Global Stocks Rise, Dow Flirts With 20,000 As London Reopens; Oil In Longest Winning Streak In 7 Years

Global markets continued their levitation with the UK returning from vacation, pushing the MSCI Asia Pacific Index higher for the first time in seven days, while oil headed for the longest winning streak in almost seven years ahead of the promised OPEC production cut which is set to begin in just days. The USDJPY rose for a second day, pushing US equity futures higher and the DJIA is once again teasing with the 20,000 mark, although a race of sorts has emerged between the Dow and bitcoin, as to who can cross key psychological levels first: the Dow and 20,000 or Bitcoin and 1,000.

Despite the full reopening of global markets, trading remains thin across the globe during the last week of the year, with volume on the Topix about 45% below the 30-day average on Wednesday.  European equities fluctuated and Hong Kong stocks rose the most in a month after being closed Monday and Tuesday. More than twice as many shares on Japan’s Topix index rose than declined, even though the Nikkei225 ultimately closed fractionally lower at 19,402. Australian stocks rode a rise in commodities to gain 1 percent. Indonesian shares added 1.9 percent while Shanghai shed 0.3 percent.

Crude climbed for an eighth session before OPEC and other producing nations start reducing output. The yen fell the most among major currencies against the dollar.

"Until data starts to turn negative or the headlines suggest that (U.S. president-elect) Trump's stimulus programme could fall short of expectations, the dips in the dollar will be shallow with the currency aiming for new highs," wrote Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy for BK Asset Management. "But at the first sign of bad news there could be massive correction in what is quickly becoming a crowded long dollar trade," Lien added.

The dollar index was steady at 102.930, while the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was also little changed, trading near the highest level in more than a decade. The euro inched up 0.2 percent to $1.0474 and sterling dropped again, sliding to a 2 month low of 1.2224.

After crashing the day before, Shanghai zinc and nickel prices were also pulled higher. "There is strong positive sentiment on the outlook for these industrial metals going into 2017, and that's what we're seeing today," said a Perth-based commodities trader. "Let's see if this carries in to the main LME session later on." Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange extended gains after breaking a 9-day slump the previous day. It was last up 3.5 percent at 569.0 yuan ($81.82) per tonne. The raw material has risen about 170 percent this year, boosted by expectations of Chinese stimulus. It has also benefited from hopes that the incoming Trump Administration will increase infrastructure spending.

In China, the onshore yuan has been trading in a narrower range in the past week, stoking speculation that China is seeking to stabilize its currency as the year ends. The currency was little changed at 6.9557 per dollar; USD/CNY has traded in range of 193 pips since Dec. 21 through today, compared with range of 630 pips from Dec. 14 to 21. The offshore yuan dropped 0.11% to 6.9656; PBOC sets yuan’s fixing 0.05% lower at 6.9495. “The PBOC is trying to actually stabilize the RMB against the dollar,” Wang Tao, UBS head of China economic research, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It’s trying to manage expectations among Chinese households and corporates so that you don’t have this very mechanical, one- sided depreciation expectation”

China's s economy showed improvement in 4Q with gains across all industries, according to China Beige Book; revenues, profits, jobs and capital expenditures improved from 3Q while new orders were stable, it says. Meanwhile the tightening in financial conditions continued with overnight CNH hibor surges 8.6%, most since September, to 15.18%

A snapshot of global markets: The Stoxx Europe 600 Index swung between a gain and loss of less than 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.8 percent, rebounding from a five-month low, as banks led a rally by Chinese companies. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rallied 1.3 percent, the most in a month, and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent. The Jakarta Composite Index headed for the biggest two-day since February, extending Tuesday’s 1.5 percent gain. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index posted the steepest advance since October.

The Topix was flat, with about 10 percent of companies in the benchmark measure trading without the right to receive the next dividend. India’s S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.5 percent, extending Tuesday’s 1.6 percent gain following the recent decline to a five-week low. South Korea’s Kospi index declined 0.9 percent, the most in two weeks. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 1 percent after holidays Monday and Tuesday.

S&P 500 futures rose again, extending monthly gains by another 0.2%.  The Nasdaq Composite Index rose to an all-time high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average approached 20,000.

In rates, 10Y US yields rose on Tuesday to one-week highs in response to the strong domestic data which reinforced hopes for a series of monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve next year.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 2266
  • Stoxx 600 up less than 0.1% to 361
  • FTSE 100 up 0.3% to 7091
  • DAX down less than 0.1% to 11468
  • German 10Yr yield down 2bps to 0.19%
  • Italian 10Yr yield down 3bps to 1.82%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield down 4bps to 1.35%
  • S&P GSCI Index up 0.3% to 399.2
  • MSCI Asia Pacific up 0.3% to 135
  • Nikkei 225 down less than 0.1% to 19402
  • Hang Seng up 0.8% to 21755
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.4% to 3102
  • S&P/ASX 200 up 1% to 5685
  • US 10-yr yield down less than 1bp to 2.56%
  • Dollar Index up 0.15% to 103.17
  • WTI Crude futures up 0.5% to $54.19
  • Brent Futures up 0.6% to $56.44
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,141
  • Silver spot down 0.5% to $15.89

