After five consecutive daily losses on the MSCI world stock index and seven straight falls in Europe, there was finally a bounce, as investors returned to global equity markets in an optimistic mood on Thursday, sending US futures higher after several days of losses as global stocks rebounded following a Chinese commodity-driven rout.
The House is poised to vote, and pass, on tax legislation although what happens in the Senate remains unclear. European shares rebounded for the first time in eight sessions, following Asian stocks higher as the global risk-off mood eased. The euro, Swiss franc and yen all weakened as the dollar edged higher. “After five or six days of steady selling you have got people coming back in looking for bargains,” said CMC Markets' Michael Hewson. “I think it’s temporary though. We haven’t had a significant sell off this year and the fact of the matter is that equity markets have done so much better than anyone dared to envisage.”
As Bloomberg echoes, "investors seem to be regaining their appetite for risk after several days of global declines in stocks and high-yield credit that had many questioning whether the selloff could become a rout."
Still, investor concern over the progress of a massive U.S. tax reform plan showed no sign of abating as two Republican lawmakers on Wednesday criticized the Senate’s latest proposal. U.S. President Donald Trump hit back, tweeting that “Tax cuts are getting close!”
“If we look at what the markets are focusing on, it’s still very much the tax cut debates in the U.S., and how much progress there’s going to be on this front,” Barclays' Mitul Kotecha told Reuters.
Indices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong and Seoul all rallied overnight, while London, Frankfurt and Paris started 0.3-0.4% higher as cyclical stocks which had driven the sell-off made a comeback. In Japan the Topix index ended its longest losing streak in a year, rising 1% with technology stocks providing the biggest boost, and the Nikkei 225 advances 1.5%. The ASX (+0.2%) also managed to shake off its early losses, closing higher with the energy sector outperforming as consumer staples and utilities weighed. Chinese stocks edged lower despite a massive cash injection by the PBOC, while the Hang Seng moved higher. Hong Kong stocks rebounded from their worst day in four weeks, as insurers led by Ping An Insurance Group Co. jumped on optimism that rising bond yields will boost investment income. Tencent Holdings climbed after posting its fastest revenue growth in seven years.
China’s sovereign bonds finally rebounded, advancing after the central bank boosted cash injections by the most in 10 months, fueling speculation that the authorities are looking to stabilize sentiment after a debt selloff. Having flirted with 4% in recent days, the yield on 10-year government notes dropped 3 basis points to 3.95%; the 5-year yield fell 1 basis point to 3.95%. The 10-year yield surpassed 4% this week for the first time since 2014. The People’s Bank of China added a net 310 billion yuan ($47 billion) through reverse-repurchase agreements on Thursday, bringing this week’s open-market operation additions to 820 billion yuan, also the most since January.
European stocks bounce back from a seven-day rout - the longest losing streak of the year - that had erased almost 400 billion euros ($471 billion) from the value of the region’s benchmark. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index adds 0.7%, following gains in Asia and climbing from a two-month low. All national benchmarks in the region are in the green, except those in Italy and Greece. Most industry groups also rise, with automakers rebounding from an eight-day slump on data showing European car sales grew in October. Financial services firms and builders were among the biggest gainers in the broad advance of the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
There was some relief too that oil prices had pulled out of what had been a near 5 percent drop and that upbeat U.S. data on Wednesday had helped the dollar halt the euro's sharp recent rise.
In currencies, the pound fluctuated as Brexit rhetoric rumbled on, and data showed U.K. retail sales barely rose in October. Concerns about Brexit continue to mount: an article in 'The Sun' newspaper, stated that UK PM May, could increase her divorce bill offer to the EU in December; deal would add GBP 20bln to the GBP 18bln said to already be on offer. Source reports indicate that EU is said to reject UK bid for `bespoke' trade deal, according to Politico. BoE's Carney states that the Bank will do whatever they can to support the UK economy during the Brexit transition period. Chancellor Hammond said to stick to fiscal rules and resist demands for spending surge in upcoming UK budget. Michael Gove is reportedly facing a Conservative party backlash as he is accused of using the cabinet to audition for UK Chancellor
The dollar index was slightly higher on the day at 93.828 having hit four- and five-week lows against the yen and euro. The euro was down around 14 ticks at $1.1760 retreating from a one-month top of $1.1860 on Wednesday. Havens underperformed on Thursday, with gold trading little changed, and the yen and Swiss franc among the worst-performing major currencies. The Swiss franc decreased 0.3 percent to $0.9918, the largest dip in more than two weeks.
