US equity futures resumed their upward climb (after Goldman quadrupled down on its call for a massive, year-end meltup driven by $15BN in inflows every single day) as major technology stocks advanced, and as investors awaited a slew of retail earnings and economic data this week to gauge the health of consumer spending while keeping an eye on runaway inflation. Better-than-estimated profit growth has led to a rally in markets, helping ease recent concerns over the hottest U.S. inflation in 30 years. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 94 points, or 0.26%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.20% and about 20 points from their all time high around 4,711; while Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 30.5 points, or 0.19%.
The three major Wall Street indexes had fallen between 0.3% and 0.7% last week when the S&P 500 also snapped its longest winning streak since August 2020, amid concerns over high inflation and weakening consumer sentiment. Investors had begun pivoting into economically resilient sectors, mainly technology, towards the end of the week.
Market-heavy GAMMA (fka FAAMG) stocks rose between 0.1% and 0.8% in premarket trade, with Meta Platforms Inc leading gains. On the other end, Tesla shares fell as much as 2.6% in U.S. premarket session after Elon Musk suggested over the weekend that he would sell even more stock after offloading almost $7 billion worth of shares over the past week. Tesla's declines follow a steep 15.4% drop last week after Musk offloaded a combined $6.9 billion worth of shares in the electric-car maker. Meanwhile, blank-check company Gores Guggenheim rose as much as 25% as the stock was touted among retail traders. Rivian shares were down about 2.7% in U.S. premarket trading after the electric-truck maker surged following its IPO last week. Dollar Tree Inc added 5.4% after activist investor Mantle Ridge LP revealed a 5.7% stake in the discount retailer.
Strong corporate earnings are helping drive investors into stocks and overshadowing fears about the hottest U.S. inflation print in three decades. The sentiment found its way into calmer bond markets, where these fears had played out in the highest volatility since the onset of pandemic.
“Central banks may be becoming less accommodative, but they will be anxious not to derail the recovery or financial markets,” according to Cesar Perez Ruiz, chief investment officer at Pictet Wealth Management and head of asset alloaction Christophe Donay. “Q3 results have offered further proof of corporate strength.”
Focus this week will be on earnings reports from several major retailers including Walmart Inc, Target Corp, Home Depot and Macy's. Their results will round off an upbeat third-quarter earnings season, which pushed Wall Street to new highs. Retail sales data for October is also due on Tuesday, and is expected to show the impact of inflation on consumer spending.
Looking ahead not everyone is euphoria: in its 2022 forecast, Morgan Stanley strategists warn that inflationary headwinds may become a bigger force against U.S. stocks next year; they prefer peers in Europe and Japan. They forecast the S&P 500 will end 2022 at 4,400 -- some 6% below current levels. For bonds, they expect 10-year yields to rise to 2.10% by the end of next year on improving growth and higher real rates, up from 1.54% on Monday.
“One reason we like equities in Europe and Japan is that we think inflationary challenges there are much less daunting than elsewhere,” strategists led by Andrew Sheets wrote Sunday. They also cited “more reasonable valuations, limited central bank tightening and less risk from higher taxes” vis-a-vis the U.S.
In Europe, Stoxx 600 Index was little changed near a record high as rising earnings estimates supported the region’s stocks. Travel and leisure and retailers led the gains, while miners slumped. Here’s the latest on what analysts are saying about European equities:
- EasyJet cut to reduce from hold at Kepler Cheuvreux due to deteriorating traffic trends and a risk that it has to incentivize demand with fare discounts.
- Alfen Beheer loses its only buy rating as Berenberg downgrades to hold on limited near- term upside, even after last week’s sell-off in the shares.
- Direct Line cut to hold and Admiral raised to buy at Berenberg with the broker switching preferences in its U.K. non- life insurer coverage.
- B&M European is cut to underperform from sector perform at RBC with growth set to become harder to deliver for the discount retailer and better value seen elsewhere in the sector.
