US equity futures rose ahead of a data dump that includes retail sales, PPI and jobless claims, tracking Asian markets higher while European bourses struggled for direction before the ECB's rate decision (which will most likely be Europe's last hike despite the continent slumping into a deep stagflationary recession) at 8:15am ET Thursday. At 7:45am ET, Nasdaq 100 contracts rose 0.4% ahead of Arm’s trading debut, S&P 500 Futures were up 0.37%. Oil neared a 10-month high; short-end Treasuries nudged up as did the euro. The dollar is flat, gold slipped and bitcoin jumped. Escalating strikes in Australia caused European LNG prices to swing.
In premarket trading, megacap tech names are higher with NVDA +1% and AAPL, AMZN, GOOGL, META, MSFT, and TSLA are all higher. AMC Entertainment rose 7.7% as the cinema chain disclosed that it raised about $325.5 million through the sale of 40 million shares. Visa fell 2.3% as the company takes the first step to let the biggest US banks sell their shares in the world’s largest payments network. Here are some other notable premarket movers:
- CS Disco shares fell as much as 2.3%, after MoffettNathanson downgraded the legal software company to market perform from outperform.
- Carnival gains 1.9% and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) is up 2% after Redburn Atlantic lifts both stocks to buy from neutral, saying the cruise line sector has now “exited intensive care.”
- Carrier Global slides 1.7% after Mizuho analyst Brett Linzey cut the recommendation to neutral from buy, citing the HVAC firm’s outperformance amid a 34% rally this year and plans for shifts in the company’s portfolio.
- First Solar rose as much as 3.3% on Thursday as BMO Capital Markets raised the stock to outperform from market perform noting that the stock’s continued pullback following its analyst day makes for a particularly attractive entry point.
- HP Inc. fell 2.5% after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed that it sold $158.5m worth of shares of the PC maker.
- Ivanhoe Electric said it priced its offering of about 11.9m shares at $13.50 per share via BMO Capital Markets, JPMorgan. Its shares slump 14% in premarket trading.
- PureCycle Technologies shares are down 10% after the plastics recycling company said its facility in Ironton, Ohio, is in the process of restarting following a series of problems since Aug. 7.
- RTX Corp. drops 1.2% after BofA gives the aerospace and defense company its only sell-equivalent rating, moving to underperform from neutral based on near-term GTF engine-related risks.
- Semtech shares are up 2.4% after the chipmaker reported second-quarter results that beat expectations. While it gave a revenue outlook that was below expectations, this prompted Susquehanna to upgrade the stock.
- Vital Energy (VTLE) shares fall 7.6% after the company said it signed three agreements for Permian Basin assets with a total transaction consideration of about $1.17b.
The long-awaited Arm Holdings IPO priced at $51/share, the top end of the range, and will start trading on Thursday, marking the biggest initial public offering of the year. The stock is going to be closely watched by investors as a bellwether of big tech.
In Europe, the Stoxx 50 is little changed with gains led by energy as WTI futures climb 1.4% to new YTD highs. FTSE 100 outperforms peers, adding 0.6%, DAX lags, dropping 0.1%. Autos, consumer products and retailers are the worst performing sectors, while basic resources and energy outperform in Europe. Here are the biggest movers:
- Deliveroo shares jump as much as 6.4% after Bloomberg reported that activist investor Sachem Head Capital Management has taken a stake, indicating the food delivery company could become a takeover target.
- Trainline shares surge as much as 16%, the most in more than four months, after the train ticket-selling platform posted ticket sales ahead of estimates in the first half and began a share buyback. Analysts see the buyback as key positive, and upside to guidance even as Trainline reiterated its previous outlook.
- Hilton Food shares rise as much as 7% to a one-year high after the British food-packaging company signed a long-term supply agreement with Walmart Canada.
- Applus shares gain as much as 5.7% to €9.99 after I Squared Capital Advisors and TDR Capital LLP offered to buy 100% of the Spanish company for €9.75/share in cash, topping Apollo’s €9.50/share offer from June.
- Uranium miner Yellow Cake rises as much as 5.3%, to a record high, after a surge in the metal that fuels nuclear reactors. Asian peers also rallied.
- THG shares drop as much as 20%, the most since May 12, after the e-commerce company lowered its sales forecast for the year. The guidance downgrade will trigger negative sentiment on the stock over the next few months, according to JPMorgan.
- Esker shares fall as much as 15%, the most since March 2022, after the software company reduced full-year margin guidance after a 26% drop in net income in the first half. Stifel said the profit decline was “disappointing” and largely a result of poor cost control.
