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Category: topSource: marketwatchJan 14th, 2022

Howard Marks January 2022 Memo: Selling Out

Howard Marks memo to Oaktree clients for the month of January 2022, titled, “Selling Out.” Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more As I’m now in my fourth decade of memo writing, I’m sometimes tempted to conclude I should quit, because I’ve covered all the relevant topics. Then a new idea for a memo […] Howard Marks memo to Oaktree clients for the month of January 2022, titled, “Selling Out.” if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more As I’m now in my fourth decade of memo writing, I’m sometimes tempted to conclude I should quit, because I’ve covered all the relevant topics. Then a new idea for a memo pops up, delivering a pleasant surprise. My January 2021 memo Something of Value, which chronicled the time I spent in 2020 living and discussing investing with my son Andrew, recounted a semi-real conversation in which we briefly discussed whether and when to sell appreciated assets. It occurred to me that even though selling is an inescapable part of the investment process, I’ve never devoted an entire memo to it. The Basic Idea Everyone is familiar with the old saw that’s supposed to capture investing’s basic proposition: “buy low, sell high.” It’s a hackneyed caricature of the way most people view investing. But few things that are important can be distilled into just four words; thus, “buy low, sell high” is nothing but a starting point for discussion of a very complex process. Will Rogers, an American film star and humorist of the 1920s and ’30s, provided what he may have thought was a more comprehensive roadmap for success in the pursuit of wealth: Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it. The illogicality of his advice makes clear how simplistic this adage – like many others – really is. However, regardless of the details, people may unquestioningly accept that they should sell appreciated investments. But how helpful is that basic concept? Origins Much of what I’ll write here got its start in a 2015 memo called Liquidity. The hot topic in the investment world at that moment was the concern about a perceived decline in the liquidity provided by the market (when I say “the market,” I’m talking specifically about the U.S. stock market, but the statement has broad applicability). This was commonly attributed to a combination of (a) the licking investment banks had taken in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09 and (b) the Volcker Rule, which prohibited risky activities such as proprietary trading on the part of systemically important financial institutions. The latter constrained banks’ ability to “position” securities, or buy them, when clients wanted to sell. Maybe liquidity in 2015 was less than it had previously been, and maybe it wasn’t. However, looking beyond the events of the day, I closed that memo by stating my conviction that (a) most investors trade too much, to their own detriment, and (b) the best solution for illiquidity is to build portfolios for the long term that don’t rely on liquidity for success. Long-term investors have an advantage over those with short timeframes (and I think the latter describes the majority of market participants these days). Patient investors are able to ignore short-term performance, hold for the long run, and avoid excessive trading costs, while everyone else worries about what’s going to happen in the next month or quarter and therefore trades excessively. In addition, long-term investors can take advantage if illiquid assets become available for purchase at bargain prices. Like so many things in investing, however, just holding is easier said than done. Too many people equate activity with adding value. Here’s how I summed up this idea in Liquidity, inspired by something Andrew had said: When you find an investment with the potential to compound over a long period, one of the hardest things is to be patient and maintain your position as long as doing so is warranted based on the prospective return and risk. Investors can easily be moved to sell by news, emotion, the fact that they’ve made a lot of money to date, or the excitement of a new, seemingly more promising idea. When you look at the chart for something that’s gone up and to the right for 20 years, think about all the times a holder would have had to convince himself not to sell. Everyone wishes they’d bought Amazon at $5 on the first day of 1998, since it’s now up 660x at $3,304. But who would have continued to hold when the stock hit $85 in 1999 – up 17x in less than two years? Who among those who held on would have been able to avoid panicking in 2001, as the price fell 93%, to $6? And who wouldn’t have sold by late 2015 when it hit $600 – up 100x from the 2001 low? Yet anyone who sold at $600 captured only the first 18% of the overall rise from that low. This reminds me of the time I once visited Malibu with a friend and mentioned that the Rindge family is said to have bought the entire area – all 13,330 acres – in 1892 for $300,000, or $22.50 per acre. (It’s clearly worth many billions today.) My friend said, “I’d like to have bought all of Malibu for $300,000.” My response was simple: “you would have sold it when it got to $600,000.” The more I’ve thought about it since writing Liquidity, the more convinced I’ve become that there are two main reasons why people sell investments: because they’re up and because they’re down. You may say that sounds nutty, but what’s really nutty is many investors’ behavior. Selling Because It’s Up “Profit-taking” is the intelligent-sounding term in our business for selling things that have appreciated. To understand why people engage in it, you need insight into human behavior, because a lot of investors’ selling is motivated by psychology. In short, a good deal of selling takes place because people like the fact that their assets show gains, and they’re afraid the profits will go away. Most people invest a lot of time and effort trying to avoid unpleasant feelings like regret and embarrassment. What could cause an investor more self-recrimination than watching a big gain evaporate? And what about the professional investor who reports a big winner to clients one quarter and then has to explain why the holding is at or below cost the next? It’s only human to want to realize profits to avoid these outcomes. If you sell an appreciated asset, that puts the gain “in the books,” and it can never be reversed. Thus, some people consider selling winners extremely desirable – they love realized gains. In fact, at a meeting of a non-profit’s investment committee, a member suggested that they should be leery of increasing endowment spending in response to gains because those gains were unrealized. I was quick to point out that it’s usually a mistake to view realized gains as less transient than unrealized ones (assuming there’s no reason to doubt the veracity of the unrealized carrying values). Yes, the former have been made concrete. However, sales proceeds are generally reinvested, meaning the profits – and the principal – are put back at risk. One might argue that appreciated securities are more vulnerable to declines than new investments in assets currently deemed to be attractively priced, but that’s far from a certainty. I’m not saying investors shouldn’t sell appreciated assets and realize profits. But it certainly doesn’t make sense to sell things just because they’re up. Selling Because It’s Down As wrong as it is to sell appreciated assets solely to crystalize gains, it’s even worse to sell them just because they’re down. Nevertheless, I’m sure many people do it. While the rule is “buy low, sell high,” clearly many people become more motivated to sell assets the more they decline. In fact, just as continued buying of appreciated assets can eventually turn a bull market into a bubble, widespread selling of things that are down has the potential to turn market declines into crashes. Bubbles and crashes do occur, proving that investors contribute to excesses in both directions. In a movie that plays in my head, the typical investor buys something at $100. If it goes to $120, he says, “I think I’m onto something – I should add,” and if it reaches $150, he says, “Now I’m highly confident – I’m going to double up.” On the other hand, if it falls to $90, he says, “I’m going to think about increasing my position to reduce my average cost,” but at $75, he concludes he should reconfirm his thesis before averaging down further. At $50, he says, “I’d better wait for the dust to settle before buying more.” And at $20 he says, “It feels like it’s going to zero; get me out!” Just like those who are afraid of surrendering gains, many investors worry about letting losses compound. They might fear their clients will say (or they’ll say to themselves), “What kind of a lame-brain continues to hold a security after it’s gone from $100 to $50? Everyone knows a decline like that can foreshadow further declines. And look – it happened.” Do investors really make behavioral errors such as those I’ve described? There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence. For example, studies have shown that the average mutual fund investor performs worse than the average mutual fund. How can that be? If she merely held her positions, or if her errors were unsystematic, the average fund investor would, by definition, fare the same as the average fund. For the studies’ findings to occur, investors have to on balance reduce the amount of capital they have in funds that subsequently do better and increase their allocation to funds that go on to do worse. Let me put that another way: on average, mutual fund investors tend to sell the funds with the worst recent performance (missing out on their potential recoveries) in order to chase the funds that have done the best (and thus likely participate in their return to earth). We know that “retail investors” tend to be trend-followers, as described above, and their long-term performance often suffers as a result. What about the pros? Here the evidence is even clearer: the powerful shift in recent decades toward indexing and other forms of passive investing has taken place for the simple reason that active investment decisions are so often wrong. Of course, many forms of error contribute to this reality. Whatever the reason, however, we have to conclude that, on average, active professional investors held more of the things that did less well and less of the things that outperformed, and/or that they bought too much at elevated prices and sold too much at depressed prices. Passive investing hasn’t grown to cover the majority of U.S. equity mutual fund capital because passive results have been so good; I think it’s because active management has been so bad. Back when I worked at First National City Bank 50 years ago, prospective clients used to ask, “What kind of return do you think you can make in an equity portfolio?” The standard answer was 12%. Why? “Well,” we said (so simplistically), “the stock market returns about 10% a year. A little effort should enable us to improve on that by at least 20%.” Of course, as time has shown, there’s no truth in that. “A little effort” didn’t add anything. In fact, in most cases, active investing detracted: most equity funds failed to keep up with the indices, especially after fees. What about the ultimate proof? The essential ingredient in Oaktree’s investments in distressed debt – bargain purchases – has emanated from the great opportunities sellers gave us. Negativity reaches a crescendo during economic and market crises, causing many investors to become depressed or fearful and sell in panic. Results like those we target in distressed debt can only be achieved when holders sell to us at irrationally low prices. Superior investing consists largely of taking advantage of mistakes made by others. Clearly, selling things because they’re down is a mistake that can give the buyers great opportunities. When Should Investors Sell? If you shouldn’t sell things because they’re up, and you shouldn’t sell because they’re down, is it ever right to sell? As I previously mentioned, I described the discussions that took place while Andrew and his family lived with Nancy and me in 2020 in Something of Value. That experience truly was of great value – an unexpected silver lining to the pandemic. That memo evoked the strongest reaction from readers of any of my memos to date. This response was probably attributable to (a) the content, which mostly related to value investing; (b) the personal insights provided, and especially my confession regarding my need to grow with the times; or (c) the recreated conversation that I included as an appendix. The last of these went like this, in part: Howard: Hey, I see XYZ is up xx% this year and selling at a p/e ratio of xx. Are you tempted to take some profits? Andrew: Dad, I’ve told you I’m not a seller. Why would I sell? H: Well, you might sell some here because (a) you’re up so much; (b) you want to put some of the gain “in the books” to make sure you don’t give it all back; and (c) at that valuation, it might be overvalued and precarious. And, of course, (d) no one ever went broke taking a profit. A: Yeah, but on the other hand, (a) I’m a long-term investor, and I don’t think of shares as pieces of paper to trade, but as part ownership in a business; (b) the company still has enormous potential; and (c) I can live with a short-term downward fluctuation, the threat of which is part of what creates opportunities in stocks to begin with. Ultimately, it’s only the long term that matters. (There’s a lot of “a-b-c” in our house. I wonder where Andrew got that.) H: But if it’s potentially overvalued in the short term, shouldn’t you trim your holding and pocket some of the gain? Then if it goes down, (a) you’ve limited your regret and (b) you can buy in lower. A: If I owned a stake in a private company with enormous potential, strong momentum and great management, I would never sell part of it just because someone offered me a full price. Great compounders are extremely hard to find, so it’s usually a mistake to let them go. Also, I think it’s much more straightforward to predict the long-term outcome for a company than short-term price movements, and it doesn’t make sense to trade off a decision in an area of high conviction for one about which you’re limited to low conviction. . . . H: Isn’t there any point where you’d begin to sell? A: In theory there is, but it largely depends on (a) whether the fundamentals are playing out as I hope and (b) how this opportunity compares to the others that are available, taking into account my high level of comfort with this one. Aphorisms like “no one ever went broke taking a profit” may be relevant to people who invest part-time for themselves, but they should have no place in professional investing. There certainly are good reasons for selling, but they have nothing to do with the fear of making mistakes, experiencing regret and looking bad. Rather, these reasons should be based on the outlook for the investment – not the psyche of the investor – and they have to be identified through hardheaded financial analysis, rigor and discipline. Stanford University professor Sidney Cottle was the editor of the later versions of Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd’s Security Analysis, “the bible of value investing,” including the edition I read at Wharton 56 years ago. For that reason, I knew the book as “Graham, Dodd and Cottle.” Sid was a consultant to the investment department at First National City Bank in the 1970s, and I’ve never forgotten his description of investing: “the discipline of relative selection.” In other words, most of the portfolio decisions investors make are relative choices. It’s patently clear that relative considerations should play an enormous part in any decision to sell existing holdings. If your investment thesis seems less valid than it did previously and/or the probability that it will prove accurate has declined, selling some or all of the holding is probably appropriate. Likewise, if another investment comes along that appears to have more promise – to offer a superior risk-adjusted prospective return – it’s reasonable to reduce or eliminate existing holdings to make room for it. Selling an asset is a decision that must not be considered in isolation. Cottle’s concept of “relative selection” highlights the fact that every sale results in proceeds. What will you do with them? Do you have something in mind that you think might produce a superior return? What might you miss by switching to the new investment? And what will you give up if you continue to hold the asset in your portfolio rather than making the change? Or perhaps you don’t plan to reinvest the proceeds. In that case, what’s the likelihood that holding the proceeds in cash will make you better off than you would have been if you had held onto the thing you sold? Questions like these relate to the concept of “opportunity cost,” one of the most important ideas in financial decision-making. Switching gears, what about the idea of selling because you think a temporary dip lies ahead that will affect one of your holdings or the whole market? There are real problems with this approach: Why sell something you think has a positive long-term future to prepare for a dip you expect to be temporary? Doing so introduces one more way to be wrong (of which there are so many), since the decline might not occur. Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, points out that selling for market-timing purposes actually gives an investor two ways to be wrong: the decline may or may not occur, and if it does, you’ll have to figure out when the time is right to go back in. Or maybe it’s three ways, because once you sell, you also have to decide what to do with the proceeds while you wait until the dip occurs and the time comes to get back in. People who avoid declines by selling too often may revel in their brilliance and fail to reinstate their positions at the resulting lows. Thus, even sellers who were right can fail to accomplish anything of lasting value. Lastly, what if you’re wrong and there is no dip? In that case, you’ll miss out on the ensuing gains and either never get back in or do so at higher prices. So it’s generally not a good idea to sell for purposes of market timing. There are very few occasions to do so profitably and very few people who possess the skill needed to take advantage of these opportunities. Before I close on this subject, it’s important to note that decisions to sell aren’t always within an investment manager’s control. Clients can withdraw capital from accounts and funds, necessitating sales, and the limited lifespan of closed-end funds can require managers to liquidate holdings even though they’re not ripe for selling. The choice of what to sell under these conditions can still be based on a manager’s expectations regarding future returns, but deciding not to sell isn’t among the manager’s choices. How Much Is Too Much to Hold? Certainly there are times when it’s right to sell one asset in favor of another based on the idea of relative selection. But we mustn’t do this in a mechanical manner. If we did, at the logical extreme, we would put all of our capital into the one investment we consider the best. Virtually all investors – even the best – diversify their portfolios. We may have a sense for which holding is the absolute best, but I’ve never heard of an investor with a one-asset portfolio. They may overweight favorites to take advantage of what they think they know, but they still diversify to protect against what they don’t know. That means they sub-optimize, potentially trading off some of their chance at a maximal return to increase the likelihood of a merely excellent one. Here’s a related question from my reconstructed conversation with Andrew: H: You run a concentrated portfolio. XYZ was a big position when you invested, and it’s even bigger today, given the appreciation. Intelligent investors concentrate portfolios and hold on to take advantage of what they know, but they diversify holdings and sell as things rise to limit the potential damage from what they don’t know. Hasn’t the growth in this position put our portfolio out of whack in that regard? A: Perhaps that’s true, depending on your goals. But trimming would mean selling something I feel immense comfort with based on my bottom-up assessment and moving into something I feel less good about or know less well (or cash). To me, it’s far better to own a small number of things about which I feel strongly. I’ll only have a few good insights over my lifetime, so I have to maximize the few I have. All professional investors want good investment performance for their clients, but they also want financial success for themselves. And amateurs have to invest within the limits of their risk tolerance. For these reasons, most investors – and certainly most investment managers’ clients – aren’t immune to apprehension regarding portfolio concentration and thus susceptibility to untoward developments. These considerations introduce valid reasons for limiting the size of individual asset purchases and trimming positions as they appreciate. Investors sometimes delegate the decision on how to weight assets in portfolios to a process called portfolio optimization. Inputs regarding asset classes’ return potential, risk and correlation are fed into a computer model, and out comes the portfolio with the optimal expected risk-adjusted return. If an asset appreciates relative to the others, the model can be rerun, and it will tell you what to buy and sell. The main problem with these models lies in the fact that all the data we have regarding those three parameters relates to the past, but to arrive at the ideal portfolio, the model needs data that accurately describes the future. Further, the models need a numerical input for risk, and I absolutely insist that no single number can fully describe an asset’s risk. Thus, optimization models can’t successfully dictate portfolio actions. The bottom line: we should base our investment decisions on our estimates of each asset’s potential, we shouldn’t sell just because the price has risen and the position has swelled, there can be legitimate reasons to limit the size of the positions we hold, but there’s no way to scientifically calculate what those limits should be. In other words, the decision to trim positions or to sell out entirely comes down to judgment . . . like everything else that matters in investing. The Final Word on Selling Most investors try to add value by over- and underweighting specific assets and/or through well-timed buying and selling. While few have demonstrated the ability to consistently do these things correctly (see my comments on active management on page 4), everyone’s free to have a go at it. There is, however, a big “but.” What’s clear to me is that simply being invested is by far “the most important thing.” (Someone should write a book with that title!) Most actively managed portfolios won’t outperform the market as a result of manipulation of portfolio weightings or buying and selling for purposes of market timing. You can try to add to returns by engaging in such machinations, but these actions are unlikely to work at best and can get in the way at worst. Most economies and corporations benefit from positive underlying secular trends, and thus most securities markets rise in most years and certainly over long periods. One of the longest-running U.S. equity indices, the S&P 500, has produced an estimated compound average return over the last 90 years of 10.5% per year. That’s startling performance. It means $1 invested in the S&P 500 90 years ago would have grown to roughly $8,000 today. Many people have remarked on the wonders of compounding. For example, Albert Einstein reportedly called compound interest “the eighth wonder of the world.” If $1 could be invested today at the historic compound return of 10.5% per year, it would grow to $147 in 50 years. One might argue that economic growth will be slower in the years ahead than it was in the past, or that bargain stocks were easier to find in previous periods than they are today. Nevertheless, even if it compounds at just 7%, $1 invested today will grow to over $29 in 50 years. Thus, someone entering adulthood today is practically guaranteed to be well fixed by the time they retire if they merely start investing promptly and avoid tampering with the process by trading. I like the way Bill Miller, one of the great investors of our time, put it in his 3Q 2021 Market Letter: In the post-war period the US stock market has gone up in around 70% of the years... Odds much less favorable than that have made casino owners very rich, yet most investors try to guess the 30% of the time stocks decline, or even worse spend time trying to surf, to no avail, the quarterly up and down waves in the market. Most of the returns in stocks are concentrated in sharp bursts beginning in periods of great pessimism or fear, as we saw most recently in the 2020 pandemic decline. We believe time, not timing, is the key to building wealth in the stock market. (October 18, 2021. Emphasis added) What are the “sharp bursts” Miller talks about? On April 11, 2019, The Motley Fool cited data from JP Morgan Asset Management’s 2019 Retirement Guide showing that in the 20-year period between 1999 and 2018, the annual return on the S&P 500 was 5.6%, but your return would only have been 2.0% if you had sat out the 10 best days (or roughly 0.4% of the trading days), and you wouldn’t have made any money at all if you had missed the 20 best days. In the past, returns have often been similarly concentrated in a small number of days. Nevertheless, overactive investors continue to jump in and out of the market, incurring transactions costs and capital gains taxes and running the risk of missing those “sharp bursts.” As mentioned earlier, investors often engage in selling because they believe a decline is imminent and they have the ability to avoid it. The truth, however, is that buying or holding – even at elevated prices – and experiencing a decline is in itself far from fatal. Usually, every market high is followed by a higher one and, after all, only the long-term return matters. Reducing market exposure through ill-conceived selling – and thus failing to participate fully in the markets’ positive long-term trend – is a cardinal sin in investing. That’s even more true of selling without reason things that have fallen, turning negative fluctuations into permanent losses and missing out on the miracle of long-term compounding. * * * When I meet people for the first time and they find out I’m in the investment business, they often ask (especially in Europe) “what do you trade?” That question makes me bristle. To me, “trading” means jumping in and out of individual assets and whole markets on the basis of guesswork as to what prices will do in the next hour, day, month or quarter. We don’t engage in such activity at Oaktree, and few people have demonstrated the ability to do it well. Rather than traders, we consider ourselves investors. In my view, investing means committing capital to assets based on well-reasoned estimates of their potential and benefitting from the results over the long term. Oaktree does employ people called traders, but their job consists of implementing long-term investment decisions made by portfolio managers based on assets’ fundamentals. No one at Oaktree believes they can make money or advance their career by selling now and buying back after an intervening decline, as opposed to holding for years and letting value lift prices if fundamental expectations prove out. When Oaktree was formed in 1995, the five founders – who at that point had worked together for nine years on average – established an investment philosophy based on what we’d successfully done in that time. One of the six tenets expressed our view on trying to time markets when buying and selling: Because we do not believe in the predictive ability required to correctly time markets, we keep portfolios fully invested whenever attractively priced assets can be bought. Concern about the market climate may cause us to tilt toward more defensive investments, increase selectivity or act more deliberately, but we never move to raise cash. Clients hire us to invest in specific market niches, and we must never fail to do our job. Holding investments that decline in price is unpleasant, but missing out on returns because we failed to buy what we were hired to buy is inexcusable. We’ve never changed any of the six tenets of our investment philosophy – including this one – and we have no plans to do so. January 13, 2022 Updated on Jan 14, 2022, 12:38 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 14th, 2022

Futures Rebound Fizzles On Slowing iPhone Demand, Omicron Fears

Futures Rebound Fizzles On Slowing iPhone Demand, Omicron Fears U.S. index futures regained some ground alongside Asian markets while European stocks slumped to session lows in a delayed response to yesterday's late Omicron-driven US selloff, as markets remained volatile following the biggest two-day plunge in more than a year, spurred by concern about the omicron coronavirus variant and Federal Reserve tightening. Investors await data for unemployment claims, as well as earnings from companies including Dollar General and Kroger. Tech is the weakest sector, dropping in sympathy after Apple warned its suppliers of slowing iPhone demand. Nasdaq futures pared earlier gains of up to 0.8% to trade down 0.1% while S&P futures are only 0.2% higher after rising as much as 0.9%. While the knee-jerk reaction of stock investors may “continue to be to take profits before the end of the year,” there is “plenty of liquidity available to drive stock prices higher as dip-buyers enter the market,” Ed Yardeni wrote in a note. The U.S. economy grew at a modest to moderate pace through mid-November, while price hikes were widespread amid supply-chain disruptions and labor shortages, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book survey Tuesday. Cruise-ship operator Carnival jumped 3.8% in premarket trading, while Pfizer and Moderna fell as the World Health Organization said that existing vaccines will likely protect against severe cases of the variant. Boeing contracts gained 3.4% after a report that the flagship 737 Max aircraft has regained airworthiness approval in China. With lots of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and Fed policy, the size of potential market swings is still considerable.  Here are some other notable premarket movers today: Apple (AAPL US) shares fell 1.8% in premarket trading after the iPhone maker was said to tell suppliers that demand for its flagship product has slowed. Wall Street analysts, however, remained bullish. U.S. stocks tied to former President Donald Trump rise in premarket trading following a report his media group is in talks to raise new financing. Digital World Acquisition (DWAC US) +24%, Phunware (PHUN US) +38%. Katapult (KPLT US) shares sink 14% in premarket after the financial technology firm said its gross originations over a two-month period were lower than 2020 levels. Vir (VIR US) shares jump 8.1% in premarket trading after its Covid-19 antibody treatment, co-developed with Glaxo, looked to be effective against the new omicron variant in early testing. Snowflake (SNOW US) is up 17% premarket following quarterly results that impressed analysts, though some raise questions over the data software company’s valuation. CrowdStrike (CRWD US) shares jumped 5.1% in premarket after it boosted its revenue forecast for the full year. Square’s (SQ US) shares are 0.4% higher premarket. Corporate name change to Block Inc. indicates “a symbolic rebirth,” according to Barclays as it shows a broader set of possibilities than those of a pure payments company. Okta’s (OKTA US) shares advanced in postmarket trading. 3Q results show the cybersecurity company is well- positioned to deliver growth, even if some analysts say its guidance looks conservative and that its growth was not as strong as in prior quarters. The Omicron variant also hurt risk appetite, making the safe-haven bonds more attractive to investors, pushing yields down - although yields picked up again in early European trading. Volatility in equity markets as measured by the Vix hit its highest since February on Wednesday, before easing on Thursday, but remained well above this year’s average and almost twice as high as a month ago. Investors are braced for volatility to continue through December, stirred by tightening central-bank policies to fight inflation just as the omicron variant complicates the outlook for the pandemic recovery. The recent market turmoil may offer investors a chance to position for a trend reversal in reopening and commodity trades, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. "Investors will need to maintain their calm during a period of uncertainty until the scientific data give a clearer picture of which scenario we face," said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management in Zurich. “This, in turn, will help shape the reaction of central bankers." Also weighing on stock markets, and flattening the U.S. yield curve, were remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who said that he would consider a faster end to the Fed's bond-buying programme, which could open the door to earlier interest rate hikes. In his second day of testimony in Congress on Wednesday, Powell reiterated that the U.S. central bank needs to be ready to respond to the possibility that inflation does not recede in the second half of next year. read more "In this past what we’ve seen is central banks using COVID as an excuse to remain dovish, and what we're seeing is central banks turn hawkish despite rising concerns around COVID, so it is a bit of a shift in communication," said Mohammed Kazmi, portfolio manager at UBP.  That said, the market is now so oversold, this is where we usually see aggressive dip-buying. In Europe, tech companies were the worst performers after Apple warned its component suppliers of slowing demand for its iPhone 13, the news dragged index heavyweight ASML Holding NV more than 4%. Meanwhile, travel shares were among the worst performers as the omicron variant continued to pop upin countries around the world, including the U.S., Norway, Ireland and South Korea. The Euro Stoxx 50 dropped as much as 1.7% while the Stoxx 600 Index fell 1.5%, extending declines to trade at a session low, with all sectors in the red and led lower by technology and travel stocks. The Stoxx 600 Technology Index slumped as much as 3.9%, the most in two months. Vifor Pharma surged by a record 18% following a report that Australia’s CSL is in advanced talks to acquire Swiss drugmaker. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Vifor Pharma shares rise as much as 18% on a report that Australia’s CSL is in advanced talks to acquire the Swiss-based drug maker and developer while working with BofA on a A$4 billion funding package. Argenx jumps as much as 9.5% after Kepler Cheuvreux upgrades the stock to buy, saying the biotech company is on the brink of launching its first commercial product. Duerr gains as much as 7.2%, most since Aug. 10, after Deutsche Bank upgrades to buy and sets aa Street-high PT of EU60 for the German engineering company, citing the digitalization of the industry. Daily Mail & General Trust rises as much as 3.9% after Rothermere Continuation raised its bid for all DMGT’s Class A shares by 5.9% to 270p a share in cash. Klarabo surges as much as 54% as shares start trading on Nasdaq Stockholm after the Swedish property company raised SEK750m in an IPO. Eurofins Scientific declines for a fourth session, falling as much as 3.2%, as Goldman Sachs downgrades the company to neutral from buy “following strong outperformance YTD.” Deliveroo drops as much as 6.4% after an offering of 17.6m shares by CEO Will Shu and CFO Adam Miller at a price of 278p a share, representing a 4.2% discount to the last close. M&S falls as much as 3.4% after UBS cut its rating to neutral from buy, citing limited upside to its new price target as well as “little room for meaningful upgrades.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks erased an earlier loss to trade slightly up, as traders continued to assess the potential impact of the omicron virus strain and the Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep inflation in check.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% after falling 0.4% in the morning. South Korea led regional gains, helped by large-cap chipmakers, while Japan was among the worst performers after the government dropped a plan for a blanket halt to all new incoming flight reservations. Asia’s equity benchmark is still down about 4% so far this year after rebounding in the past two sessions from a one-year low reached earlier this week. Despite the region’s underperformance against the U.S. and Europe, cheap valuations and foreign-investor positioning have prompted brokerages including Credit Suisse Group AG and Nomura Securities Co. Ltd. to turn bullish on Asia’s prospects next year. “Equity markets continue to play omicron tennis and traders looking for short-term direction should just wait for the next virus headline and then act accordingly,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda Corp. “Volatility, and not market direction, will be the winner this week.” Chinese technology shares including Alibaba Group Holding slid after Beijing was said to be planning to close a loophole used by the sector to go public abroad, fueling concern over existing overseas listings. Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower after the first American case of the omicron coronavirus variant was confirmed. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and TDK were the largest contributors to a 0.7% loss in the Nikkei 225.  The S&P 500 posted its worst two-day selloff since October 2020 after the first U.S. case of the new strain was reported. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that officials should consider a quicker reduction of monetary stimulus amid elevated inflation. “Truth is, there’s probably a lot of people who are wanting to buy stocks at some point,” said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “But, with omicron still an unknown, people are responding sensitively to news development, and that’s keeping them from buying.” India’s benchmark equity index climbed for a second day, led by software exporters, on an improving economic outlook and as investors grabbed some beaten-down stocks after recent declines. The S&P BSE Sensex Index rose 1.4% to close at 58,461.29 in Mumbai, the biggest advance since Nov. 1. Its two-day gains increased to 2.5%, the most since Aug. 31. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also surged by a similar magnitude. All of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. were up, led by a gauge of utilities companies. “India underperformed the global markets in recent weeks. Investors are now going for value buying in stocks at lower levels,” said A. K. Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital Market Services. The Sensex gained in three of the past four sessions after plunging 2.9% on Friday, the biggest drop since April. The rally, however, is in contrast to most global peers which are witnessing volatility on worries over the spread of the omicron variant. High frequency indicators in India, such as tax collection and manufacturing activities, have shown robust growth in recent months, while the country’s economy expanded 8.4% in the quarter ended in September, according to an official data release on Tuesday. Mortgage lender HDFC contributed the most to the Sensex’s gain, increasing 3.9%. Out of 30 shares in the index, 27 rose and three fell. In rates, trading has been relatively quiet as bunds and gilts bull steepen a touch with risk offered, while cash TSYs bear flatten, cheapening ~5bps across the curve.Treasuries retraced part of yesterday’s rally that sent the benchmark 30-year rate to the lowest since early January. A large buyer of 5-year U.S. Treasury options targets the yield dropping around 17bps. 5s10s, 5s30s spreads flattened by ~1bp and ~2bp to multimonth lows; 10-year yields around 1.43%, cheaper by more than 3bp on the day while bunds and gilt yields are richer by ~1bp. Front-end and belly of the curve underperform vs long-end, while bunds and gilts outperform Treasuries. With little economic data slated, speeches by several Fed officials are main focal points. Peripheral spreads tighten with 10y Spain outperforming after well received auctions, albeit with a small size on offer. U.S. economic data slate includes November Challenger job cuts (7:30am) and initial jobless claims (8:30am) In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell to a day low in the European session and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers as most crosses consolidated in recent ranges. Two-week implied volatility in the major currencies trades in the green Thursday as it now captures the next policy decisions by the world’s major central banks. Euro- dollar on the tenor rises by as much as 138 basis points to touch 8.22%, highest in a year; the relative premium, however, remains below parity as realized has risen to levels unseen since August 2020. The pound rose along with some other risk- sensitive currencies following the British currency’s three-day slump against the dollar. Long-end gilts underperformed, leading to some steepening of the curve. The yen fell for the first day in three while the Swiss franc fell a second day. The Hungarian forint rose to almost a three-week high after the central bank in Budapest raised the one-week deposit rate by 20 basis points to 3.10%. Economists in a Bloomberg survey were evenly split in predicting a 10 or 20 basis point increase. The Turkish lira resumed its slump after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan abruptly replaced his finance minister amid deepening rifts in the administration over aggressive interest-rate cuts that have undermined the currency and fueled inflation. Poland’s central bank Governor Adam Glapinski sent the zloty to a three-week high against the euro on Thursday with his changed rhetoric on inflation, which he no longer sees as transitory after prices surged at the fastest pace in more than two decades. Currency market volatility also rose, with euro-dollar one-month volatility gauges below Monday's one-year peak but still at elevate levels . "Liquidity in some areas of the market is still quite poor as people grapple with this news and as we head towards year-end, a lot of it is really liquidity driven, which is leading to some volatility," said UBP's Kazmi. "Even in the most liquid market of the U.S. treasury market we've seen some fairly large moves on very little newsflow at times." In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s gains. WTI adds 2.2% near $67, Brent near $70.50 ahead of today’s OPEC+ meeting. Spot gold finds support near Tuesday’s, recovering somewhat to trade near $1,774/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME aluminum drops as much as 1.1%, nickel, zinc and tin hold in the green Looking at the day ahead now, and central bank speakers include the Fed’s Quarles, Bostic, Daly and Barkin, as well as the ECB’s Panetta. Data releases include the Euro Area unemployment rate and PPI inflation for October, while there’s also the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, the OPEC+ group will be meeting. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,540.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.0% to 466.37 MXAP up 0.2% to 192.07 MXAPJ up 0.7% to 629.36 Nikkei down 0.7% to 27,753.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,926.37 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 23,788.93 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,573.84 Sensex up 1.3% to 58,436.52 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,225.18 Kospi up 1.6% to 2,945.27 Brent Futures up 2.4% to $70.53/bbl Gold spot down 0.6% to $1,771.73 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.03 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.35% Euro little changed at $1.1320 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said she’s “very open” to scaling back the Fed’s asset purchases at a faster pace so it can raise interest rates a couple of times next year if needed A United Nations gauge of global food prices rose 1.2% last month, threatening to make it more expensive for households to put a meal on the table. It’s more evidence of inflation soaring in the world’s largest economies and may make it even harder for the poorest nations to import food, worsening a hunger crisis Germany is poised to clamp down on people who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19 and drastically curtail social contacts to ease pressure on increasingly stretched hospitals Some investors buffeted by concerns about tighter monetary policy are turning their sights to China’s battered junk bonds, given they offer some of the biggest yield buffers anywhere in global credit markets Pfizer Inc. says data on how well its Covid-19 vaccine protects against the omicron variant should be available within two to three weeks, an executive said GlaxoSmithKline Plc said its Covid-19 antibody treatment looks to be effective against the new omicron variant in early testing A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded tentatively following the declines on Wall St where all major indices extended on losses and selling was exacerbated on confirmation of the first Omicron case in the US, while the Asia-Pac region also contended with its own pandemic concerns. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was subdued amid heavy losses in the tech sector and with a surge of infections in Victoria state, although downside in the index was cushioned amid inline Retail Sales and Trade Balance, as well as M&A optimism after Woolworths made a non-binding indicative proposal for Australian Pharmaceutical Industries. Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) weakened after the government instructed airlines to halt inbound flight bookings for a month due to fears of the new variant and with auto names also pressured by declines in monthly sales amid the chip supply crunch. KOSPI (+1.6%) showed resilience amid expectations for lawmakers to pass a record budget today and recouped opening losses despite the record increase in daily infections and confirmation of its first Omicron cases, while the index also shrugged off the highest CPI reading in a decade which effectively supports the case for further rate increases by the BoK. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) were choppy following another liquidity drain by the PBoC and with tech pressured in Hong Kong as Alibaba shares extended on declines after recently slipping to a 4-year low in its US listing. Beijing regulatory tightening also provided a headwind as initial reports suggested China is to crack down on loopholes used by tech firms for foreign IPOs, although this was later refuted by China, and the CBIRC is planning stricter regulations on major shareholders of banks and insurance companies, as well as confirmed it will better regulate connected transactions of banks. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher as prices tracked gains in global counterparts and amid the risk aversion in Japan, although prices are off intraday highs after hitting resistance during a brief incursion to the 152.00 level and despite the marginally improved metrics from 10yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Swing as Investors Weigh Omicron Impact, Fed Views Apple Tells Suppliers IPhone Demand Slowing as Holidays Near Moody’s Cuts China Property Sales View on Financing Difficulties Faith in Singapore Leaders Hit by Record Covid Wave, Poll Shows Bourses across Europe have held onto losses seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.4%; Stoxx -1.2%), as the region plays catchup to the downside seen on Wall Street – seemingly sparked by a concoction of hawkish Fed rhetoric and the discovery of the Omicron variant in the US. Nonetheless, US equity futures are firmer across the board but to varying degrees – with the cyclical RTY (+1.1%) and the NQ (+0.3%) the current laggard. European futures ahead of the cash open saw some mild fleeting impetus on reports GlaxoSmithKline's (-0.3%) COVID treatment Sotrovimab retains its activity against Omicron variant, and the UK MHRA simultaneously approved the use of Sotrovimab – but caveated that it is too early to know whether Omicron has any impact on effectiveness. Conversely, brief risk-off crept into the market following commentary from a South African Scientist who warned the country is seeing an exponential rise in new COVID cases with a predominance of Omicron variant across the country – with the variant causing the fastest ever community transmission - but expects fewer active cases and hospitalisations this wave. Back to Europe, Euro indices see broad-based losses whilst the downside in the FTSE 100 (-0.7%) is less severe amid support from its heavyweight Oil & Gas sector – the outperforming sector in the region. Delving deeper, sectors see no overarching theme nor bias – Food & Beverages, Autos and Banks are towards the top of the bunch, whilst Tech, Telecoms, and Travel &Leisure. Tech is predominantly weighed on by reports that Apple (-2% pre-market) reportedly told iPhone component suppliers that demand slowed down. As such ASML (-5.0%), STMicroelectronics (-4.4%) and Infineon (-3.6%) reside among the biggest losers in the Stoxx 600. Deliveroo (-5.3%) is softer following an offering of almost 18mln at a discount to yesterday's close. In terms of market commentary, Morgan Stanley believes that inflation will remain high over the next few months, in turn supporting commodities, financials and some cyclical sectors. The bank identifies beneficiaries including EDF (-1.5%), Engie (-1.2%), SSE (-0.2%), Legrand (-1.3%), Tesco (-0.5%), BT (-0.8%), Michelin (-1.6%) and Sika (-0.9%). Top European News Shell Kicks Off First Wave of Buybacks From Permian Sale Omicron Threatens to Prolong Pain in Bid to Vaccinate the World Apple, Suppliers Drop Premarket After Report Demand Slowed Valeo, Gestamp Gain After Barclays Raises to Overweight In FX, currency markets are still in a state of flux, or limbo bar a few exceptions, and the Greenback is gyrating against major peers awaiting the next major event that could provide clearer direction and a more decisive range break. Thursday’s agenda offers some scope on that front via US initial jobless claims and a host of Fed speakers, but in truth NFP tomorrow is probably more likely to be influential even though chair Powell has effectively given the green light to fast-track tapering from December. In the interim, the index continues to keep a relatively short leash around 96.000, and is holding within 96.138-95.895 confines so far today. JPY/CHF - Although risk considerations look supportive for the Yen, on paper, UST-JGB/Fed-BoJ differentials coupled with technical impulses are keeping Usd/Jpy buoyant on the 113.00 handle, with additional demand said to have come from Japanese exporters overnight. However, the headline pair may run into offers/resistance circa 113.50 and any breach could be capped by decent option expiry interest spanning 113.60-75 (1.5 bn). Similarly, the Franc has slipped back below 0.9200 on yield and Swiss/US Central Bank policy stances plus near term outlooks, and hardly helped by a slowdown in retail sales. GBP/CAD/NZD - All firmer vs their US counterpart, though again well within recent admittedly wide ranges, and the Pound perhaps more attuned to Eur/Gbp fluctuations as the cross retreats to retest 0.8500 and Cable rebounds to have another look at 1.3300 where a fairly big option expiry resides (850 mn). Indeed, Sterling has largely shrugged off the latest BoE Monthly Decision Maker Panel release that in truth did not deliver any clues on what is set to be another knife-edge MPC gathering in December. Elsewhere, the Loonie is straddling 1.2800 with eyes on WTI crude ahead of Canadian jobs data on Friday and the Kiwi is hovering above 0.6800 after weaker NZ Q3 terms of trade were offset to some extent by favourable Aud/Nzd headwinds. AUD/EUR - Both narrowly mixed against US Dollar, with the Aussie pivoting 0.7100 in wake of roughly in line trade and retail sales data overnight, but wary about the latest virus outbreak in the state of Victoria, while the Euro is sitting somewhat uncomfortably on the 1.1300 handle amidst softer EGB yields and heightened uncertainty about what the ECB might or might not do in December on the QE guidance front. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are firmer intraday as traders gear up for the JMMC and OPEC+ confabs at 12:00GMT and 13:00GMT, respectively. The jury is still split on what the final decision could be, but the case for OPEC+ to pause the planned monthly relaxation of output curbs by 400k BPD has been strengthening against the backdrop of Omicron coupled with the coordinated SPR releases (an updating Rolling Headline is available on the Newsquawk headline feed). As expected, OPEC sources have been testing the waters in the run-up, whilst yesterday's JTC/OPEC meetings largely surrounded the successor to the Secretary-General position. Oil market price action will likely be centred around OPEC+ today in the absence of any macro shocks. WTI Jan resides around USD 66.50/bbl (vs low USD 65.41/bbl) whilst Brent Feb briefly topped USD 70/bbl (vs low USD 68.73/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold has eased further from the USD 1,800/oz after failing to sustain a break above the 50, 100 and 200 DMAs which have all converged to USD 1,791/oz today. LME copper is on the backfoot amid the cautious risk sentiment, with the red metal back under USD 9,500/t but off overnight lows. US Event Calendar 7:30am: Nov. Challenger Job Cuts -77.0% YoY, prior -71.7% 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 240,000, prior 199,000; 8:30am: Nov. Continuing Claims, est. 2m, prior 2.05m 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 52.2 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap With investors remaining on tenterhooks to find out some definitive information on the Omicron variant, yesterday saw markets continue to see-saw for a 4th day running. Following one of the biggest sell-offs of the year on Friday, we then had a partial bounceback on Monday, another bout of fears on Tuesday (not helped by the prospect of faster tapering), and yesterday saw another rally back before risk sentiment turned sharply later in the day as an initial case of the Omicron variant was discovered in the US. You can get some idea of this by the fact that Europe’s STOXX 600 (+1.71%) posted its best daily performance since May, whereas the S&P 500 moved from an intraday high where it had been up +1.88%, before shedding all those gains and more to close -1.18% lower. In fact, that decline means the S&P has now lost over -3% in the last two sessions, marking its worst 2-day performance in over a year, and this heightened volatility saw the VIX index close back above 30 for the first time since early February. In terms of developments about Omicron, we’re still in a waiting game for some concrete stats, but there was positive news early on from the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, who said that they think vaccines “will still protect against severe disease as they have against the other variants”. On the other hand, there was further negative news out of South Africa, as the country reported 8,561 infections over the previous day, with a positivity rate of 16.5%. That’s up from 4,373 cases the day before, and 2,273 the day before that, so all eyes will be on whether this trend continues, and also on what that means for hospitalisation and death rates over the days ahead. Against this backdrop, calls for fresh restrictions mounted across a range of countries, particularly on the travel side. In the US, it’s been reported already by the Washington Post that President Biden could today announce stricter testing requirements for arriving travellers. Meanwhile, France is moving to require non-EU arrivals to show a negative test before arrival, irrespective of their vaccination status. The EU Commission further said that member states should conduct daily reviews of essential travel restrictions, and Commission President von der Leyen also said that the EU should discuss the topic of mandatory vaccinations. There was also a Bloomberg report that German Chancellor Merkel would recommend mandatory vaccinations from February 2022, according to a Chancellery paper that they’d obtained. That came as Slovakia sought to incentivise vaccination uptake among older citizens, with the cabinet backing a €500 hospitality voucher for residents over 60 who’ve been vaccinated. As on Tuesday, the other main headlines yesterday were provided by Fed Chair Powell, who re-emphasised his more hawkish rhetoric around inflation before the House Financial Services Committee. Notably he said that “We’ve seen inflation be more persistent. We’ve seen the factors that are causing higher inflation to be more persistent”, though yields on 2yr Treasuries (-1.4bps) already had the shift in stance priced in. New York Fed President Williams echoed that view in an interview, noting it would be germane to discuss and decide whether it was appropriate to accelerate the pace of tapering at the December FOMC. 10yr yields (-4.1bps) continued their decline, predominantly driven by the turn in sentiment following the negative Omicron headlines. That latest round of curve flattening left the 2s10s slope at its flattest level since early January around the time of the Georgia Senate race that ushered in the prospect of much larger fiscal stimulus. In terms of markets elsewhere, strong data releases helped to support risk appetite earlier in yesterday’s session, with investors also looking forward to tomorrow’s US jobs report for November that will be an important one ahead of the Fed’s decision in less than a couple of weeks’ time. The ISM manufacturing release for November saw the headline number come in roughly as expected at 61.1 (vs. 61.2 expected), and also included a rise in both the new orders (61.5) and the employment (53.3) components relative to last month. Separately, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November likewise came in around expectations, with a +534k gain (vs. +526k expected). Staying on the US, one thing to keep an eye out over the next 24 hours will be any news on a government shutdown, with funding currently set to run out by the weekend as it stands. The headlines yesterday weren’t promising for those hoping for an uneventful, tidy resolution, as Politico indicated that some Congressional Republicans would not agree to an expedited process to fund the government should certain vaccine mandates remain in place. An expedited process is necessary to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week, so one to watch. After the incredibly divergent equity performances in the US and Europe, we’ve seen a much more mixed performance in Asia overnight, with the KOSPI (+1.09%), Hang Seng (+0.23%), and CSI (+0.23%) all advancing, whereas the Shanghai Composite (-0.05%) and the Nikkei (-0.60%) are trading lower. In terms of the latest on Omicron, authorities in South Korea confirmed five cases, which came as the country also reported that CPI in November rose to its fastest since December 2011, at +3.7% (vs +3.1% expected). Separately in China, 53 local Covid-19 cases were reported in Inner Mongolia, whilst Harbin province reported 3 local cases. Looking forward, futures are indicating a positive start in the US with those on the S&P 500 (+0.64%) pointing higher. Back in Europe, sovereign bonds lost ground yesterday, and yields on 10yr bunds (+0.5bps), OATs (+1.1bps) and BTPs (+4.2bps) continued to move higher. Interestingly, there was a continued widening in peripheral spreads, with the gap between both Italian and Spanish 10yr yields over bunds reaching their biggest level in over a year, at 135bps and 77bps, respectively. Another factor to keep an eye on in Europe is another round of increases in natural gas prices, with futures up +3.42% to their highest level since mid-October yesterday. Lastly on the data front, the main other story was the release of the manufacturing PMIs from around the world. We’d already had the flash readings from a number of the key economies, so they weren’t too surprising, but the Euro Area came in at 58.4 (vs. flash 58.6), Germany came in at 57.4 (vs. flash 57.6), and the UK came in at 58.1 (vs. flash 58.2). One country that saw a decent upward revision was France, with the final number at 55.9 (vs. flash 54.6), which marks an end to 5 successive monthly declines in the French manufacturing PMI. One other release were German retail sales for October, which unexpectedly fell -0.3% (vs. +0.9% expected). To the day ahead now, and central bank speakers include the Fed’s Quarles, Bostic, Daly and Barkin, as well as the ECB’s Panetta. Data releases include the Euro Area unemployment rate and PPI inflation for October, while there’s also the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, the OPEC+ group will be meeting. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 07:57.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Futures Rebound From Post-CPI Rout As China Property Stocks Soar

