European Equities: A Quiet Economic Calendar to Test Support Further

Economic Calendar

Thursday, 23rd September

Spanish GDP (QoQ) (Q2)

French Manufacturing PMI (Sep) Prelim

French Services PMI (Sep) Prelim

German Manufacturing PMI (Sep) Prelim

German Services PMI (Sep) Prelim

Eurozone Manufacturing PMI (Sep) Prelim

Eurozone Markit Composite PMI (Sep) Prelim

Eurozone Services PMI (Sep) Prelim

Friday, 24th September

German Ifo Business Climate Index (Sep)

The Majors

It was a particularly bearish start to the week for the European majors on Monday.

The DAX30 slid by 2.31% to lead the way down, with the CAC40 and the EuroStoxx600 seeing losses of 1.74% and 1.67% respectively.

Economic data on the day was limited to wholesale inflation figures from Germany, which had a muted impact on the majors.

The lack of stats left the markets with little to avert attention away from Wednesday’s FOMC policy decision and projections.

Following Friday’s pullback, dip buyers remained on the sidelines, with FED policy uncertainty testing support for the majors.

Adding to the market angst on the day was the Evergrande crisis, which sparked contagion fears across the global financial markets.

The Stats

It’s a was a quiet day on the Eurozone economic calendar. In August, Germany’s annual wholesale rate of inflation picked up from 10.4% to 12.0%. Economists had forecast an uptick to 11.4%. Month-on-month, Germany’s producer price index rose by 1.5%, following a 1.9% increase in July. Economists had forecast a more modest 0.8% increase.

From the U.S

It was also a particularly quiet day on the economic calendar, with no major stats for the markets to consider.

The Market Movers

For the DAX: It was a bearish day for the auto sector on Monday. Continental tumbled by 5.59% to lead the way down, with Volkswagen sliding by 3.89%. BMW and Daimler weren’t far off, however, with losses of 2.73% and 2.68% respectively.

It was also a bearish day for the banks. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank slumped by 7.67% and by 7.92% respectively.

From the CAC, it was a bearish day for the banks. Soc Gen and BNP Paribas slid by 5.70% and by 4.46% respectively, with Credit Agricole falling by 3.86%.

It was also a bearish day for the French auto sector. Stellantis NV slid by 4.47%, with Renault falling by 2.19%.

Air France-KLM bucked the trend, rallying by 5.31%, while Airbus SE slipped by 0.97%.

On the VIX Index

It was a 3rd consecutive day in the green for the VIX on Monday.

Following an 11.34% jump on Friday, the VIX surged by 23.55% to end the day at 25.71.

On Monday, the NASDAQ slid by 2.19%, with the Dow and S&P500 ending the day down by 1.78% and by 1.70% respectively.

VIX 210921 Daily Chart

The Day Ahead

It’s another particularly quiet day ahead on the Eurozone’s economic calendar.

There are no major stats to provide the European majors with direction at the start of the week.

From the U.S there are also no major stats to consider later in the session, leaving the markets in limbo ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC.

The Futures

In the futures markets, at the time of writing, the Dow Mini was up by 4 points.

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

Wall Street Ends Sharply Lower in Broad Sell-Off

The Nasdaq fell to its lowest level in about a month, and Microsoft Corp, Alphabet Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Tesla Inc were among the biggest drags on the index as well as the S&P 500.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with economically sensitive groups like energy down the most.

Investors also were nervous ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting this week.

The banking sub-index dropped sharply while U.S. Treasury prices rose as worries about the possible default of Evergrande appeared to affect the broader market.

“You kind of knew that when there was something that caught markets off guard, that it was going to lead to probably a bigger sell-off and you didn’t know what the reason would be,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

“I guess it’s the China news but… it’s not altogether surprising given how bullish people were.”

Wednesday will bring the results of the Fed’s policy meeting, where the central bank is expected to lay the groundwork for a tapering, although the consensus is for an actual announcement to be delayed until the November or December meetings.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 620.22 points, or 1.79%, to 33,964.66, the S&P 500 lost 75.28 points, or 1.70%, to 4,357.71 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 325.95 points, or 2.17%, to 14,718.02.

The S&P 500 is down sharply from its intra-day record high hit on Sept. 2 and is on track to snap a seven-month winning streak.

Strategists at Morgan Stanley said they expected a 10% correction in the S&P 500 as the Fed starts to unwind its monetary support, adding that signs of stalling economic growth could deepen it to 20%.

The CBOE volatility index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose.

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

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; additional reporting by Devik Jain and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru and by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Lisa Shumaker)

U.S. Swap Spreads Widen, Three-Month Libor Rises as Risk Aversion Spreads

In another sign of concern brewing in money markets, analysts cited three-month Libor, which rose to 12.5 basis points, a four-week peak, according to Refinitiv data, which may reflect some stress in the banking system.

Evergrande has been scrambling to raise funds to pay its many lenders, suppliers and investors. Regulators have warned that its $305 billion in liabilities could spark broader risks to China’s financial system if its debts are not stabilized.

Spreads of interest rate swaps are typically viewed as indicators of market risk, analysts said. A higher spread suggests market participants are willing to swap their risk exposures, suggesting overall risk aversion.

The spread on 10-year U.S. swaps over benchmark Treasuries rose to 5.25 basis points, from 4 basis points late on Friday. The spread was 3.25 basis point late Monday.

U.S. 10-year swaps measure the cost of swapping fixed rate cash flows for floating rate ones over a 10-year term.

“Wider swap spreads reflect an expectation that Libor is going to move higher,” said Dan Belton, fixed-income strategist, at BMO Capital in Chicago.

“And Libor is generally seen as the fear gauge. When there is financial market stress, Libor tends to widen and swap spreads tend to follow,” he added.

Libor has been on a downtrend this year given excess cash in the banking system as a result of the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases under its quantitative easing program. But Libor has perked up over the last week and a half.

That said, Belton clarified that wider spreads can also be attributed to technical factors.

“A lot of the moves has been technical in nature, a lot to do with the Libor transition. Interest rate swaps are still referencing Libor, but in two years, it will SOFR (secured overnight financing rates), plus a fixed spread,” Belton said.

For now, global banks still use Libor to price U.S. dollar-denominated derivatives and loans, but they will soon have to transition to using SOFR.

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

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

World Shares Tumble as China Evergrande Contagion Fears Spread

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 2.09%, on pace for its biggest one-day fall since October 2020, as Wall Street’s major indexes sagged more than 2%.

Investors moved into safe havens, with U.S. Treasuries gaining in price, pulling down yields, and gold rising.

Shares in Evergrande, which has been scrambling to raise funds to pay its many lenders, suppliers and investors, closed down 10.2% at HK$2.28.

Regulators have warned that its $305 billion of liabilities could spark broader risks to China’s financial system if its debts are not stabilized.

“Investors are concerned that the Evergrande issue is going represent a domino,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital Management. “Investors are tending to sell first and look into it to later.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 787.6 points, or 2.28%, to 33,797.28, the S&P 500 lost 101.41 points, or 2.29%, to 4,331.58 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 408.25 points, or 2.71%, to 14,635.71.