Commodities largely stabilized as China’s central bank boosted the supply of cash in the system by the most since January, though oil eventually reversed a gain. Gold edged 0.1% lower to $1,277.29 an ounce. It reached $1,289.09 overnight, its highest since Oct. 20. Oil prices gained despite pressure after the U.S. government reported an unexpected increase in crude and gasoline stockpiles. They had lost ground to this week’s International Energy Agency (IEA) outlook for slower growth in global crude demand.
European government bonds took their cue from the U.S. benchmark, turning lower as the yield on 10-year Treasuries increased. Bond markets saw a broad rise in yields after mostly upbeat U.S. economic news on Wednesday had added to expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates again next month as well as multiple times next year. Two-year Treasury yields US2YT=RR crept to fresh nine-year peaks in European trading, though significantly the U.S. yield curve remained at its flattest in a decade. European yields nudged higher too but the standout there was a fall in the premium investors demand to hold French debt over German peers to its lowest in over two years, almost to record lows.
Wal-Mart, Viacom, Best Buy and Applied Materials are among companies due to release results. Economic data include initial jobless claims, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook.
- S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 2,574
- STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 384.61
- MSCI Asia up 0.8% to 169.14
- MSCI Asia ex Japan up 0.7% to 555.93
- Nikkei up 1.5% to 22,351.12
- Topix up 1% to 1,761.71
- Hang Seng Index up 0.6% to 29,018.76
- Shanghai Composite down 0.1% to 3,399.25
- Sensex up 1% to 33,095.23
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 5,943.51
- Kospi up 0.7% to 2,534.79
- German 10Y yield rose 1.3 bps to 0.389%
- Euro down 0.1% to $1.1779
- Brent Futures down 0.03% to $61.85/bbl
- Italian 10Y yield rose 0.7 bps to 1.57%
- Spanish 10Y yield rose 1.1 bps to 1.561%
- Brent Futures down 0.03% to $61.85/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.02% to $1,277.91
- U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 93.91
Top Overnight News
- After a month of discussions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces a self-imposed end-of-week deadline to unlock coalition negotiations
- British PM Theresa May saw some support from officials of her German counterpart Merkel
- Manfred Weber, who leads Merkel’s Christian Democrats in the European Parliament and is a self-proclaimed skeptic on Brexit, changed his tone dramatically after meeting May saying the U.K. had a “credible” position and there was a “willingness to contribute to a positive outcome”
- Sterling came under pressure after a Politico report said the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier’s team flatly reject May’s bid for a “bespoke” trade deal
- Fed officials are pushing for a potentially radical revamp of the playbook for guiding U.S. monetary policy. With inflation and interest rates still low, the central bank has little room to ease policy in a downturn
- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to persuade businesses and the Republican faithful to get behind a proposed tax overhaul from the Trump administration that so far lacks broad public support
- The tax plan has provisions that may affect coverage and increase medical expenses for millions of families
- President Robert Mugabe’s refusal to publicly resign is stalling plans by Zimbabwe’s military to swiftly install a transitional government after seizing power on Wednesday
- Tax overhaul update: President Donald Trump is scheduled to head to the House, rallying Republican members before vote on tax bill
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets heads of her Christian Democratic-led bloc, Free Democrats and Green party to kick coalition talks into gear
- Cisco Sees First Revenue Growth in Eight Quarters; Shares Up
- Koch Brothers Are Said to Back Meredith Bid to Buy Time Inc.
- Health Care for Millions at Risk as Tax Writers Look for Revenue
- Cerberus’s Feinberg Switches Strategy to Shake Up German Banking
- Mattel Drops on Report That It Rebuffed Approach From Hasbro
- New SUVs at Peugeot, Ford Offset U.K. Drag on Europe Car Sales
- Google Sued for Using ‘Bait and Switch’ to Hook Minority Hires
- Santos Seen Luring More Bids After Rejecting $7.2 Billion Offer
- AT&T’s Clash With America Movil Slows Nafta Telecom Talks
- Mobileye’s $15 Billion Deal Masks Drop in Israel Tech M&A
- Mugabe’s Refusal to Resign Is Said to Stall Zimbabwe Transition
In Asian markets, a modest uptick in US stock index futures helped the Nikkei 225 stem some of its recent losses, with financials and retailers leading the way; as a result, he Japanese blue-chip index closed up 1.5%. The ASX (+0.2%) also managed to shake off its early losses, last closing up, with the energy sector outperforming (although this was on the back of confirmation of a rebuffed Santos takeover offer) as consumer staples and utilities weighed. Chinese stocks edged lower, while the Hang Seng moved higher Treasuries operated in a narrow range throughout the APac session, while JGBs were relatively listless, with a solid 20-year auction the highlight of the session. Aussie bond yields moved to session highs in the wake of the aforementioned labour market release, where they consolidated.