- Wood’s strategic review of its built environment business could unlock “meaningful value,” Citi writes in note upgrading the energy-services firm to buy.
Earlier in the session, shares fluctuated in Hong Kong and dipped in China, where traders weighed stronger-than-expected retail sales and industrial output, central bank liquidity support and a drop in home prices. Beijing’s crackdown on real-estate leverage is among the headwinds for the world’s second-largest economy.
That said, Asian equities rose for a third day as the strength in U.S. technology heavyweights Friday helped ease market worry over global inflation, reigniting appetite for growth stocks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 0.6%, with TSMC, Tencent Holdings and Samsung Electronics among the largest contributors to the gauge’s rise. South Korea’s Kospi was the top performer among the region’s benchmarks, adding 1%. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 climbed in Asia after the underlying measure added 1% on Friday. U.S. equities rose led by technology and communication services, with share prices remaining near all-time highs after a strong corporate earnings season. Overall, the positive mood from last week is extending to today’s trading, said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “Chip-related stocks are doing pretty well following the earnings season, which is also backing gains for the market.” The regional benchmark capped its second straight week of gains on Friday, helped by positive earnings readings. Price data from the U.S. and China remain in focus as traders fear elevated inflation could lead to tighter monetary policy. U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly collapsed in early November as Americans grew increasingly concerned about inflation.
Japanese stocks rose after the Nikkei newspaper reported on Friday that the government plans to compile an economic stimulus package of more than 40 trillion yen ($351 billion) in fiscal measures. “Economic stimulus had been expected to be about 30 trillion yen, but a new figure of 40 trillion yen is likely to be cheered by investors,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co. The Topix index rose 0.4% to close at 2,048.52 in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.6% to 29,776.80. Toyota Motor contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 1.1%. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,051 rose and 1,029 fell, while 100 were unchanged.
India’s benchmark index ended flat after wholesale prices surged higher-than-expected in October, weighing on metal and financial stocks. The S&P BSE Sensex was little changed at 60,718.71 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index was flat at 18,109.45. Both gauges gained as much as 0.6% earlier on the back of an earnings season in which a majority of Nifty 50 companies reported results that beat expectations. Both indexes, however, failed to hold onto their initial advance after wholesale prices rose 12.5% in October, more than economists’ consensus of a 11.1% advance, led by a rise in manufactured products as well as fuel and power prices. Nine of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by gauges of metal and basic materials companies. India will release monthly trade figures after market hours. The corporate earnings season for the three months ended September finished last week with 29 of the Nifty 50 companies beating analyst estimates. Three companies made their trading debut on Monday, with chemical maker Sigachi Industries rising 267% over its IPO price. One97 Communications Ltd., the operator of digital payments app Paytm which raised $2.5b in India’s biggest IPO, is slated for Thursday.
In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped with the greenback weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Commodity currencies, led by Norway’s krone, were the best performers. The Treasury curve bull flattened, with yields falling by up to 2bps. The euro hovered around $1.1450; the French presidential election next year is the scheduled event carrying the highest risk for the common currency, according to options gauges. The pound steadied as traders await clues on monetary policy from BOE Governor Andrew Bailey during parliamentary testimony later Monday. U.K. economists expect a rate increase to 0.25% next month, according to a Bloomberg survey. U.K. economists have become more hawkish over the past month and now expect the Bank of England to increase interest rates in December as concerns about inflation intensify. Sweden’s krona inched up after inflation accelerated more than forecast in October. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose on data that China’s economy performed better than expected in October. The nation’s sovereign bonds also extended opening gains after China home prices fell again, sapping real-estate shares. Japan’s super-long government bonds underperformed amid concerns that supply may increase to finance government spending. The yen consolidated
In rates, Treasury yields broadly within a basis point of Friday’s close, the curve fractionally steeper. The front-end and belly outperform, following bigger gains for Aussie front-end, which attracted buyers during Asia session. Stocks supported, with S&P 500 futures above Friday’s high. Treasury yields were richer from front-end out to 10-year sector, which trades around 1.55%, outperforming gilts and bunds by ~1bp; long-end cheapens slightly on the day, steepening 5s30s by ~1bp. Euro- area bonds gained, led by the periphery, following comments on inflation by ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane over the weekend. ECB’s Lane said recent price inflation is “really part of the pandemic” and people should not panic, in an interview with RTE on Saturday.