Economically sensitive sectors, including financials and energy, were hit particularly hard.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.67%, with mining stocks sliding.

The selloff on Monday has seen a cumulative $2.2 trillion of value wiped off the market capitalization of world equities from a record high of $97 trillion hit on Sept. 6, according to Refinitiv data.

Worries over Evergrande follow a pullback in equities recently as investors worry over the impact of coronavirus cases on the economy, and when central banks will ease back on monetary stimulus.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is due to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday as investors look for when it will begin pulling back on its bond purchases.

Investors were also keeping an eye on other central bank meetings spanning Brazil, Britain, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.

The dollar index rose 0.061%, with the euro unchanged at $1.1725.

The offshore Chinese yuan weakened versus the U.S. currency to its lowest level in nearly a month.

“We are seeing a classic flight to safety in the dollar until we get some sense of clarity on whether or not it is going to be an orderly or disorderly resolution to Evergrande,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington, DC.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 22/32 in price to yield 1.2972%, from 1.37% late on Friday.

The iShares exchange-traded fund tracking high-yield corporate bonds edged down 0.5%.

Oil prices fell but drew support from signs that some U.S. Gulf output will stay offline for months due to storm damage.

U.S. crude fell 2.18% to $70.40 per barrel and Brent was at $73.99, down 1.79% on the day.

Spot gold added 0.4% to $1,761.29 an ounce, rising off of a one-month low.

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

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York and Tom Arnold in London; Additional reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru, Saikat Chatterjee in London, Karen Pierog and Chuck Mikolajczak in New York and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Graphic by Sujata Rao; Editing by Jane Merriman, Mark Potter and Jan Harvey)

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)

USD/CAD: Loonie Hits Over One-Month Low on Subdued Oil Prices, Election Uncertainties

The Canadian dollar hit over a one-month low against its U.S. counterpart, sliding for the third straight day on Monday as falling energy prices and snap election uncertainties weighed on the commodity currency.

The USD/CAD pair rose to 1.2895 today, up from Friday’s close of 1.2766. The Canadian dollar lost over 1.2% last month and further depreciated over 1.5% so far this month.

Today’s federal reserve decision and the election in Canada will be closely watched by investors. There is no sign of a majority in the Canadian election on Monday, a second time in a row, leaving either Justin Trudeau or Erin O’Toole trying to govern with a minority.

Investors are concerned that elections will lead to a deadlock that hinders government action against COVID-19 and impedes the recovery of the economy.

“What we think will matter the most from a market perspective is whether there will eventually be a workable majority. Up until some majority emerges, the Canadian dollar may continue to discount political uncertainty,” noted Francesco Pesole, FX Strategist at ING.

“At the same time, barring the worst-case scenario of a hung parliament and new elections, we still expect a gradual dissipation of political risk in the coming weeks to help CAD close its mis-valuation gap (USD/CAD is 2% overvalued, according to our short-term fair value model) as the loonie may start to benefit more freely from its good fundamentals – and above all, the prospect of more BoC policy normalisation. We still expect USD/CAD to trade below 1.25 in 4Q21.”

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest exporter of oil, which edge lower as production in the Gulf of Mexico slowly returns. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading 1.38% lower at $70.99 a barrel. Lower oil prices lead to lower U.S. dollar earnings for Canadian exporters, resulting in a decreased value of the loonie.

“We don’t think the federal election is weighing on the CAD in any significant way.  In fact, while the CAD has fallen against the USD this week, it has lost less ground than most of its G10 currency peers.  Short-term CAD vols have firmed but remain within this year’s range (1w vol peaked at 9% in February),” noted Shaun Osborne, Chief FX Strategist at Scotiabank.

“The election race remains tight, and another minority government remains the most likely outcome.  Research by our Scotia Economics colleagues suggests that there is ultimately very little difference in the fiscal outcomes through 2025 between either the Liberal or Conservative parties’ platforms.  Either way, a minority will limit the next government’s room for significant manoeuvre.”

The dollar index, which measures the value of the dollar against six foreign currencies, was trading 0.01% higher at 93.204. The dollar reaches a one-month high, boosted by recent strong economic data and speculation regarding Fed tapering. Fed policymakers will meet this week and open discussions about reducing their monthly bond purchases are expected.

It is highly likely that the world’s dominant reserve currency, the USD, will rise by end of the year, largely due to the expectation of two rate hikes by the Fed in 2023. With the dollar strengthening and a possibility that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates earlier than expected, the USD/CAD pair may experience a rise.

Stocks Retreat Amid Global Sell-Off

All Eyes On China

S&P 500 futures are under significant pressure in premarket trading as traders focus on the potential collapse of China Evergrande Group, which has amassed more than $300 billion in liabilities.

Fears of another financial crisis coming out of Asia pushed global indices towards multi-week lows, but it remains to be seen whether the impact of a potential Evergrande default will have widespread consequences.

Traders are also nervous ahead of the Fed meeting, although Fed Chair Jerome Powell will likely try to calm markets and reiterate his usual dovish message on September 22.

Global Rush To Safety

The yield of 10-year Treasuries has moved away from recent highs and is trying to settle below 1.30% as traders buy U.S. government bonds to protect themselves from the potential correction in riskier markets.

The U.S. dollar is also moving higher due to its safe-haven status. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the strength of the U.S. dollar against a broad basket of currencies, is trying to settle above the resistance at 93.40. In case this attempt is successful, it will move towards yearly highs near 93.75 which may put more pressure on stocks.

Interestingly, gold is gaining ground despite strong dollar as falling yields and demand for safe-haven assets have provided sufficient support. In this environment, gold mining stocks may rebound from yearly lows.

WTI Oil Tries To Settle Below The $70 Level

WTI oil is currently trying to settle below the support at the psychologically important $70 level as traders fear that Evergrande’s financial problems may have a notable negative impact on China’s economy and cut demand for oil.

Most other commodities are also under pressure, and the market mood is very bearish today. Premarket trading indicates that oil-related stocks will find themselves under huge pressure at the beginning of today’s trading session so traders should be prepared for fast moves.

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

Preview: What to Expect From Nike’s Q1 Earnings on Thursday

The world’s largest athletic footwear and apparel seller Nike is expected to report its fiscal first-quarter earnings of $1.12 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of about 18%, up from $0.95 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The Beaverton, Oregon-based footwear retailer would post year-over-year revenue growth of over 18% to $12.6 billion. In the last four quarters, on average, Nike has beaten earnings estimates over 55%.

According to ZACKS Research, for fiscal 2022, the company expects to grow revenues in the low-double digits, surpassing $50 billion because of strong customer demand across its segments.

The company expects revenue growth in the first half of fiscal 2022 to be higher than in the second half. The foreign exchange rate is expected to be a tailwind in fiscal 2022, generating 70 basis points of gains, ZACKS Research added.

Nike shares surged over 10% so far this year but the stock closed 0.75% lower at $156.42 on Friday.

