Futures Rise After 7 Weeks Of Gains, Oil Jumps As Shippers Halt Red Sea Crossings

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Dec 18, 2023 - 01:22 PM

After 7 consecutive weeks of gains, US equity futures edged higher, and traded near session highs even as European bourses were red across the board, as central bankers sought to sow doubts that aggressive interest-rate cuts will materialize early next year. As of 8:00amm S&P 500 futures added 0.3% with Nasdaq 100 futs rising 0.5% on the back of relentless year-end tech momentum, while the Stoxx Europe 600 index was little changed amid thin volumes.  Oil rebounded from earlier losses after BP halted all tanker transits through the red sea. Treasuries edged higher and are on course for a fifth day of gains — the longest stretch since August — while the dollar slips and the yen underperformed ahead of Tuesday’s Bank of Japan monetary policy decision. Meanwhile, more government-backed Chinese companies have ordered staff to not bring iPhones and other foreign devices to work, setting in motion an unprecedented prohibition that could block Apple and Samsung from the world’s largest mobile market.

In premarket trading, United States Steel rose as much as 32% after Nippon Steel agreed to buy U.S. Steel for $55/share in cash for equity value of about $14.1 billion plus the assumption of debt, for a total enterprise value of $14.9 billion. Shares of Vodafone Group Plc rallied almost 7% after Billionaire Xavier Niel’s Iliad proposed combining its Italian business with Vodafone’s local operations.  Here are some other notable premarket movers:

  • Arcutis Biotherapeutics climbs 24% after the drugmaker said the FDA approved another formulation of Zoryve to treat seborrheic dermatitis in patients 9 years and older.
  • Illumina shares rise as much as 3.5% after the company said it will sell Grail Inc. following an appeals court finding that the acquisition of the cancer detection startup violated antitrust laws.
  • Masonite International shares fall as much as 5.9% after announcing deal to buy PGT Innovations for a combination of cash and Masonite shares with a total transaction value of $3 billion.
  • New Oriental ADRs jump 10% after the Chinese education firm’s livestreaming e-commerce subsidiary East Buy dismissed CEO Sun Dongxu amid an exodus of subscribers.
  • Palo Alto Networks shares drop as much as 1.3% after the cybersecurity company was cut to market perform from outperform at Raymond James on a stretched valuation following rally in shares.
  • Snap rises as much as 4.1% after Guggenheim Securities raised the recommendation on the social media company’s stock to buy from neutral. The broker notes that the digital ad market should strengthen in 2024, as it hikes its price target to a Street-high.
  • Sunnova Energy International rises 3.4% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the solar-energy stock to buy from neutral, noting that the residential solar market is recovering.
  • Thermo Fisher gains as much as 0.2% while Teva is rising 1.9% as HSBC initiates coverage of the stocks with buy ratings.
  • Danaher is initiated at hold as HSBC analysts update their ratings in the life sciences and health care sectors ahead of a year which could see a US election spark “angst” for biopharma investors amid a focus on drug pricing.
  • Trade Desk rises 0.4% after HSBC initiated with a buy rating, with the broker saying there’s no slowdown in the programmatic industry.

ECB Governing Council member Bostjan Vasle joined a chorus of officials tempering market optimism about rate cuts. His cautious tone came after New York Fed President John Williams last week said bets on a March reduction were premature, and ECB President Christine Lagarde said the bank had not discussed cuts at all. Despite attempts to tame market bulls, the optimism is proving resilient, according to Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management.

"The message for investors is clear: there is a path to monetary easing in 2024,” she said. “Uncertainty around the exact timing of cuts will add volatility, but it will not change the trend."

