Financial Markets Today: Quick Take – June 17, 2022
Saxo Strategy Team
Summary: The Bank of Japan continues to swim against the stream as it insisted on maintaining its yield-curve-control and negative policy rate at the meeting overnight, with daily operations to defend the yield cap on Japanese government bonds. Elsewhere, US equity markets continued to new lows even as US treasuries found strong support as a batch of weak US data points raises concerns on the US economic outlook.
What is our trading focus?
Nasdaq 100 (USNAS100.I) and S&P 500 (US500.I)
The Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 futures fully reversed and more the FOMC pump with S&P 500 futures closing at the 3,671 level yesterday down 3.2%, while technology stocks fell even more. The current drawdown is now the second deepest at the same time into the drawdown compared to previous historical drawdowns underscoring the seriousness of the current market regime. Initial jobless claims weakened yesterday, and the Philly Fed survey showed significant downward pressure on new orders hitting levels typical of recessions. The fear of recession could short-term keep a lid on interest rates and thus ironically support equities and maybe cause a mild rebound over the coming weeks. The VIX forward curve remains well behaved suggesting no panic yet in US equities.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI.I) and China’s CSI300 (000300.I)
The indices were up more than 1% despite ugly selloffs in overseas markets overnight. The fall in property prices in the top 70 cities slowed to -0.2% m/m vs April -0.3%. Property prices in Tier-1 cities rose 0.4% m/m and the declines in Tier-2 and lower-tier cities moderated. On the other hand, JD.COM’s (09618) JD Retail CEO told Bloomberg that recovery in consumption in China had been slow from the reopening of cities, such as Shanghai. The Company was expecting that it would take a long time for household consumption to recover as the economy and household income had been severely hit over this wave of lockdown.
EURGBP and GBPUSDSterling rallied hard yesterday in the wake of the Bank of England meeting yesterday on the guidance the meeting produced rather than due to the smaller 25-basis point hike. its reversal yesterday took GBPUSD well away from the cycle lows of 1.2000 posted earlier this week, trading as high as 1.2406 late yesterday, just above a major local 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of the recent sell-off at 1.2387 and far above the prior low-water mark from May of 1.2156. A full reversal in GBPUSD requires another rally surge through 1.2500. Elsewhere, sterling hopefuls should have a look at EURGBP, where the latest leg higher above 0.8600 has been sharply reversed, suggesting a more well-defined reversal. Watching the 0.8500 area for whether we follow through lower and back into the range extending below 0.8300 again.
USDJPY and JPY pairs
With the Bank of Japan voting 8-1 to maintain course and the 0.25% cap on 10-year JGB yields, the JPY weakened sharply after a bout of speculation this week that Governor Kuroda and company might relent on its policy and bring a sharp resetting of the JPY higher. In the background, ironically, a powerful rally in global bonds yesterday was a JPY-supportive development that has eased the JPY-negative impact of the overnight BoJ decision. The BoJ statement did say that the Bank needs to pay attention to the FX level, from which one might infer that there is a JPY weakness level that the BoJ would find unacceptable and could prompt a change of course in the future. From here, the only route to a higher JPY is via a new drop in bond yields and shift away from CB tightening elsewhere or if the Bank of Japan is seen as giving up on its policy at a later date, possibly on coming inflation releases and risks of a weaker JPY raising the cost of living to an unacceptable degree.
Crude oil (OILUKAUG22 & OILUSJUL22)
Crude oil is heading for its first weekly decline in six with global growth concerns and prolonged lockdowns in China being the main catalyst. On top of that the short-term technical outlook has weakened following several failed attempts to break higher, but given the tight supply outlook, highlighted by the IEA earlier in the week. Support in Brent is likely to emerge already between $116 and $113.25. NY Harbor Diesel (HOc1) and gasoil (GASOILUKJUL22) both trades higher on the week, a reflection of the tightness that despite growth concerns, is likely to keep the energy sector supported.
Gold remains rangebound following a two-day rally that was supported by US growth concerns and a continued rout in cryptos and global stock markets. Together with another dose of weak U.S. data (see below) they helped send US treasury yields and the dollar lower on Thursday, thereby easing some of the recent pressure on bullion. Total holdings in bullion-backed ETFs have declined by less than 0.25% this past week, a strong sign that investors look to gold for protection against the rout in global markets, together with increased focus on the need to hedge against the risk of stagflation. On a relative basis gold’s year-to-date outperformance against the S&P 500 has reached 24%, long-end bonds 26% and 75% against blockchain (BKCH:arcx).