Analyst Comments

“Investors are focused on the Vietnam factory closures impact on FY revenue guidance. Our analysis & mgmt. guidance conservatism suggests minimal risk. But high valuation requires beat & raise quarters – stock price pullback possible & we’re buyers on any weakness. Reiterate Overweight; raise price target to $221,” noted Kimberly Greenberger, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Nike (NKE) trades at the high end of its historical valuation range, & investors expect quarterly beats & guidance raises. Unchanged or lowered FY guidance on temporary, Vietnam-driven headwinds could result in a stock pullback. We would be buyers on any potential weakness.”

Nike Stock Price Forecast

Twenty-five analysts who offered stock ratings for Nike in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $187.26 with a high forecast of $221.00 and a low forecast of $168.00.

The average price target represents a 19.72% change from the last price of $156.42. From those 25 analysts, 21 rated “Buy”, three rated “Hold” while one rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $221 with a high of $410 under a bull scenario and $127 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Overweight” rating on the footwear and apparel seller’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Cowen and company raised the target price to $196 from $181. Oppenheimer upped the price target to $195 from $150. HSBC lifted the target price to $205 from $162.

“Disruption from COVID-19, supply chain pressure and China continue to escalate. Our contacts across the global supply chain suggest Vietnam could reopen by October. Port congestion and freight headwinds could ease into 2H 2022 and the sector’s 10% valuation correction has improved risk/reward,” noted John Kernan, equity analyst at Cowen.

“We are cutting our FY22 Nike sales estimate by 300bps to 9% growth with a robust recovery into FY23.”

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

US Stock Futures: Down Sharply as Investors Climb the ‘Wall of Worry’

The major U.S. stock index futures are trading sharply lower early Monday following last week’s dismal performance. The sell-off looks like investor liquidation with a slew of reasons likely fueling the move. Investors are definitely climbing the wall of worry ahead of the two-day Fed meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, there are other factors weighing on the trade including China, supply chain issues, debt ceiling negotiations and the infrastructure/tax bill to name a few. Investors are no doubt reacting to the continuing weakness in Hong Kong and shares of China’s Evergrande Group.

At 03:31 GMT, the benchmark S&P 500 Index futures are trading 4387.00, down 34.75 or -0.79%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are at 34125.00, 337.00 or -0.98% and the technology-based NASDAQ Composite Index futures are trading 15233.25, down 92.75 or -0.61%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index drops 2% as Evergrande Shares Plunge More than 10%

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index led losses among Asia-Pacific markets in Monday’s trade, with shares of embattled Chinese developer China Evergrande Group continuing to drop. The Hang Seng Index dropped 2.18% in the Monday morning trade, as shares of China Evergrande Group plummeted more than 10% Reuters reported.

Last Week’s Weakness on Wall Street Continuing in Early Trade

The U.S. stock market ended the week sharply lower in a broad sell-off on Friday, ending a week buffeted by strong economic data, corporate tax hike worries, the Delta COVID variant, and possible shifts in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s timeline for tapering asset purchases.

All three major U.S. stock indexes lost ground, with the NASDAQ Composite Index’s weighed down as rising U.S Treasury yields pressured market-leading growth stocks. They also posted weekly losses, with the S&P Index suffering its biggest two-week drop since February.

One worry for investors is a potential hike in corporate taxes which could eat into corporate profits. The Democratic House of Representatives is seeking to raise the top tax rate on corporations to 25.5% from the current 21%.

Meanwhile, consumer sentiment steadied in early September, but it remains depressed, according to a University report, as Americans postpone purchases while inflation remains high.

Investors are also closely monitoring inflation, which is likely to be a hot topic of discussion when the Fed meets on September 21-22. Investors will be watching the Fed’s monetary policy statement for changes in language that could signal a shift in the Fed’s tapering timeline.

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

European Equities: A Quiet Economic Calendar Leaves the FED Monetary Policy in Focus

Economic Calendar

Monday, 20th September

German PPI m/m (Aug)

Thursday, 23rd September

Spanish GDP (QoQ) (Q2)

French Manufacturing PMI (Sep) Prelim

French Services PMI (Sep) Prelim

German Manufacturing PMI (Sep) Prelim

German Services PMI (Sep) Prelim

Eurozone Manufacturing PMI (Sep) Prelim

Eurozone Markit Composite PMI (Sep) Prelim

Eurozone Services PMI (Sep) Prelim

Friday, 24th September

German Ifo Business Climate Index (Sep)

The Majors

It was a bearish end to the week for the European majors on Friday.

The DAX30 slid by 1.03% to lead the way down, with the CAC40 and the EuroStoxx600 seeing losses of 0.79% and 0.88% respectively.

Economic data from the Eurozone was on the lighter side, leaving the markets to look ahead to this week’s FOMC meet.

Uncertainty ahead of the FOMC economic projections and monetary policy outlook weighed on the majors.

Later in the session, talk of an increase in U.S corporate tax weighed on the U.S majors, adding further pressure on the European markets.

The Stats

It’s a was a quiet day on the Eurozone economic calendar. Finalized August inflation figures for the Eurozone were in focus early in the European session.

In August, the Eurozone’s annual rate of inflation accelerated from 2.2% to 3.0%, which was in line with prelim figures.

The core annual rate of inflation held steady at 1.6%, which was also in line with prelim figures.

From the U.S

It was also a relatively quiet day on the economic calendar, with consumer sentiment figures in focus.

In September, the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose from 70.3 to 71.0 versus a forecasted 72.0. The Consumer Expectations climbed from 65.1 to 67.1, according to prelim figures.

The Market Movers

For the DAX: It was a mixed day for the auto sector on Friday. BMW and Volkswagen slid by a 2.48% and by 2.75% respectively, with Daimler falling by 1.42%. Continental bucked the trend following Thursday’s sell-off, however, rising by 1.07%.

It was also a mixed day for the banks. Deutsche Bank fell by 0.23%, while Commerzbank ended the day up by 1.17%.

From the CAC, it was a bearish day for the banks. Soc Gen and BNP Paribas fell by 1.12% and by 1.14% respectively. Credit Agricole led the way down, however, with a 1.77% loss.

It was also a bearish day for the French auto sector. Stellantis NV slid by 3.45%, with Renault falling by 1.20%.

Air France-KLM ended the day up by a further 1.79%, supported by UK travel easing plans, while Airbus SE fell by 1.60%.

On the VIX Index

It was a 2nd consecutive day in the green for the VIX on Friday.

Following a 2.81% gain on Thursday, the VIX jumped by 11.34% to end the day at 20.81.

On Friday, the Dow fell by 0.48%, with the NASDAQ and S&P500 both ending the day down by 0.91% respectively.

VIX 200921 Daily Chart

The Day Ahead

It’s a particularly quiet day ahead on the Eurozone’s economic calendar.

There are no major stats to provide the European majors with direction at the start of the week. German wholesale inflation figures are due out but should have a muted impact on the majors.

With no stats from the U.S to consider later in the session, caution ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC will likely peg the majors back.

