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Global Stocks Rise Amid Unexpected ECB “Trial Ballon”; Dollar Flat Ahead Of Fed Minutes

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

European markets continued their risk-on trend in early trading, rising to the highest in over a week and rallying from the open led by mining stocks as industrial metals spike higher after zinc forwards hit highest level since 2007, lifting copper and nickel. The EUR sold off sharply, boosting local bond and risk prices after the previously discussed Reuters "trial balloon" report that Draghi's speech at Jackson Hole would not announce the start of the ECB's taper. The EURUSD has found support at yesterdays session low. Bunds have rallied in tandem before gilts drag core fixed income markets lower after U.K. wages data surprises to the upside. Early EUR/JPY push higher through 130.00 supports USD/JPY to come within range of 111.00.

In Asia, Japan’s JGB curve was mildly steeper after the BOJ continued to reduce its purchases of 5-to-10-yr JGBs; the move was consistent with the BOJ's desire to cut back whenever markets stabilize, according to Takenobu Nakashima, strategist at Nomura Securities Co. in Tokyo. The yen is little changed after rising just shy of 111 overnight. The S.Korean Kospi is back from holiday with gains; The PBOC weakened daily yuan fixing; injects a net 180 billion yuan with reverse repos; the Hang Seng index rose 0.9%, while the Shanghai Composite closed -0.2% lower. Dalian iron ore declines one percent. Japan’s Topix index closed little changed. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.6 percent, reopening after a holiday. The Hang Seng Index added 0.8 percent in Hong Kong, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.5 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index was Asia’s worst performer on Wednesday, falling as much as 1.1 percent, as banks and interest-rate sensitive stocks dropped.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.7%, the highest in a week.  The MSCI All-Country World Index increased 0.3%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index gained 0.6%. Germany’s DAX Index jumped 0.8% to the highest in more than a week. Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.2% to the highest in a week. Global markets are finally settling down after a tumultuous few days spurred by heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Miners and construction companies led the way as every sector of the Stoxx Europe 600 advanced as core bonds across the region declined. Crude gained for the first time in three days after industry data was said to show U.S. inventories tumbled 9.2 million barrels last week.

U.S. stock-index futures rise slightly with European and Asian equities and oil. Data include MBA mortgage applications and housing starts. Cisco, Target, L Brands and NetApp are among companies reporting earnings. Italian banks also outperform after HSBC make positive comments on Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit.

In overnight macro, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was unchanged after two days of gains and Treasury yields edged higher as European stocks rose and investors awaited minutes of the Fed’s July 25-26 meeting. As shown in the chart below, after "Long USD" was seen as the "most crowded traded" for months until the start of Q2, the BofA Fund Manager Survey respondents now "Short USD" as the second most crowded trade.

In Asia The yen slid a third day against the dollar as market participants positioned themselves ahead of the FOMC minutes and as geopolitical tensions on North Korea abated; Australia’s dollar gained for the first time in three days as traders covered short positions after second-quarter wage data matched estimates, boosting prospects of an upbeat July employment print this week. The pound rose against the dollar as a U.K. labor-market report showed wage growth exceeded the median estimate of economists and unemployment unexpectedly dropped to the lowest since 1975.

The latest European data released overnight showed more nations joined the recovery as the euro-area economy gathers pace. Italy’s economy expanded for a 10th straight quarter, matching estimates of a 0.4% increase while growth in the Netherlands beat economists’ estimates.

Eastern European economies including Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland also exceeded expectations, confirming that a broad-based recovery is taking hold.

In rates, the yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed one basis point to 2.28 percent, the highest in more than two weeks.  Germany’s 10-year yield increased three basis points to 0.46 percent, the highest in more than a week. Britain’s 10-year yield gained four basis points to 1.121 percent, the highest in more than a week.

In today's key event, minutes from the Fed meeting will be parsed closely; policy makers have indicated they may announce plans to reduce the central bank’s balance sheet in September and then potentially raise interest rates again this year.

