European, Asian stocks and S&P futures are all up again in early trading, a repeat of the Monday session, buoyed by a generally upbeat corporate earnings season, rising economic confidence and signs of improvement in the world’s biggest economies. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index held near its highest level since March as fed fund futures prices Monday indicated there’s a 71 percent chance of a rate increase this year, up from 68 percent last week. The dollar rose after Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said it’s likely that interest rates will be hiked three times by the end of 2017 (although one year ago we were supposed to get 4 rate hikes in 2016).
“If we look at the health of the U.S. economy, it just makes absolute sense to hike in December,” said James Woods, a strategist at Rivkin Securities in Sydney. While stocks may head higher, “it would not be a significant rally until we get the U.S. presidential election and rates out of the way,” he said.
Factory surveys in the United States and Europe had boasted the best readings of the year so far on Monday and a six-month high for Japanese stocks in Tokyo overnight had followed a record close for the tech-heavy U.S. Nasdaq. European markets started with Germany’s Dax nudging its highest level of the year as the closely-watch Ifo sentiment survey beat expectations a day after purchasing manager numbers had done the same.
“We are seeing a pick up of economic activity against the backdrop of only one central bank — the Fed — that is likely to tighten policy and that is supporting asset markets,” said CMC Markets senior analyst Michael Hewson.
German business confidence rose to a 2 year high after the German IFO business climate survey rose +1.0pt in October, rising from 109.5 to 110.5. Today’s print builds on the strong gain in the previous month and takes the level of the IFO to the highest it has been since April 2014. Yesterday’s PMI also showed robust improvement in Germany. As the following chart shows, the various German confidence indices are on a tear recently after yesterday’s stronger than expected PMI data. Now if only hard data can confirm the booming “soft” surveys.
Attention has turned to commodities, and especially the metals complex, after iron ore surged by the daily 6% limit on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange, and rising steel prices in China spurred a rally from aluminum to zinc. This boosted the currencies of resource-exporting nations, with South Africa and Australia leading gains versus the dollar.
Industrial metals have gained steadily this year with an index of London Metal Exchange contracts poised for the first annual increase since 2012 as a pickup in manufacturing in the U.S. and euro area point to an economy that’s getting more robust. A report Tuesday showing German business sentiment rose to the highest level in more than two years in October added to the sense of optimism.
“We’ve had a whole host of better-than-expected manufacturing data,” said Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Hellerup, a Copenhagen suburb. “Strong gains in China, led by steel and iron ore, are supporting the sentiment, which in turn has attracted increased speculative trading across the metals space.”
What is curious is that the recent bout of strength – compounded with a lack of market volatility – comes at a time when the Chinese currency is plunging again, and just yesterday the offshore traded Yuan tumbled to the lowest on record since it began trading in 2010. The onshore exchange rate declined in all but one of this month’s 11 trading sessions through Monday, a sign the central bank has reduced support since the currency’s inclusion in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights on Oct. 1. Confused traders are wondering if this time really is different or if the market will simply react to this latest sign of deterioration in China’s fund flows with its usual delayed reaction time.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index headed for its strongest close in three weeks as earnings reports fueled optimism about the profitability of the region’s companies. Spanish and Italian bonds outperformed top-rated German bunds as the region’s improving political and economic outlook sapped demand for haven assets.
The Stoxx 600 rose 0.1 percent, with miners leading gains; 14 out of 19 Stoxx 600 sectors rise with basic resources, banks outperforming and autos, health care underperforming; 59% of Stoxx 600 members gain, 40% decline. Orange SA led the charge among telecommunications stocks, adding 4.7 percent after posting an increase in quarterly profit. Randstad Holding NV rose 1.2 percent after announcing better-than-estimated revenue and saying growth trends were resilient across regions. Luxottica Group SpA jumped 7.7 percent after the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses said sales growth will accelerate in 2017.