The Futures

In the futures markets, at the time of writing, the Dow Mini was down by 101 points.

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

Senior House Democrats Concede Likely Scale-Back of $3.5 Trillion Biden Spending Bill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also may delay sending the $1.2 trillion infrastructure measure after House passage to the White House for Biden’s signature until the larger spending bill passes, House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth told “Fox News Sunday” – a move aimed to ensure that moderate Democrats support the bill.

Their comments illustrate the difficult path Democrats face in passing Biden’s sweeping agenda with razor-thin majorities and staunch Republican opposition. Tempers are high within the Democratic caucus, with moderate and progressive wings of the party sharply divided over the scale of spending.

Democrats also face looming October deadlines to fund the government and raise the federal debt ceiling. Failures on either part could deal a blow to the economy and hurt the party’s standing with voters.

Asked about the amount of the “reconciliation” tax-hike and spending bill on childcare, education and green energy, Yarmuth said he expects that the bill’s top line number “will be somewhat less than $3.5 trillion.”

Representative James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, told CNN that the number could be lower.

“So it may be $3.5 (trillion), it may be really close to that or maybe closer to something else. So I think that we ought to really focus on the American people to think about what takes to get us in a good place and then let the numbers take care of themselves,” Clyburn said on the “State of the Union” program.

Democrats aim to pass the massive spending plan without Republican support under budget reconciliation rules and cannot afford to lose any Democratic votes in the Senate and only three votes in the House.

Moderate Senate Democrats including Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema say $3.5 trillion is too much; Manchin suggests spending less than half that. Meanwhile, some progressives Democrats in the House say they cannot support a bill with lower spending levels aimed at bolstering the middle class.

Clyburn said that “it’s going to take some work” to bring Democrats together to support a bill, but added “I believe in our party and our leadership.”

The $3.5 trillion spending package aims to support American families with free community college, universal preschool, an extended Child Tax Credit and investments in clean energy. But it also comes with major proposed tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations.

Pelosi has sought to delay House passage of bipartisan infrastructure bill as leverage to ensure that moderate Democrats support the social spending bill. But House Democrats set a Sept. 27 deadline for passage of the infrastructure bill as part of a budget resolution and the larger spending bill is not yet ready for vote.

Yarmuth said the infrastructure bill could still pass, but leverage could be preserved if Pelosi holds it back from Biden’s desk and signing it into law.

He said that this can be done under legislative rules. “She can hold on to that bill for a while. So there’s some flexibility in terms of how we mesh the two mandates.”

Yarmuth said the Sept. 27 deadline would likely be missed, with passage of the infrastructure bill slipping “sometime into early October would be my best guess.”

Yarmuth said he would also advocate folding a debt ceiling hike into a normal appropriations measure or the reconciliation plan, but “I don’t think that decision has been made yet. We have several options for raising the debt ceiling, which is absolutely mandatory.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said his party will not support a debt ceiling increase, even though the Treasury has warned that it will exhaust its cash and borrowing capacity sometime in October, leaving the U.S. government unable to pay all of its obligations.

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

(Reporting by David Lawder and Chris Prentice; Additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Evergrande Begins Repaying Wealth Product Investors With Property

Evergrande, with over $300 billion in liabilities, is in the throes of a liquidity crisis that has left it racing to raise funds to pay its many lenders and suppliers. It has a bond interest payment of $83.5 million due on Thursday.

The company said in a WeChat post dated Saturday that investors interested in redeeming wealth management products for physical assets should contact their investment consultants or visit local offices.

Financial news outlet Caixin reported on Sunday that an estimated 40 billion yuan ($6 billion) in Evergrande wealth management products are outstanding. Such products are typically held by retail investors.

Specific payment methods and details are subject to local conditions, a customer service representative told Reuters on Sunday.

According to a proposal seen earlier by Reuters that Evergrande did not confirm, wealth management product investors can choose from discounted apartments, office, retail space or car parks for repayment.

Earlier this month, a stock exchange filing showed that Evergrande had repaid  219.5 million yuan in overdue debts due to supplier Skshu Paint Co Ltd in the form of apartments in three unfinished property projects.

On Sept. 10, Evergrande had vowed to repay all of its matured wealth management products as soon as possible.

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

($1 = 6.4655 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru and Min Zhang and Tony Munroe in Beijing; Editing by William Mallard)

Earnings Week Ahead: Lennar, Autozone, FedEx, Nike and Costco Wholesale in Focus

Earnings Calendar For The Week Of September 20

Monday (September 20)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LENNAR

Lennar Corp, a home construction and real estate company, is expected to report earnings per share of $3.27 in the fiscal third quarter, which represents year-over-year growth of over 54% from $2.12 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The Miami, Florida-based company would post year-over-year revenue growth of nearly 24% to around $7.3 billion. For four quarters in a row, the company has exceeded expectations on earnings per share.

“Shares of Lennar have outperformed the industry so far this year. The company is benefiting from effective cost control and focus on making its homebuilding platform more efficient, which in turn resulted in higher operating leverage. Higher demand for new homes backed by declining mortgage rates and low inventory levels bodes well. Focus on the lighter land strategy to boost free cash flow will bolster the balance sheet and thereby drive returns,” noted Analysts at ZACKS Research.

“Moreover, it has provided strong fiscal Q3 homebuilding gross margin guidance, suggesting 420 basis points (bps) increase at mid-point. Also, it has lifted average selling price and margin expectation for fiscal 2021, indicating 6% and 400bps year-over-year growth. However, higher land, labor and material costs are concerning. This may exert pressure on the company’s upcoming quarters as well.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE SEPTEMBER 20

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
LEN Lennar $3.27
HRB H&R Block -$0.34

 

Tuesday (September 21)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: AUTOZONE, FEDEX

AUTOZONE: The Memphis, Tennessee-based auto parts retailer is expected to report its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $29.71 per share, which represents a year-over-year decline of about 4% from $30.93 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

Autozone (AZO) is our top pick in DIY Auto. We see it as a high-quality retailer with the ability to compound earnings/FCF growth over time. While not immune to a tougher macro backdrop (fewer miles driven), we believe AZO is best positioned through any recession given its leading exposure to the more defensive DIY segment (~80% of sales). In addition, its DIFM growth was accelerating pre-COVID and we think it can gain more share in that segment going forward. In our view, ongoing share gains coupled with solid expense management should allow AZO to overcome headwinds from less driving in the near- to medium-term. These advantages seem priced in currently.”

FEDEX: The Memphis, Tennessee-based multinational delivery services company is expected to report its fiscal first-quarter earnings of $5.00 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of about 3% from $4.87 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The delivery firm would post revenue growth of about 13% to $21.8 billion. In the last four quarters, on average, FedEx has beaten earnings estimates over 28%.

“August quarter remained strong, although we are seeing some delays in shipments, which we expect management to address,” noted Helane Becker, equity analyst at Cowen.

“We are approaching the peak shipping season and expect to see ~50K new hires to handle what is likely to be record demand. Looking ahead, FedEx (FDX) should finally finish the TNT integration; European operations should show that.”