Futures Rebound From Post-CPI Rout As China Property Stocks Soar US futures rose and European bourses once again rebounded from overnight lows, this time after concerns that scorching US and Chinese CPI and PPI prints will prompt central banks to tighten much sooner than expected. The bounce was aided by a surge in Chinese property developers which booked their best two-day gain in six years, joined by a jump in technology stocks, as investors speculated Beijing may soften regulatory crackdowns on the two industries. At 730am S&P futures were up 16.75 ot 0.36 to 4,658.50, Dow Jones futs were up 40 points or 0.11% and Nasdaq futures were up 97.50 or 0.61%. The dollar index rose and cash Treasurys are closed today for Veterans day. Wednesday’s stronger-than-forecast data on U.S. consumer prices finally crushed the argument that inflation is transitory and weighed on the tech sector in particular as Treasury yields spiked. Tesla shares rose 5% in premarket trading following filings that showed Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk sold $5 billion in stock in the electric-vehicle maker a few days after the shares hit a record high. Disney dropped 4.8% in premarket trading to lead declines among Dow components after reporting the smallest rise in Disney+ subscriptions since the service's launch and posted downbeat profit at its theme park division. SoFi rose as much as 16% in premarket after Jefferies said the fintech’s third-quarter results were a “strong” beat. Amazon-backed electric-vehicle maker Rivian Automotive jumped 4.9%, adding to the nearly 30% gain on its blockbuster trading debut. Chinese tech stocks got some comfort from a report that ride-hailing company Didi Global Inc. is getting ready to relaunch its apps in China by the end of the year as an investigation wraps up. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares plunged 20% in premarket after the maker of plant-based meats released a disappointing sales projection for 4Q. Fossil (FOSL US) jumped 33% premarket after the accessory maker boosted its net sales forecast for the full year. Bumble (BMBL US) the dating app that lets women make the first move, reported earnings in the third quarter that missed analysts’ estimates. The shares fell 7% premarket. Disney (DIS US) shares fall as much as 5.3% in premarket, with analysts flagging softness in its Disney+ subscribers and net income in its fiscal fourth quarter. Rivian (RIVN US) jumps 8% in premarket after the electric truck maker soared in its trading debut on Wednesday. Didi (DIDI US) gains 4% in premarket after Reuters reported that the company is preparing to reintroduce its apps in China by the end of the year as regulators wrap up their investigations into the ride- hailing giant. Marqeta (MQ US) gains 17% premarket, with analysts saying the payments platform delivered a strong beat-and-raise report for 3Q. SoFi Technologies (SOFI US) rises 15% premarket with Jefferies saying the fintech’s 3Q results are a “strong” beat. Figs (FIGS US) shares sank 14% in postmarket trading on Wednesday, after the seller of scrubs for health-care workers reported a third-quarter profit in line with analysts’ estimates. Oscar Health (OSCR US) fell 10% postmarket Wednesday after the upstart health insurer projected a deeper adjusted Ebitda loss for the full year. Payoneer Global (PAYO US), the payment solutions company, gained 8% premarket after its full- year revenue forecast beat the average analyst estimate. Wish (WISH US) fell 2% after the e-commerce services company posted an Ebitda loss for the fourth quarter Despite today's mini relief rally, investors are bracing for tighter monetary policy sooner rather than later, after Wednesday’s stronger-than-forecast data on U.S. consumer prices dealt a blow to the argument that inflation is transitory. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the European Central Bank could stop buying bonds as early as next September if inflation looks to have sustainably returned to the official target, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said. “This is the perfect time to gravitate toward defensive plays, to take profit and to be in the sectors that are strategically positioned toward this volatile market that presents a lot of challenges,” Katerina Simonetti, senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg Television. Market participants were also watching developments around the nomination of the Federal Reserve Chair, with President Joe Biden still weighing whether to keep Jerome Powell for a second term or elevate Fed Governor Lael Brainard to the post In Europe, equities pushed into the green after a muted start, with the Stoxx 600 Index up 0.1% while the Euro Stoxx 50 is little changed as France's CAC outperformed and the U.K.’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 Index rose as the pound held near an 11-month low after better-than-expected economic growth data. Basic resources, construction and banking names are the strongest sectors; travel and oil & gas the notable laggards. The Stoxx Europe 600 basic resources sub-index rose as much as 2.9%, the most in about a month, as iron ore rebounds and other metals rise. Anglo American, Rio Tinto, BHP, Glencore and Norsk Hydro among those leading gains by index points.ArcelorMittal also rallied after 3Q results. Miners are outperforming gains on the Stoxx Europe 600, which is up 0.2%. Iron ore’s rout halted as expectations build for an easing of the real-estate turmoil in China that’s battered demand, while aluminum jumped as supplies of the metal tighten. And speaking of Europe, ECB-dated OIS rates now price ~20bps of hikes by end-2022 as STIRs globally wrestle with the latest hot inflation prints. Here are some of the biggest European movers this morning: Auto Trader jumped as much as 15% to a record high, with Jefferies saying its new guidance should drive mid-single-digit upgrades to consensus estimates for the online car listings platform. Sika shares surge as much as 12% following the acquisition of construction chemicals peer MBCC, with Baader, Vontobel and Morgan Stanley all positive on the deal. ArcelorMittal shares rise as much as 4.4% after the steelmaker’s results, with Citi saying the update has a positive tone despite the numbers missing estimates. Siemens shares rise as much as 2.8% with analysts saying the German industrial group’s update was encouraging, with its dividend among the main positives. Johnson Matthey shares plummet as much as 20% after the company warned on its current trading and said it will exit its battery business. Burberry shares slump as much as 10% after the luxury goods company’s comparable store sales missed market expectations, with analysts saying consensus estimates are likely to remain unchanged, and the focus will be on the upcoming management change. Earlier in the session, Asia’s regional benchmark declined, on track for a third day of losses, after monthly U.S. consumer prices rose at the fastest annual pace since 1990, raising concerns over costs and monetary policy moves. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6%, before paring most of the losses, with several tech hardware stocks weighing on the benchmark and Tencent the biggest drag after its 3Q revenue missed analyst estimates. Still, the Hang Seng Tech Index ended the day higher after Reuters reported that Didi Global is getting ready to relaunch apps in China by the end of the year. Investors have been cautiously eyeing inflation data as the next market catalyst amid the ongoing pandemic. China helped lead Asian stocks lower Wednesday after reporting a spike in producer prices. “The inflation number spoke to scope for greater and longer-lasting tightening, which understandably hurt the tech sector,” said Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. “The vulnerability there is to longer-term financing, because near-term is pretty well locked in for the most part,” he said. India, Taiwan and the Philippines posted the steepest declines Thursday, while Australian equities slid after unemployment unexpectedly jumped in October. China was the top performer as property developers rallied, while Japan’s benchmarks posted their first rise in five sessions as the yen weakened.  Japanese equities rose, rebounding after after a four-day loss, as electronics and auto makers climbed while the yen weakened. Trading houses and machinery makers were also among the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose 0.3%. Fanuc and SoftBank Group were the biggest contributors to a 0.6% gain in the Nikkei 225. The yen slightly extended its 0.9% overnight loss against the dollar. Tokyo shares fluctuated in early trading after U.S. stocks fell by the most in a month and Treasury yields spiked. Labor Department data showed consumer prices rose last month at the fastest annual pace since 1990, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to end near-zero interest rates sooner than expected “Investors had been selling value stocks and buying up growth stocks, but now that’s being reversed,” said Mamoru Shimode, chief strategist at Resona Asset Management. Going forward “the environment will be a favorable one for Japanese equities,” he said, noting the local market’s underperformance against global peers. In rates, Treasury futures are mixed with a curve-flattening bent, remaining near low end of Wednesday’s range, when above-estimate CPI and poor 30-year bond auction caused a selloff across the curve. As noted above, the Cash Treasuries market is closed Thursday for Veteran’s Day. Treasury 10-year yields closed Wednesday at 1.549%, nearly 10bp higher on the day; EGBs and gilts are slightly richer on the day out to the 10-year sector, while curves are mildly steeper. Wednesday’s price action in the U.S. sent ripples through European markets, which now price 20bps of ECB rate hikes in December 2022 for the first time since the start of the month.  Euribor futures add 4-6 ticks in red and green packs. Bunds and gilts bear steepen gently. Peripheral spreads widen at the margin. Short end Italy underperforms despite a decent reception at today’s auctions. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reached its strongest level in a year and the greenback advanced against all of its Group-of-10 peers, with the biggest losses seen among some commodity currencies. Cable inched lower to trade below $1.34 for the first time since December 2020. The U.K. economy grew more strongly than expected in September after a surge in service industries and construction. GDP rose 0.6% from August, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday. That was quicker than the 0.4% pace anticipated by economists. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were the worst G-10 performers; Aussie fell and Australian sovereign yields trimmed an opening spike after the nation’s jobless rate jumped to 5.2%. The initial move was in line with Treasuries, which plunged after U.S. inflation came in at the hottest since 1990. In commodities, crude futures fade a pop higher after quiet Asian trade; WTI is little changed near $81.20, Brent stalls below $83. Spot gold rises back toward Wednesday’s best levels, trading near $1,860/oz. Base metals are in the green with LME aluminum outperforming To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the UK’s preliminary Q3 GDP reading. From central banks, the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin, and speakers include the ECB’s Makhlouf, Schnabel and Hernandez de Cos, along with the BoE’s Mann. Otherwise, the European Commission will be releasing their latest economic forecasts, and it’s the Veterans’ Day Holiday in the United States. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 4,658.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 484.44 MXAP little changed at 197.72 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 647.07 Nikkei up 0.6% to 29,277.86 Topix up 0.3% to 2,014.30 Hang Seng Index up 1.0% to 25,247.99 Shanghai Composite up 1.2% to 3,532.79 Sensex down 0.8% to 59,898.81 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,381.95 Kospi down 0.2% to 2,924.92 Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,862.18 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.19% to 95.03 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.24% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1461 Brent Futures up 0.7% to $83.18/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The European Central Bank could stop buying bonds as early as next September if inflation looks to have sustainably returned to the official target, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said China’s efforts to limit fallout from China Evergrande Group’s crisis are gathering steam. A series of articles published in state media in the past few days signal support measures are on the way to help developers tap debt markets, potentially easing a liquidity crunch that began with Evergrande’s meltdown five months ago Customers of international clearing firm Clearstream received overdue interest payments on three dollar bonds issued by Evergrande, a spokesperson for Clearstream said A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed as positive Chinese developer headlines including news of Evergrande payments, helped the region partially shrug off the losses seen stateside where duration sensitive stocks underperformed as yields surged following a hot CPI print and a soft 30yr auction. ASX 200 (-0.6%) declined with the index led lower by tech and energy which followed suit to the heavy losses in their US counterparts and with disappointing jobs data adding to the headwinds. Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) coat-tailed on the advances in USD/JPY which briefly climbed above the 114.00 level and with a slew of earnings releases providing a catalyst for individual stock prices. Hang Seng (+1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.2%) were varied with notable strength in property names after Evergrande was reported to have paid the overdue interest on three bonds to avoid a default and with China said to be considering moderating property curbs to help troubled developers unload assets. In addition, the PBoC continued with its mild liquidity efforts and it was also reported that the Biden-Xi virtual meeting is tentatively scheduled for next Monday, although weakness in tech capped upside in the Hong Kong benchmark with shares in index heavyweight Tencent pressured post-earnings as the Beijing crackdown decelerated revenue growth to the slowest pace since the Co. listed in 2004. Finally, 10yr JGBs suffered spillover selling from global peers including T-notes which declined by a point to below 131.00 and with prices also hampered after a weak 30yr auction, while focus in Japan shifted to the enhanced liquidity auction for longer dated government bonds which printed a lower b/c although the highest accepted spread returned positive. Top Asian News Indonesian Stocks Close at Record High on Economic Rebound Signs of Easing as Delayed Bond Coupons Paid: Evergrande Update Asia Stocks Slip After U.S. Inflation Spike, Weak Tencent Sales Kaisa Tells Investors It May Not Make Coupon Payments: REDD European equities (Eurostoxx 50 -0.1%) broadly trade mixed following on from this week’s firm inflation reports from the US and China. The handover from APAC was also mixed with focus on China amid notable strength in property names after Evergrande was reported to have paid the overdue interest on three bonds to avoid a default. Furthermore, the PBoC continued with its mild liquidity efforts and it was also reported that the Biden-Xi virtual meeting is tentatively scheduled for next Monday. Stateside, futures are a touch firmer (ES +0.2%) in the wake of yesterday’s cash market losses which saw duration sensitive stocks underperform as yields surged. From a macro perspective, Axios reported overnight that inflation concerns could see US Senator Manchin “punt” President Biden's Build Back Better agenda into next year. Eyes on the Wall St. open will be on Tesla after CEO Musk offloaded USD 5bln of stock in the Co. Back to Europe, Goldman Sachs outlook for 2022 sees a price target for the Stoxx 600 of 530 (vs. current 483) which would deliver a total return of around 13% and mark a continuation of the current bull market, albeit at a slower pace. Sectors in Europe are somewhat mixed with Basic Resources a clear outperformer amid broad strength in mining names and following earnings from ArcelorMittal (+2.9%) which sent the Co.’s shares to the top of the CAC. Banking names are also on a firmer footing amid the favourable yield environment post-CPI with Lloyds (+1.3%) and Commerzbank (+3.0%) supported by broker upgrades at Keefe Bruyette and Morgan Stanley respectively. To the downside, Oil & Gas names are softer as the crude complex struggles to recoup recent losses. Retail names have been weighed on by Burberry (-6.2%) post-earnings with the Co. noting that performance in Europe remains under pressure. Renault (-3.1%) sits at the foot of the CAC after Daimler opted to sell its stake in the Co. for USD 364mln. Finally, Johnson Matthey (-16.3%) is the clear laggard in the region after its CEO announced his decision to step down and the Co. announced it is to exit the battery materials business. Top European News U.K. Growth Data Leave December BOE Rate Rise in the Balance Scholz Aims to ‘Winter Proof’ Germany Against New Covid Wave Kering Says Creative Head Daniel Lee to Leave Bottega Veneta Gas Crunch Fuels RWE Profits as Energy Giant Burns Coal In FX, the Dollar took some time out for reflection and a rest after extending yesterday’s post-US CPI gains with the additional thrust of a supply-related ramp up in Treasury yields following a poor new long bond auction. However, the index could not quite muster enough bullish momentum to touch 95.000 until APAC buyers got a chance to respond to the strength of the inflation data and bear-steepening reaction in debt markets that evolved after initial bear-flattening. The DXY subsequently reset, refuelled and cleared the psychological barrier more convincingly, at 95.101 before fading again as several basket components found underlying bids and technical support around key levels, but still seems bid and upwardly mobile in thinner trading volumes due to Veteran’s Day. NZD/AUD - Perhaps perversely given overnight macro fundamentals, the Kiwi is lagging down under with Aud/Nzd cross elevated near 1.0400, though this could be in recognition of a sharp retreat in NZ food prices and mitigating factors leading to Aussie labour metrics missing consensus by some distance right across the board. Whatever the rationale, Nzd/Usd is lower than Aud/Usd in absolute terms even though the former is holding above 0.7100 and latter has now lost 0.7300+ status. CAD - Weaker WTI crude (in relative terms rather than on the day per se) is not helping the Loonie’s cause after it managed to contain losses on Wednesday, as Usd/Cad hovers near the top of a 1.2535-1.2473 range awaiting the BoC’s Q3 Senior Loan Officer Survey tomorrow for further direction from a Canadian perspective. CHF/EUR/JPY/GBP - All giving up more ground to the Greenback, but to varying degrees with the Franc trying to keep sight of 0.9200, the Euro defend 1.1450 having closed below 1.1500 and a key Fib retracement just shy of the round number, the Yen stay within touching distance of 114.00 and Sterling stop the rot after letting go of the 1.3400 handle again. On that note, a late December 2020 low in Cable at 1.3361 remains intact ahead of 1.3350 for semi-sentimental reasons and then a deep channel trendline from 1.3330-20, while Usd/Jpy has scope to be drawn to decent option expiry interest at 113.70 (1.6 bn) if not similar size spanning 113.60-00. In commodities, WTI and Brent have been choppy this morning with catalysts limited and conditions thinner than normal on account of Veteran’s Day. Price action thus far has seen the benchmarks print a range in excess of USD 1.00/bbl in a narrow timespan, note, that these parameters remain comfortably within yesterday’s levels; currently, both WTI and Brent are at the lower-end of this band as any initial attempt at a recovery has fizzled out with the USD likely a factor. While newsflow directly for the complex has been sparse attention remains on the monthly oil surveys, COVID-19 and geopolitics. Firstly, the OPEC MOMR is scheduled for release today and as a reminder the EIA STEO, under greater focus given US crude/SPR watch, raised 2021 world oil demand growth forecast by +60k BPD to 5.11mln BPD Y/Y increase this week, but cut its 2022 forecast by 130k BPD to 3.35mln BPD Y/Y increase. On COVID, the demand-side is attentive to increasing cases in areas such as Germany with the effective Chancellor-in-waiting Scholz saying further measures will be needed through Winter; additionally, the Netherlands outbreak team are recommending a short lockdown and Beijing has implemented various local measures. Finally, geopolitics is attentive to the situation in Belarus after Lukashenko said they will respond to any sanctions and has suggested closing gas and goods transit through the area. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver remain towards the top-end of yesterday’s parameters, but are only modestly firmer on the session, as newsflow has been slim and the USD’s more gradual upside and lack-of cash UST action is providing a respite from yesterday’s upside. Action that saw spot gold supported by almost USD 40/oz from opening levels. Elsewhere, ArcelorMittal’s earnings update featured a forecast for global steel demand to increase between 12-13% this year excluding China given a softening of real demand. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 49.2 Central Banks Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Yesterday was one of those days to just go “wow” at. The headline YoY US CPI rate of 6.2% was the highest since the 6.3% in 1990, which means that unless you’re at least 50 this will be the highest US inflation print of your career. In fact, apart from 2 months in 1990 at 6.3%, you’d have to go back to 1982 to find a higher print. So you’d have to probably be at least 60 to remember anything like this in your work life, other than that brief spike in 1990. In more detail, for the 6th time in the last 8 months, the headline print came in above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg, with prices up by +0.9% on a month-on-month basis (vs. +0.6% expected). If you look at the reading to two decimal places, it was actually the strongest monthly inflation since July 2008, so hardly a sign that those pressures have been dimming as we move towards year end. We’ll go through some of the moves in more depth below, but markets didn’t react well to the prospect of a more inflationary future, with both bonds and equities moving lower as investors moved to price in earlier and a more rapid pace of future rate hikes by the Fed. A horrible 30 year auction 4.5 hours later cemented a big rise in yields on the day. Note US bond markets are closed today for Veterans Day. Equities remain open but trading will be thin. Just completing the inflation picture, the October price rise was a fairly broad-based one that included upward pressure across all the main categories, including components that are tied to more persistent inflation. Admittedly, a big driver was energy inflation (+4.8% on a monthly basis), but even if you stripped out the more volatile factors, core inflation was still up +0.6% (vs. +0.4% expected), sending the annual core inflation measure up to its highest since 1991, at +4.6% (vs. +4.3% expected). There were also further signs of pressure from the housing categories, with owners’ equivalent rent (+0.44%) seeing its largest monthly increase since June 2006. This housing inflation is coming in bang on script (see page 19 of my 1970s chart book here). Medical care services (+0.49%) was also a big contributor to the upside surprise. The broad-based price gains drove trimmed mean and median CPI, measures of underlying trend inflation, to their highest levels since 1983. There’ll understandably be questions for the Fed off the back of this release, and markets responded by bringing forward their pricing of the first rate hike to the July 2022 meeting. In fact, by the close of trade, roughly an extra 13bps of hikes were priced in by end-2022 relative to the previous day. It’s also worth noting that the latest CPI release means that the real fed funds rate in October was beneath -6%, which is lower than at any point in the 1970s, where the bottom was -5% (see page 3 in the same 1970s chart book and draw the line down another few tenths of a basis point). So by this measure, monetary policy is even more accommodative now than it was back then, in a decade that saw inflation get progressively out of control. For more on those 1970s comparisons, take a look at our full note from last month (link here.) Treasuries understandably sold off, led by the front end and belly of the curve, as investors brought forward the likely timing of future rate hikes. 5yr Treasuries increased +13.5bps (the biggest one-day increase since February), and 10yrs +11.4bps (largest increase since September). The yield curve flattened, with 5s30s down -4.9bps to 68.5bps, the flattest since March 2020. Longer-dated yields were drifting higher through the New York session but accelerated after a 5.2bp tail in the 30yr Treasury auction. The tail was the highest since 2011, and primary dealer takedown was almost 2 standard deviations above average over the last year. Unlike after less-than-stellar auctions earlier this year, bonds stabilised for the rest of the day, with the 30yr +8.6 bps higher, only +1.7bps above pre-auction trading. After all, 30yr yields have rallied 26.0bps since early October, inclusive of today’s poor auction, as there has been some long-end duration demand. Indeed, even with the policy rate repricing, 5y5y rates, one proxy for long-run or terminal policy rates, remain below 2%, after increasing just +6.2bps. This is also manifest in record low real yields through the curve. 10yr real yields initially sunk to an all-time low intraday at -1.253% after the CPI print before ultimately increasing +3.0bps on the day to -1.17%. Likewise, 5yr real yields touched -1.97% in the aftermath of the CPI print, and closed the day +2.5bps higher than Tuesday’s close at -1.88%. With nominal yields outpacing real yields, inflation compensation increased across the curve: 5yr breakevens increased +11.1bps to 3.10%, an all-time high, whilst 10yr breakevens increased +6.4bps to a post-2006 high of 2.71%. Gold (+0.97%), and other precious metals, including silver (+1.37%) and platinum (+0.75%) gained, as did Bitcoin, which clipped another all-time high, $68,992, intraday. The dollar (+0.90%) also benefitted. The continued prevalence of high inflation is having increasing political ramifications, and President Biden put out a statement following the release, commenting on the inflation data (as well as the more positive weekly jobless claims). He said that reversing the trend in inflation was “a top priority for me” and laid a decent chunk of the blame at rising energy costs. He said that he’d directed the National Economic Council to look at further ways of reducing energy costs, and that he’d also “asked the Federal Trade Commission to strike back at any market manipulation or price gouging in this sector”. However, we also heard from moderate Democratic senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who tweeted that “the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not ‘transitory’ and is instead getting worse. … DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.” Manchin is a key swing vote on Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, and he has already influenced cutting the bill from the $3.5tn initially envisaged to a framework half that size, due in part to the potential inflationary impact of additional spending. From the Fed however, the only signal we got came from San Francisco Fed President Daly (one of the most dovish FOMC members), who gave an interview with Bloomberg TV shortly following the CPI print. She notably referred to inflation as “eye-popping”, but demurred when asked about changing the course of Fed policy, asserting that it would be premature to “start changing our calculations about raising rates” or to accelerate the pace of tapering. Higher inflation and pricing of aggressive Fed tightening was not a good combination for US risk. The S&P 500 fell -0.82% in its second consecutive decline (which feels like its own record after the recent run), and was down more than a percent intraday. Energy (-2.97%) led the declines (more below) but, tech (-1.68%) and communication services (-1.25%) each declined more than a percent due to the increase in discount rates. Commensurate with the big rate selloff, the Nasdaq (-1.66%) also underperformed. Meanwhile, European equities outperformed, with the STOXX 600 up +0.22% to reach an all-time high, just as the DAX (+0.17%) and the CAC 40 (+0.03%) also hit new records. To be fair, US equities were only slightly down on the day when European bourses closed. Sovereign bonds echoed the US moves however, and a selloff across the continent saw yields on 10yr bunds (+4.9bps), OATs (+6.8bps) and BTPs (+9.5bps) all move higher. Stocks in Asia are trading mixed overnight with CSI (+0.89%) leading the pack, followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.59%), and the Nikkei (+0.56%) in the green while the Hang Seng (-0.16%) and KOSPI (-0.59%) have lost ground. Staying on inflation, Japan’s PPI for October came out at 8.0% year-on-year (7.0% consensus and 6.3% previous), the highest since 1981. Elsewhere, in Australia the unemployment rate for October saw a big surprise, jumping to 5.2% (4.9% consensus, 4.6% previous) as many people re-entered the labour force after lockdowns. The participation rate rose to 64.7% from 64.5% in September. Futures are indicating a muted start to the day in the US & Europe with S&P 500 futures (+0.08%) up but DAX futures (-0.28%) catching down with the late US sell-off. One solace on the inflation front was a decline in energy prices yesterday, with both Brent crude (-2.52%) and WTI (-3.34%) losing ground. That followed 3 consecutive gains and came after the US EIA reported that crude oil inventories had risen by +1.00m barrels last week. There was also another decline in natural gas prices, with US futures falling -1.99% in their 4th consecutive decline, whilst European futures were down -4.06%. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims for the US over the week through November 6 fell to 267k (vs. 260k expected). That’s their 6th successive weekly decline and takes the measure to a post-pandemic low. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the UK’s preliminary Q3 GDP reading. From central banks, the ECB will be publishing their Economic Bulletin, and speakers include the ECB’s Makhlouf, Schnabel and Hernandez de Cos, along with the BoE’s Mann. Otherwise, the European Commission will be releasing their latest economic forecasts, and it’s the Veterans’ Day Holiday in the United States. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/11/2021 - 07:48.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 11th, 2021

Futures Meltup To New All Time High As November Begins With A Bang

Futures Meltup To New All Time High As November Begins With A Bang US futures and European stocks rose to a new record high to start the historically stellar month of November... ... and Asian markets jumped amid positive earnings surprises and as concerns of a global stagflation and central bank policy error faded for a few hours (they will return shortly). TSLA melted up by another $35BN in market cap "because gamma." S&P 500 futures climbed 0.4% after the cash index posted the biggest monthly gain since last November. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed confidence in the continuing recovery from the pandemic, helping spur gains in equity markets. Health-care shares rallied in Europe. The dollar and Treasury yields advanced as investors awaited this week’s Federal Reserve meeting to announce the start of tapering (which will then lead to rate hikes next July according to Goldman). Oil rebounded on fresh supply concerns. In addition to the now absolutely batshit insane meltup in Tesla, which won't end until the SEC cracks down on gamma squeeze manipulation, other mega-cap technology stocks such as Google, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon.and Apple, aka oddly enough GAMMA, traded mixed. Exxon and Chevron added about 0.7% each as JP Morgan raised its price target on the oil majors following their strong quarterly results last week. Major Wall Street banks gained between 0.2% and 0.8%. The broader S&P 500 financials sector slipped last week, breaking a three-week winning streak. Lucid Group Inc. rose 4.8% in premarket, extending its advance from last week, after the new U.S. tax plan included a proposal to make EV tax credits more widely available. Harley-Davidson Inc jumped 8.2% after the European Union removed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products including whiskey, power boats and company’s motorcycles. Here are the most notable pre-market movers: Tesla shares rise 2.3% in U.S. premarket trading after their biggest monthly gain in almost a year in October ABVC BioPharma jumps more than 700% as thelittle known biotechnology company garners attention from retail traders on social media Ocugen and Zosano (ZSAN US) are some other top gainers among retail trader stocks in premarket A largely upbeat earnings season has helped investors look past a mixed-macro economic picture, with the benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq recording their best monthly performance since November 2020 in October. Of the 279 S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly results, 87% have met or exceeded estimates. Among members of Europe’s Stoxx 600 index, 68% surpassed expectations. On the economic data front, readings on October factory activity data from IHS Markit and ISM are due after market open, followed by non-farm payrolls on Friday. Focus is now on the Fed’s two-day policy meeting which concludes at 2pm on Nov 3, where the central bank will announce the tapering of its $120 billion monthly bond buying program by $15 billion. With recent U.S. data showing inflation pressures building, the market has also started pricing in rate hikes next year. November and December tend to be among the strongest months for stocks and any hawkish tilt in the Fed’s message could catch equities by surprise.  Meanwhile, Biden’s economic agenda seemed to be on track as Democratic lawmakers worked to overcome their differences on a $1.75 trillion social-spending plan. “Depending on where you are looking, you are getting very different stories on the outlook for global markets,” Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “If you look at equities and the rally you are seeing, you think everything is OK. If you look at the bond market and how yields are moving, there’s obviously a lot more concern around inflation and policy normalization.” European stocks hit the afterburner out of the gate with the Euro Stoxx 50 adding as much as 1% before drifting off best levels. FTSE MIB and IBEX outperform, FTSE 100 lags slightly. Banks, construction and travel are the strongest sectors; tech the sole Stoxx 600 sector in the red. Barclays Plc fell 1.5%. Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley stepped down amid a U.K. regulatory probe into how he characterized his ties to the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Asian stocks were poised to snap a three-day decline thanks to a rally in Japanese equities, which got a boost from an election victory for the country’s ruling party and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 0.6%, while Japan’s benchmark Topix and the blue-chip Nikkei 225 Stock Average each added more than 2%. Sony Group, Toyota Motor and Tokyo Electron were among the single-largest contributors to the regional measure’s rise. By sector, industrials and information-technology companies provided the biggest boosts.  Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party defied worst-case scenarios to secure a majority by itself in a closely-watched election Sunday. Analysts said the outcome signals political stability, paving the way for economic stimulus to be executed as anticipated (see Street Wrap).  “Indicators of market activity show that there will be a positive market impact to the election, as although it was not greatly different than expectations, the LDP clearly surpassed some of the more dire polls of last week and there will not likely be any party shake-up in the intermediate-term,” John Vail, Tokyo-based chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management wrote in a note.  The market is also “reacting positively” to Friday’s share-price gains in the U.S., Vail said. Futures on the S&P 500 rose during Asian trading hours after the underlying gauge added 0.2%.  Asia’s regional benchmark capped a weekly drop of 1.5%, its worst such performance since early October, as disappointing results weighed on big technology stocks. More than half of the companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index have reported results for the latest quarter with about 37% posting a positive surprise, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to 7,370.80, recouping some losses after Friday’s 1.4% plunge. Health and consumer discretionary stocks contributed the most to the benchmark’s gain. WiseTech was among the top performers, snapping a four-day losing streak. Westpac was the worst performer after the bank delivered a smaller share buyback than some had expected. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 13,030.31. In rates, fixed income trades heavy with gilts leading the long end weakness. Treasuries were slightly cheaper on the long-end of the curve as S&P 500 futures exceed last week’s record highs. Yields are cheaper by 2bp to 2.5bp from belly out to long-end, with front-end slightly outperforming and steepening 2s10s spread by 1.7bp; 10-year yields around 1.58% with gilts underperforming by 1.1bp, Italian bonds by 3.5bp. Gilts and Italian bonds lag, with Bank of England rate decision due Thursday. In the U.S., weekly highlights include refunding announcement and FOMC Wednesday and Friday’s October jobs report. Bund and gilt curves bear steepen with gilts ~1bps cheaper to bunds. Peripheral spreads swing an early tightening to a broad widening to core with Italy the weakest performer. Overnight futures and options flows included block seller in 5-year note futures (3,900 at 3:09am ET) and a buyer of TY Week 1 129.00 puts at 3 on 10,000, says London trader. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index held a narrow range. SEK and CHF top the G-10 score board, GBP lags with cable snapping below 1.3650. TRY outperforms EMFX peers. The BBDXY inched up and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers, with many of the risk-sensitive currencies leading gains The pound retraced some losses against the dollar, after dipping earlier in the European session. The yield on 2-year gilts hit the highest since May 2019. Financial markets are almost fully pricing in a 15-basis point increase in the Bank of England’s benchmark lending rate on Nov. 4, while economists increasingly share that view, even as they see the decision as a far closer call. A record share of U.K. businesses are expecting to increase prices, adding to the inflationary pressures confronting Bank of England policy makers ahead of their meeting on Thursday Australian bonds extended opening gains as traders positioned for the Reserve Bank’s policy decision Tuesday. The Aussie fell, tracking losses in iron ore prices following a weak China PMI, which showed signs of further weakness in October The yen fell for a second day after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party retained its outright majority in a lower-house election, reinforcing bets for fiscal stimulus and reforms. Hedge funds boosted net short positions on the yen to the most since January 2019, raising the risk of a squeeze should risk appetite deteriorate suddenly and demand for havens rise The Turkish lira edged higher after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had “positive” talks with U.S. President Joe Biden In commodities, crude futures drift higher. WTI adds 40c to trade near $84; Brent rises ~1% near $84.50. Spot gold is quiet near $1,786/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME nickel and tin outperform, zinc lags. Looking at today's calendar, earnings continue on Monday with PG&E and ON Semiconductor reporting pre-market, and NXP Semiconductors post-market. We also get the latest Mfg PMI print and the October Mfg ISM print. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,612.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 479.40 MXAP up 0.4% to 198.04 MXAPJ down 0.3% to 645.49 Nikkei up 2.6% to 29,647.08 Topix up 2.2% to 2,044.72 Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 25,154.32 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,544.48 Sensex up 1.3% to 60,079.40 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,370.78 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,978.94 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $83.95/bbl Gold spot down 0.0% to $1,783.20 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.14 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.091% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1571 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg House Democratic leaders are pushing hard to get Biden’s package finalized, with votes on both that bill and a smaller infrastructure plan this week -- the latest in a string of self- imposed deadlines. The Senate, which already approved the public-works bill, is likely to vote on the larger package later in the month Leaders of the Group of 20 countries agreed on a climate deal that fell well short of what some nations were pushing for, leaving it to negotiators at the COP26 summit in Glasgow this week to try to achieve a breakthrough The U.K. said it will trigger legal action against France within 48 hours unless a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights is resolved, as the growing spat threatens to overshadow the United Nations’ climate summit Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she believes Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has taken “significant action” in the wake of revelations over the personal investments of U.S. central-bank policy makers; Yellen dismissed recent moves in the bond market that have signaled concern about monetary policy makers squelching economic growth, and expressed confidence in the continuing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic The U.S. and the European Union have reached a trade truce on steel and aluminum that will allow the allies to remove tariffs on more than $10 billion of their exports each year Asia-Pac bourses traded mostly higher amid tailwinds from last Friday's fresh record highs in the US where Wall St. topped off its best monthly performance YTD, but with some of the advances in the region capped as participants digested mixed Chinese PMI data and ahead of this week’s slew of key risk events including crucial central bank policy announcements from the RBA, BOE and FOMC, as well as the latest NFP jobs data. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was led higher by the consumer-related sectors amid a reopening play after Australia permitted fully vaccinated citizens to travel internationally again and with several M&A related headlines adding to the optimism including the Brookfield-led consortium acquisition of AusNet Services and Seven West Media’s takeover of Prime Media. Conversely, the largest weighted financials sector failed to join in on the spoils with Westpac shares heavily pressured following its FY results which fell short of analyst estimates despite more than doubling on its cash earnings. Nikkei 225 (+2.5%) was the biggest gainer with the index underpinned by favourable currency flows and following the general election in which the ruling LDP maintained a majority in the lower house although won fewer seats than previously for its slimmest majority since 2012, while the KOSPI (+0.4%) was kept afloat but with upside limited by slightly softer than expected trade data. Hang Seng (-1.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) were subdued amid a slew of earnings releases and following mixed Chinese PMI data in which the official Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMIs disappointed analysts’ forecasts with the former at a second consecutive contraction, although Caixin Manufacturing PMI was more encouraging and topped market consensus. Finally, 10yr JGBs initially declined amid gains in stocks and recent pressure in T-notes due to rate hike bets with analysts at Goldman Sachs bringing forward their Fed rate hike calls to July 2022 from summer 2023 citing inflation concerns, although 10yr JGBS then recovered despite the mixed results from the 10yr JGB auction which showed a higher b/c amid lower accepted prices and wider tail in price. Top Asian News Japan’s Kishida Mulls Motegi for LDP Secretary General: Kyodo Home Sales Slump; Another Bond Deadline Looms: Evergrande Update Two Thirds of China’s Top Developers Breach a ‘Red Line’ on Debt Hedge Fund Quad Sells Memory Stocks Citing Demand Uncertainty European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.6%) have kicked the week off on the front-foot with the Stoxx 600 printing a fresh all-time-high. The handover from the APAC session was a largely constructive one with the Nikkei 225 (+2.6%) the best in class for the region amid favourable currency flows and the fallout from the Japanese general election which saw the ruling LDP party maintain a majority in the lower house. Elsewhere, performance for the Shanghai Composite (-0.1%) and Hang Seng (-0.9%) was less impressive amid a slew of earnings releases and mixed Chinese PMI data in which the official Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMIs disappointed analysts’ forecasts. US equity index futures are trading on a firmer footing (ES +0.5%) ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC announcement and Friday’s NFP data. The latest reports from Washington suggest that House Democrats are hoping to pass the social spending and bipartisan infrastructure bills as soon as Tuesday. Back to Europe, a recent note from JPM stated that Q3 European earnings “are coming in well ahead of expectations in aggregate”, adding that results are healthy when considering the “trickier operating backdrop”. Sectors in the region are higher across the board with Auto names top of the leaderboard. Renault (+3.3%) sits at the top of the CAC 40 with the name potentially gaining some reprieve from agreement to resolve the US-EU steel and aluminium trade dispute (something which the Co. has previously noted as a negative). Also following the resolution, Thyssenkrupp (+2.8%) and Salzgitter (+4.5%) are both trading notably higher. Barclays (-2.0%) shares are seen lower after news that CEO Staley is to step down with immediate effect following the investigation into his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein; Barclays' Global Head of Markets, Venkatakrishnan is to take over. UK homebuilders (Persimmon -2.1%, Taylor Wimpey -1.9%, Barratt Developments -1.9%, Berkeley Group -1.7%) are softer on the session amid concerns that the sector could fall victim to higher mortgage rates given the shape of the UK yield curve. Ryanair (+1%) shares are higher post-earnings which saw the Co. continue its recovery from the pandemic, albeit still expects a loss for the year. Furthermore, the board is considering the merits of retaining its standard listing on the LSE. Finally, BT (+4.2%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 ahead of earnings on Thursday with press reports suggesting that the Co. could announce that its GBP 1bln cost savings target will be met a year earlier than the guided March 2023. Top European News SIG Proposed Offering for EU300m Senior Secured Notes Due 2026 Delivery Hero’s Turkey Unit CEO Nevzat Aydin to Step Down Goldman Sachs Says ‘Lost Decade’ Is Looming for 60/40 Portfolios URW Sells Stake in Paris Triangle Tower Project to AXA IM Alts In FX, the Greenback is holding above 94.000 in index terms and gradually ground higher after pausing for breath and taking some time out following its rapid resurgence last Friday to eclipse the 94.302 month end best at 94.313 before waning again. Hawkish vibes going into the FOMC are underpinning the Dollar and helping to offset external factors that are less supportive, including ongoing strength in global stock markets on solid if not stellar Q3 earnings and economic recovery from COVID-19 lockdown or restricted levels. Hence, the DXY is keeping its head above the round number and outperforming most major peers within and beyond the basket, awaiting Markit’s final manufacturing PMI, the equivalent ISM and construction spending ahead of the Fed on Wednesday and NFP on Friday. JPY/AUD - Little sign of relief for the Yen from victory by Japan’s ruling LDP part at the weekend elections as the 261 seat majority secured is down from the previous 276 and the tightest winning margin since 2012. Moreover, Security General Amari lost his constituency and new PM Kishida concedes that this reflects the public’s adverse feelings towards the Government over the last 4 years. Usd/Jpy is eyeing 114.50 as a result and the Aussie is looking precarious around 0.7500 against the backdrop of weakness in commodity prices even though perceptions for the upcoming RBA have turned markedly towards the potential for YCT to be withdrawn following firm core inflation readings and no defence of the 0.1% April 2024 bond target. NZD/EUR/CHF/CAD/GBP - All narrowly mixed vs their US counterpart, and with the Kiwi also taking advantage of the aforementioned apprehension in the Aud via the cross, while the Euro has pared declines from just under 1.1550, but still looks top-heavy into 1.1600. Elsewhere, the Franc is pivoting 0.9160 and 1.0600 against the Euro with more attention on a rise in Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks as evidence of intervention than a fractionally softer than expected manufacturing PMI, the Loonie is keeping afloat of 1.2400 ahead of Markit’s Canadian manufacturing PMI and Sterling is striving to stay above 1.3600, but underperforming vs the Euro circa 0.8470 amidst the ongoing tiff between the UK and France over fishing rights. SCANDI/EM - Robust Swedish and Norwegian manufacturing PMIs plus broad risk appetite is underpinning the Sek and Nok, in contrast to the Cnh and Cny following disappointing official Chinese PMIs vs a more respectable Caixin print, but the EM laggard is the Zar in knock-on reaction to Gold’s fall from grace on Friday, increasingly bearish technical impulses and SA energy supply issues compounded by Eskom’s load-shedding. Conversely, the Try has pared some declines irrespective of a slowdown in Turkey’s manufacturing PMI as the CBRT conducted a second repo op for Lira 27 bn funds maturing on November 11 at 16%. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer this morning with gains of between USD 0.50-1.00/bbl, this upside is in-spite of a lack of fundamental newsflow explicitly for the complex and is seemingly derived from broader risk sentiment, as mentioned above. Nonetheless, Energy Ministers are beginning to give commentary ahead of Thursday’s OPEC+ event and so far Angola, Kuwait and Iraq officials have voiced their support for the planned 400k BPD hike to production in December. This reiteration of existing plans is in opposition from calls from non-OPEC members such as the US and Japan that the group should look to increase production quicker than planned, in a bid to quell rising prices. Separately, Saudi Aramco reported Q3 earnings over the weekend in which its net profit doubled given strong crude prices and sales volumes improving by 12% QQ; subsequently, some analysts have highlighted the possibility for a end-2021 special dividend. Elsewhere, base metals are mixed and fairly contained in-spite of the EU and US announcing an agreement to resolve the ongoing aluminium and steel trade dispute. While spot gold and silver are modestly firmer this morning as the yellow metal remains contained after its slip from the USD 1800/oz mark in the tail-end of last week. Currently, spot gold is pivoting its 100-DMA at USD 1786 with the 50- and 200-DMAs residing either side at USD 1780/oz and USD 1791/oz respectively. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Oct. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.2, prior 59.2 10am: Oct. ISM Manufacturing, est. 60.5, prior 61.1 10am: Sept. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Welcome to November. I had three halloween parties over the weekend which is probably more than the entire number I went to before I had kids. I still have some spooky make up on this morning that I just couldn’t get off from last night. So there’s a reason alone to zoom into the call at 3pm today. As it’s the 1st of November Henry is about to publish our monthly performance review. It was a hectic month of higher inflation expectations and commodities, and also the best S&P 500 month of the year. Bonds underperformed across the board but these small negatives masked great volatility and stress under the surface, especially in the last week. See the report that should be out in the next 30-60mins. With all due respect to our readers in Australia, I’m going to open the market section this morning with a line I don’t think I’ve written in 27 years of market commentary and probably won’t again. And it’s not about England thrashing Australia at cricket on Saturday. Yes the most important event of the week could be the RBA meeting tomorrow. 2 year yields last week rose from 0.15% on Wednesday morning to 0.775% at the close on Friday as the RBA were conspicuous by their absence in defending the 0.1% target on the April 24 bond. I’ve absolutely zero idea what they are going to do tomorrow which should help you all tremendously but their absence again this morning gives a decent indication. I was taught economics in an era where central banks liked to keep an element of mystery and surprise. As such I’ve always disliked the forward guidance era as it encourages markets to pile on to much riskier, one way positions that a normally functioning market should naturally allow. But to go from forward guidance to silence (that rhymes) is a recipe for huge market turmoil if the facts change. It's unclear if the full implications of last week’s carnage at the global front end has yet been cleared out. There is lots of speculation about large unwinds, big stop losses etc. Liquidity was also awful last week. Much might depend on central banks this week. Make no mistake though there is considerable pain out there. The latest this morning in Aussie rates is that the 2y yield is down around -7bps while the 10y yield is down -19.0bps. So we wait with baited breath for tomorrow. Elsewhere in Asia, the Nikkei 225 (+2.42%) is charging ahead this morning as Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party kept its majority after lower house elections, thus boosting optimism about a potential fiscal stimulus. Elsewhere, the KOSPI (+0.43%) and the Shanghai composite (+0.07%) are outperforming the Hang Seng (-1.10%). In terms of data, China’s official manufacturing PMI fell from 49.6 to 49.2 (49.7 expected), not helped by commodities price rises and electricity shortages. The non-manufacturing PMI also fell to 52.4 from 53.2 (consensus 53). The Caixin manufacturing PMI did beat at 50.6 this morning (consensus 50). In terms of virus developments in the region, Shanghai Disneyland is closed amid recent COVID outbreaks, while Singapore is adding ICU beds in response to high levels of serious cases. The S&P 500 mini futures is up +0.23% this morning, the US 10y Treasury is at 1.56% (+1.2bps). It’s strange to have a likely Fed taper announcement on Wednesday be third billing for the week but the BoE on Thursday might be the next most important meeting as it’s still a finely judged call as to whether they hike this week or not. DB (preview here) think they will raise rates by 15bps with two 25bps hikes in February and May. They’ll also end QE a month earlier than planned. So over to the third billing, namely the Fed. They will announce a well flagged taper on Wednesday. In line with recent guidance, DB expect that the Fed will announce monthly reductions of $10bn and $5bn of Treasury and MBS purchases, respectively. With the first cut to purchases coming mid-November, this will bring the latest round of QE to a conclusion in June 2022. The Fed has some flexibility with this timetable but it will be interesting to hear how much Powell pushes back on markets that price in two hikes in 2022, including one almost fully priced for before the taper ends. If markets attacked the Fed in the same way they have the RBA the global financial system would have a lot of issues so it’s a fine balance for the Fed. They won’t want to push back too aggressively on market pricing given the uncertainty but they won’t want an outright attack on forward guidance. Moving on, a lowly fourth billing will be reserved for US payrolls on Friday. DB expect the headline gain (+400k forecast, consensus +425k vs. +194k previously) to modestly outperform that of private payrolls (+350k vs. +317k) and for the unemployment rate to fall by a tenth to 4.7% and average hourly earnings to post another strong gain (+0.4% vs. +0.6%) amidst still-elevated hours worked (34.8hrs vs. 34.8hrs). Outside of all this excitement, we have the COP26 which will dominate all your news outlets. The other main data highlight are the global PMIs (today and Wednesday mostly) which will give insight into how the economic recovery has progressed in the first month of Q4 with the surveys shedding light onto how inflation is affecting suppliers. There is lots more in store for us this week but see the day by day calendar at the end for the full run down The market also enters the second half of the 3Q earnings season. There are 168 S&P 500 and 85 Stoxx 600 companies reporting this week with 52% of the S&P 500 and 48% of the STOXX 600 having already reported. DB’s Binky Chadha published an update on earnings season over the weekend (link here). In the US, the size of the earnings beat has declined over the course of the season and is on track to hit 7%, well below the record 14-20% range post pandemic. Excluding the lumpy loan-loss reserve releases by banks, the beat is even lower at 5%, bringing it back in line with the historical norm. Quarterly earnings are on track to be down sequentially from Q2 to Q3 by -1.1% (qoq seasonally adjusted), the first drop since Q2 2020. The flat to down read of earnings is broad based across sector groups. Forward consensus estimates have fallen outside of the Energy sector. The S&P 500 nevertheless has seen one of the strongest earning season rallies on record. See much more in Binky’s piece. This week’s highlights include NXP Semiconductors, Zoom, and Tata Motors today before Pfizer, T-Mobile, Estee Lauder, BP, Mondelez, Activision Blizzard, and AP Moller-Maersk tomorrow. Then on Wednesday we’ll hear from Novo Nordisk, Qualcomm, CVS, Marriott, Albemarle, and MGM resorts. Thursday sees reports from Toyota, Moderna, Square, Airbnb, Uber, and Deutsche Post and then a busy Friday with Alibaba Group, Dominion Energy, Honda, and Mitsubishi. Looking back now and reviewing last week in numbers, it was a week of heightened intraday volatility within rates, as markets brought forward the expected timing of central bank policy actions across advanced economies while revising down growth expectations. Position stop outs almost certainly played a role as the magnitude of the moves were out of sync with macro developments while FX and equity markets were not nearly as volatile. Global front end rates started moving in earnest on Wednesday, following the Bank of Canada’s surprise decision to end net asset purchases, while bringing forward the timing of liftoff, which sent 2yr Canadian bonds more than +20bps higher. In the following days, the RBA opted not to defend their yield curve control target, and ECB President Lagarde did not use her press conference to provide much of a forceful pushback on recent repricing. All told, almost every DM economy saw their 2 yr bond selloff, including the US (+4.4 bps, +0.8 bps Friday), UK (+4.9 bps, +5.9 bps Friday), Germany (+5.2 bps, +3.2 bps Friday), Canada (+23bps) and Australia (+65bps). The long end went the other direction in the core countries, with many curves twist flattening over the week as negative growth sentiment weighed on the back end. Nominal 10yr yields declined -6.2 bps (-2.8 bps Friday) in the US, -11.1 bps (+2.5 bps Friday) in the UK, and were flat in Germany (+3.0 bps Friday). Unlike the rest of October, the decline in nominal yields coincided with declining inflation breakevens (albeit from historically high levels), with 10yr breakevens declining -5.2 bps (-0.6 bps Friday) in the US, -25.4 bps (-8.5 bps Friday) in the UK, and -16.3 bps (-11.5 bps Friday) in Germany. Note that outside the core there were some bond markets that moved higher in yield with 10yr bonds in Canada (+7bps), Australia (+30bps) and Italy (+19bps) all higher for different reasons. Some of the bond moves above don’t do the intra-day volatility any justice though. Elsewhere Crude oil prices dipped to close out what was otherwise another very good month, with Brent and WTI -1.34% (+0.07% Friday) and -0.23% (+0.92% Friday) lower. Meanwhile, equity markets marched to the beat of a different drum. The S&P 500 (+1.33%, +0.19% Friday), Nasdaq (+2.71%, +0.33% Friday), and DJIA (+0.40%, +.25% Friday) all set new all-time highs, while the STOXX 600 increased +0.77% (+0.07% Friday), cents below the all-time high set in August. Generally strong earnings relative to a worried market prior to the season again supported equity markets. Calls were replete with mentions of supply chain woes and labour shortages though, but companies sounded an optimistic note on end-user demand. Many big tech stocks reported, to more mixed results than the broader index. Alphabet and Microsoft beat on both revenue and earnings, Facebook and Apple missed analyst revenue estimates, while Amazon and Twitter missed revenue and earnings estimates. Ford and Caterpillar, two bellwethers particularly exposed to current supply chain and labour maladies, fared especially well. So far this season 279 companies have reported, with 206 beating on revenue and 237 beating on earnings Out of D.C., after prolonged negotiations within the Democratic Party, US President Biden unveiled a new social and climate spending framework, containing $1.75 trillion in spending measures as well as revenue-raising offsets. Once the text is finalized, it should enable a vote on the social spending package as well as the separately-negotiated bi-partisan infrastructure bill. More is likely to come this week. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/01/2021 - 07:59.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 1st, 2021

