Despite a Wednesday dive in high-flying U.S. tech stocks on worries their boom may have peaked following a MS downgrade, which presured Asian stocks leading to a slide in Hong Kong and South Korean share, on Thursday morning the dip buyers have emerged and both European stocks and US equity futures are once again solidly in the green as yesterday's tech selloff is quickly forgotten. Confirming that algos have moved on, US stock-index futures climbed briskly (ES +0.3%), and Dow futures were above 24,000 with Europe green across the board as signs of progress on the tax reform plan led some investors to shift to positions that are seen benefiting from lower corporate tax.
Following a lackluster Wednesday session, and some mixed results in Asia, Europe's Stoxx 600 has advancds to session’s high, up 0.6%, as defensive sectors including telecommunications, utilities and real estate outperform more cyclical sectors like construction, financial services and technology, with the FTSE 100 once again lagging (-0.3%) as the firmer GBP continues to hamper the index. Despite opening relatively flat, European bourses have drifted higher amid the declines seen in EUR with little else in the way of fresh fundamental catalysts to guide price action. All sectors trade in positive territory with the exception of energy names in the wake of yesterday’s sell-off in oil prices.
Germany's Dax and France's CAC 40 both inched up for a third day, though London's FTSE was back in the red as hopes of a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations pushed the pound higher again.
Earlier, Hong Kong and South Korean-listed shares tumbled, while Japanese stocks gained. Asia stock markets were mostly negative as the tech-sell off on Wall St. dampened sentiment in the region and overshadowed better than expected Chinese PMI data. ASX 200 (-0.7%) was pressured by its largest weighted Financial sector after the announcement of a royal commission inquiry into the industry, while Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) recovered from opening losses as JPY weakness provided support. Elsewhere, KOSPI (-1.5%) weakened as the BoK delivered a widely anticipated 25bps rate hike and Chinese markets were also subdued with the Hang Seng (-1.5%) reeling on tech weakness, although losses in the Shanghai Comp. (-0.6%) were somewhat stemmed by encouraging Chinese Official PMI data.
In global FX and macro, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was higher a fourth day, its longest winning run since August, before key U.S. data releases including personal income, spending, deflator, initial claims, and Chicago PMI; the pound held on to Asia session gains as Brexit talks seemed on track to soon enter phase 2, the hardest part of the negotiations. As noted earlier, the euro reversed gains after inflation in the currency bloc missed estimates, while the 10-year bund yield fell from a two-week high; equities were mixed amid profit taking in EMFX and month-end flows in G-10 currencies. Some other key FX observations, from Bloomberg:
- The pound was the only G-10 currency to strengthen against the dollar on Thursday after news that Ireland and the U.K. were close to a border deal
- EUR/USD set a fresh session low after annual euro-zone flash CPI rose 1.5% in November versus an estimated 1.6% rise
- Kiwi dropped after business confidence fell to the lowest level since 2009
- The yen fell to a one-week low on the back of a rally in Japanese stocks and as better-than- expected U.S. economic data sapped haven demand
- Norway’s krone slid to a nine-year low against the euro, with low liquidity exaggerating the move, after retail sales unexpectedly contracted 0.2% m/m in October versus an estimated 0.7% rise
Weighing on tech were concerns, sparked by a Morgan Stanley report earlier this week, that the “super-cycle” in memory chip demand looks likely to peak soon. Yesterday, shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook fell between 2 percent and 4 percent. Among the year’s other high fliers, Netflix slid 5.5 percent while Asia’s bellwether Samsung slumped 4.3 percent to two-month lows, also on some Morgan Stanley skepticism.
“I‘m not sure one would say it’s a bubble (in tech stocks),” said Andrew Milligan, head of investment strategy at Standard Life. “By and large the companies are generating either good profits or the potential for good profit growth”. But “Tech is a sector unto itself... it’s utterly a view about barriers to entry.”
Still, the Nasdaq index remains up 26.8% so far this year, roughly 7% points above gains in the MSCI world index. “It is true that if you look at the world’s semiconductor sales on chart, their year-on-year growth appears to be peaking out,” said Hiroshi Watanabe, an economist at Sony Financial Holdings. “But if you look at what’s driving demand, it’s not just smart phones and actually a lot of things.”