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE SEPTEMBER 21

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
AZO AutoZone $29.71
FDX FedEx $4.94
ADBE Adobe Systems $3.01
KGF Kingfisher £12.20
CBRL Cracker Barrel Old Country Store $2.33
NEOG Neogen $0.16

 

Wednesday (September 22)

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
KBH Kb Home $1.61
FUL HB Fuller $0.79
BBBY Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. $0.52
UNFI United Natural Foods $0.80
GIS General Mills $0.89

 

Thursday (September 23)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NIKE, COSTCO WHOLESALE

NIKE: The world’s largest athletic footwear and apparel seller is expected to report its fiscal first-quarter earnings of $1.12 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of about 18%, up from $0.95 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The Beaverton, Oregon-based footwear retailer would post year-over-year revenue growth of over 18% to $12.6 billion.

“Investors are focused on the Vietnam factory closures impact on FY revenue guidance. Our analysis & mgmt guidance conservatism suggests minimal risk. But high valuation requires beat & raise quarters – stock price pullback possible & we’re buyers on any weakness. Reiterate Overweight; raise price target to $221,” noted Kimberly Greenberger, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Nike (NKE) trades at the high end of its historical valuation range, & investors expect quarterly beats & guidance raises. Unchanged or lowered FY guidance on temporary, Vietnam-driven headwinds could result in a stock pullback. We would be buyers on any potential weakness.”

COSTCO WHOLESALE: The world’s fifth-largest retailer is expected to report its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $3.56 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of over 1.4% from $3.51 per share seen in the same period a year ago. The Fridley, Minnesota-based medical company would post revenue growth of about 18% to around $63 billion.

TAKE A LOOK AT OUR EARNINGS CALENDAR FOR THE FULL RELEASES FOR THE SEPTEMBER 23

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
ACN Accenture $2.18
DRI Darden Restaurants $1.64
NKE Nike $1.12
COST Costco Wholesale $3.56
MTN Vail Resorts -$3.46
PRGS Progress Software $0.82

 

Friday (September 24)

Ticker Company EPS Forecast
CCL Carnival -$1.43
CUK Carnival -$1.45
CCL Carnival -£1.45

 

The Week Ahead – Central Banks back in Focus with the BoE and the FED in Action

On the Macro

It’s a quiet week ahead on the economic calendar, with 37 stats in focus in the week ending 17th September. In the week prior, 62 stats had also been in focus.

For the Dollar:

Prelim private sector PMIs for September will be in focus on Thursday.

Expect the services PMI to be the key stat of the week.

Other stats include housing sector data that will likely have a muted impact on the Dollar and the broader market.

The main event of the week, however, is the FOMC monetary policy decision on Wednesday.

With the markets expecting the FED to stand pat, the economic and interest rate projections and press conference will be pivotal. FED Chair Powell prepped the markets for the tapering to begin this year. The markets are not expecting any hint of a shift in policy on interest rates, however…

In the week ending 17th September, the Dollar Spot Index rose by 0.66% to 93.195.

For the EUR:

It’s a relatively busy week on the economic data front.

Prelim September private sector PMIs for France, Germany, and the Eurozone will draw plenty of interest on Thursday.

While Germany’s manufacturing PMI is key, expect influence from the entire data set. Market concerns over the economic recovery have tested support for riskier assets. Softer PMI numbers would test EUR support on the day.

For the week, the EUR fell by 0.75% to $1.1725.

For the Pound:

It’s a relatively busy week ahead on the economic calendar.

On the economic data front, CBI Industrial Trend Orders and prelim private sector PMIs are due out.

Expect the services PMI for September to be the key stat on Thursday.

While the stats will influence, the BoE’s monetary policy decision on Thursday will be the main event.

Persistent inflationary pressure has raised the prospects of a sooner rather than later move by the BoE. Weak retail sales figures have made things less clear, however.

Expect any dissent to drive the Pound towards $1.40 levels.

The Pound ended the week down by 0.71% to $1.3741.

For the Loonie:

It’s another quiet week ahead on the economic calendar.

Early in the week, house price figures for August are due out. The numbers are not expected to have a material impact on the Loonie, however.

Retail sales figures for July, due out on Thursday, will influence, however. Another sharp increase in spending would deliver the Loonie with much-needed support.

The Loonie ended the week down 0.57% to C$1.2764 against the U.S Dollar.

Out of Asia

For the Aussie Dollar:

There are no major stats to provide the Aussie Dollar with direction.

While there are no major stats, the RBA monetary policy meeting minutes on Tuesday will influence. The markets will be looking for forward guidance following the latest lockdown measures.

The Aussie Dollar ended the week down by 1.05% to $0.7279.

For the Kiwi Dollar:

It’s another quiet week ahead.

Early in the week, consumer sentiment figures for the 3rd quarter will be in focus.

Trade data, due out on Friday, will be the key numbers for the week, however.

Away from the economic calendar, however, COVID-19 news updates will also be key.

The Kiwi Dollar ended the week down by 1.03% to $0.7040.

For the Japanese Yen:

It’s a relatively busy week on the economic calendar.

Inflation and prelim private sector PMIs are due out on Friday. We don’t expect the numbers to influence the Yen, however.

On the monetary policy front, the BoJ is in action on Wednesday. We aren’t expecting any surprises, however, as the Delta variant continues to deliver economic uncertainty.

The Japanese Yen rose by 0.01% to ¥109.93 against the U.S Dollar.

Out of China

There are also no major stats due out of China for the markets to consider, with the Chinese markets closed early in the week.

On the monetary policy front, the PBoC is in action. We don’t expect any changes to the Loan Prime Rates, however.

The Chinese Yuan ended the week down by 0.34% to CNY6.4661 against the U.S Dollar.

Geo-Politics

Iran, China, and Russia remain the main areas of interest for the markets. News updates from the Middle East, in particular, will need continued monitoring following recent events in Afghanistan.

U.S Mortgage Rates Fall Ahead of the FOMC Meet and Projections

Mortgage rates were relatively flat once more, with 30-year fixed rates falling by just 2 basis points. After a 1 basis point rise in the week prior, rates fell the 6th time in 11-weeks.

In the week ending 16th September, 30-year fixed rates fell by 2 basis points to 2.86%.

30-year mortgage rates have risen just once beyond the 3% mark Since 21st April.

Compared to this time last year, 30-year fixed rates were down by just 1 basis point.

30-year fixed rates were still down by 208 basis points since November 2018’s last peak of 4.94%.

Economic Data from the Week

It was a relatively busy first half of the week, with inflation figures for August in focus on Tuesday.

Softer inflation figures pegged back mortgage rates in the week.

In August, the U.S core annual rate of inflation slipped from 4.3% to 4.0%. While softer, the continued spike in inflation left a FED tapering on the table for this year.

On Wednesday, industrial production and NY Empire State Manufacturing data failed to drive yields in spite of upbeat numbers.

The NY Empire State Manufacturing Index climbed from 18.3 to 34.3 in September. Industrial production rose by 0.4% in August, following a 0.8% increase in July.