Top Headline News

  • Delta Cancels $4b Boeing Order Inherited From Northwest: Decision ‘consistent’ with fleet strategy for widebody craft
  • Qualcomm Fined $853 Million by South Korea’s Antitrust Agency: Fair Trade Commission describes ‘monopolistic’ practices
  • Toshiba’s Record Fall Highlights U.S. Nuclear Cost Nightmare: Writedown related to dispute over value of Westinghouse deal
  • Oil Trades Near 17-Mo. High Before Planned OPEC Supply Cuts: Inventories should stabilize as output is trimmed: Del Pino
  • Gold Shakes Off Trump Slump With Third Advance as Year-End Nears: Bullion prices head for best run of advances since Nov.
  • Miners Unearth a Profit Bonanza, Rally Set to Last Into 2017: Rebounding prices end losses that forced debt cuts, mine sales
  • Dynegy Files FERC Mitigation Proposal for Engie Plant Purchase: Asks FERC for expedited approval of mitigation plan

Asian stocks advanced, ending a six-session drop. 10 out of 11 sectors rise in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index with materials, information technology outperforming and consumer staples, consumer discretionary underperforming. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5 percent. Australian stocks rode a rise in commodities to gain 1 percent. Indonesian shares .JKSE added 1.9 percent while Shanghai .SSEC shed 0.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei was basically unchanged. “Gains at the start of the week on Wall Street and the rally in crude oil prices have helped most Asian markets move into black this morning,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG Asia Pte Ltd. “Nevertheless, we again have the condition of low volume plaguing markets.”

Asia Econ Data

  • Japan Nov. Retail Sales Rise 0.2% M/m; Est. -0.5%
  • Japan Nov. Industrial Production Rises 1.5% M/m; Est. +1.7%
  • Vietnam Dec. Trade Deficit $300M; Est. $400M Deficit
  • Vietnam’s Dec. Consumer Prices Rise 4.74% Y/Y; Est. +4.85%
  • Vietnam 2016 GDP Grows 6.21%, Prime Minister Phuc Says
  • Macau Nov. Visitor Arrivals Unchanged Y/y
  • Macau Nov. Consumer Prices Rise 1.53% Y/y

Asian Top News

  • China Banking Official Urges Cut to Reserve Ratio: People’s Bank of China has held ratio at 17% since February
  • Chinese Insurer to Compensate Bondholders After Cosun’s Default: Zheshang Property’s payments will start from Dec. 28
  • Hitachi Koki Shares Up Most in 16 Years as Parent Eyes Sale: KKR in final stage of talks on $1.3 billion deal, Nikkei says

In Europe, stocks are little changed after trading resumed in U.K. and Ireland after holidays.  11 out of 19 Stoxx 600 sectors drop with real estate, travel & leisure underperforming and basic resources, oil & gas outperforming. 54% of Stoxx 600 members decline, 43% gain. “The political fog remains intense in Europe, resulting in limited visibility as we head into 2017,” HSBC strategists Robert Parkes and Amit Shrivastava write in note. “Investors have to grapple with the uncertainty surrounding the numerous key political events on the horizon. Any one of these has the ability to shock and call into question the future of the whole EU project. But it is not all bad news. The global economy is showing signs of life and we could be finally exiting a multi-year earnings downgrade cycle.”

European Top News

  • BP to Buy Woolworths Australian Gas Stations for $1.3 Billion: U.K. oil company set to acquire 527 retail fuel outlets
  • U.K. Builder Bovis Slumps Most Since October as Production Falls: Bovis will hand over 3,950 to 4,000 homes this year
  • Turkey, Russia Agree on Plan for Syria Truce, Anadolu Reports: Erdogan accuses U.S.-led coalition of aiding IS, Kurds
  • Vestas Secures Wind Turbine Orders in U.S., Honduras: Order for 200 MW of V110-2.0 MW turbine components in U.S.
  • Volkswagen to Hire More Than 1,000 IT Experts in Next 3 Years: From high-tech sectors, gaming industry, research centers
  • to Acquire Certain Assets of Nasty Gal Inc. for $20m: Further update after seeking U.S. court approval on Jan. 5

In commodities, crude futures jumped 0.4% to $54.10 a barrel, extending Tuesday’s 1.7% climb. Prices are set to recover next year as production cuts help rebalance an oversupplied market, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said last week. OPEC and 11 nations from outside the group including Russia have agreed to trim about 1.8 million barrels a day from January. Gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,141.71, climbing for a third day from an 11-month low.

In currencies, the yen slipped 0.1 percent to 117.57 per dollar after falling 0.3 percent Tuesday. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed, still trading near the highest level in more than a decade.

US Event Calendar:

  • 8:55am: Redbook weekly sales
  • 10am: Pending home sales MoM, Nov., est. 0.5% (prior 0.1%)
  • 4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories