From "BTFD" To "Sell The Rip": Global Stocks Slide, Nikkei Tumbles, Pound Plunges

S&P futures gave up early gains and were trading down -0.2%, as Donald Trump completes his first Asian tour and as pressure mounts on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, sending the pound plunging. European stocks fell, tracking many Asian shares as the Nikkei plunge accelerated.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 fell as much as 0.4%, resuming last week’s pull-back. 17 of 19 industry groups fall, with financial services, retail and banking shares leading the selloff; the broad European index is down 2.7% from the intraday high hit on Nov. 1. The Stoxx 600 drop also triggered a key technical level, with the Stoxx 600 sliding below the 50-DMA for first time since early September, while the Stoxx 600 Bank index dropped below the 200 DMA following a downgrade of European banks by Kepler Cheuvreux.

"Nothing has changed in the past few weeks in terms of fundamentals. Investors are just looking for excuses to book some profits after what has been a pretty strong year," Fabrice Masson, head of equities at BFT Investment Managers, told Bloomberg: "Some of the stocks have risen 50% since the start of the year. If their earnings are good but don’t show a clear acceleration in the trend, it’s tempting to just sell."

Well, something did change: earlier in the session, investment bank Kepler downgraded European stocks to underweight, saying last week’s pull-back marks the point at which equity markets shift from “buy-on-dip” to “sell-on-strength.”

In equities, the big mover overnight was Japan, where shares slumped and the Nikkei 225 tumbled by 1.3%, down to 22,380.99, its biggest drop since April 6, as investors found no new reasons to buy after driving benchmarks to their highest in a quarter century just one week ago. The Nikkei is now down 4.3% from the intraday high on Nov. 9. The Topix index slid for a third day and the Nikkei 225 retreated for a fourth session following gains last week that pushed them to levels unseen since 1991 and 1992 respectively. A combination of solid quarterly results, positive economic data and massive foreign buying had driven the rally. U.S. shares fell Friday after U.S. consumer sentiment data unexpectedly dropped by the most in a year amid expectations for faster inflation and higher interest rates.

“Investors who were hoping for the market to stage a rebound during the day may have sold in disappointment towards the end” exacerbating the decline, said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “With corporate results behind us and no major economic data in sight, the market is in for a tussle between those waiting to buy and those trying to take profits.” The benchmark indexes finished at the day’s lows as declines accelerated in the last half hour of trading. “Stock futures, which started declining in late afternoon, dragged down stocks and the leveraged funds,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Japan Asia Securities. Next Funds Nikkei 225 Leveraged Index ETF, an exchange traded fund product managed by Nomura Holdings Inc., fell 2.7% , the most since April 6. As investors and market observers try to gauge the extent of a downward correction in domestic equities that begun late last week, optimism has yet to fade among some participants.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘correction’ -- it’s too tough to predict these markets,” Chris Ailman, chief investment officer of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Markets have gotten ahead of themselves and “I’ll call it a pause to refresh.” The yen is a concern, but the fund is very optimistic about Abenomics and in favor of Japan’s corporate governance overhauls, he added.

Elsewhere in Asia, equities also retreated, with industrial and material shares leading declines, after tax-cut pessimism weighed on U.S. equities Friday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.6% to 170.25, falling for a second trading day. Industrial stocks led losses, dropping the most in almost a year. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. fell the most among South Korean shipyards after losing an offshore order to a Singapore rival. Iida Group Holdings Co. plunged by record in Tokyo after first-half results missed the company’s targets. "Uncertainties over U.S. tax cuts are prompting investors to take profit after big rallies in the last few weeks," said Linus Yip, Hong Kong-based strategist at First Shanghai Securities.South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.3% to close at its highest in almost a decade after reversing an earlier loss.

Curiously, the Shanghai Composite ignored the noise from its neighbors, and staged an impressive comeback, closing up 0.4% at 3,447, the highest level in 22 months, led by banks, steelmakers and chipmakers.

More interesting, however, was the plunge in China's government bonds: the 10Y yield rose to the highest level in 3 years, while 10-yr treasury futures plunged 0.67%, the biggest since the end of October, as bond yields kept climbing and the curve kept inverting with the 5-year yield breaking 4% at one point this morning, while the 10-yr yield approaches 4%.

In FX, the big mover was the pound, which came under heavy selling pressure as the U.K.’s political and Brexit troubles mount (see below); the dollar inched modestly higher, shrugging off stronger Treasuries; Gilts pushed higher from the open, providing support as European bonds gained across the board; the euro and the yen steadied on gamma trading.

The UK Brexit drama reached new heights over the weekend. As discussed earlier, 40 Conservative MP’s are reportedly calling for UK PM May to step down. This number is 8 short of the amount required to trigger a leadership challenge Other sources also suggest that UK PM May is facing a rebellion from pro-European Tory MPs who have vowed to vote against her "crass" plans to enshrine the date the Britain leaves the European Union in law. Sources suggest that a menacing secret memo from Boris Johnson & Michael Gove to UK PM May dictating terms for a hard Brexit has triggered a new Cabinet rift. Britain must not cave in to EU demands for a bigger Brexit divorce bill after Brussels set a two-week deadline for the UK to concede, allies of Boris Johnson have warned. Brexit Secretary Davis stated that he still believes that a trade deal with the EU can be negotiated within the given timeframe. However, separately, Chief EU Brexit Negotiator Barnier noted that the EU is preparing for possible collapse of Brexit talks. 

The U.K. data won’t be the only numbers on investors’ minds. U.S. inflation and growth numbers are also on the docket, and they could be key to the Federal Reserve’s determination to lift rates next month. Talks on tax legislation may also play into market thinking; pessimism over the likelihood of successful reforms helped drag global equities down from this month’s record high late last week. Measures of equity-market volatility have risen, albeit from low levels.

Over in Catalonia, Spain PM Rajoy visited the region for the first time since the government retook control. He called on “the silent or silenced majority” voters that oppose secessionism to “convert its voices into votes” in the upcoming 21 December regional election. Further, he noted “it’s urgent to return a sense of normality to Catalonia” and that he “ask all companies that have worked in Catalonia not to leave”.

In geopolitical updates, over the weekend, President Trump tweeted that “President Xi of China has stated that he is upping the sanctions against North Korea. Said he wants them to denuclearize. Progress is being made.” North  Korea noted that US President Trump’s rhetoric will never stop North Korea from pursuing nuclear programme, as South Korea’s Foreign Minister said that North Korea needs to show signs of change before any talks occur.

Trump also says "we've made a lot of progress on trade" following meeting with Japanese PM Abe & Australian PM Turnbull. Trump is to issue a statement from the White House on Wednesday on his Asia trip, trade & North Korea. Reports suggest that Trump has offered to mediate over the South China sea dispute, while it was also reported that Trump & Putin have agreed to continue joint efforts in order to defeat Islamic State, and agreed
that there is no military solution for the Syrian conflict. Reports suggested that the two did not discuss north Korea.

Bloomberg reported that the Saudi King is not going to be stepping down, while on Sunday Lebanon’s PM withdrew his resignation conditional on Hezbollah committing to remaining neutral, but reports have suggested
that he is to resign in Beirut.

n rates, the yield on 10Y TSY dropped two bps to 2.37%, the largest drop in more than a week. Germany’s 10Y yield fell two basis points to 0.39 percent, also the biggest fall in a week. Britain’s 10Y gilt fell three basis points to 1.309 percent.

In commodities, gold and most industrial metals rose, and West Texas oil dropped below $57 a barrel.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 2,578.20
  • MXAP down 0.6% to 170.26
  • MXAPJ down 0.3% to 558.68
  • Nikkei down 1.3% to 22,380.99
  • Topix down 0.9% to 1,783.49
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 29,182.18
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,447.84
  • Sensex down 0.8% to 33,061.20
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 6,021.77
  • Kospi down 0.5% to 2,530.35
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.4% to 387.11
  • German 10Y yield fell 2.2 bps to 0.388%
  • Euro down 0.1% to $1.1649
  • Brent Futures down 0.1% to $63.43/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield rose 3.0 bps to 1.58%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 2.4 bps to 1.552%
  • Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,278.27
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.2% to 94.58

Top Overnight News

  • Trump attends two days of meetings on regional security affairs hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations before heading home
  • Sterling fell for the first time in three days; May has a bad start to the week following a Sunday Times report saying 40 of her own Conservative lawmakers have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in her, nearly enough to trigger a leadership challenge, just days after the EU gave the U.K. two weeks to make “clarifications” so Brexit talks can advance
  • The U.K. Labour Party offered May a cross-party Brexit deal saying she’s lacking the support within her Conservative Party to deliver the Brexit she aims for
  • AT&T’s Merger Fight Is Said to Head Toward Thanksgiving Showdown
  • China Credit Growth Trails Estimates as Deleveraging Prioritized
  • Tesla Model 3 Depositors Staying Put as Wait in Line Lengthens
  • Noble Group Is Said to Lose Key Bank Prop as DBS Cuts Loans
  • Trump Hails ‘Great’ Ties With Duterte, Skirts Human Rights
  • Trump Is Shattering His Own Tweet Records With Non-Stop Barrage
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia
  • It prompted the opposition Labour Party to question her ability to deliver the Brexit transition period she’s proposed
  • Fed Bank of Philadelphia President Harker said he’s looking for another rate increase this year and the balance sheet unwind will be “boring”
  • “With a labor market this tight, inflation is likely to reassert itself at some point,” he says in text of speech in Tokyo
  • There’s been a marked turnaround in Europe’s economy. The 19-nation euro-zone bloc is already enjoying the strongest growth in a decade; economists at Credit Suisse Group AG and Oxford Economics are declaring that it’s heading toward a golden period of low- inflationary expansion
  • ECB Vice President Constancio said on Monday the recovery was broad-based, robust and resilient

Asian indices were mixed, with no fresh catalyst for a decisive move. Japan’s Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) continued to edge away from the multi decade highs set last week. Elsewhere Australia’s ASX (-0.1%) ebbed lower, while China’s Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (+0.2%) tiptoed higher supported by a record breaking Singles’ Day event at the end of last week. Fixed income dealing was rangebound with Treasuries edging away from worst levels in a modest bull flattening move, despite FOMC voter Harker reiterating that he had pencilled in a December hike and three further hikes in 2018, inflation dependent. JGB’s moved lower as the BoJ refrained from engaging in Rinban operations today, with the long end experiencing a degree of mild underperformance. PBoC sets the CNY mid-point at 6.6347 vs. Prev. 6.6282. RBA Deputy Governor Debelle said that there is a risk that wages will stay lower for longer, although he did concede that some pockets of the economy are exhibiting wage pressure, and that he expects the recent uptick investment to last a while.

Top Asian News

  • Alibaba’s Rise Creates 10 Billionaires Not Named Jack Ma
  • Widening Citizenship Fiasco Threatens Aussie Confidence
  • Hong Kong Stocks Rise to 10-Year High as AAC Tech and AIA Jump
  • Noble Group Shares Extend Slump to 16% as DBS Said to Cut Loans

European bourses have kicked the week off modestly higher/flat (Eurostoxx 50 +0.1%) with outperformance in the FTSE 100 amid the softer GBP. In terms of sector specific moves, health care names have seen a modest bout of outperformance with Novartis at the top of the SMI following a positive drug update. Elsewhere, financial names underperform after Italian banks have seen little benefit from news on Friday that ECB can only impose capital requirements on banks to provide for bad loans on a case-by-case basis. Bunds and Gilts have slowly extended their respective recoveries from last Friday’s closes and intraday lows, the former finding traction when intraday tech support at 162.18 held, and gathering a bit of momentum when 162.34 (resistance and 50% retrace of the previous session sell-off) was surpassed. The next upside objective on some charts is the 162.50-56 area vs a  162.49 high so far, and if that is achieved then 162.73 will close a gap. Market contacts suggest that longs may not get twitchy unless Friday’s 162.13 low is breached. The 10 year UK debt future has traded up to 124.66 for a  35 tick gain on the day, and aside from short covering after the pre-weekend there has been plenty of incentive for bulls to step back in on the latest PM May/Government turmoil. US Treasuries also stabilising following recent bear-steepening that was deemed to be at least partly due to re-positioning (ie flatteners unwound).