While the stats from the U.S were upbeat, economic data from China raised yet more red flags over the Chinese economic recovery.

In August, industrial production increased by 5.3%, year-on-year, which was down from 6.4% in July. Fixed asset investments also disappointed, rising by 8.9% versus 10.3% in July. Both fell short of forecasts.

Freddie Mac Rates

The weekly average rates for new mortgages as of 16th September were quoted by Freddie Mac to be:

  • 30-year fixed rates decreased by 2 basis points to 2.86% in the week. This time last year, rates had stood at 2.87%. The average fee remained unchanged at 0.7 points.
  • 15-year fixed fell by 7 basis points 2.12% in the week. Rates were down by 23 basis points from 2.35% a year ago. The average fee remained unchanged at 0.6 points.
  • 5-year fixed rates increased by 9 basis point to 2.51%. Rates were down by 45 points from 2.96% a year ago. The average fee fell from 0.3 points to 0.1 point.

According to Freddie Mac,

  • Mortgage rates continued to remain flat, reflecting the markets’ view that prospects for the economy have dimmed as a result of the latest spike in new COVID-19 cases.
  • Fundamental changes to the economy are occurring, however, which will likely lead to significant investment and new post-pandemic economic models that will spur economic growth.
  • Such changes include increased migration, a continuation of remote work, increased use of automation, and focus on a more energy efficient and resilience economy.

Mortgage Bankers’ Association Rates

For the week ending 10th September, the rates were:

  • Average interest rates for 30-year fixed with conforming loan balances remained unchanged at 3.03%. Points decreased from 0.33 to 0.32 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average 30-year fixed mortgage rates backed by FHA fell from 3.07% to 3.04%. Points fell from 0.30 to 0.27 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.
  • Average 30-year rates for jumbo loan balances decreased from 3.14% to 3.13%. Points declined from 0.30 to 0.21 (incl. origination fee) for 80% LTV loans.

Weekly figures released by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the Market Composite Index, which is a measure of mortgage loan application volume, increased by 0.3% in the week ending 10th September. In the previous week, the index had declined by 1.9%

The Refinance Index declined by 3% and was 3% lower than the same week a year ago. The index had also fallen by 3% in the week prior.

In the week ending 10th September, the refinance share of mortgage activity fell from 66.8% to 64.9%. The share had remained unchanged at 66.8% in the week prior.

According to the MBA,

  • Purchase applications, after adjusting for the impact of Labor Day, increased over 7% to their highest level since Apr-21.
  • Compared with Sept-2020, which was in the middle of a significant upswing in home purchases, applications were down 11%.
  • The average loan size for a purchase application rose to $396,800, with a competitive purchase market pushing sales prices upwards.
  • By contrast, refinance applications fell to their slowest pace since early July.

For the week ahead

It’s a quieter week ahead on the economic data front. Economic data is limited to housing sector data that should have a muted impact on yields.

The market focus will be on the FOMC monetary policy decision and projections due late on Wednesday.

A hawkish FED would push yields northwards that should support a pickup in mortgage rates in the coming weeks.

India Antitrust Probe Finds Google Abused Android Dominance, Report Shows

Alphabet Inc’s Google reduced “the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android,” says the June report by the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) investigations unit.

The U.S. tech giant told Reuters in a statement it looks forward to working with the CCI to “demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.”

Google has not received the investigation report, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

The CCI did not respond to a request for comment on the report. Senior CCI members will review the report and give Google another chance to defend itself, before issuing a final order, which could include penalties, said another person familiar with the case.

Google would be able to appeal any order in India’s courts.

Its findings are the latest antitrust setback for Google in India, where it faces several probes in the payments app and smart television markets. The company has been investigated in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. This week, South Korea’s antitrust regulator fined Google $180 million for blocking customised versions of Android.

‘VAGUE, BIASED AND ARBITRARY’

Google submitted at least 24 responses during the probe, defending itself and arguing it was not hurting competition, the report says.

Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, as well as smartphone makers like Samsung and Xiaomi, were among 62 entities that responded to CCI questions during its Google investigation, the report says.

Android powers 98% of India’s 520 million smartphones, according to Counterpoint Research.

When the CCI ordered the probe in 2019, it said Google appeared to have leveraged its dominance to reduce device makers’ ability to opt for alternate versions of its mobile operating system and force them to pre-install Google apps.

The 750-page report finds the mandatory pre-installation of apps “amounts to imposition of unfair condition on the device manufacturers” in violation of India’s competition law, while the company leveraged the position of its Play Store app store to protect its dominance.

Play Store policies were “one-sided, ambiguous, vague, biased and arbitrary”, while Android has been “enjoying its dominant position” in licensable operating systems for smartphones and tablets since 2011, the report says.

The probe was triggered in 2019 after two Indian junior antitrust research associates and a law student filed a complaint, Reuters reported.

India remains a key growth market for Google. It said last year it would spend $10 billion https://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-india-idINKCN24E0YL in the country over five to seven years through equity investments and tie-ups, its biggest commitment to a key growth market.

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

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; Editing by William Mallard)

European Equities: A Week in Review – 17/09/21

The Majors

It was another bearish week for the majors in the week ending 17th September. The CAC40 led the way down, falling by 1.40%, with the DAX30 and the EuroStoxx600 seeing losses of 0.77% and 0.96% respectively.

Economic data for the Eurozone failed to support the majors, in spite of the stats being skewed to the positive.

Mid-week, disappointing economic data from China fueled market concerns over the economic outlook.

Industrial production in China was up by 5.3%, year-on-year, in August versus a forecasted 5.8% increase. In July, production had been up by 6.4%.

Fixed asset investment was up 8.9% versus a forecasted 9.0%. In July, fixed asset investments had been up 10.3%.

While the numbers from China raised yet more red flags, economic data from the U.S impressed, raising policy uncertainty.

Market jitters ahead of next week’s FOMC policy decision and projections delivered the losses for the DAX30 at the end of the week.

The Stats

Economic data wage growth, industrial production, trade, and finalized inflation figures for the Eurozone.

Finalized inflation figures for Spain, France, and Italy were also out but had a muted impact on the majors.

In the 2nd quarter, wage fell by 0.4%, year-on-year, partially reversing a 2.1% increase recorded in the previous quarter.

Industrial production and trade data were positive, however.

Production increased by 1.5%, reversing a 0.1% fall from June, with the Eurozone’s trade surplus widening from €17.7bn to €20.7bn.

At the end of the week, finalized inflation figures for the Eurozone were in line with prelim figures. The Eurozone’s annual rate of inflation accelerated from 2.2% to 3.0% in August.

From the U.S

In August, the annual rate of core inflation softened from 4.3% to 4.0% versus a forecasted 4.2%. While softer than expected, 4% continued to sit well above the FED’s 2% target, leaving tapering on the table.

Mid-week, industrial production and NY Empire State manufacturing figures were market positive.

On Thursday, retail sales, Philly FED Manufacturing PMI, and jobless claims figures were of greater interest, however.

