What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) - Nasdaq 100 futures recovered in yesterday’s session reaching as high as 16,114 which was just above the 23.6% retracement level measured on the current selloff. This morning US equity futures are carrying over the good mood from Asia with Nasdaq 100 futures trading around the 16,060 level. If US bond yields extend their rise from two sessions ago then it could quickly unsettle equities again with US technology stocks expected to lead any weakness.
EURUSD – the momentum of the move lower off the back of the hot US October CPI print on Wednesday may be running out of steam, or it simply had a hard time doing much yesterday on the banking holiday in the US. Either way, the key development is the break below the 1.1500-25 zone, which now serves as resistance as the next key level is 1.1290, which is the 61.8% retracement of the rally from the post-pandemic lows to the highs at the start of the year.
USDJPY – the US dollar is broadly stronger as the market has repriced Fed rate expectations for next year higher in the wake of this week’s hot US October CPI data, though traditionally, USDJPY is more sensitive to longer yields, which have yet to threaten the highs for the cycle – so calling for a USDJPY move beyond the huge line of resistance ahead of 115.00 (not seen since early 2017), a move above 1.75% in the US 10-year Treasury benchmark would be a supportive coincident development.
Crude oil is heading for a third weekly decline as the market continues to focus on the prospect of US intervening to bring down the cost of oil and with that, very elevated domestic gasoline prices, and in California near the record from 2012. A resurgence in Covid-19 cases in Europe and Asia also adding some relief to current tight market conditions. OPEC in its monthly report confirmed the group produced less than its share of the 400k b/d OPEC+ supply hike due to problems among its African members. They also lowered their 2021 demand growth estimate by 160k b/d due to weaker than expected demand from China and India in Q3. Brent will be looking for support around $80 and WTI a couple of bucks lower. Focus on US government action and monthly report from IEA on Tuesday.
Gold (XAUUSD) trades above the key $1835 support level for a third day but so far, the rally has paused with rising real yields from Tuesday’s record low and the stronger dollar both creating some headwinds, while tension at the Russia/Ukraine and Poland/Belarus borders may add a small haven bid. Another signal of caution has been given by the ETF market where fund managers and other investors have so far reacted with limited excitement to the breakout with total holdings, has only registered a tiny increase. Silver meanwhile has extended its gains towards resistance at the 200-day moving average, currently at $25.36. Short-term focus on whether gold can consolidate its breakout as a drop below $1830 now would trigger a negative reaction from traders.
US treasuries (TLT, IEF, SHY). Despite the US bond market being closed yesterday, US bond futures sold off slightly. The belly of the curve continues to sell off this morning. Today’s University of Michigan survey might add to the weakness. However, the focus remains next week’s 20-year bond sale, a much less popular tenor than this week’s benchmark 10-year and 30-year tenors, promising more volatility.
German Bunds (IS0L). European sovereigns were not immune to the volatility in US rates. However, while in the US the yield curve was bear-flattening, in Europe the Bund yield curve has bear-steepened by 4bps. The reason for this divergence lays in the fact that interest rate hikes expectations in Europe come much later than in the US, moving long-term yields. Ten-year Bunds are now trading well above their 200 days MA in an ascending trend above –0.25%.
UK Gilts (IGLT). Gilt yields adjusted slightly lower yesterday amid disappointing Q3 GDP and output numbers. The market is still pricing four interest rate hikes in 2022, giving investors plenty of room to scale back further on rate hikes expectations if needed. However, next week’s UK CPI numbers might contribute to more weakness.
What is going on?
Tension at the Russia/Ukraine and Poland/Belarus borders. The US is warning its allies in the EU over Russia’s buildup of forces near the Ukrainian border as a possible sign of the intent to invade, and Poland is calling for an emergency summit with EU leader as it seeks to halt inflows of migrants from Belarus at its border, a situation US officials believe has been orchestrated by Russia.
Wheat futures (ZWH2) in Chicago trades near the most expensive since 2012 while Paris Milling wheat futures (EBMH2) trades at a record high amid surging inflation and worries over a possible further slowdown in exports from Russia, the world’s biggest shipper. Record demand from buyers in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa putting upward pressure on prices in a year where production has been challenged due to bad weather. Expectations for a strong harvest season in Australia and Argentina only providing a small amount of relief should Russia, due to continued high prices, decide to keep more of its crop at home to help suppress domestic prices.
European stocks to watch in early trading. The Swiss luxury maker Richemont has reported 1H operating income of €1.95bn vs est. €1.49bn driven by margin improvements rather than revenue growth upside, although 1H revenue was 3% higher than estimated. AstraZeneca is reporting a disappointing Q3 result with EPS ex-Covid vaccine at $1.08 vs est. $1.25, but keeps its guidance unchanged.
Newly IPO’ed EV maker Rivian gains 22%. Rivian finished yesterday at a market value of $107bn despite having zero revenue taking equity valuations to a new extreme we have not seen before. While demand seems incredibly high for EV stocks, investors should be careful at current levels as the expectations are excessively high to justify the valuation. Sentiment can change quickly.
What are we watching next?
Who will US President Biden nominate to head the Fed next February? We have written on this extensively before, we will merely keep this short notice as a placeholder reminder that this could generate significate short term volatility on the choice of the nominally more dovish Lael Brainard over current Fed Chair Powell, though we see little difference in the implications for monetary policy, and the Fed is likely to get a prominent new regulatory role either way.
US Nov. Preliminary University of Michigan Survey – there has been a discrepancy between this survey and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence survey, with the Michigan survey suggesting that general sentiment is worse than it was during the heart of the initial pandemic crisis, while the conference Board survey has merely dipped and is closer to post-Covid outbreak highs than the lows. An additional focus will be on the Inflation Expectations component of the survey, where the 1-year expectations continue to make new highs in line with the spike in official CPI measures, while the 5-10 year expectations have risen, but have so far topped out at 3.0%, which is also the high of the range since 2011. This inflation expectations measure is one of the ones used by the Fed to determine whether inflation expectations are becoming unanchored.
Earnings Watch – today’s earnings focus is on Pinduoduo and Li Auto, with the weaker than estimated Q3 results from Tencent creating a sense of potential disappointment from Pinduoduo, which is also being impacted by China’s ongoing technology regulation. Finally, earnings from Coupang were postponed from yesterday to today.
Friday: KBC Group, AstraZeneca, Richemont, Pinduoduo, Li Auto, Coupang
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
0800 - Czech National Bank Meeting Minutes
1350 – ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane to speak
1400 – UK Bank of England’s Haskel to speak
1500 – US Sep. JOLTS Job Openings
1500 - US Nov. Preliminary University of Michigan Expectations
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