- Italian bank shares fall, leading declines among European lenders, as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said a windfall tax on banks’ profits could be tweaked as long as the state receives the same expected inflow.
- Ipsos shares declined as much as 3.3% after the French market research firm cut its organic revenue growth forecast for the full year to a range of 3-4% from about 5%.
- Autoneum shares drop as much as 5.3% to its lowest value intraday since March, after the auto-components maker set the offer price for its capital increase at CHF90.75 a share. The price is a 30% discount to Wednesday’s closing level. ZBK said the stock’s valuation premium against peers appears unjustified.
The euro fluctuated with money markets pricing in a two-thirds chance of another increase at the European Central Bank’s meeting. Crude climbed after a report from the International Energy Agency added to warnings of a supply shortfall. Soaring global oil prices are exacerbating persistent cost pressures in Europe even as economic growth flounders. By contrast, Wednesday’s US inflation report was in line with estimates, fanning hopes the Federal Reserve will pause rate hikes.
“The market is split on the ECB right now and we have to acknowledge the hawkish shift in expectations over the last two weeks,” said Geoffrey Yu, senior strategist at BNY Mellon. “The risk-reward heading into the decision is not good for the euro.”
Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose on the back of a rally in tech shares, as US inflation data overnight increased bets that the Federal Reserve would hold interest rates next week. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.8%, poised to end a two-day losing streak, led higher by chip names such as TSMC, Samsung and Tokyo Electron. The tech sector was the biggest contributor to the gauge’s gain as investors in Asia dialed down expectations for Fed rate hikes next week after the latest reading on US inflation was broadly in line with estimates.
Equities in Japan also advanced, but those in Hong Kong and China dropped as distressed developer Country Garden is approaching another yuan bond vote deadline Thursday night and European officials launched a probe into Beijing’s EV subsidies. Energy shares gained as oil climbed toward a 10-month high.
In FX, the euro is marginally higher on the session ahead of the much-anticipated ECB decision, with market watchers split on whether the central bank will hike or hold later Thursday. The Bloomberg dollar spot index is down 0.1%. GBP and NOK are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, AUD and CAD outperform.
- USD/JPY dropped as much as 0.3% to 147.02 before steadying near 147.30, after a key 20-year JGB auction
- EUR/USD is little changed at 1.0728 after erasing earlier gains of as much as 0.2% ahead the ECB decision, in which either outcome may be unlikely to offer sustainable support to the euro
- GBP/USD traded in a narrow range, 0.1% lower at 1.2474
- The Australian dollar printed a fresh intraday high on a headline beat in employment change for August
- The yuan traded in a tight range as traders waited for China’s economic data due Friday for further cues
In rates, treasuries little changed across the curve, lagging gains across core European rates ahead of ECB policy decision at 8:15am New York time, followed by President Christine Lagarde’s press conference. Money markets price in around 17bps of rate-hike premium for the decision. German 10-year bonds outperform comparable USTs and gilts. US yields are within 1bp of Wednesday’s closing levels, off session low; 10-year near 4.25% trails bunds and gilts in the sector by 2bp-3bp. Dollar IG issuance slate includes a couple of 5Y, 10Y deals; moderate session Wednesday saw around $2b price, with another quiet session expected Thursday. US economic data slate includes August retail sales, PPI, weekly jobless claims (8:30am) and July business inventories (10am). Demand for Japanese 20-year bonds at auction was the strongest since May 2020, soothing concerns about a potential normalizing of monetary policy by the Bank of Japan.
In commodities, WTI trades within Wednesday’s range, adding 0.6% to trade around $89. Most base metals trade in the green. Spot gold is little changed at $1,907/oz. Spot silver loses 1.1% near $23. Bitcoin is incrementally firmer and continues to hold above the $26k mark with specifics sparse and overall action limited ahead of a packed agenda.
Looking to the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the ECB’s latest monetary policy decision, along with President Lagarde’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise, US data releases US include retail sales and PPI for August, along with the weekly initial jobless claims.