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations Authored by David Hay via Everegreen Gavekal blog, “You see what is happening in Europe. There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why?…Some people are speculating on climate change issues, some people are underestimating some things, some are starting to cut back on investments in the extractive industries. There needs to be a smooth transition.” - Vladimir Putin (someone with whom this author rarely agrees) “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of its citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes (an interesting observation for all the modern day Keynesians to consider given their support of current inflationary US policies, including energy-related) Introduction This week’s EVA provides another sneak preview into David Hay’s book-in-process, “Bubble 3.0” discussing what he thinks is the crucial topic of “greenflation.”  This is a term he coined referring to the rising price for metals and minerals that are essential for solar and wind power, electric cars, and other renewable technologies. It also centers on the reality that as global policymakers have turned against the fossil fuel industry, energy producers are for the first time in history not responding to dramatically higher prices by increasing production.  Consequently, there is a difficult tradeoff that arises as the world pushes harder to combat climate change, driving up energy costs to painful levels, especially for lower income individuals.  What we are currently seeing in Europe is a vivid example of this dilemma.  While it may be the case that governments welcome higher oil and natural gas prices to discourage their use, energy consumers are likely to have a much different reaction. Summary BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary. Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity. To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting. Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil. It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure.  Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays. I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal. In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined. China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future. About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles. Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.  The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket. This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices. Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area. The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen. It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy. If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.  Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations? As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition.  Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.  However, we will soon see that’s not the case, at least not anytime soon; in fact, it’s my contention that it will likely be the opposite for years to come and I’ve got some powerful company.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a very pro-ESG* organization, is one of the few members of Wall Street’s elite who admitted this in the summer of 2021.  The story, however, received minimal press coverage and was quickly forgotten (though, obviously, not be me!).  This EVA will outline myriad reasons why I think Mr. Fink was telling it like it is…despite the political heat that could bring down upon him.  First, though, I will avoid any discussion of whether humanity is the leading cause of global warming.  For purposes of this analysis, let’s make the high-odds assumption that for now a high-speed green energy transition will continue to occur.  (For those who would like a well-researched and clearly articulated overview of the climate debate, I highly recommend the book “Unsettled”; it’s by a former top energy expert and scientist from the Obama administration, Dr. Steven Koonin.) The reason I italicized “for now” is that in my view it’s extremely probable that voters in many Western countries are going to become highly retaliatory toward energy policies that are already creating extreme hardship.  Even though it’s only early autumn as I write these words, energy prices are experiencing unprecedented increases in Europe.  Because it’s “over there”, most Americans are only vaguely aware of the severity of the situation.  But the facts are shocking…  Presently, natural gas is going for $29 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) in Europe, a quadruple compared to the same time in 2020, versus “just” $5 in the US, which is a mere doubling.  As a consequence, wholesale energy cost in Great Britain rose an unheard of 60% even before summer ended.  Reportedly, nine UK energy companies are on the brink of failure at this time due to their inability to fully pass on the enormous cost increases.  As a result, the British government is reportedly on the verge of nationalizing some of these entities—supposedly, temporarily—to prevent them from collapsing.  (CNBC reported on Wednesday that UK natural gas prices are now up 800% this year; in the US, nat gas rose 20% on Tuesday alone, before giving back a bit more than half of that the next day.) Serious food shortages are expected after exorbitant natural gas costs forced most of England’s commercial production of CO2 to shut down.  (CO2 is used both for stunning animals prior to slaughter and also in food packaging.)  Additionally, ballistic natural gas prices have forced the closure of two big US fertilizer plants due to a potential shortfall of ammonium nitrate of which “nat gas” is a key feedstock.  *ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance; in 2021, Blackrock’s assets under management approximated $9 ½ trillion, about one-third of the total US federal debt. With the winter of 2021 approaching, British households are being told they may need to ration heat.  There are even growing concerns about the widespread loss of life if this winter turns out to be a cold one, as 2020 was in Europe.  Weather forecasters are indicating that’s a distinct possibility.   In Spain, consumers are paying 40% more for electricity compared to the prior year.  The Spanish government has begun resorting to price controls to soften the impact of these rapidly escalating costs. (The history of price controls is that they often exacerbate shortages.) Naturally, spiking power prices hit the poorest hardest, which is typical of inflation whether it is of the energy variety or of generalized price increases.  Due to these massive energy price increases, eurozone inflation recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices that are the equivalent of $200 per barrel oil.  This is consistent with what I warned about in several EVAs earlier this year and I think there is much more of this looming in the years to come. In Asia, which also had a brutally cold winter in 2020 – 2021, there are severe energy shortages being disclosed, as well.  China has instructed its power providers to secure all the coal they can in preparation for a repeat of frigid conditions and acute deficits even before winter arrives.  The government has also instructed its energy distributors to acquire all the liquified natural gas (LNG) they can, regardless of cost.  LNG recently hit $35 per million British Thermal Units in Asia, up sevenfold in the past year.  China is also rationing power to its heavy industries, further exacerbating the worldwide shortages of almost everything, with notable inflationary implications. In India, where burning coal provides about 70% of electricity generation (as it does in China), utilities are being urged to import coal even though that country has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.  Several Indian power plants are close to exhausting their coal supplies as power usage rips higher. Normally, I’d say that the cure for such extreme prices, was extreme prices—to slightly paraphrase the old axiom.  But these days, I’m not so sure; in fact, I’m downright dubious.  After all, the enormously influential International Energy Agency has recommended no new fossil fuel development after 2021—“no new”, as in zero.  It’s because of pressure such as this that, even though US natural gas prices have done a Virgin Galactic to $5 this year, the natural gas drilling rig count has stayed flat.  The last time prices were this high there were three times as many working rigs.  It is the same story with oil production.  Most Americans don’t seem to realize it but the US has provided 90% of the planet’s petroleum output growth over the past decade.  In other words, without America’s extraordinary shale oil production boom—which raised total oil output from around 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 13 million barrels per day in 2019—the world long ago would have had an acute shortage.  (Excluding the Covid-wracked year of 2020, oil demand grows every year—strictly as a function of the developing world, including China, by the way.) Unquestionably, US oil companies could substantially increase output, particularly in the Permian Basin, arguably (but not much) the most prolific oil-producing region in the world.  However, with the Fed being pressured by Congress to punish banks that lend to any fossil fuel operator, and the overall extreme hostility toward domestic energy producers, why would they?  There is also tremendous pressure from Wall Street on these companies to be ESG compliant.  This means reducing their carbon footprint.  That’s tough to do while expanding their volume of oil and gas.  Further, investors, whether on Wall Street or on London’s equivalent, Lombard Street, or in pretty much any Western financial center, are against US energy companies increasing production.  They would much rather see them buy back stock and pay out lush dividends.  The companies are embracing that message.  One leading oil and gas company CEO publicly mused to the effect that buying back his own shares at the prevailing extremely depressed valuations was a much better use of capital than drilling for oil—even at $75 a barrel. As reported by Morgan Stanley, in the summer of 2021, an US institutional broker conceded that of his 400 clients, only one would consider investing in an energy company!  Consequently, the fact that the industry is so detested means that its shares are stunningly undervalued.  How stunningly?  A myriad of US oil and gas producers are trading at free cash flow* yields of 10% to 15% and, in some cases, as high as 25%. In Europe, where the same pressures apply, one of its biggest energy companies is generating a 16% free cash flow yield.  Moreover, that is based up an estimate of $60 per barrel oil, not the prevailing price of $80 on the Continent. *Free cash flow is the excess of gross cash flow over and above the capital spending needed to sustain a business.  Many market professionals consider it more meaningful than earnings.  Therefore, due to the intense antipathy toward Western energy producers they aren’t very inclined to explore for new resources.  Another much overlooked fact about the ultra-critical US shale industry that, as noted, has been nearly the only source of worldwide output growth for the past 13 years, is its rapid decline nature.  Most oil wells see their production taper off at just 4% or 5% per year.  But with shale, that decline rate is 80% after only two years.  (Because of the collapse in exploration activities in 2020 due to Covid, there are far fewer new wells coming on-line; thus, the production base is made up of older wells with slower decline rates but it is still a much steeper cliff than with traditional wells.)  As a result, the US, the world’s most important swing producer, has to come up with about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of new output just to stay even.  (This was formerly about a 3 million bpd number due to both the factor mentioned above and the 2 million bpd drop in total US oil production, from 13 million bpd to around 11 million bpd since 2019).  Please recall that total US oil production in 2008 was only around 5 million bpd.  Thus, 1.5 million barrels per day is a lot of oil and requires considerable drilling and exploration activities.  Again, this is merely to stay steady-state, much less grow.  The foregoing is why I wrote on multiple occasions in EVAs during 2020, when the futures price for oil went below zero*, that crude would have a spectacular price recovery later that year and, especially, in 2021.  In my view, to go out on my familiar creaky limb, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  With supply extremely challenged for the above reasons and demand marching back, I believe 2022 could see $100 crude, possibly even higher.  *Physical oil, or real vs paper traded, bottomed in the upper teens when the futures contract for delivery in April, 2020, went deeply negative.  Mike Rothman of Cornerstone Analytics has one of the best oil price forecasting records on Wall Street.  Like me, he was vehemently bullish on oil after the Covid crash in the spring of 2020 (admittedly, his well-reasoned optimism was a key factor in my up-beat outlook).  Here’s what he wrote late this summer:  “Our forecast for ’22 looks to see global oil production capacity exhausted late in the year and our balance suggests OPEC (and OPEC + participants) will face pressures to completely remove any quotas.”  My expectation is that global supply will likely max out sometime next year, barring a powerful negative growth shock (like a Covid variant even more vaccine resistant than Delta).  A significant supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand recovers and exceeds its pre-Covid level.  This is a view also shared by Goldman Sachs and Raymond James, among others; hence, my forecast of triple-digit prices next year.  Raymond James pointed out that in June the oil market was undersupplied by 2.5 mill bpd.  Meanwhile, global petroleum demand was rapidly rising with expectations of nearly pre-Covid consumption by year-end.  Mike Rothman ran this chart in a webcast on 9/10/2021 revealing how far below the seven-year average oil inventories had fallen.  This supply deficit is very likely to become more acute as the calendar flips to 2022. In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year.  This is an unprecedented development.  However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article:  “Energy companies are in a bind.  The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production.  But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.” The author, David Sheppard, went on to opine: “In the oil industry there are those who think a period of plus $100-a-barrel oil is on the horizon, as companies scale back investments in future supplies, while demand is expected to keep rising for most of this decade at a minimum.”  (Emphasis mine)  To which I say, precisely!  Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies.  One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley.  Its title asked the provocative question:  “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”  While almost two-thirds of Norway’s new vehicle sales are EVs, a remarkable market share gain in just over a decade, the number in the US is an ultra-modest 2%.   Yet, per the Morgan Stanley piece, despite this extraordinary push into EVs, oil consumption in Norway has been stubbornly stable.  Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined.  Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China.  As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted. Another coincidence is that this 6 million bpd surge in China’s appetite for oil, almost exactly matched the increase in US oil production.  Once again, think where oil prices would be today without America’s shale oil boom. This is unlikely to change over the next decade.  By 2031, there are an estimated one billion Asian consumers moving up into the middle class.  History is clear that more income means more energy consumption.  Unquestionably, renewables will provide much of that power but oil and natural gas are just as unquestionably going to play a critical role.  Underscoring that point, despite the exponential growth of renewables over the last 10 years, every fossil fuel category has seen increased usage.  Thus, even if China gets up to Norway’s 64% EV market share of new car sales over the next decade, its oil usage is likely to continue to swell.  Please be aware that China has become the world’s largest market for EVs—by far.  Despite that, the above chart vividly displays an immense increase in oil demand.  Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way):  “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).  The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’  Say again?  If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?” China's voracious power appetite increase has been true with all of its energy sources.  On the environmentally-friendly front, that includes renewables; on the environmentally-unfriendly side, it also includes coal.  In 2020, China added three times more coal-based power generation than all other countries combined.  This was the equivalent of an additional coal planet each week.  Globally, there was a reduction last year of 17 gigawatts in coal-fired power output; in China, the increase was 29.8 gigawatts, far more than offsetting the rest of the world’s progress in reducing the dirtiest energy source.  (A gigawatt can power a city with a population of roughly 700,000.) Overall, 70% of China’s electricity is coal-generated. This has significant environmental implications as far as electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned.  Because EVs are charged off a grid that is primarily coal- powered, carbon emissions actually rise as the number of such vehicles proliferate. As you can see in the following charts from Reuters’ energy expert John Kemp, Asia’s coal-fired generation has risen drastically in the last 20 years, even as it has receded in the rest of the world.  (The flattening recently is almost certainly due to Covid, with a sharp upward resumption nearly a given.) The worst part is that burning coal not only emits CO2—which is not a pollutant and is essential for life—it also releases vast quantities of nitrous oxide (N20), especially on the scale of coal usage seen in Asia today. N20 is unquestionably a pollutant and a greenhouse gas that is hundreds of times more potent than CO2.  (An interesting footnote is that over the last 550 million years, there have been very few times when the CO2 level has been as low, or lower, than it is today.)  Some scientists believe that one reason for the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to the prevailing winds blowing black carbon soot over from Asia.  This is a separate issue from N20 which is a colorless gas.  As the black soot covers the snow and ice fields in Northern Canada, they become more absorbent of the sun’s radiation, thus causing increased melting.  (Source:  “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross) Due to exploding energy needs in China this year, coal prices have experienced an unprecedented surge.  Despite this stunning rise, Chinese authorities have instructed its power providers to obtain coal, and other baseload energy sources, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), regardless of cost.  Notwithstanding how pricey coal has become, its usage in China was up 15% in the first half of this year vs the first half of 2019 (which was obviously not Covid impacted). Despite the polluting impact of heavy coal utilization, China is unlikely to turn away from it due to its high energy density (unlike renewables), its low cost (usually) and its abundance within its own borders (though its demand is so great that it still needs to import vast amounts).  Regarding oil, as we saw in last week’s final image, it is currently importing roughly 11 million barrels per day (bpd) to satisfy its 15 million bpd consumption (about 15% of total global demand).  In other words, crude imports amount to almost three-quarter of its needs.  At $80 oil, this totals $880 million per day or approximately $320 billion per year.  Imagine what China’s trade surplus would look like without its oil import bill! Ironically, given the current hostility between the world’s superpowers, China has an affinity for US oil because of its light and easy-to-refine nature.  China’s refineries tend to be low-grade and unable to efficiently process heavier grades of crude, unlike the US refining complex which is highly sophisticated and prefers heavy oil such as from Canada and Venezuela—back when the latter actually produced oil. Thus, China favors EVs because they can be de facto coal-powered, lessening its dangerous reliance on imported oil.  It also likes them due to the fact it controls 80% of the lithium ion battery supply and 60% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, both of which are essential to power EVs.     However, even for China, mining enough lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and the other essential minerals/metals to meet the ambitious goals of largely electrifying new vehicle volumes is going to be extremely daunting.  This is in addition to mass construction of wind farms and enormously expanded solar panel manufacturing. As one of the planet’s leading energy authorities Daniel Yergin writes: “With the move to electric cars, demand for critical minerals will skyrocket (lithium up 4300%, cobalt and nickel up 2500%), with an electric vehicle using 6 times more minerals than a conventional car and a wind turbine using 9 times more minerals than a gas-fueled power plant.  The resources needed for the ‘mineral-intensive energy system’ of the future are also highly concentrated in relatively few countries. Whereas the top 3 oil producers in the world are responsible for about 30 percent of total liquids production, the top 3 lithium producers control more than 80% of supply. China controls 60% of rare earths output needed for wind towers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 70% of the cobalt required for EV batteries.” As many have noted, the environmental impact of immensely ramping up the mining of these materials is undoubtedly going to be severe.  Michael Shellenberger, a life-long environmental activist, has been particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the dominant view that only renewables can solve the global energy needs.  He’s especially critical of how his fellow environmentalists resorted to repetitive deception, in his view, to undercut nuclear power in past decades.  By leaving nuke energy out of the solution set, he foresees a disastrous impact on the planet due to the massive scale (he’d opine, impossibly massive) of resource mining that needs to occur.  (His book, “Apocalypse Never”, is also one I highly recommend; like Dr. Koonin, he hails from the left end of the political spectrum.) Putting aside the environmental ravages of developing rare earth minerals, when you have such high and rapidly rising demand colliding with limited supply, prices are likely to go vertical.  This will be another inflationary “forcing”, a favorite term of climate scientists, caused by the Great Green Energy Transition. Moreover, EVs are very semiconductor intensive.  With semis already in seriously short supply, this is going to make a gnarly situation even gnarlier.  It’s logical to expect that there will be recurring shortages of chips over the next decade for this reason alone (not to mention the acute need for semis as the “internet of things” moves into primetime).  In several of the newsletters I’ve written in recent years, I’ve pointed out the present vulnerability of the US electric grid.  Yet, it will be essential not just to keep it from breaking down under its current load; it must be drastically enhanced, a Herculean task. For one thing, it is excruciatingly hard to install new power lines. As J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest has written: “Grid expansion can be a hornet’s nest of cost, complexity and NIMBYism*, particularly in the US.”  The grid’s frailty, even under today’s demands (i.e., much less than what lies ahead as millions of EVs plug into it) is particularly obvious in California.  However, severe winter weather in 2021 exposed the grid weakness even in energy-rich Texas, which also has a generally welcoming attitude toward infrastructure upgrading and expansion. Yet it’s the Golden State, home to 40 million Americans and the fifth largest economy in the world, if it was its own country (which it occasionally acts like it wants to be), that is leading the charge to EVs and seeking to eliminate internal combustion engines (ICEs) as quickly as possible.  Even now, blackouts and brownouts are becoming increasingly common.  Seemingly convinced it must be a role model for the planet, it’s trying desperately to reduce its emissions, which are less than 1%, of the global total, at the expense of rendering its energy system more similar to a developing country.  In addition to very high electricity costs per kilowatt hour (its mild climate helps offset those), it also has gasoline prices that are 77% above the national average.  *NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. While California has been a magnet for millions seeking a better life for 150 years, the cost of living is turning the tide the other way.  Unreliable and increasingly expensive energy is likely to intensify that trend.  Combined with home prices that are more than double the US median–$800,000!–California is no longer the land of milk and honey, unless, to slightly paraphrase Woody Guthrie about LA, even back in the 1940s, you’ve got a whole lot of scratch.  More and more people, seem to be scratching California off their list of livable venues.  Voters in the reliably blue state of California may become extremely restive, particularly as they look to Asia and see new coal plants being built at a fever pitch.  The data will become clear that as America keeps decarbonizing–as it has done for 30 years mostly due to the displacement of coal by gas in the US electrical system—Asia will continue to go the other way.  (By the way, electricity represents the largest share of CO2 emission at roughly 25%.)  California has always seemed to lead social trends in this country, as it is doing again with its green energy transition.  The objective is noble though, extremely ambitious, especially the timeline.  As it brings its power paradigm to the rest of America, especially its frail grid, it will be interesting to see how voters react in other states as the cost of power leaps higher and its dependability heads lower.  It’s reasonable to speculate we may be on the verge of witnessing the Californication of the US energy system.  Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions.  This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion.  Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates. Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion.  Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light.  Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them.  For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion. Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high.  Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.  As Gavekal’s Didier Darcet wrote in mid-August:  ““Nowadays, and this is a great first in history, governments will commit considerable financial resources they do not have in the extraction of very weakly concentrated energy.” ( i.e., less efficient)  “The bet is very risky, and if it fails, what next?  The modern economy would not withstand expensive energy, or worse, lack of energy.”  While I agree this an historical first, it’s definitely not great (with apologies for all the “greats”).  This is particularly not great for keeping inflation subdued, as well as for attempting to break out of the growth quagmire the Western world has been in for the last two decades.  What we are seeing in Europe right now is an extremely cautionary case study in just how disastrous the war on fossil fuels can be (shortly we will see who or what has been a behind-the-scenes participant in this conflict). Essentially, I believe, as I’ve written in past EVAs, we are entering the third energy crisis of the last 50 years.  If I’m right, it will be characterized by recurring bouts of triple-digit oil prices in the years to come.  Along with Richard Nixon taking the US off the gold standard in 1971, the high inflation of the 1970s was caused by the first two energy crises (the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution).  If I’m correct about this being the third, it’s coming at a most inopportune time with the US in hyper-MMT* mode. Frankly, I believe many in the corridors of power would like to see oil trade into the $100s, and natural gas into the teens, as it will help catalyze the shift to renewable energy.  But consumers are likely to have a much different reaction—potentially, a violently different reaction, as I noted last week.  The experience of the Yellow Vest protests in France (referring to the color of the vest protestors wore), are instructive in this regard.  France is a generally left-leaning country.  Despite that, a proposed fuel surtax in November 2018 to fund a renewable energy transition triggered such widespread civil unrest that French president Emmanuel Macron rescinded it the following month. *MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory.  It holds that a government, like the US, which issues debt in its own currency can spend without concern about budgetary constraints.  If there are not enough buyers of its bonds at acceptable interest rates, that nation’s central bank (the Fed, in our case) simply acquires them with money it creates from its digital printing press.  This is what is happening today in the US.  Many economists consider this highly inflationary. The sharp and politically uncomfortable rise in US gas pump prices this summer caused the Biden administration to plead with OPEC to lift its volume quotas.  The ironic implication of that exhortation was glaringly obvious, as was the inefficiency and pollution consequences of shipping oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  (Oil tankers are a significant source of emissions.)  This is as opposed to utilizing domestic oil output, as well as crude from Canada (which is actually generally better suited to the US refining complex).  Beyond the pollution aspect, imported oil obviously worsens America’s massive trade deficit (which would be far more massive without the six million barrels per day of domestic oil volumes that the shale revolution has provided) and costs our nation high-paying jobs. Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament.  Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario.  Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe.  Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).  The success of the anti-fracking movement on the Continent has essentially prevented a European version of America’s shale miracles (the UK has the potential to be a major shale gas producer).  Consequently, the European Union’s domestic natural gas production has been in a rapid decline phase for years.  Banning fracking has, of course, made Europe heavily reliant on Russian gas shipments with more than 40% of its supplies coming from Russia. This is in graphic contrast to the shale output boom in the US that has not only made us natural gas self-sufficient but also an export powerhouse of liquified natural gas (LNG).  In 2011, the Nord Stream system of pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia began delivering gas west from northern Russia to the German coastal city of Greifswald.  For years, the Russians sought to build a parallel system with the inventive name of Nord Stream 2.  The US government opposed its approval on security grounds but the Biden administration has dropped its opposition.  It now appears Nord Stream 2 will happen, leaving Europe even more exposed to Russian coercion.  Is it possible the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party have been secretly and aggressively supporting the anti-fossil fuel movements in America?  In my mind, it seems not only possible but probable.  In fact, I believe it is naïve not to come that conclusion.  After all, wouldn’t it be in both of their geopolitical interests to see the US once again caught in a cycle of debilitating inflation, ensnared by the twin traps of MMT and the third energy crisis? *Per former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasumssen:  Russia has “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”. Along these lines, I was shocked to listen to a recent podcast by the New Yorker magazine on the topic of “intelligent sabotage”.  This segment was an interview between the magazine’s David Remnick and a Swedish professor, Adreas Malm.  Mr. Malm is the author of a new book with the literally explosive title “How To Blow Up A Pipeline”.   Just as it sounds, he advocates detonating pipelines to inhibit fossil fuel distribution.  Mr. Remnick was clearly sympathetic to his guest but he did ask him about the impact on the poor of driving energy prices up drastically which would be the obvious ramification if his sabotage recommendations were widely followed.  Mr. Malm’s reaction was a verbal shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that this was the price to pay to save the planet. Frankly, I am appalled that the venerable New Yorker would provide a platform for such a radical and unlawful suggestion.  In an era when people are de-platformed for often innocuous comments, it’s incredible to me this was posted and has not been pulled down.  In my mind, this reflects just how tolerant the media is of attacks on the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the deleterious impact on consumers and the global economy. Surely, there is a far better way of coping with the harmful aspects of fossil fuel-based energy than this scorched earth (literally, in the case of Mr. Malm) approach, which includes efforts to block new pipelines, shut existing ones, and severely restrict US energy production.  In America’s case, the result will be forcing us to unnecessarily and increasingly rely on overseas imports.  (For example, per the Wall Street Journal, drilling permits on federal land have crashed to 171 in August from 671 in April.  Further, the contentious $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” plan would raise royalties and fees high enough on US energy producers that it would render them globally uncompetitive.) Such actions would only aggravate what is already a severe energy shock, one that may be worse than the 1970s twin energy crises.  America has it easy compared to Europe, though, given current US policy trends, we might be in their same heavily listing energy boat soon. Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.  If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about.  This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s.  On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now - even before winter sets in.  When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

Futures Rise Ahead Of Deluge Of Big Tech Earnings

Futures Rise Ahead Of Deluge Of Big Tech Earnings One day after Goldman doubled down on its call for a market meltup into year-end, futures on the Nasdaq 100 edged higher, while contracts on the S&P 500 were modestly higher on Monday, approaching record highs again as investors braced for a flood of earnings (164 of 500 S&P companies report this week) while weighing rising inflation concerns, Covid-19 risks and China’s deteriorating outlook (Goldman slashed China's 2022 GDP to 5.2% from 5.6% overnight). The FOMC enters quiet period ahead of next week's FOMC meeting, which means no Fed speakers as attention shifts to economic data and corporate earnings. At 745 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.01%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.25 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 36.25 points, or 0.25%. Bitcoin bounced back over $63,000 after sliding below $60,000 over the weekend, the 10-year US Treasury yield rose and the dollar also rose after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell flagged that inflation could stay higher for longer, fueling investor concern that sticky price increases may force policy makers to raise borrowing costs. Global markets have remained resilient despite risks from price pressures stoked by supply-chain bottlenecks and higher energy costs. On Sunday, Janet Yellen was among those counseling the inflation situation reflects temporary pain that will ease in the second half of 2022 even as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey warned hyperinflation is coming. Investors are wary that tighter monetary policy to keep inflation in check will stir volatility “Inflation concerns will continue to dominate markets this year as the price of crude oil remains elevated,” while “the pandemic remains a central concern,” said Siobhan Redford, an analyst at FirstRand Bank Ltd. in Johannesburg. “This will add further complexity to the already difficult decisions facing policy makers around the world.” All of FAAMG - Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and Amazon.com - are set to report their results later this week. The companies shares, which collectively account for over 22% of the weighting in the S&P 500, were mixed in trading before the bell. Facebook shares fell in premarket trading, extending six weeks of declines, after Bloomberg reported that the social-media company is struggling to attract younger users and that employees are concerned over the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform. The company is scheduled to report quarterly results after the market closes. “After Snap got an Apple caught in its throat, markets will have an itchy trigger finger over the sell button if the social network says the same,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA. “Additionally, this week, it is a FAANG-sters paradise ... that decides whether the U.S. earnings season party continues, before the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) reasserts its dominance next week.” PayPal jumped 6.4% as the company said it wasn’t currently pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest, ending days of speculation over a potential $45 billion deal. Shares of Pinterest plunged 12.5%. Tesla gained 2.2% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley raised its price target for the stock by a third, citing “extraordinary” sales growth. The stock then surged to new all time highs after Bloomberg reported that Hertz placed an order for 100,000 Teslas in the first step of an ambitious plan to electrify its rental-car fleet. Oil firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil rose about 0.5% each, tracking Brent crude prices to three-year high. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks gain in premarket trading as Bitcoin climbs back above the $63,000 per token level after slipping from its record high last week. Crypto-linked stocks that are climbing in premarket include Bakkt +6.6%, Hive Blockchain +3.9%, Hut 8 Mining +2.8%, Riot Blockchain +2.2%, MicroStrategy +2.3%, Marathon Digital +2.8%, Coinbase +1.9%, Silvergate +1.8%, Bit Digital +1.2% and Mogo +0.8% Strong earnings reports helped lift the S&P 500 and the Dow to record highs last week, with the benchmark index rising 5.5% so far in October to recoup all of the losses suffered last month.  However, market participants are looking beyond the impressive earnings numbers with a focus on how companies mitigate supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and inflationary pressures to sustain growth. Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to grow 34.8% year-on-year for the third quarter, according to data from Refinitiv. On the economic data front, readings on U.S. third-quarter GDP - the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge, the core PCE price index and consumer confidence data will be released later this week. In Europe, mining companies and banks gained but the telecommunications and industrial goods and services sectors declined, leaving the Stoxx 600 index little changed. Banks rose on HSBC’s bright outlook. Spain’s Banco de Sabadell SA jumped more than 5% after rejecting an offer for its U.K. unit. Telecoms and industrials were the biggest losers. Volvo Car slashed its initial public offering by a fifth, making it the latest in a string of European companies to pull back from equity markets roiled by soaring energy costs and persistent supply chain delay. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Banca Monte dei Paschi slides as much as 9.5% after the Italian government and UniCredit ended talks over the sale of the lender. Exor shares gain as much as 5.6% in Milan trading to the highest level on record after a report that the Agnelli family’s holding co. revived talks with Covea for the sale of Exor’s reinsurance unit PartnerRe. Banco Sabadell jumps as much as 5.6% after it said it rejected an offer for its TSB Bank unit in the U.K. from Co-operative Bank. SSAB rises as much as 5.2% after the Swedish steelmaker posted 3Q earnings well above analysts expectations. Handelsbanken analyst Gustaf Schwerin said the figures were “very strong.” Weir Group rises as much as 3.7% after Exane BNP Paribas raised the stock to outperform. Analyst Bruno Gjani says the stock’s underperformance YTD provides a “compelling entry opportunity.” Darktrace drops as much as 26% after Peel Hunt initiated coverage of the cybersecurity firm with a sell rating and 473p price target that implies about 50% downside to Friday’s close. Nordic Semiconductor declines as much as 8.8% after ABG Sundal Collier downgraded to hold. German business morale deteriorated for the fourth month running in October as supply bottlenecks in manufacturing, a spike in energy prices and rising COVID-19 infections are slowing the pace of recovery in Europe’s largest economy from the pandemic. The Ifo institute said on Monday that its business climate index fell to 97.7 from an upwardly revised 98.9 in September. This was the lowest reading since April and undershot the 97.9 consensus forecast in a Reuters poll. “Supply problems are giving businesses headaches,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest said, adding that capacity utilisation in manufacturing was falling. “Sand in the wheels of the German economy is hampering recovery.” The weaker-than-expected business sentiment survey was followed by a grim outlook from Germany’s central bank, which said in its monthly report that economic growth was likely to slow sharply in the fourth quarter. The Bundesbank added that full-year growth was now likely to be “significantly” below its 3.7% prediction made in June. Earlier in Asia, stocks dipped in Japan and were mixed in China, where the central bank boosted a daily liquidity injection and officials expanded a property-tax trial. Signs that it would take at least five years before authorities impose any nationwide property tax bolstered some industrial metals.  Asia-Pac equities kicked off the week with a downside bias as the region adopted a similar lead from Friday’s Wall Street session, although sentiment marginally improved. The ASX 200 (+0.3%) was kept afloat by its energy sector as oil prices drifted higher, whilst index heavyweight Telstra was boosted after partnering with the Australian government to acquire Digicel Pacific in USD 1.6bln deal - for which Telstra contributed only USD 270mln. The Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) opened lower by around 1% with Softbank and Fast Retailing the biggest losers, although the index initially trimmed losses as the JPY remained on the backfoot. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) were mixed at the open, with the latter supported by a net PBoC injection of CNY 190bln, while the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. On the flip side, China Evergrande and Evergrande New Energy Vehicle opened higher after the chairman said the group is to complete its transition to the NEV industry from real estate within 10 years. Finally, 10yr JGBs trade subdued and in contrast to its US and German counterparts. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier inching lower to touch the weakest level since Sept. 27; the greenback was mixed against its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies performing best, led by the Australian dollar and Norwegian krone. The euro hovered around $1.1650 even as German business confidence took another hit in October as global supply logjams damp momentum in the manufacturing-heavy economy. Ifo business confidence fell to 97.7 in October, from 98.9 in the prior month. The pound inched up, rising alongside other risk- sensitive Group-of-10 currencies, having trailed all its peers on Friday after Brexit risks reared their head late in the London session. A quiet week for U.K. data turns focus to the upcoming government budget. The Australian dollar rose against all its Group-of-10 peers, tracking commodity gains, with market sentiment also boosted by the People’s Bank of China’s move to inject additional cash into the banking system. The yen declined after rising for three consecutive days; Economists expect the BoJ to keep its policy rate unchanged Thursday. Turkey’s lira fell to a record low as the country’s latest diplomatic spat gave traders another reason to sell the struggling currency. Day traders in Japan have started trimming their bullish wagers on the Turkish lira, with forced liquidation a growing threat as the currency tumbles. In rates, Treasuries were under pressure again, with the yield curve steeper as US trading begins Monday. They’re retracing a portion of Friday’s swift flattening, which occurred after Fed Chair Powell said rising inflation rates would draw a response from the central bank. 5s30s curve is back to ~89bp vs Friday’s low 85bp, within half a basis point of the lowest level in more than a year. Long-end yields are higher by as much as 3bp, 10-year by 2.7bp at 1.66%, widening vs most developed-market yields; yields across the curve remain inside Friday’s ranges, which included higher 2- and 5-year yields since 1Q 2020. Curve-steepening advanced after an apparent wager via futures blocks. In commodities, Brent oil rallied above $86 a barrel after Saudi Arabia urged caution in boosting supply. Gold rose for a fifth day, the longest run of gains since July, as risks around higher-for-longer inflation bolstered the metal’s appeal. Facebook will report its third quarter results after the market today, followed by Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon later in the week.  On the economic data front, readings on U.S. third-quarter GDP - the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge, the core PCE price index and consumer confidence data will be released later this week. Top Overnight News from Bloomberg S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,542.25 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 472.03 MXAP little changed at 200.13 MXAPJ up 0.1% to 661.46 Nikkei down 0.7% to 28,600.41 Topix down 0.3% to 1,995.42 Hang Seng Index little changed at 26,132.03 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,609.86 Sensex up 0.4% to 61,038.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,441.00 Kospi up 0.5% to 3,020.54 Brent Futures up 0.7% to $86.14/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,800.45 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.10% to 93.55 Euro up 0.1% to $1.1655 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen defended Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s record on regulating the financial system, which has been a target of criticism from progressive Democrats arguing he shouldn’t get a new term. Yellen said she expects price increases to remain high through the first half of 2022, but rejected criticism that the U.S. risks losing control of inflation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the door to Democrats using a special budget tool to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without the support of Senate Republicans, whose votes would otherwise be needed to end a filibuster on the increase. President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats are racing to reach agreement on a scaled-back version of his economic agenda, with a self-imposed deadline and his departure later this week for summits in Europe intensifying pressure on negotiations. Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann’s surprise announcement last week that he will leave on Dec. 31 has hit Berlin at a sensitive time, with Chancellor Angela Merkel currently running only a caretaker administration in the aftermath of an election whose outcome is likely to remove her CDU party from power. Some holders of an Evergrande bond on which the embattled developer had missed a coupon deadline last month received the interest before the end of a grace period Saturday, according to people familiar with the matter. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities kicked off the week with a downside bias as the region adopted a similar lead from Friday’s Wall Street session, although sentiment marginally improved with the region now mixed heading into the European open. US equity futures overnight opened trade with a mild negative tilt before drifting higher, with a broad-based performance experienced across the Stateside contracts, whilst European equity contracts are marginally firmer. Back to APAC, the ASX 200 (+0.3%) was kept afloat by its energy sector as oil prices drifted higher, whilst index heavyweight Telstra was boosted after partnering with the Australian government to acquire Digicel Pacific in USD 1.6bln deal - for which Telstra contributed only USD 270mln. The Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) opened lower by around 1% with Softbank and Fast Retailing the biggest losers, although the index initially trimmed losses as the JPY remained on the backfoot. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) were mixed at the open, with the latter supported by a net PBoC injection of CNY 190bln, whilst the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. On the flip side, China Evergrande and Evergrande New Energy Vehicle opened higher after the chairman said the group is to complete its transition to the NEV industry from real estate within 10 years. Finally, 10yr JGBs trade subdued and in contrast to its US and German counterparts. Top Asian News Xi Takes Veiled Swipe at U.S. as China Marks 50 Years at UN Hong Kong Convicts Second Person Under National Security Law Gold Extends Gain as Inflation Risks and Virus Concerns Persist Amnesty to Quit Hong Kong Citing Fears Under Security Law A tentative start to the week for European equities (Stoxx 600 U/C) as stocks struggle to find direction. On the macro front, the latest IFO report from Germany was mixed, with commentary from IFO downbeat, noting that Germany's economy faces an uncomfortable autumn as supply chain problems were causing trouble for companies, and production capacities were falling. The overnight session was a mixed bag with the Shanghai Composite (+0.8%) supported by a liquidity injection from the PBoC whilst the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. Stateside, US futures are marginally firmer with newsflow in the US in part, focused on events on Capitol Hill with CNN reporting that the goal among Democratic leaders is to have a vote Wednesday or Thursday on the infrastructure package. Note, the Fed is currently observing its blackout period ahead of the November meeting. From an earnings perspective, large-cap tech earnings dominate the slate for the week with the likes of Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) all due to report. Back to Europe, sectors are somewhat mixed as Basic Resources is the marked outperformer amid upside in underlying commodity prices. It’s been a busy morning for the Banking sector as HSBC (+1%) reported a 74% increase in Q3 earnings, whilst Credit Suisse (+0.7%) is reportedly mulling the sale of its asset management unit. Less encouragingly for the sector, UniCredit (-0.5%) and BMPS (-3.2%) shares are lower after negations on a rescue plan for BMPS have ended without an agreement. Finally, Airbus (-1.2%) and Safran (-2.3%) sit at the foot of the CAC after reports suggesting that the CEO's of Avolon and AerCap have, in recent weeks, written to the Airbus CEO expressing their concerns that the market will not support Airbus' aggressive plans to increase the pace of production; subsequently, Airbus has rejected their proposal, according to sources. Top European News The Man Behind Erdogan’s Worst Spat With the West: QuickTake Weidmann Succession Suspense May Last for Weeks on Berlin Talks Cat Rock Capital Urges Just Eat Takeaway to Sell GrubHub European Gas Jumps Most in a Week as Russian Supplies Slump In FX, the Dollar is somewhat mixed vs major counterparts and the index is jobbing around 93.500 as a result in rather aimless fashion at the start of a typically quiet start to the new week awaiting fresh impetus or clearer direction that is highly unlikely to come from September’s national activity index or October’s Dallas Fed business survey. Instead, the Greenback appears to be reliant on overall risk sentiment, US Treasury yields on an outright and relative basis along with moves elsewhere and technical impulses as the DXY roams within a 93.775-483 range. TRY - Lira losses continue to stack up, and the latest swoon to circa 9.8545 against the Buck came on the back of Turkish President Erdogan’s decision to declare 10 ambassadors persona non grata status due to their countries’ support for a jailed activist, including diplomats from the US, France and Germany. However, Usd/Try has actually pared some gains irrespective of a deterioration in manufacturing confidence and this may be partly psychological given that 10.0000 is looming with little in the way of chart resistance ahead of the big round number. AUD/NZD - Iron ore prices are helping the Aussie overcome rather mixed news on the COVID-19 front, as the state of Victoria is on course to open up further from Friday, but new cases in NSW rose by almost 300 for the second consecutive day on Sunday. Nevertheless, Aud/Usd has had another look at offers around 0.7500 and Aud/Nzd is approaching 1.0500 even though Westpac sees near term downside prospects for the cross while maintaining its 1.0600 year end projection, as Nzd/Usd continues to encounter resistance and supply into 0.7200. GBP/CAD - Sterling has regrouped after losing some of its hawkish BoE momentum and perhaps the Pound is benefiting from the latest rebound in Brent prices towards Usd 86.50/br on top of reports that the first round of talks between the UK and EU on NI Protocol were constructive, while the Loonie is up alongside WTI that has been adobe Usd 84.50 and awaiting the BoC on Wednesday. Cable is around 1.3750 after fading into 1.3800, Eur/Gbp is hovering above 0.8450 and Usd/Cad is pivoting 1.2350. EUR/JPY/CHF - The Euro has bounced from the lower half of 1.1600-1.1700 parameters and looks enshrined by a key Fib just beyond the current high (1.1670 represents a 38.2% retracement of the reversal from September peak to October trough) and decent option expiry interest under the low (1 bn between 1.1615-00), with little fundamental direction coming from a very inconclusive German Ifo survey - see 9.00BST post on the Headline Feed for the main metrics and accompanying comments from the institute. Elsewhere, the Yen is hedging bets prior to the BoJ within a 113.83-42 band against the Dollar and the Franc seems to have taken heed of another rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks as Usd/Chf climbs from circa 0.9150 towards 0.9200 and Eur/Chf trades nearer the top of a 1.0692-65 corridor. SCANDI/EM/PM - Firm oil prices are also underpinning the Nok, Rub and Mxn to various extents, while the Zar looks content with Gold’s advance on Usd 1800/oz and the Cnh/Cny have derived traction via a firmer onshore PBoC midpoint fix, a net Yuan 190 bn 7 day liquidity injection and the fact that China’s Evergrande has restarted work on more than 10 projects having made more interest payments on bonds in time to meet 30 day grace period deadlines. In commodities, a modestly firmer start to the week for the crude complex though action has been contained and rangebound throughout the European session after a modest grinding bid was seen in APAC hours. Currently, the benchmarks post upside of circa USD 0.30/bbl amid relatively minimal newsflow. The most pertinent update to watch stems from China, where the National Health Commission spokesperson said China's current COVID outbreak covers 11 provinces and expects the number of new cases to keep rising; additionally, the number of affected provinces could increase. Separately, but on COVID, they are some reports that the UK Government is paving the wat for ‘plan B’ measures in England, while this are primarily ‘softer’ restrictions a return of work-from-home guidance could hamper the demand-side of the equation. Note, further reports indicate this is not on the cards for this week and there are some indications that we could see, if necessary, such an announcement after the COP26 summit in Scotland ends on November 12th. Elsewhere, and commentary to keep an eye on for alterations given the above factors, Goldman Sachs writes that the persistence of the global oil demand recovery being on course to hit pre-COVID levels would present an upside risk to its end-2021 USD 90/bbl Brent price target. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are firmer but reside within tight ranges of just over USD 10/oz in gold, for instance. In a similar vein to crude, newsflow explicitly for metals has been minimal but it is of course attentive to the COVID-19 situation while coal futures were hampered overnight as China’s State Planner announced it is to increase credit supervision in the area. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.20, prior 0.29 10:30am: Oct. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 6.2, prior 4.6 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Well I saw Frozen twice this weekend. Once in the flesh up in London in the musical version and once on TV on Sunday at the heart of Manchester United’s defence which was breached 5 (five) times by Liverpool without reply. Regular readers can guess which I enjoyed the most. Anyway I’ll let it go for now and prepare myself for a bumper week ahead for markets. This week we have decisions from the ECB and the Bank of Japan (both Thursday) even if the Fed will be on mute as they hit their blackout period ahead of the likely taper decision next week. Inflation will obviously remain in the spotlight too as we get the October flash estimate for the Euro Area (Friday) with some regional numbers like German (Thursday) before. In addition, the Q3 earnings season will ramp up further, with 165 companies in the S&P 500 reporting, including Facebook (today), Microsoft, and Alphabet (both tomorrow), and Apple and Amazon (Thursday). Elsewhere, the UK government will be announcing their latest budget and spending review (Wednesday), Covid will remain in the headlines in light of the growing number of cases in many countries, and we’ll get the first look at Q3 GDP growth in the US (Thursday) and the Euro Area (Friday). Starting with those central bank meetings, we’re about to enter a couple of important weeks with the ECB and BoJ meeting this week, before the Fed and the BoE follow the week after. Market anticipation is much higher for the latter two though. So by comparison, the ECB and the BoJ are likely to be somewhat quieter, and our European economists write in their preview (link here) that this Governing Council meeting is likely to be a staging ground ahead of wide-ranging policy decisions in December, and will therefore be about tone and expectations management. One thing to keep an eye on in particular will be what is said about the recent surge in natural gas prices, as well as if ECB President Lagarde challenges the market pricing on liftoff as inconsistent with their inflation forecasts and new rates guidance. 5yr5yr Euro inflation swaps hit 2% for the first time on Friday so if the market is to be believed the ECB has achieved long-term success in hitting its mandate. With regards to the meeting, we think there’ll be more action in December where our economists’ baseline is that there’ll be confirmation that PEPP purchases will end in March 2022. See the BoJ preview here. Inflation will remain heavily in focus for markets over the week ahead, with recent days having seen investor expectations of future inflation rise to fresh multi-year highs. See the week in review at the end for more details. This week one of the main highlights will be the flash Euro Area CPI reading for October, which is out on Friday. Last month, CPI rose to 3.4%, which is the highest inflation has been since 2008, and this time around our economists are expecting a further increase in the measure to 3.8%. However, their latest forecast update (link here) expects that we’ll see the peak of 3.9% in November, before inflation starts to head back down again. The other main data highlight will come from the Q3 GDP figures, with releases for both the US and the Euro Area. For the US on Thursday the Atlanta Fed tracker has now hit a low of only +0.53%. DB is at 2.3% with consensus at 2.8%. Earnings season really ramps up this week, with the highlights including some of the megacap tech firms, and a total of 165 companies in the S&P 500 will be reporting. Among the firms to watch out for include Facebook and HSBC today. Then tomorrow, we’ll hear from Microsoft, Alphabet, Visa, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Texas Instruments, UPS, General Electric, UBS and Twitter. On Wednesday, releases will include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Boeing, General Motors, Santander and Ford. Thursday then sees reports from Apple, Amazon, Mastercard, Comcast, Merck, Royal Dutch Shell, Linde, Volkswagen, Starbucks, Sanofi, Caterpillar, Lloyds Banking Group and Samsung. Finally on Friday, we’ll hear from ExxonMobil, Chevron, AbbVie, Charter Communications, Daimler, BNP Paribas, Aon and NatWest Group. Here in the UK, the main highlight next week will be the government’s Autumn Budget on Wednesday, with the Office for Budget Responsibility also set to release their latest Economic and Fiscal Outlook alongside that. In addition to the budget, the government will also be outlining the latest Spending Review, which will cover public spending priorities over the next 3 years. Our UK economists have released a preview of the event (link here), where they write that 2021-22 borrowing is expected to be revised down by £60bn, and they expect day-to-day spending will follow the path set out at the Spring Budget. They’re also expecting Chancellor Sunak will outline new fiscal rules. Finally, the pandemic is gaining increasing attention from investors again, with a number of countries having moved to toughen up restrictions in light of rising cases. This week, something to look out for will be the US FDA’s advisory committee meeting tomorrow, where they’ll be discussing Pfizer’s request for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine on 5-11 year olds. The CDC’s advisory committee is then holding a meeting on November 2 and 3 the following week, and the White House have said that if it’s authorised then the vaccine would be made available at over 25,000 paediatricians’ offices and other primary care sites, as well as in pharmacies, and school and community-based clinics. The full day by day calendar is at the end as usual. Asian markets are mixed this morning so far, as the Shanghai Composite (+0.38%), Hang Seng (+0.09%) and the KOSPI (+0.30%) are edging higher, while the Nikkei (-0.85%) is down. The rise in Chinese markets comes despite the news of 38 new COVID-19 cases as well as an announcement of a lockdown affecting around 35,700 residents of a county in Inner Mongolia. As China is one of the last countries in the world to still adhere to strict containment measures, a major outbreak can deal a fresh blow to the domestic economy and further reinforce global supply chain issues. Elsewhere the Turkish Lira hit fresh record lows, and is down around -1.5% as we type after last week’s surprise interest rate cut and Saturday’s news that ambassadors from 10 countries, including the US, Germany and France, were no longer welcome in the country. S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are around unchanged and 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.1bp. Looking back on an eventful week now, and there was a marked increase in inflation expectations, which manifested itself in global breakevens hitting multi-year, if not all-time, highs. Starting with the all-time highs, US 5-year breakevens increased +14.9bps (-1.0bps Friday) to 2.90%, the highest level since 5-year TIPS have started trading, while 10-year breakevens increased +7.5bps (-0.7bps Friday) to 2.64%, their highest readings since 2005. 10-year breakevens in Germany increased +9.5 bps (+3.6bps Friday) to 1.91%, their highest since 2011, while in the UK 10-year breakevens increased +17.1 bps (+4.0bps Friday) to 4.19%, the highest level since 1996. Remarkable as these levels are, 5-year 5-year inflation swaps in the US, UK, and Euro Area finished the week at 2.63%, 4.00%, and 2.00%, multi-year highs for all of these measures. If you never thought you’d see the day that long term inflation expectations in Europe would hit 2% then this is a nice/nasty surprise. Overall, this suggests investors are pricing in the potential for inflation far into the future to be higher, in addition to responding to near-term stimulus and Covid reopening impacts. Crude oil prices also climbed to their highest levels since 2014, with Brent climbing +1.07% (+1.37% Friday) and WTI gaining +2.07% (+1.79% Friday). One area where there was some reprieve was in industrial metals. Copper decreased -4.81% (-1.24% Friday), but at $449.80, remains +10.10% higher month-to-date. Bitcoin also joined the all-time high club intraweek, and finished the week +2.28% higher (-3.08% Friday). It marked a seminal week for the crypto asset, which saw ETFs and options on said ETFs begin trading in the US. The inflationary sentiment coincided with market pricing of central bank rate hikes shifting earlier. 2-year yields in the US, UK, and Germany increased +5.9 bps (+0.1bps Friday), +8.0 bps (-4.7 bps Friday), and +4.0 bps (+0.9bps Friday) respectively. In fact, money markets are now placing slightly-better-than even odds that the MPC will raise Bank Rate as early as next week. Fed and ECB officials offered some push back against the aggressive policy path repricing, but BoE speakers seemed to confirm a hike next week was a legitimate possibility. Rounding out sovereign bonds, nominal 10-year yields increased +6.2 bps (-6.9bps Friday) in the US, +4.0 bps (-5.6bps Friday) in the UK, +6.2 bps (-0.3 bps Friday) in Germany, +6.0 bps (-0.1bpFriday) in France, and +8.1 bps (+0.8bps Friday) in Italy. Inflation expectations didn’t fall with the big rally in the US and U.K. but real rates rallied hard. The S&P 500 increased +1.64% over the week, but ended its 7-day winning streak after retreating on -0.11% Friday. On earnings, 117 S&P 500 companies have now reported third quarter earnings. Roughly 85% of companies have beat earnings expectations compared to the five-year average of 76%, while 74% of reporting companies have beat sales estimates. The aggregate earnings surprise is +13.05%, topping the 5-year average of +8.4%, while the sales surprise is +2.06%. Although a seemingly strong performance on the surface, our equity team, after taking a look under the hood in this note here, points out that a large part of the beats so far is due to loan-loss reserve releases by banks. Excluding those, the aggregate S&P 500 beat is running much closer to historical average, suggesting the headline beats have not been as broad based as they look at first glance. Congressional Democrats spent the week negotiating the next fiscal package, which is set to spend more than $1 trillion on social priorities key to the Biden administration. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that 90% of the bill is agreed to and would be voted on before October was out. One of the key sticking points has been what offsetting revenue raising measures should be included in the final bill. As those details emerge, it should give us a better picture as to the ultimate additional fiscal impulse the new bill will provide. Finally, global services PMIs out last Friday expanded while manufacturing PMIs lagged. Readings across jurisdictions were consistent with supply chain issues continuing to impact activity. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/25/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 25th, 2021