S&P 500 Index futures climbed 0.2%. U.S. equities added 0.5 percent on Monday as deal activity boosted sentiment. Earnings remain in focus this week. Visa Inc. posted higher-than-expected profit after the close, and investors will be looking Tuesday to reports from Procter & Gamble Co. and General Motors Co. for indications of the health of corporate America. Caterpillar Inc. is among companies scheduled to release earnings that may provide more insight on the sustainability of the recovery in energy and mining. Apple Inc. is due to announce earnings after markets close Tuesday.
In rates, the yield on Italian 10-year bonds declined two basis points to 1.37%, while Spanish 10Y bonds fell three basis points to 1.08%. The yield on benchmark German bunds fell one basis point to 0.17%. Yields on Treasuries due in a decade were steady at 1.76%, after climbing three basis points on Monday. U.S. yields will have to rise if Evans proves to be correct in his 3 rate hikes predictions for 2017, according to Kim Youngsung, head of overseas investment at South Korea’s Government Employees Pension Service in Seoul. After one increase “for sure” in December, two more in 2017 will send the 10-year yield past 2.5 percent, Kim said. Economists predict the benchmark will end next year at 2.14 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey with the most recent forecasts given the heaviest weightings. Japan’s 20-year government bonds rose for a fourth day after demand picked up at an auction of the securities on Tuesday. The yield fell 1/2 a basis point to 0.37 percent, matching its lowest level of the past three weeks.
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Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk
Global Headline News
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Looking at regional markets, we start in Asia where stocks were lifted by the improved sentiment globally following the latest batch of firm earnings, which looks set to continue to dictate price action with Apple due to report later today. Nikkei 225 (+0.8%) is trading with modest gains, while the index has also supported by the weaker JPY. ASX 200 (+0.6%) follows suit with shares paring yesterday’s healthcare triggered losses while Chinese markets were indecisive with Shanghai Comp (+0.1%) and Hang Seng (+0.1%) down on mild profit taking after yesterday’s outperformance which saw the mainland index print 2-month highs. KOSPI (-0.5%) underperformed on the back of lower than prior Q3 prelim GDP figures, which comes despite beating expectations. Japanese bond yields continued to flatten across the curve, with outperformance yet again in the long end, with JGB’s tracking higher post the firm 20-yr auction.
Asian Top News
In Europe, bourses trade in positive territory as a slew of earnings help push equities higher (EuroStoxx +0.25%) with macro newsflow otherwise relatively light. In terms of sectors, the outperformer today is telecommunications, after Orange (ORA FP) posted a beat on expectations and is currently the notable outperformer in the CAC 40 (+0.33%). Also of note, the Wind and Italia 3 merger has been approved by the EU commission which could also contribute to sector bullishness. Fixed income markets have been capped by the gains in equities and supply may also be a factor with a number or corporates entering the market notably, Danone offering a 5 part EUR-deal. PGB’s are still benefitting from the positive effects of that DBRS rating and Bono (Spanish) yields continue to perform well after Spanish PM Rajoy announced the formation of a ruling government and the Tesoro confirmed there will be EUR 5bIn less issuance this year. Furthermore, this morning has also seen UK open books on their 2065 Gilt with Austria opening books for their 7 and 70yr issuance.
European Top News
In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index held near its highest level since March as fed fund futures prices Monday indicated there’s a 71 percent chance of a rate increase this year, up from 68 percent last week. The gauge gained in the last session as Fed Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said it’s likely that interest rates will be hiked three times by the end of 2017. South Africa’s rand rose 0.5 percent, followed by a 0.4 percent gain for the Australian dollar amid a pickup in commodities prices. They were among the few to advance versus the greenback, which is being supported by speculation that the economy is strong enough for the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates. Canada’s dollar weakened 0.4 percent, erasing most of the last session’s rebound from a seven-month low, after central bank Governor Stephen Poloz clarified earlier remarks that had curbed speculation interest rates will be cut. Poloz said he wasn’t referring to monetary policy when he told lawmakers that the best plan was “to wait for the next 18 months or so.” The yuan held near a six-year low in Shanghai and reached its weakest level on record in the offshore market, which began trading in 2010. The onshore exchange rate declined in all but one of this month’s 11 trading sessions through Monday, a sign the central bank has reduced support since the currency’s inclusion in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights on October 1.