In August, retail sales increased by 0.7% versus a forecasted 0.2% decline. Core retail sales jumped by 1.8% versus a 0.1% decline. In July retail sales had fallen by 1.1% and core retail sales by 0.4%.

Manufacturing numbers were also upbeat, with the Philly FED Manufacturing PMI increasing from 19.4 to 30.7 in September.

Jobless claims figures failed to impress, however, with sub-300k remaining elusive. In the week ending 10th September, initial jobless claims rose from 312k to 332k. Economists had forecast an increase to 330k.

At the end of the week, consumer sentiment also improved, albeit moderately. In September, the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose from 70.3 to 71.0, falling short of a forecasted 72.0.

The Market Movers

From the DAX, it was a mixed week for the auto sector. Continental slid by 10.98%, with Volkswagen ending the week down by 3.40%. BMW and Daimler ended the week up by 1.44% and by 2.88% respectively, however.

It was also a mixed week for the banking sector. Deutsche Bank rallied by 2.64%, while Commerzbank fell by 0.18%.

From the CAC, it was a mixed week for the banks. BNP Paribas rose by 1.36% to buck the trend. Credit Agricole and Soc Gen fell by 2.59% and by 1.48% respectively.

It was also a mixed week for the French auto sector. Stellantis NV rose by 0.63%, while Renault slid by 1.71%.

Air France-KLM found much needed support, rising by 2.29%, while Airbus ended the week with a 1.15% loss.

On the VIX Index

It was back into the red for the VIX in the week ending 17th September, ending a run of 2 consecutive weekly gains.

Following a 27.67% jump from the previous week, the VIX slipped by 0.67% to end the week at 20.81.

2-days in the red from 5 sessions, which included 6.58% fall on Wednesday delivered the downside. An 11.34% rise on Friday limited the downside from the week, however.

For the week, the NASDAQ fell by 0.47%, with the Dow and the S&P500 ending the week down by 0.07% and by 0.57% respectively.

VIX 180921 Weekly Chart

The Week Ahead

It’s a relatively busy week ahead on the economic calendar.

Key stats include prelim September private sector PMIs for France, Germany, and the Eurozone.

At the end of the week, German IFO business climate figures will also influence.

From the U.S, it’s a quieter but influential week ahead.

On the economic data front, prelim private sector PMIs for September and weekly jobless claims will influence.

The main event of the week, however, is the FED monetary policy decision and projections.

With the FED expected to stand pat on policy, expect the FED’s economic projections and policy outlook to be key.

The Weekly Wrap – Economic Data and Policy Jitters Delivered a Boost for the Greenback

The Stats

It was a busier week on the economic calendar, in the week ending 17th September.

A total of 61 stats were monitored, which was up from 42 stats in the week prior.

Of the 61 stats, 21 came in ahead forecasts, with 27 economic indicators coming up short of forecasts. There were 13 stats that were in line with forecasts in the week.

Looking at the numbers, 29 of the stats reflected an upward trend from previous figures. Of the remaining 32 stats, 30 reflected a deterioration from previous.

For the Greenback, upbeat economic data and sentiment towards monetary policy delivered support in the week. In the week ending 17th September, the Dollar Spot Index rose by 0.66% to 93.195. In the previous week, the Dollar had risen by 0.59% to 92.582.

Out of the U.S

Early in the week, inflation figures were in focus.

In August, the annual rate of core inflation softened from 4.3% to 4.0% versus a forecasted 4.2%. While softer than expected, 4% continued to sit well above the FED’s 2% target, leaving tapering on the table.

Mid-week, industrial production and NY Empire State manufacturing figures were market positive.

On Thursday, retail sales, Philly FED Manufacturing PMI, and jobless claims figures were of greater interest, however.

In August, retail sales increased by 0.7% versus a forecasted 0.2% decline. Core retail sales jumped by 1.8% versus a 0.1% decline. In July retail sales had fallen by 1.1% and core retail sales by 0.4%.

Manufacturing numbers were also upbeat, with the Philly FED Manufacturing PMI increasing from 19.4 to 30.7 in September.

Jobless claims figures failed to impress, however, with sub-300k remaining elusive. In the week ending 10th September, initial jobless claims rose from 312k to 332k. Economists had forecast an increase to 330k.

At the end of the week, consumer sentiment improved, albeit moderately. In September, the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose from 70.3 to 71.0, falling short of a forecasted 72.0.

Out of the UK

It was also a busy week. Employment, inflation, and retail sales figures were in focus. The stats were skewed to the positive.

In August, claimant counts fell by a further 58.6k after having fallen by 48.9k in July. In July, the unemployment rate fell from 4.7% to 4.6%.

The UK’s annual rate of inflation accelerated from 2.0% to 3.25 in August, also delivering Pound support.

At the end of the week, retail sales disappointed, however. Month-on-month, core retail sales fell by 1.2% in August, following a 3.2% slide in July. Retail sales fell by 0.9% after having fallen by 2.8% in July. Economists had forecast a pickup in spending.

In the week, the Pound fell by 0.71% to end the week at $1.3741. In the week prior, the Pound had fallen by 0.23% to $1.3839.

The FTSE100 ended the week down by 0.93%, following a 1.53% loss from the previous week.

Out of the Eurozone

Economic data included wage growth, industrial production, trade, and finalized inflation figures for the Eurozone.

Finalized inflation figures for Spain, France, and Italy were also out but had a muted impact on the EUR.

In the 2nd quarter, wage fell by 0.4%, year-on-year, partially reversing a 2.1% increase recorded in the previous quarter.

Industrial production and trade data were positive, however.

Production increased by 1.5%, reversing a 0.1% fall from June, with the Eurozone’s trade surplus widening from €17.7bn to €20.7bn.

At the end of the week, finalized inflation figures for the Eurozone were in line with prelim figures. The Eurozone’s annual rate of inflation accelerated from 2.2% to 3.0% in August.

For the week, the EUR fell by 0.75% to $1.1725. In the week prior, the EUR had fallen by 0.56% to $1.1814.

The CAC40 slid by 1.40%, with the DAX30 and the EuroStoxx600 ending the week with losses of 0.77% and 0.96% respectively.

For the Loonie

Economic data included manufacturing sales, inflation, and wholesale sales figures.

The stats were mixed in the week.

In July, both manufacturing sales and wholesale sales disappointed with falls of 1.5% and 2.1% respectively.

Providing support, however, was a pickup in the annual rate of inflation from 3.3% to 3.5%.

The pickup in inflationary pressure and rising oil prices were not enough to support the Loonie against the Greenback.

In the week ending 17th September, the Loonie fell by 0.57% to C$1.2764. In the week prior, the Loonie had fallen by 1.34% to C$1.2692.

Elsewhere

It was another bearish week for the Aussie Dollar and the Kiwi Dollar.

The Aussie Dollar fell by 1.05% to $0.7279, with the Kiwi Dollar ending the week down by 1.03% to $0.7040.

For the Aussie Dollar

Business and consumer confidence figures were in focus in the 1st half of the week.