The Fed begins tapered purchase schedule released Friday; schedule departed slightly from Nov. 3 plan by leaving target size of operations in 10- to 22.5-year sector unchanged while trimming 22.5- to 30-year more, which spurred outperfomance by 20-year sector
In commodities, crude futures drifted lower with focus on U.S. energy policy and commentary from OPEC speakers. WTI is down 0.6%, trading either side of $80; Brent drops through Asia’s worst levels before running into support near $81. Spot gold fades Asia’s weakness to trade flat near $1,863/oz. Most base metals are in the red with LME nickel underperforming; copper trades flat.
Looking at today's calendar, it's quiet on the news front with just the US November Empire State manufacturing survey on deck. Biden will meet virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday. Tensions between the two countries have been building over issues including Taiwan and restrictions on sales of U.S. technology to China.
- S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,685.00
- STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 487.13
- MXAP up 0.4% to 200.95
- MXAPJ up 0.4% to 656.76
- Nikkei up 0.6% to 29,776.80
- Topix up 0.4% to 2,048.52
- Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 25,390.91
- Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,533.30
- Sensex up 0.1% to 60,771.98
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 7,470.11
- Kospi up 1.0% to 2,999.52
- Brent Futures down 0.9% to $81.46/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,860.89
- U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.09
- German 10Y yield little changed at -0.27%
- Euro little changed at $1.1447
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari said the U.S. central bank shouldn’t overreact to elevated inflation even as it causes pain for Americans, because it is likely to prove temporary
- A reduction in China’s reserve requirement ratio looks increasingly unlikely after the authorities rolled over all policy loans coming due and data surprised on the upside, suggesting that bonds will have little room to gain
- China’s industrial output rose 3.5% in October from a year earlier, while retail sales growth accelerated to 4.9%, beating economists’ forecasts
- Japan’s gross domestic product contracted at an annualized pace of 3% in the three months through September from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office reported Monday. Economists had forecast a 0.7% decline
- Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said financial stress from the pandemic is limited to certain sectors of the economy, potentially signaling the BOJ is planning to scale back its Covid-era funding program
- European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde doubled down on her assessment that euro-area inflation will ease as economies rebound, falling back below the 2% target in the medium term. Yet analysts see itfaster than previously thought this year and next
- A short-lived reprieve for emerging- market carry trades funded in dollars looks to be over, with an upsurge in U.S. inflation making the outlook increasingly treacherous
- The U.K. is expanding its Covid-19 booster program to younger people as the country seeks to head off another wave of infections this winter. A third vaccine dose will be available to people aged 40 to 49 starting six months after their second shot, the government said Monday
- Oman said there was no need for OPEC+ to accelerate oil-production increases, signaling at least some members of the group will continue to resist U.S. pressure for more crude
A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk
Asian equity markets began the week with a lack of firm direction as the region digested varied tier-1 economic releases including better than expected Chinese activity data and miss on Japanese GDP, with attention also on a slew of earnings results and corporate updates. ASX 200 (+0.4%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) both opened higher and took impetus from last Friday’s gains on Wall Street but with upside in Australia capped as financials and energy lagged, while Japanese participants weathered the weak GDP data which showed a wider than expected quarterly contraction during Q3, when the economy was still mired by widespread state of emergency declarations in key areas including Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures. Nonetheless, Japanese stocks have taken the disappointing economic growth within their strides as it justifies the incoming stimulus package which was said to have been increased to over JPY 40tln in fiscal spending and with Japan reportedly to resume its Go To Travel campaign in mid-January. Conversely, Hang Seng (+0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.2%) were initially moderately pressured despite stronger than forecast Industrial Production and Retail Sales data from China, as well as the PBoC’s CNY 1tln MLF announcement which matched this month’s expiring MLF loans and further dampened prospects of PBoC easing. Today also saw the launch of the Beijing Stock Exchange which aims to help SMEs raise capital and included 81 companies in the first batch of listings, while participants await the Biden-Xi virtual meeting which is set to take place Monday evening at 19:45EST or Tuesday morning in Asia and with US Treasury Secretary Yellen and Secretary of State Blinken set to join in on the call. Finally, 10yr JGBs are higher as they tracked a marginal rebound in T-notes and following the disappointing Japanese GDP release, but with gains capped as stocks in Tokyo remained afloat and amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today.