Global Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 2,468.90
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 379.51
  • MSCI Asia up 0.2% to 158.83
  • MSCI Asia ex Japan up 0.5% to 523.28
  • Nikkei down 0.1% to 19,729.28
  • Topix down 0.01% to 1,616.00
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.9% to 27,409.07
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,246.45
  • Sensex up 0.7% to 31,664.31
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 5,785.10
  • Kospi up 0.6% to 2,348.26
  • German 10Y yield rose 1.5 bps to 0.448%
  • Euro down 0.2% to $1.1717
  • Italian 10Y yield rose 2.5 bps to 1.756%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.4 bps to 1.469%
  • Brent futures up 0.7% to $51.16/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.06% to $1,270.71
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.09% to 93.94

Overnight Top News

  • Fed’s Fischer: Will probably be a break between announcement of unwinding of QE and the start of the process; Fed could always press pause if unanticipated circumstances arise: FT
  • ECB President Mario Draghi will not deliver a new policy message at the Fed’s Jackson Hole conference, Reuters reports, citing two unidentified people familiar with the situation
  • Efforts to loosen constraints on banks 10 years after financial crisis are "dangerous and extremely short-sighted," Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer says in FT interview
  • Kaplan repeats Fed should be patient on timing of next hike; should start balance sheet unwind very soon
  • ECB’s Hansson: Wage pressures are beginning to emerge despite low inflation in the euro area but are “very uneven” across the block
  • Trump Again Drags GOP Onto Dangerous Ground, This Time Over Race
  • Euro-area GDP rose 0.6% q/q in 2Q, in line with the median estimate of economists, and was supported by continued growth in Germany, the region’s largest economy, and the strongest Spanish performance in almost two years
  • Holders of credit-default swaps in Banco Popular Espanol SA still haven’t been compensated after the bank’s junior notes were wiped out in Europe’s first forced sale of a failing lender under its new resolution regime
  • German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble doesn’t share opinion of German Federal Constitutional Court about ECB policy, Handelsblatt reports
  • Bank of Japan cut purchases of bonds maturing in five to 10 years by 30 billion yen ($270 million) to 440 billion yen at its regular debt-buying operations on Wednesday
  • The 220 billion-krone ($28 billion) Government Pension Fund Norway, the domestic counterpart of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is cutting risk as big active bets have lost their luster
  • API inventories according to people familiar w/data: Crude -9.2m; Cushing +1.7m; Gasoline +0.3m; Distillates -2.1m
  • BOJ cuts purchases of 5-to-10 year bonds by 30 billion yen
  • China’s Treasuries holdings up $44.3 billion in June to $1.15 trillion
  • Uber Lines Up 4 Investors, But a Deal Hangs on Boardroom Battle
  • Elliott Says BHP Taking Note of Critics as Fund Lifts Stake
  • Akzo, Elliott Call Truce as CEO Gains Breathing Space for Split
  • Urban Outfitters Gains After Smaller Chains Prop Up Results
  • Netflix Co-Founder to Sell Ads to Pay for $10 Movie Pass
  • Apollo Is Said to Sweeten ClubCorp Debt Deal as Buyers Balk
  • Italian Economy Expands, Boosting Optimism on Recovery

Asia equity markets followed from the indecisive tone seen on Wall Street where quiet newsflow kept stocks rangebound. This resulted to a mixed picture in Asia with the ASX 200 (+0.48%) subdued by several earnings releases, while Nikkei 225 (-0.12%) traded choppy amid a lack of drivers. KOSPI (+0.60%) welcomed the reduced geopolitical tensions on return from holiday, while Shanghai Comp (-0.15%) and Hang Seng (+0.86%) were mixed after lending declined from the prior month and although still surpassed estimates, it was another notch to add to the recent slew of softer Chinese data releases. 10yr JGBs were marginally higher amid an indecisive risk tone in the region, although gains were capped amid a reserved Rinban announcement in which the BoJ continued to reduce its purchases of 5yr-10yr maturities.

PBoC injected CNY 150bln in 7-day reverse repos and CNY 130bln in 14-day reverse repos. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.6779 (Prey. 6.6689).

