S&P To Open Above 2,100, Eyes All Time High As Global Markets Surge, Crude Rises Above $40

If asking traders where stocks and oil would be trading one day after a weekend in which the Doha OPEC meeting resulted in a spectacular failure, few if any would have said the S&P would be over 2,100, WTI would be back over $40 and the VIX would be about to drop to 12 and yet that is precisely where the the S&P500 is set to open today, hitting Goldman's year end target 8 months early, and oblivious of the latest batch of poor earnings news, this time from Intel and Netflix, both of which are sharply down overnight. We expect that after taking out any 2,100 stops, the S&P will then make a solid effort to take out all time highs, now just over 1% away.

Instead of these fundamental drivers, the market is focusing on the possibility that Japan may unleash more stimulus in the aftermath of this weekend's massive quake, which has pushed the USDJPY to 109.40 in the overnight session, wiping out about 160 pips of losses in two days. Toshihiko Matsuno, chief strategist at SMBC Friend Securities in Tokyo, said that "we now have concerns that the economic impact from the Kumamoto earthquake could become larger, which is leading to expectations of further easing from the Bank of Japan."

And that's how every M7 and larger earthquake not only has a silver lining but is bullish for stocks.

Meanwhile OPEC watchers continue to focus on the Kuwait oil worker strike hoping it takes away enough production from the market over the next few days that the oil price jump despite the Doha meeting failure, is justified.

As a result, global stocks climbed to a four-month high and emerging markets rallied as oil rose above $40 a barrel whie European equities were poised for their highest close since January as financial reports boosted companies including Danone SA and L’Oreal SA. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 1.3% after energy shares snapped a two-day decline, tracking oil higher.

S&P 500 Index futures rose 0.5%, indicating U.S. equities will extend gains after reaching their highest level since Dec. 1.

It wasn't just risk assets as gold jumped while silver surged to its strongest level since June. The metal has gained 21 percent this year, and is the best performing asset in the Bloomberg Commodity Index. And even as Treasury markets sold off modestly (the 10Y is still below 1.80%), Japan's long TSY yields continued to make fresh record lows following strong demand for 5 year paper.

As Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, summarized the market action: "There appears to be less skepticism, with investors shrugging off oil’s losses overnight. Pessimism in analysts’ expectations in the lead-up to the U.S. earnings season appears overdone. There’s room for an upward surprise."

On the calendar today, we have data on housing starts in March, with economists estimating a drop from the previous month. Goldman Sachs’s earnings follow results from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley that helped fuel a rally in financials.

Where markets are now:

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 2098
  • Stoxx 600 up 1.2% to 348
  • FTSE 100 up 0.5% to 6387
  • DAX up 1.8% to 10304
  • German 10Yr yield up 2bps to 0.18%
  • Italian 10Yr yield up 5bps to 1.4%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield up 4bps to 1.53%
  • S&P GSCI Index up 0.6% to 337.7
  • MSCI Asia Pacific up 1.8% to 133
  • Nikkei 225 up 3.7% to 16874
  • Hang Seng up 1.3% to 21436
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.3% to 3043
  • S&P/ASX 200 up 1% to 5189
  • US 10-yr yield up 2bps to 1.79%
  • Dollar Index down 0.13% to 94.37
  • WTI Crude futures up 1% to $40.19
  • Brent Futures up 1.2% to $43.41
  • Gold spot up 0.8% to $1,242
  • Silver spot up 2.6% to $16.65

Top Global News

  • Oil Halts Losses as Kuwait Labor Strike Cuts Crude Production: oil halted drop, investors weighed strike in Kuwait
  • Japan Stocks Rally Most in Seven Weeks on Quake Stimulus Outlook: crude up first time in 5 days, boosting energy stocks
  • IBM Earnings Show It’s Still Struggling With New Product Growth: sales fell for 16th consecutive quarter to $18.7b
  • Netflix Shares Slump on Forecast for Weakening Subscriber Growth: international gains to shrink despite global expansion
  • Valeant CEO Deposed for at Least Nine Hours by Senate Committee: Pearson deposed ahead of public hearing April 27
  • BlackRock Asks Hong Kong to Stop Listed Companies Hoarding Cash: Hong Kong exchange would have to consult on rules change
  • Theranos Under Investigation by SEC, U.S. Attorney’s Office: co. was asked to provide documents, is cooperating
  • Yahoo to Weigh Bids From Verizon, TPG, YP as First Round Closes: earnings report set to show further revenue declines
  • Fed’s Rosengren Says Market Is Too Pessimistic on Rate Path: U.S. economy remains ‘fundamentally sound’ despite slow 1Q
  • Hedge Fund Leverage Faces New Scrutiny by Top U.S. Regulator: FSOC creates working group to study use of borrowed money
  • Gulf’s Biggest Buyer of U.S. Properties to Double Investments: Investcorp also plans to return to Europe
  • NOTE: Companies reporting earnings today include Goldman, Intel, J&J, Philip Morris