- S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,476.50
- STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 453.86
- MXAP up 0.9% to 162.80
- MXAPJ up 0.6% to 505.40
- Nikkei up 1.4% to 33,168.10
- Topix up 1.1% to 2,405.57
- Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 18,047.92
- Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,126.55
- Sensex down 0.1% to 67,382.96
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,186.55
- Kospi up 1.5% to 2,572.89
- German 10Y yield little changed at 2.65%
- Euro little changed at $1.0739
- Brent Futures up 0.8% to $92.59/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,906.47
- U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 104.69
Top Overnight News
- Beijing has attacked the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into China’s electric car industry as a “naked protectionist act” and warned that it will have a negative impact on relations in its first official comments on the probe. FT
- Moody's cut China's crisis-hit property sector's outlook to negative from stable, citing economic growth challenges the ratings agency said would dampen sales despite government support. RTRS
- China cuts the RRR rate by 25bp as the country's economic outlook brightens. This cut is minor in isolation, but it’s just the latest in a long series of steps aimed at bolstering growth. RTRS
- Sweden’s CPI in Aug drops to +4.7%, down from +6.4% in Jul and below the Street’s +4.9% forecast. RTRS
- The ECB's hike-or-hold decision will settle what's become a cliffhanger as inflation and growth signals spook officials. Money markets are pricing in a 64% chance of a 25-bp increase, while economists are almost evenly split on the outcome. Bloomberg Economics' base case is for a hike, though not a strong conviction call. BBG
- UAW strikes at America's Big Three automakers may go ahead as unions and employers remain far apart before tonight's deadline. The companies are offering a 17.5% to 20% raise over the next four-and-a-half years. Joe Biden has few options left to avert industrial action. BBG
- Ray Dalio doesn't want bonds in his portfolio as the huge US deficit makes it harder to keep rates at levels that are attractive for creditors, but not too high to harm the issuer. The debt situation is at a "turning point of acceleration," he said. Right now, "cash I think is good." BBG
- House Republicans failed to move forward on a procedural vote advancing a bill to fund the Defense Department after it became clear they did not have enough votes to secure its passage. The inability to move forward on a basic step to fund the government — the House’s top responsibility enshrined in the Constitution — offered an example of just how difficult it will be for McCarthy and the ideologically fractured Republican majority to find consensus, keep the government open and avert blame if a shutdown is triggered. Wa Po
- Visa may amend its share structure to allow the biggest US banks to eventually sell their shares, currently valued at $96 billion. BBG
A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk
APAC stocks were predominantly firmer and mostly shrugged off the indecision seen on Wall St in the aftermath of a somewhat hawkish-leaning US inflation report. ASX 200 was marginally higher amid strength in the commodity-related and financial sectors, while the latest employment data provided encouragement but was predominantly fuelled by an increase in part-time jobs. Nikkei 225 outperformed and rose back above the 33,000 level amid anticipation of incoming stimulus and with the index unfazed by disappointing machinery tool orders. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were choppy after a substantial liquidity drain by the PBoC and with strength in energy and power names offset by the pressure on EV makers after reports the European Commission is to begin an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese EVs.
Top Asian News
- China Passenger and Car Association head said China's EV industrial chain is highly competitive and urges the EU to take an objective view of the industry's development, while he added that China's strong EV exports are not the outcome of heavy state subsidies.
- Japan's new economy minister Shindo said they will mobilise all possible policy measures to support the economy and will consider bold measures to ease the pain of price hikes, according to Reuters.
- Chinese Commerce Ministry says the EU's move to probe Chinese EV imports has a negative impact on China-EU economic trade and relations; China is to pay close attention to EU measures on EVs.
European bourses are contained with an incremental positive bias emerging after a relatively mixed open, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1% Newsflow has been limited ahead of the ECB with action primarily a continuation of the marginally firmer APAC session after initial Wall St. indecision. Sectors remain mixed with outperformance in Basic Resources after broker action for Rio Tinto and Anglo American, Energy benefits from benchmark action while Autos lag given pressure in BMW following a Barclays downgrade. The strong action in Mining and Energy names is leading to outperformance in the FTSE 100 +0.7%, with support also coming via a bounceback in BP. Stateside, futures are faring a touch better than European peers, ES +0.3%, in post-CPI trade as we look towards numerous key data points incl. Retail Sales, IJC and PPI.
Top European News
- French Energy Watchdog CRE says the next theoretical calculation of electricity tariffs should lead to a ~10% increase at the beginning of 2024.
- Norges Bank Regional Network Survey: Regional network: Prospects for weak growth; In the period to winter, contacts expect growth to slow. Click here for more detail & analysis.
- Germany VCI Chemical Industry Association says Q2 production fell 8% Y/Y (-14% Y/Y ex-pharma).
- Aussie underpinned by a hot headline and higher labour participation rate on 0.6400 handle vs. Buck.
- DXY regains poise after post-US CPI flip-flop within a 104.550-80 range.
- Euro elevated above 1.0700 against the Dollar awaiting a twist or stick ECB rate call.
