Marketmind: Halloween Scare on Markets

A look at the day ahead from Saikat Chatterjee.

Currency volatility too is close to 2021 lows. One explanation is that the strength of trailing third quarter earnings are propping up stock markets.

That may not wash for much longer though. Results from tech heavyweights Apple and Amazon missed market expectations, pushing their shares lower in after-hours.

That’s weighing on Asian stocks on Friday, putting MSCI’s ex-Japan index on track to snap three weeks of gains. U.S. stock futures are set to open in the red.

Euro zone bond yields are continuing to rise after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde failed to dissipate bets on end-2022 interest rate hikes. Italian bond yields endured their biggest daily rise in over a year and are rising further on Friday.

Her prediction for inflation to remain below target in the medium-term hasn’t pushed German inflation-linked 10-year bond yield much away from the record low hit on Wednesday.

What it may boil down to is, in the words of Citi strategist Matt King, a “credibility gap” between inflation and real yields, already at its most stretched the 1970s.

This chasm poses a conundrum for policymakers. In Australia for instance, officials seem to have lost control of the yield target which key to the central bank’s stimulus policy. Instead, bonds saw their biggest selloff in decades and markets are howling for rate hikes as soon as April.

Things seem to have calmed a touch as the weekend approaches; the dollar is weaker, Bitcoin advanced 1% and China’s stricken Evergrande has made an interest payment for an offshore bond, making it the second time in a week it narrowly averts default.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Friday:

Daimler AG reported a higher Q3 net profit on despite a 25% cut in production and expects to hit profit targets.

Ether, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, hit an all-time high above $4,400

Data corner: Preliminary Q3 GDP readings from eurozone, Germany, France, Italy

Corporate earnings; ExxonMobil, Chevron, Natwest Group, BNP Paribas

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(For graphic on Aussie bonds – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/lbvgnoalopq/Aussie%20bonds.JPG)

(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee; editing by Sujata Rao)

Evergrande Bondholders Run Out of Hope for Coupon Payment on Thursday – Source

The property developer was instead expected to provide more information in the coming month, the source said.

Global investors have been on tenterhooks ahead of Evergrande’s payment obligations as there are fears its difficulties could pose systemic risks to China’s financial system, and possibly spill over to other markets.

Evergrande, which epitomises the borrow-to-build business model and was once China’s top-selling developer, has run into trouble over the past few months as Beijing tightened rules in the property sector to rein in debt levels and speculation.

Evergrande was due to pay $83.5 million in interest on a $2 billion offshore bond on Thursday and also has a $47.5 million dollar-bond interest payment next week.

Both would default if the company, which has outstanding debt of $305 billion, fails to settle the interest within 30 days of the scheduled payment dates.

By midnight in Hong Kong, there had been no announcements by Evergrande about the payment.

The company has yet to make an announcement about its plans for Thursday’s offshore bond coupon payment and a company spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

Earlier on Thursday, Bloomberg Law reported that Chinese regulators had asked Evergrande executives to avoid a near-term default on its dollar bonds and to communicate proactively with bondholders, citing people familiar with the matter.

“They don’t want a default right now,” said Connor Yuan, the head of emerging market flow credit trading for Asia at Goldman Sachs. “Given there is a 30-day grace period, I think today it’s very likely the coupon won’t be made but it is possible that they try to get a deal done in the next 30 days.”

The Wall Street Journal reported separately on Thursday that Chinese authorities were asking local governments to prepare for the potential downfall of Evergrande, China’s second-biggest property developer, citing officials familiar with the talks.

A spokesperson for Evergrande, China’s second-biggest property developer, declined to comment on the two reports.

“Evergrande is a serious situation but we see it as quite contained both in terms of the sector, mainly Chinese real estate, and mostly Chinese counterparties,” Jean-Yves Fillion, chief executive officer of BNP Paribas USA, told CNBC on Thursday.

“Historically we have seen the Chinese administration taking care of these type of situations and resolving them. The linkages between the Evergrande situation and the strong U.S. equity market we see as not very significant.”

SHARES BOUNCE BACK

Investors worry that the Evergrande rot could spread to creditors including banks in China and abroad, though analysts have been downplaying the risk that a collapse would result in a “Lehman moment,” or a systemic liquidity crunch.

Still, central bankers say they are keeping a close eye on Evergrande. The Bank of England said on Thursday it did not expect the situation to go badly wrong and was cautiously optimistic Beijing would avoid any major issues.

Switzerland’s central bank, meanwhile, said Evergrande should not be dismissed as a small, local problem.Shares in Evergrande rose nearly 18% on Thursday after it said it had resolved the coupon payment for one of its domestic, onshore bonds, though the stock is down more than 80% this year.

Shares in Evergrande Property Services rose nearly 8% and relief spread to mainland property stocks listed in Hong Kong. Country Garden, China’s largest developer, climbed 7%, Sunac China jumped 9% and Guangzhou R&F Properties ended 7.5% higher.

Evergrande Chairman Hui Ka Yan urged his executives late on Wednesday to ensure the delivery of quality properties and the redemption of its wealth management products, which are typically held by millions of retail investors in China.

He did not mention the company’s offshore debt, however.

The WSJ said local governments had been ordered to assemble groups of accountants and legal experts to examine the finances around Evergrande’s operations in their respective regions.

They have also been ordered to talk to local state-owned and private property developers to prepare to take over projects and set up law-enforcement teams to monitor public anger and “mass incidents”, a euphemism for protests, it said.

Analysts said the moves by Beijing underscored the pressure on Evergrande, whose liabilities run to 2% of China’s gross domestic product, to contain the fallout from its credit crunch and protect mom-and-pop investors over professional creditors.

‘ALL MY SAVINGS’

Oscar Choi, founder and chief investment officer at Oscar and Partners Capital Ltd, said Evergrande was wary of inflaming social tensions by leaving homes unbuilt, construction workers unpaid and retail investors counting their losses.

Once those priorities had been met, Evergrande would talk to its other creditors, he said, adding: “Otherwise a few hundred thousand people will fight with the government.”

Fitch Ratings said on Sept. 16 that it had cut its 2021 economic growth forecast for China to 8.1% from 8.4%, citing the impact of the slowdown in the country’s property sector on domestic demand.

Underscoring the scramble to avoid contagion, Chinese Estates Holdings, Evergrande’s second-biggest shareholder, said on Thursday it had sold $32 million of its stake and planned to sell the rest.

Some analysts say it could take weeks for investors to have any clarity about how the Evergrande situation will resolve.

“The company could restructure its debts but continue in operation, or it could liquidate,” wrote Paul Christopher, head of global market strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. In either case, investors in the company’s financial instruments would likely suffer some losses, he wrote.

“In the event of a liquidation, however, Chinese and global investors could decide that the contagion could spread beyond China,” he said.

At an eerily quiet construction site in eastern China, worker Li Hongjun said Evergrande’s crisis meant he will soon run out of food while Christina Xie, who works in the southern city of Shenzhen, feared Evergrande had swallowed her savings.

“It’s all my savings. I was planning to use it for me and my partner’s old age,” said Xie. “Evergrande is one of China’s biggest real estate companies … my consultant told me the product was guaranteed.”

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore, Clare Jim in Hong Kong, Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai and Karin Strohecker in London and Megan Davies in New YorkWriting by Anne Marie Roantree and Sumeet ChatterjeeEditing by Stephen Coates, David Clarke and Matthew Lewis)

Universal Music Valued Around $39 Billion Ahead of Stock Market Debut

France’s Vivendi is spinning off Universal and on Monday set a reference price for the listing at 18.5 euros per share, according to a statement issued by Euronext.

Universal Music Group’s (UMG) listing will be Europe’s largest this year and will hand 60% of shares to Vivendi shareholders.

Universal is betting that a boom in streaming led by Spotify that has fuelled royalty revenue and profit growth for several years still has a long way to run, in a music industry it dominates along with Warner and Sony Music, part of Sony Group Corp.

Its flotation carries high stakes for Canal+ owner Vivendi, which hopes to rid itself of a conglomerate discount. However, the listing raises questions about Vivendi’s strategy once it parts ways with its cash cow, in which it will retain only a 10% stake.

Several high-profile investors have also already snapped up large Universal stakes, banking in part on the group’s back catalogue, which includes the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. They also hope deals with ad-supported software and social media platforms such as Alphabet Inc’s YouTube and TikTok will sustain its performance and valuation.