Looking at regional markets, Asian stocks reversed yesterday's losses following the positive lead from Wall St. as a recovery in crude lifted global sentiment. Nikkei 225 (+3.7%) outperformed on JPY weakness and bargain buying following yesterday's over 3% declines, while ASX 200 (+1.0%) was underpinned by commodity names after oil's resurgence and iron ore reclaiming the USD 60/ton level. Furthermore, industry heavyweight Rio Tinto also reported its production update in which iron ore output rose 13% and shipments increased 11%. Elsewhere, Chinese markets are also higher alongside the improvement in global risk sentiment and the PBoC upping its liquidity injection, although gains have been capped amid speculation that monetary policy could be more prudent. 10yr JGBs traded relatively flat despite the firm risk-appetite in the region, following a well-received 5yr bond auction in which the b/c rose to 4.36 vs. Prey. 3.59 and tail in price narrowed 0.02 vs. Prey. 0.05.

Asian top news

  • It’s All Suddenly Going Wrong in China’s $3 Trillion Bond Market: Corporate borrowing costs are jumping from lowest since 2007
  • China Said to Seek Control of $8 Billion Yum! Brands Unit: CIC, KKR, Baring group interested in China’s biggest chain
  • BlackRock Asks Hong Kong to Stop Listed Companies Hoarding Cash: G-Resources is selling its biggest asset and keeping proceeds
  • Bank of Korea Holds Key Rate at Record Low, Cuts Growth Forecast: 17 of 20 economists forecast no rate change; 3 saw a cut
  • 1MDB Says There’s 5-Day Grace Period on Bond Interest Payment: 1MDB believes IPIC will make interest payment that was due April 18
  • Japan Picks FX Expert to Help Oversee BOJ’s Negative-Rate Plunge: Masai to replace Ishida, who opposed rate policy

European equities are climbing higher this morning, following the strong lead from Wall Street amid the resurgence in crude prices largely dictating the current state-of-play. Allied with this, a strong batch of earnings/production updates from the likes of L'Oreal and Rio Tinto have bolstered sentiment, while miners also gained on the back of sharp appreciation in the precious metals complex. German paper has come under some modest selling pressure since the European open amid a spill-over of weakness from USTs. Downside in Bunds has been somewhat curtailed after meeting support at the morning lows of 163.31, while analysts at IFR note possible sell stops situated at last week's low (163.16). Alongside this, the long-end was weighed by the sale of Italy's 20-yr bond, which has subsequently seen peripheral yields widen.

European top news

  • AB InBev Accepts Asahi’s Offer for European Beer Brands: Asahi had offered to buy premium brands for $2.9b
  • Roche’s First-Quarter Sales Fueled by Breast Cancer Trio: sales of newcomer Esbriet for lungs almost double in quarter
  • Rio Cuts Pilbara Ore Forecast as Auto Train System Delayed: co. continues to see volatility in prices across all markets
  • Danone First-Quarter Sales Top Estimates on Yogurt Pricing: co. reiterates 2016 targets, sees dairy sales stabilizing
  • VW Cheating Code Words Said to Complicate Emissions Probe: about 450 investigators screened 102 terabytes of data
  • ECB Says Lending Conditions for Companies Ease Amid Stimulus: competitive pressures main driver, Bank Lending Survey shows
  • Carney’s Brexit Options Cover Everything From QE to Rate Hikes: economists say BOE should intervene if U.K. leaves EU
  • L’Oreal Leaps in Paris as Sales Beat Estimates on Make-Up Growth: CEO sees sales growth accelerating from 2Q
  • Publicis Revenue Exceeds Estimates on North American Growth: client ad accounts won last year lifted revenue 8.9%

The early London session started off with USD selling all round, with the commodity currencies leading the way. AUD/USD ticked over .7800 after NY and Sydney saw a steady grind higher, but decent selling above the latest big figure level seems to have contained the latest moves for now. NZD/USD had already taken out .7000, but has continued through to .7026/7 before the market pauses for breath ahead of the GDT auction later today. Oil prices were recovering, but WTI has been held off $42.0 (Jun contract) to stem CAD gains ahead of 1.2700. Recent highs stretched, but marginally so as yet.

