What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I) - despite the US 10-year yield pushed lower on Friday on the string of strong macro numbers, Nasdaq 100 futures are oddly weak in early European trading hours sitting around the 15,700 price level. The 100-day moving average down at 15,400 is the key price level to watch should the weakness in US technology and bubble stocks continue today. We see clear exposure overlap between cryptocurrencies and growth stocks, and with the steep plunge in Bitcoin over the weekend the risk-off might not be over.
Stoxx 50 (EU50.I) - Stoxx 50 futures continue to be in a tight trading range sitting just above the 4,100 level this morning with little direction as traders are still digesting the US labour market report and Omicron news which at the margin seems to be improving somewhat, although expectations are still that jet fuel demand will be impacted. The weaker EUR is also short-term helping some of the exporters in Europe and generally leading to positive sentiment in early trading with European equities up 1%.
USDJPY and JPY crosses – USDJPY closed the week near 112.50-75 support that was tested multiple times last week, but is once again rebounding overnight, while JPY crosses elsewhere continue to trade heavily, with the likes of AUDJPY, a traditional risk proxy, cementing the reversal back lower and GBPJPY closing the week near a significant zone of support into 148.50-149.00. Safe haven seeking in US treasuries at the long end of the curve are the key coincident indicator driving the JPY higher, with Friday’s weak risk sentiment driving fresh local lows in US long yields, with the 30-year T-bond yield at its lowest since January, below 1.75%.
AUDUSD – the AUDUSD slide accelerated Friday in what looks like a capitulation ahead of tonight’s RBA meeting, where the feeling may be that there is a high bar for a surprise, given that the RBA has declared it would like to wait for the February meeting before providing guidance on its ongoing QE. Weak risk sentiment and uninspiring price action in commodities (with the partial exception of the very important iron ore price for the Aussie recently) are weighing and the price action has taken the AUDUSD pair to the pivotal 0.7000 level, an important zone of support and resistance both before and after the pandemic outbreak early last year.
Crude oil (OILUKFEB22 & OILUSJAN21) trades higher following its longest stretch of weekly declines since 2018. Today’s rise apart from a general positive risk sentiment in Asia has been supported by Saudi Arabia’s decision to hike their official selling prices (OSP) to Asia and US next month. Thereby signaling confidence demand will be strong enough to absorb last week's OPEC+ production increase at a time when mobility is challenged by the omicron virus. For now, both WTI and Brent continue to find resistance at their 200-day moving averages, currently at $69.50 and $72.88 respectively. Speculators cut bullish oil bets to a one-year low in the week to November 30, potentially setting the market up for a speculative-driven recovery once the technical outlook turns more friendly.
US natural gas (NATGASUSJAN22) extended a dramatic collapse on Monday with the price down by 7% to a three-month low at $3.84 per MMBtu, a loss of 31% in just six trading day. Forecasts for warmer weather across the country have reduced the outlook for demand at a time where production is up 6.3% on the year. A far cry from the tight situation witnessed in Europe where the equivalent Dutch TTF one-month benchmark on Friday closed at $29.50 while in Asia the Japan Korea LNG benchmark closed at $34.
Gold (XAUUSD) received a small bid on Friday following the mixed US labor market report, but overall, it continues to lack the momentum needed to challenge an area of resistance just above $1790 where both the 50- and 200-day moving averages meet. Focus on Friday’s US CPI data with the gold market struggling to respond to rising inflation as it could speed up rate hike expectations, leading to rising real yields. A full 25 basis point rate hike has now been priced in for July and the short-term direction will likely be determined by the ebb and flow of future rate hike expectations.