European stocks were little changed meanwhile with the Stoxx 600 down -0.1%, erasing much of the opening loss. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • OCI jumps as much as 15% after the Amsterdam-listed chemicals firm agreed to sell its US crop nutrient business to Koch Industries for $3.6 billion. Analysts said the deal price is attractive
  • Vodafone rises as much as 6.9% after Iliad submits a proposal to merge the companies’ Italian operations, valuing the subsidiary at around €10.5 billion including debt
  • Shipping giants including Maersk and Hapag Lloyd extend Friday’s gains as widespread trade disruptions intensify due to recent militant attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea
  • Carl Zeiss Meditec shares rise as much as 4.1% after the German medical-technology company on Friday agreed to buy DORC from Eurazeo at an enterprise value of about €985 million
  • Games Workshop rises as much as 3.6% after signing a deal giving Amazon the exclusive rights for the development of films and television series set within the Warhammer 40,000 universe
  • Odfjell Drilling gains as much as 14% after DNB raised its price target for the Norwegian offshore firm, saying 2024 is sizing up to be a turnaround year for the stock’s valuation
  • Nordnet drops as much as 5.9%, the most intraday since June, after Barclays downgraded the shares, citing a more challenging macro environment for the digital bank in 2024. Separately, Citi opened a negative catalyst watch on the shares following a strong rally in 2023
  • Thule falls as much as 3.2% after ABG Sundal Collier initiated coverage of the Swedish bicycle-rack and and outdoor equipment maker with a sell rating, saying its valuation is too high
  • Diasorin drops as much as 5.1% after the Italian diagnostics firm reveals new 2024 and medium-term guidance. Analysts see the rebased targets as achievable
  • Ferrovial falls as much as 1.3 after a report that the infrastructure operator is planning to sell its stakes in three UK airports



Attention now shifts to Japan with week with the nation’s central bank beginning a two-day policy meeting Monday. While speculation has grown the Bank of Japan will soon end the world’s last negative-rate regime, economists see April as the most likely timing for a change, with around 15% expecting Ueda to pull the plug on negative rates in January, according to a Bloomberg survey of more than 50 economists.

"The BOJ has little need to rush into making policy changes," Societe General economists led by Wei Yao wrote in a note. “But markets will be watching for any sign the board is willing to end negative rates or yield curve control.”

In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index is little changed; the yen underperformed against its major peers amid expectations that Bank of Japan policymakers will leave the negative-rate policy in place when concluding a two-day meeting on Tuesday.

  • The Japanese yen is the weakest of the G-10 currencies, falling 0.4% versus the greenback ahead of the Bank of Japan policy decision on Tuesday. “We judge markets have priced in some modest chance of BOJ tightening this week,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia strategists led by Joseph Capurso wrote in a research note. “As such, the absence of any hawkish policy actions or comments by Governor Ueda will likely push USD/JPY up”
  • The euro rises 0.1%, with little reaction shown to soft German IFO data. 
  • The onshore yuan fell after Chinese banks’ net purchases of foreign-exchange versus the local currency expanded in November to the biggest since 2016. The PBOC eased support for the currency via its daily reference rate Monday. USD/CNY gains 0.1% to 7.1298; USD/CNH steadies at 7.1365. PBOC set the yuan reference rate at 7.0933 per dollar, stronger than the estimate of 7.1128 in a Bloomberg survey of analysts and traders
  • Hungary’s currency fell to its weakest level since October as banks adjust their balance sheets before the end of the year, offsetting last week’s positive sentiment surrounding the partial unlocking of EU funds for the country. Forint falls as much as 0.6% against euro, while zloty drops 0.4% and koruna 0.3% amid a retreat by emerging-market currencies after comments from Fed officials cooled expectations of aggressive interest-rate cuts in 2024.

In rates, treasuries rose as traders keep a close eye on any comments out of the US central bank - Chicago Fed President Goolsbee said on Sunday that it’s too early to declare victory in the inflation fight. US 10-year yields initially fell 2bp to 3.89% but have since rebounded back to flat after news that more tanker firms are halting transit through the Red Sea.


Oil prices rebounded, with Brent jumping to $78 and reversing earlier losses of up to 1%, following news that BP and other oil companies will avoid the Red Sea. Spot gold adds 0.1%.

Bitcoin extended weekend losses, flirting with the $41k handle with specifics for the Crypto space light. As such, BTC remains within the boundaries of the last two weeks and continues to give back the pronounced gains from the first few sessions of December.