- Loonie firm vs. Greenback between 1.3555-25 bounds and supported by WTI ahead of Canadian wholesale trade.
- Sterling lags after slump in RICS UK house price balance, with Cable sub-1.2500 and leaning on circa 1bln option expiries at 1.2475.
- PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1874 vs. exp. 7.2784 (prev. 7.1894).
- PBoC asked some banks to hold off on immediate dollar purchases in the interbank market to square FX positions with banks told to hold such open FX positions until net exposure hits a certain level, according to Reuters sources.
- Turkey introduced 25% required reserves for FX-protected Lira deposits with maturities of up to 6 months, according to the Official Gazette.
- Click here for more detail.
- RBA watcher McCrann, following the Australian jobs data, says "Likely no more rate hikes but don’t hold your breath for cuts", via the Herald Sun.
- Debt futures narrowly divergent ahead of ECB and more tier one US data.
- Bunds and Gilts back above par between 130.84-41 and 95.75-37 respective bounds.
- T-note marginally softer within 110-05+/109-29 confines.
- WTI Oct and Brent Nov futures remain firm in European trade with sentiment underpinned by this week’s trio of oil market reports which all ultimately flagged a tighter market in Q4.
- Dutch TTF is currently modestly softer intraday after rallying some 6% yesterday. Desks cite another extension to the Norwegian Troll field maintenance. Furthermore, Chevron’s Australian LNG operations are under threat of an escalation in strikes.
- Spot gold treads water just above USD 1,900/oz but around yesterday's lows, with price action contained ahead of upcoming risk events, with the next notable level to the downside under 1,900/oz being the August low at USD 1,884.89/oz.
- Base metals are mixed/mostly firmer following the constructive tone from the APAC region and the softer Dollar, although price action is contained by the looming risk events
- Australian union official noted a significant escalation in industrial action at Chevron's (CVX) Australian LNG facilities on Thursday and said the decision on whether to strike for the full 24 hours is being taken on a case-by-case basis across the 3 facilities involved, according to Reuters.
- Chevron (CVX) says a fault has impacted 25% of LNG production at Australia's Wheatstone plant, according to a spokesperson; the cause has been identified and restart activities have commenced, domestic gas facility unaffected. Subsequently, Australia's Offshore Alliance Union 1411 turbine on the Wheatstone downstream facility and one of the trains is now down to 50% capacity.
- Cochilco says average silver price to reach USD 24.60/oz this year, supply will go 1.8%; global silver demand to fall 9.4% in 2023; market will maintain a deficit.
- North Korean leader Kim said the meeting with Russian President Putin brought bilateral ties to a new level, while they agreed to further strengthen strategic and tactical cooperation and to step up cooperation to fight imperialists' military threats, provocations and tyranny, while Kim was briefed on technical details about Russian space vehicles and invited Putin to visit North Korea which Putin accepted, according to KCNA.
- Taiwan's Defence Ministry says 13 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air defence zone on Thursday.
US Event Calendar
- 08:30: Aug. PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%
- Aug. PPI Final Demand YoY, est. 1.3%, prior 0.8%
- Aug. PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.3%
- Aug. PPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 2.2%, prior 2.4%
- 08:30: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 225,000, prior 216,000
- Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 1.69m, prior 1.68m
- 08:30: Aug. Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. -0.1%, prior 1.0%
- Aug. Retail Sales Control Group, est. -0.1%, prior 1.0%
- Aug. Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 1.0%
- Aug. Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.7%
- 10:00: July Business Inventories, est. 0.1%, prior 0%
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
After much anticipation, markets mostly took the US CPI release in their stride yesterday, with bonds and equities fairly steady after the release, before a bond rally eventually took hold. The main headlines were much as expected, and monthly CPI for August came in at +0.6% thanks to a sharp uptick in gasoline prices. But with core coming in a tenth stronger than consensus at +0.3%, investors are still pricing in a near-evens chance of another Fed rate hike this year, whilst the 2yr inflation breakeven hit another 4-month high. So there’s still a lingering concern that inflation could remain above target, and that debate over whether to deliver another hike is a topical one as we arrive at the ECB’s latest decision today.
In terms of the details of that CPI release, the big story was that spike in gasoline prices (+10.6% on the month) which drove the majority of the overall headline gain (+0.6%). In fact, that +0.6% reading was the strongest monthly inflation print since June 2022, and was still higher than any month throughout the entire 2010s. In turn, that sent the year-on-year measure up to +3.7%, which was a bit higher than the +3.6% expected by the consensus.