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning Authored by Avik Roy via NationalAffairs.com, Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have few fans in Washington. At a July congressional hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren warned that cryptocurrency "puts the [financial] system at the whims of some shadowy, faceless group of super-coders." Treasury secretary Janet Yellen likewise asserted that the "reality" of cryptocurrencies is that they "have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they've been a tool to finance terrorism." Thus far, Bitcoin's supporters remain undeterred. (The term "Bitcoin" with a capital "B" is used here and throughout to refer to the system of cryptography and technology that produces the currency "bitcoin" with a lowercase "b" and verifies bitcoin transactions.) A survey of 3,000 adults in the fall of 2020 found that while only 4% of adults over age 55 own cryptocurrencies, slightly more than one-third of those aged 35-44 do, as do two-fifths of those aged 25-34. As of mid-2021, Coinbase — the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States — had 68 million verified users. To younger Americans, digital money is as intuitive as digital media and digital friendships. But Millennials with smartphones are not the only people interested in bitcoin; a growing number of investors are also flocking to the currency's banner. Surveys indicate that as many as 21% of U.S. hedge funds now own bitcoin in some form. In 2020, after considering various asset classes like stocks, bonds, gold, and foreign currencies, celebrated hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones asked, "[w]hat will be the winner in ten years' time?" His answer: "My bet is it will be bitcoin." What's driving this increased interest in a form of currency invented in 2008? The answer comes from former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who once noted, "the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press...that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation...the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to...inflation." In other words, governments with fiat currencies — including the United States — have the power to expand the quantity of those currencies. If they choose to do so, they risk inflating the prices of necessities like food, gas, and housing. In recent months, consumers have experienced higher price inflation than they have seen in decades. A major reason for the increases is that central bankers around the world — including those at the Federal Reserve — sought to compensate for Covid-19 lockdowns with dramatic monetary inflation. As a result, nearly $4 trillion in newly printed dollars, euros, and yen found their way from central banks into the coffers of global financial institutions. Jerome Powell, the current Federal Reserve chairman, insists that 2021's inflation trends are "transitory." He may be right in the near term. But for the foreseeable future, inflation will be a profound and inescapable challenge for America due to a single factor: the rapidly expanding federal debt, increasingly financed by the Fed's printing press. In time, policymakers will face a Solomonic choice: either protect Americans from inflation, or protect the government's ability to engage in deficit spending. It will become impossible to do both. Over time, this compounding problem will escalate the importance of Bitcoin. THE FIAT-CURRENCY EXPERIMENT It's becoming clear that Bitcoin is not merely a passing fad, but a significant innovation with potentially serious implications for the future of investment and global finance. To understand those implications, we must first examine the recent history of the primary instrument that bitcoin was invented to challenge: the American dollar. Toward the end of World War II, in an agreement hashed out by 44 Allied countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the value of the U.S. dollar was formally fixed to 1/35th of the price of an ounce of gold. Other countries' currencies, such as the British pound and the French franc, were in turn pegged to the dollar, making the dollar the world's official reserve currency. Under the Bretton Woods system, foreign governments could retrieve gold bullion they had sent to the United States during the war by exchanging dollars for gold at the relevant fixed exchange rate. But enabling every major country to exchange dollars for American-held gold only worked so long as the U.S. government was fiscally and monetarily responsible. By the late 1960s, it was neither. Someone needed to pay the steep bills for Lyndon Johnson's "guns and butter" policies — the Vietnam War and the Great Society, respectively — so the Federal Reserve began printing currency to meet those obligations. Johnson's successor, Richard Nixon, also pressured the Fed to flood the economy with money as a form of economic stimulus. From 1961 to 1971, the Fed nearly doubled the circulating supply of dollars. "In the first six months of 1971," noted the late Nobel laureate Robert Mundell, "monetary expansion was more rapid than in any comparable period in a quarter century." That year, foreign central banks and governments held $64 billion worth of claims on the $10 billion of gold still held by the United States. It wasn't long before the world took notice of the shortage. In a classic bank-run scenario, anxious European governments began racing to redeem dollars for American-held gold before the Fed ran out. In July 1971, Switzerland withdrew $50 million in bullion from U.S. vaults. In August, France sent a destroyer to escort $191 million of its gold back from the New York Federal Reserve. Britain put in a request for $3 billion shortly thereafter. Finally, that same month, Nixon secretly gathered a small group of trusted advisors at Camp David to devise a plan to avoid the imminent wipeout of U.S. gold vaults and the subsequent collapse of the international economy. There, they settled on a radical course of action. On the evening of August 15th, in a televised address to the nation, Nixon announced his intention to order a 90-day freeze on all prices and wages throughout the country, a 10% tariff on all imported goods, and a suspension — eventually, a permanent one — of the right of foreign governments to exchange their dollars for U.S. gold. Knowing that his unilateral abrogation of agreements involving dozens of countries would come as a shock to world leaders and the American people, Nixon labored to re-assure viewers that the change would not unsettle global markets. He promised viewers that "the effect of this action...will be to stabilize the dollar," and that the "dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today." The next day, the stock market rose — to everyone's relief. The editors of the New York Times "unhesitatingly applaud[ed] the boldness" of Nixon's move. Economic growth remained strong for months after the shift, and the following year Nixon was re-elected in a landslide, winning 49 states in the Electoral College and 61% of the popular vote. Nixon's short-term success was a mirage, however. After the election, the president lifted the wage and price controls, and inflation returned with a vengeance. By December 1980, the dollar had lost more than half the purchasing power it had back in June 1971 on a consumer-price basis. In relation to gold, the price of the dollar collapsed — from 1/35th to 1/627th of a troy ounce. Though Jimmy Carter is often blamed for the Great Inflation of the late 1970s, "the truth," as former National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow has argued, "is that the president who unleashed double-digit inflation was Richard Nixon." In 1981, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker raised the federal-funds rate — a key interest-rate benchmark — to 19%. A deep recession ensued, but inflation ceased, and the U.S. embarked on a multi-decade period of robust growth, low unemployment, and low consumer-price inflation. As a result, few are nostalgic for the days of Bretton Woods or the gold-standard era. The view of today's economic establishment is that the present system works well, that gold standards are inherently unstable, and that advocates of gold's return are eccentric cranks. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that the post-Bretton Woods era — in which the supply of government currencies can be expanded or contracted by fiat — is only 50 years old. To those of us born after 1971, it might appear as if there is nothing abnormal about the way money works today. When viewed through the lens of human history, however, free-floating global exchange rates remain an unprecedented economic experiment — with one critical flaw. An intrinsic attribute of the post-Bretton Woods system is that it enables deficit spending. Under a gold standard or peg, countries are unable to run large budget deficits without draining their gold reserves. Nixon's 1971 crisis is far from the only example; deficit spending during and after World War I, for instance, caused economic dislocation in numerous European countries — especially Germany — because governments needed to use their shrinking gold reserves to finance their war debts. These days, by contrast, it is relatively easy for the United States to run chronic deficits. Today's federal debt of almost $29 trillion — up from $10 trillion in 2008 and $2.4 trillion in 1984 — is financed in part by U.S. Treasury bills, notes, and bonds, on which lenders to the United States collect a form of interest. Yields on Treasury bonds are denominated in dollars, but since dollars are no longer redeemable for gold, these bonds are backed solely by the "full faith and credit of the United States." Interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds have remained low, which many people take to mean that the creditworthiness of the United States remains healthy. Just as creditworthy consumers enjoy lower interest rates on their mortgages and credit cards, creditworthy countries typically enjoy lower rates on the bonds they issue. Consequently, the post-Great Recession era of low inflation and near-zero interest rates led many on the left to argue that the old rules no longer apply, and that concerns regarding deficits are obsolete. Supporters of this view point to the massive stimulus packages passed under presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden  that, in total, increased the federal deficit and debt by $4.6 trillion without affecting the government's ability to borrow. The extreme version of the new "deficits don't matter" narrative comes from the advocates of what has come to be called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), who claim that because the United States controls its own currency, the federal government has infinite power to increase deficits and the debt without consequence. Though most mainstream economists dismiss MMT as unworkable and even dangerous, policymakers appear to be legislating with MMT's assumptions in mind. A new generation of Democratic economic advisors has pushed President Biden to propose an additional $3.5 trillion in spending, on top of the $4.6 trillion spent on Covid-19 relief and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. These Democrats, along with a new breed of populist Republicans, dismiss the concerns of older economists who fear that exploding deficits risk a return to the economy of the 1970s, complete with high inflation, high interest rates, and high unemployment. But there are several reasons to believe that America's fiscal profligacy cannot go on forever. The most important reason is the unanimous judgment of history: In every country and in every era, runaway deficits and skyrocketing debt have ended in economic stagnation or ruin. Another reason has to do with the unusual confluence of events that has enabled the United States to finance its rising debts at such low interest rates over the past few decades — a confluence that Bitcoin may play a role in ending. DECLINING FAITH IN U.S. CREDIT To members of the financial community, U.S. Treasury bonds are considered "risk-free" assets. That is to say, while many investments entail risk — a company can go bankrupt, for example, thereby wiping out the value of its stock — Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Since people believe the United States will not default on its obligations, lending money to the U.S. government — buying Treasury bonds that effectively pay the holder an interest rate — is considered a risk-free investment. The definition of Treasury bonds as "risk-free" is not merely by reputation, but also by regulation. Since 1988, the Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has sponsored a series of accords among central bankers from financially significant countries. These accords were designed to create global standards for the capital held by banks such that they carry a sufficient proportion of low-risk and risk-free assets. The well-intentioned goal of these standards was to ensure that banks don't fail when markets go down, as they did in 2008. The current version of the Basel Accords, known as "Basel III," assigns zero risk to U.S. Treasury bonds. Under Basel III's formula, then, every major bank in the world is effectively rewarded for holding these bonds instead of other assets. This artificially inflates demand for the bonds and enables the United States to borrow at lower rates than other countries. The United States also benefits from the heft of its economy as well as the size of its debt. Since America is the world's most indebted country in absolute terms, the market for U.S. Treasury bonds is the largest and most liquid such market in the world. Liquid markets matter a great deal to major investors: A large financial institution or government with hundreds of billions (or more) of a given currency on its balance sheet cares about being able to buy and sell assets while minimizing the impact of such actions on the trading price. There are no alternative low-risk assets one can trade at the scale of Treasury bonds. The status of such bonds as risk-free assets — and in turn, America's ability to borrow the money necessary to fund its ballooning expenditures — depends on investors' confidence in America's creditworthiness. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve's interference in the markets for Treasury bonds have obscured our ability to determine whether financial institutions view the U.S. fiscal situation with confidence. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton's advisors prioritized reducing the deficit, largely out of a conern that Treasury-bond "vigilantes" — investors who protest a government's expansionary fiscal or monetary policy by aggressively selling bonds, which drives up interest rates — would harm the economy. Their success in eliminating the primary deficit brought yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond down from 8% to 4%. In Clinton's heyday, the Federal Reserve was limited in its ability to influence the 10-year Treasury interest rate. Its monetary interventions primarily targeted the federal-funds rate — the interest rate that banks charge each other on overnight transactions. But in 2002, Ben Bernanke advocated that the Fed "begin announcing explicit ceilings for yields on longer-maturity Treasury debt." This amounted to a schedule of interest-rate price controls. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has succeeded in wiping out bond vigilantes using a policy called "quantitative easing," whereby the Fed manipulates the price of Treasury bonds by buying and selling them on the open market. As a result, Treasury-bond yields are determined not by the free market, but by the Fed. The combined effect of these forces — the regulatory impetus for banks to own Treasury bonds, the liquidity advantage Treasury bonds have in the eyes of large financial institutions, and the Federal Reserve's manipulation of Treasury-bond market prices — means that interest rates on Treasury bonds no longer indicate the United States' creditworthiness (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, indications that investors are growing increasingly concerned about the U.S. fiscal and monetary picture — and are in turn assigning more risk to "risk-free" Treasury bonds — are on the rise. One such indicator is the decline in the share of Treasury bonds owned by outside investors. Between 2010 and 2020, the share of U.S. Treasury securities owned by foreign entities fell from 47% to 32%, while the share owned by the Fed more than doubled, from 9% to 22%. Put simply, foreign investors have been reducing their purchases of U.S. government debt, thereby forcing the Fed to increase its own bond purchases to make up the difference and prop up prices. Until and unless Congress reduces the trajectory of the federal debt, U.S. monetary policy has entered a vicious cycle from which there is no obvious escape. The rising debt requires the Treasury Department to issue an ever-greater quantity of Treasury bonds, but market demand for these bonds cannot keep up with their increasing supply. In an effort to avoid a spike in interest rates, the Fed will need to print new U.S. dollars to soak up the excess supply of Treasury bonds. The resultant monetary inflation will cause increases in consumer prices. Those who praise the Fed's dramatic expansion of the money supply argue that it has not affected consumer-price inflation. And at first glance, they appear to have a point. In January of 2008, the M2 money stock was roughly $7.5 trillion; by January 2020, M2 had more than doubled, to $15.4 trillion. As of July 2021, the total M2 sits at $20.5 trillion — nearly triple what it was just 13 years ago. Over that same period, U.S. GDP increased by only 50%. And yet, since 2000, the average rate of growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers — a widely used inflation benchmark — has remained low, at about 2.25%. How can this be? The answer lies in the relationship between monetary inflation and price inflation, which has diverged over time. In 2008, the Federal Reserve began paying interest to banks that park their money with the Fed, reducing banks' incentive to lend that money out to the broader economy in ways that would drive price inflation. But the main reason for the divergence is that conventional measures like CPI do not accurately capture the way monetary inflation is affecting domestic prices. In a large, diverse country like the United States, different people and different industries experience price inflation in different ways. The fact that price inflation occurs earlier in certain sectors of the economy than in others was first described by the 18th-century Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. In his 1730 "Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General," Cantillon noted that when governments increase the supply of money, those who receive the money first gain the most benefit from it — at the expense of those to whom it flows last. In the 20th century, Friedrich Hayek built on Cantillon's thinking, observing that "the real harm [of monetary inflation] is due to the differential effect on different prices, which change successively in a very irregular order and to a very different degree, so that as a result the whole structure of relative prices becomes distorted and misguides production into wrong directions." In today's context, the direct beneficiaries of newly printed money are those who need it the least. New dollars are sent to banks, which in turn lend them to the most creditworthy entities: investment funds, corporations, and wealthy individuals. As a result, the most profound price impact of U.S. monetary inflation has been on the kinds of assets that financial institutions and wealthy people purchase — stocks, bonds, real estate, venture capital, and the like. This is why the price-to-earnings ratio of S&P 500 companies is at record highs, why risky start-ups with long-shot ideas are attracting $100 million venture rounds, and why the median home sales price has jumped 24% in a single year — the biggest one-year increase of the 21st century. Meanwhile, low- and middle-income earners are facing rising prices without attendant increases in their wages. If asset inflation persists while the costs of housing and health care continue to grow beyond the reach of ordinary people, the legitimacy of our market economy will be put on trial. THE RETURN OF SOUND MONEY Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, was acutely concerned with the increasing abundance of U.S. dollars and other fiat currencies in the early 2000s. In 2009 he wrote, "the root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust." Bitcoin was created in anticipation of the looming fiscal and monetary crisis in the United States and around the world. To understand how bitcoin functions alongside fiat currency, it's helpful to examine the monetary philosophy of the Austrian School of economics, whose leading figures — especially Hayek and Ludwig von Mises — greatly influenced Nakamoto and the early developers of Bitcoin. The economists of the Austrian School were staunch advocates of what Mises called "the principle of sound money" — that is, of keeping the supply of money as constant and predictable as possible. In The Theory of Money and Credit, first published in 1912, Mises argued that sound money serves as "an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments" that belongs "in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights." Just as bills of rights were a "reaction against arbitrary rule and the nonobservance of old customs by kings," he wrote, "the postulate of sound money was first brought up as a response to the princely practice of debasing the coinage." Mises believed that inflation was just as much a violation of someone's property rights as arbitrarily taking away his land. After all, in both cases, the government acquires economic value at the expense of the citizen. Since monetary inflation creates a sugar high of short-term stimulus, politicians interested in re-election will always have an incentive to expand the money supply. But doing so comes at the expense of long-term declines in consumer purchasing power. For Mises, the best way to address such a threat is to avoid fiat currencies altogether. And in his estimation, the best sound-money alternative to fiat currency is gold. "The excellence of the gold standard," Mises wrote, is "that it renders the determination of the monetary unit's purchasing power independent of the policies of governments and political parties." In other words, gold's primary virtue is that its supply increases slowly and steadily, and cannot be manipulated by politicians. It may appear as if gold was an arbitrary choice as the basis for currency, but gold has a combination of qualities that make it ideal for storing and exchanging value. First, it is verifiably unforgeable. Gold is very dense, which means that counterfeit gold is easy to identify — one simply has to weigh it. Second, gold is divisible. Unlike, say, cattle, gold can be delivered in fractional units both small and large, enabling precise pricing. Third, gold is durable. Unlike commodities that rot or evaporate over time, gold can be stored for centuries without degradation. Fourth, gold is fungible: An ounce of gold in Asia is worth the same as an ounce of gold in Europe. These four qualities are shared by most modern currencies. Gold's fifth quality is more distinct, however, as well as more relevant to its role as an instrument of sound money: scarcity. While people have used beads, seashells, and other commodities as primitive forms of money, those items are fairly easy to acquire and introduce into circulation. While gold's supply does gradually increase as more is extracted from the ground, the rate of extraction relative to the total above-ground supply is low: At current rates, it would take approximately 66 years to double the amount of gold in circulation. In comparison, the supply of U.S. dollars has more than doubled over just the last decade. When the Austrian-influenced designers of bitcoin set out to create a more reliable currency, they tried to replicate all of these qualities. Like gold, bitcoin is divisible, unforgeable, divisible, durable, and fungible. But bitcoin also improves upon gold as a form of sound money in several important ways. First, bitcoin is rarer than gold. Though gold's supply increases slowly, it does increase. The global supply of bitcoin, by contrast, is fixed at 21 million and cannot be feasibly altered. Second, bitcoin is far more portable than gold. Transferring physical gold from one place to another is an onerous process, especially in large quantities. Bitcoin, on the other hand, can be transmitted in any quantity as quickly as an email. Third, bitcoin is more secure than gold. A single bitcoin address carried on a USB thumb drive could theoretically hold as much value as the U.S. Treasury holds in gold bars — without the need for costly militarized facilities like Fort Knox to keep it safe. In fact, if stored using best practices, the cost of securing bitcoin from hackers or assailants is far lower than the cost of securing gold. Fourth, bitcoin is a technology. This means that, as developers identify ways to augment its functionality without compromising its core attributes, they can gradually improve the currency over time. Fifth, and finally, bitcoin cannot be censored. This past year, the Chinese government shut down Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper not by censoring its content, but by ordering banks not to do business with the publication, thereby preventing Apple Daily from paying its suppliers or employees. Those who claim the same couldn't happen here need only look to the Obama administration's Operation Choke Point, a regulatory attempt to prevent banks from doing business with legitimate entities like gun manufacturers and payday lenders — firms the administration disfavored. In contrast, so long as the transmitting party has access to the internet, no entity can prevent a bitcoin transaction from taking place. This combination of fixed supply, portability, security, improvability, and censorship resistance epitomizes Nakamoto's breakthrough. Hayek, in The Denationalisation of Money, foresaw just such a separation of money and state. "I believe we can do much better than gold ever made possible," he wrote. "Governments cannot do better. Free enterprise...no doubt would." While Hayek and Nakamoto hoped private currencies would directly compete with the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies, bitcoin does not have to replace everyday cash transactions to transform global finance. Few people may pay for their morning coffee with bitcoin, but it is also rare for people to purchase coffee with Treasury bonds or gold bars. Bitcoin is competing not with cash, but with these latter two assets, to become the world's premier long-term store of wealth. The primary problem bitcoin was invented to address — the devaluation of fiat currency through reckless spending and borrowing — is already upon us. If Biden's $3.5 trillion spending plan passes Congress, the national debt will rise further. Someone will have to buy the Treasury bonds to enable that spending. Yet as discussed above, investors are souring on Treasurys. On June 30, 2021, the interest rate for the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond was 1.45%. Even at the Federal Reserve's target inflation rate of 2%, under these conditions, Treasury-bond holders are guaranteed to lose money in inflation-adjusted terms. One critic of the Fed's policies, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, compares the value of today's Treasury bonds to a "melting ice cube." Last May, Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and a former bitcoin skeptic, said "[p]ersonally, I'd rather have bitcoin than a [Treasury] bond." If hedge funds, banks, and foreign governments continue to decelerate their Treasury purchases, even by a relatively small percentage, the decrease in demand could send U.S. bond prices plummeting. If that happens, the Fed will be faced with the two unpalatable options described earlier: allowing interest rates to rise, or further inflating the money supply. The political pressure to choose the latter would likely be irresistible. But doing so would decrease inflation-adjusted returns on Treasury bonds, driving more investors away from Treasurys and into superior stores of value, such as bitcoin. In turn, decreased market interest in Treasurys would force the Fed to purchase more such bonds to suppress interest rates. AMERICA'S BITCOIN OPPORTUNITY From an American perspective, it would be ideal for U.S. Treasury bonds to remain the world's preferred reserve asset for the foreseeable future. But the tens of trillions of dollars in debt that the United States has accumulated since 1971 — and the tens of trillions to come — has made that outcome unlikely. It is understandably difficult for most of us to imagine a monetary world aside from the one in which we've lived for generations. After all, the U.S. dollar has served as the world's leading reserve currency since 1919, when Britain was forced off the gold standard. There are only a handful of people living who might recall what the world was like before then. Nevertheless, change is coming. Over the next 10 to 20 years, as bitcoin's liquidity increases and the United States becomes less creditworthy, financial institutions and foreign governments alike may replace an increasing portion of their Treasury-bond holdings with bitcoin and other forms of sound money. With asset values reaching bubble proportions and no end to federal spending in sight, it's critical for the United States to begin planning for this possibility now. Unfortunately, the instinct of some federal policymakers will be to do what countries like Argentina have done in similar circumstances: impose capital controls that restrict the ability of Americans to exchange dollars for bitcoin in an attempt to prevent the digital currency from competing with Treasurys. Yet just as Nixon's 1971 closure of the gold window led to a rapid flight from the dollar, imposing restrictions on the exchange of bitcoin for dollars would confirm to the world that the United States no longer believes in the competitiveness of its currency, accelerating the flight from Treasury bonds and undermining America's ability to borrow. A bitcoin crackdown would also be a massive strategic mistake, given that Americans are positioned to benefit enormously from bitcoin-related ventures and decentralized finance more generally. Around 50 million Americans own bitcoin today, and it's likely that Americans and U.S. institutions own a plurality, if not the majority, of the bitcoin in circulation — a sum worth hundreds of billions of dollars. This is one area where China simply cannot compete with the United States, since Bitcoin's open financial architecture is fundamentally incompatible with Beijing's centralized, authoritarian model. In the absence of major entitlement reform, well-intentioned efforts to make Treasury bonds great again are likely doomed. Instead of restricting bitcoin in a desperate attempt to forestall the inevitable, federal policymakers would do well to embrace the role of bitcoin as a geopolitically neutral reserve asset; work to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in accumulating bitcoin-based wealth, jobs, and innovations; and ensure that Americans can continue to use bitcoin to protect themselves against government-driven inflation. To begin such an initiative, federal regulators should make it easier to operate cryptocurrency-related ventures on American shores. As things stand, too many of these firms are based abroad and closed off to American investors simply because outdated U.S. regulatory agencies — the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Treasury Department, and others — have been unwilling to provide clarity as to the legal standing of digital assets. For example, the SEC has barred Coinbase from paying its customers' interest on their holdings while refusing to specify which laws Coinbase has violated. Similarly, the agency has refused to approve Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) without specifying standards for a valid ETF application. Congress should implement SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce's recommendations for a three-year regulatory grace period for decentralized digital tokens and assign to a new agency the role of regulating digital assets. Second, Congress should clarify poorly worded legislation tied to a recent bipartisan infrastructure bill that would drive many high-value crypto businesses, like bitcoin-mining operations, overseas. Third, the Treasury Department should consider replacing a fraction of its gold holdings — say, 10% — with bitcoin. This move would pose little risk to the department's overall balance sheet, send a positive signal to the innovative blockchain sector, and enable the United States to benefit from bitcoin's growth. If the value of bitcoin continues to appreciate strongly against gold and the U.S. dollar, such a move would help shore up the Treasury and decrease the need for monetary inflation. Finally, when it comes to digital versions of the U.S. dollar, policymakers should follow the advice of Friedrich Hayek, not Xi Jinping. In an effort to increase government control over its monetary system, China is preparing to unveil a blockchain-based digital yuan at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Jerome Powell and other Western central bankers have expressed envy for China's initiative and fret about being left behind. But Americans should strongly oppose the development of a central-bank digital currency (CBDC). Such a currency could wipe out local banks by making traditional savings and checking accounts obsolete. What's more, a CBDC-empowered Fed would accumulate a mountain of precise information about every consumer's financial transactions. Not only would this represent a grave threat to Americans' privacy and economic freedom, it would create a massive target for hackers and equip the government with the kind of censorship powers that would make Operation Choke Point look like child's play. Congress should ensure that the Federal Reserve never has the authority to issue a virtual currency. Instead, it should instruct regulators to integrate private-sector, dollar-pegged "stablecoins" — like Tether and USD Coin — into the framework we use for money-market funds and other cash-like instruments that are ubiquitous in the financial sector. PLANNING FOR THE WORST In the best-case scenario, the rise of bitcoin will motivate the United States to mend its fiscal ways. Much as Congress lowered corporate-tax rates in 2017 to reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to relocate abroad, bitcoin-driven monetary competition could push American policymakers to tackle the unsustainable growth of federal spending. While we can hope for such a scenario, we must plan for a world in which Congress continues to neglect its essential duty as a steward of Americans' wealth. The good news is that the American people are no longer destined to go down with the Fed's sinking ship. In 1971, when Washington debased the value of the dollar, Americans had no real recourse. Today, through bitcoin, they do. Bitcoin enables ordinary Americans to protect their savings from the federal government's mismanagement. It can improve the financial security of those most vulnerable to rising prices, such as hourly wage earners and retirees on fixed incomes. And it can increase the prosperity of younger Americans who will most acutely face the consequences of the country's runaway debt. Bitcoin represents an enormous strategic opportunity for Americans and the United States as a whole. With the right legal infrastructure, the currency and its underlying technology can become the next great driver of American growth. While the 21st-century monetary order will look very different from that of the 20th, bitcoin can help America maintain its economic leadership for decades to come. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/19/2021 - 23:25.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck US equity futures, already sharply higher overnight, jumped this morning as a risk-on mood inspired by stellar bank earnings, overshadowed concern that supply snarls. a China property crunch, a tapering Fed and stagflation will weigh on the global recovery. Nasdaq futures jumped 1%, just ahead of the S&P 500 which was up 0.9%. 10-year Treasury yields ticked lower to about 1.5%, and with the dollar lower as well, oil jumped. Bitcoin and the broader crypto space continued to rise. Shares in Morgan Stanley, Citi and Bank of America jumped as their deal-making units rode a record wave of M&A. On the other end, Boeing shares fell more than 1% after a Dow Jones report said the plane maker is dealing with a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner. Here are some of the biggest other U.S. movers today: Occidental (OXY US) rises 1.6% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell its interests in two Ghana offshore fields for $750m to Kosmos Energy and Ghana National Petroleum Plug Power (PLUG US) rises 3.3% premarket, extending gains from Wednesday, when it announced partnership with Airbus SE and Phillips 66 to find ways to harness hydrogen to power airplanes, vehicles and industry Esports Entertainment (GMBL US) shares rise 16% in U.S. premarket trading after the online gambling company reported its FY21 results and reaffirmed its FY22 guidance Perrigo  (PRGO US) gains 2.8% in premarket trading after Raymond James upgrades to outperform following acquisition of HRA Pharma and recent settlement of Irish tax dispute AT&T (T US) ticks higher in premarket trading after KeyBanc writes upgrades to sector weight from underweight, saying it seems harder to justify further downside from here Avis Budget (CAR US) may be active after getting its only negative rating among analysts as Morgan Stanley cuts to underweight with risk/reward seen pointing toward downside OrthoPediatrics (KIDS US) dipped 2% Wednesday postmarket after it said 3Q revenue was hurt by the surge in cases of Covid-19 delta variant and RSV within children’s hospitals combined with staff shortage Investors continue to evaluate the resilience of economic reopening to supply chain disruptions, a jump in energy prices and the prospect of reduced central bank support. In the earnings season so far, executives at S&P 500 companies mentioned the phrase “supply chain” about 3,000 times on investor calls as of Tuesday -- far higher than last year’s then-record figure. “Our constructive outlook for growth means that our asset allocation remains broadly pro-risk and we continue to be modestly overweight global equities,” according to Michael Grady, head of investment strategy and chief economist at Aviva Investors. “However, we have scaled back that position marginally because of growing pains which could impact sales and margins.” Europe's Stoxx 600 index reached its highest level in almost three weeks, boosted by gains in tech shares and miners. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose over 1% to best levels for the week. FTSE 100 rises 0.75%, underperforming at the margin. Miners and tech names are the strongest sectors with only healthcare stocks in small negative territory. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: THG shares advance as much as 10%, snapping a four-day losing streak, after a non-executive director bought stock while analysts at Goldman Sachs and Liberum defended their buy recommendations. Steico gains as much as 9.9%, the most since Jan., after the insulation manufacturer reported record quarterly revenue, which Warburg says “leaves no doubt” about underlying market momentum. Banco BPM climbs as much as 3.6% and is the day’s best performer on the FTSE MIB benchmark index; bank initiated at buy at Jefferies as broker says opportunity to internalize insurance business offers 9%-16% possible upside to 2023 consensus EPS and is not priced in by the market. Hays rises as much as 4.3% after the recruiter posted a jump in comparable net fees for the first quarter. Publicis jumps as much as 3.7%, the stock’s best day since July, with JPMorgan saying the advertising company’s results show a “strong” third quarter, though there are risks ahead. Kesko shares rise as much as 6.1%. The timing of this year’s third guidance upgrade was a surprise, Inderes says. Ubisoft shares fall as much as 5.5% after JPMorgan Cazenove (overweight) opened a negative catalyst watch, citing short-term downside risk to earnings ahead of results. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced, boosted by a rebound in technology shares as traders focused on the ongoing earnings season and assessed economic-reopening prospects in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, as a sub-gauge of tech stocks rose, halting a three-day slide. Tokyo Electron contributed the most to the measure’s climb, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed up 0.4% ahead of its earnings release. India’s tech stocks rose following better-than-expected earnings for three leading firms in the sector. Philippine stocks were among Asia’s best performers as Manila began easing virus restrictions, which will allow more businesses in the capital to reopen this weekend. Indonesia’s stock benchmark rallied for a third-straight day, as the government prepared to reopen Bali to tourists. READ: Commodities Boom, Tourism Hopes Fuel Southeast Asia Stock Rally Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX, said FOMC minutes released overnight provided Asian markets with little direction, which may offer some opportunity for recouping recent losses. The report showed officials broadly agreed last month they should start reducing pandemic-era stimulus in mid-November or mid-December. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields stayed below 1.6%, providing support for tech stocks.  “Markets seemed to conclude the near-term narrative is on pause until further evidence,” Spivak said. Shares in mainland China fell as the country reported factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September. Singapore’s stock benchmark pared initial losses as the country’s central bank unexpectedly tightened policy. Hong Kong’s equity market was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were steady to a tad higher, underperforming Bunds which advanced, led by the long end.  Fixed income is mixed: gilts bull steepen with short dates richening ~2.5bps, offering only a muted reaction to dovish commentary from BOE’s Tenreyro. Bunds rise with 10y futures breaching 169. USTs are relatively quiet with 5s30s unable to crack 100bps to the upside. Peripheral spreads widen slightly. In FX, the Turkish lira was again the overnight standout as it weakened to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired three central bankers. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell and the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, with risk-sensitive and resource-based currencies leading gains; the euro rose to trade above $1.16 for the first time in a week.  The pound rose to more than a two-week high amid dollar weakness as traders wait for a raft of Bank of England policy makers to speak. Sweden’s krona temporarily came off an almost eight-month high against the euro after inflation fell short of estimates. The euro dropped to the lowest since November against the Swiss franc as banks targeted large option barriers and leveraged sell-stops under 1.0700, traders said; Currency traders are responding to stagflation risks by turning to the Swiss franc. The Aussie advanced to a five-week high versus the greenback even as a monthly jobs report showed employment fell in September; the jobless rate rose less than economists forecast. The kiwi was a among the top performers; RBNZ Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand said inflation pressures were becoming more persistent China’s yuan declined from a four-month high after the central bank signaled discomfort with recent gains by setting a weaker-than-expected reference rate. In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s gains with WTI up ~$1 before stalling near $81.50. Brent regains a $84-handle. Spot gold drifts through Wednesday’s highs, adding $4 to print just shy of the $1,800/oz mark. Base metals are well bid with LME copper and aluminum gaining as much as 3%.  Looking at the day ahead, we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,382.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.9% to 464.38 MXAP up 0.7% to 196.12 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 642.66 Nikkei up 1.5% to 28,550.93 Topix up 0.7% to 1,986.97 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,558.28 Sensex up 0.7% to 61,190.63 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,311.73 Kospi up 1.5% to 2,988.64 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $83.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,796.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 93.84 German 10Y yield fell 1.5 bps to -0.143% Euro little changed at $1.1615 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $84.13/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A flattening Treasury yield curve signals increasing concern Federal Reserve efforts to keep inflation in check will derail the recovery in the world’s largest economy China’s factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September, potentially adding to global inflation pressure if local businesses start passing on higher costs to consumers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired monetary policy makers wary of cutting interest rates further, driving the lira to record lows against the dollar with his midnight decree Singapore’s central bank unexpectedly tightened its monetary policy settings, strengthening the local dollar, as the city-state joins policymakers globally concerned about risks of persistent inflation Shortages of natural gas in Europe and Asia are boosting demand for oil, deepening what was already a sizable supply deficit in crude markets, the International Energy Agency said A tropical storm that’s lashing southern China mixed with Covid-related supply chain snarls is causing a ship backlog from Shenzhen to Singapore, intensifying fears retail shelves may look rather empty come Christmas A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk A constructive mood was seen across Asia-Pac stocks with the region building on the mild positive bias stateside where the Nasdaq outperformed as tech and growth stocks benefitted from the curve flattening, with global risk appetite unfazed by the firmer US CPI data and FOMC Minutes that suggested the start of tapering in either mid-November of mid-December. The ASX 200 (+0.5%) traded higher as tech stocks found inspiration from the outperformance of US counterparts and with the mining sector buoyed by gains in underlying commodity prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.5%) was the biggest gainer amid currency-related tailwinds and with the latest securities flow data showing a substantial shift by foreign investors to net purchases of Japanese stocks during the prior week. The KOSPI (+1.5%) conformed to the brightening picture amid signs of a slowdown in weekly infections, while the Singapore’s Straits Times Index (+0.3%) lagged for most of the session following weaker than expected Q3 GDP data, and after the MAS surprisingly tightened its FX-based policy by slightly raising the slope of the SGD nominal effective exchange rate (NEER). The Shanghai Comp. (U/C) was initially kept afloat but with gains capped after slightly softer than expected loans and financing data from China and with participants digesting mixed inflation numbers in which CPI printed below estimates but PPI topped forecasts for a record increase in factory gate prices, while there was also an absence of Stock Connect flows with participants in Hong Kong away for holiday. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher after the recent curve flattening stateside and rebound in T-notes with the US longer-end also helped by a solid 30yr auction, although gains for JGBs were capped amid the outperformance in Tokyo stocks and mostly weaker metrics at the 5yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Chinese Developer Shares Fall on Debt Crisis: Evergrande Update Japan’s Yamagiwa Says Abenomics Fell Short at Spreading Wealth China Seen Rolling Over Policy Loans to Keep Liquidity Abundant Malaysia’s 2020 Fertility Rate Falls to Lowest in Four Decades Bourses in Europe have modestly extended on the upside seen at the European cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) in a continuation of the firm sentiment experienced overnight. US equity futures have also conformed to the broader upbeat tone, with gains seen across the ES (+0.7%), NQ (+0.8%), RTY (+0.8%) and YM (+0.7%). The upside comes despite a lack of overly pertinent newsflow, with participants looking ahead to a plethora of central bank speakers. The major indices in Europe also see a broad-based performance, but the periphery narrowly outperforms, whilst the SMI (Unch) lags amid the sectorial underperformance seen in Healthcare. Overall, the sectors portray somewhat of a cyclical tilt. The Basic Resources sector is the clear winner and is closely followed by Tech and Financial Services. Individual moves are scarce as price action is largely dictated by the macro picture, but the tech sector is led higher by gains in chip names after the world's largest contract chipmaker TSMC (+3.1% pre-market) reported strong earnings and upgraded its revenue guidance. Top European News German 2021 Economic Growth Forecast Slashed on Supply Crunch U.K. Gas Shipper Stops Supplies in Another Blow to Power Firms Christmas Toy Shortages Loom as Cargo Clogs a Major U.K. Port Putin Is Back to Building Financial Fortress as Reserves Grow In FX, the Dollar and index by default have retreated further from Tuesday’s 2021 peak for the latter as US Treasury yields continue to soften and the curve realign in wake of yesterday’s broadly in line CPI data and FOMC minutes that set the schedule for tapering, but maintained a clear differential between scaling down the pace of asset purchases and the timing of rate normalisation. Hence, the Buck is losing bullish momentum with the DXY now eying bids and downside technical support under 94.000 having slipped beneath an early October low (93.804 from the 5th of the month vs 93.675 a day earlier) and the 21 DMA that comes in at 93.770 today between 94.090-93.754 parameters before the next IJC update, PPI data and a heavy slate of Fed speakers. NZD/AUD - No real surprise that the Kiwi has been given a new lease of life given that the RBNZ has already taken its first tightening step and put physical distance between the OCR and the US FFR, not to mention that the move sparked a major ‘sell fact’ after ‘buy rumour’ reaction. However, Nzd/Usd is back on the 0.7000 handle with additional impetus via favourable tailwinds down under as the Aud/Nzd cross is now nearer 1.0550 than 1.0600 even though the Aussie is also taking advantage of the Greenback’s fall from grace to reclaim 0.7400+ status. Note, Aud/Usd may be lagging somewhat on the back of a somewhat labour report overnight as the employment tally fell slightly short of expectations and participation dipped, but the jobless rate fell and full time jobs rose. Moreover, RBA Deputy Governor Debelle repeated that circumstances are different for Australia compared to countries where policy is tightening, adding that employment is positive overall, but there is not much improvement on the wage front. CAD/GBP/CHF - The next best majors in terms of reclaiming losses vs their US counterpart, with the Loonie also encouraged by a firm bounce in oil prices and other commodities in keeping with a general recovery in risk appetite. Usd/Cad is under 1.2400, while Cable is now over 1.3700 having clearly breached Fib resistance around 1.3663 and the Franc is probing 0.9200 for a big figure-plus turnaround from recent lows irrespective of mixed Swiss import and producer prices. EUR/JPY - Relative laggards, but the Euro has finally hurdled chart obstacles standing in the way of 1.1600 and gradually gathering impetus to pull away from decent option expiry interest at the round number and just above (1.5 bn and 1 bn 1.1610-20), and the Yen regrouping around the 113.50 axis regardless of dovish BoJ rhetoric. In short, board member Noguchi conceded that the Bank may have little choice but to extend pandemic relief support unless it becomes clear that the economy has returned to a pre-pandemic state, adding that more easing may be necessary if the jobs market does not improve from pent-up demand, though he doesn't see and immediate need to top up stimulus or big stagflation risk. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are continuing the grind higher seen since the European close yesterday as the risk tone remains supportive and in the aftermath of an overall bullish IEA oil market report. The IEA upgraded its 2021 and 2022 oil demand forecasts by 170k and 210k BPD respectively, which contrasts the EIA STEO and the OPEC MOMR – with the former upping its 2021 but cutting 2022 forecast, whilst the OPEC MOMR saw the 2021 demand forecast cut and 2022 was maintained. The IEA report however noted that the ongoing energy crisis could boost oil demand by 500k BPD, and oil demand could exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022. On this, China has asked Russia to double electricity supply between November-December. The morning saw commentary from various energy ministers, but perhaps the most telling from the Russian Deputy PM Novak who suggested Russia will produce 9.9mln BPD of oil in October (in-line with the quota), but that Russia has no problem in increasing oil output which can go to 11.3mln BPD (Russia’s capacity) and even more than that, but output will depend on market situation. Long story short, Russia can ramp up output but is currently caged by the OPEC+ pact. WTI Nov extended on gain about USD 81/bbl to a current high of USD 81.41/bbl (vs 80.41/bbl low) while its Brent counter topped USD 84.00/bbl to a USD 84.24/bbl high (vs 83.18/bbl low). As a reminder, the weekly DoEs will be released at 16:00BST/11:00EDT on account of the Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices have also moved higher in intraday, with the UK Nat Gas future +5.5% at the time of writing. Returning to the Russian Deputy PM Novak who noted that Nord Stream 2 will be ready for work in the next few days, still expects certification to occur and commercial supplies of gas via Nord Stream 2 could start following certification. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver have been drifting higher as the Buck wanes, with spot gold topping its 200 DMA (1,7995/oz) and in striking distance of its 100 DMA (1,799/oz) ahead of the USD 1,800/oz mark. Over to base metals, LME copper is again on a firmer footing, owing to the overall constructive tone across the market. Dalian iron ore meanwhile fell for a second straight day in a continuation of the downside seen as Beijing imposed tougher steel output controls for winter. World Steel Association also cut its global steel demand forecast to +4.5% in 2021 (prev. forecast +5.8%); +2.2% in 2022 (prev. forecast 2.7%). US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7%; YoY, est. 8.6%, prior 8.3% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6%; YoY, est. 7.1%, prior 6.7% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food, Energy, Trade MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%; YoY, est. 6.5%, prior 6.3% 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 326,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.67m, prior 2.71m 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 53.4 Central Banks 8:35am: Fed’s Bullard Takes Part in Virtual Discussion 9:45am: Fed’s Bostic Takes Part in Panel on Inclusive Growth 12pm: New York Fed’s Logan Gives Speech on Policy Implementation 1pm: Fed’s Barkin Gives Speech 1pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Conference on Small Business Credit 6pm: Fed’s Harker Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Inflation dominated the conversation yet again for markets yesterday, after another upside surprise from the US CPI data led to the increasing realisation that we’ll still be talking about the topic for some time yet. Equities were pretty subdued as they looked forward to the upcoming earnings season, but investor jitters were evident as the classic inflation hedge of gold (+1.87%) posted its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the US dollar (-0.46%) ended the session as the worst performer among the G10 currencies. Running through the details of that release, headline US consumer prices were up by +0.4% on a monthly basis in September (vs. +0.3% expected), marking the 5th time in the last 7 months that the figure has come in above the median estimate on Bloomberg, though core prices were in line with consensus at +0.2% month-over-month. There were a number of drivers behind the faster pace, but food inflation (+0.93%) saw its biggest monthly increase since April 2020. Whilst some pandemic-sensitive sectors registered soft readings, housing-related prices were much firmer. Rent of primary residence grew +0.45%, its fastest pace since May 2001 and owners’ equivalent rent increased +0.43%, its strongest since June 2006. These housing gauges are something that Fed officials have signposted as having the potential to provide more durable upward pressure on inflation. The CPI release only added to speculation that the Fed would be forced to hike rates earlier than previously anticipated, and investors are now pricing in almost 4 hikes by the end of 2023, which is over a full hike more than they were pricing in just a month earlier. In response, the Treasury yield curve continued the previous day’s flattening, with the prospect of tighter monetary policy seeing the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to a post-pandemic high of 0.358%, whilst the 10yr decreased -4.0bps to 1.537%. That move lower in the 10yr yield was entirely down to lower real rates, however, which were down -7.4bps, suggesting investors were increasingly concerned about long-term growth prospects, whereas the 10yr inflation breakeven was up +3.3bps to 2.525%, its highest level since May. Meanwhile in Europe, 10yr sovereign bond yields took a turn lower alongside Treasuries, with those on bunds (-4.2bps), OATs (-4.0bps) and BTPs (-2.3bps) all falling. Recent inflation dynamics and issues on the supply-side are something that politicians have become increasingly attuned to, and President Biden gave remarks last night where he outlined efforts to address the supply-chain bottlenecks. This followed headlines earlier in the session that major ports in southern California would move to a 24/7 schedule to unclog delivery backlogs, and Mr. Biden also used the opportunity to push for the passage of the infrastructure plan. That comes as it’s also been reported by Reuters that the White House has been speaking with US oil and gas producers to see how prices can be brought lower. We should hear from Mr. Biden again today, who’s due to give an update on the Covid-19 response. On the topic of institutions that care about inflation, the September FOMC minutes suggested staff still remained optimistic that inflationary pressures would prove transitory, although Committee members themselves were predictably more split on the matter. Several participants pointed out that pandemic-sensitive prices were driving most of the gains, while some expressed concerns that high rates of inflation would feed into longer-term inflation expectations. Otherwise, the minutes all but confirmed DB’s US economists’ call for a November taper announcement, with monthly reductions in the pace of asset purchases of $10 billion for Treasuries and $5 billion for MBS. Markets took the news in their stride immediately following the release, reflecting how the build-up to this move has been gradually telegraphed through the year. Turning to equities, the S&P 500 managed to end its 3-day losing streak, gaining +0.30% by the close. Megacap technology stocks led the way, with the FANG+ index up +1.13% as the NASDAQ added +0.73%. On the other hand, cyclicals such as financials (-0.64%) lagged behind the broader index following flatter yield curve, and JPMorgan Chase (-2.64%) sold off as the company’s Q3 earnings release showed muted loan growth. Separately, Delta Air Lines (-5.76%) also sold off along with the broader S&P 500 airlines index (-3.51%), as they warned that rising fuel costs would threaten earnings over the current quarter. European indices posted a more solid performance than the US, with the STOXX 600 up +0.71%, though the sectoral balance was similar with tech stocks outperforming whilst the STOXX Banks index (-2.05%) fell back from its 2-year high the previous session. Overnight in Asia equities have put in a mixed performance, with the KOSPI (+1.17%) and the Nikkei (+1.01%) moving higher whilst the Shanghai Composite (-0.25%) and the CSI (-0.62%) have lost ground. Those moves follow the release of Chinese inflation data for September, which showed producer price inflation hit its highest in nearly 26 years, at +10.7% (vs. +10.5% expected), driven mostly by higher coal prices and energy-sensitive categories. On the other hand, the CPI measure for September came in slightly below consensus at +0.7% (vs. +0.8% expected), indicating that higher factory gate prices have not yet translated into consumer prices. Meanwhile, equity markets in the US are pointing to a positive start later on with S&P 500 futures up +0.32%. Of course, one of the drivers behind the renewal of inflation jitters has been the recent surge in commodity prices across the board, and we’ve seen further gains yesterday and this morning that will only add to the concerns about inflation readings yet to come. Oil prices have advanced yet again, with Brent Crude up +0.69% this morning to be on track to close at a 3-year high as it stands. That comes in spite of OPEC’s monthly oil market report revising down their forecast for world oil demand this year to 5.8mb/d, having been at 5.96mb/d last month. Elsewhere, European natural gas prices were up +9.24% as they continued to pare back some of the declines from last week, and a further two energy suppliers in the UK collapsed, Pure Planet and Colorado Energy, who supply quarter of a million customers between them. Otherwise, copper (+4.4x%) hit a 2-month high yesterday, and it up a further +1.01% this morning, Turning to Brexit, yesterday saw the European Commission put forward a set of adjustments to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is a part of the Brexit deal that’s caused a significant dispute between the UK and the EU. The proposals from Commission Vice President Šefčovič would see an 80% reduction in checks on animal and plant-based products, as well as a 50% reduction in paperwork by reducing the documentation needed for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It follows a speech by the UK’s David Frost on Tuesday, in which he said that Article 16 of the Protocol, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, could be used “if necessary”. Mr. Frost is due to meet with Šefčovič in Brussels tomorrow. Running through yesterday’s other data, UK GDP grew by +0.4% in August (vs. +0.5% expected), and the July number was revised down to show a -0.1% contraction (vs. +0.1% growth previously). The release means that GDP in August was still -0.8% beneath its pre-pandemic level back in February 2020. To the day ahead now, and on the calendar we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 08:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 14th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown US equity futures faded an overnight rally on the last day of September as lingering global-growth risks underscored by China's official manufacturing PMI contracted for the first time since Feb 2020 as widely expected offset a debt-ceiling deal in Washington and central-bank assurances about transitory inflation. The deal to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from the minds of investors, amid China risks and concerns over Federal Reserve tapering. Comments from Fed Chair Powell and ECB head Christine Lagarde about inflation being transitory rather than permanent also helped sentiment, even if nobody actually believes them any more.In China, authorities told bankers to help local governments support the property market and homebuyers, signaling concern at the economic fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande As of 7:15am ET, S&P futures were up 18 points ot 0.44%, trimming an earlier gain of 0.9%. Dow eminis were up 135 or 0.4% and Nasdaq futs rose 0.43%. 10Y TSY yields were higher, rising as high as 1.54% and last seen at 1.5289%; the US Dollar erased earlier losses and was unchanged. All the three major indexes are set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to break its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment. The index was, however, on course to mark its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop. The rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival. Among individual stocks, oil-and-gas companies APA Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. led premarket gains among S&P 500 members. Virgin Galactic shares surged 9.7% in premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave the company a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space. Perrigo climbed 14% after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland.  U.S.-listed Macau casino operators may get a boost Thursday after Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the region will strive to resume quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai by Oct. 1, the start of the Golden Week holiday, if the Covid-19 situation in Macau is stable. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Retail investor favorites Farmmi (FAMI US) and Camber Energy (CEI US) both rise in U.S. premarket trading, continuing their strong recent runs on high volumes Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares rise 8.9% in U.S. premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave co. a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space Perrigo (PRGO US) rises 15% in U.S. premarket trading after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Jefferies over the “very favorable” resolution Landec (LNDC US) shares fell 17% in Wednesday postmarket trading after fiscal 1Q revenue and adjusted loss per share miss consensus estimates Affimed (AFMD US) rises 4.3% in Wednesday postmarket trading after Stifel analyst Bradley Canino initiates at a buy with a $12 price target, implying the stock may more than double over the next year Herman Miller (MLHR US) up ~2.8% in Wednesday postmarket trading after the office furnishings maker posts fiscal 1Q net sales that beat the consensus estimate Orion Group Holdings (ORN US) shares surged as much as 43% in Wednesday extended trading after the company disclosed two contract awards for its Marine segment totaling nearly $200m Kaival Brands (KAVL US) fell 18% Wednesday postmarket after offering shares, warrants via Maxim An agreement among U.S. lawmakers to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from a litany of risks investors are contenting with, ranging from China’s growth slowdown to Federal Reserve tapering. “Republicans and Democrats showed some compromise by averting a government shutdown,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds. “By removing what felt like a significant risk for a retail audience, it helps sentiment in the equity market.” Still, president Joe Biden’s agenda remains at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown. The big overnight economic news came from China whose September NBS manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the first contraction since Feb 2020, likely due to the production cuts caused by energy constraints. Both the output sub-index and the new orders sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey decreased in September. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI rebounded to 53.2 in September from 47.5 in August on a recovery of services activities as COVID restrictions eased. However, the numbers may not capture full impact of energy restrictions as the NBS survey was taken around 22nd-25th of the month: expect far worse number in the months ahead unless China manages to contain its energy crisis. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.3%, trimming a monthly loss but fading an earlier gain of 0.9%, led by gains in basic resources companies as iron ore climbed, with the CAC and FTSE 100 outperforming at the margin. Technology stocks, battered earlier this week, also extended their rebound.  Miners, oil & gas and media are the strongest sectors; utility and industrial names lag. European natural gas and power markets hit fresh record highs as supply constraints persist. Perrigo jumped 13.8% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes Asian stocks were poised to cap their first quarterly loss since March 2020 as Chinese technology names fell and as investors remained wary over a recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to end the September quarter with a loss of more than 5%, snapping a winning streak of five straight quarters. A combination of higher yields, Beijing’s corporate crackdown and worry over slowing economic growth in Asia’s biggest economy have hurt sentiment, bringing the market down following a brief rally in late August.  The Asian benchmark rose less than 0.1% after posting its worst single-day drop in six weeks on Wednesday. Consumer discretionary and communication services groups fell, while financials advanced. The Hang Seng Tech Index ended 1.3% lower as Beijing announced new curbs on the sector, while higher yields hurt sentiment toward growth stocks.  “Because there’s growing worry over U.S. inflation, we need to keep an eye on the potential risks, globally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “Also, there’s the Evergrande issue. The market is in a wait-and-see mode now, with a focus on whether the group will be able to make future interest rate payments.”  Benchmarks in Thailand and Malaysia were the biggest losers, while Indonesia and Australia outperformed. Japan’s Topix and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped for a fourth day as investors weighed Fumio Kishida’s election victory as the new ruling party leader. Global stocks are poised to end the quarter with a small loss, after a five-quarter rally, as investors braced for the Fed to wind down its stimulus. They also remain concerned about slowing growth and elevated inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks, an energy crunch and regulatory risks emanating from China. A majority of participants in a Citigroup survey said a 20% pullback in stocks is more likely than a 20% rally. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, off session lows as stock futures pare gains. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.53%, cheaper by 1.2bp on the day vs 2.3bp for U.K. 10-year; MPC-dated OIS rates price in ~65bps of BOE hikes by December 2022. Gilts lead the selloff, with U.K. curve bear-steepening as BOE rate-hike expectations continue to ramp up. Host of Fed speakers are in focus during U.S. session, while month-end extension may serve to underpin long-end of the curve.   A gauge of the dollar’s strength headed for its first drop in five days as Treasury yields steadied after a recent rise, and amid quarter-end flows. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the dollar steady or weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro hovered around $1.16 and the pound was steady while Gilts inched lower, underperforming Bunds and Treasuries. Money markets now see around 65 basis points of tightening by the BOE’s December 2022 meeting, according to sterling overnight index swaps. That means they’re betting the key rate will rise to 0.75% next year from 0.1% currently. The Australian dollar led gains after it rose off its lowest level since August 23 amid exporter month-end demand and as iron ore buyers locked in purchases ahead of a week-long holiday in China. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer and slipped a fifth day versus the dollar, its longest loosing streak in a year. In commodities, oil surrendered gains, still heading for a monthly gain amid tighter supplies. West Texas Intermediate futures briefly recaptured the level above $75 per barrel, before trading at $74.71. APA and Devon rose at least 1.8% in early New York trading. European gas prices meanwhile hit a new all time high. Looking at the day ahead, one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,379.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 457.59 MXAP little changed at 196.85 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 635.71 Nikkei down 0.3% to 29,452.66 Topix down 0.4% to 2,030.16 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,575.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.3% to 59,239.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,332.16 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,068.82 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $78.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,732.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.27 German 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to -0.212% Euro little changed at $1.1607 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.K. gross domestic product rose 5.5% in the second quarter instead of the 4.8% earlier estimated, official figures published Thursday show. The data, which reflected the reopening of stores and the hospitality industry, mean the economy was still 3.3% smaller than it was before the pandemic struck. China has urged financial institutions to help local governments stabilize the rapidly cooling housing market and ease mortgages for some home buyers, another signal that authorities are worried about fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group. The U.S. currency’s surge is helping the Chinese yuan record its largest gain in eight months on a trade-weighted basis in September. It adds to headwinds for the world’s second- largest economy already slowing due to a resurgence in Covid cases, a power crisis and regulatory curbs. The Swiss National Bank bought foreign exchange worth 5.44 billion francs ($5.8 billion) in the second quarter, part of its long-running policy to alleviate appreciation pressure on the franc   A few members of the Riksbank’s executive board discussed a rate path that could indicate a rate rise at the end of the forecast period, Sweden’s central bank says in minutes from its Sept. 20 meeting French inflation accelerated in September as households in the euro area’s second-largest economy faced a jump in the costs of energy and services. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded somewhat varied with the region indecisive at quarter-end and as participants digested a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMI figures. ASX 200 (+1.7%) was underpinned by broad strength across its industries including the top-weighted financials sector and with the large cap miners lifted as iron ore futures surge by double-digit percentages, while the surprise expansion in Building Approvals also helped markets overlook the 51% spike in daily new infections for Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was subdued for most of the session after disappointing Industrial Production and Retail Sales data which prompted the government to cut its assessment of industrial output which it stated was stalling. The government also warned that factory output could decline for a third consecutive month in September and that October has large downside risk due to uncertainty from auto manufacturing cuts. However, Nikkei 225 then recovered with the index marginally supported by currency flows. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) diverged heading into the National Day holidays and week-long closure for the mainland with tech names in Hong Kong pressured by ongoing regulatory concerns as China is to tighten regulation of algorithms related to internet information services. Nonetheless, mainland bourses were kept afloat after a further liquidity injection by the PBoC ahead of the Golden Week celebrations and as markets took the latest PMI figures in their strides whereby the official headline Manufacturing PMI disappointed to print its first contraction since February 2020, although Non-Manufacturing PMI and Composite PMI returned to expansionary territory and Caixin Manufacturing PMI topped estimates to print at the 50-benchmark level. Top Asian News S&P Points to Progress as Bondholders Wait: Evergrande Update Bank Linked to Kazakh Leader Buys Kcell Stake After Share Slump Goldman Sachs Names Andy Tai Head of IBD Southeast Asia: Memo What Japan’s Middle-of-the-Road New Leader Means for Markets The upside momentum seen across US and European equity futures overnight stalled, with European cash also drifting from the best seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.4%). This follows somewhat mixed APAC handover, and as newsflow remains light on month and quarter-end. US equity futures are firmer across the board, but again off best levels, although the RTY (+0.8%) outperforms the ES (+0.4%), YM (+0.4%) and NQ (+0.5%). Back to Europe, the periphery lags vs core markets, whilst the DAX 40 (-0.3%) underperforms within the core market. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the green but do not portray a particular risk bias. Basic Resources top the chart with aid from overnight action in some base metals, particularly iron, in turn aiding the large iron miners BHP (+2.2%), Rio Tinto (+3.4%) and Anglo American (+2.9%). The bottom of the sectors meanwhile consists of Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Industrial Goods & Services, with the former potentially feeling some headwinds from China’s travel restrictions during its upcoming National Day holiday. In terms of M&A, French press reported that CAC-listed Carrefour (-1.3%) is reportedly looking at options for sector consolidation, and talks are said to have taken place with the chain stores Auchan, with peer Casino (Unch) also initially seeing a leg higher in sympathy amid the prospect of sector consolidation. That being said, Carrefour has now reversed its earlier upside with no particular catalyst for the reversal. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that regulatory/competition hurdles cannot be ruled out – as a reminder, earlier this year, France blocked the takeover of Carrefour by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard. In the case of a successful deal, Carrefour will likely be the acquirer as the largest supermarket in France. Sticking with M&A, Eutelsat (+14%) was bolstered at the open amid source reports that French billionaire Patrick Drahi is said to have made an unsolicited takeover offer of EUR 12.10/shr for Eutelsat (vs EUR 10.35 close on Wednesday), whilst the FT reported that this offer was rejected. Top European News European Banks Dangle $26 Billion in Payouts as ECB Cap Ends U.K. Economy Emerged From Lockdown Stronger Than Expected In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules EU, U.S. Seek to Avert Chip-Subsidy Race, Float Supply Links In FX, The non-US Dollars are taking advantage of the Greenback’s loss of momentum, and the Aussie in particular given an unexpected boost from building approvals completely confounding expectations for a fall, while a spike in iron ore prices overnight provided additional incentive amidst somewhat mixed external impulses via Chinese PMIs. Hence, Aud/Usd is leading the chasing pack and back up around 0.7200, Usd/Cad is retreating through 1.2750 and away from decent option expiry interest at 1.2755 and between 1.2750-40 (in 1.3 bn and 1 bn respectively) with some assistance from the latest bounce in crude benchmarks and Nzd/Usd is still trying to tag along, but capped into 0.6900 as the Aud/Nzd cross continues to grind higher and hamper the Kiwi. DXY/GBP/JPY/EUR/CHF - It’s far too early to call time on the Buck’s impressive rally and revival from recent lows, but it has stalled following a midweek extension that propelled the index to the brink of 94.500, at 94.435. The DXY subsequently slipped back to 94.233 and is now meandering around 94.300 having topped out at 94.401 awaiting residual rebalancing flows for the final day of September, Q3 and the half fy that Citi is still classifying as Dollar positive, albeit with tweaks to sd hedges for certain Usd/major pairings. Also ahead, the last US data and survey releases for the month including final Q2 GDP, IJC and Chicago PMI before another raft of Fed speakers. Meanwhile, Sterling has gleaned some much needed support from upward revisions to Q2 UK GDP, a much narrower than forecast current account deficit and upbeat Lloyds business barometer rather than sub-consensus Nationwide house prices to bounce from the low 1.3600 area vs the Greenback and unwind more of its underperformance against the Euro within a 0.8643-12 range. However, the latter is keeping tabs on 1.1600 vs its US peer in wake of firmer German state CPI prints and with the aforementioned Citi model flagging a sub-1 standard deviation for Eur/Usd in contrast to Usd/Jpy that has been elevated to 1.85 from a prelim 1.12. Nevertheless, the Yen is deriving some traction from the calmer yield backdrop rather than disappointing Japanese data in the form of ip and retail sales to contain losses under 112.00, and the Franc is trying to do the same around 0.9350. SCANDI/EM - The tables have been turning and fortunes changing for the Nok and Sek, but the former has now given up all and more its post-Norges Bank hike gains and more as Brent consolidates beneath Usd 80/brl and the foreign currency purchases have been set at the same level for October as the current month. Conversely, the latter has taken heed of a hawkish hue to the latest set of Riksbank minutes and the fact that a few Board members discussed a rate path that could indicate a rise at the end of the forecast period. Elsewhere, the Zar looks underpinned by marginally firmer than anticipated SA ppi and private sector credit, while the Mxn is treading cautiously ahead of Banxico and a widely touted 25 bp hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy but trade with modest gains heading into the US open and in the run-up to Monday’s OPEC+ meeting. The European session thus far has been quiet from a news flow standpoint, but the contracts saw some fleeting upside after breaking above overnight ranges, albeit the momentum did not last long. Eyes turn to OPEC+ commentary heading into the meeting, which is expected to be another smooth affair, according to Argus sources. As a reminder, the group is expected to stick to its plan to raise output by 400k BPD despite outside pressure to further open the taps in a bid to control prices. Elsewhere, as a mild proxy for Chinese demand, China’s Sinopec noted that all LNG receiving terminals are to be operated at full capacity. WTI trades on either side of USD 75/bbl (vs low USD 74.54/bbl), while its Brent counterpart remains north of USD 78/bbl (vs low USD 77.66/bbl). Turning to metals, spot gold and silver continue to consolidate after yesterday’s Dollar induced losses, with the former finding some support around the USD 1,725/oz mark and the latter establishing a floor around USD 21.50/oz. Over to base metals, Dalian iron ore futures rose to three-week highs amid pre-holiday Chinese demand and after Fortescue Metals Group halted mining operations at a Pilbara project. Conversely, LME copper is on a softer footing as the Buck holds onto recent gains. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 2Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q GDP Price Index, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q Personal Consumption, est. 11.9%, prior 11.9% 8:30am: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 2.79m, prior 2.85m 8:30am: 2Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 6.6%, prior 6.6% 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 330,000, prior 351,000 9:45am: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 65.0, prior 66.8 Central Bank speakers 10am: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Fed’s Pandemic Response 10am: Powell and Yellen Appear Before House Finance Panel 11am: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Mobility 11:30am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Sustainable Assets and Financial... 12:30pm: Fed’s Evans Discusses Economic Outlook 1:05pm: Fed’s Bullard Makes Opening Remarks at Book Launch 2:30pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Women and Leadership Event Government Calendar 10am ET: Treasury Secretary Yellen, Fed Chair Powell appear at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Treasury, Fed’s pandemic response 10:30am ET: Senate begins voting process for continuing resolution that extends U.S. government funding to December 3 10:30am ET: Senate Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s influence on kids with Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook 10:45am ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds weekly press briefing DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ll be getting my stitches out of my knee today and will have a chance to grill the surgeon who I think told me I’ll probably soon need a knee replacement. I say think as it was all a bit of a medicated blur post the operation 2 weeks ago. These have been a painfully slow 2 weeks of no weight bearing with another 4 to go and perhaps all to no avail. As you can imagine I’ve done no housework, can’t fend much for myself, or been able to control the kids much over this period. I’m not sure if having bad knees are grounds for divorce but I’m going to further put it to the test over the next month. In sickness and in health I plea. Like me, markets are hobbling into the end of Q3 today even if they’ve seen some signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours following their latest selloff, with equities bouncing back a bit and sovereign bond yields taking a breather from their recent relentless climb. It did feel that we hit yield levels on Tuesday that started to hurt risk enough that some flight to quality money recycled back into bonds. So the next leg higher in yields (which I think will happen) might be met with more risk off resistance, and counter rallies. The latest moves came amidst relatively dovish and supportive comments from central bank governors at the ECB’s forum yesterday, but sentiment was dampened somewhat as uncertainty abounds over a potential US government shutdown and breaching of the debt ceiling, after both houses of Congress could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Overnight, there have been signs of progress on the shutdown question, with Majority Leader Schumer saying that senators had reached agreement on a stopgap funding measure that will fund the government through December 3, with the Senate set to vote on the measure this morning.However, we’re still no closer to resolving the debt ceiling issue (where the latest estimates from the Treasury Department point to October 18 as the deadline), and tensions within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives are threatening to sink both the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, which together contain much of President Biden’s economic agenda. We could see some developments on that soon however, as Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill today. Assuming the vote goes ahead later, this will be very interesting since a number of progressive Democrats have said that they don’t want to pass the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill (which contains the administration’s other priorities on social programs). This is because they fear that with the infrastructure bill passed (which moderates are keen on), the moderates could then scale back the spending in the reconciliation bill, and by holding out on passing the infrastructure bill, this gives them leverage on reconciliation. House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer were in the Oval Office with President Biden yesterday, and a White House statement said that Biden spoke on the phone with lawmakers and engagement would continue into today. So an important day for Biden’s agenda. Against this backdrop, risk assets made a tentative recovery yesterday, with the S&P 500 up +0.16% and Europe’s STOXX 600 up +0.59%. However, unless we get a big surge in either index today, both indices remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year, even if they’re still in positive territory for Q3 as a whole. Looking elsewhere, tech stocks had appeared set to pare back some of the previous day’s losses, but a late fade left the NASDAQ down -0.24% and the FANG+ index down a greater -0.72%. Much of the tech weakness was driven by falling semiconductor shares (-1.53%), as producers have offered investors poor revenue guidance on the heels of the ongoing supply chain issues that are driving chip shortages globally. Outside of tech, US equities broadly did better yesterday with 17 of 24 industry groups gaining, led by utilities (+1.30%), biotech (+1.05%) and food & beverages (+1.00%). Similarly, while they initially staged a recovery, small caps in the Russell 2000 (-0.20%) continued to struggle. One asset that remained on trend was the US dollar. The greenback continued its climb yesterday, with the dollar index increasing +0.61% to close at its highest level in over a year, exceeding its closing high from last November. Over in sovereign bond markets, the partial rebound saw yields on 10yr Treasuries down -2.1bps at 1.517%, marking their first move lower in a week. And there was much the same pattern in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps), OATs (-1.3bps) and BTPs (-3.1bps) all moved lower as well. One continued underperformer were UK gilts (+0.3bps), and yesterday we saw the spread between 10yr gilt and bund yields widen to its biggest gap in over 2 years, at 120bps. Staying on the UK, the pound (-0.81%) continued to slump yesterday, hitting its lowest level against the dollar since last December, which comes as the country has continued to face major issues over its energy supply. Yesterday actually saw natural gas prices take another leg higher in both the UK (+10.09%) and Europe (+10.24%), and the UK regulator said that three smaller suppliers (who supply fewer than 1% of domestic customers between them) had gone out of business. This energy/inflation/BoE conundrum is confusing the life out of Sterling 10 year breakevens. They rose +18bps from Monday morning to Tuesday lunchtime but then entirely reversed the move into last night’s close. This is an exaggerated version of how the world’s financial markets are puzzling over whether breakevens should go up because of energy or go down because of the demand destruction and central bank response. Central bankers were in no mood to panic yesterday though as we saw Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda all appear on a policy panel at the ECB’s forum on central banking. There was much to discuss but the central bank heads all maintained that this current inflation spike will relent with Powell saying that it was “really a consequence of supply constraints meeting very strong demand, and that is all associated with the reopening of the economy -- which is a process that will have a beginning, a middle and an end.” ECB President Lagarde shared that sentiment, adding that “we certainly have no reason to believe that these price increases that we are seeing now will not be largely transitory going forward.” Overnight in Asia, equities have seen a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), and the Hang Seng (-1.08%) both losing ground, whereas the Kospi (+0.41%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.30%) have posted gains. The moves came amidst weak September PMI data from China, which showed the manufacturing PMI fall to 49.6 (vs. 50.0 expected), marking its lowest level since the height of the Covid crisis in February 2020. The non-manufacturing PMI held up better however, at a stronger 53.2 (vs. 49.8 expected), although new orders were beneath 50 for a 4th consecutive month. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and those on European indices are pointing to a higher start later on, as markets continue to stabilise after their slump earlier in the week. Staying on Asia, shortly after we went to press yesterday, former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida was elected as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, and is set to become the country’s next Prime Minister. The Japanese Diet will hold a vote on Monday to elect Kishida as the new PM, after which he’ll announce a new cabinet, and attention will very soon turn to the upcoming general election, which is due to take place by the end of November. Our Chief Japan economist has written more on Kishida’s victory and his economic policy (link here), but he notes that on fiscal policy, Kishida’s plans to redistribute income echo the shift towards a greater role for government in the US and elsewhere. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though Spain’s CPI reading for September rose to an above-expected +4.0% (vs. 3.5% expected), so it will be interesting to see if something similar happens with today’s releases from Germany, France and Italy, ahead of the Euro Area release tomorrow. Otherwise, UK mortgage approvals came in at 74.5k in August (vs. 73.0k expected), and the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area rose to 117.8 in September (vs. 117.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown US futures and European stocks fell amid ongoing nerves over the Evergrande default, while cryptocurrency-linked stocks tumbled after the Chinese central bank said such transactions are illegal. Sovereign bond yields fluctuated after an earlier selloff fueled by the prospect of tighter monetary policy. At 745am ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88.75 points, or 0.58% and Dow e-minis were down 112 points, or 0.33%. In the biggest overnight news, Evergrande offshore creditors remain in limbo and still haven't received their coupon payment effectively starting the 30-day grace period, while also in China, the State Planner issued a notice on the crackdown of cryptocurrency mining, will strictly prohibit financing for new crypto mining projects and strengthen energy consumption controls of new crypto mining projects. Subsequently, the PBoC issued a notice to further prevent and dispose of the risks from speculating on cryptocurrencies, to strengthen monitoring of risks from crypto trading and such activities are illegal. The news sent the crypto space tumbling as much as 8% while cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped in U.S. premarket trading. Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 6.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT) declines 4.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) -5.9%, Coinbase -2.8%. Big banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp slipped about 0.5%, while oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp were down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in premarket trading.Mega-cap FAAMG tech giants fell between 0.5% and 0.6%. Nike shed 4.6% after the sportswear maker cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season. Several analysts lowered their price targets on the maker of sports apparel and sneakers after the company cut its FY revenue growth guidance to mid-single- digits. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Helbiz (HLBZ) falls 10% after the micromobility company filed with the SEC for the sale of as many as 11m shares by stockholders. Focus Universal (FCUV), an online marketing company that’s been a favorite of retail traders, surged 26% in premarket trading after the stock was cited on Stocktwits in recent days. Vail Resorts (MTN) falls 2.7% in postmarket trading after its full-year forecasts for Ebitda and net income missed at the midpoint. GlycoMimetics (GLYC) jumps 15% postmarket after announcing that efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1/2 study of uproleselan in patients with acute myeloid leukemia were published in the journal Blood on Sept. 16. VTV Therapeutics (VTVT) surges 30% after company says its HPP737 psoriasis treatment showed favorable safety and tolerability profile in a multiple ascending dose study. Fears about a sooner-than-expected tapering amid signs of stalling U.S. economic growth and concerns over a spillover from China Evergrande’s default had rattled investors in September, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on course to snap a seven-month winning streak. Elaine Stokes, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co., told Bloomberg Television, adding that “what they did is tell us that they feel really good about the economy.” While the bond selloff vindicated Treasury bears who argue yields are too low to reflect fundamentals, others see limits to how high they can go. “We’d expected bond yields to go higher, given the macro situation where growth is still very strong,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist with JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we do stress that is a modest view, because we think that upside to yields is still limited from here given that central banks including the Fed are still buying bonds.” Still, Wall Street’s main indexes rallied in the past two session and are set for small weekly gains. European equities dipped at the open but trade off worst levels, with the Euro Stoxx 50 sliding as much as 1.1% before climbing off the lows. France's CAC underperformed at the margin. Retail, financial services are the weakest performers. EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, fell as much as 8.1% after Sweden’s financial watchdog opened an investigation into suspected market abuse. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today: SMCP shares surge as much as 9.9%, advancing for a 9th session in 10, amid continued hopes the financial troubles of its top shareholder will ultimately lead to a sale TeamViewer climbs much as 4.2% after Bankhaus Metzler initiated coverage with a buy rating, citing the company’s above-market growth AstraZeneca gains as much as 3.6% after its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a prostate cancer trial Darktrace drops as much as 9.2%, paring the stock’s rally over the past few weeks, as a technical pattern triggered a sell signal Adidas and Puma fall as much as 4% and 2.9%, respectively, after U.S. rival Nike’s “large cut” to FY sales guidance, which Jefferies said would “likely hurt” shares of European peers Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by rallies in Japan and Taiwan, following U.S. peers higher amid optimism over the Federal Reserve’s bullish economic outlook and fading concerns over widespread contagion from Evergrande. Stocks were muted in China and Hong Kong. India’s S&P BSE Sensex topped the 60,000 level for the first time on Friday on optimism that speedier vaccinations will improve demand for businesses in Asia’s third-largest economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, with TSMC and Sony the biggest boosts. That trimmed the regional benchmark’s loss for the week to about 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, reopening after a holiday, pushing its advance for September to 7.7%, the best among major global gauges. The Asian regional benchmark pared its gain as Hong Kong stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading amid continued uncertainty, with Evergrande giving no sign of making an interest payment that was due Thursday. Among key upcoming events is the leadership election for Japan’s ruling party next week, which will likely determine the country’s next prime minister. “Investor concerns over the Evergrande issue have retreated a bit for now,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. “But investors will have to keep downside risk in the corner of their minds.” Indian stocks rose, pushing the Sensex above 60,000 for the first time ever. Key gauges fell in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, while the Thai market was closed for a holiday. Treasuries are higher as U.S. trading day begins after rebounding from weekly lows reached during Asia session, adding to Thursday’s losses. The 10-year yield was down 1bp at ~1.42%, just above the 100-DMA breached on Thursday for the first time in three months; it climbed to 1.449% during Asia session, highest since July 6, and remains 5.2bp higher on the week, its fifth straight weekly increase. Several Fed speakers are slated, first since Wednesday’s FOMC commentary set forth a possible taper timeline.  Bunds and gilts recover off cheapest levels, curves bear steepening. USTs bull steepen, richening 1.5bps from the 10y point out. Peripheral spreads are wider. BTP spreads widen 2-3bps to Bunds. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed back from a one-week low as concern about possible contagion from Evergrande added to buying of the greenback based on the Federal Reserve tapering timeline signaled on Wednesday. NZD, AUD and CAD sit at the bottom of the G-10 scoreboard. ZAR and TRY are the weakest in EM FX. The pound fell after its rally on Thursday as investors looked ahead to BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s sPeech next week about a possible interest-rate hike. Traders are betting that in a contest to raise borrowing costs first, the Bank of England will be the runaway winner over the Federal Reserve. The New Zealand and Aussie dollars led declines among Group-of-10 peers. The euro was trading flat, with a week full of events failing “to generate any clear directional move,” said ING analysts Francesco Pesole and Chris Turner. German IFO sentiment indeces will “provide extra indications about the area’s sentiment as  businesses faced a combination of delta variant concerns and lingering supply disruptions”. The Norwegian krone is the best performing currency among G10 peers this week, with Thursday’s announcement from the Norges Bank offering support In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range up around best levels for the week. WTI stalls near $73.40, Brent near $77.50. Spot gold extends Asia’s gains, adding $12 on the session to trade near $1,755/oz. Base metals are mixed, LME nickel and aluminum drop ~1%, LME tin outperforms with a 2.8% rally. Bitcoin dips after the PBOC says all crypto-related transactions are illegal. Looking to the day ahead now, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,423.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 464.18 German 10Y yield fell 8.5 bps to -0.236% Euro little changed at $1.1737 MXAP up 0.4% to 201.25 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 643.20 Nikkei up 2.1% to 30,248.81 Topix up 2.3% to 2,090.75 Hang Seng Index down 1.3% to 24,192.16 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,613.07 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,031.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,342.60 Kospi little changed at 3,125.24 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $77.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,755.38 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.14 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China Evergrande Group’s unusual silence about a dollar-bond interest payment that was due Thursday has put a focus on what might happen during a 30-day grace period. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation target is increasingly out of step with international counterparts and fails to account for structural changes in the country’s economy over the past 30 years, Westpac Banking Corp.’s Bill Evans said. With central banks from Washington to London this week signaling more alarm over faster inflation, the ultra-stimulative path of the euro zone and some of its neighbors appears lonelier than ever. China’s central bank continued to pump liquidity into the financial system on Friday as policy makers sought to avoid contagion stemming from China Evergrande Group spreading to domestic markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region failing to fully sustain the impetus from the positive performance across global counterparts after the silence from Evergrande and lack of coupon payments for its offshore bonds, stirred uncertainty for the company. ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative as underperformance in mining names and real estate overshadowed the advances in tech and resilience in financials from the higher yield environment. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) was the biggest gainer overnight as it played catch up to the prior day’s recovery on return from the Autumnal Equinox holiday in Japan and with exporters cheering the recent risk-conducive currency flows, while KOSPI (-0.1%) was lacklustre amid the record daily COVID-19 infections and after North Korea deemed that it was premature to declare that the Korean War was over. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were indecisive after further liquidity efforts by the PBoC were offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds but has a 30-day grace period with the Co. remaining quiet on the issue. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from global counterparts including the declines in T-notes as the US 10yr yield breached 1.40% for the first time since early-July with the pressure in bonds also stemming from across the Atlantic following a more hawkish BoE, while the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.3tln of government bonds with 1yr-10yr maturities did very little to spur prices. Top Asian News Rivals for Prime Minister Battle on Social Media: Japan Election Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Gains in Japan, Taiwan Hong Kong Stocks Still Wagged by Evergrande Tail Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index Extends Decline to More Than 2% European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.9%) are trading on the back foot in the final trading session of the week amid further advances in global bond yields and a mixed APAC handover. Overnight, saw gains for the Nikkei 225 of 2.1% with the index aided by favourable currency flows, whilst Chinese markets lagged (Shanghai Comp. -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.6%) with further liquidity efforts by the PBoC offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds. As context, despite the losses in Europe today, the Stoxx 600 is still higher by some 1.2% on the week. Stateside, futures are also on a softer footing with the ES down by 0.4% ahead of a busy Fed speaker schedule. Back to Europe, sectors are lower across the board with Retail and Personal & Household Goods lagging peers. The former has been hampered by losses in Adidas (-3.0%) following after hours earnings from Nike (-4.2% pre-market) which saw the Co. cut its revenue guidance amid supply chain woes. AstraZeneca (+2.1%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing that the Lynparza PROpel trial met its primary endpoint. Daimler’s (+0.1%) Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take a 33% stake in a battery cell manufacturing JV with Total and Stellantis. EQT (-6.5%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Swedish FSA announced it will open an investigation into the Co. Top European News EQT Investigated by Sweden’s FSA Over Suspected Market Abuse Gazprom Says Claims of Gas Under-supply to Europe Are ‘Absurd’ German Sept. Ifo Business Confidence 98.8; Est. 99 German Business Index at Five-Month Low in Pre-Election Verdict In FX, the rot seems to have stopped for the Buck in terms of its sharp and marked fall from grace amidst post-FOMC reflection and re-positioning in the financial markets on Thursday. Indeed, the Dollar index has regained some poise to hover above the 93.000 level having recoiled from 93.526 to 92.977 over the course of yesterday’s hectic session that saw the DXY register a marginal new w-t-d high and low at either end of the spectrum. Pre-weekend short covering and consolidation may be giving the Greenback a lift, while the risk backdrop is also less upbeat ahead of a raft of Fed speakers flanking US new home sales data. Elsewhere, the Euro remains relatively sidelined and contained against the Buck with little independent inspiration from the latest German Ifo survey as the business climate deteriorated broadly in line with consensus and current conditions were worse than forecast, but business expectations were better than anticipated. Hence, Eur/Usd is still stuck in a rut and only briefly/fractionally outside 1.1750-00 parameters for the entire week, thus far, as hefty option expiry interest continues to keep the headline pair in check. However, there is significantly less support or gravitational pull at the round number today compared to Thursday as ‘only’ 1.3 bn rolls off vs 4.1 bn, and any upside breach could be capped by 1.1 bn between 1.1765-85. CAD/NZD/AUD - Some payback for the non-US Dollars following their revival, with the Loonie waning from 1.2650+ peaks ahead of Canadian budget balances, though still underpinned by crude as WTI hovers around Usd 73.50/brl and not far from decent option expiries (from 1.2655-50 and 1.2625-30 in 1.4 bn each). Similarly, the Kiwi has faded after climbing to within single digits of 0.7100 in wake of NZ trade data overnight revealing a much wider deficit as exports slowed and imports rose, while the Aussie loses grip of the 0.7300 handle and skirts 1.1 bn option expiries at 0.7275. CHF/GBP/JPY - The Franc is fairly flat and restrained following a dovish SNB policy review that left in lagging somewhat yesterday, with Usd/Chf and Eur/Chf straddling 0.9250 and 1.0850 respectively, in contrast to Sterling that is paring some hawkish BoE momentum, as Cable retreats to retest bids circa 1.3700 and Eur/Gbp bounces from sub-0.8550. Elsewhere, the Yen has not been able to fend off further downside through 110.00 even though Japanese participants have returned to the fray after the Autumn Equinox holiday and reports suggest some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in 13 prefectures on a trial basis. SCANDI/EM/PM/CRYPTO - A slight change in the pecking order in Scandi-land as the Nok loses some post-Norges Bank hike impetus and the Sek unwinds a bit of its underperformance, but EM currencies are bearing the brunt of the aforementioned downturn in risk sentiment and firmer Usd, with the Zar hit harder than other as Gold is clings to Usd 1750/oz and Try down to deeper post-CBRT rate cut lows after mixed manufacturing sentiment and cap u readings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being shackled by the latest Chinese crackdown on mining and efforts to limit risks from what it describes as unlawful speculative crypto currency trading. In commodities, WTI and Brent are set the conclude the week in the green with gains in excess of 2% for WTI at the time of writing; in-spite of the pressure seen in the complex on Monday and the first-half of Tuesday, where a sub USD 69.50/bbl low was printed. Fresh newsflow has, once again, been limited for the complex and continues to focus on the gas situation. More broadly, no update as of yet on the Evergrande interest payment and by all accounts we appear to have entered the 30-day grace period for this and, assuming catalysts remain slim, updates on this will may well dictate the state-of-play. Schedule wise, the session ahead eyes significant amounts of central bank commentary but from a crude perspective the weekly Baker Hughes rig count will draw attention. On the weather front, Storm Sam has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify but currently remains someway into the mid-Atlantic. Moving to metals, LME copper is pivoting the unchanged mark after a mixed APAC lead while attention is on Glencore’s CSA copper mine, which it has received an offer for; the site in 2020 produced circa. 46k/T of copper which is typically exported to Asia smelters. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been very contained and remain well-within overnight ranges thus far. Which sees the yellow metal holding just above the USD 1750/oz mark after a brief foray below the level after the US-close. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. New Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0% 10am: Aug. New Home Sales, est. 715,000, prior 708,000 Central Bank Speakers 8:45am: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook 10am: Powell, Clarida and Bowman Host Fed Listens Event 10:05am: Fed’s George Discusses Economic Outlook 12pm: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Equitable Community Development DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap WFH today is a bonus as it’s time for the annual ritual at home where the latest, sleekest, shiniest iPhone model arrives in the post and i sheepishly try to justify to my wife when I get home why I need an incremental upgrade. This year to save me from the Spanish Inquisition I’m going to intercept the courier and keep quiet. Problem is that such speed at intercepting the delivery will be logistically challenging as I remain on crutches (5 weeks to go) and can’t grip properly with my left hand due to an ongoing trapped nerve. I’m very glad I’m not a racehorse. Although hopefully I can be put out to pasture in front of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The big news of the last 24 hours has been a galloping global yield rise worthy of the finest thoroughbred. A hawkish Fed meeting, with the dots increasing and the end of QE potentially accelerated, didn’t quite have the ability to move markets but the global dam finally broke yesterday with Norway being the highest profile developed country to raise rates this cycle (expected), but more importantly a Bank of England meeting that saw the market reappraise rate hikes. Looking at the specific moves, yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +13.0bps to 1.430% in their biggest daily increase since 25 February, as both higher real rates (+7.9bps) and inflation breakevens (+4.9bps) drove the advance. US 10yr yields had been trading in a c.10bp range for the last month before breaking out higher, though they have been trending higher since dropping as far as 1.17% back in early-August. US 30yr yields rose +13.2bps, which was the biggest one day move in long dated yields since March 17 2020, which was at the onset of the pandemic and just days after the Fed announced it would be starting the current round of QE. The large selloff in US bonds saw the yield curve steepen and the long-end give back roughly half of the FOMC flattening from the day before. The 5y30y curve steepened 3.4bps for a two day move of -3.3bps. However the 2y10y curve steepened +10.5bps, completely reversing the prior day’s flattening (-4.2bps) and leaving the spread at 116bp, the steepest level since first week of July. 10yr gilt yields saw nearly as strong a move (+10.8bps) with those on shorter-dated 2yr gilts (+10.7bps) hitting their highest level (0.386%) since the pandemic began.That came on the back of the BoE’s latest policy decision, which pointed in a hawkish direction, building on the comment in the August statement that “some modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period is likely to be necessary” by saying that “some developments during the intervening period appear to have strengthened that case”. The statement pointed out that the rise in gas prices since August represented an upside risks to their inflation projections from next April, and the MPC’s vote also saw 2 members (up from 1 in August) vote to dial back QE. See DB’s Sanjay Raja’s revised rate hike forecasts here. We now expect a 15bps hike in February. The generalised move saw yields in other European countries rise as well, with those on 10yr bunds (+6.6bps), OATs (+6.5bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all seeing big moves higher with 10yr bunds seeing their biggest climb since late-February and back to early-July levels as -0.258%. The yield rise didn’t stop equity indices recovering further from Monday’s rout, with the S&P 500 up +1.21% as the index marked its best performance in over 2 months, and its best 2-day performance since May. Despite the mood at the end of the weekend, the S&P now starts Friday in positive territory for the week. The rally yesterday was led by cyclicals for a second straight day with higher commodity prices driving outsized gains for energy (+3.41%) and materials (+1.39%) stocks, and the aforementioned higher yields causing banks (+3.37%) and diversified financials (+2.35%) to outperform. The reopening trade was the other main beneficiary as airlines rose +2.99% and consumer services, which include hotel and cruiseline companies, gained +1.92%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.93%) witnessed a similarly strong performance, with index led by banks (+2.16%). As a testament to the breadth of yesterday’s rally, the travel and leisure sector (+0.04%) was the worst performing sector on this side of the Atlantic even while registering a small gain and lagging its US counterparts. Before we get onto some of yesterday’s other events, it’s worth noting that this is actually the last EMR before the German election on Sunday, which has long been signposted as one of the more interesting macro events on the 2021 calendar, the results of which will play a key role in not just domestic, but also EU policy. And with Chancellor Merkel stepping down after four terms in office, this means that the country will soon be under new management irrespective of who forms a government afterwards. It’s been a volatile campaign in many respects, with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Greens and the centre-left SPD all having been in the lead at various points over the last six months. But for the last month Politico’s Poll of Polls has shown the SPD consistently ahead, with their tracker currently putting them on 25%, ahead of the CDU/CSU on 22% and the Greens on 16%. However the latest poll from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen yesterday suggested a tighter race with the SPD at 25, the CDU/CSU at 23% and the Greens at 16.5%. If the actual results are in line with the recent averages, it would certainly mark a sea change in German politics, as it would be the first time that the SPD have won the popular vote since the 2002 election. Furthermore, it would be the CDU/CSU’s worst ever result, and mark the first time in post-war Germany that the two main parties have failed to win a majority of the vote between them, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties in the rest of continental Europe. For the Greens, 15% would be their best ever score, and exceed the 9% they got back in 2017 that left them in 6th place, but it would also be a disappointment relative to their high hopes back in the spring, when they were briefly polling in the mid-20s after Annalena Baerbock was selected as their Chancellor candidate. In terms of when to expect results, the polls close at 17:00 London time, with initial exit polls released immediately afterwards. However, unlike the UK, where a new majority government can immediately come to power the day after the election, the use of proportional representation in Germany means that it could potentially be weeks or months before a new government is formed. Indeed, after the last election in September 2017, it wasn’t until March 2018 that the new grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD took office, after attempts to reach a “Jamaica” coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens was unsuccessful. In the meantime, the existing government will act as a caretaker administration. On the policy implications, it will of course depend on what sort of government is actually formed, but our research colleagues in Frankfurt have produced a comprehensive slidepack (link here) running through what the different parties want across a range of policies, and what the likely coalitions would mean for Germany. They also put out another note yesterday (link here) where they point out that there’s still much to play for, with the SPD’s lead inside the margin of error and with an unusually high share of yet undecided voters. Moving on to Asia and markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+2.04%), CSI (+0.53%) and India’s Nifty (+0.52%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.03%), Shanghai Comp (-0.07%) and Kospi (-0.10%) have all made small moves lower. Meanwhile, the Evergrande group missed its dollar bond coupon payment yesterday and so far there has been no communication from the group on this. They have a 30-day grace period to make the payment before any event of default can be declared. This follows instructions from China’s Financial regulators yesterday in which they urged the group to take all measures possible to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds while focusing on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors. Yields on Australia and New Zealand’s 10y sovereign bonds are up +14.5bps and +11.3bps respectively this morning after yesterday’s move from their western counterparts. Yields on 10y USTs are also up a further +1.1bps to 1.443%. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.04% while those on the Stoxx 50 are down -0.10%. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s August CPI printed at -0.4% yoy (vs. -0.3% yoy expected) while core was unchanged in line with expectations. We also received Japan’s flash PMIs with the services reading at 47.4 (vs. 42.9 last month) while the manufacturing reading came in at 51.2 (vs. 52.7 last month). In pandemic related news, Jiji reported that Japan is planning to conduct trials of easing Covid restrictions, with 13 prefectures indicating they’d like to participate. This is likely contributing to the outperformance of the Nikkei this morning. Back to yesterday now, and one of the main highlights came from the flash PMIs, which showed a continued deceleration in growth momentum across Europe and the US, and also underwhelmed relative to expectations. Running through the headline numbers, the Euro Area composite PMI fell to 56.1 (vs. 58.5 expected), which is the lowest figure since April, as both the manufacturing (58.7 vs 60.3 expected) and services (56.3 vs. 58.5 expected) came in beneath expectations. Over in the US, the composite PMI fell to 54.5 in its 4th consecutive decline, as the index hit its lowest level in a year, while the UK’s composite PMI at 54.1 (vs. 54.6 expected) was the lowest since February when the country was still in a nationwide lockdown. Risk assets seemed unperturbed by the readings, and commodities actually took another leg higher as they rebounded from their losses at the start of the week. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot index rose +1.12% as Brent crude oil (+1.39%) closed at $77.25/bbl, which marked its highest closing level since late 2018, while WTI (+1.07%) rose to $73.30/bbl, so still a bit beneath its recent peak in July. However that is a decent rebound of roughly $11/bbl since its recent low just over a month ago. Elsewhere, gold (-1.44%) took a knock amidst the sharp move higher in yields, while European natural gas prices subsidised for a third day running, with futures now down -8.5% from their intraday peak on Tuesday, although they’re still up by +71.3% since the start of August. US negotiations regarding the upcoming funding bill and raising the debt ceiling are ongoing, with House Speaker Pelosi saying that the former, also called a continuing resolution, will pass “both houses by September 30,” and fund the government through the first part of the fiscal year, starting October 1. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the US will likely breach the debt ceiling sometime in the next month if Congress does not increase the level, and because Republicans are unwilling to vote to raise the ceiling, Democrats will have to use the once-a-fiscal-year tool of budget reconciliation to do so. However Democrats, are also using that process for the $3.5 trillion dollar economic plan that makes up the bulk of the Biden agenda, and have not been able to get full party support yet. During a joint press conference with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said that Democrats have a “framework” to pay for the Biden Economic agenda, which would imply that the broad outline of a deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. However, no specifics were mentioned yesterday. With Democrats looking to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week, negotiations today and this weekend on the potential reconciliation package will be vital. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through September 18 unexpectedly rose to 351k (vs. 320k expected), which is the second week running they’ve come in above expectations. Separately, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index fell to 0.29 in August (vs. 0.50 expected), and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index also fell more than expected to 22 in September (vs. 25 expected). To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany for September, along with Italian consumer confidence for September and US new home sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming Despite today's looming hawkish FOMC meeting in which Powell is widely expected to unveil that tapering is set to begin as soon as November and where the Fed's dot plot may signal one rate hike in 2022, futures climbed as investor concerns over China's Evergrande eased after the property developer negotiated a domestic bond payment deal. Commodities rallied while the dollar was steady. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 flipped from losses to gains as China’s central bank boosted liquidity when it injected a gross 120BN in yuan, the most since January... ... and investors mulled a vaguely-worded statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment.  S&P 500 E-minis were up 23.0 points, or 0.53%, at 7:30 a.m. ET. Dow E-minis were up 199 points, or 0.60%, and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 44.00 points, or 0.29%. Among individual stocks, Fedex fell 5.8% after the delivery company cut its profit outlook on higher costs and stalled growth in shipments. Morgan Stanley says it sees the company’s 1Q issues getting “tougher from here.” Commodity-linked oil and metal stocks led gains in premarket trade, while a slight rise in Treasury yields supported major banks. However, most sectors were nursing steep losses in recent sessions. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers: Adobe (ADBE US) down 3.1% after 3Q update disappointed the high expectations of investors, though the broader picture still looks solid, Morgan Stanley said in a note Freeport McMoRan (FCX US), Cleveland- Cliffs (CLF US), Alcoa (AA US) and U.S. Steel (X US) up 2%-3% premarket, following the path of global peers as iron ore prices in China rallied Aethlon Medical (AEMD US) and Exela Technologies (XELAU US) advance along with other retail traders’ favorites in the U.S. premarket session. Aethlon jumps 21%; Exela up 8.3% Other so-called meme stocks also rise: ContextLogic +1%; Clover Health +0.9%; Naked Brand +0.9%; AMC +0.5% ReWalk Robotics slumps 18% in U.S. premarket trading, a day after nearly doubling in value Stitch Fix (SFIX US) rises 15.7% in light volume after the personal styling company’s 4Q profit and sales blew past analysts’ expectations Hyatt Hotels (H US) seen opening lower after the company launches a seven-million-share stock offering Summit Therapeutics (SMMT US) shares fell as much as 17% in Tuesday extended trading after it said the FDA doesn’t agree with the change to the primary endpoint that has been implemented in the ongoing Phase III Ri-CoDIFy studies when combining the studies Marin Software (MRIN US) surged more than 75% Tuesday postmarket after signing a new revenue-sharing agreement with Google to develop its enterprise technology platforms and software products The S&P 500 had fallen for 10 of the past 12 sessions since hitting a record high, as fears of an Evergrande default exacerbated seasonally weak trends and saw investors pull out of stocks trading at lofty valuations. The Nasdaq fell the least among its peers in recent sessions, as investors pivoted back into big technology names that had proven resilient through the pandemic. Focus now turns to the Fed's decision, due at 2 p.m. ET where officials are expected to signal a start to scaling down monthly bond purchases (see our preview here).  The Fed meeting comes after a period of market volatility stoked by Evergrande’s woes. China’s wider property-sector curbs are also feeding into concerns about a slowdown in the economic recovery from the pandemic. “Chair Jerome Powell could hint at the tapering approaching shortly,” said Sébastien Barbé, a strategist at Credit Agricole CIB. “However, given the current uncertainty factors (China property market, Covid, pace of global slowdown), the Fed should remain cautious when it comes to withdrawing liquidity support.” Meanwhile, confirming what Ray Dalio said that the taper will just bring more QE, Governing Council member Madis Muller said the  European Central Bank may boost its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end. “Dovish signals could unwind some of the greenback’s gains while offering relief to stock markets,” Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group, wrote in emailed comments. A “hawkish shift would jolt markets, potentially pushing Treasury yields and the dollar past the upper bound of recent ranges, while gold and equities would sell off hunting down the next levels of support.” China avoided a major selloff as trading resumed following a holiday, after the country’s central bank boosted its injection of short-term cash into the financial system. MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index declined for a third day, dragged lower by Japan. Stocks were also higher in Europe. Basic resources - which bounced from a seven month low - and energy were among the leading gainers in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as commodity prices steadied after Beijing moved to contain fears of a spiraling debt crisis. Entain Plc rose more than 7%, extending Tuesday’s gain as it confirmed it received a takeover proposal from DraftKings Inc. Peer Flutter Entertainment Plc climbed after settling a legal dispute.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entain shares jump as much as 11% after DraftKings Inc. offered to acquire the U.K. gambling company for about $22.4 billion. Vivendi rises as much as 3.1% in Paris, after Tuesday’s spinoff of Universal Music Group. Legrand climbs as much as 2.1% after Exane BNP Paribas upgrades to outperform and raises PT to a Street-high of EU135. Orpea shares falls as much as 2.9%, after delivering 1H results that Jefferies (buy) says were a “touch” below consensus. Bechtle slides as much as 5.1% after Metzler downgrades to hold from buy, saying persistent supply chain problems seem to be weighing on growth. Sopra Steria drops as much as 4.1% after Stifel initiates coverage with a sell, citing caution on company’s M&A strategy Despite the Evergrande announcement, Asian stocks headed for their longest losing streak in more than a month amid continued China-related concerns, with traders also eying policy decisions from major central banks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 0.7% in its third day of declines, with TSMC and Keyence the biggest drags. China’s CSI 300 tumbled as much as 1.9% as the local market reopened following a two-day holiday. However, the gauge came off lows after an Evergrande unit said it will make a bond interest payment and as China’s central bank boosted liquidity.  Taiwan’s equity benchmark led losses in Asia on Wednesday, dragged by TSMC after a two-day holiday, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed. Key stock gauges in Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam rose “A liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China accompanied the Evergrande announcement, which only served to bolster sentiment further,” according to DailyFX’s Thomas Westwater and Daniel Dubrovsky. “For now, it appears that market-wide contagion risk linked to a potential Evergrande collapse is off the table.” Japanese equities fell for a second day amid global concern over China’s real-estate sector, as the Bank of Japan held its key stimulus tools in place while flagging pressures on the economy. Electronics makers were the biggest drag on the Topix, which declined 1%. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.7% loss in the Nikkei 225. The BOJ had been expected to maintain its policy levers ahead of next week’s key ruling party election. Traders are keenly awaiting the Federal Reserve’s decision due later for clues on the U.S. central banks plan for tapering stimulus. “Markets for some time have been convinced that the BOJ has reached the end of the line on normalization and will remain in a holding pattern on policy until at least April 2023 when Governor Kuroda is scheduled to leave,” UOB economist Alvin Liew wrote in a note. “Attention for the BOJ will now likely shift to dealing with the long-term climate change issues.” In the despotic lockdown regime that is Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,296.90, reversing an early decline in a rally led by mining and energy stocks. Banks closed lower for the fourth day in a row. Champion Iron was among the top performers after it was upgraded at Citi. IAG was among the worst performers after an earthquake caused damage to buildings in Melbourne. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3% to 13,215.80 In FX, commodity currencies rallied as concerns about China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles eased as China’s central bank boosted liquidity and investors reviewed a statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment. Overnight implied volatility on the pound climbed to the highest since March ahead of Bank of England’s meeting on Thursday. The British pound weakened after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warnedthat people should prepare for longer-term high energy prices amid a natural-gas shortage that sent power costs soaring. Several U.K. power firms have stopped taking in new clients as small energy suppliers struggle to meet their previous commitments to sell supplies at lower prices. Overnight volatility in the euro rises above 10% for the first time since July ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision announcement. The Aussie jumped as much as 0.5% as iron-ore prices rebounded. Spot surged through option-related selling at 0.7240 before topping out near 0.7265 strikes expiring Wednesday, according to Asia- based FX traders.  Elsewhere, the yen weakened and commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar pushed higher. In rates, the dollar weakened against most of its Group-of-10 peers. Treasury futures were under modest pressure in early U.S. trading, leaving yields cheaper by ~1.5bp from belly to long-end of the curve. The 10-year yield was at ~1.336% steepening the 2s10s curve by ~1bp as the front-end was little changed. Improved risk appetite weighed; with stock futures have recovering much of Tuesday’s losses as Evergrande concerns subside. Focal point for Wednesday’s session is FOMC rate decision at 2pm ET.   FOMC is expected to suggest it will start scaling back asset purchases later this year, while its quarterly summary of economic projections reveals policy makers’ expectations for the fed funds target in coming years in the dot-plot update; eurodollar positions have emerged recently that anticipate a hawkish shift Bitcoin dropped briefly below $40,000 for the first time since August amid rising criticism from regulators, before rallying as the mood in global markets improved. In commodities, Iron ore halted its collapse and metals steadied. Oil advanced for a second day. Bitcoin slid below $40,000 for the first time since early August before rebounding back above $42,000.   To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 4,362.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 461.19 MXAP down 0.7% to 199.29 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 638.39 Nikkei down 0.7% to 29,639.40 Topix down 1.0% to 2,043.55 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 24,221.54 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,628.49 Sensex little changed at 59,046.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,296.94 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,140.51 Brent Futures up 1.5% to $75.47/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,775.15 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.26 German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to -0.319% Euro little changed at $1.1725 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg What would it take to knock the U.S. recovery off course and send Federal Reserve policy makers back to the drawing board? Not much — and there are plenty of candidates to deliver the blow The European Central Bank will discuss boosting its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end, but any such increase is uncertain, Governing Council member Madis Muller said Investors seeking hints about how Beijing plans to deal with China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis are training their cross hairs on the central bank’s liquidity management A quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed as caution lingered ahead of upcoming risk events including the FOMC, with participants also digesting the latest Evergrande developments and China’s return to the market from the Mid-Autumn Festival. ASX 200 (+0.3%) was positive with the index led higher by the energy sector after a rebound in oil prices and as tech also outperformed, but with gains capped by weakness in the largest-weighted financials sector including Westpac which was forced to scrap the sale of its Pacific businesses after failing to secure regulatory approval. Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) was subdued amid the lack of fireworks from the BoJ announcement to keep policy settings unchanged and ahead of the upcoming holiday closure with the index only briefly supported by favourable currency outflows. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) was initially pressured on return from the long-weekend and with Hong Kong markets closed, but pared losses with risk appetite supported by news that Evergrande’s main unit Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow, although other sources noted this is referring to the onshore bond payments valued around USD 36mln and that there was no mention of the offshore bond payments valued at USD 83.5mln which are also due tomorrow. Meanwhile, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection and provided no surprises in keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged for the 17th consecutive month at 3.85% and 4.65%, respectively. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid the absence of any major surprises from the BoJ policy announcement and following the choppy trade in T-notes which were briefly pressured in a knee-jerk reaction to the news that Evergrande’s unit will satisfy its coupon obligations tomorrow, but then faded most of the losses as cautiousness prevailed. Top Asian News Gold Steady as Traders Await Outcome of Fed Policy Meeting Evergrande Filing on Yuan Bond Interest Leaves Analysts Guessing Singapore Category E COE Price Rises to Highest Since April 2014 Asian Stocks Fall for Third Day as Focus Turns to Central Banks European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.5%) trade on a firmer footing in the wake of an encouraging APAC handover. Focus overnight was on the return of Chinese participants from the Mid-Autumn Festival and news that Evergrande’s main unit, Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow; however, we await indication as to whether they will meet Thursday’s offshore payment deadline as well. Furthermore, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection whilst keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged (as expected). Note, despite gaining yesterday and today, thus far, the Stoxx 600 is still lower to the tune of 0.7% on the week. Stateside, futures are also trading on a firmer footing ahead of today’s FOMC policy announcement, at which, market participants will be eyeing any clues for when the taper will begin and digesting the latest dot plot forecasts. Furthermore, the US House voted to pass the bill to fund the government through to December 3rd and suspend the debt limit to end-2022, although this will likely be blocked by Senate Republicans. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly firmer with outperformance in Basic Resources and Oil & Gas amid upside in the metals and energy complex. Elsewhere, Travel & Leisure is faring well amid further upside in Entain (+6.1%) with the Co. noting it rejected an earlier approach from DraftKings at GBP 25/shr with the new offer standing at GBP 28/shr. Additionally for the sector, Flutter Entertainment (+4.1%) are trading higher after settling the legal dispute between the Co. and Commonwealth of Kentucky. Elsewhere, in terms of deal flow, Iliad announced that it is to acquire UPC Poland for around USD 1.8bln. Top European News Energy Cost Spike Gets on EU Ministers’ Green Deal Agenda Travel Startup HomeToGo Gains in Frankfurt Debut After SPAC Deal London Stock Exchange to Shut Down CurveGlobal Exchange EU Banks Expected to Add Capital for Climate Risk, EBA Says In FX, trade remains volatile as this week’s deluge of global Central Bank policy meetings continues to unfold amidst fluctuations in broad risk sentiment from relatively pronounced aversion at various stages to a measured and cautious pick-up in appetite more recently. Hence, the tide is currently turning in favour of activity, cyclical and commodity currencies, albeit tentatively in the run up to the Fed, with the Kiwi and Aussie trying to regroup on the 0.7000 handle and 0.7350 axis against their US counterpart, and the latter also striving to shrug off negative domestic impulses like a further decline below zero in Westpac’s leading index and an earthquake near Melbourne. Next up for Nzd/Usd and Aud/Usd, beyond the FOMC, trade data and preliminary PMIs respectively. DXY/CHF/EUR/CAD - Notwithstanding the overall improvement in market tone noted above, or another major change in mood and direction, the Dollar index appears to have found a base just ahead of 93.000 and ceiling a similar distance away from 93.500, as it meanders inside those extremes awaiting US existing home sales that are scheduled for release before the main Fed events (policy statement, SEP and post-meeting press conference from chair Powell). Indeed, the Franc, Euro and Loonie have all recoiled into tighter bands vs the Greenback, between 0.9250-26, 1.1739-17 and 1.2831-1.2770, but with the former still retaining an underlying bid more evident in the Eur/Chf cross that is consolidating under 1.0850 and will undoubtedly be acknowledged by the SNB tomorrow. Meanwhile, Eur/Usd has hardly reacted to latest ECB commentary from Muller underpinning that the APP is likely to be boosted once the PEPP envelope is closed, though Usd/Cad is eyeing a firm rebound in oil prices in conjunction with hefty option expiry interest at the 1.2750 strike (1.8 bn) that may prevent the headline pair from revisiting w-t-d lows not far beneath the half round number. GBP/JPY - The major laggards, as Sterling slips slightly further beneath 1.3650 against the Buck to a fresh weekly low and Eur/Gbp rebounds from circa 0.8574 to top 0.8600 on FOMC day and T-1 to super BoE Thursday. Elsewhere, the Yen has lost momentum after peaking around 109.12 and still not garnering sufficient impetus to test 109.00 via an unchanged BoJ in terms of all policy settings and guidance, as Governor Kuroda trotted out the no hesitation to loosen the reins if required line for the umpteenth time. However, Usd/Jpy is holding around 109.61 and some distance from 1.1 bn option expiries rolling off between 109.85-110.00 at the NY cut. SCANDI/EM - Brent’s revival to Usd 75.50+/brl from sub-Usd 73.50 only yesterday has given the Nok another fillip pending confirmation of a Norges Bank hike tomorrow, while the Zar has regained some poise with the aid of firmer than forecast SA headline and core CPI alongside a degree of retracement following Wednesday’s breakdown of talks on a pay deal for engineering workers that prompted the union to call a strike from early October. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny by default have regrouped amidst reports that the CCP is finalising details to restructure Evergrande into 3 separate entities under a plan that will see the Chinese Government take control. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer this morning though once again fresh newsflow for the complex has been relatively slim and largely consisting of gas-related commentary; as such, the benchmarks are taking their cue from the broader risk tone (see equity section). The improvement in sentiment today has brought WTI and Brent back in proximity to being unchanged on the week so far as a whole; however, the complex will be dictated directly by the EIA weekly inventory first and then indirectly, but perhaps more pertinently, by today’s FOMC. On the weekly inventories, last nights private release was a larger than expected draw for the headline and distillate components, though the Cushing draw was beneath expectations; for today, consensus is a headline draw pf 2.44mln. Moving to metals where the return of China has seen a resurgence for base metals with LME copper posting upside of nearly 3.0%, for instance. Albeit there is no fresh newsflow for the complex as such, so it remains to be seen how lasting this resurgence will be. Finally, spot gold and silver are firmer but with the magnitude once again favouring silver over the yellow metal. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.7%, prior 2.0% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Rate Decision (Lower Boun, est. 0%, prior 0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap All eyes firmly on China this morning as it reopens following a 2-day holiday. As expected the indices there have opened lower but the scale of the declines are being softened by the PBoC increasing its short term cash injections into the economy. They’ve added a net CNY 90bn into the system. On Evergrande, we’ve also seen some positive headlines as the property developers’ main unit Hengda Real Estate Group has said that it will make coupon payment for an onshore bond tomorrow. However, the exchange filing said that the interest payment “has been resolved via negotiations with bondholders off the clearing house”. This is all a bit vague and doesn’t mention the dollar bond at this stage. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that Chinese authorities have begun to lay the groundwork for a potential restructuring that could be one of the country’s biggest, assembling accounting and legal experts to examine the finances of the group. All this follows news from Bloomberg yesterday that Evergrande missed interest payments that had been due on Monday to at least two banks. In terms of markets the CSI (-1.11%), Shanghai Comp (-0.29%) and Shenzhen Comp (-0.53%) are all lower but have pared back deeper losses from the open. We did a flash poll in the CoTD yesterday (link here) and after over 700 responses in a couple of hours we found only 8% who we thought Evergrande would still be impacting financial markets significantly in a month’s time. 24% thought it would be slightly impacting. The other 68% thought limited or no impact. So the world is relatively relaxed about contagion risk for now. The bigger risk might be the knock on impact of weaker Chinese growth. So that’s one to watch even if you’re sanguine on the systemic threat. Craig Nicol in my credit team did a good note yesterday (link here) looking at the contagion risk to the broader HY market. I thought he summed it up nicely as to why we all need to care one way or another in saying that “Evergrande is the largest corporate, in the largest sector, of the second largest economy in the world”. For context AT&T is the largest corporate borrower in the US market and VW the largest in Europe. Turning back to other Asian markets now and the Nikkei (-0.65%) is down but the Hang Seng (+0.51%) and Asx (+0.58%) are up. South Korean markets continue to remain closed for a holiday. Elsewhere, yields on 10y USTs are trading flattish while futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.10% and those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.21%. Crude oil prices are also up c.+1% this morning. In other news, the Bank of Japan policy announcement overnight was a non-event as the central bank maintained its yield curve target while keeping the policy rate and asset purchases plan unchanged. The central bank also unveiled more details of its green lending program and said that it would immediately start accepting applications and would begin making the loans in December. The relatively calm Asian session follows a stabilisation in markets yesterday following their rout on Monday as investors looked forward to the outcome of the Fed’s meeting later today. That said, it was hardly a resounding performance, with the S&P 500 unable to hold on to its intraday gains and ending just worse than unchanged after the -1.70% decline the previous day as investors remained vigilant as to the array of risks that continue to pile up on the horizon. One of these is in US politics and legislators seem no closer to resolving the various issues surrounding a potential government shutdown at the end of the month, along with a potential debt ceiling crisis in October, which is another flashing alert on the dashboard for investors that’s further contributing to weaker sentiment right now. Looking ahead now, today’s main highlight will be the latest Federal Reserve decision along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference, with the policy decision out at 19:00 London time. Markets have been on edge for any clues about when the Fed might begin to taper asset purchases, but concern about tapering actually being announced at this meeting has dissipated over recent weeks, particularly after the most recent nonfarm payrolls in August came in at just +235k, and the monthly CPI print also came in beneath consensus expectations for the first time since November. In terms of what to expect, our US economists write in their preview (link here) that they see the statement adopting Chair Powell’s language that a reduction in the pace of asset purchases is appropriate “this year”, so long as the economy remains on track. They see Powell maintaining optionality about the exact timing of that announcement, but they think that the message will effectively be that the bar to pushing the announcement beyond November is relatively high in the absence of any material downside surprises. This meeting also sees the release of the FOMC’s latest economic projections and the dot plot, where they expect there’ll be an upward drift in the dots that raises the number of rate hikes in 2023 to 3, followed by another 3 increases in 2024. Back to yesterday, and as mentioned US equity markets fell for a second straight day after being unable to hold on to earlier gains, with the S&P 500 slightly lower (-0.08%). High-growth industries outperformed with biotech (+0.38%) and semiconductors (+0.18%) leading the NASDAQ (+0.22%) slightly higher, however the Dow Jones (-0.15%) also struggled. Europe saw a much stronger performance though as much of the US decline came after Europe had closed. The STOXX 600 gained +1.00% to erase most of Monday’s losses, with almost every sector in the index ending the day in positive territory. With risk sentiment improving for much of the day yesterday, US Treasuries sold off slightly and by the close of trade yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +1.2bps to 1.3226%, thanks to a +1.8bps increase in real yields. However, sovereign bonds in Europe told a different story as yields on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-0.3bps) and BTPs (-1.9bps) moved lower. Other safe havens including gold (+0.59%) and silver (+1.02%) also benefited, but this wasn’t reflected across commodities more broadly, with Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (-0.30%) losing ground for a 4th consecutive session. Democratic Party leaders plan to vote on the Senate-approved $500bn bipartisan infrastructure bill next Monday, even with no resolution to the $3.5tr budget reconciliation measure that encompasses the remainder of the Biden Administration’s economic agenda. Democrats continue to work on the reconciliation measure but have turned their attention to the debt ceiling and government funding bills.Congress has fewer than two weeks before the current budget expires – on Oct 1 – to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. Republicans yesterday noted that the Democrats could raise the ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, with many saying that they would not be offering their support to any funding bill. Democrats continue to push for a bipartisan bill to raise the debt ceiling, pointing to their votes during the Trump administration. If Democrats are forced to tie the debt ceiling and funding bills to budget reconciliation, it could limit how much of the $3.5 trillion bill survives the last minute negotiations between progressives and moderates. More to come over the next 10 days. Staying on the US, there was an important announcement in President Biden’s speech at the UN General Assembly, as he said that he would work with Congress to double US funding to poorer nations to deal with climate change. That comes as UK Prime Minister Johnson (with the UK hosting the COP26 summit in less than 6 weeks’ time) has been lobbying other world leaders to find the $100bn per year that developed economies pledged by 2020 to support developing countries as they reduce their emissions and deal with climate change. In Germany, there are just 4 days to go now until the federal election, and a Forsa poll out yesterday showed a slight narrowing in the race, with the centre-left SPD remaining on 25%, but the CDU/CSU gained a point on last week to 22%, which puts them within the +/- 2.5 point margin of error. That narrowing has been seen in Politico’s Poll of Polls as well, with the race having tightened from a 5-point SPD lead over the CDU/CSU last week to a 3-point one now. Turning to the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson reported that their booster shot given 8 weeks after the first offered 100% protection against severe disease, 94% protection against symptomatic Covid in the US, and 75% against symptomatic Covid globally. Speaking of boosters, Bloomberg reported that the FDA was expected to decide as soon as today on a recommendation for Pfizer’s booster vaccine. That follows an FDA advisory panel rejecting a booster for all adults last Friday, restricting the recommendation to those over-65 and other high-risk categories. Staying with the US and vaccines, President Biden announced that the US was ordering 500mn doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be exported to the rest of the world. On the data front, there were some strong US housing releases for August, with housing starts up by an annualised 1.615m (vs. 1.55m expected), and building permits up by 1.728m (vs. 1.6m expected). Separately, the OECD released their Interim Economic Outlook, which saw them upgrade their inflation expectations for the G20 this year to +3.7% (up +0.2ppts from May) and for 2022 to +3.9% (up +0.5ppts from May). Their global growth forecast saw little change at +5.7% in 2021 (down a tenth) and +4.5% for 2022 (up a tenth). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 08:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Why Netflix (NFLX) Nosedived on Friday