In the US, Senate Republicans voted 52-48 to begin debate on their sweeping tax-overhaul bill, touching off a process that could produce an up-or-down vote before the end of this week. Outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday the central bank would welcome and support a faster expansion of the economy stemming from changes in the tax code, provided it was the right kind of growth. Other notable US events overnight:
- White House adviser Kushner said to have met with Special Counsel Mueller's team for discussions regarding former National Security Adviser Flynn.
- Marvin Goodfriend was nominated for the Fed Board of Governors position.
Other changes are afoot: JPM Asset Management global head of rates David Tan predicted on Thursday that there will be some 1,000 rate hikes globally over the next decade. “The current period of economic expansion has therefore been extraordinarily long, almost 10 years and counting, but we know that the days of super low global central bank rates are in the process of coming to an end,” he said.
Meanwhile, interest rates in Germany rose to their highest in just over two weeks, while 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield climbed too, reaching 2.389% to near this month’s high of 2.414%.
There was no immediate market response after U.S. President Donald Trump nominated Carnegie Mellon University professor Marvin Goodfriend, viewed as a policy hawk, to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Oil meanwhile moved cautiously ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna later in the day, with members set to debate an extension of the group’s supply-cut agreement. While the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and key non-member Russia look set to prolong oil supply cuts until the end of 2018, they have signaled that they may review the deal when they meet again in June if the market overheats.
- S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 2,633
- STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 389.17
- MSCI Asia Pac down 1.1% to 170.05
- MSCI Asia Pac ex Japan down 1.6% to 553.31
- Nikkei up 0.6% to 22,724.96
- Topix up 0.3% to 1,792.08
- Hang Seng Index down 1.5% to 29,177.35
- Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,317.19
- Sensex down 1.1% to 33,245.95
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7% to 5,969.89
- Kospi down 1.5% to 2,476.37
- German 10Y yield rose 1.1 bps to 0.396%
- Euro down 0.1% to $1.1835
- Brent Futures up 1.5% to $64.08/bbl
- Italian 10Y yield rose 1.3 bps to 1.527%
- Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to 1.48%
- Brent Futures up 1.5% to $64.08/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,281.27
- U.S. Dollar Index up 0.2% to 93.36
Top Overnight News
- U.S. Senate begins a marathon debate on the Republican tax bill after an intensive bargaining phase. Lawmakers reached a deal on pass-through business and were still discussing adding a trigger to include up to $350b in automatic hikes if revenues were not met.
- The pound advanced after news the U.K. and the EU are working against the clock to reach a compromise on the Irish border that will allow a breakthrough in Brexit talks at a key meeting next week
- German unemployment declined for a fifth month as Europe’s largest economy continues to boom. Business confidence is at the highest level since the country’s reunification with the hiring spree driven by companies seeking to expand their ranks to keep up with a growing backlog of work
- Marvin Goodfriend, a widely respected monetary economist and sometime critic of the Federal Reserve under Chair Yellen, was nominated by President Trump to be a governor at the U.S. central bank, the White House announced on Wednesday
- The International Monetary Fund is projecting the volume of trade in goods and services will have climbed 4.2 percent over the year, up from 2.4 percent in 2016. That would be the first time trade has outpaced output growth since 2014 and goes against the view earlier this year that 2017 would be the year of trade wars
- The U.S. is rejecting China’s claim of market-economy status, saying the country doesn’t deserve to be treated as such in anti-dumping investigations because the state continues to play a pervasive role in the economy. The stance will be made clear in a document that will be published Thursday.
- The U.K. and the European Union are moving to a compromise on the Irish border which will allow Brexit talks to move on to trade next week. All parties want to avoid a hard border, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters.
Asia stock markets were mixed as the tech-sell off on Wall St. dampened sentiment in the region and overshadowed better than expected Chinese PMI data. ASX 200 (-0.7%) was pressured by its largest weighted Financial sector after the announcement of a royal commission inquiry into the industry, while Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) recovered from opening losses as JPY weakness provided support. Elsewhere, KOSPI (-1.5%) weakened as the BoK delivered a widely anticipated 25bps rate hike and Chinese markets were also subdued with the Hang Seng (-1.5%) reeling on tech weakness, although losses in the Shanghai Comp. (-0.6%) were somewhat stemmed by encouraging Chinese Official PMI data. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid spill-over selling from their US counterparts and as a mixed 2yr auction failed to inspire demand. Chinese Official Manufacturing PMI (Nov) 51.8 vs. Exp. 51.4 (Prev. 51.6). Chinese Non-Manufacturing PMI (Nov) 54.8 (Prev. 54.3) PBoC injected CNY 150bln via 7-day reverse repos, CNY 120bln via 14-day reverse repos and CNY 10bln via 63-day reverse repos to total a net neutral operation for a 4th consecutive day once maturing repos are accounted for. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.6034 (Prev. 6.6011) BoK 7-Day Repo Rate (Nov) 1.50% vs. Exp. 1.50% (Prev. 1.25%). BoK Governor Lee said the rate decision was not unanimous as board member Cho dissented, while he added that uncertainties for the economy are higher than ever and that additional adjustment depends on growth and inflation.