Looking at today's calendar, US economic data includes December New York Fed services business activity (8:30am) and NAHB housing market index (10am); this week includes housing starts/building permits, existing home sales, consumer confidence, GDP, new home sales and PCE deflator. Fed’s Goolsbee is scheduled to speak at 8:30am; Bostic and Goolsbee again are also expected this week

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,779.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 476.42
  • MXAP down 0.6% to 164.63
  • MXAPJ down 0.3% to 514.31
  • Nikkei down 0.6% to 32,758.98
  • Topix down 0.7% to 2,316.86
  • Hang Seng Index down 1.0% to 16,629.23
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.4% to 2,930.80
  • Sensex down 0.2% to 71,314.40
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,426.36
  • Kospi up 0.1% to 2,566.86
  • German 10Y yield little changed at 2.02%
  • Euro up 0.3% to $1.0923
  • Brent Futures up 0.1% to $76.66/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.3% to $2,024.99
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 0.12% to 102.43

Top Overnight News

  • There is no doubt that the Bank of Japan is considering lifting negative interest rates in January, said Chotaro Morita, chief strategist at All Nippon Asset Management Co.
  • Recession fears may stalk Britain’s economy once again, with the threat of a downgrade this week to previous GDP estimates that had raised hopes that the country may have avoided a contraction.
  • Morgan Stanley is looking to offload a $350 million loan it made to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
  • When a Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. affiliate bought Summit Health-CityMD around a year ago, the pharmacy group’s management hailed the deal as transformational for its push into primary health care. Twelve months later, the $8.9 billion takeover has struggled to deliver cost synergies and Walgreens’s creditworthiness has just been cut to junk for the first time since its formation.

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

APAC stocks traded mostly negatively following a weekend heavy with geopolitical headlines and as markets look to wind down for the Christmas break. ASX 200 saw losses in the Gold and Energy sectors somewhat cushioned by modest gains in Tech. Nikkei 225 fell at the open with the deepest losses seen in Real Estate and Financial stocks, although the index trimmed losses after finding support near 32,500, whilst traders also look ahead to the BoJ announcement on Tuesday. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were lower with the former seeing losses in Financials and Property stocks, whilst the latter was initially cushioned with PBoC resuming cash injections via 14-day reverse repos to meet year-end liquidity demands.

Top Asian News

  • China's economy in 2024 faces more opportunities than challenges, and favourable conditions are stronger than unfavourable factors, according to state media.
  • China's Central Finance office said there are blockages in the economic cycle domestically, demand is insufficient, and consumption and enterprise investment willingness are not strong enough, according to state media. Issuance of an additional CNY 1tln of Treasury bonds this year, as well as cuts in interest rates, tax and fee cuts, and other policy effects, will continue into next year. Click here for the detailed headline.
  • A growing number of Chinese chip design firms are reportedly tapping Malaysian Cos to assemble a portion of their high-end chips, in a bid to hedge risks of US-expanded sanctions on China's chip industry, according to Reuters sources.
  • PBoC injected CNY 184bln through 7-day reverse repos at 1.80% and CNY 60bln via 14-day reverse repos at 1.95%; both rates were maintained, according to Reuters.
  • Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee will provide updates on political and economic situation of Hong Kong in a meeting with Chinese President Xi and Premier Li on Monday afternoon according to SCMP sources.
  • A Chinese developer partially owned by the city of Shenzhen warned it can’t pay interest due Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.
  • Japan's Keidanren Chief Tokura says the BoJ should normalise monetary policy as soon as possible; big wage hike should not be a one-off.

European bourses are a touch softer, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%, continuing the decline from the APAC session where markets were focused on geopols and a slight pushback from the Fed. Sectors are mixed with outperformance in Energy & Basic Resources alongside Telecom names, the latter bolstered by Vodafone (+6.5%) striking a deal with Iliad. Stateside, futures are contained with the ES +0.3% in relative proximity to Friday's peak ahead of Goolsbee today and Bostic throughout the week before PCE on Friday.

Top European News

  • ECB's Vasle says market pricing for the start of rate cuts, and the totality for 2024, is excessive. Recent accomodation priced into rates is inconsistent with the stance appropriate to get inflation to target. Inflation will rebound in H1, ECB should reassess policy outlook only after observing the trend. Wage formation in Q1 is crucial for the policy outlook.
  • BoE's Broadbent says "given the volatility in the official estimates of wage growth, and the disparity (such as it is) among the various indicators we have, it will probably require a more protracted and clearer decline in these series before the MPC can safely conclude that things are on a firmly downward trend."