Shares of streaming giant Netflix (NFLX) closed down almost 22% on Friday as investors digested its latest quarterly earnings report. Shares of streaming giant Netflix NFLX closed down almost 22% on Friday as investors digested its latest quarterly earnings report. NFLX declined as much as 24% earlier in the session.Even though Netflix beat estimates on the top and bottom line, as well as expectations for user numbers, the company quietly conceded that other streaming competition has begun to impact subscriber growth.“While this added competition may be affecting our marginal growth some, we continue to grow in every country and region in which these new streaming alternatives have launched,” the company said in its shareholder letter on Thursday.Market watchers viewed this as a bold declaration since Netflix always dismissed their streaming peers in the past.Wall Street is even feeling less confident about NFLX. KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts lowered their rating from Overweight to Sector Weight, while Piper Sandler analysts maintained an Overweight rating but cut its price target from $705 to $562 per share.Netflix also just hiked prices in the U.S. and Canada last week—it raised the price of its standard plan from $13.99 to $15.49 a month, making it more expensive than HBOMax—which may now be a gamble that is trickier to pay off.The company’s content, however, is still extremely popular. Six of the 10 most searched shows in 2021 were on Netflix, and it had the year’s biggest hit in Squid Game.NFLX is a #3 (Hold) on the Zacks Rank, with a current market cap of $176 billion. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Netflix, Inc. (NFLX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJan 21st, 2022