Top Asian News
- Cathay Crew Who Flew From Frankfurt Doing 21-Day Quarantine
- Duterte Runs for Philippine Senate, Avoids Clash With Daughter
- Greenland Jumps in Bond Market After Classification Change
- Chinese Startup Meicai Is Said to Pick Banks for Hong Kong IPO
European equities (+0.1%) trade with minor gains which have nudged the Stoxx 600 to a high of 487.21 in what has been a quiet start to the week. The desk will continue to monitor further lockdown restrictions across the region, however, updates from the Netherlands and Austria have done little to dent sentiment thus far. The handover from the APAC region was a mixed one as the soft GDP data from Japan was overshadowed by forthcoming stimulus efforts whilst Chinese equities were unable to garner much upside from stronger than forecast Industrial Production and Retail Sales data. Participants were also awaiting the Biden-Xi virtual meeting which is set to take place Monday evening at 19:45EST or Tuesday morning in Asia. Stateside, futures are trading with gains of a similar magnitude to their European counterparts (ES +0.1%) with not a great deal on the docket beyond the NY Fed Manufacturing print at 13:30GMT/08:30EST. Back to Europe, sectors are relatively mixed with Travel & Leisure top of the leaderboard amid gains in Deutsche Lufthansa (+1.7%) after the Co. was upgraded to neutral from sell at UBS. Oil & Gas names have been granted some reprieve following the selling pressure seen towards the latter half of last week. To the downside, Basic Resources is the standout laggard amid underlying price action in the metals space. In terms of individual movers, Ahold Delhaize (+2.4%) is one of the best performers in the Stoxx 600 after announcing a EUR 1bln buyback as of 2022, accelerated its growth/investment plan and will explore an IPO of Bol.com. Shell (+1.8%) is seen higher on the session after announcing that it is looking to implement a simplified structure and move its tax residency to the UK from the Netherlands. To the downside, Philips (-12.1%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 as concerns continue to mount over its ventilator recall issues in the US. Finally, BBVA (-3.7%) is seen lower on the session after launching a tender offer to acquire the remaining 50.2% of Turkiye Garanti Bankasi.
Top European News
- U.K. Expands Covid-19 Booster Program to People in Their 40s
- Austria Locks Down Unvaccinated as Europe Tightens Covid Curbs
- Cathay Crew Who Flew From Frankfurt Doing 21-Day Quarantine
- Telefonica Launches Tender Offer for Hybrid Notes
In FX, the Aussie and Kiwi are outperforming their major peers, or making the most of ongoing Greenback consolidation off last week’s new y-t-d highs, with the former also gleaning encouragement from Chinese data overnight as ip and retail sales beat consensus. Aud/Usd is back above 0.7350 and Nzd/Usd has reclaimed 0.7050+ status as the Aud/Nzd cross hovers in the low 1.0400 zone and eyes an unusually large 1 bn option expiry at the round number. Similarly, the Norwegian and Swedish Krona are both firmer vs a somewhat leggy/lethargic Euro, but with assistance from macro releases in the form of trade and inflation respectively. Eur/Nok is probing 9.9200 and Eur/Sek is testing bids and support around 10.0000 compared to peaks near 9.9600 and 10.0330.