Only a minor dip seen in USD/JPY, which has been digging in in recent sessions. Players now focusing on the BoJ meeting next week, and after brief slip under 109.00 this morning, the lead spot rate has pushed through the Asia highs to print 109.35. Cross/JPY also bid with EUR/JPY eyeing 124.00 and GBP/JPY hitting 156.60 — up 3 JPY from yesterday, 4 JPY from the lows — UK polls supportive of the 'remain' camp to keep Cable bid near term. EUR/USD treading cautiously through the early 1.1300's. German ZEW expectations better than current conditions.

The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.1335, after climbing 0.3 percent on Monday amid speculation the European Central Bank will refrain from further monetary easing at an April 21 policy meeting. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months ahead, advanced to 11.2 in April, the highest since December.

Energy prices (WTI Jun'16 future +USD 0.42) continue to remain elevated in European trade in a continuation of the move seen in the US yesterday and Asia overnight. In terms of newsflow, various OPEC and non-OPEC bodies continue to speak about the fallout of Sunday's failed meeting in an attempt to reassure markets that a deal is not out of sight, while Kuwait have also downplayed the ramifications of the strikes that have hit the nation.

Crude oil climbed 1.1 percent to $43.40 a barrel in London, after sliding almost 7 percent intraday on Monday after the world’s biggest producers failed to reach an agreement to limit supplies. A labor strike that started Sunday in Kuwait, OPEC’s fourth-biggest member, reduced the nation’s output by 60 percent to 1.1 million barrels a day.

Silver soared 3 percent to $16.7055 per ounce, the highest since June 2. The metal has gained 21 percent this year, the best performing asset in the Bloomberg Commodity Index. Money managers are the most bullish on silver since at least 2006, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Gold rose 0.8 percent.

In metals markets, Silver has been ripping higher for much of the morning, with prices currently trading near an internal trend line which originated in Aug'15 and making a key break of the Oct'15 high (USD 16.33/oz). Elsewhere, copper and iron ore prices were marginally lower after the latter reclaimed the USD 60/ton level with a mild pull-back seen following reports that China agreed to address its steel sector glut.

Bulletin Headline Summary from Bloomberg and RanSquawk

  • European equities enter the US crossover in positive territory as energy prices lifts sentiment in the region
  • FX markets saw USD selling all round during the early London session with the commodity currencies leading the way
  • Looking ahead, highlights include US Housing Starts, Building Permits, API Crude Oil Inventories, and comments from BoE's Governor Carney (Neutral)
  • Treasuries fall during overnight session amid rally in global equities and crude oil rose above $40/barrel.
  • After 15 years of being shut out of global credit markets, Argentina is returning with a bang as the country wants to sell as much as $15 billion in bonds Tuesday, which would be a single-day record for a developing country
  • The unprecedented boom in China’s $3 trillion corporate bond market is starting to unravel as investors in China’s yuan- denominated company notes have driven up yields for nine of the past 10 days, while local issuers have canceled 61.9 billion yuan ($9.6 billion) of bond sales in April alone
  • German investor confidence climbed for a second month, the highest level this year, as concerns about China’s economy have eased and ECB ramped up euro-area stimulus
  • ECB’s record-low rates have cost Germans 125 billion euros ($141 billion) in interest income since Draghi took over in 2011, according to analysis by Deutsche Postbank AG
  • The ECB said euro-area lending conditions continued to improve for companies last quarter, backing its case that its unprecedented stimulus combined with a stronger banking system is aiding the region’s recovery
  • Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Italian banking authorities are racing to shore up a financial system burdened by 360 billion euros of doubtful loans, an amount equivalent to almost 25% of the nation’s GDP
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren says that “I don’t think the financial markets have it right”; “We will be raising rates faster than what’s reflected in the financial markets”
  • Sovereign 10Y bond yields higher; European, Asian equity markets higher; U.S. equity-index futures rise. WTI crude oil, gold also higher

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Housing Starts, March, est. 1.166m (prior 1.178m)
    • Housing Starts m/m, March, est. -1.1% (prior 5.2%)
    • Building Permits, March, est. 1.2m (prior 1.167m, revised 1.177m)
    • Building Permits m/m, March, est. 2% (prior -3.1%, revised -2.2%
  • 8:55am: Redbook weekly sales
  • 4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories

Central Banks

  • 9:30am: Reserve Bank of Australia’s Stevens speaks in New York
  • 10:35am: Bank of England’s Carney speaks in Parliament
  • 11:00am: Bank of Canada’s Poloz testifies before at House of Commons panel

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Oil has been the main focus over the last 24 hours here in the real world. Having initially opened over 7% lower yesterday in Asia and crashing below $38/bbl, prices swiftly reversed over the course of the day and came close to wiping out the entire early loss, before settling a shade under $40/bbl and down ‘just’ -1.44% on the day. That meant WTI rose nearly $2.50 from the early low mark, while Brent also swung around to the tune of nearly $3 during the session. The Kuwait strike news which we highlighted yesterday was cited as a big factor in the changing tune and it appears that the strike is set to continue into today, although it feels like the ‘big if’ for markets now will be the duration of the strike and how much Kuwait can compensate some of that lost production elsewhere to get back closer to normal levels. Oil is fairly flat overnight and hovering just below $40.