With the State of the World in the Hands of Big Business, Some Executives Think It Can Pay to Do Good

As global leaders discuss how to build a better future in a post-pandemic world, business executives weigh profits and purpose Even by the pandemic’s standards of Zoom fatigue, the hours-long virtual meeting one Sunday in March 2021 was draining. Around 2 a.m., the board members of the global food giant Danone finally wound down their fractious arguments, and announced they had fired the company’s CEO and chairman Emmanuel Faber—a stunningly swift end to his 24 years at the company. The ouster of an executive at a Paris-based multinational might have been a passing, internal disruption, but for one fact: Faber had become a champion among environmentalists and climate activists for having turned Danone into a company that focused not only on making money and increasing its share price, but also on trying to remake the agricultural business, an industry with a far-reaching impact on the environment. Faber had in 2020 declared Danone—maker of products like Activia and Actimel yogurts, and Evian water—France’s first enterprise à mission, a public company whose goals included targets aimed at bettering the world, akin to an American B Corp. Inserting climate change into Danone’s core strategy, Faber introduced a so-called carbon-adjusted earnings-per-share indicator, measuring the company’s value not only by its profits and revenues—as virtually every business in the world does—but by its environmental footprint too. The slogan he devised: “One planet, one health.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] His firing was also one sucker punch, which Faber says felt like being cast adrift, or “leaving your family,” as he put it to TIME. The reasons were complex, including the fact that the company’s share price on the stock markets—the financial world’s key measure of success—had risen a minuscule 2.7% in Faber’s six years in charge, compared with the rocketing growth of Danone’s competitors Unilever and Nestlé. Its revenues plummeted during work-from-home lockdowns, too, when items like bottled water were suddenly less relevant. Even so, Faber’s departure provoked a deeper question, one that lingers nearly a year later: Do CEOs risk a backlash from their investors if they make a point of putting the planet’s health above purely financial returns? Answering that question could hardly be more urgent. An ever growing share of the global economy is in the hands of private business. By 2021, businesses accounted for 72% of the economic output in major industrial countries—triple what they did 60 years before—and, of that, more than one-third of the gross value comes from just 5,000 companies, like Danone, with revenues topping $1 billion, according to a study by the intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the consultancy McKinsey. How those companies succeed in cutting their carbon emissions—or in tackling problems like human-rights abuses, inequality or racial justice—will have a significant impact on the state of the world, for better or worse. Of the 2,000 companies analyzed by the organization Net Zero Tracker, 682 have declared target dates by which they aim to zero out their carbon emissions. Brands like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have vowed to cut plastic waste, and automakers like GM and Volkswagen say they aim to end the production of fossil-fuel cars within the near future. There are holes in all these promises, but one thing is now clear: for companies, it has become a risk not to make them. The actual debate now is whether tackling those issues—“purpose-driven capitalism,” as it is known—is in sync or in conflict with what businesses have always thought was their main job: making money. Read more: What Kind of Capitalism Do We Want? “People ask me, ‘Is there a dissonance between profits and purpose?’” says Dan Schulman, PayPal’s president and CEO, who has said he aims to bring his social views to the financial tech giant, where he has hiked pay and cut employees’ health care costs. “My view is that profits and purpose are fully linked together,” he tells TIME from his home in Palo Alto, Calif. “We cannot be about just maximizing our profit next quarter. We need to be part of our societies,” he says. “We need to think about the medium term and the long term, and we need to act accordingly.” More and more business leaders have begun to echo that opinion. Those voices were especially loud during the months leading up to the COP26 climate talks last fall, when corporate executives and government officials converged in Glasgow for the biggest such negotiations ever. In advance of the gathering, hundreds of companies raced to declare commitments to environmental and social issues, and to set net-zero targets. Net zero is a mammoth job. Take, for example, the oil major BP, whose CEO Bernard Looney became one of the first fossil-fuel executives, in February 2020, to declare a net-zero goal for the company (its target date is 2050); BP alone adds a huge 415 million metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere each year, all of which, according to Looney, the company intends to zero out with oil-production cuts, ramped-up renewable energy and the use of carbon capture—technology, with still uncertain results, that removes carbon from the air. “We’re reallocating capital, we’re restructuring the company,” Looney told TIME during a November interview in his London office. “We are all in on the transition.” It is easy to dismiss the proclamations of corporate executives like Looney—and many surely do. After all, their hugely profitable business operations have clashed with environmentalists for decades; in the run-up to COP26, organizers told oil and gas executives, including Looney, that they could play no formal role in the talks because it was “unclear whether their commitments stack up yet.” Plus, despite all the talk of purpose-driven business, the world has yet to invent any sure way to measure whether companies in fact make good on their environmental commitments. “There is no universally agreed system,” says Ian Goldin, professor of globalization at Oxford University. “The counting relies on self-reporting.” That system is deeply faulty at a time when companies are making promises about limited solutions like carbon capture or committing to planting billions of trees in order to “offset” their emissions. “You say you’re planting a forest, or the airline is offsetting your air miles,” Goldin says. “Is anyone tracking if that forest is there? Has someone also claimed that forest? There is no system in place that has accountability to it.” Read More: As More Companies Make Net-Zero Pledges, Some Aren’t as Good as They Sound And yet the fact that so many corporate executives feel compelled to make such statements signals just how drastically the climate crisis and social upheavals have impacted business decisions within a very brief period of time. The onrush seemed to begin in earnest in January 2020, when Larry Fink, head of BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset-management company, announced in a letter to CEOs that “climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.” Though that fact seemed obvious to climate activists, the statement was widely regarded in the financial world as a game changer. Fink—whose firm manages close to $10 trillion in assets—was telling companies, and their potential investors, that those without a climate strategy faced a shaky future. “We are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” he wrote. It is no surprise that companies have since rushed to put climate policies in place. “We have seen quite significant commitments made,” says Paul Polman, co-author of the book Net Positive and co-founder of IMAGINE, a sustainability-focused business consultancy based in London. Until three years ago, Polman was CEO of Unilever, the $135 billion consumer-goods behemoth, where he drove a dramatic overhaul of the company, implementing environmental commitments and lobbying officials on issues of poverty and climate. In a move that was hugely controversial at the time, Polman scrapped Unilever’s quarterly earnings reports—standard for publicly traded companies—on his first day in office in 2009, saying the practice forced CEOs into short-term decisions in order to push up share prices, at the expense of longer-term social issues. Although that angered some investors, Polman told Harvard Business Review, “I figured I couldn’t be fired on the first day.” Now, principles for which Polman fought a relatively solitary battle for years have been adopted by countless other business leaders. “There has been more progress in the last year and a half than the previous five years,” he tells TIME. Even Emmanuel Faber still thinks purpose-driven capitalism brings with it more reward than risk. By his telling, his firing had little to do with his environmental commitments. In his mind, it resulted from the intense financial pressure the pandemic brought, which prompted him to impose layoffs and cuts; Danone’s shares sank 27% on the French stock exchange in 2020. Activist shareholders from two funds in London, who together owned less than 4% of Danone, blamed the company’s difficulties on Faber’s management, and they pressed board members to fire him. “The mess in the Danone boardroom is a reminder that distractions from the core goal of making a profit can be dangerous,” the Financial Times opined days after he was fired. Within hours of the meeting, Danone released a statement saying that the board “believes in the necessity of combining high economic performance and the respect of Danone’s unique model of a purpose-driven economy”—perhaps hinting that the high returns were lacking. “A few people saw a window of opportunity at the moment when it was easy to destabilize the governance of the company,” Faber tells TIME, over tea in Paris. “In no way should that discourage progressive CEOs,” he says. “They have, ultimately, the backing of large shareholders.” Mario Fourmy—Sipa/APFaber presents sales results as CEO of Danone in 2019 To Polman, the saga at Danone brought back memories of the battle he fought five years ago, while he was CEO of Unilever. In February 2017, the U.S. conglomerate Kraft Heinz launched a hostile takeover bid worth about $143 billion against his company. Back then, Polman was spending considerable time traveling the world, meeting government officials and NGOs about issues like mass poverty and clean water. “There is no better way than using companies like this to drive development,” Polman told me then, just weeks before Kraft Heinz made its hostile bid. When I asked Polman whether he was prepared to be fired as CEO, if shareholders finally grew tired of his busy social campaigning, he said, “I never wanted to be a CEO, and I don’t really care about that.” Kraft Heinz’s 2017 bid collapsed within days, after most shareholders backed Polman. But five years on, Polman is still deeply marked by the episode, which he says crystallized a fraught conflict within the world’s biggest companies. “These were two opposing economic models,” he says. “One focused on a few billionaires; the other focused on serving billions of people.” He believes Kraft Heinz “would have milked the company.” Both Polman and Faber saw their companies as a means to improve the world, rather than simply profitmaking machines. Yet there were crucial differences between their situations. For one thing, Unilever was able to try save the world while making boatloads of profit; shareholder return was about 290% over Polman’s decade running the company. Danone, by comparison, struggled. That left Faber vulnerable to doubts and hostile challenges, even while he gained fans outside the financial world, and many inside too. Still, not even Polman’s profitable returns at Unilever sheltered him from shareholders growing irked as he focused on campaigning for a better world. British shareholders shot down his plan in 2018 to close Unilever’s London headquarters and consolidate at the company’s other base, the Dutch port of Rotterdam; Polman resigned within months. Read more: Good Intentions Are Not Enough. We Must Reset for a Fairer Future Despite the trend toward purpose-driven capitalism, one fundamental truth remains: companies need to be profitable. “If you go bankrupt, or get taken over, you certainly cannot be investing in the long term,” says Goldin, the Oxford professor, whose 2021 book Rescue examined how businesses have weathered the pandemic. “You need to be successful in the short term to think about the long term,” he says. The optimistic view is that those two needs—short-term profits and long-term vision—might finally be inching closer together, after decades in which the first has dominated the second. One hint is the steep rise in ESG (environmental, social and governance) investment funds that focus on those issues. Even though the vast majority of regular people have little idea of what harm the companies in their pension funds might wreak on the planet or in communities—and it’s still unclear how quickly that might change—the new money plowed into those funds, which claim to be attracting trillions of dollars, more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. And increasingly, CEOs realize they can hire top talent and keep customer loyalty if their companies are seen as championing environmental and social issues. “I am beginning to see more and more shareholders embrace that concept,” says PayPal CEO Schulman. He says that major shareholders had told him in a meeting the previous day that they appreciated the company’s diversity and equity program. “We do it regardless, because it is the right thing to do,” he says. “But it is nice it is being noticed.” —With reporting by Eloise Barry.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 21st, 2022

Inflation In Turkey Explodes To 36.1%, Blowing Away Estimates, As Hyperinflation Sets In