Whilst the headline figure was strong, inflation swaps had already been pricing in a +0.64% headline print, so it wasn’t a big surprise. Instead, the more concerning story came from the core print, which moved back up to +0.3% (vs. +0.2% expected), albeit a low +0.3% with the unrounded number at +0.27%. Furthermore, the “supercore” measure that also excludes shelter and used cars and trucks spiked up to a 6-month high of +0.4%. A big driver of that was a strong performance for the transportation services category, which includes things like vehicle insurance and airline fares. That was up by +2.0% on the month, and makes up almost 6% of the CPI basket. A slightly concerning underlying trend was also shown by Cleveland Fed’s estimates of median and trimmed mean inflation, both of which were at their highest in four months at +0.3% mom. The release did little to affect near-term market pricing for the Fed, as futures see a 46% chance of another hike by year-end. But markets moved to price more 2024 Fed cuts during the day, with end-24 futures falling -6.6bps from the high for the cycle on Tuesday.
For now, however, the focus will be on the ECB, which is announcing its latest policy decision today at 13:15 London time. Unusually, however, there’s quite a bit of uncertainty about whether it’ll deliver another hike today, or whether it’ll pause the hiking cycle after a run of 9 consecutive moves. Market pricing is currently pointing to a 66% likelihood of a hike as we go to press this morning, which is up from 38% at the end of last week. In the meantime, the consensus of economists on Bloomberg is narrowly suggesting that the ECB will stay on hold, and that’s what our own European economists at DB expect as well. In their preview (link here), they write that recent data has shown increasing evidence that tighter monetary policy is being transmitted, which favours a pause. Today will also see the release of the ECB’s latest growth and inflation forecasts, so one to watch out for.
With that meeting to look forward to, sovereign bonds sold off in Europe, and yields on 10yr bunds (+0.8bps), OATs (+1.2bps) and BTPs (+4.4bps) all ended the day higher. Meanwhile for Treasuries, we initially saw a big sell-off after the CPI report came out, and the 10yr yield moved as high as 4.34% intraday. But that swiftly reversed course, and by the end of the session the 10yr yield closed -3.2bps lower at 4.25%, with a further -2.2bps decline overnight to 4.23%.
Otherwise, the biggest outperformer were UK gilts, where the 10yr yield fell -6.9bps. That followed the release of monthly GDP data for July, which contracted by -0.5% (vs. -0.2% expected), and in response, investors also lowered the likelihood of a hike from the BoE next week to 72%, its lowest since May. We got more downbeat data out of the UK overnight, with the RICS house price balance survey for August falling from -53% to -68% (vs. -55% expected), a new post-GFC low.
For US equities, the main story yesterday was one of modest advances, with the S&P 500 up +0.12%. That was mostly driven by the more cyclical sectors, with consumer discretionary stocks (+0.90%) seeing the biggest advances. Tech stocks were a slight outperformer, and the NASDAQ (+0.29%) and the FANG+ index (+0.42%) both rose as well. On the other hand, small-cap stocks struggled, leaving the Russell 2000 (-0.78%) at its lowest level since late June. And over in Europe there were also more widespread losses, with the STOXX 600 (-0.32%) and the DAX (-0.39%) losing ground ahead of the ECB decision.
Overnight in Asia, equity markets are trading higher for the most part, with strong gains for the Nikkei (+1.40%) and the KOSPI (+0.96%). US equity futures are also pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.28%. However, not every index is seeing strong advances overnight, as the Hang Seng is down -0.22% this morning, whilst the CSI 300 (-0.09%) and the Shanghai Comp (+0.04%) have seen little change. On the data side, we also heard that Australia’s unemployment rate had held steady in August at 3.7%, with employment up by a stronger-than-expected +64.9k (vs. +25.0k expected).
Elsewhere this morning, oil prices are at their highest level since November, with Brent crude currently trading at $92.31/bbl. That’s also the case for WTI, which is at $88.95/bbl. The c.30% oil price rally since late June has been an unhelpful trend for central banks as they try to return inflation back to target. In Europe, we also saw natural gas futures rise +6.52% yesterday to a 2-week high of €36.82/MWh amid concerns about supply disruption.
There wasn’t much other data of note yesterday, although in the US, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the rate on a 30yr fixed mortgage was back up to 7.27%. That’s just beneath the 7.31% reported in a couple of weeks in August, which is the highest rate seen since 2000.
To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the ECB’s latest monetary policy decision, along with President Lagarde’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise, US data releases US include retail sales and PPI for August, along with the weekly initial jobless claims.