  • DXY is modestly pressured and has traded on either side of 102.50 in a 102.37-63 bound; Friday's range of 101.83-102.64.
  • EUR back above 1.09 with no real action on the poor German Ifo, given PMIs last week, ahead of ECB's Lane & Schnabel.
  • USD/JPY around the 142.56 200-DMA ahead of the December BoJ announcement (preview available), session high in proximity to the 14th December 142.89 best.
  • Antipodeans the best performers with support coming after additional PBoC liquidity and a firmer Yuan fix.
  • PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.0933 vs exp. 7.1135 (prev. 7.0957); strongest level since June 5th
  • Fitch affirmed Brazil at 'BB'; Outlook Stable. Affirmed Hungary at 'BBB'; outlook Negative.
  • Brazil's lower house approved the main text of reform on consumption taxes, according to Reuters.

Fixed Income

  • Contained trade for USTs ahead of Fed speak, modest upward bias with overall action bull steepening slightly while the US 30yr yield eyes 4.00% to the downside.
  • Bunds lifted to session highs on the December German Ifo which saw Business Climate & Expectations print below the forecast range. Holding around 137.35 off the 137.46 peak and just shy of Friday's 137.48 best.
  • Gilts outperform with BoE speak fairly limited though we did get some slight pushback from Broadbent who echoed the statement in wanting to see a "more protracted and clearer decline" in wage series before making a conclusion.


  • Crude benchmarks initially contained but began to slip on the German Ifo and have continued to decline since, but remain above Friday's trough with specifics light.
  • WTI & Brent Feb down to USD 70.64/bbl and USD 75.76/bbl at worst; though, contracts have lifted from lows in the wake of reports that BP (BP/ LN) is to pause all tanker transits via the Red Sea, via Bloomberg.
  • Russian Deputy PM Novak said Russia is to increase oil export cuts as part of the OPEC+ deal already in December, with the number to exceed 300k BPD by May-June, according to Ifax. He added Russia's oil exports are to be lower than 247mln tonnes in 2023.
  • Russia does not yet see grounds for lifting the ban on winter diesel export, according to Ifax.
  • Russia is not interested in extending the Black Sea grain deal, according to RIA citing the Agriculture Minister.
  • Goldman Sachs moderates range for 2024 Brent prices by USD 10/bbl to USD 70-90/bbl as they now expect only a modest deficit and slightly less elevated long-dated prices; still look for range-bound oil prices and only moderate price volatility in 2024, according to Reuters.
  • Australia has reportedly opened a door to AUD 40bln in government funding for copper and nickel projects, alongside other materials, putting them on a list of materials deemed essential to the global energy transition, according to Reuters.
  • Panama Canal on Friday said it will increase the number of booking slots available in its Panamax and Neopanamax locks after a severe drought, according to Reuters.
  • Yellow metal benefitting from the lower yield environment with limited initial follow through from geopols, XAU at the mid-point of USD 2016-2027/oz bounds.


  • Kuwait announced 40 days of mourning and closure of official departments after the passing of Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah on Saturday, according to Reuters.
  • Argentina agreed to a USD 960mln bridge loan with CAF to meet IMF debt obligations, according to Reuters.
  • Chilean right-wing UDI party concedes in the referendum; Chileans reject second proposed new constitution in the referendum, according to Bloomberg.

Middle East:

  • Israeli PM Netanyahu said Israel has received requests to cease fire and remove troops in Gaza talks but will not do so, and added they have serious criticism of Qatar but right now are trying to complete the recovery of hostages, according to Reuters.
  • Israeli Defense Minister said his country can 'copy and paste' what it is doing to Hamas onto Hezbollah, according to Spectator Index.
  • Syrian air defence intercepted Israeli targets in the vicinity of Damascus, according to the state news agency.
  • Yemeni Houthis were reportedly in Oman-mediated talks over 'operations' in the Red Sea, according to a Houthi spokesman cited by Reuters.
  • Yemeni Houthis said they carried out a military operation against 'sensitive targets in southern occupied Palestine' with a large batch of drones, according to a statement.
  • Yemen Houthi official said Yemen is ready with all defensive options to respond to any American, Israeli, or Western hostile moves, according to Al Mayadeen TV, and added that any hostile move against Yemen will have dire consequences and great costs.
  • USS Carney shot down 14 Houthi armed attack drones on Saturday in the Red Sea, according to Fox's Griffin.
  • UK Defence Minister said a UK navy ship has shot down a suspected attack drone targeting merchant shipping in the Red Sea, according to Reuters.
  • Iran executed an "agent of Israel's Mossad" intelligence service, according to Iranian media.
  • Iranian state media and Israeli state media says that 'predatory sparrow' hacking group has claimed responsibility for outages at Iranian petrol stations.