Top European News

  • Ultra Electronics Drags Defense Stocks on CEO Ouster, Forecast
  • Four in 10 London Homesellers Cutting Prices in Tough Market
  • U.K. Labour Says May Lacks Power to Deliver Brexit Transition
  • European Stocks Downgraded, Seen as Vulnerable Zone at Kepler

In FX markets, GBP has been the main mover overnight with pressure mounting on UK PM May amidst reports of a rising rebellion within the Conservative Party ranks. Cable has now retreated through 1.3100 and bears will be targeting the post-BoE rate hike low of 1.3040, if 1.3050 is breached on the downside (reportedly an objective for one major bank). Elsewhere, the EUR is firmer vs the Greenback as the pair consolidates recent gains above 1.1650, but a confirmed topside break of the 1.1550-1.1170 range only seen if 1.1690 (21 DMA) near term chart resistance is breached. Comments from ECB’s Constancio this morning have come in on the dovish side, stating that “Much-feared inflationary pressures have not materialised, nor can they be foreseen in the immediate future”. AUD is currently capped below 0.7700 after dovish or bearish on balance comments from RBA deputy Governor Debelle (wages to remain low for some time).

In energy markets, WTI and Brent crude futures trade modestly lower with reports of an earthquake in Iraq and tensions in the Gulf region ultimately doing little for oil prices. Additionally, press reports from over the weekend suggested that the Saudi King has no plans to step down while the Iraqi oil minister has ordered an acceleration of repair works at the Bai Hasan and Avana oilfields near Kirkuk; exports remain at a halt. In metals, gold prices have ticked higher in recent trade in a mild retracement of Friday’s losses. Elsewhere, Chinese steel rebar futures were supported overnight amid output reductions in some of the nation’s lager steelmaking cities. Finally, Chinese iron ore demand is forecast to fall by 6mln tonnes in November as China plans to curb steel production during the winter to meet air pollution targets, according to the CISA (China Steel & Iron Association) Oman Oil Minister says does not believe there will be deeper production cuts. (Newswires) The Iraqi oil minister has ordered an acceleration of repair works at the Bai Hasan and Avana oilfields near Kirkuk. However, exports remain at a halt

US Event Calendar

  • Nov. 13-Nov. 17: MBA Mortgage Foreclosures, prior 1.29%
  • Nov. 13- Nov. 17: Mortgage Delinquencies, prior 4.24%
  • 2pm: Monthly Budget Statement, est. $58.0b deficit, prior $45.8b deficit

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

It’s almost a pleasure to get back to work to see what happens next after a fascinating last couple of days for markets (ok it’s all relative). Although 2016 marked a turning point for our structural view on rates and inflation (higher) due to populism (more fiscal), peak QE, demographics (peak labour supply around middle of this decade), and perhaps peak regulation, we must admit that the dovish taper from the ECB over two weeks ago made us wonder whether the next leg to our trade might delayed for a few months. We still felt the unfunded US tax cut was under-priced by markets which was still the main avenue for higher yields. However up until Wednesday evening everything was becalmed - equities continued to hit new record or multi-year highs, bonds were moving towards multi-month lows in yields and volatility was low again with the VIX back below 10 and the MOVE index (Treasury vol) back down around all-time lows. Then Thursday started with a wild (in today's terms) swing in the Nikkei and we then saw a rare simultaneous sell-off in equities, rates and spreads.

