive multiyear targets.
  • Nokia’s U.S. ADRs (NOK) rise 2.9% after Goldman Sachs upgrades the telecom equipment maker to buy from neutral and raises price targets.
  • Virgin Galatic soared 14% after getting FAA approval to fly customers to space

“Market response to the hawkish Fed is different to the 2013 taper tantrum,” wrote Barclays Plc strategists led by Emmanuel Cau. “This time, curve flattening has constrained cyclicals and real rates have not risen much, which has preserved equities. The former looks premature to us, but while a spike in real rates seems unlikely for now, it is a key tail-risk for equities.”

Elsewhere, the anticipated fiscal stimulus and reassuring remarks by central bank officials following a meeting between Joe Biden and Powell/Yellen earlier this week, have quickly restored stability to markets that were whipsawed by last week’s hawkish Federal Reserve meeting and worries that faster inflation will speed up policy tightening.

The U.S. bipartisan legislation is expected to move through Congress alongside a separate Democrats-only bill that would spend trillions more on what Biden called “human infrastructure” that Republicans oppose. It’s not yet assured either measure will get enough wider lawmaker support given the political splits in the U.S.

"The positive market tone recognizes the potential growth benefits of the compromise, but with the smaller size tempering some of the tax implications to pay for it," said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. "We continue to expect progress on further fiscal stimulus in the months to come and the larger size of those packages will likely necessitate rising taxes, especially if they come via the U.S. Congressional budget reconciliation process rather than partisan support," said Craig.

Investors are also girding for probably the biggest trading event of the year, as FTSE Russell reconstitutes its indexes which could reflect a wild trading year marked by the pandemic and a “meme” stock craze.

Investors also remain confused about the duration of America's hyperinflationary period with BofA having some bad news after it said in a note overnight that it expects U.S. inflation to remain elevated for two to four years, against a rising perception of it being transitory, and said that only a financial market crash would prevent central banks from tightening policy in the next six months.

t a business district in Tokyo, Japan, January 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

SHANGHAI, June 25 (Reuters) - Asian shares rose on Friday, tracking gains on Wall Street overnight that lifted the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 indexes to record highs after U.S. President Joe Biden embraced a bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal.

Investors have been looking to an infrastructure agreement to extend the recovery in the world's largest economy after massive fiscal stimulus helped the U.S. economy grow at a 6.4% annualized rate in the first quarter. read more

In morning trade, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) climbed 0.58%.

"The positive market tone recognizes the potential growth benefits of the compromise, but with the smaller size tempering some of the tax implications to pay for it," said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Securing bipartisan agreement on the deal required Biden to sacrifice some of his original ambitions on schools, climate change mitigation, and support for parents and caregivers, as well as tax increases on the rich and corporations. read more

"We continue to expect progress on further fiscal stimulus in the months to come and the larger size of those packages will likely necessitate rising taxes, especially if they come via the U.S. Congressional budget reconciliation process rather than partisan support," said Craig.

Chinese blue-chips (.CSI300) rose 0.43%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng (.HSI) added 0.61%, Seoul's Kospi (.KS11) was up 0.79% and Australian shares (.AXJO) climbed 0.22%. Japan's Nikkei (.N225) rose 0.59%.

Asian stocks rebounded after falling earlier in the week amid concerns of earlier-than-expected policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve, after it signalled higher rates in 2023 last week.

"The reality remains that the timing of any tapering scare, or indeed tapering, is most likely to be driven by market-driven inflation expectations. And the pressure on this front has eased of late," Christopher Wood, global head of equity strategy at Jefferies, said in a note.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index fluctuated between gains and losses as losses in travel and utilitiy shares were tempered by gains in miners and construction companies, which were boosted by the U.S. government’s announcement of a bipartisan infrastructure deal. Asian equities rallied overnight.