  • US military reportedly plans to resume permanent deployment of fighter jets at an American base in Okinawa but with fewer planes than before, according to Nikkei. The service intends to deploy 36 F-15EX aircraft.
  • North Korea fired a long-ranged ICBM overnight, which landed outside of Japan's EEZ. The North Korean ICBM ballistic missile test could have a range covering all of the US, according to AFP citing Japan.
  • North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile over the weekend, which appeared to have landed outside of Japan's EEZ, according to the South Korean military and Japan's Defence Ministry.
  • China's Foreign Minister met with the North Korean counterpart on December 18th, according to Chinese state media.
  • US Secretary of State Blinken said the Hong Kong national security law changes unjustly target overseas democracy advocates, including US citizens based in the United States and Hong Kong, according to Reuters.
  • US approved the possible sale of command, control, communications, and computer support to Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington for USD 300mln, according to the Pentagon.
  • Russian President Putin said Russia has no interest in fighting with NATO, according to Reuters.

US Event Calendar

  • 08:30: Dec. New York Fed Services Business, prior -11.9
  • 08:30: Chicago Fed’s Goolsbee on CNBC
  • 10:00: Dec. NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 37, prior 34

DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap

As we arrive at the final week before Christmas, the astonishing market rally has shown no sign of abating after the Fed signalled 75bps of rate cuts next year. Indeed, the S&P 500 has now advanced for 7 consecutive weeks for the first time since 2017, and futures for the index are up another +0.28% this morning. Moreover, US Treasuries have just seen their best weekly performance since the pandemic turmoil of March 2020, back when the Fed was last cutting rates, and this morning the 10yr yield is down another -0.8bps to 3.90%.

That signal from the Fed marked a big shift from the ‘higher for longer’ narrative on rates, which had briefly taken the 10yr Treasury yield above 5% in late-October. But the big question is now when these rate cuts might happen, and on Friday we had some mild pushback from Fed officials against the market excitement. For instance, New York Fed President Williams said they “aren’t really talking about rate cuts”, and that it was “premature” to be thinking about a March cut. Meanwhile, Atlanta Fed President Bostic said “I’m not really feeling that this is an imminent thing”, and that they wouldn’t need to cut rates until Q3. So markets actually lost a bit of momentum on Friday, with investors pricing out 8bps of Fed cuts for 2024, and the S&P 500 lost modest ground after a run of 6 consecutive daily gains .

Nevertheless, markets are still pricing in a reasonably aggressive pace of rate cuts taking place next year, with an 83% chance of a cut priced in by the March meeting. Moreover, there are now more than 150bps of cuts priced in between the January 2024 and January 2025 meetings, and most of the time we’ve seen that pace of cuts historically, it’s been because of a recession. So there’s now a two-sided risk here. On the one hand, to get cuts that quickly, history suggests you probably need a recession (in line with our World Outlook call), which wouldn’t be good news for risk assets. But if the economy does manage to hold up better than expected, then the alternative risk is that markets don’t see the amount of cuts they’re currently pricing in, which is broadly speaking what happened this year.

How that question resolves itself will be a key issue in 2024, and it’s not the first time that markets have got excited about a dovish pivot. We’ve counted six other times before in this cycle where markets saw a noticeable rally, before being disappointed as the Fed stayed hawkish (link here). Moreover, it’s worth bearing in mind that if the rate cuts trail the decline in inflation, then that means they’re still rising in real terms, which will have an impact on corporates too. On that theme, the credit strategy team have also published a note this morning where they look at how much a soft landing is currently priced in. See the report here.