Inflation In Turkey Explodes To 36.1%, Blowing Away Estimates, As Hyperinflation Sets In Think 6.8% CPI is high? Think again: this morning long-suffering Turks living in Erdogan's macroeconomic experiment woke up to learn that the country's annual inflation rate surged to 36.1% last month, its highest in the 19 years Tayyip Erdogan has ruled, blowing away expectations of "only" 27.4%, and laying bare the depths of a currency crisis engineered by the president's unorthodox interest rate-cutting policies. Staples such as transportation and food - which took increasing shares of households' budgets during 2021 - rose even faster In December alone, consumer prices soared by a hyperinflation-like double-digits, rising 13.58%, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Monday, eating deeper into the earnings and savings of Turks ravaged by Erdogan's demented economic turmoil. The surge in prices reflected a more front-loaded exchange rate pass-through than usual triggered by the size of the exchange rate depreciation. However, as Goldman Sachs notes, inflation in categories like services that are typically not as sensitive to the exchange rate rose sharply as well – reflecting the lack of anchoring of inflation expectations. Core inflation also surprised to the upside rising to 31.9% yoy in December from 17.6% yoy in November (consensus 24.3% yoy). Given the upside surprise with mom inflation of 13.6% not seasonally adjusted, Goldman thinks that inflation will rise above 40% in Q1-22 and remain there for most of the year. The explosion in prices is tied to the record drop in Turkey's lira which lost 44% of its value last year as the central bank slashed interest rates under a drive by Erdogan to prioritize credit and exports over currency and price stability. On Monday it whipsawed down 5% then up 3%, before trading flat at 13.2 vs the dollar. Some economists are predicting that inflation will reach as high as 50% by spring unless the direction of monetary policy is reversed, which as Erdogan has made very clear, it won't be, and after the central bank is done blowing tens of billions of dollars it doesn't have to keep the lira from cratering, we expect total currency and economic collapse. "Rates should be immediately and aggressively hiked because this is urgent," said Ozlem Derici Sengul, founding partner at Spinn Consulting in Istanbul. Ozmel will probably be arrested in the next 24-48 hours for pointing out the obvious. The central bank was however unlikely to act, she added, and annual inflation "will probably reach 40-50% by March", by when administered price rises would have been added into the mix, including a 50% minimum wage hike. While last year was the worst for the lira in nearly two decades, while the annual CPI was the highest since the 37.0% reading of September of 2002, two months before Erdogan's AK Party first took office. But Erdogan's focus on Monday was on trade data which showed exports surged by a third to $225 billion last year. "We have only one concern: exports, exports and exports," he said in a speech, adding the trade data showed a sixth-fold rise in exports during his tenure as leader. What Erdogan didn't focus on is that while exports for all of 2021 rose, in December the country's trade deficit exploded by 46%, widening to $6.64BN, as imports rose 29% to $28.9BN, far more than exports which rose just 25% to $22.3BN. In other words, even Erdogan's focus on exporting his way out of the current crisis is starting to fail. Erdogan, a self-declared enemy of interest rates, overhauled the central bank's leadership last year, by which we mean he fired any central bank direct who disagreed with him. The bank has slashed the policy rate to 14% from 19% since September, leaving Turkey with deeply negative real yields that have spooked savers and investors. The subsequent accelerating surge in prices and drop in the lira have also upended household and company budgets, scuttled travel plans and left many Turks scrambling to cut costs. Many queued last month for subsidized bread in Istanbul, where the municipality says the cost of living is up 50% in a year. "We don't sit with our friends in a cafe and drink coffee any more," Mehmet, 26, a university graduate, said as he did his job as a pollster in Istanbul. "We don't go out, just from home to work and back again," he said, adding he was buying smaller meal portions and believed inflation was higher than official data showed. In other words, just like in the US. And just like in the US, the Turkish central bank has idiotically argued that "temporary" factors had been driving prices and forecast a volatile course for inflation, which - having been around 20% in recent months and mostly double-digits over the last five years - it said in October would end the year at 18.4%. Oops. Sengul said that, with Monday's data, that argument was over: "This reflects a vicious cycle of demand-pull inflation, which is very dangerous because the central bank had implied the price pressure was from cost-push (supply constraints), and that it couldn't do anything about it," she said. Reflecting soaring import prices, December's producer price index rose 19.08% month-on-month and 79.89% year on year. Annual transportation prices soared 53.66% while the food and drinks basket jumped 43.8%, the CPI data showed. The economic turmoil has also hit Erdogan's opinion polls ahead of a tough election scheduled for no later than mid-2023. read more The lira touched a record low of 18.4 against the dollar in December before rebounding sharply two weeks ago after state-backed market interventions, and after Erdogan announced a scheme to protect lira deposits against currency volatility. What does all of this mean for the worst performing currency of 2021? Well, at first, the Turkish lira weakened sharply as the market did the only logical thing it can do when hyperinflation sets in - it sold the currency, and in early trading, the lira depreciated as much as 4.5% per U.S. dollar on its first trading day in the new year, extending its losing streak to a sixth day, having given up more than 30% of the gains made after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled a plan on Dec. 20 to bolster the lira by shielding savings held in local currency. However, shortly after the central bank stepped in with yet another ridiculous intervention that cost it about $1 billion (at this rate the central bank will be out of all intervention funding in a few weeks), and the lira reversed losses of as much as 4.5% to gains as much as 3.6%. Unfortunately for Erdogan, such day-to-day attempts to crush the shorts will only work for a few days, and as Goldman wrote today, the bank continues to believe that the current interest rate policy with rates of 14% supported by administrative and quasi fiscal measures will not succeed in stabilizing the TRY sustainably. And while Goldman's forecast is for rates to rise sharply in Q2-22 the bank's Turkish strategist admitted that his "confidence is not high in this call" given that the authorities continue to prefer non-standard policy choices to attempt to stabilize the TRY. As a result, the most likely outcome is that the currency will soon retest - and breach - its all time lows as the Turkish economy sinks into the hyperinflationary mire. Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 10:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

Futures, Global Markets Start 2022 With A Bang

Futures, Global Markets Start 2022 With A Bang If 2021 ended with a whimper, then 2022 is starting off with a bang, as futures on all major U.S. equity indexes rise on the first trading day of the year amid light volumes with markets including the U.K., Japan China, Australia and New Zealand closed for holidays. Europe’s Stoxx 600 rose 0.6%. In Hong Kong, property shares dropped and China Evergrande Group halted trading without an explanation. The dollar rose, as did bond yields and bitcoin, while oil erased earlier gains.  At 745am, emini S&P futures traded 29 points, or 0.61% higher, and rising as high as 4,790, just inches away from all time highs of 4,799.75; Dow futs were 172 points or 0.48% higher and the Nasdaq was also in the green by 29 points or 0.6%. Investors continue to weigh the impact of the rapid spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant on the economic recovery, even as it appears less severe than earlier strains. Investors are also focusing on the policy trajectory of the Federal Reserve and other central banks into 2022, particularly as inflation continues to present a challenge. In premarket moves, Tesla’s shares climbed 6.8% in U.S. premarket trading after the company reported record quarterly deliveries.  Alibaba ADRs dropped in premarket trading with shares listed in Hong Kong on concern that some investors may pare stakes amid data showing the conversion of company’s ADRs into Hong Kong shares has picked up pace. And with the new year, broad, sweeping assessments are hitting the tape, such as this one from Jefferies strategist Sean Darby who wrote that last year “was simply a period of ‘risk on,’” adding that “peering into 2022, we expect volatility to rise, meaning that the return per unit of risk comes to the forefront." European equities rose on the first day of trading in 2022 and headed for a record on bets that the global economy can weather the impact of the omicron coronavirus variant. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.5% to 490.47, above the record closing level set in November, led by gains by automakers and chemical sector companies. Meanwhile, the Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.9%. U.K. markets were closed for a holiday on Monday. European stocks had climbed 22% last year and have posted seven consecutive quarters of gains -- the longest winning streak since 1998. Most strategists expect this year’s returns to be more muted, with an average target of 506 index points for the Stoxx 600. Among individual movers, Vestas Wind Systems A/S dropped after the company announced details of its fourth-quarter order intake. Sydbank AS said the order tally was “weak.” Asian stocks were mixed on their first trading session of 2022, with Hong Kong’s benchmark gauge dropping on concerns over the spread of the omicron variant and the financial health of China’s real estate sector.    The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after rising as much as 0.3%, weighed down by consumer discretionary and health-care firms. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.5%, with Chinese developers tumbling on media reports that China Evergrande Group has been ordered to tear down apartment blocks in Hainan province. Read: Property Stocks Sink After Demolition Order: Evergrande Update Shares in Hong Kong also dropped amid a fresh wave of infections tied to an outbreak at a local restaurant. The city administered more than 7,000 initial injections on both Saturday and Sunday, the most since the end of November. “Any further restrictions to curb virus spreads remain a key risk to watch, and more clarity will be sought from economic data over the coming weeks to validate the resilience of the economy” of the U.S., said Jun Rong Yeap, a strategist at IG Asia Pte in Singapore. Malaysia’s stock index was the region’s worst performer, dropping 1.2%, while South Korea and Taiwan equities rose. Markets in mainland China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand were closed for holidays. Asia’s stock benchmark capped an annual loss of 3.4% in 2021 in its worst performance since 2018, lagging behind the U.S. and Europe. India’s key equity gauges posted their best gain in nearly four weeks, led by a rally in banking and software stocks as investors shift focus to the upcoming corporate earnings season for the latest quarter.  The S&P BSE Sensex rose 1.6% to 59,183.22 in Mumbai, the most since Dec. 8. The benchmark also posted its biggest advance on the first trading day of a new year since 2009. The NSE Nifty 50 Index gained by a similar magnitude on Monday. All of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed, led by gauges of banking and financial companies. The corporate earnings season for the December quarter will start with Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services announcing results on Jan. 12. Investors will be focusing on the software exporters’ commentary on demand amid rising cost pressures. HDFC Bank contributed the most to the index gain, increasing 2.7%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 25 rose and five fell With much of Europe including the U.K. on bank holiday, Treasuries reopen around 7am ET with yields cheaper by 2bp to 4bp across the curve and losses led by belly.  U.S. 10-year yields around 1.535%, cheaper by ~2bp vs Friday’s close, while 5-year yields are higher by more than 3bp; 5s30s is flatter by ~1bp. Gains for most European stock benchmarks add to cheapening pressure on yields, as S&P 500 futures trade above Friday’s high.  Ahead of the cash open Treasury futures edged lower during Asia session European morning on light volume as S&P 500 futures advanced toward last week’s record highs. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched up and the dollar traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers in thin trading, with Japan, Australia and New Zealand markets shut for holidays. The Canadian dollar was the worst performer while the New Zealand dollar climbed against all of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro slipped to trade around $1.1350 and Bund yields rose, led by shorter maturities, while European peripheral spreads narrowed. In commodities, in early trading oil rose towards $79 a barrel on Monday supported by tight supply and hopes of further demand recovery in 2022 spurred in part by a view that the Omicron coronavirus variant is unlikely to significantly dampen the outlook. Libyan oil output will be cut by 200,000 barrels per day for a week due to pipeline maintenance. OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, are expected to stick to a plan to raise output gradually at a meeting on Tuesday. Brent crude rose 95 cents, or 1.2%, to $78.73 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude added $1.03 or 1.4%, to $76.24. Last year, Brent rose 50%, spurred by the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and OPEC+ supply cuts, even as infections reached record highs worldwide. "Infection rates are on the rise globally, restrictions are being introduced in several countries, the air travel sector, amongst others, is suffering, yet investors' optimism is tangible," said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM. "It seems that the current strain produces less severe symptoms than its predecessors, which might just help us to struggle through the fourth wave of the pandemic." Some see more gains in 20222: "Crude and oil product prices should benefit from oil demand moving above 2019 levels," said a report from UBS analysts including Giovanni Staunovo. "We expect Brent to rise into a $80–90 range in 2022." Key U.S. events this week include minutes of the December FOMC meeting and non-farm payrolls; on deck today is the Flash Markit Manufacturing PMI read for December as well as the November construction spending data. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 4,781.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 490.21 MXAP little changed at 193.17 MXAPJ little changed at 630.24 Nikkei down 0.4% to 28,791.71 Topix down 0.3% to 1,992.33 Hang Seng Index down 0.5% to 23,274.75 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,639.78 Sensex up 1.6% to 59,208.86 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% to 7,444.64 Kospi up 0.4% to 2,988.77 Brent futures up 1.6% to $78.99/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,827.19 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.1% to 95.80 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.18% Brent futures up 1.4% to $78.83/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is vowing to bring a revised version of the $2 trillion tax, climate and spending package to the floor for a vote as soon as this month, despite unresolved differences within his party that have stalled the legislation President Joe Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty on Sunday in a call with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said the new government is working on tax relief measures of more than 30 billion euros ($34 billion) Turkish inflation surged to a 19-year high in December, propelled by a slump in the lira and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push for cheaper borrowing Asia’s factory activity continued its expansion in December, lifted by resilient demand and easing supply-chain bottlenecks as the omicron strain begins to spread in the region Top Asian News North Korean Defector Likely Crossed DMZ Twice, Seoul Says Property Stocks Sink After Demolition Order: Evergrande Update Alibaba Drops on Concern Over Conversion of ADRs to H.K. Shares Hong Kong’s Stock Benchmark Marks Its Worst Start in Three Years Star China Stock Fund Manager Suffers a Disastrous 2021 Tokyo Finds 103 New Covid Cases, Most in Nearly Three Months Top European News Nordea Analysts Who Wrote Retracted Report to Leave Bank Iveco Valued at $4.4 Billion in Spinoff to Navigate Truck Shift Germany Heads Toward New Pandemic Measures as Omicron Threatens US Event Calendar 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 57.7, prior 57.8 10am: Nov. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.2% Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 08:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

Futures Ramp Above 4,700 On Growing Omicron Optimism

Futures Ramp Above 4,700 On Growing Omicron Optimism If you had gone to bed on Thanksgiving after eating a little too much tryptophan and only woken up today, roughly one month later, you would have completely avoided a rollercoaster move in global markets, and much of the omicron panic, with the S&P now trading precisely where it was the night before scattered reports of Omicron in South Africa sparked a global selloff. As of 730am, e-mini S&P futures were trading at exactly 4,700, up 14 points or 0.3% - and once again less than 1% from all time highs - on rising hopes the omicron variant won’t impact global growth even as officials remain cautious about its spread, after studies showed it’s less severe than other strains; Dow Jones futures also rose 0.3% while Nasdaq 100 futures were 0.2% higher. US Treasury yields rose, the 10Y trading at 1.475%, while the USD index traded flat. The  pound rose as traders stepped up bets on a Bank of England rate hike. Soaraing European natural gas prices plunged more than 20% as this year’s rally attracted a flotilla of U.S. cargoes, helping offset lower flows from Russia. U.S. stocks reversed a sharp drop earlier in the week, advancing over the past two days amid signs the omicron variant won’t thwart growth, with consumer confidence rising by more than expected in December. Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill gained clearance for emergency use in the U.S. on Wednesday and three studies showed omicron appears less likely to land patients in the hospital than the delta strain, fueling optimism.  Adding to the positive newsflow on omicron, lab results indicated a third dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine significantly boosted antibodies against the strain, and Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill gained clearance for emergency use in the U.S. “Markets hate uncertainty and not knowing, and when omicron hit the markets, we didn’t know,” Carol Schleif, BMO Family Office deputy chief investment officer, said on Bloomberg Television. “But it seems like it’s edging toward something more positive.” A gauge of global stocks is up more than 2% so far this month, leaving the index 15% higher for the year and on course to surpass 2020’s gain. In U.S. premarket trading, Tesla Inc. shares rose after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk sold down more of his stake. Nikola gained after the electric-vehicle startup said that more deliveries were to come. Here are some other notable premarket movers today: Novavax (NVAX US) shares jump 5% in U.S. premarket after the biotech firm said that both a vaccine booster dose as well as an omicron-specific shot may be beneficial in helping to protect against the Covid-19 variant. Nikola (NKLA US) rises 3.5% in U.S. premarket trading after the electric-vehicle startup said on Twitter that more deliveries were to come, posting photos of a previous event. Tesla (TSLA US) shares gain 1.1% in U.S. premarket trading after CEO Elon Musk sells down more of his stake, drawing nearer to his pledge of cutting his stake in the EV maker by 10%. JD.com’s (JD US) ADRs slump 9.2% in U.S. premarket trading after Tencent said it plans to hand out more than $16 billion of JD.com shares to its investors as a one-time dividend. SciPlay (SCPL US) the maker of mobile and web games such as Jackpot Party Casino, falls 17% in premarket after ending talks to sell out to majority owner Scientific Games. Shares in tiny biotech stocks soar in U.S. premarket trading in strong volume, amid broad risk-on appetite thanks to positive omicron variant studies, ahead of the holiday period. “Our outlook for the global economy remains positive, but we have preference on developed markets,” Janet Mui, director of investment at Brewin Dolphin Limited, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “The economic recovery will continue in the major economies like the U.S., U.K. and the Euro area, thanks to the very high vaccination rates and ongoing rollout of the booster jabs.” Elsewhere, European shares advanced for a third day, with travel shares leading gains. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.6%; travel is the strongest sector with recent studies showing omicron appears less likely to land patients in the hospital than the delta strain. IBEX leads with a 1% gain. Travel and leisure was the top-performing sector in Europe on Thursday amid optimism of fewer hospitalizations linked to the omicron variant of Covid-19. Airlines shruged off a profit warning from Ryanair (+1.1%) that was first reported late in the trading session on Wednesday. British Airways-owner IAG adds 3.7%, Wizz +3.3%, hotelier Whitbread +2.6%, Deutsche Lufthansa +2%, caterer Sodexo +0.8%. Stoxx travel and leisure index also helped by Flutter (+3%) which gains following M&A news Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were on track to gain for a third straight day, bolstered by signs the omicron strain is less severe than previous variants. Tech and communication services sectors led the advance. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.9%, with Tencent as the biggest contributor to gains after a 4.2% rally in Hong Kong. The Chinese internet giant declared a one-time dividend in the form of JD.com’s shares worth more than $16 billion, causing the latter’s stock to plunge intraday by the most on record. Sentiment in Asia improved as a trio of studies found that the omicron variant led to lower hospitalization risk than the delta strain, and Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 pill gained clearance for emergency use in the U.S. Separately, lab results indicated a third dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine significantly boosted antibodies against the strain though another study released late in the Asia day found that three doses of Sinovac’s vaccine weren’t enough to protect against it. “We expect Asian equities to improve their relative performance in 2022 given less demanding valuations and prospects for solid earnings growth,” said Tai Hui, Asia chief market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Reflation and economic reopening could help to boost earnings expectations for cyclical sectors, especially those focusing on domestic demand.” The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down almost 4% for the year compared with a 25% gain in the S&P 500 Index, which is trading close to a record high.  Equity benchmarks in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand were among the top gainers amid a broad advance in the region Thursday even as trading volumes were thin ahead of the Christmas holidays. Japan stocks also rose as the country looks set to unveil another record annual budget this week. Shares in China also rose even as the country locked down the western city of Xi’an to stamp out a persistent virus outbreak. Equities slumped in Vietnam as Covid-19 cases continued to rise. In rates, fixed income is thin with only ~100k bund futures contracts trading as of 10:50am London. Cash space is under small pressure: bunds and USTs bear steepen, gilts bear flatten with short dates ~5bps cheaper. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.47%, with gilts notably underperforming and are cheaper by around 3bp in the sector vs. Treasuries; curves are steady with U.S. cash spreads broadly within a basis point of Wednesday close. Treasuries drifted lower into early U.S. session as S&P futures grind higher. 10-year futures remained inside Wednesday session lows with yields cheaper by up to 2bp across long-end of the curve. Thursday’s highlights include a packed data slate, and cash markets are due for an early 2pm ET close ahead of Friday’s full closure. In FX, tge Bloomberg dollar index chopped either side of flat. The pound was the stand out mover in London hours, topping the G-10 leaderboard with cable regaining a 1.34 handle. USD/JPY was little changed as it holds above 114. Aussie dollar drifts back towards 0.72 against the greenback. Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index is steady after falling for three days. In commodities, crude futures are little changed; WTI trades near $72.70. Spot gold is rangebound, holding just above $1,800/oz. Most base metals are in the green, drifting higher in quiet trade. LME copper and tin lag. European natural gas prices plunged more than 20% as this year’s rally attracted a flotilla of U.S. cargoes, helping offset lower flows from Russia. Looking at today's calendar, we get personal spending and income as well as a new look at inflation data, including the Fed’s preferred price measure -- the change in the core personal consumption expenditures price index -- and jobless claims. We also get the latest Durable goods orders, UMichigan sentiment and new home sales prints. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,692.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 480.16 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.28% Euro little changed at $1.1317 MXAP up 0.9% to 192.23 MXAPJ up 0.8% to 623.33 Nikkei up 0.8% to 28,798.37 Topix up 0.9% to 1,989.43 Hang Seng Index up 0.4% to 23,193.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,643.34 Sensex up 0.7% to 57,350.50 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,387.57 Kospi up 0.5% to 2,998.17 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $74.99/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,807.61 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.16 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The highly-mutated omicron variant appears less likely to land patients in the hospital with Covid-19 than the delta strain, according to preliminary data from a trio of studies France reported a jump in Covid-19 infections as the fast-spreading omicron variant tightens its grip on Europe The Chinese yuan is having a greater impact on its emerging-market counterparts than ever before and may play a crucial role in determining their performance in the coming year New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s rhetoric of distributing wealth more equally appears to signal a change of priorities for post-pandemic Japan that may run counter to plans to improve the country’s presence as an international financial hub Oil settled at the highest level in nearly a month after U.S. crude stockpiles decreased and economic data pushed equities higher A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities traded modestly higher amid some tailwinds from Wall Street in holiday-thinned trade and the absence of fresh catalysts. The US majors closed in the green across the board, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq propelled higher by Tesla shares which jumped 7.5% to regain USD 1tln market cap. US equity futures resumed trade relatively flat with an upside bias. In APAC, the ASX 200 (+0.3%) was supported by its gold miners following the recent gains in the yellow metal. Japan’s Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) was underpinned by its mining names, while South Korea’s KOSPI (+0.2%) saw gains in Tech mostly offset by losses in Autos. The Hang Seng (+0.3%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.2%) quickly dipped at the open into modest negative territory but later recovered. The overnight focus was on Tencent declaring an interim dividend payable in JD.com shares – which would reduce Tencent's holding of JD to about 2.3% vs prev. nearly 17% reported earlier this month. JD.com shares extended downside in early trade to losses of over 10%, whilst Tencent rose over 3%. US 10yr Treasury futures traded with no firm direction overnight despite the mild positivity seen across APAC stocks, with the debt now looking ahead to the November PCE report. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Head for Third Day of Gains as Tencent Shares Rally Alibaba-Backed RoboSense Said to Pick JPMorgan for Hong Kong IPO Foreigners Haven’t Finished Selling India Stocks: Street Wrap Asia Traders Are Most Bullish Stocks, Europe Least: Markets Live European bourses are firmer in very thin trading conditions, with a distinct holiday-feel setting in. News flow has been minimal, and remains focused on the familiar themes of Omicron and geopolitics. The Euro Stoxx 50 trades around +0.5%, after a constructive handover from Asia, although there are some very modest regional discrepancies. Sectors are predominantly in the green, with the likes of Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas, and Autos benefitting from the generally constructive tone of news flow around Omicron. US futures are firmer, though the magnitude is limited, and benchmarks have essentially been in a holding pattern since the US cash close on Wednesday. Top European News Spain Revises GDP Growth Sharply Higher After Data Doubts Traders Ramp Up BOE Bets to See Key Rate at 1.25% Next Year U.K. PM Not Expected to Announce Post-Xmas Curbs This Week: Sky Pound Reaches One-Month High After BOE Rate Hike Bets Increase In FX, in stark contrast to this time yesterday, the Dollar index is trying to grind higher from a fractionally firmer base between 96.018-199 parameters, though well below Tuesday’s range amidst an ongoing improvement in overall risk sentiment based on the latest Omicron analysis. In short, studies continue to find lower hospital admissions and generally less acute symptoms even though the mutation is more virulent, while the current batch of vaccines provide varying degrees of protection and new drugs designed specifically for the new strain are in the pipeline. On the fundamental front, the final full trading day before the Xmas break contains some potential market-moving US data, including the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, core PCE, plus jobless claims, new home sales and the often volatile durable goods. NZD/GBP/AUD - The Kiwi, Pound and Aussie have all picked up where they left off on Wednesday, with impetus from the aforementioned positive market tone allied to increasingly bullish technical impulses. Indeed, Nzd/Usd didn’t encounter much in the way of psychological resistance at 0.6800, while Sterling has breached 1.3350 more emphatically to expose/probe 1.3400 and Aud/Usd overcame any sentimentality that might have hampered its progress beyond 0.7200. Cable has also advanced with the aid of Eur/Gbp tailwinds as the cross approaches 0.8450 following sell orders above, and an element of relief after reports suggesting that UK PM Johnson is now likely to hold off from making any further decisions on pandemic measures until after Xmas. Back down under, some good news for the Aussie via a pickup in private sector credit and loans for housing. CAD/EUR - Both narrowly mixed vs their US counterpart, but the Loonie has extended its rebound towards 1.2800 in advance of Canadian monthly GDP and average weekly earnings, while the Euro is forming a firmer base on the 1.1300 handle as EGBs continue to underperform/outperform in futures and cash terms respectively. However, Eur/Usd topped out around 1.1341/2 again and may be wary of decent option expiry interest between 1.1330-40 in 1.3 bn as much as 1.6 bn rolling off at 1.1300-05. CHF/JPY - The Franc and Yen are still lagging on risk factors and their carry characteristics, with the former unable to sustain advances through 0.9200 against the Buck and the latter failing to overcome offers/resistance into 114.00. Hence, Usd/Jpy remains poised for more attempts to scale the next Fib retracement at 114.38 in the run up to Japanese inflation data and post-remarks from BoJ Kuroda who adhered to pretty standard lines on currency matters. To recap, he repeated that FX rates must move in a stable fashion and reflect economic fundamentals, while the negative impact of a weak Jpy on Japanese household income may be increasing, though the benefits outweigh the demerits. In commodities, crude benchmarks continue to see modest pressure that crept in during APAC trade; Brent is pivoting USD 75.00/bbl, with losses of circa USD 0.30/bbl. News flow has been minimal. Russia’s President Putin is making some geopolitical noises, although he is largely reiterating familiar themes. Elsewhere, Exxon’s (XOM) Baytown complex (560k BPD capacity) in Texas reported a fire at a gasoline component processing unit; reports thus far indicate no facility impact from this incident. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver remain contained as the yellow metal holds onto the USD 1800/oz mark it reclaimed amid USD weakness in APAC hours. While base metals are firmer but again within familiar ranges. Russian President Putin says Russia meets gas supply obligations under long-term deals, prior to providing gas to spot markets; adds that Gazprom has not booked gas via the Yamal-Europe line due to a lack of requests, pipeline in reverse mode. Europe has created its own gas problems, should resolve this themselves; are prepared to assist.Germany is selling Russian gas to Poland, think it ends up in Ukraine. Exxon (XOM) Baytown complex (560k BPD capacity) in Texas has reported a fire at the facility, according to the community alert system; Some injuries have been reported following a 'major industrial accident' at the Exxon (XOM) Baytown complex (560k BPD capacity) in Texas, via the Harris County Sheriff - No reports to evacuate/shelter in place after the fire. Based on current information, no adverse impact. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 205,000, prior 206,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.84m, prior 1.85m 8:30am: Nov. Personal Income, est. 0.4%, prior 0.5% Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 1.3% 8:30am: Nov. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.6%; YoY, est. 5.7%, prior 5.0% PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4%; YoY, est. 4.5%, prior 4.1% 8:30am: Nov. Durable Goods Orders, est. 1.8%, prior -0.4% Durables-Less Transportation, est. 0.6%, prior 0.5% Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.7%, prior 0.7% Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.6%, prior 0.4% 10am: Nov. New Home Sales MoM, est. 3.3%, prior 0.4% 10am: Dec. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 70.4, prior 70.4 Current Conditions, prior 74.6 Expectations, prior 67.8 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.9%, prior 4.9%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0%; 10am: Nov. New Home Sales, est. 770,000, prior 745,000 Tyler Durden Thu, 12/23/2021 - 08:06.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 23rd, 2021

"Santa Rally Is Finally Here": Futures Hit All Time High Day After Powell Goes Full Jean-Claude Trichet

"Santa Rally Is Finally Here": Futures Hit All Time High Day After Powell Goes Full Jean-Claude Trichet One day before what everyone knew would be a hawkish pivot by the Fed, the mood was dour with tech names tumbling and futures hanging one for dear life. One day after, Jerome Powell confirmed he would go full Jean-Claude Trichet as the Fed would not only turbo-taper into a sharply slowing economy, ending its QE program by March but then proceed with hiking rates as many as 3 times in 2022 (more than the 2 hike consensus), with the BOE shocking markets moments ago with a surprise rate hike and even the ECB trimming its turbo QE, and futures are.... at all time highs. That's right - eminis are higher by 140 points in 24 hours because the Fed was more hawkish than consensus expected.  At 8:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 215 points, or 0.61%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 27.25 points, or 0.57%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 100 points, or 0.61%. Treasury yields jumped alongside European bonds after the BOE became the first major central bank to raise rates since the pandemic, while the dollar fell and the pound jumped. The Euro also hit session highs after the ECB seemed to turn ever so slightly more hawkish as its monthly QE is set to shrink in the coming year. "The market likes facts it can digest. With the uncertainty now gone, it finds relief,” said Frederik Hildner, a portfolio manager at Salm-Salm & Partner. Gradual rising rates “provides more firepower for the next downturn, as it displays the ability normalize monetary policy.” On Wednesday, Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy no longer needed increasing amounts of policy support as annual inflation has been running at more than double the central bank's target in recent months, while the economy nears full employment. Recent readings on surging producer and consumer prices as well as the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus have fueled anxiety as the benchmark S&P 500 inches closer to a record high. "Is the Santa Rally finally here? Markets certainly seem to have a spring in their step... the prospect of three interest rate hikes in 2022 would suggest the central bank has a clear plan to not let inflation get out of control," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell wrote in a client note. "Equally, it isn't being too aggressive to trip up the economy. This sense of balance is exactly what investors want, and an upbeat tone from the Fed certainly seems to have rubbed off on markets" Bell said, clearly goalseeking his narrative to the market's response as just 24 hours later he would be saying just the opposite when futures were tanking of hawkish Fed fears. Big tech stocks and banks led gains in premarket trading. Shares in Tesla, Microsoft, Meta and Amazon.com rose between 0.7% and 2.4%, with the lift pushing Apple shares nearer to an historic market value of $3 trillion. Bank stocks including JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup all gained between 0.7% and 0.8%. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Apple (APPL) and other big U.S. tech stocks rise after the Federal Reserve said that it would speed up its taper, joining in with a broader relief rally across risk assets. Apple shares are up 0.6%, with the stock drawing nearer to an historic market capitalization of $3 trillion. Also Thursday, Goldman Sachs said lead times for Apple’s iPhone have declined in the latest week. Assertio (ASRT US) shares rise 4% after the company announced the $44 million acquisition of the Otrexup device from Antares Pharma. Blue Bird (BLBD US) dropped 6% after the school bus-maker provided a weaker-than-expected sales outlook. The company also offered $75m shares at $16/share in a private placement. Danimer Scientific (DNMR) falls 10% after announcing that it plans to offer $175 million of convertible senior notes. Delta Air Lines (DAL) is up 2% after saying it expects to report a profit for the fourth quarter, citing a strong demand for travel over the winter holiday period and a decline in jet fuel prices. Other airline stocks are also higher. DocuSign (DOCU) falls 2% as Morgan Stanley issued a downgrade, saying third-quarter results changed the firm’s view regarding the durability of growth through tough post-pandemic comparables. Freyr Battery (FREY) gains 14% after executing its inaugural offtake agreement for at least 31 GWh of low-carbon battery cells. IronNet (IRNT US) slumps 25% after the cybersecurity company’s results fell short of expectations, prompting a Street-low target from Jefferies. Lennar Corp. (LEN US) declined 6% after it reported a forecast for purchase contracts that was weaker than expected. Plug Power (PLUG) gains 5% after signing an agreement with Korean electric-vehicle manufacturer Edison Motors to develop an electric city bus powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Syndax Pharmaceuticals (SNDX) falls 8% after pricing 3.2 million shares at $17.50 each. Tesla (TSLA) is up 2%, rising with other electric vehicle stocks amid a broader gain in technology stocks and U.S. futures on hopes that the Federal Reserve’s policy tightening will fight high inflation without hampering economic growth. Wayfair (W) falls 2% after BofA downgraded the stock to underperform, citing weak near-term data and difficult comparisons through the first quarter of 2022 for the online furniture retailer. European equities rally with Euro Stoxx 50 up as much as 2.1% before drifting off best levels. The U.K.’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 Index pared some gains after the BOE decision, while European dipped modestly after the European Central Bank’s meeting.  Miners, tech and autos are the best performers, utilities and media names lag. Equities have whipsawed in recent weeks as investors attempted to price in the prospect of rate hikes, while assessing risks from the spread of the omicron variant. The market’s early response to the Fed signals some relief arising from policy clarity, and optimism that the rebound from pandemic lows can weather the pivot away from ultra-loose monetary settings. “The market is breathing a sigh of relief that the FOMC meeting suggested that it is taking inflation risks in the United States more seriously,” Ann-Katrin Petersen, an investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “The question really will be whether the Fed will dare to do even more in order to taper the inflation risk.” Asian stocks rose, halting a four-day slide, as confidence in Federal Reserve policy allowed investors to take on riskier assets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.8%, buoyed by energy and technology shares. Japan was Asia’s top performer, aided by a weaker yen. Hong Kong and China stocks eked out gains amid ongoing concern over U.S. sanctions. Australian equities declined for a third day. Asia’s benchmark advanced for the first time this week on hopes the Fed will effectively combat surging prices without choking off economic growth. The U.S. central bank said it will double the pace of its asset tapering program to $30 billion a month and projected three interest-rate increases in 2022. In the run-up to the Fed’s decision, Asia’s equity gauge slumped almost 2% over the past four days, keeping it below the 50-day moving average.    The short-term boost to stock market sentiment is from Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments about wage inflation not being the main issue for now, and expectations that there’ll be full employment next year, said Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. However, there’s a “meaningful risk” that the Fed’s latest policy stance will trigger liquidation as Asia stock portfolios are de-risked, Spivak said. Japan’s stocks rose for a second day after the yen weakened and U.S. stocks rallied amid speculation the Federal Reserve will combat surging prices without choking off economic growth. The Topix index climbed 1.5% to close at 2,013.08 in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 2.1% to 29,066.32. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 2.5%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 1,674 rose and 421 fell, while 86 were unchanged. “It wouldn’t be strange to see the discount on Japanese equities narrowing following the FOMC meeting results, with market interest centered around electronics, machinery, automakers and marine transportation stocks,” said Takashi Ito, an equity market strategist at Nomura Securities. Electronics firms and automakers helped lift the Topix as the yen headed for a four-day slump against the dollar, with the currency falling 0.1% to 114.19 Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to close at 7,295.70, extending its losing streak to a third day.  CSL was the worst performer after the benchmark’s second-biggest company by weighting completed a placement to fund its Vifor acquisition. Mesoblast was the top performer after saying it plans to conduct an additional U.S. Phase 3 trial of rexlemestrocel-L in patients with chronic low back pain.  Investors also digested November jobs data. Australian employment soared last month, smashing expectations and pushing the jobless rate lower as virus restrictions eased on the east coast. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.7% to 12,777.54 In rates, cash USTs bull steepened, bolstered by a large curve steepener that blocked in early London. Bunds are soft at the back end, peripherals slightly wider ahead of today’s ECB meeting. Gilts bear steepen slightly, white pack sonia futures are lower by 2-3.5 ticks. In FX, the dollar slipped for a second day and oil rose; cable snapped to best levels of the week after the BOE unexpectedly hiked rates.  The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell for a second day as the greenback weakened against all its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen; Tresury yields fell, led by the belly of the curve. Commodity currencies were the best G-10 performers, led by the krone, which reversed an earlier loss after Norway’s central bank raised its interest rate for the second time this year and flagged another increase in March as officials acted to cool the rebounding economy despite renewed coronavirus concerns. The Australian and New Zealand dollars reversed earlier losses amid upbeat stock markets; the Aussie earlier weakened as RBA Governor Lowe hinted at the prospect of no rate hikes next year. The yen fell as the Federal Reserve’s decision reaffirmed yield differentials ahead of the Bank of Japan’s outcome on Friday. Bonds rose after a solid auction. Elsewhere in FX, NOK outperforms in G-10 after Norges Bank rate action, other commodity currencies are similarly well bid. In commodities, Crude futures hold a narrow range around best levels of the session. WTI is up 1.1% near $71.70, Brent near $74.70. Spot gold grinds higher, adding ~$9 near $1,786/oz. LME copper outperforms in a well-bid base metals complex To the day ahead now, and the main highlights will be the aforementioned policy decisions from the ECB and the BoE. On the data side, we’ll also get the flash PMIs for December from around the world, the Euro Area trade balance for October, and in the US there’s November data on industrial production, housing starts and building permits, as well as the weekly initial jobless claims. Finally, EU leaders will be meeting for a summit in Brussels. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 4,734.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 476.39 MXAP up 0.8% to 193.11 MXAPJ up 0.5% to 623.76 Nikkei up 2.1% to 29,066.32 Topix up 1.5% to 2,013.08 Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 23,475.50 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,675.02 Sensex up 0.1% to 57,851.57 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,295.66 Kospi up 0.6% to 3,006.41 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $74.59/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,786.03 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.36% to 96.16 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1316 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The greenback is set for its biggest annual gain in six years and its rally appears to be far from over, market participants say. The prime mover: a hawkish Federal Reserve that’s drawn a roadmap of interest-rate increases over the next three years, while other central banks look much more reticent to withdraw stimulus The ECB is poised to unveil a gradual withdrawal from extraordinary pandemic stimulus in the face of soaring inflation whose path is further clouded by the omicron coronavirus variant The “phenomenal pace” at which the new Covid-19 omicron strain is spreading across the U.K. will trigger a surge in hospital admissions over the holiday period, according to Boris Johnson’s top medical adviser The Swiss National Bank kept both the deposit and the policy rate at -0.75%, as widely predicted by economists. With the global economic recovery on shaky footing due to the omicron variant, President Thomas Jordan and fellow policy makers also reiterated their pledge to supplement subzero rates with currency interventions as needed France will impose tougher rules on people traveling from the U.K., including a ban on non-essential trips and a requirement to self-isolate, as it tries to slow the spread of the omicron variant IHS Markit said its index tracking output across the U.K. economy fell to 53.2 this month from 57.6 in November, reflecting weaker-than-expected growth in service industries including hotels, restaurants and travel-related businesses. Business-to-business services stalled European power prices soared to records after Electricite de France SA said that two nuclear reactors will stop unexpectedly and two will have prolonged halts -- just as the continent heads for a cold snap with already depleted gas inventories Hungary’s central bank increased the effective base interest rate for the fifth time in as many weeks to tackle the fastest inflation since 2007 and shore up the battered forint A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed as the region digested the FOMC meeting. The ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative with heavy losses in the healthcare sector and as COVID infections remained rampant. There were also notable comments from RBA Governor Lowe that the board discussed tapering bond purchases in February and ending it in May or could even end purchases in February if economic progress is better than expected, although it is also open to reviewing bond buying again in May if the data disappoints. The Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) outperformed and reclaimed the 29k level after the Lower House recently passed the record extra budget stimulus and with the latest trade data showing double-digit percentage surges in Imports and Exports, despite the latter slightly missing on expectations. The Hang Seng (+0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.8%) were varied with Hong Kong pressured by losses in the big tech names amid ongoing frictions between the world’s two largest economies and as US lawmakers proposed a bill to allow the US oversight of China audits, although the mainland was kept afloat amid further speculation of a potential LPR cut this month, as well as reports that China will boost financial support for small businesses and offer more longer-term loans to manufacturers. Finally, 10yr JGBs were indecisive despite the constructive mood in Tokyo and with price action stuck near the 152.00 focal point, while demand was also sidelined amid mixed results at the 20yr JGB auction and as the BoJ kickstarts its two-day meeting. Top Asian News Indonesia Reports First Omicron Case in Jakarta Facility Asia Stocks Snap Four-Day Drop as Traders Take on Risk After Fed Shimao Group Shares Set for Best Day in Month Money Manager Vanishes With $313 Million From China Builder Equities in Europe have taken their cue from the post-FOMC rally seen across Wall Street (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.6%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) following somewhat mixed APAC trade. As a reminder, markets saw relief with one of the major risk events out of the way, and with Chair Powell refraining from throwing hawkish curveballs. That being said, the forecast does see three rate hikes next year, whilst the Fed Board next year will also be more hawkish – at least within the rotating voters - with George, Mester and Bullard poised to vote from 2022. Nonetheless, US equity future continues grinding higher with all contracts in the green and the RTY (+1.3%) outperforming vs the NQ (+0.7%), ES (+0.6%), and YM (+0.5%). Bourses in Europe also experience broad-based gains with no real outliers, although the upside momentum somewhat waned amid some softer-than-expected PMI metrics ahead of ECB. Sectors in Europe paint a clear pro-cyclical bias. Tech outperforms following a similar sectorial performance seen on Wall Street. Basic Resources and Oil & Gas follow a close second, with Autos and Travel & Leisure also among the biggest gainers. The downside sees Personal & Household Goods, Telecoms and Food & Beverages. Healthcare meanwhile fares better than its defensive peers as Novartis (+4%) is bolstered after commencing a new USD 15bln buyback, highlighting confidence in growth and pipeline. On the flip side, EDF (-12%) shares have slipped after it narrowed FY EBITDA forecasts and highlighted some faults with some nuclear reactors amid corrosion. Top European News Britain’s Covid Resurgence Cuts Growth to Slowest Since Lockdown SNB Says Franc Is Highly Valued as Omicron Clouds Outlook Norway Delivers Rate Hike That Omicron Had Threatened to Derail Erdogan Approves Third Capital Boost for State Banks Since 2019 In FX, not much bang for the Buck fits the bill accurately as it is panning out in the FOMC aftermath even though market expectations were matched and arguably exceeded in terms of dot plots showing three hikes in 2022 vs two anticipated by most and only one previously, while the unwinding of asset purchases will occur in double quick time to end in March next year instead of June. However, there appears to be enough in the overall statement, SEP and Fed chair Powell’s post-meeting press conference to offset the initial knee-jerk spike in the Dollar and index that lifted the latter very close to its current y-t-d peak at 96.914 vs 96.938 from November 24. Indeed, the terminal rate was maintained at 2.5%, no decision has been taken about whether to take a break after tapering before tightening, and the recovery in labour market participation has been disappointing to the point that it will now take longer to return to higher levels. In response, or on further reflection, the DXY has recoiled to 96.141 and through the 21 DMA that comes in at 96.238 today. NZD/AUD/CAD/GBP/EUR/CHF - All on the rebound vs their US counterpart, with the Kiwi back on the 0.6800 handle and also encouraged by NZ GDP contracting less than feared in Q3, while the Aussie is hovering around 0.7200 in wake of a stellar jobs report only partly tempered by dovish remarks from RBA Governor Lowe who is still not in the 2022 hike camp and non-committal about ending QE next February or extending until May. Elsewhere, the Loonie has clawed back a chunk of its losses amidst recovering crude prices to regain 1.2800+ status ahead of Canadian wholesale trade that is buried between a raft of US data and survey releases, Sterling is flirting with 1.3300 in advance of the BoE that is likely to hold fire irrespective of significantly hotter than forecast UK inflation, the Euro is pivoting 1.1300 pre-ECB that is eyed for details of life after the PEPP and the Franc is somewhat mixed post-SNB that maintained rates and a highly valued assessment of the Chf with readiness to intervene as required. Note, Usd/Chf is meandering from 0.9256 to 0.9221 vs Eur/Chf more elevated within a 1.0455-30 band. JPY - The Yen is underperforming on the eve of the BoJ and looking technically weak to compound its yield and rate disadvantage after Usd/Jpy closed above a key chart level on Wednesday (at 114.03). As such, Fib resistance is now exposed at 114.38 vs the circa 114.25 high, so far, while decent option expiry interest may be influential one way or the other into the NY cut given around 1.3 bn at the 114.25 strike, 1.7 bn at 114.30 and 1.2 bn or so at 114.50. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are taking advantage of the risk appetite coupled with the softer Buck. WTI Jan trades on either side of USD 71.50/bbl (vs low USD 71.39/bbl) while Brent Feb sees itself around USD 74.50/bbl (vs low USD 74.28/bbl). Complex-specific news has again been on the quiet end, with prices working off the macro impulses for the time being, and with volumes also light heading into Christmas trade. Elsewhere spot gold and silver ebb higher – in tandem with the Dollar, with the former eyeing a group of DMAs to the upside including the 100 (1,788/oz), 21 (1,789/oz) 200 (1,794/oz) and 50 (1,796/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper has been catapulted higher amid the risk and weaker Dollar, with prices re-testing USD 9,500/t to the upside. Meanwhile, a Chinese government consultancy has said that China's steel consumption will dip 0.7% on an annual basis in 2022 amid policies for the real estate market and uncertainties linked to COVID-19 curb demand. US event calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 200,000, prior 184,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.94m, prior 1.99m 8:30am: Nov. Housing Starts MoM, est. 3.1%, prior -0.7% 8:30am: Nov. Housing Starts, est. 1.57m, prior 1.52m 8:30am: Nov. Building Permits MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 4.0%, revised 4.2% 8:30am: Nov. Building Permits, est. 1.66m, prior 1.65m, revised 1.65m 8:30am: Dec. Philadelphia Fed Business Outl, est. 29.6, prior 39.0 9:15am: Nov. Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0.7%, prior 1.2%; Industrial Production MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 1.6% 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 58.5, prior 58.3 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Services PMI, est. 58.8, prior 58.0 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Yesterday’s biggest story was obviously the Fed. In line with our US economists call (their full recap here), the FOMC doubled the pace of taper to $30bn a month, which would bring an end to QE in mid-March. The new dot plot showed three rate hikes in 2022, up from the Committee being split over one hike in September. Farther out, the median dot had 3 additional hikes in 2023 and 2 hikes in 2024, bringing fed funds just below their estimate of the longer-term rate. Notably, all 18 Committee members have liftoff occurring next year, and 10 have 3 hikes penciled in, suggesting consensus behind the recent hawkish turn was strong. Short-end market pricing increased in line and now has around 2.9 hikes priced for 2022. The first hike is fully priced for the June meeting, but notably, meetings as early as March are priced as live, more on that in a bit. In the statement, the Committee admitted that inflation had exceeded target for some time (dropping ‘transitory’ completely), and that liftoff would be tied to the economy reaching full employment. By the sounds of the press conference, progress toward full employment has proceeded pretty rapidly. Chair Powell noted that while labour force participation progress has been disappointing, almost every other measure of labour market strength shows a very strong labour market, and could create upside risks to inflation should wage growth start to increase beyond productivity. It is within that context that he framed the decision to taper faster, it will leave the Fed in a position to react as needed, providing optionality. In that vein, he stressed a few times that the lag between the end of taper and liftoff need not be as long as it was in the last cycle, and that the Fed will raise rates after taper is done whenever needed, hence meetings as early as March being live. Notably on Omicron, the Chair, like the rest of us, recognises we don’t know much about the variant yet, but seemed optimistic about the economy’s ability to withstand subsequent Covid shocks, regardless of Omicron’s specifics. While Covid shocks can tighten supply chains, discourage labour participation, and reduce demand, as more people get vaccinated those impacts should dwindle over time, so his argument went. Hammering the point home, he sounded confident that the economy can handle whatever Omicron brings without any additional QE, justifying the accelerated taper path despite Covid risks. The hawkish turn had been well forecast through Fed speakers since the last meeting, not least of which the Chair himself during Congressional testimony, which served to dull the market impact. Treasury yields were slightly higher, (2yr Tsys +0.6bps and 10yr Tsys +1.5 bps) but were quite docile for an FOMC afternoon. The dollar initially strengthened on the statement release before reversing course and ending the day -0.24% lower. Stocks were the real outperformers, as the S&P 500 rallied through the FOMC events, gaining +1.63%, the best daily performance in two months, while the Nasdaq increased +2.15%. The Russell 2000 matched the S&P, gaining +1.65%. Obviously the market was anticipating the change in policy, but if doubling taper and adding three rate hikes in the next year isn’t enough to tighten financial conditions, what is? The Chair was asked about that in so many words in the press conference, where he responded by noting financial conditions could change on a dime. Indeed, they will have to tighten from historically easy levels if the Fed is to bring inflation back to target through policy. The Fed may be out of the way now, but the central bank excitement continues today as both the ECB and the BoE announce their own policy decisions later on. We’ll start with the ECB, who like the Fed have faced much higher than expected inflation lately, with the November flash estimate coming in at +4.9%, which is the highest since the formation of the single currency. Whilst Omicron has cast a shadow of uncertainty, with Commission President von der Leyen saying yesterday that it was likely to become dominant in Europe by mid-January, our European economics team doesn’t think there has been anything concrete enough to alter the ECB from their course (like the Fed). In our European economists’ preview (link here) they write the ECB appears on track to initiate a transition to a monetary policy stance based more on policy rates and rates guidance and less on liquidity provision. The ECB is set to confirm that PEPP net purchases will end in March, but will cushion the blow by working flexibility into the post-PEPP asset purchase arrangement. They are also set to make the policy framework more flexible to better respond to inflation uncertainties. One thing to keep an eye out for in particular will be the latest inflation projections, with a report from Bloomberg suggesting that they’ll show inflation beneath the 2% target in both 2023 and 2024. So if that’s true, that could offer a route to arguing against a tightening of monetary policy for the time being, since the ECB’s forward guidance has been that it won’t raise rates until it sees inflation at the target “durably for the rest of the projection horizon”. Today’s other big decision comes from the BoE, where our UK economist is expecting that there’ll be a 15bps increase in Bank Rate, taking it up to 0.25% although they suggest it’s a very close call. See here for the rationale. Ahead of that decision later on, we received a very strong UK inflation print for November, with CPI rising to +5.1% (vs. +4.8% expected), up from +4.2% in October and the fastest pace in a decade. That’s running ahead of the BoE’s own staff forecasts in the November Monetary Policy Report, which had seen inflation at just +4.5% that month, so six-tenths beneath the realised figure. We’ll get their decision at 12:00 London time, 45 minutes ahead of the ECB’s. In terms of the latest on the Omicron variant, there are continued signs of concern in South Africa, with cases coming in at a record 26,976 yesterday, whilst the number in hospital at 7,339 is up +73% compared to a week ago. Meanwhile the UK recorded their highest number of cases since the pandemic began, at 78,610. England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, said that a lot of Covid records would be broken in the coming weeks, and also that a majority of cases in London were now from the Omicron variant. Separately, the French government is set to hold a meeting tomorrow on Covid measures, and EU leaders will be discussing the pandemic at their summit today. When it comes to Omicron’s economic impact, we could see some light shed on that today as the December flash PMIs are released from around the world. Overnight we’ve already had the numbers out of Australia and Japan where hints of a slowdown are apparent. Japan's Manufacturing PMI came out at 54.2 (54.5 previous) and the Composite at 51.8 (53.3 previous) while Australia’s Manufacturing and Composite came in at 57.4 and 54.9 respectively (59.2 and 55.7 previous). Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher led by the Nikkei (+1.78%) followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.28%), and KOSPI (+0.22%). However the CSI (-0.07%) and Hang Seng (-0.81%) are losing ground on concerns of US sanctions on Chinese tech companies. In Australia, the November employment report registered a strong beat by adding 366.1k jobs against 200k consensus. This is being reflected in a +12.75 bps surge in Australia's 3y bond. Elsewhere, in India wholesale inflation for November rose +14.2% year on year, levels last seen in 2000 against a consensus of +11.98% on the back of higher food and input prices. DM futures are indicating a positive start to markets today with S&P 500 (+0.19%) and DAX (+1.04%) contracts both higher as we type. Ahead of the Fed, European markets had put in a fairly steady performance yesterday, with the STOXX 600 up +0.26%. That brought an end to a run of 5 successive declines, with technology stocks in particular seeing an outperformance. Sovereign bond markets were also subdued ahead of the ECB and BoE meetings later, with yields on 10yr bunds (+0.9bps), OATs (+0.5bps) and gilts (+1.2bps) only seeing modest moves higher. In DC, despite optimistic sounding talks earlier in the week, the latest yesterday was President Biden and Senator Manchin remained far apart on the administration’s build back better bill, imperiling its chances of passing before Christmas. Elsewhere, reports suggested the President would have more nominations for the remaining Fed Board vacancies this week. Looking at yesterday’s other data, US retail sales underwhelmed in November with growth of just +0.3% (vs. +0.8% expected), and measure excluding gas and motor vehicles was also up just +0.2% (vs. +0.8% expected). Also the NAHB’s housing market index for December moved up to a 10-month high of 84, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now, and the main highlights will be the aforementioned policy decisions from the ECB and the BoE. On the data side, we’ll also get the flash PMIs for December from around the world, the Euro Area trade balance for October, and in the US there’s November data on industrial production, housing starts and building permits, as well as the weekly initial jobless claims. Finally, EU leaders will be meeting for a summit in Brussels. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/16/2021 - 08:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 16th, 2021