In European markets, equities kicked off the session on the front-foot in a continuation of some of the sentiment seen overnight during Asia-Pac trade (Nikkei 225 +1.5%). Some slight underperformance has been observed in the FTSE 100 with gains capped by a slew of ex-dividends which have trimmed 14.56 points off the index. Notable ex-dividends include both of Royal Dutch Shell’s listings, with the oil-heavyweight subsequently hampering the energy sector as WTI and Brent crude have failed to make any meaningful recovery from Thursday’s losses. Elsewhere, the likes of Fiat Chrysler (+2.5%) and Volkswagen (+2.4%) have been giving a help hand by the latest EU new car registration data. In fixed income, a limited reaction to better than forecast UK consumption data, and clear reservations about retail activity over the key Xmas and New Year period based on bleaker signals from anecdotal surveys and non-ONS data. Hence, Gilts dipped to 124.72 (-15 ticks vs +8 ticks at best), while the Short Sterling strip reversed pre-data gains to stand flat to only 1 ticks adrift before stabilising again. In truth, core bonds were already on the retreat from early highs (ie Bunds down to 162.43 vs 162.71 at best) in what appears to be a broad retracement within recent ranges rather than anything more meaningful.
In FX, GBP has once again been a key source of focus with GBP/USD hit early doors amid reports in Politico that the EU are leaning towards rejecting the UK’s request for a bespoke trade deal. However, sentiment saw a mild recovery after reports in the Sun suggested that PM May could be on the cusp of upping her Brexit settlement offer in an attempt to kick-start trade talks. The main data release of the session thus far came in the form of UK retail sales which painted a less dreary picture of the UK economy than some had feared, although gains were short-lived as Brexit remains the focus. Marginal sterling buying was seen in EUR/GBP, trading around session lows, helped by a stop hunt through yesterday’s lows. Cable too saw a bid later in the session, benefiting from the weaker USD. Elsewhere, EUR/USD is back below 1.1800 vs the USD after topping out just ahead of October’s 1.1880 high, and now in a fresh albeit higher range flanked by big option expiries between 1.1795-1.1800 (913mln) and 1.1815-25 (4.8bln). Another roller-coaster ride for the Antipodeans, with AUD choppy on mixed labour data (headline count miss, but jobless rate and full employment upbeat) and pivoting the 0.7600 handle vs the USD.
In the commodities complex, as mentioned above, WTI and Brent crude futures have failed to make any noteworthy recovery from the sell-off seen on Tuesday with energy newsflow particularly light during today’s session thus far with markets looking ahead to the November 30th OPEC meeting which is set to give nations the instruction to extend oil production cuts. In metals markets, gold prices have traded in a relatively similar manner with prices unable to be granted any reprieve from their latest tumble. Elsewhere, Nickel and Copper have been weighed on, sending prices to multi-week lows as concerns around Chinese growth prospects continue to linger.
Looking at the day ahead, weekly initial jobless claims, Philly Fed PMI for November, import price index for October, industrial production for October and NAHB housing market index for November will be released. The BoE Carney’s, Broadbent and Haldane will all participate at a public plenary session while the ECB’s Villeroy de Galhau and Constancio are due to speak, along with the Fed’s Williams, Mester and Kaplan.