Looking forward, the week ahead will be a quieter one as we move towards Christmas. But central banks will still be in focus as the Bank of Japan announce their latest decision tomorrow. And unlike other central banks where the focus is now on rate cuts, the speculation around the BoJ is still around when the negative interest rate policy might come to an end. Indeed, there had been heightened speculation over the last couple of weeks about a policy shift at this meeting, and as recently as December 7, investors were pricing in a 45% chance intraday that there would be a shift away from the negative interest rate policy. However, that’s fallen back significantly, and Bloomberg also reported last week that BoJ officials saw little need to change policy this week. DB’s economist thinks that they’ll maintain their current monetary policy framework this time, but that they’ll also hint in some way at an end to the negative interest rate policy in January. See the full preview here.

When it comes to economic data, inflation readings will still be in focus, particularly in terms of what that means for how swiftly central banks can cut rates. This week brings several releases, including the November CPI prints from the UK, Canada and Japan, along with the PCE inflation release from the US, which is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation. In October, US headline PCE was down to just 3.0% year-on-year, which is the lowest rate since March 2021, adding further support to hopes of a soft landing and near-term rate cuts.

Finally, we’ve also got several confidence indicators, including the Ifo business climate indicator from Germany, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence in the US, along with the European Commission’s consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area.

This morning in Asia, equity markets have lost ground across the region, with the Hang Seng (-1.07%), the Nikkei (-0.69%), the CSI 300 (-0.32%) and the Shanghai Comp (-0.25%) all falling back. However, the KOSPI is the main exception, having posted a +0.24% advance.

Recapping last week now, the main story was of course that dovish signalling from the FOMC decision and Powell’s press conference, which boosted expectations of a soft landing and impending Fed easing. However, the ECB and the BoE weren’t so dovish with their own decisions, and then those Fed speakers on Friday also pushed back on that narrative about imminent rate cuts. Nevertheless, investors massively dialled up their expectations for rate cuts in 2024, and pricing for a March cut rose from 47% to 77% over the week. Moreover, the amount of cuts priced for the entire year went up from 111bps a week ago to 141bps by Friday, albeit that was down from an intraday peak of 164bps on Thursday morning.

As a result, 2yr Treasury yields were down -27.6bps over the week to 4.45%, their lowest weekly close since May, despite a +5.7bps move higher on Friday. Likewise, 10yr yields fell -31.5bps over the week to 3.91% (-1.0bps Friday), with the 10yr real yield down -31.1bps to 1.70%, its sharpest weekly decline since March 2022.

Lower rates and the prospect of a soft landing boosted equities, with several milestones achieved last week. The S&P posted a 7th consecutive weekly advance (+2.49%; 0.01% on Friday), for the first time since 2017, bringing the index within 2% of its all-time high. Small caps stocks were the biggest beneficiary, with the Russell 2000 index up +5.55%, despite a retreat on Friday (-0.77%). Meanwhile, megacap tech stocks saw more moderate gains over the week but the Magnificent Seven (+1.13%; +0.84% Friday) still closed at an all-time high, having now achieved a +103.7% advance YTD. Over in Europe, the Stoxx 600 posted a +0.92% weekly gain (+0.01% Friday) to close at its highest level since February 2022.

On the data side, we had the flash PMIs for December on Friday, which were mixed depending on the country. In the US, the composite PMI rose to a 5-month high of 51.0 (vs. 50.5 expected), and in the UK it also hit a 5-month high of 51.7 (vs. 51.0 expected). However, there were more disappointing numbers from Europe, with the Euro Area composite flash PMI down -0.6pts to 47.0 (vs. 48.0 expected). In turn, that contributed to an outperformance for European sovereign bonds on Friday, with 10yr bund yields down -9.8bps on Friday to 2.01%, its lowest in 12 months. Otherwise, US industrial production was up +0.2% in November (vs. +0.3% expected), and there was a fall in the Empire State manufacturing survey in December, which fell to -14.5 (vs. +2.0 expected) .

Finally, in the commodities space, oil prices manage to eke a modest gain over the week, ending seven consecutive weekly declines. Brent crude was up +0.94% to $76.55/bbl (-0.08% Friday) and WTI up +0.28% to $71.43/bbl (-0.21% Friday). In Europe, TTF natural gas prices fell to their lowest in three months at €33.50/MWh (-13.68% over the week). Notably, TTF futures for next winter (2024-25) fell below €40/MWh for the first time since early March 2022, pointing to declining fears of future gas market stress in Europe .