Futures Rebound Ahead Of Critical CPI Print

Futures Rebound Ahead Of Critical CPI Print US futures rebounded on Friday from Thursday's selloff as traders waited with bated breath for an inflation report that could strengthen the case for an aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve, while Oracle Corp jumped on an upbeat third-quarter outlook. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 109 points, or 0.30%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 16.25 points, or 0.35%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 53.50 points, or 0.4%. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index pared an earlier decline, while a Bloomberg gauge of Asian airlines fell. In China, Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan sold just over a 2% stake in the company, in the same week the property developer was officially labeled a defaulter for the first time. The dollar, Treasury yields and oil advanced. Shares of Oracle gained 11.2% in premarket trading after posting forecast-beating results for the second quarter, helped by higher technology spending from businesses looking to support hybrid work.  Broadcom Inc rose 7.0% as the semiconductor firm sees first-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations and announced a $10 billion share buyback plan. So far this week, the Nasdaq and the S&P advanced over 2.8% each and the Dow rallied 3.4%. The S&P is now down 1.6% from its all-time peak. The S&P 500 dropped 5.2% from a record high hit on Nov. 22 as investors digested Jerome Powell's renomination as the Fed's chair, his hawkish commentary to tackle. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Thursday passed and sent to President Joe Biden the first of two bills needed to raise the federal government's $28.9 trillion debt limit and avert an unprecedented default. In other news, the U.S. government moved a step closer to prosecuting Julian Assange on espionage charges, after London judges accepted that the WikiLeaks chief can be safely sent to America. With headline CPI expected to print at 6.8% Y/Y this morning - in what would be its highest level since 1982 - with whisper numbers are high as the low 8% after Biden said that this month's number won't show the drop in gasoline prices (which is certainly transitory now that oil price are on track for the biggest weekly gain since August), it is very likely that the CPI number will miss and we will see a major relief rally. On the other hand, any upside surprise on the reading will likely bolster the case for a faster tapering of bond purchases and bring forward expectations for interest rate hikes ahead of the U.S. central bank's policy meeting next week. “Various FOMC participants, including Chair Powell, have signaled a hawkish shift in their policy stance, catalyzed by increasing discomfort with elevated inflation against a backdrop of robust growth and ongoing strengthening in labor markets conditions,” Morgan Stanley economists and strategists including Ellen Zentner, wrote in a note Thursday. “We revise our Fed call and now expect the FOMC to begin raising rates in Sept. 2022 -- two quarters earlier than our prior forecast.” Discussing today's key event, the CPI print, DB's Jim Reid writes that "our US economists are anticipating that headline CPI will rise to +6.9%, which would be the fastest annual pace since 1982. And they see core inflation heading up to +5.1%, which would be the highest since 1990. Bear in mind as well that this is the last big release ahead of next Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision, where our economists are expecting they’ll double the pace of tapering. Chair Powell himself reinforced those expectations in recent testimony, stopping just shy of unilaterally announcing the faster taper. Crucially, he noted this CPI print and the evolution of the virus were potential roadblocks to a faster taper next week. That said, the bar is extremely high for today’s data print to alter their course, especially with the Covid outlook having not deteriorated markedly since his testimony. By the close last night, Fed funds futures were fully pricing in a rate hike by the June meeting, alongside more than 70% chance of one by the May meeting." A reminder that last month saw another bumper print, with the monthly price gain actually at its fastest pace since July 2008, which sent the annual gain up to its highest since 1990, at +6.2%. It also marked the 6th time in the last 8 months that the monthly headline print had been above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg, and in another blow for team transitory, the drivers of inflation were increasingly broad-based, rather than just in a few categories affected by the pandemic. It may have been the death knell for team transitory, with Chair Powell taking pains to retire the term in the aforementioned testimony before Congress. In Europe, stocks fell slightly as a rise in coronavirus infections, with the Stoxx 600 dropping 0.3%, weighed down the most by tech, health care and utilities. DAX -0.2%, and FTSE 100 little changed, both off worst levels. Meanwhile, an epidemiologist has said that the omicron strain may be spreading faster in England than in South Africa, with U.K. cases possibly exceeding 60,000 a day by Christmas. Banks in the U.K. have already started telling staff to work from home in response to the government’s guidance.  Daimler AG’s trucks division gained in its first trading day as the storied German manufacturer completed a historic spinoff to better face sweeping changes in the auto industry. Polish retailer LPP rose to a record. Asian stocks fell on worries over the global spread of the omicron virus strain and after China Evergrande and Kaisa Group officially defaulted on their dollar debt. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost as much as 0.9%, with healthcare, technology and consumer discretionary sectors being the worst performers. Benchmarks slid in China and Hong Kong after Fitch Ratings cut Evergrande and Kaisa to “restricted default,” with the Hang Seng Index being the region’s biggest loser. Investors remain concerned that the omicron virus strain may crimp the economic rebound. South Korea brought forward the timing for Covid-19 booster shots to just three months after the second dose, as one of Asia’s most-vaccinated countries grapples with its worst ever virus surge. The Kospi snapped a seven-day winning run. Meanwhile, the U.S. appears to be headed for a holiday crisis as virus cases and hospital admissions climb, while London firms started telling thousands of staff to work from home. “In Europe, restrictions are being put in place, not just in the U.K. but also in other countries, due to the spread of the omicron variant, spurring worry over the impact on the economy,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities. “If work-from-home practices are prolonged, consumption will become lackluster, delaying any recovery.” Still, the Asian benchmark is up 1.2% from Dec. 3, poised for its best weekly advance in about two months. That’s owing to gains earlier in the week after China’s move to boost liquidity helped restore investor confidence. Traders are now turning focus to U.S. inflation data due later in the day for clues on the pace of anticipated tapering. China’s central bank took further steps to limit the yuan’s strength -- setting the weakest reference rate relative to estimates compiled by Bloomberg since 2018 -- a day after policy makers raised the foreign currency reserve requirement ratio for banks a second time this year. In rates, the Treasury curve bear flattened with 5s30s printing sub-60bps ahead of today’s November CPI data. Bunds and gilts are quiet; Italy leads a broader tightening of peripheral spreads. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rises 0.2%, building on modest strength during the Asian session. AUD leads G-10 peers; NZD and SEK are weakest, although ranges are narrow. Demand for euro downside exposure waned this week as investors now focus on the upcoming decisions by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. China’s central bank took further steps to limit the yuan’s strength In commodities, brent crude is slightly higher on the day, hovering around the $74-level, while WTI climbs 0.6% to $71-a-barrel. Base metals are mixed. LME aluminum and copper rise, while zinc and lead declines. Spot gold drops $4 to $1,771/oz. Looking at the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for November. In addition, there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for December, UK GDP for October and Italian industrial production for October. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, along with the ECB’s Weidmann, Villeroy, Panetta and Elderson. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,677.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.4% to 474.88 MXAP down 0.8% to 193.90 MXAPJ down 0.8% to 632.63 Nikkei down 1.0% to 28,437.77 Topix down 0.8% to 1,975.48 Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 23,995.72 Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,666.35 Sensex little changed at 58,799.05 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,353.51 Kospi down 0.6% to 3,010.23 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $74.69/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,770.81 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.32 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1281 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Already fighting economic fires on a number of fronts, China is rushing to clamp down on speculation in its strengthening currency before it gets out of control The arrival of the omicron variant has triggered a global rush for booster shots, but questions remain over whether it is the right strategy against omicron The Biden administration aims to sign what could prove a “very powerful” economic framework agreement with Asian nations -- focusing on areas including coordination on supply chains, export controls and standards for artificial intelligence -- next year, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said A mouse bite is at the center of an investigation into a possible new Covid-19 outbreak in Taiwan, after a worker at a high-security laboratory was confirmed as the island’s first local case in more than a month A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were on the back foot as the region took its cue from the weak performance in the US, where the major indices reversed recent upside in the run-up to today’s US CPI metric. The ASX 200 (-0.4%) was led lower by the underperformance in energy and tech after a retreat in oil prices and similar weakness of their counterpart sectors in US. The Nikkei 225 (-1.0%) remained lacklustre as it succumbed to the recent inflows into the currency, although the downside was stemmed as participants digested a record increase in wholesale prices. The Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.2%) were hindered by several headwinds including lower-than-expected lending and aggregate financing data, as well as China’s latest internet crackdown in which it removed 106 apps from app stores. However, losses were contained by a softer currency after China’s efforts to curb RMB strength including the PBoC’s 200bps FX RRR hike yesterday and its overnight weakening of the reference rate by the widest margin against estimates on record. Finally, 10yr JGBs were quiet after the mixed performance in US fixed income markets and with the risk-averse mood counterbalanced by the lack of BoJ purchases in the market today, although later saw a bout of selling on a breakdown of support at the key 152.00 level. Top Asian News Evergrande’s Hui Forced to Sell Part of Stake in Defaulted Firm Hui Has 277.8m Evergrande Shares Sold Under Enforced Disposal Asia Stocks Fall on Renewed Concerns Over Evergrande and Omicron Gold Heads for Worst Weekly Run Since 2019 Before Inflation Data Cash bourses in Europe kicked off the session with modest losses across the board, but the region has been clambering off worst levels since (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%; Stoxx 600 -0.3%) as traders gear up for the US CPI release (full preview available on the Newsquawk headline feed). US equity futures meanwhile post modest broad-based gains across the ES (+0.3%), NQ (+0.3%), RTY (+0.4) and YM (+0.2%). Back to Europe, cash markets see broad but contained downside. Sectors are mixed with no overarching theme or bias. Tech resides at the foot of the bunch with heavyweight SAP (-0.2%) failing to garner impetus from Oracle’s (+11% pre-market) blockbuster earnings after beating expectations on the top and bottom lines and announcing a new USD 10bln stock-repurchase authorisation. The upside meanwhile sees some of the more inflation-related sectors, including Oil & Gas, auto, Goods, Foods, and Beverages. In terms of individual movers, Bayer (+1.8%) is firmer after the Co. won a second consecutive trial in California regarding its Roundup weed killer. Daimler (-15%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after spinning off its Daimler Trucks unit (+4%) - considered to be a market listing rather than a full initial public offering. Top European News Heathrow Offers Bleak Outlook as Omicron Halts Long-Haul Rebound HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank Tell London Staff to Stay Home SocGen CEO Takes Over Compliance After $2.6 Billion Fines Santander AM Names Utrera as Head of Equities as Montero Exits In FX, not a lot of deviation from recent ranges, but the Greenback is grinding higher ahead of US inflation data and Treasuries are bear-steepening to suggest hedging or positioning for an upside surprise following pointers from President Biden and NEC Director Deese to that effect (both advising that recent declines in prices, including energy, will not be reflected in November’s metrics). The index is back above the 96.000 level that has been very pivotal so far this week and hovering near the upper end of a 96.429-157 range, while the benchmark 10 year T-note yield is holding above 1.50% after a so-so long bond auction to wrap up the latest refunding remit. NZD/JPY/GBP - It’s marginal, but the Kiwi, Yen and Pound are lagging behind in the G10 stakes, with Nzd/Usd back below 0.6800 and perhaps taking note of a marked slowdown in the manufacturing PMI to 50.6 in November from 54.3, while Usd/Jpy is straddling 113.50 and eyeing DMAs either side of the half round number and Cable remains choppy around 1.3200 in wake of UK GDP, ip and output all missing consensus. AUD/CAD/EUR/CHF - All a tad more narrowly divergent vs the Buck, and the Aussie managing to keep tabs on 0.7150 after outperformance post-RBA on mainly external and technical impulses. Elsewhere, the Loonie has limited losses through 1.2700 with some assistance from hawkish sounding commentary from BoC Deputy Governor Gravelle rather than choppy crude prices as WTI swings around Usd 71/brl. To recap, he said that concerns over inflation are heightened on the upside much more than usual and the BoC is likely to react a little bit more readily to the upside risk given that inflation is already above the control range. Elsewhere, the Euro continues to fade on advances beyond 1.1300 and hit resistance at or near the 21 DMA and the Franc is more attuned to yields than risk sentiment at present, like the Yen, though is outpacing the Euro, as Eur/Chf veers towards 1.0400 again and Usd/Chf sits closer to 0.9250 vs 0.9200. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures have been edging higher in early European trade following a choppy APAC session and in the run-up today’s main event, the US inflation data. Currently, WTI Jan trades just under USD 71.50/bbl (vs low USD 70.32/bbl) while Brent Feb resides north of USD 74.50/bbl (vs low USD 73.80/bbl), with news flow also on the lighter side ahead of the tier 1 data. In terms of other macro events, sources suggested Iran is willing to work from the basis of texts created in June on nuclear discussions, which will now be put to the test in upcoming days, via a European diplomatic source. This would mark somewhat of a shift from reports last week which suggested that Iran took a tougher stance than it had back in June. Western diplomats last week suggested that Tehran ramped up their conditions, which resulted in talks stalling last Friday. Aside from that, relevant news flow has been light for the complex. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are drifting lower in tandem gains in the Dollar – spot gold has dipped under USD 1,770/oz, with the current YTD low at 1,676/oz. LME copper holds its head above USD 9,500/t but within a tight range amid the overall indecisive mood across the markets. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. CPI YoY, est. 6.8%, prior 6.2%; MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Nov. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.9%, prior 4.6%; MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6% 8:30am: Nov. Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -1.2%, revised -1.3% Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -1.6% 10am: Dec. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0% Sentiment, est. 68.0, prior 67.4 Expectations, est. 62.5, prior 63.5 Current Conditions, est. 73.5, prior 73.6 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’m sure if anyone had said to you at the start of 2021 that US CPI would end the year around 7% YoY then there may have been some sleepless nights about how to position your portfolio. The reality is that as inflation has risen, the market has managed to go through denial, transitory, elongated transitory, and now the retirement of transitory, all without much fuss. I’ve said this before but I doubt there is anyone in the world that predicted we’d end the year at near 7% whilst at the same time having 10yr UST yields still at around 1.5%. Today our US economists are anticipating that headline CPI will rise to +6.9%, which would be the fastest annual pace since 1982. And they see core inflation heading up to +5.1%, which would be the highest since 1990. Bear in mind as well that this is the last big release ahead of next Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision, where our economists are expecting they’ll double the pace of tapering. Chair Powell himself reinforced those expectations in recent testimony, stopping just shy of unilaterally announcing the faster taper. Crucially, he noted this CPI print and the evolution of the virus were potential roadblocks to a faster taper next week. That said, the bar is extremely high for today’s data print to alter their course, especially with the Covid outlook having not deteriorated markedly since his testimony. By the close last night, Fed funds futures were fully pricing in a rate hike by the June meeting, alongside more than 70% chance of one by the May meeting. A reminder that last month saw another bumper print, with the monthly price gain actually at its fastest pace since July 2008, which sent the annual gain up to its highest since 1990, at +6.2%. It also marked the 6th time in the last 8 months that the monthly headline print had been above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg, and in another blow for team transitory, the drivers of inflation were increasingly broad-based, rather than just in a few categories affected by the pandemic. It may have been the death knell for team transitory, with Chair Powell taking pains to retire the term in the aforementioned testimony before Congress. Ahead of this, markets were in slightly subdued mood yesterday as the reality of the new Omicron restrictions in various places soured the mood. Even as the news on Omicron’s severity has remained positive, concern is still elevated that this good news on severity could be outweighed by a rise in transmissibility, which ultimately would lead to a higher absolute number of both infections and hospitalisations. Even if it doesn’t, it seems restrictions are mounting while we wait and see. In response, US equities and oil prices fell back for the first time this week, as did 10yr Treasury yields. The S&P 500 (-0.72%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.08%) fell, whilst the VIX index of volatility ticked back up +1.73pts to move above the 20 mark again. Tech stocks underperformed in a reversal of the previous session, with the NASDAQ down -1.71%, and the small-cap Russell 2000 seeing a hefty -2.27% decline, as it moved lower throughout the day. Other risk assets saw similar declines too, with Brent crude (-1.85%) and WTI (-1.96%) oil prices both paring back their gains of the week so far. The move out of risk benefited safe havens, with sovereign bond yields moving lower across the curve, with those on 10yr Treasuries down -2.2bps to 1.50%. Those moves were echoed in Europe, where yields on 10yr bunds (-4.3bps), OATs (-4.5bps) and BTPs (-2.9bps) fell back as well. That came against the backdrop of a Reuters report saying ECB governors would discuss a temporary increase in the Asset Purchase Programme at their meeting next week, albeit one that would still leave bond purchases significantly beneath their current levels once the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme ends in March. Bitcoin fell -5.21% to $47,997 and is now more than -29% below its all-time highs reached a month ago. Marion Laboure from my team published a piece analysing the interaction between Bitcoin and the environment given its huge energy consumption. You can find the piece here. Ahead of today’s US CPI, there was another round of robust labour market data, with the US weekly initial jobless claims down to 184k (vs. 220k expected) in the week through December 4, marking their lowest level since 1969. The 4-week moving average was also down to a fresh post-pandemic low of 218.75k, having fallen for 9 consecutive weeks now. So with the labour market becoming increasingly tight and price pressures continuing to remain strong, it’s no surprise that markets have moved over the last year from pricing no hikes at all in 2022 to almost 3. Overnight in Asia, equities are all trading in the red with the Shanghai Composite (-0.32%), Hang Seng (-0.50%), Nikkei (-0.58%), CSI (-0.62%) and KOSPI (-0.67%) tracking the weaker US close last night after a three day rally. This comes after Chinese real-estate firms Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group were downgraded to restricted default by Fitch Ratings. Elsewhere in Japan, November's PPI reading came in at the highest level since 1980 at +9.0% year-on-year against +8.5% consensus due largely to rising energy prices. Our Japan economist expects CPI rising above 1% next year to be one of the ten key events to watch in 2022. You can read more here. Staying on Japan, the ruling party today will unveil a set of tax policy measures aimed at incentivising businesses to raise wages as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aims to deliver on campaigning promises. Futures are pointing to a slightly more positive start in the US with S&P 500 futures (+0.10%) trading higher but with DAX futures (-0.24%) catching down to the weaker US close. Out of DC, the Senate approved a one-time procedural measure that will allow them to raise the debt ceiling with a simple majority vote, ostensibly in the coming days, and hopefully for a longer period than the last six-week suspension. Yields on potentially at-risk Treasury bills are at similar levels to neighboring maturities. In terms of the latest on the pandemic, yesterday didn’t see any news of major significance, with the indicators mainly confirming what we already knew. In particular, the EU’s ECDC continued to say that among the 402 confirmed Omicron cases in the EU/EEA, all the cases with known severity were either asymptomatic or mild, with no deaths reported. So positive news for now, although it’ll be very important to keep an eye with what happens with hospitalisations in South Africa, which are continuing to rise, and the country also reported another 22,391 cases yesterday, which is once again the highest number since the Omicron variant was first reported. Separately, the US FDA moved yesterday to expand the eligibility of the Pfizer-BioNTech booster to 16 and 17 year olds. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for November. In addition, there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for December, UK GDP for October and Italian industrial production for October. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, along with the ECB’s Weidmann, Villeroy, Panetta and Elderson. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/10/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 10th, 2021

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface After three days of torrid gains, US futures and European markets fell as concerns about economic risks from restrictions to control the new variant outweighed optimism about the efficacy of vaccines after a study from Japan found that the omicron variant is 4.2 times more transmissible (as largely expected) in its early stage than delta. Both S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures dropped around -0.4% as traders awaited earnings from Broadcom, Oracle and Costco after the market close and tomorrow's key CPI print, while European equities drifted lower in quiet trade with little fresh news flow to drive price action. Uncertainty about monetary policy could keep stocks “significantly volatile,” according to Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “Investors are likely to remain cautious and keep on monitoring the macro outlook, especially today’s U.S. initial jobless claims, in order to gather more clues on what and when could be the Fed’s next move,” said Veyret. In Asia, China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. officially defaulted on their dollar debt, while the People’s Bank of China raised its foreign currency reserve requirement ratio for a second time this year after the yuan climbed to the highest since 2018. Among individual moves, CVS Health Corp. jumped in pre-market trading after saying it would buy back shares and raise dividends. Drugmakers including Pfizer rose, while travel companies and airlines declined. European stocks erased gains of as much as 0.3% with the Stoxx 600 trading -0.1% in the red as investors weigh new economic restrictions prompted by the omicron variant against earlier optimism. The real estate subgroup was best performer, up 0.7%; energy company shares lead declines with a drop of 1.2%. The Euro Stoxx 50 is down 0.25%, reversing a modest push into the green at the open. Other cash indexes trade either side of flat. Oil & gas and retail names are the weakest sectors. UniCredit SpA rose after saying it will return at least 16 billion euros ($18.1 billion) to shareholders by 2024. Meanwhile, Electricite de France SA fell with the government considering a cap on regulated power tariffs to help curb soaring electricity prices. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: LPP shares rose as much as 12% after its 3Q earnings beat expectations. The figures confirm a rebound of sales in traditional stores and stronger margins, according to analysts. UniCredit shares gain as much as 8.4%, the most since November 2020, after the Italian lender unveiled its new strategic plan that includes the distribution of at least EU16b to shareholders by 2024. Société Marseillaise du Tunnel Prado Carénage (SMTPC) shares rise as much as 5.5% after Vinci Concessions and Eiffage said they reached a pact to act in concert for a tender offer at EU27/share. Zur Rose drops as much as 7.3% in Zurich after an offering of 650,000 shares priced at CHF290 apiece, representing a 12% discount to the last close. Neste Oyj shares slid as much as 5.7% as investors digested the unexpected resignation of Chief Executive Officer Peter Vanacker from the helm of the world’s biggest maker of renewable diesel. FirstGroup shares fall as much as 5.9% after 1H results, with Chairman David Martin saying the U.K.’s work-from- home edict will “clearly have an impact” on commuter trips. There are potential downside risks to estimates in the short term, if Covid restrictions tighten, according to Liberum (buy). Dr. Martens released solid 1H results, but there’s “nothing material to flag” and unlikely to be upgrades to FY Ebitda estimates, Morgan Stanley says in a note. Shares drop as much as 5.2% after initially gaining 8.9%. Electricite de France shares fall as much as 5.1% after Le Figaro said the French government is considering taking additional steps to keep electricity prices from rising too much amid a spike in energy costs. The global equity rally will be tested as traders expect volatility until there’s more clarity on omicron’s threat to the economy, and ahead of U.S. consumer inflation numbers this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week that may provide clues on the pace of tapering and interest rate increases. “We are looking to potentially have a rise in volatility even if the market continues higher around those events next week,” said Frances Stacy, Optimal Capital portfolio strategist, on Bloomberg Television. “Many of the catalysts that gave us this boom out of Covid are slowing. And then you have the Fed potentially tapering into a decelerating economy.” Geopolitical tensions are also adding to investor concerns. Germany’s new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock doubled down on warnings from western politicians to Russia over Ukraine, saying that Moscow would pay a high price if it went ahead with an invasion of its neighbor. Separately, the U.S. said it will place SenseTime Group Inc. on an investment blacklist Friday, accusing the artificial intelligence startup of enabling human rights abuses. That’s after the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation designed to punish China for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang province. Asian stocks rose for a third day as investors reassessed concerns over the new virus strain and factored in the possibility that the Federal Reserve will accelerate the end of its quantitative easing.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added as much as 0.5%, extending its advance since Tuesday to almost 3%. Information technology and communication services were the sectors providing the biggest support to the climb, with benchmarks in China and Hong Kong among the region’s best performers. The CSI 300 Index gained 1.7% as consumer stocks rallied.   “The market had been initially wary of the Fed’s hawkish tilt in their stance, and a change in how they view inflation, but investors don’t seem too worried about it anymore,” said Tetsuo Seshimo, a fund manager at Saison Asset Management Co. “But this isn’t a theme that’s going away in the short term.”  Asia’s benchmark headed for its highest since Nov. 25, set to erase losses since the omicron variant was detected during the U.S. Thanksgiving holidays, but still in negative territory for 2021. The S&P 500 Index is up 25% this year, after gaining Wednesday on announcements by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that early lab studies showed a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralizes the omicron variant. “Funds are flowing into growth stocks with high estimated profit growth and ROE levels, a continuation of moves seen from yesterday,” said Takashi Ito, an equity market strategist at Nomura Securities in Tokyo. “But there could be some profit taking after the market rose for a few consecutive sessions.” Japanese stocks fell, cooling off after a two-day rally as investors weighed the potential impact of the omicron variant on the global economy. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.6%. Fanuc and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 0.5% loss in the Nikkei 225 Indian stocks ended higher, after swinging between gains and losses several times through the session, as traders shifted their focus to key economic data globally and at home in the days ahead.  The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.3% to close at 58,807.13 in Mumbai, after falling as much as 0.5% earlier in the day. The gauge has gained 3.6% in the last three sessions, its biggest three-day advance in over a seven-month period, on optimism the economic recovery will be resilient despite the spread of the new Covid variant, with the RBI continuing its policy support intact.  The NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by similar magnitude on Thursday. Reliance Industries Ltd. contributed the most to the Sensex gain, rising 1.6%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, equal number of stocks rose and fell. Fifteen of 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by a gauge of capital goods companies. The Reserve Bank of India kept borrowing costs at a record-low on Wednesday and voted 5-1 to retain its accommodative policy stance for as long as is necessary, reflecting its bias to support economic growth. The RBI expects the economy to expand 9.5% expansion in the year ending March, one of the fastest paces among the major growing world economies.  Markets’ focus will now shift to U.S. inflation data this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week, which may provide clues on the pace of tapering and policy tightening. India will release its factory output data on Friday and consumer-price inflation on Monday.  “All eyes will be on crucial macro data (CPI & IIP) outcome which may further provide some direction to the markets,” Ajit Mishra, vice-president research at Religare Broking Ltd., wrote in a note. “The focus will remain on the global cues and updates regarding the new variant. We reiterate our cautious yet positive stance on the markets and suggest traders to focus on managing risk.” Australian stocks edged lower as miners, consumer shares retreated. The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3% to close at 7,384.50, snapping a four-day winning streak. Miners and consumer discretionary shares contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline. Redbubble was the worst performer, dropping the most since Oct. 14. Sydney Airport was among the top performers after regulators cleared a proposed takeover of the company. The stock also joined a global rally in travel shares after Pfizer and BioNTech said initial lab studies show a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine may be effective at neutralizing the omicron variant. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 12,771.83 In rates, Treasury yields were mostly lower, led by the long end of the curve, while underperforming German bunds. 10Y TSY yields are lower by ~2bp at 1.4973%, trailing declines of 3bp-5bp for most European 10-year yields but remaining above 200-DMA, which it closed above Wednesday for first time since Nov. 29. Treasury futures trade near session highs, with cash yields lower by 3bp-4bp from the 5-year sector to the long end, inside Wednesday’s bear-steepening ranges. European bond markets lead the move, led by Ireland which cut 2022 issuance plans, as virus concerns weighed on most equity markets. U.S. auction cycle concludes with $22b 30-year reopening at 1pm ET, following two Fed purchase operations. Wednesday’s 10Y reopening auction drew 1.518%, tailing by about 0.4bp; Tuesday’s 3Y, which drew 1.000%, also trades at a profit, yielding 0.989% The WI 30Y yield 1.865% is below auction stops since January as sector has benefited from expectations that Fed rate increases beginning next year may strain the economy, as well as from strong equity-market performance driving increased allocation to bonds In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index resumed its ascent, climbing 0.2% as the dollar advanced versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen. TRY and ZAR are the weakest in EMFX.  The euro retreated, nearing the $1.13 handle and after touching a one-week high yesterday. One-week volatility for euro and sterling has risen to multi-month highs, with meetings by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England in focus. The British pound fell as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages.   The pound hovered near its lowest level in more than a year against the dollar as fresh coronavirus restrictions weighed on the U.K.’s economic outlook. Expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next Thursday continue to wane, with markets pricing less than six basis points of hikes. Goldman pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages. Norway’s krone led losses among G-10 currencies as it snapped a three-day rally that had taken it to an almost three-week high against the greenback. In commodities, Crude futures drift lower. WTI slips back near $72 having stalled near $73 during Asian trade. Brent dips 0.5%, finding support just above $75. Spot gold trades flat near $1,782/oz Looking at the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 4,691.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 478.52 MXAP up 0.4% to 195.63 MXAPJ up 0.7% to 638.47 Nikkei down 0.5% to 28,725.47 Topix down 0.6% to 1,990.79 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 24,254.86 Shanghai Composite up 1.0% to 3,673.04 Sensex up 0.3% to 58,839.03 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,384.46 Kospi up 0.9% to 3,029.57 Brent Futures down 0.3% to $75.58/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,783.15 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.20% to 96.09 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1318 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg European Central Bank governors are to discuss a temporary increase in the Asset Purchase Program with limits on the size and time of the commitment at a Dec. 16 meeting, Reuters reports, citing six people familiar with the matter Hungary raised interest rates for a fifth time in less than a month as policy makers try to rein in the fastest inflation in 14 years. The central bank hiked the one-week deposit rate by 20 basis points on Thursday to 3.3%, broadly matching the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey China’s central bank has signaled a limit to its tolerance for the yuan’s recent advance by setting its reference rate at a weaker-than-expected level China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings were downgraded to restricted default by Fitch Ratings, which cited missed dollar bond interest payments in Evergrande’s case and failure to repay a $400 million dollar bond in Kaisa’s. Evergrande Group’s inability to meet its obligations will be dealt with in a market-oriented way, the head of the nation’s central bank said PBOC is exploring interlinking the e-CNY, as the digital yuan is known, system into the Faster Payment System in Hong Kong, says Mu Changchun, head of the Chinese central bank’s Digital Currency Institute Money managers have shown some tentative signs that they may be willing to start buying more Chinese dollar bonds again, after demand for the securities plunged to a 27-month low in November Greece plans to early repay the total amount of IMF’s bailout loan to the country in the first quarter of 2022, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras says in a Parapolitika radio interview The omicron variant of Covid-19 is 4.2 times more transmissible in its early stage than delta, according to a study by a Japanese scientist who advises the country’s health ministry, a finding likely to confirm fears about the new strain’s contagiousness Pfizer will have data telling how well its vaccine prevents infections with the omicron variant before the end of the year A detailed look at global markets courtesy of newsquawk Asian equity markets eventually traded mixed as the early tailwinds from the US gradually waned despite the recent encouragement on the vaccine front. All major US indices were underpinned in which the S&P 500 reclaimed the 4,700 level and approached closer to its ATHs, while Apple extended on record levels and moved closer to USD 3tln valuation. The ASX 200 (-0.3%) was initially kept afloat by resilience in defensives, although upside was restricted amid weakness in tech alongside concerns of a further deterioration in ties with China after Australia’s decision to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) was rangebound with the Japanese benchmark stalled by resistance ahead of the 29k level, although the downside was cushioned by recent currency weakness and a modest improvement in the Business Survey Index. The Hang Seng (+1.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.0%) outperformed after China’s NDRC pledged support measures to boost consumption in rural areas and with some chatter regarding the possibility of another RRR cut in Q1 next year according SGH Macro citing a senior Chinese official. Furthermore, participants digested mixed inflation data from China including firmer than expected factory gate prices. CPI Y/Y was softer than forecast but it still registered the fastest pace of increase since August last year. Finally, 10yr JGBs briefly declined below the 152.00 level following the bear steepening stateside in which T-notes tested 130.00 to the downside and following a somewhat tepid US 10yr offering in which the b/c increased from prior but remained short of the six-auction average, while the results of the 5yr JGB auction were mixed and failed to spur prices with higher accepted prices offset by a weaker b/c. Top Asian News Evergrande Declared in Default as Massive Restructuring Looms China Dollar Junk Bonds Up After Fitch Move on Kaisa, Evergrande Gold Steady as Traders Assess Virus Risk Before Inflation Data China’s Credit Growth Rebounds After Slowing for Almost a Year Stocks in Europe trade have drifted lower in recent trade, giving up the modest gains seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%, Stoxx 600 -0.2%), and following the mixed lead from APAC and amidst a lack of fresh fundamental catalysts. US equity futures are also subdued, with a relatively broad-based performance seen across the ES (-0.3%), NQ (-0.4%), YM (-0.3%) alongside some mild underperformance in the RTY (-0.6%). Markets are awaiting tomorrow’s US CPI metrics, but more importantly, are gearing up for next week’s blockbuster FOMC confab. Desks have attributed this week’s rebound to several factors working in unison, including a milder Omicron variant (thus far), Chinese policy easing, FOMO, buybacks/upbeat corporate commentary alongside the widely telegraphed hawkish Fed pivot. On the last note, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the rotating voters next year on the FOMC will be more hawkish with the addition of George, Mester and Bullard as voters, albeit some empty spots remain – namely Brainard’s spot as she takes over the Vice-Chair position. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly in the green but portray a defensive bias – with Healthcare, Telecoms, Food & Beverages and Personal & Household Goods at the top of the bunch, whilst Oil & Gas, Retail and Travel & Leisure resides on the other end of the spectrum. In terms of individual moves, UniCredit (+7.8%) shot up to the top of the Stoxx 600 after unveiling its 2024 targets – with the Co. looking to return at least EUR 16bln via dividend and buybacks between 2021-24. Sticking with banks, Deutsche Bank (-2.1%) is pressured after the US DoJ reportedly told Deutsche Bank it may have violated a criminal settlement, due to failures in alerting authorities about internal complaints at its asset management unit, according to sources. Elsewhere, AstraZeneca (+1.0%) is supported as its long-acting antibody combination received emergency use authorisation in the US for COVID-19 prevention in some individuals. Finally, Rolls-Royce (-3.7%) slipped despite an overall positive trading update. Top European News Rolls-Royce Sinks as Omicron Clouds Outlook for 2022 Comeback Harbour Energy Plans Dividend But Pushes Back Tolmount Again Toxic U.K. Tory Press Is Flashing Warning Sign for Boris Johnson Credit Suisse Chairman Horta-Osorio Broke Quarantine Rules In FX, the Greenback remains rangy amidst undulating US Treasury yields and a fluid flow of Omicron related headlines that are filling the void until this week’s main macro release arrives tomorrow in the form of CPI data. However, the index is drifting down in almost ever decreasing circles having retreated a bit further from peaks to a marginally deeper sub-96.000 trough on Wednesday, at 95.848, and forming a fractionally firmer base currently to stay within contact of the psychological level within a narrow 96.154-95.941 band, thus far. Ahead, latest jobless claims updates and the last refunding leg comprising Usd 22 bn long bonds after a reasonable 10 year outing, overall. CHF/EUR/CAD - No obvious reaction to Swiss SECO forecasts even though supply bottlenecks and stricter COVID-19 measures are putting a strain on the economy internationally in winter 2021/22, according to the Government affiliated body. Similarly, ECB sources reporting that views on the GC are converging on a limited, temporary increase of the APP at December’s policy meeting, via an envelope or time specified increase with more frequent reviews, hardly impacted the Euro, as Eur/Usd remained towards the bottom of a 1.1346-16 range and Usd/Chf continued to straddle 0.9200, albeit mostly on the weaker side. Meanwhile, the Loonie has also slipped to the back of the major ranks following yesterday’s largely non BoC event against the backdrop of softer crude prices and an indifferent risk tone, with Usd/Cad hovering mainly above 1.2650 between 1.2645-80 parameters. JPY/GBP/NZD/AUD - All sticking to tight confines against their US peer, as the Yen rotates around 113.50 again and Pound pivots 1.3200 in limbo awaiting top tier UK data on Friday that might shed more light on what is gearing up to be another tight BoE rate call next week. Moreover, Usd/Jpy looks pretty well and heavily flanked by option expiry interest either side and in between its 113.81-35 extremes given large amounts running off at the NY cut - see 6.59GMT post on the Headline Feed for full details. Elsewhere, the pendulum has swung down under in favour of the hitherto underperforming Kiwi, as Nzd/Usd popped over 0.6800 and Aud/Nzd stalled ahead of 1.0550 alongside a pull back in Aud/Usd from 0.7185+ at best to test support into 0.7150 in wake of comments by RBA’s Harker and the RBNZ rebalancing its TWI. In short, the former said Australia’s economy can run hot while dodging the runaway inflation that’s plaguing much of the world, signaling monetary policy will stay ultra-loose for some time yet, while the latter culminated in a bigger Cny contribution at 27% from 23.5%. SCANDI/EM - Another day and more appreciation for the Cnh and Cny, at least in early hours, with validation via the PBoC setting a sub-6.3500 midpoint fix for the onshore Yuan vs Buck. However, the offshore then re-weakened past 6.3500 per Dollar after the Chinese central bank opted to raise the FX RRR by 2ppts - effective 15th Dec. Meanwhile, the Nok gives back after midweek gains as Brent slips with WTI to the detriment of the Rub and Mxn as well. Conversely, the Huf has a further 20 bp 1 week repo hike from the NBH to lean on and the Brl got a boost from 150 bp tightening on top of the BCB signalling the same again when COPOM delivers its next SELIC rate call. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have drifted lower from their best levels printed overnight, which saw WTI Jan briefly mount USD 73.00/bbl and Brent Feb eclipse 76.50/bbl. The complex was unfazed by WSJ source reports suggesting the Biden administration is said to be moving to tighten enforcement of sanctions against Iran, whilst US officials say if there is no progress in the nuclear talks. This comes ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks today, albeit the US delegation will only travel to Vienne over the weekend. With the likelihood of an imminent deal somewhat slim, participants will be eyeing any further deterioration in relations alongside additional demand/sanctions. Aside from that, price action will likely be dictated by the overall market tone in the absence of macro catalysts. Elsewhere, reports suggested the Marathon pipeline has been shut due to a crude oil leak estimated to be around 10 barrels from the 20-inch diameter Illinois pipeline, but again the headlines failed to spur the oil complex. Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways and remains under that cluster of DMAs which today sees the 100 at 1,790/oz, 200 and 1,792.50/oz and 50 and 1,795/oz. LME copper meanwhile has been drifting lower since the end of APAC trade, but the contract remains north of USD 9,500/t. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 220,000, prior 222,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.91m, prior 1.96m 9:45am: Dec. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 51.0 10am: Oct. Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 2.2%, prior 2.2%; Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.1% 12pm: 3Q US Household Change in Net Wor, prior $5.85t DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap On the theme of advertising, here’s a final reminder about our special monthly survey for 2022, which will be closing today at 1pm London time. We ask about rates, equities, and the path of Covid-19 in 2022, amongst other things, and also return to a festive question we asked in 2019, namely your favourite ever Christmas songs. The link is here and it’s your last chance to complete. All help filling in very much appreciated. Following the strongest 2-day equity performance so far this year, yesterday saw the rally begin to peter out amidst growing concern that another round of restrictions over the coming weeks could set back the economic recovery. Ultimately the issue from a health perspective is that even if Omicron does prove to be less severe, which the initial indications so far have pointed to, a rise in transmissibility could offset that, and ultimately mean that more people are in hospital as a much bigger number of people would actually get Covid-19, even if a lower proportion of them are severely affected. We’ll start with the good news, and one new piece of information yesterday was that Pfizer and BioNTech announced the results from an initial study showing that three doses of their vaccine neutralised the Omicron variant of Covid-19. President Biden tweeted that the new data was “encouraging” and said it reinforced the point that boosters offer the highest protection, whilst Pfizer’s chief executive said that the final verdict would be the real-world efficacy data, which they expect to see toward the end of this year. We also had an update from the EU’s ECDC, who said that of the 337 Omicron cases reported in the EU/EEA so far, all of them were either asymptomatic or mild where severity was available, and that no deaths had yet been reported. Obviously, these sample sizes aren’t big enough to come to concrete conclusions yet, but if things continue this way that’s clearly a promising sign. On the other hand, the spread of infections has continued in South Africa, and the country reported 19,482 cases, which is the highest number since Omicron was first reported. That comes as a study from a Japanese scientist advising the health ministry in Japan said that Omicron was 4.2 times more transmissible than delta in its early stage. That hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet but would certainly back up all the other indications that this is a much more transmissible variant than seen before. These growing warning signs have led governments to keep toughening up restrictions, and here in the UK, the government announced they’d be moving to “Plan B” in England, which will see the reintroduction of guidance to work from home from Monday, and an extension of face masks to most public indoor venues. They will also be making Covid-19 passes mandatory for nightclubs and venues with large crowds, though a negative test will also be sufficient. That comes as cases have continued to rise, with the 7-day average now above 48,000 and at its highest level since January. Separately in Denmark, the government said that schools would close early for the Christmas break, amongst other restrictions. Equities struggled against this backdrop, with Europe’s STOXX 600 down -0.59%, although the S&P 500 managed to pare back its earlier losses to eke out a +0.31% gain. Cyclicals underperformed, but we did see volatility continue to subside, with the VIX down to its lowest closing level since Omicron emerged, at 19.9pts. In addition, there was an outperformance from tech stocks, with the NASDAQ (+0.64%) and the FANG+ index (+0.62%) seeing solid gains. The increasing risk-off tone didn’t bother oil prices either, with Brent crude (+0.50%) and WTI (+0.43%) continuing their run of gains this week, including further gains overnight, whilst European natural gas futures (+5.86%) closed above €100 per megawatt-hour for the first time in nearly 2 months. Over in sovereign bond markets, yields moved higher on both sides of the Atlantic for the most part, with those on 10yr Treasuries up +4.8bps to 1.52%, though this morning they’re down by -1.2bps. That’s the first time they’ve closed back above 1.5% since the session just before Thanksgiving, ahead of the news emerging about the Omicron variant. In Europe, there was an even bigger sell-off, with yields on 10yr bunds (+6.3bps), OATs (+6.9bps) and BTPs (+10.4bps) all moving higher, alongside a further widening in peripheral spreads. This more mixed performance has continued overnight in Asia, with a number of indices trading higher including the CSI (+1.76%), the Shanghai Composite (+1.03%), Hang Seng (+0.89%), and the KOSPI (+0.37%). However, both the Nikkei (-0.27%) and Australia’s ASX 200 (-0.28%) lost ground. On the data front, China’s inflation numbers this morning showed that CPI rose to +2.3% year-on-year in November, slightly lower than forecast +2.5%, albeit still the highest since last August. The PPI readings remained much stronger, but did fall back from a 26-year high last month to +12.9% year-on-year (vs. +12.1% forecast). Looking ahead, futures are indicating a mixed start in the US & Europe with S&P 500 (-0.13%) and DAX (+0.12%) seeing modest moves in either direction. Overnight we also heard from President Biden on Russia, who said that he hoped to announce high-level talks by tomorrow where they would discuss Russian concerns about NATO, and that this would include at least four major NATO allies. President Biden said the meeting was an explicit attempt to “bring down the temperature along the eastern front” that’s ramped up over recent days and weeks. Nevertheless, President Biden reinforced that the US was ready to implement severe economic sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine, telling reporters that he said to Putin there would be “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen”. Back to yesterday, and the Bank of Canada kept policy on hold at their meeting, as was expected. The bank reinforced their expectation for the 2 percent inflation target to be sustainably achieved in the “middle quarters of 2022”. Like other DM central banks, they are focused on persistently elevated inflation, which they tied to supply constraints that will take some time to alleviate. We had some rate hikes elsewhere, however, yesterday with Brazil’s central bank taking rates up by 150bps to 9.25%, whilst Poland’s hiked rates by +50bps to 1.75%. The main data of note yesterday were the US job openings for October, which rose to 11.033m (vs. 10.469m expected) after 2 successive monthly declines. Notably the quits rate, which is a good indicator of labour market tightness, saw its first monthly decline since May as it came down to 2.8%, from an all-time record of 3.0%. To the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/09/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 9th, 2021