US Event Calendar
- 8:30am: U.S. Initial Jobless Claims, Nov. 11, est. 235k (prior 239k); Continuing Claims, Nov. 4, est. 1900k (prior 1901k)
- 8:30am: U.S. Philadelphia Fed Business Outl, Nov., est. 24.6 (prior 27.9)
- 8:30am: U.S. Import Price Index MoM, Oct., est. 0.4% (prior 0.7%); U.S. Export Price Index MoM, Oct., est. 0.4% (prior 0.8%);
- 9:15am: U.S. Industrial Production MoM, Oct., est. 0.5% (prior 0.3%); Capacity Utilization, Oct., est. 76.3% (prior 76.0%)
- 9:15am: U.S. Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, Nov. 12, no est. (prior 51.5); Economic Expectations, Nov., no est. (prior 47.5)
Central Bank speakers:
- 9:10am: Fed’s Mester delivers keynote address at Cato Conference
- 1:10pm: Fed’s Kaplan speaks to CFA society in Houston
- 3:00pm: ECB’s Constancio speaks in Ottawa
- 3:45pm: Fed’s Brainard delivers keynote at OFR FinTech Conference
- 4:45pm: Fed’s Williams speaks at Asia Economic Policy Conference
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
There has been a lot of noise around the HY market in the past week or so as a combination of macro factors along with some notable earnings misses have weighed on the market. iTraxx Crossover and CDX HY have widened by around 25bps and 30bps respectively from their most recent tights, while the price level of the largest USD HY ETF (HYG US) is basically back to the same level as where it started the year, however this overstates the move in the US cash market and even more so in Europe. Looking in more detail at the cash market US HY has widened by around 60bps and EUR HY is 46bps wider from the recent cycle tights only a few weeks back but both are still around 25bps and 100bps tighter on the year respectively.
In a broad historic context the recent moves hardly register but in the context of a year that has been headlined by extremely low levels of volatility they are certainly significant. For EUR HY there were two other periods where we saw some sort of correction this year. In March/April (ahead of the French elections) the index widened 27bps in 42 days and then in August/September (after the North Korean escalation) we saw a 29bps widening over 30 days. So the current 46bps of widening in just 12 days has been somewhat more aggressive than anything else we’ve seen this year.
Looking at similar data for the US we have also seen two previous corrections. In March spreads widened 61bps in 20 days and then in July/August we saw 45bps of widening in 15 days. So the current c.60bps widening over 22 days is actually of a similar magnitude to this year’s previous corrections. The moves look even more stark when we focus on single-Bs though. EUR single-Bs have widened by more than 100bps from the most recent tights, more than halving the YTD tightening we had seen. For USD single-Bs the recent widening (65bps) has actually reversed more than 80% of the YTD spread tightening we had seen to the recent tights.
The question from here is whether this recent back-up in spreads is simply going to lead to a fresh buying opportunity or whether it will lead to something more significant. Despite some of the recent profit warnings we think that it is more likely to be the former at the moment. But at the very least the pace of this turn around highlights how quickly market sentiment can change, especially when spreads are so tight. HY was looking very very stretched relative to IG in Europe and this corrects some of that. Overall it certainly provides us with some food for thought as we look to publish our 2018 outlook in the next 10 days.
Even though US HY has been one of the weaker markets of late there’s no doubt that the recent global equity sell off has struggled to gather momentum as the US session has progressed over the last week. Following through on this, Asia has been weak since the Nikkei sudden sell-off last week and Europe has followed with yesterday seeing the 7th successive daily fall in the Stoxx 600 (-0.49%) - the longest losing streak since October/November 2016. Meanwhile yesterday the US (S&P 500 -0.55%) again closed off the early session lows showing that this equity sell-off isn't really being US led. For the record since last Wednesday's close the S&P 500, Stoxx 600 and Nikkei are down -1.15%, -3.17% and -3.86% respectively which helps illustrate this.
Volatility has been on the way up though even in the US over this period. The VIX spiked to 14.51 intraday which was the highest since August 18th. It closed at 13.13 (+13%) which is still the highest since the same period. Meanwhile the VSTOXX index was up +2.25% and is now at the highest level since early September.
This morning in Asia, markets have stemmed losses and are trading higher. The Nikkei (+1.24%), Kospi (+0.52%), Hang Seng (+0.53%) and ASX 200 (+0.30%) are all up as we type. WTI oil is trading marginally higher and after the bell in the US, Cisco was up c6% after guiding to its first revenue gain in eight quarters.
On now to the big data of the yesterday and possibly the month. US Core CPI inflation surprised modestly to the upside in October, rising 0.225% in month-on-month terms (a firmer 0.2% print than DB expected). This raised the year-overyear rate to 1.8% (1.7% expected). The data provide additional evidence that the core inflation trend is firming after a string of very weak prints earlier this year. According to our economists, the three-month annualised change in core CPI inflation is now at 2.4%, the strongest since February 2017. We think inflation is turning a corner and regular consistent misses vs expectations will not be a feature of markets in 2018.