Top Asian News

  • Thailand Keeps Key Rate Unchanged as It Warns of Baht Risk
  • Taiwan President Apologizes for Blackout Affecting Millions
  • Ex-Nomura Man Exiled in Chicago Goes Hostile at Tiny Japan Firms
  • As Good as It Gets: Iron Ore Risks a Reversal as China Cools
  • China Honqqiao Seals Citic Stake and Confirms Capacity Cuts
  • Institutional Investors Oppose Hong Kong’s Dual-Class Share Plan
  • Vietnam Rubber Group Expects to Hold IPO in Dec.

European equities have traded higher across the board (Eurostoxx 50 +0.8%) since the get-go despite a quiet start to the session with sentiment later bolstered by the latest ECB source reports. Gains on a sector specific stand-point have been relatively broad-based with materials recovering from recent losses. The most notable individual mover has been AP Moller Maersk (+2%) who initially opened lower amid disappointing earnings before reversing course after the CEO managed to provide an upbeat commentary on the Co. Source reports indicate that ECB Draghi will not deliver fresh policy message at Jackson Hole and wants to hold off on debate until Autumn. Paper was initially hampered by the modest upside in European equities before European bonds were supported by the aforementioned ECB source reports. Peripheral bonds used the source reports as an opportunity to tighten to their core counterparts given the potential for more accommodative monetary policy. However, prices overall then began to reverse once again as UK Gilts dragged paper lower in the wake of the promising UK jobs report.

Top European News

  • Euro Whipsaws on Report Draghi May Hold Off at Jackson Hole
  • Aviva, China Resources Are Said to Mull U.K. Wind Farm Bids
  • Derivatives Group Looks at Industrywide Cure for Libor’s Demise
  • U.K. Wage Growth Beats Forecasts But Still Lags Inflation
  • Zinc Smashes Through $3,000 Barrier as Metals Rally Gathers Pace
  • Danone ‘Extreme’ Cost Actions May Hamper Volume Recovery: Citi

In overnight currency markets, the GBP has once again been a key source of focus for markets amid the latest UK jobs report. GBP was bolstered and approached 1.2900 to the upside amid the firmer than expected earnings numbers, unexpected fall in unemployment rate and fall in the claimant count rates; albeit wages still lag inflation by quite a distance. Elsewhere, EUR has faced some selling-pressure (EUR/USD back below 1.1750) in the wake of the latest ECB source comments with sources suggesting that Draghi will not use next week's Jackson Hole Symposium to communicate a change in stance with markets and will instead hold-off until the Autumn. Elsewhere, the USD remains relatively steady with markets awaiting the latest FOMC minutes release. Yesterday saw the greenback outperform after strong retail sales data, which took the spot rate above 94.00 briefly. This morning, the USD-index is relatively flat, which may well be the case for much of the day ahead of the FOMC minutes later this evening. AUD firmer amid cross related buying AUD/NZD which broke back above 1.08, subsequently taking the spot above 0.7850. Wage price index remaining firm, which also comes ahead of tonight's employment figures, of note, large options are keeping AUD anchored with 1.86b1n at 0.7830 and 910mln at 0.7875. Attention will be placed on both CAD and MXN as NAFTA renegotiations get underway, as it stands the Trump administration aim to shrink the rising trade deficit with Mexico and tighten the rules of origin for cars and parts. Elsewhere, CAD is slightly firmer as oil prices stabilise following last night's sizeable drawdown in the API report.

Commodity markets have seen WTI and Brent crude futures hold onto gains seen in the wake of last night's API report which revealed a notable 9.155m1n draw (and came in the context of last week's 7.839m1n draw). Elsewhere, Gold has been modestly hampered by the broad risk-sentiment with markets also keeping half an eye out for tonight's FOMC minutes release. Overnight, mild short-covering helped copper pare some of yesterday's losses.

Looking at the day ahead, preliminary 2Q GDP stats for the Eurozone (0.6% qoq, 2.1% yoy expected) and Italy (0.4% qoq and 1.5% yoy expected) are due this morning. Then for UK, we have the July jobless claims and claimant count rate and the June ILO unemployment data (4.5% expected). Across the pond, we get the FOMC meeting minutes along with the July housing starts (1,225k expected) and MBA mortgage applications stats. Onto other events, the NAFTA talks between US, Canada and Mexico kicks off in Washington today. Furthermore, Target and Cisco will report their results today.