U.S. billionaire William Ackman suffered a setback when his attempt to invest in Universal via a special purpose acquisition vehicle (SPAC) hit a snag with regulators and investors. However, Ackman still got a 10% stake via his Pershing Square hedge fund. China’s Tencent owns 20% of Universal.

One winner in the listing will be Vincent Bollore, the French media tycoon who is Vivendi’s controlling shareholder. He will receive Universal shares worth 6 billion euros at Monday’s price.

Bollore has been an aggressive consolidator in France’s media and publishing landscape, and he has a long-held ambition to build up a southern European media powerhouse.

Vivendi itself may suffer in the short run, however, and shares are expected to fall Tuesday as they begin trading without Universal.

BNP Paribas, Natixis, Credit Agricole, Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale are the lead financial advisers on the deal, out of 17 banks in total — an unusually large total.

The fee pot is expected to be below standard listings as no fresh cash is being raised as part of the spin-off.

Universal said in its prospectus that the overall expenses to be paid in relation to the Universal deal would not go beyond 0.5% of the total amount of the share distribution.

The listing is the latest win for Euronext in Amsterdam, which has grown as a financial centre in the wake of Britain’s departure from the European Union. Before Universal, Amsterdam had attracted a record 14 IPOs so far this year, of which 10 were SPACs.

But the only Amsterdam listing of a size comparable to Universal in recent history was the 95 billion euro listing of technology investor Prosus, also a spin-off, in September 2019.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

($1 = 0.8524 euros)

(Additional reporting by Toby Sterling; Writing by Sarah White; Editing by David Evans and Lisa Shumaker)

Europe Shares Mark Biggest Daily Drop in a Month as Miners, Luxury Stocks Tumble

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 1.6% at a two-week low, with mining stocks sliding 4.2% in their biggest one-day decline since March.

Luxury stocks with a large exposure to China’s economy such as LVMH, Kering and Richemont dropped between 5.8% and 9.2% on Beijing’s plans to target excessive corporate profits and wealth inequalities.

“The increasing determination on the part of China to pour sand in the wheels of its own recovery story with a crackdown on various sectors, including tech and luxury, also appears to be weighing on sentiment, as well as on demand for raw materials,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Stocks around the globe fell earlier in the day, as minutes published Wednesday from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting gave the impression of a looming cut in its massive, pandemic-era bond-buying programme.

Although the European Central Bank has held steady, rising inflation has prompted some policymakers to say it must begin to rein-in its easy money policies that have been instrumental in lifting the STOXX 600 to record highs.

Focus will turn to the high-profile annual U.S. Jackson Hole conference of central bankers in late August, where Fed Chair Jerome Powell could signal he is ready to start easing monetary support.

ECB President Christine Lagarde will not attend the conference, an ECB spokesperson said this week.

Banking stocks including Asia-focused HSBC, as well as Spain’s BBVA and France’s BNP Paribas fell about 3% each.

The travel and leisure index declined 2.5% as a surge in cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus added to concerns of slowing global growth and took the shine off a solid second-quarter corporate earnings season.

With the European earnings season nearly at the halfway mark, profit for STOXX 600 companies is expected to have surged 150% in the second quarter, the best since Refinitiv IBES records began in 2012.

Among individual stocks, Swedish heating technology specialist Nibe Industrier jumped 10.1% after posting a 64% jump in first-half profit.

Swiss building materials supplier Geberit, on the other hand, fell 1.7% as it warned about rising raw materials prices.

Utilities , considered a safe bet at a time of economic uncertainty, were the only sector in the green.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shreyshi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Barbara Lewis and David Holmes)

Gold Fundamental and Technical Outlooks are Bullish

The S&P500 chart shows that the recovery been heavily overbought and probably due for more downside correction. The market is not going to recover to previous highs any time soon, and with deflationary pressures in the economy, it is more likely to have a larger move down over the next year to 18 months.

Companies are sitting on mountains of debt that is likely to be downgraded as damaged Q2 earnings reports begin to print this summer. Right now stocks are in a sideways, though highly volatile, lull until we learn the true damage that the shutdowns had on cumulative US production and the supply chain. Early winners are online retail shopping, due to closed shops in the 50 states, while early losers are the hospitality and airline industries. However, the damage will likely run much deeper than this in core pools of economic output.