Here are some of the biggest European movers:

  • European sportswear shares advanced after U.S. bellwether Nike soared following better-than-expected fiscal 4Q results. Adidas rose as much as 5.8%; Puma +3.9%; JD Sports +5%
  • Construction and steel stocks outperformed in Europe after U.S. President Joe Biden said a bipartisan deal has been struck with senators for his $579b infrastructure plan. ArcelorMittal as much as +3.1%; HeidelbergCement +2.3%
  • Rieter climbed as much as 3% to the highest level since June 8 after Credit Suisse raised the Swiss company’s price target on the back of “exceptionally higher” order entries in 2021.
  • Aveva rose as much as 2.4% to a two-month high after HSBC upgraded the software firm to buy from hold on positives around a CEO change.
  • Vifor Pharma fell as much as 3.6% after appointing a new CEO late Thursday. Abbas Hussain will have little time to ease into the job with the company going through a demanding phase, Vontobel said.
  • Deliveroo dropped as much as 2.5%, giving up some of Thursday’s 9.3% surge that came after a U.K. appeals court ruled its riders are self- employed.
  • Logitech dropped as much as 3.6% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the computer peripherals maker to neutral from buy following recent share-price outperformance.

Asian stocks rebounded after falling earlier in the week amid concerns of earlier-than-expected policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve, after it signalled higher rates in 2023 last week. Regional markets were led by China, buoyed by optimism over a tentative U.S. $579 billion infrastructure deal. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was 0.9% higher with most markets in the green, and set for its first weekly advance in three. The U.S. legislation is expected to move through Congress alongside a separate Democrats-only bill that would spend trillions more on what U.S. President Joe Biden called “human infrastructure” that the Republicans oppose. China’s benchmark CSI 300 Index gained 1.6% to outperform the region, the biggest jump in a month, after the central bank added another round of financing to the financial system, an action that a KGI Securities analyst said was a “positive surprise.” Meanwhile, Taiwan’s stock gauge closed just below its April 27 record, while South Korea’s Kospi climbed to an all-time high for a second straight day. Australian shares shrugged off a partial lockdown imposed in Sydney. Cyclical stocks led the way, with consumer-discretionary and materials shares among the top gainers, as investors digested this week’s remarks by Fed officials over the outlook for tapering measures. “Inflation and the Fed reaction remains a central theme for markets as well, but any withdrawal of liquidity and tapering of bond purchases will be gradual,” Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management wrote in a note.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5% to 7,308.00 as investors looked past a lockdown that was announced for parts of Sydney. More than 500,000 of the city’s residents will go into lockdown for at least a week, as Australia races to control an outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus. Despite Friday’s gain, the benchmark snapped a five-week winning streak, losing 0.8% since Monday. Boral was the top performer on Friday after receiving an improved takeover bid from Seven Group. Nuix was the worst performer, falling to a record low. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3% to 12,626.09.

In FX, the dollar index was down about 0.1% at 91.762 as investors continued to mull over the likelihood of Fed tightening in the face of persistent inflation. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index headed for its first weekly loss in more than a month as traders took positions ahead of public appearances by Federal Reserve speakers who may also mention tapering. The U.S. core price index for personal consumption expenditures probably rose 3.4% y/y last month, the most since 1992, according to a Bloomberg survey before the data is released Friday. The New Zealand dollar rose the most among the Group-of-10 nations and was set for its longest winning streak in four months as economists at ANZ flagged the risk of a rate hike before the year-end. The pound edged lower, trailing Group- of-10 peers for a second session, as investors mulled the Bank of England’s warning against “premature tightening.” The shift in sterling’s term structure shows traders are turning their focus to the BOE meeting in August. The Japanese yen was slightly weaker at 110.90 and the euro edged up 0.08% to $1.1940.

In rates, the 10-year US yield hovered around 1.50%, little changed in narrow ranges maintained during Asia session and European morning, with depressed futures volumes and a dearth of catalysts. The 10-year yield around 1.49% is near middle of a 2bp daily trading range; curve is slightly flatter with long-end yields richer and front-end cheaper on the day, all within 1bp of Thursday’s closing levels. 10-year remains ~5bp higher on the week, its first increase in six weeks, most of which occurred Monday after declining to a multimonth low. Bunds, gilts lag Treasuries by 2bp and 1.5bp as traders continue to digest Thursday’s Bank of England outcome. As Bloomberg notes, the Treasury note and bond supply begins hiatus until mid-July.

In commodities, oil prices climbed to near three-year highs, supported by drawdowns in U.S. inventories and accelerating German economic activity, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rising 0.29% to $73.51 per barrel and global benchmark Brent crude at $75.77, up 0.28% on the day. Spot gold was up 0.11% at $1,777.07 an ounce.