US Treasuries (IEF, TLT). This week traders’ focus is going to be on the US CPI numbers coming out on Friday, which could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to accelerate tapering as the YoY inflation is expected to rise to 6.7%. Yet, breakeven rates started to fall amid a drop in commodity prices, indicating that the market believes that inflation is near peaking despite we are just entering winter. It is likely we will continue to see the yield curve bear flattening, as the short part for the yield curve is adjusting to the expectations of more aggressive monetary policies, and long-term yields are dropping as economic growth is expected to slow down amid a decrease in monetary stimulus and the omicron variant. Last week, the 2s10s spread suffered the largest drop since 2012 falling to 74bps. The 5s30s spread dropped to 53bps.
What is going on?
COT on commodities in week to November 30. Hedge funds responded to heightened growth and demand concerns related to the omicron virus, and the potential faster pace of US tapering, by cutting their net long across 24 major commodity futures by 17% to a 15-month low. This the biggest one-week reduction since the first round of Covid-19 panic in February last year helped send the Bloomberg Commodity index down by 7%. The hardest hit was the energy sector with the net long in WTI and Brent crude oil falling to a one year low. Following weeks of strong buying, the agriculture sector also ended up in the firing line with broad selling being led by corn, soybeans, sugar and cocoa.
Evergrande plunges 16% to new low for the cycle. The situation among Chinese real estate developers is getting more tense with Evergrande’s chairman being summoned by Guangdong government on Friday as the company is planning a larger restructuring with its offshore creditors. The PBOC has said that they are working with the local government to defuse risk from a restructuring and the regulator CSRC said over the weekend that risks into capital markets are manageable. This week another real estate developer Kaisa Group is facing a deadline on debt which will be critical for the Chinese credit market.
US Friday data recap: Services sector on fire, November jobs report stronger than headlines suggest. The November ISM Services report showed the strongest reading in the history of the survey (dating back to 1997) at 69.1, suggesting a red-hot US services sector, with the Business Activity at a record 74.6, while the employment sub-index improved to 56.5, the highest since April. The November employment data, on the other hand, was somewhat confusing. Payrolls only grew 235k vs. >500k expected, but the “household survey” used to calculate the unemployment rate saw a huge growth in estimated employment, taking the overall employment rate down to 4.2% vs 4.5% expected and 4.6% in October. The Average Hourly Earnings figure rose only 0.3% month-on-month and 4.8% year-on-year, lower than the 0.4%/5.0% expected, though the Average Weekly Hours data point ticked up to 34.8 from 34.7, increasing the denominator.
Twitter sees exodus of leaders. Part of Jack Dorsey stepping down as CEO at Twitter is a restructuring of the leadership group which has seen two significant technology leaders at engineering and design & research steeping down. The new CEO Agrawal is setting up his own team for Twitter which if done right could make a big positive impact on the product going forward.
What are we watching next?
Study of omicron variant and its virulence, new covid treatment options. Discovery of omicron cases is rising rapidly, with some anecdotal hopes that the virulence of the new variant is not high, but with significant more data needed for a clearer picture to emerge. Meanwhile, a new covid treatment pill from Merck (molnupiravir) may be available in coming weeks in some countries as it nears full approval.
Next week’s earnings: The earnings season is running on fumes now few fewer important earnings left to watch. The Q3 earnings season has shown that US equities remain the strongest part of the market driven by its high growth technology sector. Today’s focus is on MongoDB which is expected to deliver 36% y/y revenue growth in Q3 (ending 31 October).
Monday: Sino Pharmaceutical, Acciona Energias, MongoDB, Coupa Software, Gitlab
Tuesday: SentinelOne, AutoZone, Ashtead Group
Wednesday: Huali Industrial Group, GalaxyCore, Kabel Deutschland, Dollarama, Brown-Forman, UiPath, GameStop, RH, Campbell Soup
Thursday: Sekisui House, Hormel Foods, Costco Wholesale, Oracle, Broadcom, Lululemon Athletica, Chewy, Vail Resorts
Friday: Carl Zeiss Meditec
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
0830 – Sweden Riksbank Meeting Minutes
0900 – Switzerland Weekly Sight Deposits
1130 – UK Bank of England’s Broadbent to speak
0330 – Australia RBA Cash Rate Target
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