The S&P 500 lasted in the red for all of 30 minutes at the open before a surge in energy stocks took the index to a +0.65% gain. The Dow was up a similar +0.60% by the end of play and notably closed over the 18,000 level for the first time since July last year. Prior to this European equity markets staged a late surge to drive back into the positive territory, with the Stoxx 600 finishing +0.41%. Credit indices on both sides of the pond closed tighter (CDX IG and Main both -2bps) while on the cash side US HY energy spreads finished the session unchanged.

As well as oil, earnings played their part too with Hasbro being a notable beat. Morgan Stanley also became the latest bank to report, beating earnings and revenue expectations with better than expected cost-cutting measures being attributed. It’s worth putting into perspective however the huge downward revisions to earnings expectations through the year so far heading into this reporting season. Yesterday’s results from Morgan Stanley were case in point. The Q1 EPS of 55c for the Bank was relative to the street expectation of 47c, however expectations at the end of March, February and January were actually 62c, 77c and 85c respectively. DB’s US equity strategist David Bianco made the point on Friday that while the weighted average EPS beat so far (as of Friday’s close) is +0.2%, bottom up Q1 EPS growth on a year on year basis is now actually -7.8%. For the banks alone EPS growth is in fact -12% yoy. We’ll be providing further detail on some of these trends as earnings season ramps up.

Earnings and oil will no doubt continue to be a key focus again for markets today, however also worth keeping an eye on is the ECB’s Bank Lending Survey, due out at 9.00am BST this morning. As we noted yesterday, the survey may offer clues about how Q1 volatility and especially the weak performance from bank equities has impacted their expected lending, if at all.

Before we get there though, switching our focus over to the latest in Asia this morning, the stabilisation in oil this morning (WTI currently still hovering around $40/bbl) is helping to support gains for the bulk of bourses. It’s the Nikkei which is standing out (a slightly weaker Yen also helping), currently posting a +3.48% rally and in turn wiping out yesterday’s heavy loss. Elsewhere the Hang Seng (+0.83%), ASX (+1.02%), Shanghai Comp (+0.17%) and Kospi (+0.08%) are also up. Credit indices across Asia and Australia have also bounced back, while US equity index futures are a bit more mixed, in part reflecting some aftermarket earnings reports last night from IBM and Netflix.

Moving on. The latest The House View titled “A delicate balance” came out overnight. The team notes that the global macro backdrop has improved, but the growth outlook remains sluggish. After dovish shifts by central banks earlier this year supported macro and markets, they expect little significant additional news from the ECB and Fed this month, and while they don’t expect further easing by the BoJ either, this is where the biggest upside risk is. This backdrop leaves markets in a delicate balance, with risks on both sides.

Away from the oil focus yesterday, there wasn’t a whole lot else to highlight on the macro side of things. The only data of note was reserved for the afternoon with the NAHB housing market index which showed no change for this month after printing at 58 (and slightly below the 59 expected). We also got the last of the Fedspeak prior to the blackout period kicking in, with the overall tone relatively upbeat. NY Fed President Dudley made mention to the fact that economic news out of the US has been ‘most favourable’, as well as citing confidence in the Fed hitting their 2% inflation objective and also sounding positive on recent improvement in Europe’s growth outlook. Dudley did however reiterate the well versed rhetoric that ‘policy adjustments are likely to be gradual and cautious, as we continue to face uncertainties and the headwinds to growth’. Meanwhile and speaking late last night, Boston Fed President Rosengren reiterated his view that futures markets pricing is currently implying too dovish a scenario and that ‘the very shallow path of rate increases implied by financial futures market pricing would likely result in an overheating that necessitates the Fed eventually raising interest rates more quickly than is desirable, which could endanger the ongoing recovery and continued growth’.

Taking a look at the day ahead now, along with the release of the aforementioned ECB bank lending survey this morning, another important release worth keeping an eye on will be the German ZEW survey for April where expectations are for little change in the current situations index. In the US this afternoon there’s more housing market data due to be released with the March data for housing starts and building permits. The BoE’s Carney, speaking this afternoon at parliament, might be worth keeping an eye too. Meanwhile, the earnings calendar will see 19 S&P 500 companies report with the highlights being Goldman Sachs, Yahoo and Intel.