Global Market Quick Take: Europe – 21 March 2024 Global Market Quick Take: Europe – 21 March 2024 Global Market Quick Take: Europe – 21 March 2024

Global Market Quick Take: Europe – 21 March 2024

Macro 3 minutes to read
Saxo Strategy Team

Summary:  Wall Street hit fresh record highs on Wednesday with the broader indices outperforming after Chair Powell downplayed inflation concerns, keeping three rate cuts in Fed’s dot plot for 2024. AI momentum is likely to be fueled further with Micron’s strong beat on earnings, and focus turns to Nike and Lululemon today. Bond yields and the dollar both dropped, supporting risk sentiment, on the market taking the Fed outcome as dovish, and FX traders could be focusing on CHF and GBP today as their central banks meet. Equity strength carried over to Asia with +2% gains seen across markets while EU equity futures point to a solid start. Gold rallied above $2200, and momentum in crude oil is also extending further.

The Saxo Quick Take is a short, distilled opinion on financial markets with references to key news and events.

Equities: US stock indices closed at record highs with the Fed seen unnerved by the recent pickup in inflation and reaffirming its 2024 projection of three rate cuts. The small-cap focused Russell 2000 was up nearly 2% and outperformed the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100 which were up 0.9% and 1.2% respectively, and futures were seen ticking higher in Asia. Semiconductor stock Micron was up 15% in after-hours on better-than-expected earnings, likely further fueling the AI momentum.

FX: The dollar plunged following the dovish surprise from Chair Powell at the Fed meeting. USDJPY printed fresh highs since November at 151.82 before Nikkei report sparked some concerns over further BOJ tightening and brought the pair lower to sub-151 handle. USDCHF saw a minor break of 0.89 handle but reversed to 0.8850 amid the dollar weakness, while EURCHF continued its ascent towards 0.97 with SNB meeting ahead. GBPUSD also in focus after it took a look below 1.27 on CPI but rebounded to 1.28 handle on dollar weakness and equity strength overnight. BOE meeting today is key to assess whether the hawkish bias drops. EURUSD heading for a test of 1.0940 while AUDUSD is back to test a break above 0.66.

Commodities: Fed Chair Powell’s dovish stance and growing support within the FOMC for three rate cuts this year lifted sentiment across the commodity space, with the drop in Treasury yields and the dollar supporting strong rally in precious metals, but while gold trades at a fresh record above $2200, silver has yet to take out last year's highs just above $26. There was some profit-taking in crude oil, before the Powell boost and a larger-than-expected drop in US crude and gasoline stocks saw prices move higher. Copper also edged lower in the session, before bouncing strongly during today’s Asian session.

Fixed income: Yesterday’s FOMC meeting strengthened policy members’ soft-landing message. The Summary of Economic Projections showed expected more robust growth, labor market and higher core PCE in 2024. The Dot plot still shows three rate cuts in 2024, but a rate cut was removed from 2025, and the long-term run rate was revised upward to 2.6% from 2.5%. The Fed press conference was dovish, with Powell dismissing the upside surprise in inflation for January and February and highlighting that labor market weakening could warrant a policy response. Powell also mentioned that a decision about QT would be taken soon, and it might imply a more significant reduction of the balance sheet over time. The bond market reacted with a twist, steepening the yield curve. Two-year yields dropped by -8bps, closing the day at 4.6%; ten-year yields dropped by -2bps to 4.37%, but 30-year yields closed the day by 2.5bps higher at 4.45%. We expect the yield curve to continue to twist-steepen, as the front part of the yield curve will follow monetary policy. In contrast, the long part of the yield curve will need to be repriced over a higher long-run rate, considering higher growth and stickier inflation. We, therefore, continue to favor the front part of the yield curve up to 5 years, the 10-year US Treasury, for the appealing risk-reward ratio it brings to a diversified portfolio. In contrast, we continue to be cautious about the ultra-long part of the yield curve (TLT:xnas). For a preview of Thursday's upcoming BOE monetary policy meeting, click here.

Macro: Fed: Rates were left unchanged at 5.25-5.50% as expected, with the statement seeing no major changes.