Just for ease, below we'll detail the 2-day sell off in a number of assets with Friday's move in brackets. All bond market moves are 10yr yields. USTs +6.4bp (+5.7bp), Bunds +8.4bp (+3.5bp), Gilts +11.7bp (+7.9bp) and BTPs +9.9bp (+3bp). In equities, DAX -1.91% (-0.42%), CAC -1.66% (-0.50%), FTSE -1.28% (-0.68%), FTSE-MIB -1.18% (-0.36%), and the Bovespa -2.96% (-1.05%). In credit, Crossover +10.6bp (+1.4bp) and CDX HY +8.2bp (+1.1bp).
Obviously these moves are still relatively small in the greater scheme of things and only bring us back to levels days before rather than months before in most indices (HY US ETFs an exception as back to March levels) but the suddenness of the move without warning or catalyst has provoked a lot of attention. The blame has been placed on the following factors, none of which fully explain the reversal but are worth highlighting. Weak EMFX and (US) HY over the last few weeks, continuous flattening of global yield curves since the ECB meeting, difficulties in the tax reform plan, and Saudi tensions from last weekend and the associated rise in Oil that this has encouraged.

Indeed Oil is up 9.3% over the last three weeks and up 30.4% since the lows in June. Maybe with this rise in Oil, 10 year Bunds shouldn't be flirting with 30bps as they did on Wednesday regardless of the ECB. Given these moves, this week's inflation numbers are the perfect opportunity for things to calm down or volatility to continue to pick up. The most significant is the October CPI report in the US on Wednesday. The consensus is for a small +0.1% mom lift in the headline and +0.2% mom lift in the core. Remember though that the latter has missed relative to market expectations in six out of the last seven months. We think we may see more positive surprises in 2018 but not necessarily yet. Also due this week will be final October CPI revisions for Germany and the UK tomorrow, France on Wednesday and the Euro area on Thursday. In the UK the older inflation measure RPI is expected to go above 4% for the first time since December 2011. Looking further back, since May 1992 we’ve only seen RPI above this level for 42 months (13.8% of the time) out of the last c25 years. Meanwhile even with the late week Gilt sell off, 10-year yields remain at a lowly 1.34%. Not a brilliant real return potential in our opinion!

So inflation is the big thing this week but we'll also see Euroarea Q3 GDP tomorrow although no change from the +0.6% qoq flash print is expected. Also tomorrow China sees its monthly bulk activity numbers and US retail sales is out on Thursday. As you'll see in the week ahead at the end its a packed week for central bank speakers with the highlight being tomorrow's ECB policy panel discussion in Frankfurt which includes a star studded line up with the ECB’s Draghi, Fed’s Yellen, BoE’s Carney and BoJ’s Kuroda all participating. Elsewhere Mr Trump's Asia tour comes to an end in the first half of the week where he will attend the East Asia Summit to discuss strategic political and security issues in the region and tomorrow Mrs May's Brexit legislation is the subject of two days of examination in the House of Commons. The full day-by-day week ahead is available at the end and a reminder that our  new "Next Week... This Week" document from Friday includes all this and an easy to read cut-out and keep of all upcoming events.

Now on to the US tax plan, the House’s version of the tax bill is expected to go to a full House vote this week (either Thursday or Friday), while the Senate’s plans will begin its mark-up process today with an expectation for a full senate vote before 23 November. Over the weekend, there was more rhetoric across the spectrum. The House and Means Committee Chairman Brady noted he will not budge on certain things, noting that “I’m committed to” a compromise that would preserve the deduction for state and local proper taxes vs. the Senate’s plans which expect a full elimination. Elsewhere, President Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn said he expects the tax bills go to a conference committee that reconciles differences between the House and Senate versions before returning a report to both chambers for final passage. He noted that the conferees “will decide what stays and what goes” and they’ll pick and choose the different parts that they think are important”. Indeed, it feels like both versions of the tax plans are opening gambits and the hard work begins when the bills are reconciled. Our US economist believes there is a decent chance that some version of tax reform can be achieved, but this is likely to be a Q1 event with potential stumbling blocks along the way.