- CAD/DXY - No lasting support from crude prices for the Loonie as WTI retreats through Usd 80/brl from Usd 81.20 at best, but Usd/Cad has reversed from 1.2550+ ahead of Canadian manufacturing sales and wholesale trade that are out alongside the more timely Empire state survey. Meanwhile, the index is meandering either side of 95.000 within a 95.152-94.963 band having ‘topped out’ at 95.266 in wake of US CPI and a far from well received new 30 year issue.
- GBP/EUR/CHF/JPY - All narrowly mixed against the Buck and seemingly awaiting clearer direction from their US counterpart or independently, as Cable continues to straddle a key Fib level (1.3412) in advance of testimony from the BoE on the latest MPR and top tier UK data from tomorrow. Eur/Gbp is sitting even tighter around 0.8530 before talks intensify to try and resolve differences on NI Protocol, while Eur/Usd is pivoting 1.1450, Usd/Chf is rotating around 0.9200 and Usd/Jpy is holding mostly below 114.00. Note, the Euro has ECB speakers to digest (see Headline Feed at 10.01GMT for remarks from President Lagarde) and look forward to, while the Franc has not really responded to small rises in weekly Swiss sight deposits and the Yen has largely brushed aside much weaker than expected Japanese GDP and a draft document saying that the government and BoJ share a strong sense of urgency about supply shortages, whilst maintaining an appropriate combination of monetary and fiscal policies.
In commodities, WTI and Brent are softer this morning, with losses in excess of 1.0% on the session thus far. Such pressure stems from demand-side updates in the wake of further COVID-19 measures being announced/implemented, most recently that Austria is entering a lockdown for the un-vaccinated and the Netherlands is to reimpose social distancing from Saturday. Furthermore, given the surge in cases seen in Germany in recent weeks the three-parties in coalition discussions intend to put forward proposals to Parliament on Thursday for renewed measures, which will reportedly include contact restrictions. On the other hand, the supply-side of the equation is cognisant of the looming imposition of further restrictions on Belarus by the EU, particularly as Leader Lukashenko last week said they would respond to any sanctions and suggested closing gas/goods transit through Belarus. Additional sanctions are, currently, scheduled to be announced this afternoon. Separately, and perhaps adding pressure, is commentary from various oil ministers the most pertinent of which has seen the UAE representative announce they are to increase production to over 5mln BPD from the current 4mln by 2030, alongside expecting a Q1-2022 oil surplus. Currently, the benchmarks are in proximity to the sessions trough which resides around USD 0.10/bbl below Friday’s low of USD 79.78/bbl in WTI, for instance. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver have been grinding higher throughout the European morning but are yet to retrace the downside seen overnight in-spite of the stronger Chinese data though this failed to spur regional or base-metal performance either. In terms of bank views, the Head of Energy Research at Goldman Sachs predicting the precious metal is set for a boom to the USD 2k level.
US Event Calendar
- 8:30am: Nov. Empire Manufacturing, est. 22.0, prior 19.8
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
This morning I’ve just put out a short note which I hope will win the catchiest research title of the year award. It’s called “If you think real yields are low, look at these charts…”. See here for the link. Regular readers will know my view that inflation will be structurally higher going forward and that for the rest of my career developed market real yields will likely stay negative even if nominal yields climb. This is because with debt so high, history suggests that heavy financial repression will be necessary to manage this. However, nothing could have prepared me for 2021 so far with US CPI at 6.2% YoY in October and 10-year US yields stuck below 1.6%. On a spot basis real yields are c.-4.6% and at around 70-year lows.
If you think real yields are low, however, take a look at the 200-year graphs in the note to see that whenever debt has spiked historically, real yields have moved a lot lower than even today’s levels, albeit through inflation around or above 20%. These are extreme times but history offers even more extreme examples.