US Treasuries (TLT, IEF)
US treasuries rallied hard yesterday amidst ugly sentiment in the equity market and on a set of weak US data points pointing to a decelerating housing sector (more below), with weekly jobless claims remaining near the highs of the last few months. The US 10-year treasury yield has declined back to the pivotal area around 3.20%, which was the cycle high before the latest surge toward 3.50%. An extension of the rally that takes yields significantly back below that 3.20% mark would suggest that we have reached a cycle peak for now and further consolidation is set to follow, perhaps on concerns for an incoming recession.
What is going on?
Bank of Japan defies the global tightening wave
The Bank of Japan maintained the negative 0.10% policy rate today, confirming that it won't join the Federal Reserve and other major global central banks in tightening monetary policy. The Japanese central bank will keep its target for the 10-year Japanese government-bond yield at+0.25% and announced daily operations to ensure the cap on yields is maintained. While the central bank said we will take additional easing measures without hesitation if needed, there was a rare reference to the yen weakness.
Swiss National Bank surprises with 50 basis point hike yesterday
The Swiss National Bank, according to surveys, was not expected to hike rates yesterday, though a rapidly growing minority of observers were looking for a rate rise. The hike of 50 basis points brought the policy rate to –0.25% and makes it clear that the SNB is happy to separate itself from ECB policy and allow the CHF to strengthen as one of the tools to combat rising inflation risks in the country. EURCHF sold off below 1.0200 after trading above 1.0400 ahead of the decision. USDCHF slid to lows of 0.9632 from above parity the day before the decision.
The Bank of England hikes 25 basis points, sharpens forward guidance languageThe majority of observers were looking for the 25-basis point move from the BoE, with some residual uncertainty on whether the bank might hike by more due to the large Fed rate hike this week and the weakness in sterling. Three MPC members of the nine voting wanted a 50-bp hike. At the same time, the BoE predicted that CPI would peak slightly above 11% in October, said that it would respond “forcefully” on any signs of worsening inflation, language that kept the short end of the UK yield curve pinned near the cycle highs.
China centric commodities remain under pressureChina centric commodities such as iron ore SCON2), coal and copper (COPPERUSSEP22) remain under pressure after China advised its covid restrictions probably won’t ease until next year. In addition, the recent spate of weaker than expected economic US data combined with central banks stepping up their fight to combat inflation have raised concerns about the outlook for global growth in general.
US economic indicators weaken
US building permits and housing starts eased in May to 1.695mn and 1.549mn respectively while the initial jobless claims were at 229k versus 217k expected. Further, Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey printed a negative figure of -3.3 for June, the first such contraction since May 2020. More so, the future activity index was contractionary for the first time since the GFC.
Adobe shares slip 5% in extended trading on revenue outlook missAs we highlighted on our podcast yesterday Adobe’s earnings were a test of business investment in marketing and content activities. While the business remains sticky the company put out a revenue outlook at $17.7bn vs est. $17.9bn due some demand weakness, Russia impact and USD headwinds.
What are we watching next?
US recession concerns risingThe mix of data this week generally raises concerns that the US economy is decelerating, but the evidence is patchy and will need confirmation for this to become a a more entrenched theme. At the same time, equity traders have to figure out whether they should celebrate weak data as something that will eventually lead US yields lower and see the pace of Fed tightening eventually reversing or fret weak data because of the implications for corporate profits. The next US data points of interesting include the preliminary Services and Manufacturing PMI surveys for June next week.
Fed blackout period endingThe Fed speakers will be back in action as the blackout period ends. Chair Powell is speaking later today at the inaugural conference on the International Roles of the US Dollar. Other Fed speakers are due as well including Esther George who voted for a 50bps rate hike this week.
Next week’s earnings calendar is light but there are three important earnings releases to watch and those are Lennar, FedEx, and Accenture that all will give insights into the US housing market, logistics, and recruitment dynamics.
- Monday: Kanzhun
- Tuesday: Lennar
- Thursday: FedEx, Accenture, Darden Restaurants, FactSet
- Friday: Carnival, China Gas, CarMax
Economic calendar highlights for today (times GMT)
- 0900 – Eurozone May Final CPI
- 1200 – Poland May Core CPI
- 1230 – Canada May Teranet/National Bank Home Price Index
- 1245 – US Fed Chair Powell to make opening remarks at a conference
- 1315 – US May Industrial Production / Capacity Utilization
- 1430 – UK Bank of England Chief Economist Pill to speak
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