In spite of the latest lockdown measures, the stats were skewed to the positive.

The NAB Business Confidence Index rose from -8 to -5 in August.

More significantly, the Westpac Consumer Sentiment Index increased by 2.0% in September. The index had fallen by 4.4% in August.

On Thursday, employment figures disappointed, however.

In August, full employment fell by 68k following a 4.2k decline in July. Employment tumbled by 146.3k, however, versus a forecasted 90.0k decline. In July, employment had risen by 2.2k.

According to the ABS,

  • The unemployment rate fell from 4.6% to 4.5%, with the participation rate declining from 66.0% to 65.2%.
  • Year-on-year, the number of unemployed was down by 298,000.

For the Kiwi Dollar

It was also a mixed week on the economic data front.

2nd quarter GDP numbers impressed, with the NZ economy expanding by 2.8%, quarter-on-quarter. The economy had expanded by a more modest 1.4% in the previous quarter.

On the negative, however, was a slide in the Business PMI from 62.6 to 40.1 in August. The figures reflected the impact of the latest lockdown measures on production, justifying the RBNZ’s decision to leave the cash rate unchanged.

For the Japanese Yen

It was a relatively quiet week, with the numbers skewed to the negative.

According to finalized figures, industrial production fell by 1.5% in July. While in line with prelim figures, this was a partial reversal of a 6.5% jump from June.

In August, Japan’s trade balance fell from a ¥439.4bn surplus to a ¥635.4bn deficit. Exports rose by 26.2%, year-on-year, after having been up by 37% in July.

The Japanese Yen rose by 0.01% to ¥109.93 against the U.S Dollar. In the week prior, the Yen had fallen by 0.21% to ¥109.94.

Out of China

Fixed asset investment and industrial production figures were in focus mid-week.

There were yet more disappointing numbers from China for the markets to consider.

In August, fixed asset investment increased by 8.9%, year-on-year. This was softer than a 10.3% increase in July.

More significantly, industrial production was up by 5.3% in August versus 6.4% in July.

In the week ending 17th September, the Chinese Yuan fell by 0.34% to CNY6.4661. In the week prior, the Yuan had ended the week up by 0.18% to CNY6.4443.

The CSI300 and the Hang Seng ended the week down by 3.14% and by 4.90% respectively.

Wall Street Closes Rollercoaster Week Sharply Lower

All three major U.S. stock indexes lost ground, with the Nasdaq Composite Index’s weighed down as rising U.S. Treasury yields pressured market-leading growth stocks.

They also posted weekly losses, with the S&P index suffering its biggest two-week drop since February.

“The market is struggling with prospects for tighter fiscal policy due to tax increases, and tighter monetary policy due to Fed tapering,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York.

“Equity markets are also a little softer due to today’s weak Consumer Sentiment data,” Carter added. “It’s triggering concerns that the Delta variant could slow economic growth.”

A potential hike in corporate taxes could eat into earnings also weigh on markets, with leading Democrats seeking to raise the top tax rate on corporations to 26.5% from the current 21%.

While consumer sentiment steadied this month it remains depressed, according to a University of Michigan report, as Americans postpone purchases while inflation remains high.

Inflation is likely to be a major issue next week, when the Federal Open Markets Committee holds its two-day monetary policy meeting. Market participants will be watching closely for changes in nuance which could signal a shift in the Fed’s tapering timeline.

“It has been a week of mixed economic data and we are focused clearly on what will come out of the Fed meeting next week,” said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Helena, Montana.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 166.44 points, or 0.48%, to 34,584.88; the S&P 500 lost 40.76 points, or 0.91%, at 4,432.99; and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 137.96 points, or 0.91%, to 15,043.97.

The S&P 500 ended below its 50-day moving average, which in recent history has proven a rather sturdy support level.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but healthcare ended in the red, with materials and utilities suffering the biggest percentage drops.

COVID vaccine manufacturers Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc dropped 1.3% and 2.4%, respectively, as U.S. health officials moved the debate over booster doses to a panel of independent experts.

U.S. Steel Corp shed 8.0% after it unveiled a $3 billion mini-mill investment plan.

Robinhood Markets Inc rose 1.0% after Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest bought $14.7 million worth of shares in the trading platform.

Volume and volatility spiked toward the end of the session due to “triple witching,” which is the quarterly, simultaneous expiration of stock options, stock index futures, and stock index options contracts.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 15.51 billion shares, compared with the 9.70 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.97-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.00-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 67 new highs and 82 new lows.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Krystal Hu in New York and Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang)

China Applies to Join Pacific Trade Pact to Boost Economic Clout

Commerce Minister Wang Wentao submitted China’s application to join the free trade agreement in a letter to New Zealand’s trade minister, Damien O’Connor, the Chinese ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.

The CPTPP was signed by 11 countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand in 2018.

Before that, it was known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and seen as an important economic counterweight to China‘s regional influence.

Japan, the CPTPP’s chair this year, said it would consult with member countries to respond to China’s request, but stopped short of signalling a timeline for doing so.

“Japan believes that it’s necessary to determine whether China, which submitted a request to join the TPP-11, is ready to meet its extremely high standards,” Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters on Friday.

The TPP was central to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategic pivot to Asia but his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew the United States from the pact in 2017.

Asked to comment on China’s bid, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said it deferred to CPTPP, given that the United States was not a member, but added: “That said, we would expect that China’s non-market trade practices and China’s use of economic coercion against other countries would factor into CPTPP parties’ evaluation of China as a potential candidate for accession.”

CPTPP accession would be a major boost for China following the signing of the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement last year.

Beijing has lobbied for its inclusion in the pact, including by highlighting that the Chinese and Australian economies have enormous potential for cooperation. However, relations between the two countries have soured.

In a new alliance dubbed AUKUS announced this week, the United States and Britain said they would provide Australia with the technology to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, a move seen as aimed at countering China’s influence in the Pacific.

Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, said on Friday that the application to join CPTPP was “completely unrelated” to AUKUS.

China was pushing for regional integration while AUKUS countries were “promoting war and destruction,” he said at a briefing in Beijing.

Taiwan, which has also been angling to join the trade pact, expressed concern about China’s decision to apply.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and would not be pleased if Taipei was allowed to join the grouping before Beijing.

Japan’s deputy finance minister suggested in a tweet on Friday that China’s subsidies of state-owned firms and arbitrary application of the law were likely to make it hard for the country to join the trade pact.

“China … is far removed from the free, fair and highly transparent world of TPP, chances that it can join are close to zero,” State Minister of Finance Kenji Nakanishi said in a tweet. “This can be thought of as a move to prevent Taiwan from joining.”

Britain in June began negotiations to enter the trade pact, while Thailand has also signalled interest in joining it.

Wang and O’Connor held a telephone conference to discuss the next steps following China’s application, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said.

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

(Reporting by Colin Qian, Twinnie Siu, Tom Daly and Gabriel Crossley in Beijing, Daniel Leussink and Sakura Murakami in Tokyo, Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao in Taipei and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Alex Richardson and Mark Porter)