Expected data include personal income and spending, PCE deflator, as well as the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index.  “Further increases in the PCE deflator could well reignite market concerns about a less-than-transitory inflation environment,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,259.00
  • STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 456.79
  • Brent Futures up 0.2% to $75.70/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,782.96
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 91.77
  • German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to -0.182%
  • Euro little changed at $1.1941
  • Brent Futures up 0.2% to $75.70/bbl
  • MXAP up 0.9% to 209.16
  • MXAPJ up 1.0% to 702.86
  • Nikkei up 0.7% to 29,066.18
  • Topix up 0.8% to 1,962.65
  • Hang Seng Index up 1.4% to 29,288.22
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.1% to 3,607.56
  • Sensex up 0.5% to 52,957.10
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,308.05
  • Kospi up 0.5% to 3,302.84

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Traders are betting Mexico’s central bank will continue to fight inflation aggressively after it unexpectedly increased interest rates following a pickup in prices
  • Wall Street banks are poised to announce a deluge of dividend increases and stock buybacks after the Federal Reserve’s stress tests showed the industry built up a stockpile of cash during the pandemic
  • President Joe Biden scored a political win by sealing a $579 billion infrastructure deal with a group of Democratic and Republican senators, yet the bipartisan plan faces hurdles in Congress that reflect challenges to his broader economic agenda

Quick look at global marrkets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac equities picked up momentum throughout the session and traded with gains across the board following the firm performance stateside, which saw the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite notch record closes whilst the DJIA ended the day above the 34,000 mark. Participants have been attributing some of the upside on Wall Street to President Biden endorsing the bipartisan US infrastructure plan, although this positive sentiment surrounding the deal was somewhat sullied overnight after Senate Minority Leader McConnell suggested he is now more pessimistic than optimistic on the passage of the bipartisan bill – which came after President Biden threatened a veto unless Congress also passes his ambitious social spending agenda in a linked reconciliation package. US equity futures overnight traded with a mild upside bias. Over in APAC, the ASX 200 (+0.5%) was led by gains in its mining and financial sectors, whilst the Nikkei 225 (+0.8%) initially probed 29k before gaining a firmer footing above the level as the JPY remained near YTD lows, whilst Panasonic shares rose almost 5% after it confirmed that it sold its entire stake in Tesla, but maintained its relationship with the EV name. The KOSPI (+0.5%) saw its gains accelerate after topping the 3,300, whilst reports suggested that bank dividend restrictions will be lifted in July and the country is to invest KRW 23.5tln in R&D projects aimed at bolstering its tech sector. Over in China, the Hang Seng (+1.4%) was supported by its heavy-weight energy and financial stocks, whilst the Shanghai Comp (+1.2%) saw mild gains after another liquidity injection by the PBoC at the recently increased amount of CNY 30bln. On that note, Industry insiders via the Chinese Securities Journal noted that the increase in PBoC reverse repo intended to signal "stable mid-year liquidity". Finally, JGB futures trade modestly softer as it tracks the price action across the UST and Germany Bund futures.

Top Asian News

  • Ex-Cop Named Hong Kong’s No. 2 as China Prioritizes Security
  • Toshiba Shareholders Oust Chairman in Rare Investor Victory
  • Nomura CEO Paid $2.9 Million in Year Capped by Archegos Saga
  • Citi Dealmaker Lila Is Said to Join China Health-Care Firm dMed

European indices trade with little in the way of firm direction in what has been a particularly quiet session thus far. From a macro perspective, the main topic of focus has been the agreement on the USD 1.2tln bipartisan infrastructure plan which includes USD 579bln in new spending. Some concerns have been flagged over the passage of the accompanying legislation after President Biden threatened to veto the deal if it was not accompanied by a much larger reconciliation package, however, markets remain relatively unfazed by this threat at the time of writing. Stateside, futures trade near the unchanged mark after the e-mini S&P printed an ATH during APAC hours. In the pre-market, banking names are broadly firmer with Bank of America (+1.5%) best-in-class in the wake of the Fed’s stress test results with restrictions on bank share buybacks and dividends to be lifted on June 30th. From a European perspective, JP Morgan notes that the aggregate signal from its Quant Macro Index remains at a cycle high and recommends the ‘Expansion phase’ which would support “Value vs Growth, rising vs falling Momentum, low vs high Quality, high vs low Risk and small vs large Caps”. Sectoral performance in Europe is relatively mixed with Retail and Basic Resources topping the leaderboard whilst Travel & Leisure and Autos lag peers. Travel & Leisure names are seen lower in the wake of the UK’s publication of its “green travel list” yesterday, which was met with disappointment by industry bosses. Adidas (+5.2%) are the best performer in the Dax following after-hours earnings from US competitor Nike (+11.3% pre-market). Finally, Credit Suisse (+2.0%) are firmer amid source reports suggesting the Co's top management is under pressure to work out an overhaul plan, which could feature a potential merger with UBS (U/C).