Staying with inflation DB’s Francis Yared and I did a webinar on inflation last week and the recording can be viewed here. You’ll need Francis’s slides at hand on Regime Shifts in Inflation (link here) and mine (link here) on what history can tell us about inflation and what it means for asset prices in the future. I thought it was a really good webinar but I am slightly biased.
Maisie and mum came back from a week in hospital at the weekend. Mum slept for 18 hours on Saturday leaving me to work out how the wheelchair folds up and reopens and delivering what I hoped was the right dose of morphine. It’s going to be tough living with a wheelchair for the next year as Maisie’s hip bone tries to regrow but after hearing many stories from my wife about children in the ward with life threatening conditions you realise that you’re actually pretty lucky. Before you think I’ve gone all zen, I did nearly throw the wheelchair across the room when it wouldn’t unfold. I’d missed a small lever under the seat.
After a tiring last week at home and in the markets it’s a quieter week ahead in terms of the calendar, though market attention will continue to focus on the question of who might be appointed as the next Fed Chair, as well as the latest inflation statistics from a number of countries, including the UK (Wednesday). There is a reasonable amount of Fedspeak so it’ll be especially interesting to hear those on the transitory side to see if last week’s shocking print has impacting their thinking. Otherwise, geopolitics will be in focus, with today’s virtual meeting between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi, alongside continued speculation about whether the UK might trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol even if tensions have eased a touch in the last few days.
Starting with today’s virtual meeting between President Biden and President Xi, it is set to take place at 7:45 PM Washington time, which will be 8:45 AM on Tuesday in Beijing. While both the presidents spoke over the phone twice this year, this is the first time it is being dubbed as a summit. There is some thought that tariff reductions could be on the agenda, especially given current US inflation levels but it might be a bit early for that in any relationship rebuild. We’ll know more in time for tomorrow’s EMR.
The monthly Chinese data dump came in better than expected overnight with industrial output +3.5% yoy (vs. 3% expected), retail sales 4.9% yoy (vs 3.7% expected) but fixed-asset investment slightly missing at 6.1% (vs 6.2% expected). There is some discussion that the retail sales beat may be led by higher prices and also higher food sales as consumers prepare for the possibility of winter virus restriction.
Asian stocks are trading mixed with the KOSPI (+1.04%) and the Nikkei (+0.48%) trading in the green while the Hang Seng (-0.08%), Shanghai Composite (-0.29%) and CSI (-0.29%) trading lower. In Japan GDP shrank by -0.8% from the last quarter (-0.2% consensus and +0.5% previous) augmenting expectations of a stimulus package by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, which is expected to be announced at the end of this week. The Nikkei reported last Friday that the stimulus could top 40 trillion yen ($350 bn). Futures are pointing to a muted start in US & Europe with S&P 500 futures (-0.01%) and DAX futures (-0.08%) both fairly flat.
Moving onto the rest of the week, there are a few decisions from EM central banks over the week ahead, including Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia (all Thursday). However, the main focus for investors will be the speculation about who might be the next Fed Chair, particularly in light of the news out last week that both incumbent Fed Chair Powell and Governor Brainard had been interviewed for the position. Powell’s current four-year term comes to an end in February, and whoever’s nominated would require senate confirmation for another term. At this point 4, 8 and 12 years ago, the announcement of who’d be nominated had already been made, but we still don’t have a date for when we might get the news. However, it may not be too far away, with President Biden saying in Glasgow on November 2 that it would be “fairly quickly”.
On the data side, there’ll be an increasing amount of hard data out of the US for October, including retail sales, industrial production (both Tuesday) and housing starts (Wednesday). Meanwhile, there’ll also be some important UK data as the Bank of England mulls over their monetary policy settings ahead of their meeting next month. On Tuesday, there’s the latest employment report, and then on Wednesday, we’ll get the latest CPI reading for October.