Top Asian News
- BOJ Cuts Buying Range for Debt Due Up to 1 Year in December Plan
- BOJ Reflationist Harada Sees No Problem in Continuing Stimulus
- China Bond Selloff Abates as 10-Year Yield Falls Most Since June
- China Factory Gauge Unexpectedly Rises as Global Demand Firms Up
- Hong Kong Regulator Says Agreement Reached on Investor ID Plan
- BOJ Cuts Buying Range for Debt Due in Up to One Year in December
European equities trade higher across the board (Eurostoxx 50 +0.6%) with the FTSE 100 once again lagging (-0.3%) as the firmer GBP continues to hamper the index. Despite opening relatively flat, European bourses have drifted higher amid the declines seen in EUR with little else in the way of fresh fundamental catalysts to guide price action. All sectors trade in positive territory with the exception of energy names in the wake of yesterday’s sell-off in oil prices. A rather timely rebound in the 10 year German benchmark just ahead of the Eurozone inflation data, as the slightly softer than forecast headline measure inspired more upside to a fresh 162.75 high for the Eurex session (+27 ticks vs -24 ticks at the other extreme). Relatively dovish, albeit typical comments from ECB’s Praet may also have impacted and countering speculation about a leak or pre-release whisper, USTs squeezed higher around the same time. Whatever the catalyst or inspiration, the price recovery to intraday peak represents a 50% retrace of Wednesday’s move, to the precise tick. Short term longs will now be eyeing 162.96 ahead of 163.10.
Top European News
- Hong Kong Stocks Pare Monthly Gain as Technology Selloff Spreads
- BOE’s Carney Hints at Scrapping Banker Bonus Cap After Brexit
- Turkey Cenbank May Raise LLW Rate Without MPC Meeting: Ertem
- IPT: Bunzl Finance Expected GBP300m 7.5Y UKT +135 Area
- IPT: TSB Bank GBP Bmark 5Y Covered 3mL +30 Area
In FX markets, GBP is still riding high on expectations that the UK and EU are getting closer to striking an agreement on the key issues that need to be settled before a Brexit transition and trade talks can begin. JPY softer again on broadly upbeat risk sentiment (amidst above forecast Chinese PMIs, healthy Fed Beige Book and commentary), with USD/JPY up near 112.50 and the next chart resistance level at 112.70. EUR is holding above key tech support vs the USD at 1.1813 again, but struggling to maintain bullish momentum given the ongoing Greenback recovery. Expiry interest close by at 1.1840-45 (2.8 bln). In terms of Eurozone inflation, headline Y/Y printed at 1.5% for Nov vs. Exp. 1.6% with ex-food and energy firmer at 1.1% vs. Exp. 1.0%. Eurozone Inflation, Flash YY (Nov) 1.5% vs. Exp. 1.6% (Prev. 1.4%); Eurozone Inflation ex-food, energy, tobacco (Nov P) Y/Y 0.9% vs. Exp. 1.0% (Prev. 0.9%); Eurozone Inflation Ex Food & Enr Flash (Nov) 1.1% vs. Exp. 1.0% (Prev. 1.1%).
In commodities, WTI and Brent crude futures initially traded with little in the way of the firm direction after yesterday’s modest recovery from the initial sell-off, however, heading into US trade have been met with a bid. In terms of the latest OPEC rhetoric, energy ministers all appear to be on the same page with their desire for a 9-month extension to the existing deal (subject to a review in June). The Kuwaiti oil minister also added that production caps have been confirmed for Libya and Nigeria at around 1mln bpd and 1.8mln bpd respectively. In metals markets, spot gold has drifted lower throughout the session, briefly breaking below USD 1280/oz to the downside where some contacts had reported stops. Elsewhere, Copper was subdued overnight alongside the broad risk averse tone triggered by the US tech sell-off.