In the UK, the Sunday Times reported that 40 Conservative MPs have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in the UK PM, almost enough to trigger a leadership challenge (need eight more MPs). This morning, Sterling is down 0.56% against the USD and as mentioned earlier, PM May’s Brexit legislation will be debated in the House of Commons this week.

This morning in Asia, markets are mixed. The Nikkei (-0.68%), Kospi (-0.45%) and ASX 200 (-0.24%) are down modestly, while Hang Seng is up 0.17% as we type. Elsewhere, Bitcoin has dropped -10.21% this morning (c17% in two days), in part as Bloomberg reports that traders are buying its alternative instead (Bitcoin cash). Over in Japan, the October PPI was above expectations at 0.3% mom (vs. 0.1% expected) and 3.4% yoy (vs. 3.1% expected).

Now briefly recapping other markets performance on Friday. US bourses softened and posted its first down week since September (-0.21%) amid uncertainty over US tax reforms. The S&P (-0.09%) and Dow (-0.17%) fell slightlywhile Nasdaq was virtually flat. Within the S&P, modest gains in the consumer staples and telco sector were more than offset by losses from energy and healthcare names. The US dollar index dipped 0.06%, while Euro and Sterling gained 0.20% and 0.39% respectively. The VIX jumped 7.52% and was up 23.5% for the week at 11.29.

Despite the pull back in US equities last week, our global asset strategists remain bullish. They note the duration of the equity rally “without” a typical 3-5% pullback has been very unusual. Further the speed and the size of the current rally have not been unusual and that while multiples are high relative to their historical averages, they are in line with their historical drivers. Overall, they see S&P 500 EPS growth of 11% in 2018, supported by stable robust US growth, a pickup in global growth and assuming a range bound dollar. At 19.5x PE, they have an S&P target of 2850 for 2018 but expect more regular (3%-5%) pullbacks to resume next year. Refer to the link for more details.

Over in Catalonia, Spain PM Rajoy visited the region for the first time since the government retook control. He called on “the silent or silenced majority” voters that oppose secessionism to “convert its voices into votes” in the upcoming 21 December regional election. Further, he noted “it’s urgent to return a sense of normality to Catalonia” and that he “ask all companies that have worked in Catalonia not to leave”.

Back to China’s financial sector liberalisation measures announced back on Friday, including: i) foreign investors can own controlling stakes (51%) in local securities JVs, ii) removing restriction that foreign companies can only own less than 20% of a Chinese bank and iii) allowing foreign insurance companies to own up to 51% of local individual insurance company 3 years from now (100% in 5 yrs). Our China Chief economist notes that this is a big step toward opening up the service sector to the world and consistent with the message from the 19th Party Congress. They expect the reform will help to promote FDI inflows and offset some of the capital outflows. Refer to the link for more details.

Before we take a look at the calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from Friday. In the US, the November University of Michigan consumer confidence was lower than expectations at 97.8 (vs. 100.8). At the end of last week, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate of 4Q GDP growth was 3.3% saar while the NY Fed’s Nowcast estimate sits at 3.2% saar.

In the UK, the macro data was above expectations. The September IP was 0.7% mom (vs. 0.3% expected) – the 6th consecutive month gain, leading to annual growth of 2.5% yoy (vs. 1.9% expected). Elsewhere, manufacturing production also beat at 0.7% mom (vs. 0.3% expected) and 2.7% yoy (vs. 2.4% expected). In France, the September IP slightly beat at 0.6% mom (vs. 0.5% expected) and 3.2% yoy (vs. 3.1% expected), but manufacturing production was lower than expected at 0.4% mom (vs. 0.8%) and 3.1% yoy (vs. 3.4% expected). Italy’s September IP also disappointed, at -1.3% mom (vs. -0.3% expected) and 2.4% yoy (vs. 4.8% expected).