In commodities, after three years of slumping prices as mine supply rose and Chinese growth slowed, iron ore has gained 36 percent in 2016. China steelmakers, which produce half the world’s output, have fired up plants after stronger demand boosted prices and expanded profit margins. Zinc, used to galvanize steel, jumped 2.1 percent at 10:53 a.m. in London after surging to a five-year high on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, while hot rolled steel coil climbed to levels last seen in April. Coking coal, necessary for steel production, rallied to an all-time high on tight supplies. Aluminum, copper and nickel all gained more than 2 percent on the LME. Crude oil rose 0.5 percent to $50.79 a barrel in New York, having declined 0.7 percent on Monday after Iraq said it should be exempted from planned production cuts being orchestrated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The head of OPEC is set to visit Baghdad on Tuesday for talks aimed at resolving the matter.
Looking at the day ahead, it’s mainly second tier data due out in the US today although the highlight will be the October consumer confidence reading. As a reminder the September print unexpectedly surged to 104.1 which is the highest since August 2007 with the improvement fairly evenly split between current conditions and future expectations. The market does expect some moderation in the October level (101.5 expected) although that will still keep it near the top end of the recent range. Also due out this afternoon in the US will be housing market data in the form of the FHFA and S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices. The Richmond Fed manufacturing survey for October is expected to show some improvement, while the IBD/TIPP economic optimism reading is other the data point today. Fedspeak wise the Fed’s Lockhart is scheduled to speak on ‘lending and investing in community development’ at 6pm BST, although the title suggests that it won’t be particularly monetary policy focused.
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US Event Calendar
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DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
This week hasn’t really got going yet and to be honest there’s not a huge amount of news to report of in the last 24 hours. With the ECB meeting behind us and the bigger macro events still to come it does feel like markets are in a bit of a holding pattern right now. Earnings ramp up today though and are headlined by the Apple numbers tonight which are always a bit of a spectacle for markets. So there’s that to look forward to.
If there’s one area which has been kept busy in recent days though, it’s M&A. Indeed, hot on the heels of the AT&T/Time Warner and BAT/Reynolds American announcements last week it was very much ‘Merger Monday’ yesterday following a flurry of further deal announcements. Yesterday we saw Chinese conglomerate HNA Group agree to a deal to acquire a stake in Hilton for $6.5bn. Aircraft component maker Rockwell Collins has announced that it is to purchase B/E Aerospace for $6.4bn and in the financial sector TD Ameritrade has agreed to buy Scottrade Financial Services for $4bn.
Indeed the window of opportunity for corporates might be narrowing as we approach year-end what with the number of potential risk events on the horizon. The US election is hovering just around the corner now while we’ve also got the Italy referendum to deal with, along with all things Fed, ECB and BoJ related. Not forgetting also the Brexit High Court case which is slowly bubbling below the surface, as well as the ongoing OPEC saga. So it might still be too early to call for any resurgence in animal spirits but yesterday’s announcements still helped to lift US equities. The S&P 500 closed +0.47% with the telecoms sector leading the charge. The Nasdaq (+1.00%) was the standout however after better than expected results from T-Mobile saw the US mobile carrier’s shares rally near 10%. European equities were initially stronger but faded into the close with the Stoxx 600 closing -0.01%. However the news that Rajoy is to take office for a second term in Spain and so ending the political impasse helped the IBEX to climb +1.27% while a decent performance for Spanish Banks also helped wider European Banks (+1.38%) continue their recent strong performance.
Refreshing our screens this morning, it’s been a fairly mixed but all-in-all quiet start in Asia. The Nikkei (+0.62%) and ASX (+0.69%) are both tracking higher however the Hang Seng (-0.19%), Shanghai Comp (-0.11%) and Kospi (-0.68%) are all struggling for traction somewhat. Oil has struggled so far this week with WTI down -0.81% from Friday’s close with the focus turning to comments from Iraq’s Oil Minister who suggested that Iraq should be exempt from a production cut deal. More interesting in Asia however is the continued focus on the weakening Chinese Renminbi. The offshore Yuan is hovering around a six-year low of 6.7836 this morning and in the 17 trading days in October so far, has weakened on 14 of them now. Clearly the market and investors have become a lot more accustomed to allowing greater flexibility in China’s currency moves but the latest weakening is starting to attract more and more headlines.