Top European News

  • Credit Suisse Mulls Strategic Options After Hits, Reuters Says
  • Europe’s Data Law Is Broken, Departing Privacy Chief Warns
  • ECB to Start Supervising Large Investment Firms as Law Changes
  • Dead Banker’s Aides Guilty Over Secret Credit Suisse Stash

In FX, little sign of the Dollar and DXY by default deviating much from their largely rangebound and sideways trajectory, with only a few exceptions to the rule on specific factors. Indeed, the index has essentially been in a holding pattern since Monday’s failure to surpass last week’s peak and fade before losing 92.000+ status the following day, with subsequent daily parameters all compressed between the round number and 91.500 that also aligns very closely with technical support via the 200 DMA. However, today is spot month end and this could compound the usual pre-weekend volatility, especially as June 30 is with the final trading day of the current quarter and last of H1 as well. In the interim, PCE price data has the potential to move markets as the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, while there is even more Fed speak from a quartet of officials to round out the week as the index roams within a 91.861-696 band.

  • NZD/AUD - The Kiwi continues to outperform, and NZ trade data gave it more impetus overnight to inch nearer 0.7100 vs the Greenback and 1.0725 against the Aussie. In short, exports outpaced imports to inflate the surplus, albeit the latter picking up more pace from the prior month and the rolling annual trade balance turned marginally negative in May from a small surplus previously. Meanwhile, Aud/Usd has probed 0.7600, but unconvincingly as for areas in Sydney enter lockdown until July 2 at the earliest.
  • CAD/CHF/JPY/EUR - All mildly firmer vs their US counterpart, but contained within recent ranges as noted above, as the Loonie stays anchored around 1.2300 eyeing oil prices and the Franc regains composure following its latest decline to 0.9200. Similarly, the Yen has defended its closest round number support, at 111.00, and is retesting resistance circa 110.70, but could yet be scuppered by decent option expiry interest at the big figure (1.3 bn), while the Euro is sitting tight between 1.1951-27 with expiries capping the upside from 1.1950 to 1.1960 (1.1 bn).
  • GBP - Sterling is still suffering a hangover from its post-BoE reversal, though holding around 1.3900 vs the Buck and above a double bottom in Cable circa 1.3890, while the Eur/Gbp cross is propped in the high 0.8500 zone in wake of dovish messages emanating from the latest set of MPC minutes.

In commodities, crude benchmarks have experienced a contained and uneventful session thus far with little in the way of notable price action having occurred since yesterday afternoon. Currently, WTI and Brent August’21 contracts are within USD 0.30/bbl of the unchanged mark but at the lower-end of a circa USD 0.50/bbl range for today’s session and as such off the near multi-year highs we approached earlier in the week. Newsflow has been very limited as participants gear up for next week’s OPEC+ gathering and we await any substantial developments on the Iranian nuclear front seeing as the monitoring agreement expired last night; with no firm indications of a meeting date just yet, though likely to occur in the near-term. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer this morning though again relatively rangebound with gold’s range still within yesterday’s parameters. While base metals are supported as well but trading for the most part in similarly contained parameters after initial upside in the likes of LME copper was not sufficient to breach near-term resistance.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: May Personal Income, est. -2.5%, prior -13.1%; Personal Spending, est. 0.4%, prior 0.5%
  • 8:30am: May PCE Deflator YoY, est. 3.9%, prior 3.6%; Deflator MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6%
  • 8:30am: May PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 3.4%, prior 3.1%; Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7%
  • 10am: June U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.1%, prior 4.0%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.8%
  • 10am: June U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 86.5, prior 86.4; Current Conditions, est. 92.0, prior 90.6; Expectations, est. 83.8, prior 83.8
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