Looking at the day ahead, in the US the big focus will be on October personal income, spending and PCE data all due out at 8.30am ET. Also due is the November Chicago PMI and the latest weekly initial jobless claims data. The big focus away from the data will be a possible Senate vote on tax reform while central bank speakers today include the ECB’s Mersch and Praet, Fed’s Kaplan and BoE’s Sharp. The OPEC meeting in Vienna is also worth keeping a close eye on given that the meeting should include a discussion around extending production cuts.
US Event Calendar
- 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, est. 240,000, prior 239,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.89m, prior 1.9m
- 8:30am: Personal Income, est. 0.3%, prior 0.4%; Personal Spending, est. 0.3%, prior 1.0%
- PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.4%; PCE Deflator YoY, est. 1.5%, prior 1.6%
- PCE Core MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1%; PCE Core YoY, est. 1.4%, prior 1.3%
- 9:45am: Chicago Purchasing Manager, est. 63, prior 66.2
- 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, prior 51.7
- 12:30pm: Fed’s Quarles Speaks on Payments Systems in Cleveland
- 1pm: Fed’s Kaplan Speaks in Dallas
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
It might be the last day of November but it still feels like we have some way to go before markets finally ease their feet off the pedals for the holiday season. We’re at the business end of the week now and one event which is waiting in the wings is the Senate vote on tax reform. It’s unclear if we’ll get a vote today or even this week with the latest update being that the Senate approved a motion to proceed on party lines yesterday, clearing a path for a vote on the bill. The vote to approve followed more debate yesterday with GOP senators negotiating compromises with their leaders. One of those was a more generous tax break for pass-through business. Politico reported that there are still a number of issues to resolve so keep an eye on how things progress today.
Away from politics it’s also worth watching some of the data due out today and especially the various inflation readings. This morning we’ll receive the November CPI report for the Euro area where the consensus expect a small pickup in the core to +1.0% yoy from +0.9%. Across the pond this afternoon we’ll then get the October personal income and spending data in the US which will also provide the latest reading for the Fed’s preferred inflation metric – the core PCE deflator. Our US economists and the market expect a +0.2% mom reading which if it holds would push the annual figure up one-tenth to +1.4% yoy. We talked extensively about inflation in our outlook and how the risks are to upside in the second half of next year especially, so this data is becoming more and more significant in our view as we look ahead to 2018.
Back to the present now where the biggest action in markets over the last 24 hours has been that in the tech sector. The Nasdaq closed -1.27% last night, although did pare heavier losses intraday, for its biggest one day decline since August. An index tracking FANG stocks fell -3.72% with an impressive $62bn wiped from the four stocks’ combined market value. That’s pretty much the equivalent of the GDP of Uzbekistan. In contrast, the S&P 500 (-0.04%) finished pretty much flat while the Dow closed +0.44%. In Europe the Stoxx 600 also closed +0.24%. So it was very much a tech only story with much of the commentary pointing towards sector rotation as the reason for the selloff ahead of US tax reform which is seen as doing little to benefit the sector given the already low effective tax rates. In fairness, the Nasdaq move looks like an afterthought compared to the 21.21% high-to-low range for Bitcoin yesterday. After nearly touching $11,500 intraday, in the space of five and a half hours the cryptocurrency tumbled all the way to $9,000, before then rallying back above $10,000 by the close to end the day more or less unchanged. For some context, while the intraday range in percentage terms was ‘only’ the fifth biggest this year, the range in US $ terms ($2,424) is actually the same as where the cryptocurrency traded back in July. Mind boggling.
Elsewhere, bond markets didn’t offer much in the way of protection yesterday with yields sharply higher across the globe. 10y Treasuries finished +6.1bps higher last night with a combination of a Gilt led selloff following the Brexit developments late on Tuesday (more on that below), tax reform talk and Yellen’s testimony all seemingly playing a part.
This morning in Asia it’s more of the same with weakness across tech names generally weighing on sentiment. The Hang Seng (-1.28%) has been the biggest mover with tech names down -2.47%, while the Kospi (-0.70%), ASX (-0.57%) and Shanghai Comp (-0.25%) are also in the red. The Nikkei is back to flat following a similarly weak start while US equity index futures are mixed. It’s worth noting that there doesn’t appear to be any follow on to President Trump’s tweet yesterday when he warned of “additional major sanctions” for North Korea following a phone call with President Xi Jingping of China.