  • The 2024 dot plot also continued to show 3 rate cuts as against some fears of that being reduced to 2. There are now 9 members that have penciled in end-2024 rate at 4.6% vs. 6 in December, signaling greater confidence in three rate cuts this year.
  • Key to note that 2025, 2026, and long run ("neutral") dots were all nudged higher to 3.9%, 3.1%, and 2.6%, respectively, from 3.6%, 2.9%, and 2.5% which is likely to kick off a debate on the magnitude of cuts in this cycle, but that doesn’t unnerve the markets right away.
  • Powell seemed to be unconcerned by the recent hot inflation prints and reiterated that the policy rate is likely at its peak and it will likely be appropriate to dial back rates at some time this year. This was a dovish signal to markets and the market expectation of a June rate cut is back to over 80%.

UK CPI came in below expectations with headline CPI at 0.6% MoM and 3.4% YoY (vs. 0.7% and 3.5% expected respectively). Core CPI eased from 5.1% YoY in January to 4.5% YoY in February, and focus turns to any dovish hints from the BOE meeting today. Read this article for Saxo’s BOE preview. A Nikkei report overnight signaled that the BOJ may be weighing its next rate hike for July or October. This was a contrast to signals from BOJ Governor Ueda at the meeting this week, and focus will be on CPI data due on Friday. SNB Preview: We discussed the potential for a dovish surprise from the SNB in the Macro podcast this week. Market is only expecting 37% odds of a rate cut today, but SNB is not very orthodox and could move ahead of the Fed and the ECB. Their strategy has shifted from defending a strong CHF to allowing controlled weakening for "normalization." Even if a rate cut is avoided, a dovish tone is likely that can boost the best for a 50bps rate cut in June.

Technical analysis highlights: Dow Jones and S&P 500 cancelled top and reversal pattern. S&P now looking at 5,300. Nasdaq 100 top and reversal pattern still intact, cancelled if closing above 18,417, its likely. EURUSD after testing twice strong bounce from 1.0838, likely to test 1.0970 resist and resume uptrend. GBPUSD bounced from support at 1.2660 uptrend resumed with potential to 1.30. USDJPY lost steam just below 2022 peak at 151.95, expect range bound. EURJPY reached its potential target at 165, expect setback. GBPJPY uptrend hit spot on 1.618 projection at 193.40, expect setback. AUDJPY likely to reach 100.40. USDCHF failed to close above 0.89. Gold resumed uptrend upside potential to 2.260. Silver likely to reach 26.00. US 10-year T-yields rejected at 4.35. Could slide back to 4.20

Volatility: Yesterday, the VIX notably decreased to $13.04 (-0.78 | -5.64%), exiting a rising channel in response to the Federal Reserve's comments, perceived as dovish. This shift suggests a potential easing of market volatility in the near term. VIX futures reflect this sentiment, dropping to 14.400 (-0.165 | -1.13%). The positive reaction extended overnight into futures, with S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbing to 5309.50 (+22.75 | +0.43%) and 18626.25 (+146.50 | +0.80%), indicating investor optimism. Wednesday's trading was dominated by tech and AI, with the most activity seen in options for TSLA, NVDA, AMD, AAPL, MARA, MU, PDD, INTC, META, and AMZN.

In the news: Fed Officials Still See Three Interest-Rate Cuts This Year, Buoying Stocks (WSJ), Reddit prices IPO at $34 per share in first major social media offering since 2019 (CNBC), Micron Soars After AI Growth Helps Bolster Revenue Forecast (Bloomberg), Fed's Powell says balance sheet drawdown taper coming soon (Reuters), Most Japan firms expect BOJ to increase rates towards 0.25% this year (Reuters), Intel latest to get US funds for chips, more grants and loans planned (Reuters)

Macro events (all times are GMT):  Manufacturing and Services March PMI from France (0715) exp. 47.5 & 48.8, Germany (0730) exp. 43 & 48.8, Eurozone (0800) exp 47 & 50.5 vs 46.5 & 50.2 prior, and UK (0830) exp. 47.8 & 53.8 vs 47.5 & 53.8 prior. Norges Bank rate decision (0800), Bank of England rate decision (1100), US Phili Fed Business outlook (Mar), exp –2.8 vs 5.2 prior (1130), US Initial Jobless claims, exp. 213k vs 209k (1130), EIA Weekly natural gas storage change, exp. +5 bcf vs –9 bcf prior (1330)

Earnings events: China Mobile, CNOOC, Ping An Insurance Group, Enel, China CITIC Bank, BMW, Nike, FedEx, Lululemon Atheletica, Accenture, Next, Darden Restaurants, FactSet

  • Friday: China Shenhua Energy, Meituan, Zijin Mining Group, Yihai Kerry Arawana, CMOC Group, China Petroleum & Chemical

For all macro, earnings, and dividend events check Saxo’s calendar


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