Turning to politics, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any developments on Brexit, with speculation rising that the UK government could trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Over the last 3 or 4 days the mood music has moved a little towards compromise so we’ll see if this gathers some momentum.
Lastly on the earnings front, it’s the tail end of the season now, but there are still a few major companies left to report. Tomorrow we’ll hear from Walmart and Home Depot, before Wednesday brings reports from Nvidia, Cisco, Lowe’s and Target. Then on Thursday, we’ll hear from Intuit, Applied Materials and TJX.
Recapping last week now and inflation had a strong stranglehold on the market narrative, as much higher-than-expected US CPI data drove Treasury yields higher, led by the belly of the curve. Global sovereign yields increased in sympathy.
Quickly recapping the highlights from the pivotal CPI data: year-over-year headline CPI of 6.2% and core CPI of 4.6% were each the highest readings since the early 1990s and we’re generally getting to levels last seen consistently at the start of the 40yr disinflationary trend in the early 1980s. Price gains were shared across a broad range of components, which prompted some rabble rousing out of Democratic politicians, including President Biden. Five-year Treasury yields increased +13.5 bps as investors brought forward the expected timing of increases to the fed funds rate. Markets are pricing the first Fed rate hike by the July FOMC and 2.5 hikes through 2022. This compares with a September FOMC lift-off and fewer than 2 hikes in 2022 a week before.
All told, 2yr, 5yr, and 10yr Treasury yields increased +11.7bps (+0.5bps Friday), +17.1bps (+1.0bps Friday), and +11.9bps (+2.1bps Friday) on the week. 10yr inflation breakevens hit their highest levels on record, finishing the week at 2.72%. Real yields were the only rates declining on the week, with 10yr real Treasury yields retreating -6.6bps (+0.8bps Friday) to end the week at -1.17%, just above all-time lows. Other developed sovereign bond yields followed Treasuries higher, with ten-year yields in Germany, UK, France, and Italy increasing +2.1bps (-2.8bps Friday), +6.9bps (-0.6bps Friday), +3.5bps (-2.8bps Friday), +7.8bps (-0.8bps Friday) on the week.
The spectre of higher inflation and concomitant monetary policy tightening put an end to the recent S&P 500 win streak. After posting eight straight days of record highs by Tuesday, the S&P 500 retreated -0.31% this week, including -0.82% on Wednesday alone following the inflation data, but made a heroic effort to reclaim lost ground Friday, gaining +0.72%. Mega cap stocks were notable laggards, due to the increase in discount rates, with FANG+ stocks down -0.49% (+1.00% Friday). The index was also hit by a -15.44% collapse in Tesla stocks following news that Elon Musk would liquidate some of his holdings, which he duly did.
European stocks proved more resilient, with the STOXX 600 (+0.68% on the week, +0.30% Friday), DAX (+0.25%, +0.07%), and CAC 40 (+0.72%, +0.45%), again posting new all-time highs to finish the week.
On the virus front, Pfizer requested regulatory approval for all US adults to be eligible to receive the company’s Covid-19 booster shot, while climbing cases in Europe have prompted renewed lockdown measures and enhanced vaccination efforts across the continent.
Federal Vice Chair for Supervision Quarles announced he would resign at the end of the year, as was widely anticipated. There was a steady leak of news on the impending nomination for Fed Chair, but neither Chair Powell nor Governor Brainard, the two favorites for the position, saw their chances much changed following the news. The Fed also released its bi-annual Financial Stability Report and concluded that asset prices remain vulnerable to deteriorating investor risk sentiment, virus progress, or economic recovery.
Geopolitical tensions bubbled in Europe. Threats from Belarussian President Lukashenko to cut the transit of natural gas from Russia to Europe, and reports of potential Russian plans for further military excursions into Ukraine, drove European natural gas prices higher in the second half of the week. President Putin apparently warned the US and its allies that Moscow would not tolerate expansion of Western military influence in Ukraine.