Looking at the day ahead, we get the FOMC meeting minutes along with the July housing starts (1,225k expected) and MBA mortgage applications stats. Onto other events, the NAFTA talks between US, Canada and Mexico kicks off in Washington today. Furthermore, Target and Cisco will report their results today.

US Event Calendar

  • 7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 3.0%
  • 8:30am: Housing Starts, est. 1.22m, prior 1.22m; Housing Starts MoM, est. 0.41%, prior 8.3%
  • 8:30am: Building Permits, est. 1.25m, prior 1.25m; Building Permits MoM, est. -1.96%, prior 7.4%
  • 2pm: FOMC Meeting Minutes

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Although I'm generally a bit more relaxed about the UK's future post Brexit than most of my colleagues in research, I was amused at a comment on twitter yesterday in light of the UK's decision to silence London's iconic Big Ben for 4 years as of next Monday as repairs are made. The comment suggested that how could the UK Parliament expect repairs of a clock to take 4 years while expecting whole Brexit negotiations to be done in 18 months? A fair point. So if you're a regular visitor to London don't expect to hear any bongs for the next few years. Apparently it's all about health and safety for the ears of the repairers.

Thankfully after last night, hopefully Liverpool will still be in Europe for a few more weeks and months whatever happens with our negotiations. Talking of Brexit and DB research, yesterday Oliver Harvey updated his thoughts after the UK government released a position paper on customs arrangements after Brexit. The paper clarifies that UK intends to remain part of the EU customs union in all but name after March 2019 for a time-limited transitional period. Further, it sets out two potential options for the UK’s future customs relationship with the EU27, one involving a hard border and the other proposing a new and untested  customs partnership arrangement. Harvey notes the paper fails to address future trade in services, or the apparent contradiction between desire for unchanged customs arrangements during a transitional deal and PM May’s stated red line on ECJ jurisdiction after March 2019. Moreover, he argues that the absence of any mention of legal enforceability and product standards is particularly puzzling as non-tariff barriers are typically a larger obstacle to trade than tariffs and the need to ensure harmonized regulatory standards during a transitional deal and afterwards will be one of the key challenges for policymaking. More details here The fact that we haven't yet mentioned North Korea suggests that it was another day of no news which is obviously good for markets. The unpredictability of the main players in this stand-off mean that markets will likely want a fair few days of more calm before they return markets back to their pre "fire and fury" tweet levels.

Having said that we saw equities generally edge higher yesterday with larger increases in bond yields. The UST 10y was up 5bps overnight, following the higher than expected retail sales data (discussed later). Core European government bond yields also increased c3bps at the longer end of the curve, with Bunds (2Y: +1bp; 10Y: +3bps) and OATs (2Y: +2bps; 10Y: +3bps) reversing some of the recent safe haven move. Gilts outperformed a little (2Y: +1bp; 10Y: +1bps), following the lower than expected July inflation data (discussed later). Elsewhere, peripheral bond yields also increased with Italian BTPs (2Y: +2bps; 10Y: +4bps) and Portugal (2Y: +1bps; 10Y: +4bps) slightly under performing.

This morning in Asia, markets are generally slightly higher with China underperforming. The Nikkei (+0.02%), Kospi (+0.5%), Hang Seng (+0.4%) are higher with Chinese bourses ranging from -0.3% to +0.2% as we type.

Back to the markets yesterday, US equities were broadly unchanged, with the S&P (-0.1%), the Dow (+0.02%) and the Nasdaq (-0.1%) taking a breather after yesterday's rally. Within the S&P, modest gains in the utilities and consumer staples sector were broadly offset by losses in Telco (-1%) and consumer discretionary (-0.9%) names. European markets were slightly higher, with the Stoxx 600 up 0.1%, the DAX (+0.1%) and both the FTSE and CAC up 0.4%. Within the Stoxx, modest gains in utilities (+0.5%) and health care were largely offset by losses in energy and materials.