Staying in the US, the House’s version of the tax plan is reportedly on track for a vote on Thursday (local time). In terms of the Senate’s version, rhetoric appears to be heating up as the mark up process continues. The Democrats were reportedly not impressed with the last minute change to add in the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, to which Republican Senator Collins partly agrees on, noting that it “gravely complicated our efforts to combine tax reform and changes”, although she has not decided whether to vote against the bill or not. Elsewhere, Republican Senator Johnson has publicly confirmed that he is opposed to the revised GOP plan as it stands, in part as it does not do enough to help partnerships relative to the larger tax cuts for corporates.
Quickly recapping other markets performance from yesterday. Bond markets were firmer with core bond yields down 2-5bp (UST 10y -5bp; Bunds -2.1bp; Gilts -3.5bp) while peripherals underperformed with Portugal bonds leading the softness (+2.5bp). Key currencies were little changed, with US dollar index marginally higher, while Euro dipped -0.06% but Sterling rose 0.05%. In commodities, WTI oil fell another -0.70% (-3.2% for the week), in part following reports that Russia believes it’s too early to announce a potential extension of production cuts at OPEC’s meeting at end of the month. Notably, WTI is still up c18% from late August. Elsewhere, precious metals softened a little (Gold -0.16%; Silver -0.14%) and other base industrial metals were little changed (Copper -0.45%; Zinc -0.54%; Aluminium +0.36%).
Away from the markets, there were a deluge of Fed and ECB central bankers commentaries yesterday but overall contained minimal market moving information. In the details, the Fed’s Evans noted he was open-minded regarding policy action at the December FOMC ahead of discussions with fellow colleagues and sounded dovish on inflation, noting “I feel we are facing below target inflations” while reiterating the US labour market is “vibrant” and unemployment rate “could go below 4%”.
In Europe, the ECB’s Hansson was upbeat on the demand side of the economy and “feel more confident that inflation will eventually reach the levels consistent with our aim”. Elsewhere, the ECB’s Praet pointed to the importance of interest rates post QE, noting that “policy rates will eventually regain their status as the main instrument of policy, and our forward guidance will revert to a singular approach”. Finally, the ECB’s Coeure noted that it’s important for the ECB “to ensure that our own measures do not adversely affect the intermediation capacity of repo markets”.
Over in China yesterday, there were more signs that the government may tolerate slower economic growth in 2018. The Economic Daily reported that the deputy head of the Research Office of the State Council Ms Han has flagged that GDP growth at 6.3% in 2018-2020 would be sufficient to achieve the Party's 2020 growth target. As a reminder, our Chinese economists expect GDP growth to slow to 6.3% yoy by 1Q.
Finally, over in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe’s c40 years of power may be coming to an end with Bloomberg reporting the 93 year old was confined to his home, with military forces taking control of state owned media outlets and sealing offthe parliament and central bank’s offices.
Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, the core retail sales for October (ex-auto & gas) was in line at 0.3% mom, but with the prior reading upwardly revised by 0.1ppt. Elsewhere, the September business inventories was flat and in line for the month. Finally, the November empire manufacturing index fell from a c3 year high of 30.2 to a still solid reading of 19.4. After the recent economic data, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow estimate of 4Q GDP growth has edged 0.1pp lower to 3.2% saar.
In the UK, the September unemployment rate was in line and steady at 4.3% – still at a 42 year low, while the average weekly earnings remains low but was slightly above expectations at 2.2% yoy (vs. 2.1% expected). Elsewhere, jobless claims (1.1k vs. 1.7k previous) and claimant count rate (2.3% vs. same as previous) were broadly similar to prior readings. The Eurozone’s September trade surplus widened to EUR$25bln (vs. EUR$21bln expected), while the final reading for France’s October CPI was unrevised at 0.1% mom and 1.2% yoy.
Looking at the day ahead, the final October CPI report for the Euro area will be out. UK retail sales data for October and Q3 employment data for France will also be released. In the US weekly initial jobless claims, Philly Fed PMI for November, import price index for October, industrial production for October and NAHB housing market index for November will be released. The BoE Carney’s, Broadbent and Haldane will all participate at a public plenary session while the ECB’s Villeroy de Galhau and Constancio are due to speak, along with the Fed’s Williams, Mester and Kaplan.