Speaking of China, this morning China’s manufacturing PMI for November was reported as rising slightly to 51.8 from 51.6 the month prior. Expectations had been for a modest decline. The non-manufacturing PMI was also reported as rising, to 54.8 from 54.3. The other significant overnight news is that at the Fed, with Bloomberg reporting that monetary economist Marvin Goodfriend has been nominated by President Trump to be a governor at the Fed following an announcement by the White House. Goodfriend has previously questioned the use of QE post 2008 and was instead said to favour negative interest rates, despite acknowledging that it could require abolishing paper currency.
Back to Yellen, as was pretty much expected the Fed Chair played a relatively straight bat in what was likely her last testimony to Congress in her current role. As a broad conclusion, her tone seemed to somewhat reiterate a willingness at the Fed to continue with tightening but clearly dependent and limited on the data. A “gradual” need for rate increases was noted as being appropriate to sustain a healthy labour market and stabilize inflation. Recent inflation readings were highlighted as transitory which was also no change although she did note that the Fed has seen modest upward pressure on wages. She also made mention that the lesson from modest wages is that the labour market and economy are not overheated which was a similar comment to one made by the incoming Chair Jerome Powell the day before. On growth Yellen also said that “economic growth appears to have stepped up from its subdued pace early in the year” and is now “increasingly broad-based across sectors as well as much of the global economy”. One topic which Yellen chose to refrain from addressing however was tax reform.
The Fed Chair’s comments around growth also came as the second reading for Q3 GDP was revised up a tenth more than expected to +3.3% qoq annualized, compared to the initial +3.0% estimate in the flash reading. Meanwhile the details showed that while headline PCE prices were revised down a tenth (+2.1% vs. +2.2%) the core PCE was however revised up a tenth to +1.4% qoq (compared to expectations for no change). It’s worth noting that corporate profits also rose +4.3% qoq and in year over year terms have now risen for four consecutive quarters following five quarters of consecutive declines ending in Q3 2016.
Yellen’s colleague at the Fed, the NY Fed President William Dudley, was also busy speaking yesterday. In comments at a moderated forum in New Jersey, Dudley played down any concern about the relative strength in markets currently although did make a special mention of being sceptical about Bitcoin. On the economy Dudley said that he thinks that the expansion has “got lots of room to go”. Meanwhile later on in the evening San Francisco Fed President John Williams said that four rate hikes in 2018 is his base case, roughly two more than that currently implied by market pricing.
Closer to home, as noted earlier UK assets spent much of yesterday absorbing the latest Brexit developments. Tuesday’s headlines regarding the agreement between the UK and EU on the divorce bill was confirmed by most major UK press outlets yesterday. It remains to be seen how PM May will deal with some likely fallout from her cabinet and a resolution on citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland also remains outstanding, but it is still being taken as a key breakthrough of sorts.
Sterling rallied +0.52% and +0.47% respectively versus the Greenback and Euro yesterday, weighing on the FTSE 100 (-0.90%), while 2y, 10y and 30y Gilt yields rose +3.5bps, +8.4bps and +6.5bps. In contrast 10y Bunds were +4.5bps higher. Quickly wrapping up the remaining data yesterday, pending home sales in the US came in a much stronger than expected +3.5% mom (vs. +1.0% expected). In Europe there was a modest upward surprise in the November flash CPI report in Germany where headline CPI came in at +0.3% mom (vs. +0.2% expected), helping to lift the YoY rate to +1.8% from +1.5% and the highest since February. In France Q3 GDP was left unrevised at +0.5% qoq while in the UK there wasn’t a huge amount interesting in the October money and credit aggregates data. Lending growth in consumer credit continued to flat line slightly but not to levels which would likely concern the BoE.
Looking at the day ahead, this morning in Europe we’ll kick off with German retail sales data for October alongside the latest November house price data in the UK. Following that we’ll get the flash November CPI report for France where market expectations are for a modest +0.1% mom headline increase. That data comes before the wider Euro area report where the consensus is for a two-tenths increase in the headline to +1.6% yoy and one-tenth increase in the core to +1.0% yoy. In the US the big focus will be on the aforementioned inflation data too with the October personal income, spending and PCE data all due out at 1.30pm GMT. Also due is the November Chicago PMI and the latest weekly initial jobless claims data. The big focus away from the data will be a possible Senate vote on tax reform while central bank speakers today include the ECB’s Mersch (at 8am GMT) and Praet (10am GMT), Fed’s Kaplan (6pm GMT) and BoE’s Sharp (6.10pm GMT). The OPEC meeting in Vienna is also worth keeping a close eye on given that the meeting should include a discussion around extending production cuts.