Turning to currency, the USD dollar index gained 0.5%, following the stronger than expected retail sales data. Conversely, the Euro/USD fell 0.4%, but Sterling/ USD fell a bit more (-0.7%), impacted by the UK’s inflation data. Elsewhere, Euro/Sterling continues to gain (+0.4%), up for the fourth consecutive day and edging higher again this morning, effectively marking the highest point since November 09. In commodities, WTI oil was broadly flat yesterday but is up 0.4% this morning following API reporting lower US crude inventories. Elsewhere, gold fell 0.8% and silver was down 2.6%, while the industrial metals were little changed (Copper -0.1%; Aluminium -1.3%). Agricultural commodities were broadly softer this morning, with corn (-0.1%), wheat and soybeans (-0.2%), cotton (-0.9%), sugar (-2.7%) and coffee (-3.5%).

Away from markets, the IMF has revised up China’s growth outlook compared to last year’s report, now expecting the growth between 2017 and 2021 to average 6.4% (vs. 6% previous), partly given that China continues to transition to a more sustainable growth path and reforms have advanced across a wide domain. The paper also noted that given the solid growth momentum, now is the time to intensify deleveraging efforts and boost domestic consumption. The report expects non-financial sector debt (includes household, corporate and government) to continue to rise strongly, up from 242% of GDP in 2016 to ~300% by 2022, which raises concerns for a possible sharp decline in growth in the medium term.

The minutes for the July FOMC meeting will be out later today, our US economists expect the Committee to remain on course to announce the commencement of its balance sheet unwind at the September 20 meeting. However, there is likely to be a healthy debate regarding the inflation outlook as several policymakers have indicated that improvement in near-term inflation trends will be crucial to the prospects of another interest rate hike by year end. Elsewhere, the Trump administration has made no decision yet to stop or continue making payments to insurers (cost sharing reduction) to help lowincome people to afford their Obamacare plans. That said, the Congressional budget office did indicate that ending such payments could raise billions of dollars over the next decade for the government.

Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, macro data were broadly stronger than expected. The July retail sales were materially higher than expected, both at the headline and core level. Headline was 0.6% mom (vs. 0.3% consensus, but in line with DB’s forecast) and ex-auto was 0.5% mom (vs. 0.3% expected). Notably, these readings also follow positive revisions to the prior month. The July result together with revisions means that through-year growth improved across all aggregates, with ex-auto spending up 3.8% yoy. Elsewhere, the empire manufacturing survey came in at 25.2 (vs. 10.0 expected), the best reading since September 2014, the NAHB housing market index was 68 (vs. 64 expected). The June business inventories was slightly higher than expected at 0.5% mom (vs. 0.4%) and July import price index was in line at 0.1% mom.

Over in Germany, the preliminary 2Q GDP was lower than expected at 0.6% qoq (vs. 0.7% expected). However, this follows a positive +0.1% revision to the 1Q reading, leaving a solid annual growth reading of 2.1% yoy (vs. 1.9% expected). According to DB’s Schneider, both the 1Q and 2Q 2017 readings and the data revisions confirm our story that overheating risks in Germany are on the rise in 2018 and that recent confidence data does not suggest that the German economy will decelerate much in 3Q.

In the UK, July inflation data was slightly lower than expected, dampening concerns that high inflation readings might cause the BoE to soon tighten monetary policy settings. CPI was -0.1% mom (vs. 0% expected) and 2.4% yoy for core inflation (vs. 2.5%). However, the July retail price index was slightly ahead at 0.2% mom (vs. 0.1% expected) and 3.6% yoy (vs. 3.5%). Meanwhile pipeline inflation appears to have peaked, with the core PPI outputs index rising 2.4% yoy in July (vs. 2.5% expected), the least since February.

Looking at the day ahead, preliminary 2Q GDP stats for the Eurozone (0.6% qoq, 2.1% yoy expected) and Italy (0.4% qoq and 1.5% yoy expected) are due this morning. Then for UK, we have the July jobless claims and claimant count rate and the June ILO unemployment data (4.5% expected). Across the pond, we get the FOMC meeting minutes along with the July housing starts (1,225k expected) and MBA mortgage applications stats. Onto other events, the NAFTA talks between US, Canada and Mexico kicks off in Washington today. Furthermore, Target and Cisco will report their results today.


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