Source: Census.gov

We expect to see creeping damage in the commercial and residential real estate sectors. All of those millions of lost jobs will eventually result in rising evictions. Those evictions will lead to spiking defaults on real estate loans, causing lenders to beg for more bailouts from the Fed.

All of the above factors will lead to much more easing by the Fed to support a deflating economy. Lenders are beginning to tighten credit, leading to a squeeze on banks desperate to avoid escalating loan defaults that are threatening share holder equity.

Balance sheet gearing of 12-1 and much higher of bank liabilities to shareholder equity means that either the government prints trillions to bail banks out of the credit contraction cycle, or face a financial catastrophe that very well could be many times worse than what we witnessed in 2008-09.

Source: Alasdair Macleod

Downstream, brick and mortar food stores will begin to come under much more pressure. The cash handouts to small business owners and hourly workers is a pittance compared with earnings. Part time workers don’t qualify for unemployment benefits in many states, though the CARES act does adjust who can apply for them.

While people are stockpiling supplies now, they will run out of money for food after they default on rent and mortgage payments if the economy doesn’t fully reopen immediately and the jobs are restored. The consumer had no savings to start off with, and the shutdowns are exacerbating existing problems with late cycle credit peak for businesses with falling revenues who cannot take on new employees due to debt service.

Economy Will Turn Up Before Beginning Stronger Contraction

We live in Texas, and our governor began a partial reopening of retail last week by allowing drive-up service. The governor is also expected to announce more reopenings this week, with other states like Georgia and Oklahoma participating.

State governments are somewhat timidly approaching business as usual while watching the COVID infection numbers published in the media. Should they begin to spike again, it is likely we will see some states tighten restrictions and implement new laws on use of masks and gloves in public.

The economies will begin to turn around a bit, but not after the damage has been done. We expect that the late cycle credit bubble has been pricked by the coronavirus, and deleveraging will start in earnest in the financial sector. The Fed will try to backstop the economy, but it would have to print trillions to do so and eventually that game ends. Other nations have already begun de-dollarizing and purchasing up their gold stocks to support central bank balance sheets with the tier 1 asset. The forces are already in place moving the world into a multi-polar economic model.

Gold Technical

All of the foregoing is bullish for gold from a fundamental standpoint. Now we look at where gold is trading on the charts and what we expect to happen in the next year.

After the 2008-09 recession, gold rose very strongly and became overbought in 2012, as shown by the stochastic indicator. Gold has been in a bull since 2000 and had returned better than the S&P, DOW, or Wilshire stock indices in that time frame. There was likely to be some profit taking, and that occurred starting in 2011 after gold reached an all time peak.

What we see now in the gold chart is one of two things, and possibly both. We have upside momentum on recent financial fears that started with a rough Q4 of 2018 when the stock markets saw a healthy 20% correction. Since then, gold has been on an impressive run from $1200 up to its current perch in the mid-$1700s.

While the stochastic is flashing overbought, this signal is different than in 2011 when gold had been running up for over a decade. Since 2011, gold has been declining or sideways in all but two and a half of those years, forming the bottom of a cup. This indicates the market building some momentum on the downside which will propel gold forward.

For instance, we see a small head and shoulders form between 2015 to 2017, indicating gold’s run was not over. And during that time the average daily range readings don’t suggest high volatility or an over-extension in trading. In other words, gold has been quietly building momentum when coronavirus came along and provided a reason for gold to run to the upside again. Have we already fired our last shot with gold, or are we premature to the bigger move?

One may think that gold is overbought again and due for correction. Let’s examine why a short term correction in gold is still bullish. If the Fed’s plan works and their easing has a short term supportive effect, we could see banks ease up on tightening credit and businesses will begin to employ again. Anyone who thinks this will not take months for job remediation to occur; however, are banking on the government being able to push button start the economy for the first time in US history. This has never been done before.

If gold corrects, it forms a multi-year cup-and-handle formation which makes the chart immediately more bullish for the next 3-5 years. Given weakening economic fundamentals upon a deflationary wave stretching across the world economy, I expect more gold accumulation on any gold price correction. Upside momentum in gold will continue until the credit cycle resets, likely after a large number of bankruptcies and defaults. Whether that happens now, or 3-5 years from now, is just a matter of timing.

This article was written by Robert Kientz, the editor and publisher of Gold Silver Pros.com.