Moving on. Away from all things M&A related yesterday, the focus data-wise was on the October flash PMI’s. The data was particularly positive in Europe. Indeed the composite Euro area reading rose 1.1pts to 53.7 (vs. 52.8 expected). Both manufacturing (+0.7pts to 53.3) and services (+1.3pts to 53.5) readings edged higher while by country it was the composite reading for Germany (+2.3pts to 55.1) which impressed. France (-0.5pts to 52.2) was a little more disappointing although there was some upside in the latest manufacturing data there. Our European economists also highlighted that those PMI’s and other indicators suggest some upside risks of 0.1pp to their +0.3% qoq growth forecast for Q4 in the Euro area.
Across the pond the flash manufacturing PMI in the US was also up this month after printing at 53.2 (vs. 51.5 expected) following a 51.5 reading in September. Treasuries faded a little with that data, the benchmark 10y yield finishing 3bps lower at 1.766% which is bang in line with where it was this time a week ago. The USD rally took a pause for breath although it was noted that the December Fed hike probability has now crept above 70% versus 66% this time last week. It was a similar story for core government bond markets in Europe yesterday although the periphery outperformed. 10y yields in Portugal were 3.8bps lower yesterday at 3.121% following the DBRS rating announcement we highlighted yesterday, while Spain (-1.2bps) also outperformed slightly on the weekend news. While we’re in the periphery, the latest Italian referendum poll run by EMG Acqua for TG La7 showed that 34.7% of Italians would vote to approve Renzi’s constitutional reform versus 37.8% who would reject. That leaves a sizeable 27.5% that are still undecided and underlines what we have said previously in that the number of undecided voters is still very much elevated.
Elsewhere, the Fedspeak didn’t offer a huge amount to the debate yesterday. The usually dovish Chicago Fed President Evans said that ‘I think that there is room for the economy to continue to grow before we see inflation really pick up’ while the St Louis Fed President Bullard reiterated his view that there is no urgency in the Fed’s framework but that a single rate rise, likely in December, is all that is necessary for the time being.
Meanwhile, over at the ECB the latest CSPP holdings data is in. The ECB confirmed that it held €35.886bn of bonds as of the end of last week which implies net purchases settled last week of €2.089bn. On a daily run rate basis that works out at €418m per day which is slightly above the €378m average since the start of the program. So another solid week of purchases.
Looking at the day ahead, this morning in Europe the day kicks off in France where the various October confidence indicators are due out. Shortly following that we’ll get the October IFO readings in Germany where the market is expecting little change in the headline business climate print. It’s mainly second tier data due out in the US this afternoon although the highlight will be the October consumer confidence reading. As a reminder the September print unexpectedly surged to 104.1 which is the highest since August 2007 with the improvement fairly evenly split between current conditions and future expectations. The market does expect some moderation in the October level (101.5 expected) although that will still keep it near the top end of the recent range. Also due out this afternoon in the US will be housing market data in the form of the FHFA and S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices. The Richmond Fed manufacturing survey for October is expected to show some improvement, while the IBD/TIPP economic optimism reading is other the data point today. Fedspeak wise the Fed’s Lockhart is scheduled to speak on ‘lending and investing in community development’ at 6pm BST, although the title suggests that it won’t be particularly monetary policy focused. In Europe there are a couple of important speakers however. ECB President Draghi speaks at 4.30pm BST on ‘stability, equity and monetary policy’ while BoE Governor Carney is due to appear in front of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on the economic consequences of the Brexit vote. Earnings will be the other big focus today. 51 S&P companies are due to report with the ighlight being Apple after the close. Merck, Caterpillar and P&G will also be worth watching while in Europe Fiat Chrysler report.